I have met some lovely expats whilst living in Le Marche and they include two good friends, Jean and Steve, who have a holiday home here, with a swimming pool, (but that’s not the only reason we like them – honest!). They come from Manchester and usually drive over from the UK when they visit and they bring with them gorgeous ‘things’ for their home and also bring generous gifts for birthdays and anniversaries etc., Whenever I ask them, ‘Oh that’s lovely where did you get that?’ the answer is always the same, ‘Hebden Bridge!’ So, when I took a trip to the UK earlier this month and stayed with the lovely couple in Didsbury, Manchester I was happy to go along with any of their plans as long as it included at TRIP TO HEBDEN BRIDGE PLEASE!
I was not disappointed, we went on a Sunday which was a trifle silly as the weather was glorious and of course the world and his wife were visiting Hebden Bridge. I loved the journey across the moors and thought the scenery breathtaking and magnificent. I was sure that I had been to the area before but it must have been at least fifteen years ago and I couldn’t remember seeing the open moorland and far reaching views. In fact I remember being distinctly unimpressed so I don’t know where in Yorkshire I was. I do remember that I went to a factory that made clogs and have yet to find out exactly where that was.
We had to drive all the way through the town before finding a parking space as it was so busy but I managed to get a taste of the shops as we passed by. I couldn’t wait to have a good wander and nosey about. We lunched at a trendy cafe/restaurant, delicious Spanish Omelette and salad. Yum. Then hit the shops. What a treat, textiles, candles, bric-a-brac, jewellery, bookshops, toyshops, antiques, coffee shops, shoes and so much hand made stuff and craft shops, food markets and lots lots more.
I saw some great knobs for my kitchen dresser project but couldn’t remember how many I needed (renovation has not yet begun). I loved it all so much but then I never actually bought anything! What a twit. The problem was that I was travelling on trains and planes (no boats this time) and therefore not really in a position to carry much back in my luggage. However, I have promised myself and informed The Man that we are going back next year with the car/truck and will be filling it up for Italy. He didn’t seem too keen until I reminded him that the Tour de France was starting in Yorkshire in 2014 and wouldn’t he like a roadside seat?
To finish off the afternoon we walked back to the car along the canal. Wonderful. I was carried into another time, it seems trite to say it but it’s true. I expected to see children in Victorian dresses and boots running though the gates at the end of the little roads beside the canal, chasing each other, skipping or playing with a stick and a hoop.
The back to back houses had washing lines strung across the road. I thought that at any minute I would see a Beatrix Potter lookalike..(I know I was in the wrong county but I’m just trying to get you to understand how it felt!)
The old mills and factories next to the water looked the same as they might have done 150 years ago. It was peaceful (no traffic sounds) and for a short while it felt as though I’d been transported back in time. It was romantic and dreamy.
Short lived though! I was soon brought back down to earth by the sight of our car with a puncture. But it was efficiently fixed by Steve. Jean and I gave him a gold star, excellent work!