The Parlour isn’t big, so when I received a request to open it recently for elevenses, serving around 12, maximum 20, visitors from Integrate, a local organisation seeking to bring communities together, I was slightly nervous.
Even more so since the Parlour is the only room I’m actually allowed to use in the Town Hall, insurance-wise. I phoned a member of the ‘team’, who expressed her willingness to give time and energy into providing the 12-20 with tea, coffee and biscuits. She proved to be a godsend.
We decided, naughtily, to use the Cockroft Room, which has a big, sturdy table in it. Better suited, then, for tea cups and saucers. However, around 60 people turned up of all ages and ethnicities, accompanied by a photography team from the Home Office, so we switched to the courtroom, which I’ve rarely seen so full – certainly not during Town Council meetings. After that we moved to the ballroom, which the photographers had secretly set up as a photo studio.
The Town Hall manager later explained to me gently the consequences if someone had slipped on the stairs on the way up, or down.
Then we descended on Tod, with photo shoots at the outdoor market, outside the Town Hall, and by the canal. My favourite shot, though, was of the President of the Mosque handing over a cheque to members of the Mayor’s Charity (Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team), including Pepper the dog. Overall, despite problems with rooms and keys, the whole day was truly uplifting.
As were two other events last week involving children. On Friday there was the St. Joseph’s production of Aladdin at the Hippodrome, with lively kids scattered from stage to auditorium. It was an extraordinarily creative event, combining modern pantomime with a touch of political satire.
Creativity in a child-friendly environment was also evident in last Saturday’s Family Concert in which Todmorden Orchestra played a programme of popular and accessible pieces of classical music. But we didn’t just listen. Under the hilarious guidance of Radio 3 presenter and animateur Tom Redmond, the audience, including the Mayor of Calderdale, were constantly standing up, dancing or just wiggling around energetically.
I’d thought that Christmas was over when the pantomime finished, But I was wrong, perhaps. Christmassy events are a year-long staple in Todmorden, or is that just the rose-tinted view of a mayor fortunate enough to be invited to all kinds of events before he or she hands over the Town Hall keys in May?