I was so pleased to see that one of the original homes of English fish-and-chips has been saved - purchased from some typically stupid investors by the owners of The Wetherby Whaler.
I must say that the last time I called in to Harry's in Guiseley, I was less than impressed. It bore all the hallmarks of a ghastly franchise, with service and food to match. Where were all the lovely little Yorkshire lasses who used to greet customers with something unintelligible to those used to speaking English? Gone were those sweet little Yorkshire waitress outfits, with a ladder in the stockings and a hint of bosom exposed through loss of a blouse button. It all seemed so genuine, somehow; quaint and wholesome.
I remember Grandfather Edgar taking me there when I was a little girl, after he had competed in the Ilkley Grand National, held on Middleton Moor near Ilkley. Even though he was very muddy, he was greeted like the hero he was, and somehow extra chips always appeared in his order, wrapped as it was in the News Chronicle. Marvellous chips too - crispy and cooked just when ordered. And the fish! - luscious flakey cod with no skin, coated in golden yellow crispy batter, and served slick from the proper beef dripping it was cooked in, with a great dollop of bright green mushy peas.
The Grand national was a proper MAN'S race and if you look HERE there is an excellent film of a pre-war event. Better, I am quite sure that the lady in the foreground is my late Mama's sister - the Hon. Tamara DuKlart (she was married to a minor South African diplomat) and over her right shoulder is, in the beret, her 'friend': Viola Kaase. That was quite a scandal of course, as proper ladies did not have friends like that....except in racey circles in London, and never in Ilkley. Grandfather Edgar had a very funny phrase for them: he called them The Sheep, which I still don't really understand: he said it was because they were frequently to be found with their noses in the front garden.