After setting off in convoy, we made our way to the Harewood Arms public house. The idea of a car convoy seemed the appropriate thing to do but despite our slow speeds, and a relatively quiet road, a farm tractor managed to ‘overtake’ one of our group trying to get out of a junction. But despite all this, we each managed to make it to the pub on time! Once inside the pub, we all took up one side of the room and ordered our drinks and meals. I played it ‘safe’ and had ordered for myself, cod, chips and peas -to be helped down by a pint o’ cider. During this laid back time (with much laughter- not necessarily caused by alcohol consumption), we discussed the obvious subject matter and several items and souvenirs connected with Follyfoot began to make an appearance. I had already handed out my drawings of some of the FF characters to pass around. However of particular interest was Peter’s (aka Moggy on the forum) ‘lightning tree’ pen stand of which he mentions in detail on the Forum.
Peter then also brought out the original wallpaper that he had once stripped off the Colonel’s cottage walls back in 1974, some time after the series had finished. The wall paper is a beige, creamy colour with symmetrical lines of small, grey, patterned leaves (in three)- interspaced with much larger, quaint pink flowers and green leafed stems. Then suddenly, without warning , Peter began to cut the wallpaper up into small strips with a Swiss army knife and proceeded to hand these squared pieces (approx 10” x 8”) onto the members. We were all astonished by Peter’s kind generosity and my piece is safely tucked away in my Follyfoot folder! Thanks, Peter.
Because we were running late, I had to make a quick phone call outside to Laxmi Bantawa who would shortly escort us and I explained that we would have to meet at 2.30pm (and not 2pm). Laxmi agreed to this and I felt less pressure again. I’d decided nearer the time to leave the pub and made my way over on foot to the Harewood Arch area. A little later on, everyone else followed in their cars (we had arranged for car sharing) and once they had parked up, Laxmi texted me to say he was on his way! He soon turned up with Jackie Naylor, Events Co-Ordinator and before I got inside the 4x4, I waved to everyone to then follow us. We initially parked up near by and I discussed briefly with Laxmi and Jackie what our plans were when visiting the farm. I was given the all -clear and once more we were off again to visit the farm -which I had last seen, some 14 months earlier.
We approached via the usual main track that leads up to the farm itself and parked up just before the buildings. As we all got out, we had exchanged a few words and pleasantries with Laxmi and Jackie Naylor. Then, when they had left, gradually made our way across to the first main building, where in past times was used as the Follyfoot staff canteen. Christine Saul, Jane’s fellow horse lady on Follyfoot had later explained to me that there was a raised level platform built inside here by the set production team. Jane Royston explained further details about this place, as I remained outside taking photos.
There was a distraction at the time because a sheep that had looked poorly, resting inside the barn, was unfortunately entangled with a piece of long wire in its coat. I managed to grab it and Moggy (aka Peter) cut away the wool to free the animal. The sheep was calm throughout and once we had removed the wire, the animal walked away. There was further cause for concern however for it’s general well being because it’s right, hind leg was raised up and had looked infected.
We all made our way into the courtyard and here everyone spread out and explored the old farmhouse which I believe is over 300 years old. Our curiosity reminded me of a passing film- set crew, checking out potential scenes to film. Is there anyone from the Emmerdale television production team interested in restoring this site and filming here?
I noted the old Donkey shed, since my last visit, has been beautifully restored as a car port.(photos 27,28). Surely if this can be done with such clear skill and professionalism-then why not the rest of the farm? If nothing is done soon in the coming years, then the balance of time will irrevocably be lost and it will be too late to save the buildings for future generations.