When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Nicked clothes and a night with Gerry Rafferty in the Peak District
Matthew Parris wrote entertainingly in The Times last week of his recent discovery of the heated outdoor swimming pool in the lovely location of Hathersage in the Peak District. “Go there!” he urged, after describing how he had splashed around in billowing steam as it rained.
The surprise was that his finding of it should have been recent, since he was for some years the MP for the area. I used it often when I lived in nearby Sheffield during 1969 and 1970. Once, unforgettably, I had all my clothes nicked from a locker while I was in the water. Happily, I had hidden my car keys and wallet under my towel. But I still felt a bit of a twit steering my Morris Traveller home clad only in swimming trunks.
Hathersage was also the location of a thriving folk club. One of the acts I saw there was The Humblebums. This was a duet composed of Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly. The latter’s introductions were already by then comic and rambling; later they became so lengthy that he decided to give up the singing altogether.
Rafferty went on to find fame in Stealers Wheel and later as a solo artist. His most famous song was Baker Street. This was recorded at studios in Chipping Norton — as I was reminded last weekend by a plaque on the wall of Wetherspoon’s new Company of Weavers pub in Witney.
The song was played by Chris Evans on his Radio 2 breakfast show on Monday. This would have been Gerry’s 65th birthday. Alas, he died in January of last year. A sad loss to music.