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‘Tis Xmas eve in the Calder valley and the weather’s been in the festive spirit, blanketing Sowerby Bridge in a long cotton wool cloud this morning. Opening the bedroom curtain often reveals an unexpected delight as the weather in the valley’s so changeable. This was the view today.


Sowerby Bridge railway station’s down there – somewhere!

Pretty as the picture looks it took me a lot of sweat to upload it because the Nikon download software on my computer had a hissy-fit and refused to open. Why is it that 99% of the time you can rely on these things – until you’re actually in a hurry? Is there something built into the software that can sense when it can cause you the maximum stress and blue language? In the end I had to reload the software, wasting a precious hour of the day, but of all the kit that could go on strike, this is one I can’t do without. With it being a Monday (as well as Christmas eve) there’s still work to be done which entails a bit of running around and a trip over to Huddersfield.


We’re now over in Huddersfield where it’s a beautifully crisp and sunny winter afternoon. Whilst I’m here I’ve taken the opportunity to get a haircut. I suppose you could call it my Christmas No1!

The town centre seems reasonably busy as people do their last minute shopping/panic buying but the number of shops that have closed this year has left gaps like rotten teeth even in the busiest of areas.

Take Greenwoods for example. I’ve always found them a good mens outfitter with great prices. Sadly, the Halifax branch closed in the summer. Now it looks like the Huddersfield one’s had it too..

They’d join firms like Poundland and Crawshaws as well as the local branch of Card Factory and a number of small locally run businesses. At least next port of call is still thriving: The Kings Head at Huddersfield station.

A trip to the station allowed me to capture what will probably be my penultimate UK rail pictures of 2018.


A pair of Trans-Pennine Express Class 185s pass at Huddersfield.


I love the shadows and quality of the light this time of year.


The new age. One of the former Scotrail Class 170s that has been cascaded to Northern at Huddersfield whilst working 2J67, the 14:49 Huddersfield to Leeds. Although billed as a Trans-Pennine Express service the trains and drivers are provided by Northern.


We’re in the Xmas spirit now as Dawn’s finished work until February and the Christmas cooking’s begun. This year we’re staying at home and cooking for ourselves, so we don’t have to do traditional fayre. Far from it. Tonight we enjoyed seared tuna with roasted potatos and steamed broccoli with a lemon and herb sauce.

Now we’re in preparation mode and getting ready to cook a traditional Indian sambal to go with the 1st Class Railway mutton (lamb) curry. The lamb’s already marinating ready to be cooked tomorrow. Here’s the ingredients for the Sambal. Sadly, we didn’t have the time to get shallots and okra, so we’ve freestyled a little…