A Jaunt to Halifax

Just when I thought work was going into a lull, it picked up again. 2016 was all about travel, but 2017 needs to be a bit more work focused. So I’m glad there isn’t too much around here to distract me, just enough to give me a change of scenery if I need it. I haven’t been able to take a full day off, but a half day to run into Halifax was doable. I got up super early compared to what my schedule has been and was able to do three hours of work by 10:30 so that even with a stop at Barclay’s, I was on the 10:47 bus. I was pleased that a day rider is just £4 considering that a single into Halifax is £3.

Halifax was a centre of woollen manufacture from the 15th century onward. There’s really not much there from a touristy point of view, which was confirmed when I stopped in at the visitor centre behind the bus station (it’s in the library). I was irked to learn that the one thing I had planned to do was closed today, which I had not noticed on their website. Augh.

Like everywhere else I’ve seen in the area, Halifax is a modern town fitted into Victorian buildings. Even new construction has to fit into this aesthetic. I’m a fan of the programme “Grand Designs,” so I know how much work it takes to get planning permission to build in a more modern style pretty much anywhere into the UK.

Halifax’s shopping core is compact and has the expected assortment of shops.

I found the Borough Market, dating back to the Victorian era. It had a surprisingly Mexican feel to it.

Here’s a bit of the exterior of the market.

I love pub names…

Just a regular old bank. I am pleased that this architectural style isn’t something I’m used to yet.

Here’s another side of the market.

Halifax town hall.

I decided to go to my closed destination as I suspected there would be enough to do outdoors to make the one-mile trek there worthwhile. First, I stopped for lunch at a decent and very reasonably priced Chinese buffet restaurant. I tried some new things, like Mongolian style beef and duck. I was really impressed by the variety and quality of the food, especially the abundance of veggies and fruits. Then, off I went across the North Bridge.

On the other side, I saw my friend Vicki’s dream car. Can you spot it?

How about now?

Double decker buses aren’t exclusive to London.

I started to climb high above Halifax along a busy motorway. The walk was pedestrian friendly, but not obvious. I would sometimes take what I thought was a footpath and then have to double back to try a different approach as the roadway split many times and I’d find myself on the wrong side with no place to cross.

It had been sunny when I arrived, but the promised rain was rolling in and it was getting colder.

I spotted a church on a hill.

I love this billboard’s message.

The city quickly gave way to a rural landscape filled with sheep.

See the sheep looking straight at me? It was a little unnerving.

And voilà, Shibden Hall!

The earliest parts of this home date all the way back to the 1420s and it was heavily renovated by Anne Lister in the early 1800s to be more like what a proper Tudor home should be. Anne Lister is considered the “first modern lesbian.” I didn’t think I’d heard of her, but now I’m pretty sure I saw a Sue Perkins thing where she talks about her. Yup, I sure did.

I arrived at the West Terraces. From a plaque: “The West Terraces were constructed, along with the South Terrace, by John Harper as part of the improvements he designed for Anne Lister in 1836. Surrounded by mature trees, the Terraces are cut into the natural slope of the landscape and have stone retaining walls.” They held an orchard with all sorts of fruits with different growing seasons so there could be fruit throughout much of the year.

Anne had this Gothic tower added to the house and it became her library.

The gate at the back of the house was open, so I thought surely it would be okay to have a poke around…

I love the giant stone toadstools.

Well, just as I was heading back to wards the gate, a guy came out of the house to tell me they are closed. I apologised and said I was just trying to see as much of the exterior as I could since I hadn’t realised they were closed on Fridays. He sighed and said that he was waiting for a school group to come back, so why didn’t I come in and have a peek at the interior? Just a peek, though! What a nice guy!!!!

He led me into a hallway with dark wood panelled walls and a low ceiling. I was able to see a fairly standard Victorian kitchen. He then told me I could go look at the most interesting room in the house, to him anyway, a formal sitting room off the main hall. It had much higher ceilings. He explained that the original 1420 stuff is all there, but basically buried by Anne’s renovations. He showed me how the old beams were covered with planks to make them seem bigger and how one of the reasons for the lower ceilings was to make the rooms easier to heat. This is where he told me all that stuff about Anne Lister that I recounted above and that the house is only a museum now and there are no residents.

Obviously, he was doing me a huge favour and I didn’t want to take advantage, so I thanked him and headed out. It sucks that I didn’t get to see the whole property, but at least I didn’t go all the way out there for nothing. Some people are so kind!

It was almost two when I got back into Halifax and I was surprisingly rather footsore and tired. I blame all the hills and stairs in this area. It’s really not hard to get a good amount of exercise even when walking a short distance. I thought of maybe getting a coffee, but went down to the bus station to see when my next bus home would be. Well, there was one right there about to pull out, so I decided to get on.

The ride home was a bit faster than the ride in had been since there wasn’t as much traffic, but it was still almost 40 minutes. I didn’t see anything on either ride that I felt I need to go back out and explore.

I can’t believe I have less than a week left here! This time next week, I’ll be back in Manchester and on my way to my next assignment!