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Remind me never to promise to write a long, complex blog the Sunday after someone’s birthday party – even if the party in question is someone’s 80th!

Norah had a wonderful day yesterday despite the Covid restrictions. Her children (my wife and her brother) had hatched a plan to get as many people as possible to join in on a family Zoom call and it went brilliantly! Norah was rather overwhelmed by it all as she got to see people who would never normally have been able to make the journey to a conventional birthday party, so the event was a great success. Physically there might just have been the four of us, but Dee had prepared a lovely 3 course meal so the event was a great success, so much so that the pair of us didn’t get back home until after midnight so decided to have a lie-in and lazy morning today – hence no long, complex blog!

Oh, I still got some work done – hence the latest tranche of travel pictures that have appeared on my other website here, but apart from that we’ve bother taken our feet of the accelerator and pottered around at home before getting out for a long walk. Rather than ramble on the hills we’ve taken to exploring the backstreets and alleys of Halifax – and discovered some amazing architecture and stunning houses, especially around the Savile park area. It’s sometimes easy to forget what a wealthy town Halifax was in its heyday, but the huge family homes that still exist in many parts give the game away. Yes, there’s still rows of back to backs in some parts, but you can soon find out where the middle-classes and rich lived. Sometimes all that remains of these estates are a couple of gateposts and a substantial wall surrounding an estate full of modern homes. As an incomer to the area these have piqued my interest as they reflect what happened in the town I grew up in – Southport on the Lancashire coast. One day I’ll have to do some digging through local historical records. In the meantime I’ll just enjoy the discoveries we make by accident.

In the meantime, I’ve got a busy week at home as I’ve dug out a few more old slide albums from storage at Dawn’s parents whilst we were there yesterday. I’ve a first sift to do, disposing of ones that are no longer relevant or that have been superseded by events. After that I’ll have a much better idea of how long the scanning queue might be. Suffice it to say, I’m going to be kept occupied well into the summer…

But, I will get that High-Speed 2 blog written as it promises to be an interesting week. Construction of the new railway is coming on in leaps and bounds now as contractors are really gearing up on many of the main civil engineering elements of the project – which I’ll talk about in the blog. Meanwhile, the derisory ‘campaign’ against HS2 goes from farce to worse! The pointless Euston tunnel protest is dragging on, but as it’s no-where near an active HS2 worksite not an hour of construction time has been lost. Meanwhile, more ‘protection’ camps set up by the protesters are about to be evicted. The protesters response? Well, tomorrow Hs2Rebellion are having a nationwide ‘banner drop’. Quite how a bunch of vacuous, blustering slogans written on old bedsheets is going to stop HS2 is a mystery, but then HS2 rebellion seem to be more about raking in the donations from gullible people via Crowdfunders rather than mounting a credible campaign to stop HS2. I’ll relate some of tomorrows farce when I can.

In the meantime, here’s today’s picture of the day which is another shot from my Scottish trip – this time from Edinburgh rather than Glasgow. I took this shot on the 26th March 2001 from Arthur’s seat, the amazing extinct volcano which rises 250 metres above the city in Holyrood park. It shows the view across to the iconic Edinburgh Castle.

I’ve a favour to ask…
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