A soggy day, but no dampening of the spirits

weather forecastIt was after midnight by the time I’d finished writing my journal and organizing the day’s photos, so I was surprised that I woke up at 6:30a.m. I was even more surprised that I actually considered getting up and seeing what the light was like on the canal. Unfortunately there’s no window in my room so I have to get up to check on the weather each day.


Right out of Brassed Off – literally

I’d decided last night to go to a church service in Sowerby Bridge today so by 9:30 I was crossing the park to the station. I found the ‘proper’ way to the center of town from the station. There’s a little tiny footpath that climbs up to the church from the station and I could hear the simulated church bells ‘call the faithful to their prayer.’ Just as I was crossing the road outside Christ Church I bumped into two people I had met on Tuesday and I sat with them. In her introductory remarks the pastor, Angela Dick welcomed me by name, saying that I was visiting from America.  It was lovely to hear the organ that I’d played last year being played well and I found that some of the hymns that I recognized from from my high school made me tear up – with nostalgia, I guess. There were about 40 people in the congregation. At the meet and greet one lady asked if I knew Santa Clara. She’s been there 5 times to visit her sister. At the after service tea I was pounced upon, ‘Are you the person tracing your ancestry? What names do you have in your family?’ We both have Barracloughs, but that’s a VERY common name here. She promised to bring her research to the Tuesday coffee morning in case I attend.


I had to run all the way back to the station. Trains are only one per hour on Sundays. As I crossed the park I heard brass band music and came across a band obviously rehearsing, for today is the big band competition – it felt just like a scene from Brassed Off. A quick , very quick lunch at a’ th’ mill and just time to take in a couple of other bands as they marched to the Square and played their set pieces. Each band comprised people of all ages.

[wpvideo MkU75UHW]

I left my mill and almost bumped into a trumpet  holding, ice-cream eating gentleman who’d obviously just played in the competition. ‘You look as if you’ve just come from Brassed Off!’ I quipped. ‘I was in the movie!’ he responded.  But unfortunately I had no time for a conversation.


Elland Junior Band

Running, again, back to the station I was just in time to register for the guided walk in the

footsteps of Lavena Saltonstall, visiting the homes of Hebden Bridge suffragettes, the clothing factories where they worked. Ending in George Square where Emmeline


3 hour guided walk in the pouring rain

Pankhurst addressed vast crowds in 1907.  Jill Liddington from Calderdale Heritage Walks who had a background in women’s history of the area and has written several books was our leader. She wasn’t very charismatic, but she had lots of information. About halfway through the 3 hour walk the rain came down in earnest, and yes, my new birthday present is truly waterproof. The trails were steep, slippery on the mossy cobblestones but most people took it in their stride. We ended with tea at the White Lion – so civilized and a chance for everyone to chat and ask questions of Jill.


Author and researcher Jill Liddington was our guide. Heptonstall church just visible on the hilltop

As I left I called in at the Shoulder of Mutton to ask about the quiz night advertised for tonight and experienced my first disappointment of the trip – quiz night had been cancelled since the floods.

Sitting in the Old Gate, exactly in the same place I’d sat one week ago on my first evening in England I though I’d try to assess how it feels to have been here for a week. Perhaps, as Brian suggests, I’m living on pure adrenalin. It’s hard fall asleep at night  because I’m thinking about what the next day will bring. Most evenings I put on an episode of Desert

soggy day

A wet urban hike – hey, he looks like Chris!

Island Discs and fall asleep to that famous Radio show which, by the way, is still going. What’s happening to me? One thing’s for sure: I can’t keep up this pace. Take today for example. Out at 9:20, back 1:00-1:30, out again til 5:00 then back out again at 7:00 for dinner. And that’s the way it’s been every day. Last night was the first night I have stayed in for the evening, and I ended up still being awake after midnight sorting the day’s photos, writing my blog, making imovies of my photos and researching train times for today’s trip to Sowerby Bridge church service. Timing coincidences abound and fortuotous meetings with random people are just crazy. The people I’ve hiked with have more to say than mere chit-chat. Is this just the Yorkshire spirit or does it apply all over England, or is this a specific quality of Up North?


  1. Bob Hilliard

    I’m sorry that the “SHOULDER OF MUTTON” cancelled “QUIZ NIGHT”.

    • hmcreativelady

      The Shoulder only reopened again 2 weeks ago after the December 26th floods, so they’re not quite up and running to their regular schedule.

  2. Bob Hilliard

    You took a great picture in the flower garden on June 23rd. Looking at the photo, I finally have figured you out. If you’re not into music, you are basically a farm girl/country girl. You’re very much at home dressed in tennis shoes, pants, a tee shirt, a baseball cap and a knapsack and you’re off. You love your family history and the rural life. Good for you. Have a wonderful time.

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