A walk along the Rochdale Canal

Yesterday we had good weather, mostly sunny, and took up Stephen’s suggestion of a walk along the canal from Mytholmroyd to Hebden Bridge. On the way we spent time watching a narrow boat go through a lock. At the village we walked around the main area with its cafes, pubs and second hand shops. Eversley was able to buy a small shoulder bag, with money going towards a worthy charity.

We had lunch at a pub, doing our usual two meals between three sharing.

Catching the bus to Mytholmroyd at the start of our walk and then home from HB worked well. Having bus stops close to the house is great.

Later in the afternoon Stephen and I spent time booking our little trip away. After much anxiety over what we could and couldn’t manage to do, we finally worked out that we could catch the train to and from York, stay five nights, and take bus trips to other places as well as explore the city.

I booked an AirBnB, a small house with two bedrooms, where we can self cater. Stephen booked the train tickets and Eversley experienced her first discount with the new railcard.

Stephen discovered an excellent Tourist Information Centre in HB and filled in time there whilst we waited for the bus to take us home. Eversley and I had coffee at a nearby cafe.

We didn’t do any painting or pottery over coffee, but we had a visit from this fellow/

Now, some photos from the walk.

Equal opportunity work involved in going through the lock. There were two couples travelling together, so they could both work on the lock gates, with someone on the narrow boat to drive it.

The walk was about 1.8 miles, approximately 2.5 kms, but we spent about 20 minutes watching this, so it meant it was lunchtime when we arrived in HB.

We met quite a few other walkers on the path.

No more Brexit news at the moment. Perhaps a lot of negotiating is happening in the background.

Bus ride to Huddersfield

The bus that goes past our house runs from Hebden Bridge to Huddersfield and we decided to take the ride to see what it is like. The trip itself went through scenery and villages, much like our car journey, but nicer for me as I didn’t have to drive. It takes about 45 minutes. Unfortunately the emergency exit door had been tampered with and we had beeping for the whole journey. We tried to be philosophical about it and no one blamed the poor driver who had no way of turning it off.

The day was sunny and we started out by finding our way to the Information Centre located in the library. This wasn’t easy and signage was ambiguous, but we made it. We walked down to a town central square with some very impressive buildings, including a railway station. We had lunch at a pub that backed onto the station. I could see trains whilst we had our lunch.

Afterwards Stephen and Eversley went through the long process of sorting out a discount rail card for her, whilst I wandered around taking photos. There was a tourist information desk at the station so we needn’t have worried about the library. Afterwards we each did our own thing before meeting up back at the bus station. By the. It was overcast with rain developing. On the way home it was raining constantly and once again I was glad to be a passenger.

I took some photos whilst we waited for the bus. We weren’t sure where to stand as the bus stop itself was obscured by bushes. However, it all worked out.

Political Rant

We had a discussion with a man sitting next to us. We asked about Brexit and he said that people voted for it because of Asian and African migration, whilst acknowledging that this has nothing to do with being in the European Union. The first thing we had noticed was the large student population in the city which is very diverse, but he was more referencing the adults. We can’t help thinking that the English can only blame their ancestors who colonised Asian and African countries, taking the wealth home. At first migrants from former colonies were welcomed. Now people feel that they take jobs and opportunities away from locals. Taking a longer view, perhaps migrants from African and Asia are owed a good living in England.

It’s a bit like some people in the USA who feel threatened by the non white people in their midst. Thanks to the greed of slave traders and slave owners people were brought to the US against their will and white settlers made their fortunes on their backs. Again, blame lies with their own ancestors for the diversity. All that is left to do is to acknowledge what happened and that they are all simply Americans.

This is obviously an oversimplification and won’t go down well with many people. I also feel with Hong Kong that the British should never have had such a long lease, imposing an imperial structure that was outwardly democratic, but actually allowed most of the wealth to flow overseas. Expecting Hong Kong to remain as it was under the English overlords is unrealistic.

Bronte Parsonage Museum

Yesterday we set off at about 10.40 a.m. to travel 15 kms from Cragg Vale through Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge to Haworth. We couldn’t turn the car around at the house, and went up to our usual turnout at the first road going left. At that point, Google Maps suggested taking that road. We did, and had a beautiful tour over the hill and down into Mytholmroud via small laneways. It was the long way around, but at that stage we were feeling optimistic and simply enjoyed the views.

From there, the journey went smoothly, though we noticed a ‘road closure’ sign as we left HB. There was no indication of where exactly the road closure would occur, so we travelled on until we were probably around 7 kms out from our destination and the road was closed, with both lanes blocked. There had been a sign for traffic redirection earlier, which we ignored, very silly. Later, when I checked the redirected road it only lead back to the other side of Hebden Bridge and wouldn’t have been helpful anyway.

By the time we were back at HB we needed a toilet stop. Fortunately we knew where to find public toilets at a car park near the centre. We parked illegally as the car park was full.

At this stage we still wanted to continue and decided to go via Halifax. I could see an earlier turnoff, but was wary because it was one of those small roads that go over the hills and could be quite tricky to navigage. The road to Halifax and leading away from Halifax to Haworth was a fairly easy drive, but when we encountered a roundabout I was unable to get into the correct lane. We went around twice, drove into a dead end near a rubbish disposal site, and accidentally landed on the road we had intended.

We find that Google Maps has a slight delay in giving directions and it often means that we go for a distance down a wrong road before we can correct. After Halifax we felt hungry and in need of a rest and found a Morrisons with a cafe. It was good to have a break.

The drive to Haworth was not to difficult from there, though actually finding the museum was a bit tricky, with a bit of driving on a cobbled road before realising how to get to a car park. Later we found there was a car park for the actual museum, but we hadn’t checked the town map before setting off and didn’t know about it. Just shows that in future we need to do thorough research.

We arrived there at about 2.00 p.m., having done many miles more than our original plan.

The museum is set in the parsonage where the Brontes lived and it was very interesting. The house has been described by commentators as being dark and gloomy, but our experience was that it is a very nice house, grander on the outside than I was expecting, with fairly large rooms, high ceilings and large windows. The wallpaper in a couple of the rooms has been replicated to match Charlotte’s choices, and basically the atmosphere in the house was what you would expect of such talented women, homely, yet gracious. Of course, we had a lot of sunshine yesterday, perhaps it is gloomy in winter.

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The church that was originally here probably looked much like this one. It is visible from the Parsonage. There is an extensive graveyard as well.

The only puzzling thing is how they managed to accommodate all of the children (6) as the father and mother had a bedroom, the father had a study, the son had his own room, though that was probably when he grew up, there was a servants room and seemingly only one room for the children, with a small ‘children’s study’ attached. There were no bunk beds in those days, perhaps they shared beds and had very small beds for the little ones.

When Charlotte got married she remodelled a couple of the rooms, making a larger bedroom for herself and her husband, and making a study for her husband out of a storeroom on the ground floor. Despite all they went through with losing family members, having to work away from home, and so on, they seemed to have retained their strong spirits and went on studying, drawing, painting and writing books.

The house is located in front of a church, though it is not the actual church building they would have seen, it appears in keeping with the parsonage and rest of the buildings in the town. We also thought it would be surrounded by fields, rather than so close to village shops and pubs, but the fields are still there, behind the house and we went for a walk there later.

We visited the pub where the only boy of the family, Branwell, tried to drink himself to death. Actually, he moved on from the Black Bull after a while, perhaps it was too close to the Parsonage and too easy for his father to check him out. We were puzzled by a sign out the front which states that he became secretary of the local chapter of the Freemasons at a date well after his death. The bartender could only hypothesise that the sign had the dates wrong, by about 40 years. I wonder how many people notice it. Eversley followed up, and we confirmed to our own satisfaction that the sign was in error, about dates and about the Freemasons meeting at that particular pub.

We lingered until about 5.30 p.m., even going into a shop where Stephen and I bought hats, scarves and a dress (for me). Not quite what we were expecting to do. Stephen’s theory was that we would miss the worst of the traffic, but of course, the traffic doesn’t die down until quite late.

Having ‘tangoed’ in Halifax earlier I found a route over the hills back to Mytholmroyd. This proved as tricky in parts as I had feared. Much of it was single lane and we had to risk ditches to pass other cars. There was also the odd hairpin bend, very tricky as we would come wide around a blind corner on a downward slope. We also drove through a village with walls very close on either side, plus parked cars.

When we arrived at the main road into Mytholmroyd we quickly became caught up in the ‘lock’ where we were waiting for the change of lights further up the road where the floodworks take place. As with coming from HB, it was a very long process until we could finally get on the road up to Cragg Vale.

In compensation, our whole drive home was mostly in sunshine with stunning views across the countryside as we climbed up. Although we do feel some compulsion to take in many of the sights of Yorkshire that have been suggested to us, we are also aware that we are staying in an area of great natural beauty, with Hebden Bridge as a sort of ideal Yorkshire village. We have hills and dales and farmland and moors, forests, streams, cascades, small rivers and a canal with canal boats.

I’ve put it to the team that although I am happy to drive or be driven locally, I don’t think we should undertake a longer car journey. The road systems are difficult, whether single lane country roads or getting tangled in complicated roundabouts in larger towns. We are using another person’s car, and our hosts when they were staying in our house only used our car for shopping. We are therefore looking at train/bus combinations for our trip to York and beyond.

I didn’t take a lot of photos. We were allowed to take photos in the house, but I guess I was a bit stressed and didn’t. Now I wish I had.

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Behind the parsonage. We walked along this path which led down to the road.

 

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The beginning of the path, with drystone walls.

 

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Looking uphill from the rear of the house

 

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streetview

 

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We didn’t walk down this steep street, just admired it from the top

 

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Having a zoom helps with being able to get closer to the view beyond the village.

The outing was very much worth the unexpected stresses of the drive to and from.

Mispronouncing Mytholmroyd

We did it for the first week, but feel we have finally mastered it, sort of. The trick is that it’s three soft syllables, no emphasis My(as in mine)-thol-royd said very fast and soft.

Yesterday was an adventure of going by train to Manchester Airport. We caught the first train to Manchester Victoria, then a special new train out. We got to our local station early because we weren’t sure we could park the car there (we got a spot) and we also wanted to print out the train tickets, but it didn’t work and we had the fun of trying to use the reader at the gate with the phone, which kept changing from portrait to landscape and messing things up. Eventually, the person on duty would just let us through.

Eversley, like us, was doing quite well despite having had very little sleep. It’s an advantage to arrive during the day. She managed to stay up until shortly after the evening meal and woke up this morning ready to do a little exploring – as long as she could get back for a nap after lunch. We went down the hill to a small valley with a church and a pub. We walked up hill for about 20 minutes before going back to the pub for coffees and a light snack.

The church and pub probably date from abound the mid 1800s, as far as we could tell. Although the person at the pub couldn’t tell us it’s age, he was knowledgable about the walks and we realised that the best walk was probably the one we didn’t take.

Then we went down to the Co op for some shopping.

There was an upper deck at the pub, which is where these dogs came from, but we couldn’t see the deck and it just looked like they had climbed on the roof.

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On Brexit, the parliament in early hours of this morning voted against an early election, hoping to force Boris and his crew to renegotiate a deal with the EU. At the end of the session, when they won’t be able to meet again for six weeks, some of the members started singing and others joined – the Labour Party sangĀ The Red FlagĀ and the Welsh and Scottish representatives sang nationalistic songs. Anti No Brexit representatives held onto the Speaker of the House (in a symbolic way) to show their protest over the suspension of parliament at this critical time. We didn’t stay up to see the result, just caught up this morning. It’s all rather sweet, if it wasn’t so serious.

We don’t have autumn colours yet, but you can see that some leaves are beginning to turn.

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Rochdale Delights

Yesterday we took a trip to Rochdale by train to see the Gothic Town Hall and the Coop Museum. There are probably other things we could have seen, but we achieved both of these, sort of. Unfortunately the Town Hall was being used for a wedding and we couldn’t go in. However, we could see why Hitler had plans for it after conquering Britain. He was so impressedd that he told his bombers to avoid it and had plans to ship it Germany. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. The building is actually from the Victorian era, replacing an older one.

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Rochdale Town Hall

We had lunch in a little cafe overlooking a market in the square before tackling the museum. We enjoyed reading about the setting up of the coop and it’s subsequent history. We have been shopping at the Coop here in Mytholmroyd after one visit to the Sansburys Local because we thought it was the only supermarket open last Sunday. Fortunately the Coop is also open on Sundays. Today, when we were asked about becoming members we actually said ‘yes’. As we did a large shop we have actually earned some cash back already. In the early years it was a form of savings account for people. If they lost their job they could take money out and it was usually used to buy food from the store. The featured photo shows the museum building. It is based where the coop originated.

Photos from the coop museum.

These days the money goes back to members and also helps to fund community projects. You can see that our communitarian (opposite or individualistic) ideals are being tapped here.

Yesterday was a fine day with ‘sunny spells’ – very good for getting out. Our return train was delayed, but thankfully not cancelled, as can happen. We had the car parked at our station and waiting for the particular train that comes here, rather than getting off at Hebden Bridge and catching a bus to our village.

This morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. There are a few clouds about, but no rain forecast for today. We’ve had our session with Matt – his usual happy self. We showed him around the ground floor of the house and our view outside. Then, after a bit of delay we went out to do the shopping.

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View from our upstairs cafe at lunchtime
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sunshine yesterday evening
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flowers across the road from where we are staying
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at the cafe at lunchtime

 

Hollingworth Lake

Yesterday we had thought of visiting a nearby town by train, but there was quite heavy rain in the morning and it wasn’t inviting. In the afternoon the weather cleared up and at about 5.00 p.m. we went out in the car to explore the opposite direction to Mytholmroyd. We had already driven up the road a couple of times looking for a place to turn the car around as it’s tricky outside of the house.

I found a lake about 15 minutes away according to Google and we aimed for it. At first we parked near a Visitor’s Centre, but it was cloudy and the wind strong and it wasn’t very appealing. We gave up walking there after about 20 minutes and drove to the other side of the lake. Google wasn’t very helpful, but we eventually worked out we could park at one of the pubs and walk from there. We checked out the pub and it has a calvery (roast meals) beginning at around 5 pounds for a small serve, plus lovely views over the lake. We will probably come back another time for a meal.

By this time the sun had come out again and either the wind had dropped or it was simply more sheltered and it was comfortable walking. We didn’t go all that far, but enjoyed watching the ducks, especially when they set off in formation across the lake, then all stopped to wait for a second group to catch up.

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Waiting for second lot to catch up. Many of the ducks have actually turned around to watch as the others speed towards them.

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The drive to the lake was lovely as well. We go over some moorland, with quite a steep downhill drive to the lake. Somewhat like the Yorkshire Dales, which we will visit in a couple of weeks, although I expect that will have much higher hills than here.

We have a few plans. We will go into Manchester to see a film on the life of Lowry, the painter from Salford, and to the gallery to see his paintings, as well as those of Timothy Spall who played him in the film. Spall also played Turner in a recent movie. We will visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, which is less than 20 kms away from here, just a day outing in the car.

And we plan to take a five day car journey to the city of York and the Yorkshire Dales, staying at B&Bs or AirBnBs, depending on what is available. B&Bs are good because they include breakfast, where AirBnBs are normally fully self catering, but sometimes include breakfast. Stephen is thinking that we will stay for a night or two in Lincoln on our way back to Croydon. We need to book in advance if travelling by train because the cheap tickets on trains sell out early. It’s much cheaper to go by bus, but generally a more pleasant journey travelling by train.

We will have about two weeks in Croydon before heading home to Perth.

Exploring locally

One of our thoughts has been to get to know our local village, Mytholmroyd, a little bit better, rather than just passing through all the time. We drove over the river and canal and found free parking slightly up the hill before taking off on foot.

Stephen needed more Compeed for his toes so our first port of call was a pharmacy, which is near the medical centre and post office just over the river bridge, very handy indeed. It is a very good chemist and had all of the small items we needed. We then walked back across the bridge to look at the local church, St Michaels, which was shut, and check out a cafe and delicatessin nearby.

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St Michael’s Church, Mytholmroyd

At that point we felt that perhaps that was enough. We weren’t ready for morning tea or lunch and I suggested that we go along the road to Hebden Bridge to explore the river and canal there. So, we did. We were fortunate that we weren’t held up by the road block on the way there, though there were long waits for traffic when we came back.

The ‘works’ are not roadworks, as I previously reported, but flood mitigation works. This area has had very serious floods, yet people are still building nice houses, with glass conservatories, backing onto the river. I guess they have trust that the flood control measures will work. We have decided that we don’t mind the delays if it means more safety for the village.

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Flood mitigation in M

We had lunch at a cafe in HB because when we were walking around it began to rain. The rain was interspersed with sunny spells and the rain was mostly very light indeed, so it wasn’t necessarily the best idea. By the time we had our walk, took refuge in another cafe, and extended our car park stay by about an hour, the rain looked like settling in and we drove home, doing shopping at the Co-op on the way.

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‘if you don’t care for tea you might at least make polite conversation’. The Mad Hatter asked Alice if she liked tea and she said she did very much. This was his maddening reply. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party theme wasn’t wholly consistent in this little canalside cafe, but it was full of quirky decorative touches.

There was also a little suite of workshops, some selling their wares. I was exploring it whilst Stephen walked back to the car to extend our car park stay.

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There are quite a few narrow boats on the canal, some obviously lived in and all looking rather shabby. Perhaps it’s a ploy to deter thieves and they are utterly luxurious inside.

We enjoyed our day very much and now feel that we can go further afield with a clear conscience. It’s good to know exactly where to find services and to have located a couple of cafes in Mytholmroyd. Of course, pubs also double as cafes, and we have plenty of those.

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life on the river at HB
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the river at HB
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HB canal
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HB canal

It’s possible to walk along the canal for long distances.

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Brexit news dominates

I’ve been following the Brexit news, taking heart that the elected represenatives of the people of Britain are wresting back control of matters from the leader elected by 92,000 members of the conservative party. As I analyse the complexities of Brexit, it is clear that there are so many matters that need resolving that either UK isn’t ready, or needs to go for a soft Brexit, with a gradual recasting of the EU relationship over time. Politicians like to make it sounds really simple, but it isn’t.

Of course, we Austrlians shouldn’t have an opinion, but everyone else does.

We didn’t do anything else of note yesterday, besides booking train tickets to Manchester for Monday. We have two return tickets for us, and a single for Eversley. We watched ‘Rocket Man’ in the evening, which was enjoyable on the small screen and was probably much more wonderful in a movie theatre. However, worth watching even on a TV.

We are getting into a bad habit of late nights and want to shift to going to bed a little earlier so that we can get up in the morning with more energy.

The photo for today is from our walk two days ago.

Hebden Bridge and Hardcastle Craggs

Yesterday afternoon we went out for a drive to get fuel, buy groceries and have afternoon tea and a walk in Hebden Bridge. It started to rain as we arrived in HB and appeared to want to set in, so we didn’t see very much, although we did have our coffees.

Hebden Bridge mall

Hebden Bridge is more consciously prettified than Mytholmroyd, but we would like to explore them both on foot as they are so different,to towns in the south.

This morning I wanted to visit Hardcastle Craggs, a local beauty spot just out of Hebden Bridge. There is a mill and parklands with lots of walks. We opted to walk in along a road to the mill, which is a National Trust property with a cafe. It is powered by water, with a big battery bank and worm farms to deal,with waste from the toilets. We had sandwiches, but resisted cakes as we thought we could do the walk back more easily if we had eaten lightly

Rock formation
The mill
Stephen took a,photo of me, so I took one of him

We took a more difficult route along the little river on the way back and it was beautiful and well worth some of the difficult parts. There was some light rain, but not too bad.

Quite a noisy river rushing along a stony bed

Interesting fungus on tree

We were very tired when we got home, and after a cup of tea, had to have some rest. I washed our jeans because we got a bit muddy. We were careful of getting mud in the car, putting down a plastic bags for our shoes. I took mine off for driving the car. Next time we must take extra shoes.

There are roadworks going through the village, so it takes about twice as long to get back as it would otherwise.

We were hoping to have news on Brexit when we arrived home at about 3.15, but things still seem to be up in the air. This is the first day back for parliament.