How We Became Local Legends: Leek Life

…not that we weren’t already, you understand!!

Hands up if you love where you live…I know I do!

We call Leek (a small market town on the edge of the Peak District in the Staffordshire Moorlands) home. And, in my opinion it is an absolutely brilliant place to live and raise children!

Why?

Because there’s always something completely bonkers going on that you can get involved with, (there’s a great community spirit that brings the town together) it’s steeped in weird and wonderful history and it’s surrounded by beautiful countryside.

I’ve been reading a lot of ‘year in review’ posts recently and so I thought I’d look back on one particular legendary aspect of living the #LeekLife from the past year. Yep, I’m fully aware I’m late to the game with this being as we’re now nearly halfway through February. But hey, I have three kids so it’s safe to say I’m going to be late to everything from now until the year 2039.

Sir Gawain and The Green Knight.

A bit of background info:
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of four late 14th century Middle English poems, written in a North West Midland dialect and surviving in a single manuscript, held in the British Library. All are thought to have been written by the same author, known either as the Gawain Poet, believed to have lived and worked around Leek.
Most scholars now agree that the unknown author of the Gawain poem came from this area and tell-tale signs of this are not only the local accent and words which appear throughout the work, but also local features, such as The Roaches and Lud’s Church, which figure in the action. And action there is…chivalry, romance, temption and a beheading challenge!!

So clearly the link to this medieval poem cries out to us Leek folk, needing to be properly celebrated. The best way to do this…simultaneously excite, educate, entertain and terrify young children with local legend every Summer.

The event is organised by the Dr Plot’s Lesser Known Leek committee who celebrate the poem each July with a parade of giants through the town, culminating in a re-telling of the tale to a delighted/terrified crowd.

The parade led by The Green Knight

It’s everything I love about being English, the eccentricity, the element of history/learning, and maximum community involvement.

We have attended this event for the last three years (the first year we were definitely in the terrified camp!) there are add on activities set up for both children and adults alike, it’s a great way to spend a few hours and it’s completely free.

Stanley with his hand crafted armour

Click below for a little peek into Dr Plots. Also it features Stanley at 44 secs in, he has a knack for getting into every promo video going!

If you are fairly local then I recommend following Dr Plots to find out more information on this year’s event.

So how did WE become local legends?

Well OK, I may have exaggerated slightly to produce a jazzy title but thanks to a bit of crowdfunding last year Leek also became ‘the town that painted‘.

In November an event was organised to help to create a modern day twist on a Bayeaux style tableau that would re-tell the Sir Gawain story, in paint.

The Challenge is Issued
The Journey and the Castle

Artist Sue Prince headed up the community art project producing 4 large pieces of work using traditional hand mixed egg tempera paint.

The Seduction and the Hunting
The Challenge is Completed

As soon as I heard about the ‘paint in’ I really wanted to get involved, afterall I had studied art! So off we popped to my old art college, not knowing quite what to expect! But we needn’t have worried…Sue was there to greet us, gave us the lowdown on mixing colours and told us all about egg tempera. Then we painted ourselves into the story.

The concentration!
Artist Sue Prince with Stanley and James

Even the boys got stuck in and helped to paint a colourful children’s version.

A Yorkshireman becoming a Leekite

So, strap yourselves in and get ready for the big reveal. We are now forever immortalised in paint and part of the local legend…

Ta Da!

We are in the bottom border to the first piece in the series ‘The Challenge is Issued’.

I can tell, you’re impressed aren’t you?

To find out more about my lovely Leek try:

The Moor Where Wallabies Roam

Vindaloo (bonus points if you can spot Stanley *again* and a heavily pregnant yours truly)

For more of Sue Prince’s work click here for original artwork, prints and
cards available to purchase.

So there you have it. I’d love to hear about the place you call home in all its quirkiness!

Artwork credit: Sue Prince © 2018

Video credit: Dr Plots Lesser Known Leek ©

All other images are my own.

I’m sharing this post with:

Confessions of a New Mummy