New Year’s Day in Hebden Bridge

There were no buses on New Year’s Day but the trains were running. So a quick 20-odd minute train journey from Burnley to Hebden was called for. A deserted station with a Xmas tree greeted me but I hoped for more.p1040187

I’ve got to say that when I walked into town, past a deserted play area, there wasn’t a lot going on with many of the shops closed and some people having the impression that the trains weren’t running either.p1040189p1040190p1040191p1040192

However I had a great meal in the Old Gate pub and restaurant. It wasn’t the quickest service but it was packed and the staff were friendly.

It was also the best burger I’ve had for ages, and the kids meals were enormous.img_0844

So a decent meal before we embarked on our journey from a deserted platform back to Lancashire.p1040194

Not the first visit and it won’t be the last.



Day of the Dead

Mike the Psych's Blog

In Mexico and parts of South America they celebrate “Dia de Muertos” on 1 and 2 November which coincides with the christian festivals of All Souls or All Saints days.

Christian missionaries often repurposed pagan festivals for their own purposes but the people in these regions still combine older beliefs, which may go back to the Aztec’s Lady of the Dead,  who looked after the bones of the deceased, with the catholic church events.

They believe that, starting at midnight on 31 October, the spirits of dead children come through the gates of heaven to be reunited wit their families for 24 hours.

Altars are stacked with flowers, food including special bread “pan de puerto“, and drink with toys and candles for the angelitos. Folk-art skeletons and sugar skulls provide the final touches.000013-2

On the 2 November the spirits of adult relatives join them and…

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Burnley town centre regeneration

People in Burnley have had to put up with construction work in the town centre for months now, if not longer (the barriers seem to have been there forever hampering pedestrians getting to the shops).p1030925-1

It’s part of a £3 million pound revamp funded by Burnley and Lancashire County Councils and “aims to make the pedestrianised area of St James Street, between Hammerton Street and Hall St, much more attractive and provide a better shopping experience for shoppers, visitors, businesses and anyone who lives and works in the town.”

The work includes new paving, new “wave” benches and decorative lighting, replacing the existing trees with other mature ones, removing the bandstand (possibly to a park) and replacing it with a revised ”town square” area for future events such as food markets and other activities. There will be access for delivery vehicles at selected points.p1030923-1

The plan has had a mixed reception although probably favourable overall.

But if they want to attract visitors, shoppers and businesses why don’t they just provide free parking? Think of all the money they’d save on enforcement staff.

And while they’re at it what about getting into the 21c and providing free wi-fi in the town centre?

Why do models look so miserable?

I noticed it’s fashion week or suchlike and all the newspapers have loads of photos of models.scan0221scan0222

These are all from different fashion houses but they all look the same: miserable, po-faced, bored. 

What’s the matter with them, they’re getting paid a lot?

If they don’t look like they’re enjoying the clothes they’re wearing why would anyone want to buy them. 

They might as well just put the clothes on mannequins. Like these.cropped-cnv000181.jpg

Can you tell the difference?

Photos from Sunday Times and Times

Hebden Bridge revisited

We said we’d go back and we did. A short train ride from East Lancashire and a walk from the vintage station, crossing the river, and along by the canal to the wonderful play area (where all I heard were southern accents, not a local one in earshot).P1030895

P1030897P1030898P1030896Then a stroll into the town centre – which seems to have recovered  from the floods. Watched the ducks, which seem to have multiplied since our last visit and  have made one side of the river bank a virtual no-go area with all their excrement, and listened to a busker nearby.

We had a decent lunch, did a bit of shopping, the rain held off and we enjoyed the relaxed vibe before heading back across the border.




Not train-spotting in Rawtenstall

Just happened to be there for numerous reasons, car boot sale, pub lunch and a walk by the river.

But there were all these trains, including steam trains, in and out of Rawtenstall station every few minutes it seemed.P1030858P1030857

The first one was a steam train, then I saw one with the name Onslaught on the side. It seemed an aggressive name for a train so I did a search on the internet.

It was a so-called “warship class” 832 diesel-hydraulic which were named after naval vessels. It was introduced in February 1961 and withdrawn from service in December 1972 but obviously well-preserved.


P1030861The original ones were powered by German Maybach designed engines made under licence at Bristol-Siddley. I came across Maybach engineering at the Zeppelin museum in Friedrichshafen a few years ago where there was a beautiful preserved top-of-the-line Maybach car.

As I said we’d been for a walk by the River Orwell, which was in full spate.



On the way back i tried to catch the trains as they crossed the river. Not an easy task with such a short window and judging the timing by the sound of the train.

I’m not a train-spotter by any means but it was an interesting afternoon and I learned a bit about our railway history.