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It’s been a funny old day. Having started it spending a few hours working from home I had to head over to Milnsbridge in the Colne valley so I decided to give myself plenty of time to do it by a mix of walking and public transport.

The first leg involved a pleasent stroll into Halifax in fine spring-like weather which really lifted the spirits. Sadly, the Halifax – Huddersfield train service was cut back to 2-hourly on January 6th, so I had plenty of time to enjoy a wander around the town centre and explore the Piece Hall before catching the 11:50. Unfortunately, the spring-like weather was blown away by rising winds, leaving me under-dressed and rather chilly! At least the train was warm. I’m not a fan of Class 150s but today I was happy to see one arrive.

I arrived at Huddersfield in plenty of time to walk to Milnsbridge. Cutting through the centre of town I headed for the Huddersfield narrow canal to walk the towpath West. Well, that was a disappointment after being used to walking my local canal. The route of the Huddersfield narrow is an absolute shit-tip. You couldn’t go more than a few metres without finding fly-tipping as people slung stuff down the canal banks from the adjacent roads. Talk about depressing. It was only when I got within sniffing distance of Milnsbridge that things improved. Detritus and derelict mills gave way to new canal side housing estates and at least a modicum of civic pride.

Appointment over I had to hot-foot it back to Halifax for another engagement. First off was a bus to Huddersfield which was fine even if I’d never done it before – thanks to the Google Maps app on my phone. It was only when I got back to Huddersfield I started to chafe. I’ve never used the bus station before but it wasn’t a bad experience. In fact I must get pictures sometime as it’s in the same iconic design mould as Preston bus station. My issue was the bus back to Halifax was 15 minutes late and I was due to be meeting with a group of compatriots to scatter a friends ashes.

The bus turned up eventually, but queuing at Huddersfield was an interesting experience – because no-one does. Bill Bryson once wrote that the British would have been so much better at Communism than the Russians ‘cos we knew how to queue. It seems those days are long-gone. OK, my timing wasn’t great as I ended up travelling at the same time as students who’d knocked off from college, but that was an interesting lesson in itself. They don’t queue. They sidle up to the front, assuming no-one will challenge them. Mind you, so did one young woman with a pram who barged her way to the front of the queue despite the obvious fact another woman was there before here. When I finally got on the bus and made my way to the top deck there were few seats available so I pissed off a young girl who’d spread across two so that her feet and her bag could have the other one but I had the (polite) audacity to tell her to shift ’em! I’m confused. When did young people become so entitled? I’m not claiming that we were angels when I was a kid back in the 1970s, but even so. Is this just me realising the tables have turned and I was once that teenager?

My reason for hastening back was that a group of us had arranged to get together to scatter our old friend Tony Allen‘s ashes. Thankfully I made it on time and we rendezvoused in his garden to carry out the mission before ending up in the Big 6 pub. It’s what he would have wanted! Tony’s 70th birthday would have been yesterday so it was a fitting time. The deed done we all made our way to the Big 6 in order to eat home-made cake, pork pie and drink beer as a fitting tribute to the man.

I’m now back at home, but I’ll leave you with this picture. Tony’s ashes-scattering was a private event, but here’s the beers with which we toasted both his birthday and his departure afterwards. For a change – none of them were his…

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