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Despite the rail strikes and weather the pair of us strayed from Bigland Towers yesterday. Not that we went far. Dawn had a meeting with colleagues at the Community Rail Network office so I hitched a lift with her into Huddersfield and went for a wander around town. It was a depressing experience if I’m honest. Earlier in the day armed police carried out a big raid on a warehouse on the edge of the town centre which was a base for drug dealers (apparently). There was no sign of such fun and games on the streets but there was a melancholic air about the place. The amount of shops which have closed/are closing is quite depressing. Thriving the town ain’t. Big names like House of Fraser and Marks and Spencer have disappeared, never mind the multitude of local businesses. Even an old favourite – Millets – the outdoor specialist, is having its final sale before closing. Bargains were to be had but there was nothing I wanted or needed. It’s not just shops that have closed either, several bars and pubs have gone the way of all things too.

Whilst I was there I popped in to the railways station as at least Trans-Pennine Express were making an attempt to run trains, despite the strikes – unlike Northern. There was a roughly hourly service between Manchester Airport and York run by 6-car Class 185s. The trains I saw were mixed, some were busy, others very quiet – as if only the foolhardy (or desperate) were risking travelling. Typically (despite the sparseness of the service) TPE still couldn’t run to time. Every train was late by several minutes!

One Dawn and Co had finished their meeting we all met up for a post-work drink at the ‘Teepee’ which is a Xmas feature of St George’s Square. It serves a range of drinks including real ales, mulled wine, spirits, teas and coffees – and the heating system certainly keeps you warm. If you’re there after 7pm there’s often live music. All of us have had Christmas parties cancelled due to the strikes, so this was a welcome unofficial gathering. Still, it was good to while away a couple of hours doing something festive before venturing home in sub-zero temperatures, not that you’d stay all night with drinks at premium prices but then it shuts at 9pm! So, today’s pictures are a peek inside the teepee…

The statue of Harold Wilson looks over the Huddersfield Xmas Teepee…
The bar and central seating around the firepit.
The firepit (centre) with the stage area at the rear of the tent.

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