There have been many books written about Titus Salt and the village he built on the banks of the River Aire, but the story has never before been captured in the way it is in Saltairy Tales.
Of course, in 28 pages you don't get the full story and local poet and songwriter Eddie Lawler admits it is not even always the true story that he is telling: "...wherever/ Poet's pen's applied to paper/ There's fibs in there, codology." He excuses himself with the explanation: "For it's a rule of all narration/ Tales should stretch imagination."
And make no mistake, your imagination will be stretched by this delightful book, lavishly illustrated with the watercolours of local artist Deborah M Lawson. It is full of fun, whimsy and a love of language and anyone who isn't captivated by every page has, in the author's own words, "had a fantasectomy."
Eddie takes us through The Tale of Titus, followed by Alpaca and Angora (brought together by Titus despite warnings "Tha'll never get success with daft ideas").
Tale of the Lions will have you checking out the statues in Victoria Road with new eyes, while Tale of the Ostrich will make you look at Salt's coat of arms anew.
There are six other stories, including one about the elephant that ended up on top of a restaurant and another about Belwarp which is guaranteed to make you go back to Salts Mill and hunt him down.
Throughout the book, Eddie's undoubted passion for everything Saltairy shines through, especially in Under Hope Hill, a love poem to the village and its people, its past and its future, with the exclamation Eddie just can't hold back "Will you look at what I live next door to."
Saltairy Tales is related to the musical Eddie wrote with the same title but in fact the first idea was for this book, it just happened the wrong way round. It was worth the wait.
Eddie Lawler's music and writing feature strongly in the lives of people living in Saltaire. Eddie lives a stone's throw away from Victoria Hall where his play, Saltairy Tales has been performed during the past two Saltaire Festivals. His music and poetry combine Yorkshire wit with serious social comment.