There was one thing written on my calendar for the first day of the New Year: a guided walk of the Georgian buildings of Halifax, scheduled from 2-5pm. Rain was forecast but I’d been on hikes in the summer in the pouring rain and it was ok, so off I went on the train. The centre of Halifax was like a ghost town. Everything was closed and there was no-one around. It was at least 10 degrees colder than it had been in Hebden Bridge too. As I made for the bathroom in the Piece Hall (a place that’s always nice and warm) the grand gates were just being closed, “We’re shutin’ luv!” As I circled the perimeter of the vast enclosure I had visions of being the only crazy person but as soon as I turned the corner I came face to face with over 30 people, all looking very cold. The tour guide seemed totally unfazed by  both the rapidly dropping temperature and the rather insistent  wind that was gathering and making her hand-outs take flight. “Can everyone hear me?’ she called. A few mutterings came back as an answer. “OK, then, off we go.”  ” ‘Scuse me,”  I called, “Your mike isn’t on.” “Ah, yes! It’s not been working too well recently. It’s been crackling a lot.” And that was that! “We should have started off by me taking you around the Piece hall, Halifax’s magnificent Georgian structure, but for some reason it’s closed today.” So we then stood for 20 minutes with a gathering wind passing out really interesting maps of Georgian Halifax. Then the rain started – in earnest. The sound of the rain splatters on people’s umbrellas drowned out everything our guide was saying and after an hour I gave up and went home! I pity, because I was really interested in the information she was sharing.


West gate of the Piece Hall, 1779


Hopwood Hall