As I stepped out of my mill this morning I observed a cat, highly excited by the recycling tray at our front door. On further inspection the cat was after a lovely little mouse who was delighted to pose for a photograph!
I actually set my alarm for 8:15 this morning because I needed to catch the train to Sowerby Bridge to be in time for the coffee morning at Christ Church. It was less than five minutes’ walk to the railway station, first walking along the canal towpath and then through Calder homes Park. As I waited for it to arrive I went into the waiting room at Hebden Bridge and there was – a piano, just waiting to be played upon. There was even music on it – Wachet Auf and When I an Laid in Earth. I just went to see Dido and Aeneas at UCSC opera last weekend. There’s a cafe too, right on the platform, that serves bacon butties. Note to self: must try one. Ed. never did 🙁 The return ticket was two pounds ninety. I break off writing this to see the BBC news reporting a mass shooting in Orlando, riots at the UEFA soccer in Paris and a stabbing in Paris.
Reconnected with Peter, the friendly churchwarden at Christ Church Sowerby Bridge, who had arranged for me to play the organ there last year. Only two people were there when I arrived but we were soon joined others and I got a wonderfully warm welcome. This place is very special to me since so many of my ancestor were baptized and married here. I joined the coffee morning and was welcomed with open arms. The church was rebuilt in 1821 and reopened on May 24th of that year – my birthday. Only the communion table is left from the Old Brig Chapel. It’s dated 1520 so my ancestors would have known it. I met the vivacious pastor, Angela Dick, who has been there for 6 years. I decided not to stay for the service and so people recommended that I try Gabriel’s cafe at The Moorings for lunch. It was delightful, and is located in the old lock keeper’s cottage. I ordered a jacket potato with cheese, something I’d been looking forward to as being quintessentially English, so imagine my disappointment when my server came back a few minutes later to say they were all out of potatoes. This is Yorkshire – not Ireland in the 1840’s. I settled for a cheese and pickle sarni, and as I ate I consulted my bus route map and realised that I could get to Triangle quite easily. Meanwhile it was pouring down outside – good weather for ducks, and there were lots of them, mostly with babies. I walked along the canal for a while, taking photos of the rain. The British couldn’t understand that at all, but in California we’ve had little rain in the last 5 years.
So on to Triangle, where Isabella Acornley , my great, great, great aunt was born in 1837. It was a tiny village outside Halifax. She had eventually ended up living in a
1851 census showing Isabella Acornley, my gt, gt, gt, aunt born in Triangle Yorkshire in 1837. Aged 13 she is a power loom weaver in Edgworth
weaver’s cottage in Mt Pleasant in Edgworth, across from The Black Bull, and Rachel had visited it last year. I found a bus stop and asked the young man if he knew Triangle.
He did. He told me where to get off the bus – and be sure to visit the cricket club! When you look up Triangle on Wikipedia the photo is of the cricket club! The only pub – the Triangle, duh- is closed.There’s a town meeting planned to discuss its future. I would have gone but only residents of Triangle were invited. Two lorries hit it in quick succession and made it unstable. but what was this? The door seemed to be slightly ajar. I gave it a little tug and as my eyes adjusted to the dark interior I could make out the bar, seating, even glasses hanging above the bar. Just like a Nevada ghost town. At that moment I glimpsed a fluorescent object moving at speed towards me, and I beat a hasty retreat as a workman banged the door shut. I was disappointed that I hadn’t been quicker with my camera.
The Triangle pub – closed forever?
Meanwhile the cricket club is the only hostelry in town. Pubs in England serve quite a different function from pubs in the US. Here they are a place for business meetings, general conversations, and a one time they had books when people couldn’t afford to purchase their own. As I looked around me I realised that the landscape surrounding me was akin to that of Edgworth: steep green hills, scattered stone terraced houses. The fast cars on the narrow country road were frightening, especially after finding out that the two lorries had crashed into the pub – a much larger object than little me. I noticed a sign a Bed and Breakfast establishment which, judging from the gatepost, promised to be an imposing building, so I gladly turned off the scary road and walked down the imposing driveway lined with flowering rhododendrons. The house, Thorpe House, had been built in 1804 by a mill owning family, and is currently run by three sisters, descendants of the mill
Thorpe House – now and B and B
owners. It was seventy five pounds a night for B and B. It had been home to Arnold Williams, Liberal MP for Sowerby in the 1920s, and during World War II served as officers’ quarters for the Royal Engineers, after which it lay empty for 12 years. In 1957, the mansion’s dilapidated and run-down state was repaired and it was converted into a home for elderly people, which it remained until 1994 when it was closed down as a retirement home. I managed to find a short movie about it:
Thorpe Mill, on the river, was just below the house. Following the bus stop guy’s recommendation I ventured down a narrow, very steep path, expecting to arrive at the club house of the cricket ground. Instead, I found myself confronted by a large gate through which I could get a full view of the immaculate cricket ground. As I peered through the gates a lady drove up with her excitable dog who were out for their daily walk in spite of the pouring rain and she chatted as she showed me a more interesting way back into town, one that would not only give me a bird’s eye view of the cricket ground, but one that required me to do my mountain goat impression – the first of many in the next month.
Sarah and friend – my walking companions in Triangle
It was a good job I’d got my hiking boots on. In fact, they became my default footwear for the next month. The trail was steep and very muddy but we got into a good conversation as we walked back into Sowerby Bridge. She’d attended Manchester uni and currently runs a storage company in Hebden Bridge which came within 4 inches of being flooded. Can you imagine that? Putting all your precious possessions into a storage unit that gets washed away? The businesses on either side of her were washed away. Her husband works for Calderdale Authority and is currently in China promoting tourism in Calderdale to the Chinese.
Back in Sowerby Bridge a train was just arriving and within a few minutes I was back in Hebden Bridge where I caught glimpses of the sun for the first time since arriving in England. I stopped off at the cafe in the park on my walk back t’th’ mill and enjoyed a proper cup of tea – that means sitting down. I’d been on the go for 5 hours, non-stop. After a short nap I popped out to the Co-op for an Indian take-out, delicious. The evening was passed at the Hebden Bridge Picture House seeing Tom Hiddleston in ‘I saw the light.’ I’m not a country music fan but I am a Tom Hiddleston fan, but the film didn’t move me. I though it rather quaint that it was cash only, and they served glasses of wine, and mugs of tea and coffee – none of this paper nonsense.
Coffee morning at Christ Church, Sowerby Bridge with vicar Angela Dick