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Apologies for my absence these past couple of days, but Hey – it’s Christmas and I’ve given myself a couple of evenings off. Besides, you probably wouldn’t want to read post pub blogs and I wasn’t keen to write ’em!

Christmas day was a quiet one here at Bigland Towers due to the fact I was on my ‘Jack Jones’ as Dawn is down in Surrey with her family whilst I’m at home catching up on some DIY and various bits before I bugger off to Asia in January. The rail strikes put paid to any ideas that I might have had about days away but then so has the weather which has been extremely wet here in West Yorkshire. So even if I’d the wherewithal to get anywhere all that would’ve happened is I’d have got soaked. It was bad enough walking to and from the pub!

I wasn’t entirely ‘billy no mates’ on Christmas day as my local (The Big 6) was open between 12-3pm to provide sanctuary and a stress-free environment to Xmas refugees. No family arguments, no hyperactive children, just a few adults enjoying respite care! That feeling of normality (well, apart from the rash of Xmas jumpers of course ) was welcome and it was lovely to catch up with a few people before returning home to the paintbrushes.

Boxing day was not dissimilar as I popped back to the Big 6 in the evening for a ‘swifty’ after a day of DIY and also scanning some old slides. I’ve been very remiss on that front over the past few months. My good intention to have all my old slides scanned by the end of the year has gone out of the window as I’ve still several thousand to get through. Realistically, I’m not going to get them finished before 2024, but at least I’ve made small dent in them today. Otherwise it was a question of sitting and watching paint dry (no, really!).

Tomorrow’s meant to be yet another crap day weather-wise, but I’ve plenty to do indoors before Dawn gets back. Right now, I’ll leave you with pictures from the past few days.

Showers and rainbows across the Calder Valley on my stroll to the pub.
Beer and convivial company in the Big 6 on Christmas day

Here’s one of today’s slide scans. Here’s the ghats on the river Ganges at Varanasi, on of the holy Hindu sites seen from out boat on the river at dawn one morning in February 1998. It really is a special place but sometimes difficult for Westerners to get to grips with as religion is part of everyday life (and death) here in a way it hasn’t been in much of Europe for a very long time.