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*for some reason my internal clock seems to be stuck in December – so apologies for those confused on seeing the titles of these blogs before I realise my mistake and correct them!*

Apologies for absence these past couple of days but I’ve been both a busy bee and social butterfly – if such things are possible at the same time! I’ve been trying to get various things in order before I head out to S-E Asia on Tuesday. Mostly stuff around the house, plus finishing off a few work pieces whilst prepping stuff to take with me to keep me occupied on quiet evenings or days when I’m relaxing by a beach – if I find the time, and a beach!

Plus Friday was a social evening as it was the last chance I had to meet up with friends in our local before I leave. Dawn joined me and the pair of us had a very convivial evening doing our regular quiz whilst quaffing a few ales (or in Dawn’s case, San Pellegrino) then chatting and joking with the rest of the pub. Saturday was in similar vein as Dee and I had brunch with her parents at Hinchliffes (billed as Britain’s oldest farm shop) where I enjoyed something I won’t be eating out in Asia – a full English breakfast!

Heading back to the Calder valley we said another farewell, this time to the fabulous Moorcock Inn at Norland Moor. We popped in for one last drink in order to say goodbye as Aimee and Alasdair are closing the place on January 20th as they’re giving up the lease. It’s a crying shame as in the five years they leased the pub for they’ve turned the place into a ‘must visit’ culinary experience with superb food and a great choice of drinks. They’ll be sorely missed by both locals and people who’ve travelled for miles to enjoy what they offered. We’ll certainly miss popping in after a bracing walk around the moor for a well-earned drink and a bowl of their sublime smoked roasted potatoes.

We continued our culinary these in the evening only this time it was just the two of us. Dawn took me out for a bon-voyage meal to a place neither of us had visited before, the Manor House at Lindley, on the Western edge of Huddersfield. It’s an old Victorian mill owners mansion which has been brought back from dereliction to become a hotel, restaurant and bar. The new owners have done an excellent job with the restoration. We had a drink in the bar before being shown to our table, which allowed us time to see what a mixed-age clientele frequented the place. The restaurant itself is stylish yet cosy and the food is excellent. As both Dee and I both enjoy cooking we’re not easily impressed and often find dining out a bit of a disappointment, but last night both of us were enthused by the inventiveness of the menu and the quality of the food. The place isn’t cheap but for once we felt we certainly had value for money. It’s not somewhere we’d go every month, but we’d have no hesitation in going back.

Today’s been more of a lazy Sunday, with a focus on more household chores and (in my case) packing whilst Dawn’s busying herself in the kitchen before we have a penultimate cosy night in – hence me blogging earlier than usual. So, all that remains now is for me to leave you with the picture of the day – but what to choose? I deliberately left my cameras at home these past few days as the time was about Dawn and I – not pictures – there’ll be plenty of time for those over the next few months! That means digging into the archives. One of the little projects I’m taking with me to Asia is another batch of old slide scans that need editing. There’s a real mixture (all from the late 1990s) but most were taken in India – including this one – which is of the delightfully battered and archaic Calcutta trams.

Sadly, the network has been cut back even more since those days. I’d love to go back and have a look at what’s left as I’ve not returned for a decade. Here’s how they looked in February 1998 when a queue of trams were stuck behind a common event – a derailment on the life-expired and rickety track.

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