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10:00.

I’m out and about both sides of the Pennines today, starting off with a trip to Leeds. Sadly, it’s hardly a vintage day weather wise but that won’t affect either assignment as neither is about sesxy landscape shots. My walk into Halifax was fun. Passing the Piece Hall where the new Marvel comics ‘Avengers’ film is being shot I noticed the film industry’s answer to this problem towering over the area. Bring your own sun!

Here’s the ‘little’ brother of the other rig…

I’ve not bumped into any of the actors but Samuel L Jackson posed for selfies with locals outside a nearby restaurant the other day. Halifax seems to be much in demand by the media at the moment as another TV series of ‘Happy Valley is being shot here at the same time.

Leaving the bright lights (literally!) of the film industry behind I’m now on a Northern train to Leeds via Bradford. Passenger loadings are pretty good and seem to be recovering from the latest Covid knock. I’ll be interested to see how Leeds looks compared to my last visit.

14:30.

Well, that was an interesting interlude! I was being coy about where I was going as I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that I was going to turn up to the anti HS2 farce (don’t you mean ‘day of action’? Ed) in Manchester’s Piccadilly gardens which was due to kick off at 12:00. It took me a while to find it as it was tiny! Just 10 people, a child and two others dressed as a white elephant where there. They were outnumbered by members of the media who patiently waited for them to assemble their banners and elephant before they set off on a circuit of part of Piccadilly Gardens. Their shouts were led by one Karen Wildin, an XR protester from *checks notes* Lreicester! In fact, I doubt any of the were actually from the city they were trying to prevent gaining green infrastructure, regeneration and thousands of jobs. It’s always been noticeable that there’s never been a single organised stopHS2 ‘action’ group in the whole of Manchester – hence them having to draft in people from elsewhere. I’ll do a separate blog about this whole farce, which lasted less then two hours before they traipsed back to Piccadilly station before catching their trains home to whence they came. The attitude of Manchester? Meh! Meanwhile, this afternoon, the HS2 phase 2b Crewe – Manchester Hybrid bill has been deposited in Parliament. It will get its 2nd reading in February, when it will fly through the vote as the opposition to HS2 has collapsed.

Here’s a picture of their farcical demonstration.

Somehow, I don’t think MPs will be quaking in their boots. I’ve seen more people turning up to protest about parking restrictions!

19:30.

I’m now on the train back across the Pennines after an interesting and certainly varied day. After attending the farcical and futile protest I spent a bit of time editing pictures and getting other images off to a client before their deadline, then had a wander around Manchester. I have to admit, the weather wasn’t exactly what you’d want for such perambulations but hey – this is the North in January after all. I did manage to bag a few more library shots which will appear on my Zenfolio picture website soon. After that, it was time for a trip to Chinatown to pick up some more edible goodies. I love mooching around the Chinese supermarkets as I always discover something new that I have to resist the urge to buy as – more likely than not – It’ll end up sitting in a cupbord as I don’t really know what to do with it.

Right now I’m on Northern’s 18:58 from Manchester to Leeds made up of a pair of 2-car Class 195s. It’s surprisingly quiet, not that Victoria station was. That was buzzing with hundreds of young people off to a gig at the Arena (just don’t ask me who was playing as I’ve no idea!).