Claire Teal: Why I'm returning to the rhubarb triangle

Next week we head to the Merrie City of Wakefield where in Medieval times it was said 'a right honest man shall fare well for two pence a meal.'

Times have changed, although I am led to believe you can still enjoy a tasty five piece cooked breakfast for just £2.50 at the Othello Cafe on Kirkgate.

On Friday June 3 I’ll be joining my fabulous trio to headline a series of events celebrating the re-opening of Wakefield Cathedral after it’s extensive refurbishment project. £6.5 million to be precise. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, work began back in 2012 with a total overhaul of the nave, which judging by the photos looks incredible, followed by the 2nd phase in 2015 which I’m reading “has seen the East End shine again.” I assume we’re still talking about the Cathedral, yes we are, this stage involved cleaning walls, installing new lighting and electrics, floor levelling and the creation of a new quiet area for reflection.

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I can’t wait to see it and experience the beautiful acoustics. As we all know epic undertakings like this don’t happen without a colossal amount of work from a dedicated few, but this is a space Wakefield are hoping will be used and enjoyed by the whole community.

During my visit I’ll be on the look out for a bunch of authentic Wakefield fayre, although three months too late for the annual Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb I’m hoping there’ll still be plenty knocking about. Doris Day sang ‘Celery Stalks At Midnight, lurking in the moonlight’ with Les Brown, I’m sure had writer Will Bradley been born in Morley as opposed to New Jersey it could have been a different story. As we know forced rhubarb is grown in huge sheds and picked by candle light as exposure to anything brighter can stop growth. I think Rhubarb Stalks at Midnight could have caught on, maybe we should give it a whirl at our Cathedral concert. Alternatively I’m sure Will could have written about The Rhubarb Special – this was an express train scheduled in the 1870s by The Great Northern Railway Company that left Ardsley Station every day packed with 200 tons of rhubarb harvested from the famed Rhubarb Triangle of Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield, headed for London. From Wakefield to Wolverhampton aboard the Tealmobile bound for the Grand Theatre with our Hollywood Orchestra.

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