Today I went puddle-jumping

What do you mean you’ve never heard of it? It’s a traditional West Yorkshire game in which you wear new white sneakers and then walk 4 miles along the Rochdale canal towpath after a heavy rainstorm. During this escapade I exchanged greetings with 33 humans, assorted canines, seven wild Canadian geese, two tame muscovy ducks and a lone male mallard who seemed eager to attract my attention (could it be because my phone’s  ringtone is set to Quacks?)


St Michael’s church, Mytholmroyd

All coincidences lead somewhere: A few weeks ago Hebden Bridge post office closed for 2 weeks for refurbishment, so I walked two miles to Mytholmroyd in order to post birthday cards. Someone had mentioned that Mytholmroyd church was worth taking a look at, so I tried the door, it opened and a lady showed me round. Turned out she is the vicar and she invited me to the church’s rededication ceremony on November 5th, following the devastating floods on Boxing Day, 2015. November 5th dawned sunny so it seemed a good idea to walk the two miles to the service. I arrived just as the bells stopped ringing, heralding the beginning of the service. I ran the gauntlet of TV crew and


TV crew

photographers in the South Porch and grabbed a pew near the front. I’d never seen so many people in a church apart from at a Christmas service.The Archbishop of York was resplendent in his mitre and robes and during the service the sun shone on the altar flowers and the gold leaf on the mosaics – beautiful. I sat reading the memorials to the


Altar  in its finest garb

fallen in both World Wars and thought of my granddad who had taken his own life on November 5th, 1933, probably because the sound of fireworks on bonfire night brought back to him the sounds of warfare in the Belgian trenches. It seemed highly fitting that I should be in church today.


This is the only time I’ve known an organist to bring his own organ!

After the service I went to talk to the organist. I knew that the organ had been ruined by the flood and that the church was using a small portative organ, but this sounded too rich for that little organ. It transpired that the organist had brought in this organ himself. I told him that I might be interested in lessons and we exchanged business cards. He is the director of the Halifax Organ Academy and teaches at his home in Mytholmroyd. As everyone filed out of the church I chatted to a lady who suddenly said, “I know you.” It was the landlady at the Crown Pub, right next to my apartment. I’d gone for a drink early


The Archbishop of York and the landlady of The Crown

one evening and the only other person in there was a guy who had been making the most revolting burping sounds. I expected at every minute that he would throw up. The landlady asked him quietly to leave, which he did – quietly, but he reappeared five minutes later with his heckles raised and a very aggressive attitude. The landlady looked to me for support and I’m glad I was there for her. . .  and all that happened because Hebden Bridge post office had been  closed!


1 Comment

  1. Pegatha

    What a fine day to read about. What a delightful read for a Sunday evening in quiet Scotts Valley. Community keeps pouring in on you. What a gift you have!

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