…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


25 responses to “How We Became Local Legends: Leek Life”

  1. […] favourite posts from last time were How We Became Local Legends from Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs and What to Eat in Shanghai from Ladies What Travel. Hop over and […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ladies What Travel (@LadiesWTravel) Avatar

    Ha ha, this is absolutely brilliant! What a great community you have there and such a fun thing to be involved in. I totally get what you mean about loving where you live – I moved to the west country a decade ago and completely embraced village life. Im now on the committee of our annual scarecrow festival !

    #CulturedKids

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Ooh love a good scarecrow festival!

      Like

  3. bavariansojourn Avatar
    bavariansojourn

    I absolutely loved this post, Leek sounds wonderful! I love that part of the UK, and I love our weird and wonderful traditions. How great that you are now immortalised in that wonderful painting!! Thanks so much for joining in with #CulturedKids, it’s great to have you! Have followed on IG etc. too! 🙂 Emma

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mackenzieglanville Avatar
    mackenzieglanville

    It is so great that you love where you live so much, I wish I felt the same, in some ways I do as I love my children’s school and how close it is to our home, I love the community of friends here, but I long to get out of the suburbs and have more space, more trees. I do love painting though and go to a class every Thursday, art is such a great way to express ourselves and be so mindful. SO happy you linked up #AbloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Daydreamer mum Avatar
    Daydreamer mum

    What a great , fun thing to be involved with!!! Definitely the kind of thing I’d have loved to do!!! #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      I’m always the first one to get involved…I can almost feel my hubby’s eyeroll as I type this…I love anything fun and a bit offbeat.

      Like

  6. Kate (@Newmummykate) Avatar

    What a wonderful community project to be involved with! Thanks for linking up #twinklytuesday x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      It was great fun! Thanks for reading x

      Like

  7. Rachel - Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles Avatar

    I can’t believe I’ve lived on the doorstep of Leek for over 10 years now and I never knew any of this! I will certainly look out for events in the future, my kids would love to join in! #TwinklyTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Oh no! Honestly, Leek always seems to have something going on especially for children! The Easter and Halloween trails organised by Totally Locally are really good and Scooterfest is another fave 😊

      Like

  8. kerrybearman Avatar
    kerrybearman

    I think it’s great that you talk so fondly of where you live. We love where we live too and wouldn’t change it for the world. Thanks for linking up to #KidsandKreativity, really hope to see you back next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      It’s lovely when you find your home isn’t it, I can’t imagine living anywhere else now! Xx

      Like

  9. Malin - Sensational Learning with Penguin Avatar

    Wonderful! I love how you speak so fondly about your home town, as well as the English quirkyness you mention. I’m so greatful to be livng in England (we lived in Sweden, where I’m originally from, for so many years…) and I love the history, the sense of humour, the traditions… even the food! xx #KidsandKreativity

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      I think where you choose to live is a big part of who you are as a person. We are territorial by nature and I’m proud of Leek…it’s my stomping ground 😂 Thanks for stopping by x

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Kate 🍷 (@TheMumConundrum) Avatar

    Wow! What a fab project! Well done you! #ItsOK xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Thank you, we really enjoyed it! I’m hoping the funding will be there to keep things like this going, it would be such a shame if every town/city/county all started to become ‘beige’ and similar.

      Like

  11. Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee Avatar

    Sounds like a great event. What a lovely way to get everyone involved. #ItsOK

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      It really is a lot of fun! Of course, like many other English ‘events’ it’s always better if the weather is kind! Thanks for reading x

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Chris Avatar
    Chris

    Great to hear some positive feedback, we are always looking for people to join in the parade with their own outfits that relates to lesser known histories of Leek 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Thanks for reading Chris. I have been known to make costumes and dress my boys up on the odd occasion…if I’m honest I don’t need an excuse 😂 I didn’t know this though, perhaps something to focus on publicising this year?

      Like

  13. Clive Foden Avatar
    Clive Foden

    Hello Emma! You cannot imagine how much your blog has delighted me… fifty years ago I came across an oblique reference to Sir Gawain in a book on the Peak District. I persuaded my English teacher to lend me his copy of the poem (in Middle English!) and thus started an obsession with the poem and a crusade to get Leek to recognise the part it has to play in this seriously good piece of work. One of the key features is the joy the poet has in craftsmanship and I’d always wanted some sort of local artistic celebration. Lo and behold a fellow enthusiast found the wonderful Sue and the rest is history, literature, art etc etc. If you’d like to join our growing FB page “Sir Gawain and Leek” you’d be very welcome. I’m so delighted you and your family had such a fun (and educational!!!) time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Hi Clive, we really did enjoy it thank you. If we hadn’t very young children then we would have joined you on your guided walk of Luds Church. We used to walk up there regularly before the boys arrived but it’s just not possible now and won’t be for a few more years yet! I love living in Leek and try to support most local events, long may they continue. Feel free to share this blog post (if you deem it worthy, that is) it would be great to get some local followers. I’ll join over on your Facebook page so that I don’t miss any news. Thanks for reading. Emma

      Like

  14. sueprince Avatar

    How lovely! I’m so glad you enjoyed the community painting- I remember you all very well and you made a splendid contribution!! Sue xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Thank you so much for the opportunity. We really enjoyed it. The finished pieces look great, it was a huge undertaking…I didn’t envy you at all! What is the plan for the artwork now Sue, I’ve been looking but can’t find anything to say what will become of them?

      Like

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