Yorkshire in spring

Working backwards, when I got home this evening, the wind had caused a minor disaster in the greenhouse. Basically, some of the bars had worked themselves loose and without support the shelving had up-ended, leading to all the seedlings toppling to the ground.

Sadly, most of them are probably lost. But I managed to salvage a few cayenne pepper seedlings and these have now been replanted in a better pot – inside the real house!

This misfortune did nothing to dampen my happiness after a wonderful day out with my sewing bee. The last, and possibly best, place we visited was Salts Mill, in Saltaire, Bradford, where David Hockney was exhibiting his latest art. Aside from the subject matter, the theme of which was spring in this part of the world, the works had been made using an iPad and emailed to his friends.

Hockney gallery at Salts Mill

However they were produced, I was taken with both the setting and the pictures themselves. The one below is my favourite of them all.

Hockney, iPad art

While Salts Mill may now be an interesting place to spend an afternoon, browsing the art and the shops with thought-provoking books, antiques and other more unusual paraphernalia, it once had a very different use. As the name suggests, it was a factory – for spinning wool. And while Sir Titus Salt was a progressive man for his time, giving his workers conditions which others could only dream of, these were not what we would find palatable in the twenty-first century.

Workers at Salts Mill in the nineteenth century

The photo above is a piece of artwork but is meant to illustrate one aspect of conditions which would be unacceptable here today. Unfortunately, while child labour is prohibited on these islands, I wonder how many people realise that the countries where their clothes are often now made still employ children to clothe our backs?

Maybe we could upcycled more, which is one thing the members of my sewing bee are good at. The exhibit below from a gallery in Farsley, an area in Leeds, isn’t perhaps what I had in mind but it is certainly different!

Exhibit at Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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10 Responses to Yorkshire in spring

  1. drofmit4108 says:

    Helen, despite the age of the spinners, in Saltaire they both went to school before work age…
    and Sir Titus made sure that they were still being educated up to the age of sixteen….
    those girls would have had lessons before and after a full days’s work!!
    Also, despite holding a Beer Exhibition in the 1800s at the Victoria Hall….
    Saltaire was a “dry” village… not a pub to be seen… no drinking, for the workers anyway!
    He “cared” in that Victorian way, for his staff… and many would have had a better life as a result.
    Quite a contrast to the cheap, sweatshop produced clothing that is to be seen everywhere at bargain prices.

    I have however, seen wonderful fair-trade clothes made from recycled fabric….
    and in the UK some wonderful designs from clothes and materials purchased from Oxfam, Mind and other charity shops.

    Possibly the saddest thing, despite our Western ideals, the people who are employed so abysmally in dangerous workshops in unsafe and often illegally altered buildings….
    would be far worse off if they lost their income because the businesses folded!
    And, without the system being changed from the top down, it will forever be!
    All we do, by avoiding the issue and making our own… or purchasing items with a known provenance… is wash clean our own way of life without changing others.
    Sad, but a fact!

    I could carry on…
    but it is really too depressing when there is nothing that we, as individuals , can do or change.

  2. Cynthia says:

    How disappointing that you lost so many seedlings that way!! Ugh. Glad that you regrouped and had fun. Nice pictures… You lead an interesting life, so glad you share:)

    • Helen says:

      Thank you for your lovely comments, Cynthia! I am of course disappointed about the seeds and seedlings but they weren’t doing well in the greenhouse, so I need to revisit veg growing anyway 🙂

  3. Helen, I’m disappointed on your behalf! How sad to see so many of your freshly planted seedlings go to waste. I hope you can salvage more than you think.

    It is disconcerting to think of young children making the clothes we wear. In the eighties, only 40% of our clothes were made in the US. Now that number is down to 5%. It’s nearly impossible to buy locally any more. Is that true where you live as well?

  4. It sure is different! Interesting too.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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