Another Year Another Whit Friday

Diggle Leaving Uppermill
Diggle Leaving Uppermill

After what has seemed like an endless winter, spring has eventually arrived in Saddleworth with the sun shining and the trees looking less bare it makes me remember why I love living here.

This morning I am sat here writing this in my dinning room with the door and windows open, the sun streaming in whilst looking at a very big blue sky, listening to the birds and the odd sound of a car rushing through the village to who knows were.

Now living Saddleworth is no great hardship but in the depths of winter I often question why I chose to live in such a desolate place. But then spring arrives and it’s a different story. People come out of hibernation and the place becomes greener and life becomes very pleasant indeed.

When we first moved here over thirty years ago it came as a bit of a shock when people you had never met said good morning whilst walking past you in the street. Try that in Manchester or London and see what happens.

We live in an area full of big hills and small villages with strange sounding names. You know they are strange when you have to tell people were you live and they look at you in disbelief and start smiling. I mean what is wrong with living in a place called Diggle.

But it’s the people who make this place special and they all have one thing in common, they are madly passionate about were they live, they don’t care about what you have or have not and above all they know how to have a good time.

Now next Friday Saddleworth is home to the greatest free show of earth, Whit Friday. It’s a day when everyone in the village comes together as one and walks down to our biggest village Uppermill to a joint service to celebrate being a Christian (or any other faith you may believe in) as long as you are kind and compassionate.

Now it’s a long walk, but it’s amazing how fast you can walk when you have a band to walk behind. It is an amazing spectacle. So again this Friday morning we will be inundated with all of the family busy getting into posh frocks and comfy shoes (the ladies only in this dojo) waiting for the sound of the band playing Hail Smiling Morn echoing across the valley which signals the start of the best day of the year by miles.

So if you are stuck in your office or workshop bear a thought for all us hill folk who will be walking proud through the big hills and blue skies swapping stories with people who we haven’t seen since last year.

If you are at a loose end on Friday evening then try to attend one of the many Band Competitions that are taking place throughout Saddleworth and as the Guardian said recently “It is the greatest free show on earth” so it must be true.

See you on the other side and I will let you know how it went.


2 Replies to “Another Year Another Whit Friday”

  1. Loved reading your post today. I used to be a Folkie and one of my favourite festivals was Saddleworth in the days when most of us camped and sang our hearts out in the local pubs!
    Why do we choose to live where winters are bleak and Spring is a season we look forward to so much. I can see why there are so many songs about the merry month of May!!
    We have chosen a self sufficient, outdoor lifestyle in Shropshire. We have a camp site,a Romany Caravan and luxury bell tent on Airbnb . The blossom is on the trees, we have come out of hibernation and we are ready to roll.
    How I empathise with you!!

    1. Thanks for your comment Roz. Shropshire is very similar to Saddleworth in lots of ways, it must be a generational thing. Hope you are keeping happy and healthy.

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