Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine
Alan Moore is a composer, pianist and music teacher. Originally from Cumbria, Alan lives near Malton with his wife Lucy. His recent work Heritage was inspired by many of the county’s most famous buildings and places.
What’s your first Yorkshire memory? It was for a teaching position very early on in my career at Brayton School in Selby. I got off the train knowing very little about my whereabouts and the local geography. The station was deserted, and then I realised that something on a bench was actually a “someone”, and this complete stranger helped me find the guest house where I had organised an overnight stay and, after I had knocked on the door, he wandered off into the night. The landlady was wonderful, very warm and welcoming, and the next morning before my interview, she adjusted my tie for me, gave me a pat on the shoulder. Later that day I was happy to return and to tell her that I had landed the job.
What’s your favourite part of the county – and why? That glorious patch of land that is the area around Levisham, the Hole of Horcum and Dalby Forest. Lucy and I go up there two or three times a week, unless the weather absolutely forbids it, and we set off on a long walk to clear our heads. It feels as if we are in, and of, nature itself.
What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, out in Yorkshire? Walking from Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey, with the added pleasure of an ice cream along the way. I’ve always thought that had I been a monk six or seven hundred years ago, I probably would not have found a better place to live. I get a lot of musical inspiration from places like this.
Do you have a favourite walk – or view? There are two, and the first is from a place called Skelton Lodge, on the side of the Hole of Horcum, where it overlooks the North York Moors Railway and you can see the steam trains chugging along the line. In the summer, we often take a picnic, and we have a tradition that we always visit on Christmas Day, before we return home for lunch. The other is Sutton Bank, which takes a lot of beating.
Which Yorkshire sportsperson, past or present, would you like to take for lunch? I’m not a great sports fan, but I do admire people with tenacity and determination and the Brownlee brothers certainly fit that bill. They always seem so grounded and straightforward, and they are clearly inspirational to a great many young people, and that counts for a lot.
Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, or past or present, would you like to take for dinner? Sir Patrick Stewart, for the sheer variety of roles that he has packed into his stage and film career, and the fact that he seems to be a genuinely nice chap. I read only recently that he reportedly turned down the part of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, and that he has regretted it ever since. That shows that yes, we all make mistakes. I wonder if he ever discusses his decision with Sir Ian McKellen.
If you had to name your Yorkshire ‘hidden gem’, what would it be? Lucy and I are so lucky to live very close by the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy, on the Malton to Beverley road. We discovered it when we were both living in Selby, and went out to explore. It’s magical and full of atmosphere, and it is well worth the walk from the tiny car park to the church and the foundations of the cottages. There’s even the track of the old railway line which used to run to Driffield.
What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity? Several things. A pride in the county, for a start, and friendliness. We’ve both been very moved by the fact that, in the very difficult times that we’ve all been through, so many in our own little community have gone the extra mile to help, or to make sure that all is OK. Then there’s also the stubbornness and the sense of loyalty.
Do you have a favourite restaurant, or pub? We love the Lion Inn at Blakey