The first thing I saw this morning out of my bedroom window was this traffic jam . . . .
For the first weekend on my trip I had nothing planned. I looked to see what was on in Bradford, Ilkley, Leeds etc but eventually I decided on calling Jean who had mentioned that she was going to a brass band at a church on Saturday afternoon. I called her and she invited me to meet with her and her friend Katrina who was visiting from Stockport. Katrina had been born and raised in Sowerby but had moved to the Manchester area when she was seven. She has strong feeling that she would like to move back to the area, so we had lots in common. I took the train to Sowerby Bridge, had tea and crumpets in Gabriel’s cafe and the caught the bus which struggled to get to the top of Sowerby. I spent half an hour looking for graves of Barracloughs in St Peter’s churchyard and easily found three memorials. I’ll have to do a lot of work to find out if I was related to any of them.
I met Jean and Katrina and we walked along the top road to Steep Lane chapel, the baptist church of Sowerby. It seemed almost surreal to walk through this rural landscape, past isolated farms and cows to arrived at a lonely chapel in which we were to hear Skelmanthorpe Prospect Brass Band followed by afternoon tea for 8 pounds. About 45 people had showed up. I think we were the only ones arriving on Shanks’s pony. The conductor set up a brilliant repartee with the audience with his strong South Yorkshire accent. He told amusing anecdotes and encouraged audience participation, at one point stopping the band when the audience were too quiet. The whole atmosphere was relaxed and fun. The 13 piece band had a good mix of ages with the majority looking to be in their 20’s, all wearing their uniform with pride.
Click to listen to the conductor introducing two pieces:
The band played for just over an hour and then everyone headed into the Sunday school for afternoon tea. Each table was filled with sandwiches and a great variety of cakes on cute little cake stands. everything had been homemade either by the church or band members and was absolutely delicious. Jean seemed to know most of the people and as we walked back to Jean’s house she pointed to each house and told us who used to live there when she was a child. We were even able to take a look at the under-dwelling that Katrina used to live in.
After trying not to do much walking today I’d ended up walking 5 1/2 miles so I decided to stay in and catch up with journal writings and sorting out photos.
It took me just under two hours to walk to Todmorden, the small market town that market the boundary (much disputed) between Lancashire and Yorkshire. I wore my red rose earrings and and white rose necklace to mark the occasion! I walked along the canal towpath immediately outside my mill to the center of Todmorden – 5.8 miles – with not one yard of road. By the time I arrived the town was bustling, for today was not only market day but second hand market day at that. Much in need of a bathroom I found I didn’t have a 20p coin for the toilet. I asked a market vendor for change for my 50p coin. ‘Ah,’ he said knowingly, ‘You must need to go t’at toilet!. It’s 20p for a pee!’ Feeling much more comfortable I returned to the coffee shop that I’d gone to with Sarah where I listened to barista Lisa talk about her daughter’s upcoming wedding. Obviously everyone sitting at the bar were regulars. Much refreshed I had a great time wandering around the outdoor stalls. I even bought two dresses for 3 pounds each. The vintage clothing and vintage jewelry just wanted me to grab and Anna and bring her here immediately!
The White Hart, a Wetherby’s, provided lunch, just as with Sarah, and I placed myself in front of the TV to watch tennis from Wimbledon, as dug into my chicken strips. One of the features of the Wetherby’s chain is to have photos of the area on the walls. I found a large photo of Todmorden Old Hall so I called in at the excellent information bureau to ask its location. The elderly lady gave me a potted history of the place which was recently turned into a private home after serving as Todmorden’s only upscale restaurant for many years. She was quite sad about the change.
I’m now sitting in The Grayston Unity, a micropub which would fit into my living room at home, at the suggestion of the security guard in Halifax Town Hall. I was here to see an event about the rebuilding of Elland Bridge after the devastating flood of Boxing Day 2015. I’d see a flier advertising the lecture and slide show but there was no mention, absolutely zero mention of the event online. i eventually found a photo that I’d taken of the flier on a wall in Halifax and showed up early to check that I was in the right place. The security guard looks at the large screen behind him with Today’s events emblazoned in bright colours. No mention of the lecture. ‘Is it to do with the Civic Trust?’ he asks. ‘I think so.’ ‘Well, in that case it’ll be in Room 2 upstairs.’ ‘Is it happening at 7.30 tonight?’ ‘I don’t know! I did put a screen in room 2 earlier today. But they’ll bring their own projector.’ ‘OK. Where can I get a cup of tea while I wait?’ ‘Ee, not in ‘ere luv. This is ‘t Town ‘all.’ In the end he directed me here to this little tiny pub where I got just what I asked for, plus the loan of a pen to write my journal since both mine had run themselves dry. As iItook my seat I saw David arrive – the man who had led the urban walk AND read the lesson in Halifax Minster. Evidently he is the vice president of the Civic Trust too and he was introducing the guest speaker.
From the sublime to the ridiculous . . .
. . . so I decided to make it an ancestry research day. As luck would have it, or not, the library is closed on Tuesdays which meant that I stayed home to do my research online, which was ok but I’d rather be out and about. By 4 pm I was getting restless so I decided to go and check out in the field what I’d discovered.
I’ve followed the progress of mummy duck and her 4 fluffy yellow duckings all week. This morning, however, there were only 3, and by the time I left to walk to the pub quiz there were only 2 ducklings in tow.