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View from train on the way to Blackburn (about 40 minutes)


Outside Blackburn Cathedral





Great utilisation of a now semi-redundant phone box – both a phone box and a cash machine.


Wonderful cirrus clouds above the bridge


Very sweet


Amazing crucifix formed from a hand loom


Ultra modern art work in the cathedral


Oh, dear. Never mind. I’ll just have to spend the evening with my expanding hedgehog family


Sitting at the very desk that Marx and Engels occupied! IMG_8167.JPGI took a tour of Chetham’s library with its ancient books.


Then attended a concert  in Manchester Cathedral (where several of my ancestors were married) by young students at Chetham’s school of music. 4 students between 12 and 14 played first movements of concertos!

Today I woke up to sunshine AND the temperature was above freezing! I hadn’t been for a hike during this entire month. We’d had three weeks of frozen ground, and when kit wasn’t freezing it was pouring down, so today I decided to take a chance. The forecast was for rain beginning at 2pm so I reckoned I had four hours of hiking available. I headed for Hardcastle Crags where I’d had a lovely hike with Anna in November. I checked that the cafe at Gibson Mill  was open and made that my goal.


Gibson Mill’s weaving shed cafe was busy


Kitty in the grass


After last night’s downpour Hebden Water was in full spate



Who said money doesn’t grow on trees???


Mill and pond


First time i’ve seen my shadow this month


Tourists’ favourite view


Old mills above the Crags


WOW – sunshine



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Coming back into town in was just beginning to rain. This song was very appropriate! When I passed him at 10 a.m he was singing Allelujah. When I arrived back in the square four hours later he was still singing Allelujuah!!!

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This lady was remarkable! Singing opera in the pouring rain.

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And then one of my favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber pieces


Muddy boots . . . .


Hebden Bridge Picture House is directly across the street from my apartment. This is no glittering steel and glass monstrosity but a graceful stone building.  Hebden Bridge’s Picture House cinema first opened its doors in 1921 and is one of the last civic owned cinemas in Britain. Originally boasting over 900 seats its first screening was a double bill of Torn Sails and The Iron Stair, with the Picture House rapidly becoming the main place of entertainment for the weavers, mill-workers, and other residents of Hebden Bridge and the upper Calder Valley. It has been in use as a cinema ever since. On Thursday evening I went to see Limehouse Golem, which, despite the presence of Bill Nighy, was rather gorey and not particularly to my liking. However, the next night i went to see Victoria and Abdul, about the queen’s relationship with an Indian servant. As I waited for the main feature to begin a lady came to sit next to me and we got chatting. It turned out that like me she had taught at a predominantly Muslim school – but unlike me she had learned Urdu. After a divorce she  began to travel alone for the first time. It transpired that we were both in the Shetland Isles at the very same time in August of this year! “Coming for a drink after?’ she asked as the feature started. ‘of course. It’s this spontaneity that brings me to Hebden Bridge!’ I thoroughly enjoyed the film and as we left we bumped into two other ladies that she knew and we all went across the road to The Railway pub (which, of course, my Wrigley ancestor built in 1861, two year before he built the house where I’m living!) Other l

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ady number one had not only attended Durham University but had been at St. Mary’s College Durham just before me, so we chatted about the difficulty of the Durham dialect. Lady number two, lives alone on a canal boat. At eighty she finds the only difficulty in her life-style is not having enough upper body strength to work the locks. Ah, these are the people who fill me with inspiration. An open mike was happening in the back room and suddenly I heard a very creditable version of the Rufus Wainwright song ‘I’m tired of you America’ which became Sarah’s anthem of our trip to England this summer. I hurried into the back room just in time to shoot a short video before my phone died, but at that moment I was grabbed by the arm and led onto the floor to join the dancing by a young girl my daughter’s age. The next time I looked at my watch it was past midnight and I took my leave of the other two ladies, one of whom had still to walk back up the hill to Heptonstall when she eventually left around 1 a.m.

The following evening three of us were back at the Picture House, this time to see La Boheme live from the English National Opera. It was neat to realise it was also being shown live in Santa Cruz. It was a brand new production which brought back memories of seeing Opera San Jose’s production earlier this year. You can read my review of that production:

After, we all retired to The Trades Club to further our friendship and exchange contact info.


The Straw Race at Oxenhope is a charity fundraising event in which teams race a two-and-a-half mile course from the Wagon and Horses carrying a bale of straw. Teams are set off at regular intervals and are timed, with the fastest team being the winners; however it’s not a straighforward run to the finish as competitors must stop at set points on the way to drink a pint of beer. Much of the route is uphill; the entrants must also expect to be doused with buckets or water-pistols, which may be welcome if it’s a hot day! Record breakers take around fifteen minutes to finish while laggards can take hours.All who complete the course are presented with a medal at the finishing line. Many competitors choose to race in fancy dress and while it’s a serious money-raiser the atmosphere is lighthearted and fun. The views of the surrounding countryside are spectacular!


When I got  back to Hebden Bridge THIS was happening!IMG_1840


A big difference in the way an American audience would be held at bay, the band cordoned off behind a barrier. Here, the audience get can up close to the performers. 



The band were joined by the Calderdale Youth brass band


They start them young here!


When I got back to my mill I heard music. I thought it was coming from the park, so I went out onto my balcony and saw this in next door’s garden


A choir rehearsing Georgian music! 

Keith and I met at 9 a.m. outside the Coop, ready for a day exploring Beverley, a town in East Yorkshire that I’d never been to. Keith’s mother’s family had the surname Beverley and he’s always wanted to visit the town. it took two hours to drive there, in spite of it only being 78 miles. Apart from the driving on the M62 around Leeds the rest of the journey was on much narrower country roads. North Cave and Wallingford were two little tows that looked quite delightful.


Contemporary embroidery

We parked right by the Minster and made that imposing edifice our first call. This parish church looks like a cathedral and the most interesting feature, both inside and out are the many carvings. I asked a docent about one grotesque and we learned that many of the figures are musicians. In fact, Beverley was the center of the Medieval guild of musicians for the north of England. There were at least 39 medieval guilds. What a wonderful coincidence: we’ve got a music connection.



Beverley Minster

We had lunch in a tea shop and then went to wander around the market town. Unlike Hebden Bridge with its unique stores Beverly has all the shops that Keith recognized from Bath. Beverley has always had reputation of being gentile – rather like Harrogate and Bath. There’s little evidence of industry, and it’s surrounded by rolling countryside and cows. In fact just outside the town there’s on open grazing space and we had to wait until a cow crossed the road. Welcome to the North! It seems hard to imagine that the town was once a port, and so had access to many weird and wonderful items from overseas.


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Sculpture exhibition in the minster

We spent an hour in the ‘Treasure House’ (local history museum) looking through a book about the guilds – not no mention of the musicians guild – and dipping into  Find Your Past for Beverleys from Beverley. Keith began to see the huge scope of his task! We walked to St Martin’s church but we couldn’t find any Beverley tomb-stones there. One of Keith’s relatives had apparently found some on a previous visit. he faced-timed his mom so that she could see what we were seeing.

IMG_8754We had a lot of rain on the drive back and the mist was covering the hilltops but by the time we reached Hebden Bridge the sun was shining and I got some of the best shots of the center of the town with the late afternoon light after the heavy rain. We looked in several estate agents’ windows and then we walked along the canal to Stubbin Wharf and had dinner. We’d had a 12 hour day chatting constantly after not spending time with each other for more than ten years.


Center of Hebden bridge