We changed the clocks during the night, so we all had an extra hour in bed this morning. I awake to a beautiful sunny day but I knew that would mean it would be chilly outside. I’ve just worked out that because my central heating thermostat is mobile I can put on the heat in the morning without getting out of bed as long as I remember to put it on my bedside table in the evening. My living room is looking very cheerful with the new plants I just bought from the garden centre.
Perched on a hilltop, isolated from the ancient village of Sowerby lies Steep Lane Chapel. Lies, is the wrong word. It clings to the hillside, shuddering and resisting the attempts by the buffeting gales to pitch it, hook, line and sinker, down into the valley below. This was my second visit to the chapel with the same two friends, both who grew up in Sowerby. Last time in the summer we braved a strong wind to walk to the chapel to see and brass band and partake in an amazing afternoon tea. This time it’s autumn and the misty drizzle was swirling around t’tops as we battled again the northerly gusts, which seemed occasionally to be in danger of knocking us off our feet. I was reminded of the poem: “The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow, and what will the robin do then, poor thing? He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm, and hide his head under his wing, Poor thing!” Today is Steep Lane Chapel’s Autumn Fayre and the promise of another afternoon tea was too tempting to refuse.
More chairs had to be brought into the room to provide seating for us. There was a formal opening to the event by the minister, and the man who lives in the manse, a hymn was sung “Love Diving, all loves excelling” with a lovely keyboard organ accompaniment and then the fayre was declare open. Suddenly the entire room sprung to tis collective feet and rushed en masse to the cake and preserves stall, eager to buy the homemade produce before it all sold out. I found a fruit cake, which, at a pinch I could ice and use as a Christmas cake, a bowl with three hyacinth bulbs planted for Christmas flowering (obtained apparently from Gordon Rigg’s garden centre which I’d visited in Todmorden the previous) and a sleeping bag in readiness for Anna’s upcoming visit. After an hour the buying frenzy had subsided and the tables were cleared and reset with delicious homemade and baked foods. Yummy! The entire event took me back to my childhood – the hike through the windswept moorland, the howling and screeching of the trees swaying to their very roots, the shaking out of soaking raincoats before using them to adorn the backs of the chapel chairs, the warmth of the chapel and the lovely formality of the attendees attired in their Sunday best. If it had been filmed you would have sworn it was an early 60’s drama, complete with a China tea service with the name of a now-defunct chapel. Above the tables fading sepia photos of the chapel in its heyday with its ministers and congregation lined the walls, looking down approvingly on the day’s events.
Thirty two years ago – really?
My laptop came back from the fix-it shop yesterday. 38 viruses had been removed. so much for Macs being virus-free. I’d been without it for just over a week so maybe you can imagine my frustration!
My first evening out to the city – in this instance Leeds. It was a balmy evening and the centre of Leeds was filled with people, dressed up to the nines, eating and drinking at outdoor tables. The concert, by the BBC Philharmonic was in the historic Town Hall whose centre piece is an amazing organ, floodlit in neon blue, though it wasn’t in use for this particular concert. This is the building where the finals of the Leeds International Piano Competition are held. I was able to sit in my favorite vantage point – behind the orchestra. The conductor was Finnish and he produced a masterful Sibelius 5. The concerto was Grieg’s piano concerto performed by a Norwegian.
Yesterday’s 9 mile hike started and ended at my apartment. I’m still in awe that i can walk to these places from my living room. This hike was steep in places, made slippery by fallen leaves, but it brought into focus the lives of those people who climbed up and down these steps in the dark going to and from work in the mills on the rivers. The stone steps have been worn away by their clogs. This mill is Jumble Hole (honestly, that was its name!)
Well, diary, it’s been a week since I left a message. Blame it on technology! I’ve been without my laptop for a week so I’ve not been able to write. Should be getting it back tomorrow with all 38 viruses removed!
One of the joys of living in the very centre of Hebden Bridge is that when I step outside my apartment I find myself in the very centre of the hustle and bustle of the town and unexpected things can happen. Take this morning, for instance. I needed to go to the Post Office to purchase some stamps. Unlike yesterday when we had torrential rain until tea-time it was clear, but since the post office is only across the street – less than three minutes walk – I put on my sandals and off I went. Imagine my perturbation when I found men in high visibility jackets painting the door and a sign saying ‘Closed for Two Weeks.’ I mean – it’s the town’s only post office and the only place to purchase international stamps. ‘Where’s the nearest one?’ I asked. ‘Mytholmroyd.’ OK, it’s only a mile and a half’s walk along the canal. It’s incredibly liberating to be faced with such a decision. I mean, I hadn’t got anything else planned for this morning! I wondered if I should go back home and change into boots but basically I couldn’t be bothered, so off I set, to the accompanying choir of mallards and geese. Puddle-jumping certainly increased the excitement of the walk and once in the village I had to ask for directions to the Post Office, but everything got done that needed to be done.
Rather than walk back I thought I’d get the train. I passed by the church and on an impulse decided to try the door. Someone had told me it was worth taking a look inside. I was somewhat taken aback when the door opened and someone called, “Yawreet?” It was immediately obvious that major renovation work was taking place and none other than the vicar was there to show me round. I was invited to the rededication on November 5th. ‘With or without fireworks?’ I inquired. The church was severely damaged in the Boxing day floods of 2015. This week the organ has been removed for renovation and they have installed a little portative one that needs to be mic’d. I was also told that the carol service is lovely. In 1922 the whole chancel was decorated in mosaic and the carol service is by candle light bringing out the glittering gold glass fragments. Back to Hebden on the train. It takes 5 minutes and I noticed that it was market day. I took a quick glance around buying Brussel sprouts, Spring onions and garlic but I was very tempted by the Mexican and Indian food trucks.
After lunch I went to Cafe Culture at the Town Hall. A guest speaker was giving a talk with musical accompaniment about the roll of the music hall and variety shows during the 1st and 2nd World Wars. From what I could gather most of the attendees had come in a bus from Age UK – perhaps that’s a nursing home. One man in a powered wheelchair was complaining light heartedly that the bus had left him but he’d beaten it to the venue! Filled was ‘daft’ jokes which are apparently typical of Yorkshire humour, while Liverpool jokes are ‘witty’ , the guest serenaded us with banjo, ukelele and mandola (a Spanish mandolin).
Arriving home I unpacked my iron that I’d bought in Halifax yesterday. It’s tiny – and it doesn’t have a handle. Still, it should do for quilting. I ironed all the fabric scraps that I had picked up at the Rag Fair on Saturday and am eager to begin my Doors project. Then I set about trying to figure out how to record myself on my keyboard – using a Sequencer. Consulting an online manual is not my strong point but I was quite thrilled when I actually recoded myself playing my ‘Andorran Landscape.’
When I got home yesterday there was a huge flowering plant sitting on my doormat and a couple of bags containing plates and cooking dishes. Anne had stopped by and left them for me. Lovely!