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.



The Bobbins has lost its way. A little bit of Portugal no more – Não mais comida portuguesa

Sad to report that the Bobbins has lost its taste for Portuguese cuisine despite my being told new chef would maintain it on the menu.

Also on my last visit in the afternoon there were no hot dishes – just coffee and cakes. This is sad as it was a unique experience which seems to have lost its way.

Original post from March 2016

A friend had told me about this new restaurant  tucked away in Oakmount Mill on Wiseman Street near the “On the Embankment” canal redevelopment in Burnley.

Called The Bobbin (presumably a reference to the former cotton town’s industrial past) it comprises a restaurant area, decorated with cotton mill  artefacts, and a more relaxed sitting out area with settees – presumably for those patrons who just want a coffee or a glass of wine.P1030392

On its Facebook page (which has more photos) it describes itself as a cafe and mediterranean restaurant but the menu is portuguese influenced with various piri-piri dishes and sea-food. The chef and co-owner David O’Hara learned to cook portuguese food in the Algarve and his wife Beatriz is portuguese so it should be authentic!P1030390

The background music is Fado (plaintive, melancholic folk songs) with Mariza featuring heavily (although as a member of staff said “you can have too much of Mariza”. If you don’t know of her check her out below).

I chose a swordfish steak which was delicious and melted in my mouth and I accompanied it with a glass of white wine. Unfortunately they only had red portuguese wine but that may change.P1030389

They are also only open during the day: 1000 – 1700, but are thinking about opening in the evening.

It’s not a fast food service but worth the wait and the staff are friendly and want to know you have everything you need.

On Saturdays they serve the famous portuguese custard tart (pastel de nata) and they also prepare a Cataplana (Seafood stew) if you book it in advance for 4 people.

And if you want to hear some Fado here is Mariza singing “Ó gente da minha terra” (Oh people of my land).

FYI According to some sources “bobbins” is also old northern slang for something that’s rubbish (appropriated from cockney rhyming slang – bobbins of cotton i.e. rotten). This definitely does not apply in this case. Just the very opposite in fact.

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?

Tesco shoppers – leave the free fruit for the kids!

Tesco has now rolled out the free fruit for kids initiative to most of its stores.

Burnley Tesco was one of the pioneers but had to suspend it briefly because adults were helping themselves to the fruit, by the bagful in some cases.

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The other day I noticed the new posters and realised people were taking the “Help yourself” slogan too literally.

As I was taking the picture a couple of women were discussing it and one asked the other if she should take one. I politely told her it was for kids only at which her friend said she always took one so her friend did.

Shame on you both!

Little Barista – best coffee bar & cafe in Burnley

P1030767It’s about 3 weeks since we called in the new coffee bar and cafe in the centre of Burnley today – Little Barista.

The post I wrote has been in the top of the favourites list ever since so it prompted me to pay another visit.p1030912

P1030846It sells organic coffee from Indonesia – Orang Utang coffee – as well as sandwiches and cakes and provides fresh fruit flavoured water which is a nice touch.

There are a dozen or so tables with a long settee against the back wall below a huge piece of wall art showing the origins of the coffee.P1030768

My first visit was just for a coffee. I had a cappuccino and my partner had a cafe latte. It was very good and came with a little sweet biscuit.

p1030913Only one size of cup at £2.70. I would have preferred a bigger cup to last while I read my paper but that’s just me. When I mentioned this to a member of staff on a return visit she explained that they thought having larger cups just made the coffee too milky.p1030924-1

I noticed that people who ordered espresso coffee had it served on a wooden tray with a glass of water continental style. Something I first noticed in Vienna and later in Stockholm and Munster.

P1030769The cafe was obviously popular and the staff, six of them on a Sunday out front, were very welcoming. When we left all the outside seats had been taken, so a good sign.

P1030844Today I opted for a cappuccino again but with the soup and roll, follow by a piece of Victoria sponge.

The soup and bread were both tasty (as was the sponge cake which I had with a second cup of coffee)

Once again the service was great, the staff were very attentive and looked like they were enjoying their work. A very nice experience and I will definitely be going there again when I’m in town.


In fact I have, and taken my friends there to enjoy the coffee, cake and home-made ice cream, and they all agree how good it is. So I’ve retitled this post to reflect that I think it’s the “best little coffee bar in town” (with apologies to Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds).

As I said before, it’s only a few yards from Costa Coffee, Rhode Island Coffee, and the award-winning Bellissimo so has plenty of competition. But good luck!

Burnley FC back in the big time – again

Unfortunately their first outing in this season’s Premier League ended in a defeat at Turf Moor against Swansea City who scored late in the second half.P1030833


Burnley should have had a penalty just before that when the Swansea goalscorer pulled Keanes’ shirt in the goal mouth but referee and linesman managed not to see it. (do they ever feel embarrassed when they watch MoTD and realised they’ve made a mistake?)


But we’re in good company on the same points as last year’s champions Leicester City.

So onwards and upwards for the only English-owned team in the division!

See last post on Burnley FC

Free fruit for the kids – nice one Tesco Burnley

P1030416I first spotted this a few weeks ago after noticing kids walking round eating fruit.

My first thought was that they’d pinched it or were helping parents reduce the household bill by eating en route to the check-out.

But no, Tesco are trying to get kids to eat more healthily, removing sweets from check-out lanes and offering free fruit as part of their EatHappy Project.

So well done Billie (Community Champion) and the team at Tesco Burnley!

Update 29 July 2016:  Pity scheme has been suspended at Burnley store because of adults taking the fruit when it’s being rolled out in 800 other stores.

Matt  Davies, the new CEO is claiming the credit according to the Sun while the Times says the suggestion came from a Tesco worker in Lincolnshire!

Davies said “We’re hoping this will create healthy eating habits that will stay with children”

First posted 27 March 2016

Shah Jalal masjid dominates Burnley skyline

Ten years in the building this mosque and madrassa dominates the skyline near the Asda store in Burnley. The £100,000 one tonne white dome was lifted into place in 2014.

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P1030731 (1)The Shah Jalal Masjid Mosque and Burnley Islamic Cultural Centre has cost £2m so far and the new minaret, which was paid for by the community, marked the completion of external work on the mosque withy plans for a further £500,000 to decorate the interior.

Mozaquir Ali, a former Burnley councillor and project coordinator, said it was a symbolic moment for the project which has been planned as early as 1993.

He said: “It was a brilliant day. People turned up to see how it was going. The community is very pleased about it – it has now completed the four domes and the building is now weather tight from the outside.

“it has been a decade of hard work and financial support from the community in Daneshouse which is stricken with unemployment.

“It is a fantastic project which will be a landmark for Burnley and an iconic building not just for Muslims but the community as a whole can be proud of.

The mosque is one of 13 in Burnley and probably the biggest. I don’t know if any non-muslims use the cultural centre as it’s also a madrassa or Islamic religious school which tend not to encourage outsiders.

Background from

See also a Mosque in Nelson