It's Taffy Time...

TAFFY Thomas performs a tribute to the late television star Johnny Morris as part of the Grasmere Festival of Stars this weekend.

Hot Chestnuts and Warm Words on a Cold Night starts at 5.30pm tomorrow (Saturday) and 1.30pm on Sunday, both in Taffy's Storyteller's Garden at Grasmere.

Before finding greater fame with Animal Magic, Johnny Morris was regularly seen on BBC Children's TV in the 1950s as The Hot Chestnut Man, telling stories over a brazier.

In 1989, at the Sidmouth International Folklore Festival, storyteller Mr T had the privilege of meeting the veteran broadcaster. Taffy revealed to him that boyhood Sundays at his grandfather's home watching The Hot Chestnut Man had been his storytelling inspiration.

When Taffy remarked that The Hot Chestnut Man had been a great idea, and that it should be revived, Johnny turned to him and said: "You do it!"

To continue the tradition, Taffy has commissioned a brazier from a blacksmith and will be telling stories twice as The Hot Chestnut Man. Admission is £5 adults/ £3 children/ £12 family ticket.

Ulverston's Dickensian Festival...

STEP back in time this weekend at Ulverston's Dickensian Festival where the streets will be transformed into a scene from Christmas past. Or you can sample some of Lakeland's finest food at the Cumbrian Festive Food festival at Ambleside on Sunday.... But if laughter is at the top of your wanted list you could try Kendal's Mint Bar where the Lap-Dancing Sheep Comedy Club presents a team of comedians next Thursday.


THE Lakeland Horticultural Society lecture series continues with a talk entitled Are Gardeners More Dangerous Than Genetic Engineers by Professor Jon McLeod, a leading authority on genetic modification in plants. The lecture takes place at the Ladyholme Centre, Lake Road, Windermere, tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30pm. For details, call 01539-821060.

THE streets of Ulverston will be transformed into a Christmas scene from times gone by tomorrow (Saturday). The Dickensian Festival features a wide variety of period entertainment, traditional stalls and fancy dress, and runs until Sunday (November 27). For details, call 01229-587120.

QUAFF some fine real ales at the Stouts, Porters, Milds and Strong Beers Festival which opens at the Prince of Wales Pub, Foxfield, tonight (Friday). For details, call 01229-716238.

SPEND an exciting evening at the races and maybe win a few quid at The Jolly Anglers Race Night at Burneside tomorrow (Saturday) at 8pm. All proceeds will go to the Bryce Institute.

BOLTON Le Sands Art Society is holding a Christmas arts and crafts fair in the Scout Hall, near the Community Centre, Bolton Le Sands, tomorrow (Saturday) from 10am-4pm.

FILM fans can see 1920s silent film Murnau's Sunrise at Ulverston Victoria High School tonight (Friday) at 7.30pm. Pianist Tony Milledge will be playing live to accompany the movie. For details, call 01229-861507.

SAMPLE some fine Lakeland food at the Cumbrian Festive Food Fayre which takes place at A Taste of Lakeland, Rydal Road, Ambleside, on Sunday (November 27) from 11am. Seven local producers will be offering special tastings and giving advice. There will also be children's activities. For details, call 015394-32319.

THERE will be laughs a plenty at the Mint Bar, Kendal, next Thursday (December 1). The Lap-Dancing Sheep Comedy Club presents the City Life Northwest comedian of the Year Winner Andy Watson alongside Ashley Frieze and two other up-and-coming North West comedians. Doors open at 8.30pm.

GRASMERE Traders' Association will be recreating a line from a famous William Wordsworth poem by adorning local houses and shops with stars of all shapes and sizes, bringing festive cheer to the village this weekend. Grasmere Festival of Stars features window displays, seasonal fare and street entertainment.

KICK up your heels at a special charity ceilidh at Ghyllside School, Kendal, tonight (Friday) from 7pm until 10pm in aid of a township school in South Africa. For details, call 01539-731942 CONCERTS...

LANCASTER and District Choral Society will be performing Handel's Messiah at the Ashton Hall, Lancaster, tomorrow (Saturday) at 7.30pm. The concert includes performances from a variety of soloist including Soprano Rachel Little. For details, call 01524-791634.

THE Stylistics, one of music's most enduring R&B groups, will be performing their extensive catalogue of hits including You Make Me Feel Brand New, at Forum 28, Barrow, on Saturday (November 26) at 8pm. For details, call 01229-820000.

ENJOY an evening of music from guitar legend Eric Clapton at the Morecambe Dome tonight Friday (November 25) at 8pm. Top tribute band Classic Clapton will be performing a variety of his greatest hits from his illustrious career including Layla and Tears in Heaven. For details, call 01524-582803.

THE Northern Sinfonia will be performing in the Lakeland Sinfonia concert series at Kendal Leisure Centre tomorrow (Saturday) at 7.30pm. Thomas Zehetmair conducts pieces by Janacek, Mozart and Krasa, and there will be a solo performance of Dvork's Violin Concerto. For tickets, call 01539-722533.

PAVLO will be performing an evening of passionate Mediterranean guitar playing and lively repartee at the Queen Elizabeth School Hall, Kirkby Lonsdale, next Tuesday (Nov 29) at 7.30pm. For details, call 015242-71275.

EXPERIENCE sacred music from five centuries sung by Allegri Singers at Levens Church, on Sunday (Nov 27) at 7.30pm. Palestrina Mass and English Anthems features pieces by Taverner, Stanford and Tavener.

LANCASHIRE folk band The Houghton Weavers will be performing at Staveley Village Hall tomorrow (Saturday) at 8pm. Tickets are available from Staveley Post Office.

THE Kendal Midday Concert Club series of concerts continues with a performance by the Galliard Wind Ensemble at Kendal Town Hall next Wednesday (Nov 30) at 1pm. The programme includes pieces from Danzi, Holst and Berio.


VIRIDIAN Gallery, Keswick, presents Mountain Memories, an exhibition of the work of John Burrows featuring pieces in pastel, pen and ink until February 2006. For details, call 017687-71328.

TWO new exhibitions open at Farfield Mill, Sedbergh, tomorrow (Saturday). Holding My Breath 2 by Carole Hamby features paintings inspired by the beauty of nature while Artistry in Glass by David Whyman features the glass engravings from an artist who has crafted pieces for former US President Ronald Reagan and the Royal Family. Both exhibitions run until January 8.

A NEW exhibition entitled Snowcase 5 opens at Foldgallery, Walton's Yard, Market Square, Kirkby Stephen, tomorrow (Saturday). The centrepiece for this year's exhibition will be a giant installation of secondhand cupboards, draws and shelves and visitors will be invited to open the cabinet to discover the treasures inside. For details, call 017683-71561.

URBIS in Manchester is playing host to a photographic exhibition by Mick Rock of the some of the most influential figures in music from the last 40 years. Rock n' Roll Icons runs until January 8. For details, call 0161-907-9099.

THE Art of White, an exhibition looking at how the colour white has been used in art over the last 500 years, is on show at the Lowry, Salford Quays, until April 17. For details, call 0161-876-2000.

MANCHESTER Art Gallery is playing host to an exhibition examining the portrayal of black people in British art from 18001900. Black Victorians runs until January 8. For details, call 0161-235-8888.

A PHOTOGRAPHIC exhibition of some of the world's most famous people is on show at the Lancaster City Museum. Legends features the work of renowned photographer, and former resident photographer with BBC TV's Top of the Pops Harry Goodwin, and includes shots of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and sporting heroes such as George Best, Mohammed Ali and David Beckham. Legends runs until December 23.

BARROW Dock Museum is hosting a new exhibition aimed at three to four-year-olds based on the Wriggly Stories concept. Art for All features artwork hung at a suitable height for children with labels giving the story of the piece in simple language and another with ideas for activities related to the art work. Art for All runs until December 11.

AN exhibition by one of Britain's leading potters Edward de Waal is on show at Blackwell the Arts and Crafts House, Bowness. The exhibition was inspired by the design of Blackwell and runs until December 31. For details, call 015394-46139.

A NEW exhibition of painted landscapes by Jonathan Trotman and Alison Critchlow is on show at Pinfold Gallery, Bowness until November 27. For details, call 015394-42929 ABBOT Hall in Kendal is hosting a new exhibition examining the relationship between drawing and printmaking. Drawing on Copper and Stone includes a wide variety of powerful etched portraits by Freud and Auerbach alongside early iconic works by David Hockney and a selection of dark and humorous etchings from Rego. It runs until December 16. For details, call 01539-722464.

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art is in Gateshead is hosting British Art Show 6 one of the UK's most important exhibitions of contemporary art featuring paintings, video installations and performances from 50 artists. It runs until January 8. For details, call 0191-487-1810.

VISITORS to an exhibition at the Museum of Lancashire, Preston, will come face to face with a genuine Egyptian mummy as they explore the role played by animals in the ancient civilisation. Beasts of the Nile tells the story of animals in Ancient Egypt and features a range of objects on loan from the British Museum including textiles, pottery and a 3,000-year-old mummified cat.


KIRKBY Lonsdale Rugby Union Club have a big day in the cup when they entertain Whitehaven, weather permitting, in the fourth round of the Powergen Vase tomorrow (Saturday). The match kicks off at Underley Park at 2pm. Meanwhile, Kendal RUFC are due to travel to Fylde for National League 3 North action (2.15pm kick-off).

KENDAL Town FC head for Worcester in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy tomorrow (Saturday) for a 3pm kick-off, while local football sees Ambleside host Coniston in the Senior Cup (1.30pm) and Kendal County entertain Appleby in the High Sheriff's Cup (2pm).

THE Ravenstonedale 10k run takes place tomorrow (Saturday), starting at 1pm from the Black Swan (register at 11.30am), and the Mid-Lancs Cross-Country League meeting is at Sefton Park, Liverpool.


PADDY McGuinness, the sex-mad doorman of Phoenix Nights fame, will be performing his new live comedy show The Dark Side of the Force at Preston's Charter Theatre on Sunday (Nov 27) at 8pm. For details, call 01772-258858.

JOIN Ebeneezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchitt and three prophetic ghosts, and discover the true meaning of Christmas at the Dukes Theatre seasonal spectacular production of Dickens classic novel A Christmas Carol, which opens tonight (Friday) and runs until January 7. For details, call 01524-598500.

BURTON Amateur Dramatic Society presents its latest production Love Begins at 50, a modern farce by Raymond Hopkins, at the Burton Memorial Hall, Burton-in-Kendal. tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) at 7.30pm. For tickets, call 01524-781007.

MANCHESTER Opera House plays host to two spectacular operas, next week. Carmen by Bizet, featuring authentic gypsy dancers, opens on Monday (Nov 28) and runs until December 3 while Nabucco by Verdi, featuring the Horseman of the Apocalypse stunt riders opens on December 1. For details, call 0870-401-9000.

CLASSIC wartime sitcom Dad's Army will be performed by the Ulverston Outsiders at the Coronation Hall, Ulverston, tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) at 7.30pm. For details, call 01229-587140.