Hebden Bridge Back to Manchester

I can’t believe how quickly the last month has gone by! Hebden Bridge was definitely not a tourist/vacation stop for me as I was able to nearly make up for the very long dry spell I’ve been in with work since since mid-December. But I’m pleased with what I was able to have seen and that I got to enjoy this quaint village for a short time. I really loved the cute little house I was minding and the cat was inordinately affectionate. She’s the only cat I’ve ever known that I could shove off my lap multiple times in an evening and know that she’d come right back and curl up once I sat back down.

My next stop is Shrewsbury, only about two hours total from Hebden Bridge. With the schedule of the hosts there and the fact that I wasn’t in any rush to vacate the Hebden Bridge house since the host was coming in very late, it made sense to stay in Hebden as long as I could, head to Manchester for the night, and go on to Shrewsbury Saturday morning. This way, I was able squeeze in two last jobs for this week’s paycheque with a client who has been going through a very slow phase but was slammed this week.

By three this afternoon, the house was ready for my host’s homecoming. My train was at 4:07. Of course, little last minute things popped up and by the time I was dragging my luggage up those stairs, it was 3:38! I was not pleased with myself as I really had to hoof it to the train station and was not able to get in one last meander through the village. By the time I’d collected my train ticket and crossed to the Manchester-bound platform, I had literally one minute till the train arrived! Phew. I cut it way too close!

Even with the cost of the bus to Levenshulme and back into Manchester, the dump where I stayed in January was still by far the best deal for an overnight. I was not keen to go back there, but needs must. However…

I’ve been doing some testing for a new position that unfortunately did not pan out as I lacked experience for part of the work and there was no time for on the job training. That was a bummer since I spent most of a day doing the tests. Well, to my immense surprise, the testers compensated me for my time! I was shocked! They sent enough to cover an Airbnb in Manchester right by the train station (about 20CAD more a night than the dump) and part of a real dinner out, which I hadn’t planned on doing since I had a meal out in Haworth. There are some really good people out there!

The only flaw in my plan is that my Airbnb host had something come up and the earliest someone could meet me with keys was six, when I was arriving at Manchester Victoria at 4:45. Changing my ticket would have been very £££. So I ended up spending only ££ on a snack at the Starbucks where I could wait in relative warmth and comfort. Slight problem, my host thought I was coming into Piccadilly. It was past six when the hosts’ friend called to ask where I was and then almost 20 minutes to get to Piccadilly and then almost 20 minutes to find the apartment 5 minutes away because Manchester is obviously having fiscal challenges and doesn’t believe in street signage. Yes, I was very grumpy by the time I finally found my room. 🙁

Then, it was time to find dinner. It was past seven by this point and between the lack of signage and my stupid phone misbehaving worse than usual, I didn’t want to go too far. I went back to Piccadilly and wandered looking for a pub, going into the first one I found (Piccadilly Tavern). I liked the set up that I had to find a table, decide what I wanted to eat, then go order and pay at the bar as that meant I wouldn’t have to hunt down the cheque after. I ordered a regular beef burger with a pint of bitter and almost fainted when I was told the price was only £5.69. The pint was free since they were doing a burger and beer deal! So that bonus money 100% covered my stay!

It wasn’t an amazing burger and fries, only a few steps up from McDonald’s, but with the high quality bun and huge pile of veggies, the meal still felt like an incredible deal and was very satisfying. I nursed my pint for a long while, watching the footie on the telly. Can you tell that I’m really struggling with fitting into the UK lifestyle. 😉

I’m back at my Airbnb and going to attempt to get to bed early. I’ve been going to bed past midnight for the last month and I’m pretty sure that won’t be sustainable when I’m responsible for a puppy!

Riding the Brontë Bus to Haworth in Search of Wuthering Heights

My host is the one who clued me into the fact that I’m right near “Brontë country.” Now, I don’t pretend to be a huge fan of the Brontës as I’ve never been able to get through any of their works, but I’ve always thought that Wuthering Heights had to be one of the most evocative English book titles ever and have a vague general familiarity with the works of Charlotte and Emily. I don’t know much about Anne, however.

It felt wrong to leave the area without going to Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived from childhood to their deaths, if it was as close by as I’d been told. But with public transportation being so frustrating to sort out in the UK, I kept on putting it off. Well, the other day, as I was walking home from the village, I saw a bus pass in front of my house marked “Brontë bus.” Intrigued, I made a note of the number and the company and headed off to Google.

As it turned out, that bus going in the other direction would take me straight to Haworth in just under a half hour! The stop is literally in front of my house. Talk about convenient!

I thought I’d have the day off, but a small job came in late last night that I could only have if I got the files to my clients by about 8AM their time, which was my late afternoon. So I got up way too early based on the time I went to bed and got it out fast enough to be on “schedule” to grab the 11:15 bus.

Soon we were climbing high up above the valley to give me my first taste of Yorkshire moors. They rather look like a damper version of home…

The road was super narrow and twisty, especially as we meandered through the town of Oxenhope and took super tight turns. The idea of driving in the UK in general, especially something as big as a bus, boggles and frankly intimidates me.  I had a spark of genius last week that was too late to implement here, but that I will investigate it in my next stop, Shrewsbury — I’m going to learn to drive on the left properly, with a driving instructor in a car clearly marked learner. I hope the rates are comparable to here, where I could have have five one-hour lessons for just £55.

At any rate, here’s a rather lovely bus stop in Oxenhope:

I’d bought a day return ticket to Haworth and back (£4.20) and this is where the driver dropped me and told me to get back on to go home.

I understood why when I realised I was at the bottom of the steep Main Street that leads up to the parsonage that was the Brontë home.

I bet Main Street hasn’t really changed that much.

I’m always so happy to see a burst of colour in a rather drab world.

My friend Croft must be a very important man in this country. Every town seems to have a street named after him. 😉

This is the infamous Black Bull pub, right in front of the church, where Branwell Brontë, the only brother, likely drank himself to death.

Here’s the church.

Back of the church, by the cemetery that is between the church and the parsonage.

Looking towards the parsonage on the left. To the right is a school built by Patrick Brontë (the father) for the children of Haworth.   Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne all taught here and Charlotte’s wedding reception was held here in 1854.

Standing by the parsonage looking back to the church.

I decided to have lunch before touring the museum and heading out to “Wuthering Heights,” the place that inspired the locale of the novel. Almost everything in the village was closed today, but I had looked at the menus of places that were open and the Fleece Inn had the most appealing menu as well as reasonable prices. This was going to be a treat meal, out of the “special excursions” rather than “food” budget, so I focused on getting an experience rather than the cheapest meal.

A sign on the wall offering the chance to sample three local craft beers for the price of a pint caught my attention. I selected these beauties, a lager, stout, and bitter. I find it amusing that folks that don’t really know beer would expect the stout and bitter to be super strong tasting, but they were actually smoother than the lager. All three were delicious, but I think I’m really a bitters person!

I ordered the bacon, brie, and cranberry sandwich on ciabatta, which came with a salad. The soup of the day was leek, so I had to try that! The server goofed and brought me a full portion instead of the half that comes with a sandwich, but I knew I’d be working it off. Everything was so yummy! I love that thick-cut British bacon. The meal was only £14 or 23CAD! The soup was a pricy add-on since I had to pay for the full portion at £4 rather than the add-on price of £2, but it wasn’t worth quibbling over. And, of course, you don’t need to tip. I was really surprised by this bill since the beers were only £3.30. Cheapest pint I’ve had yet!

It was almost one when I was done with lunch and I wanted to at least attempt the hike to “Wuthering Heights,” which is about 10KM round trip. With nightfall being around five and the hike expected to take about three hours given the terrain, I had a half hour to get through the museum. I knew that would be plenty and also that the museum is really pricey at £8.50. That’s actually great for locals as you can use the ticket for readmission over the next year, but it sucks for someone who is just travelling through!

Standing in the garden at the front of the parsonage.

The front door of the parsonage is the entrance of the museum. That extension on the right was added after the Brontës.

Throughout the museum, you can see the costumes that were used in the Sally Wainwright production of “To Walk Invisible” about the Brontë siblings. Considering how much a fan I am of her series “Happy Valley” and that one of the stars (Charlie Murphy) and my favourite character of that series is in “To Walk Invisible,” I’m going to hunt down a copy!

So this is “the dining table at which Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were written, making it one of the “most significant literary artefacts of the 19th century.” Wow! You can’t see the marks of daily use, like ink stains, from that distance, unfortunately.

Next up is Mr. Brontë’s study, where he carried out parish business and gave his children lessons. Emily and Anne were the main players of the cabinet piano.

The front hall finally cleared enough for me to photograph its “pretty dove-coloured tint, as per a description of the parsonage by a family friend of the Brontës.

Now on to the kitchen, which was demolished during the renovations to add the extension. It has been restored with period appropriate furnishings, including the range.

After the Brontë sisters’ mother died, their Aunt Branwell took over as the female head of household. After she died, Emily acted as housekeeper and Charlotte and Anne went away to work as governesses. “Baking bread or ironing allowed Emily the mental freedom to focus on her writing and she was always happiest at home.” I can really identify with that. Even when I’m travelling, I need to be able to be “domestic” to feel complete.

The next room I visited on the ground floor was the study of Charlotte’s husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls, who had come in 1844 to help Patrick curate the church. The room was originally a storeroom that was only accessible from outside. Charlotte decorated the room in grey and green, a fashionable colour combination in the 1850s.

The marriage was short, but happy. Charlotte died within a year of marriage when she was pregnant. Now’s a good time to point out that I was disappointed that the museum glossed over the sad facts of their lives and especially that their home, with its non-potable water supply, played a role in the sisters dying so young. I also found that the museum only catered to people who know the Brontë history really well as there is very little context given as to who is who. Several people told me there was an event going on for “Branwell” with the assumption being that I would know who that was, but I had to piece it together for myself.

I then headed upstairs to the bedrooms.

I love the story behind this clock, that Mr. Brontë would lock his front door at 9PM every night and call to his daughters in the dining room not to stay up too late. Then, he would come wind up the clock.

A portrait of Anne, Emily, and Charlotte. They had two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, who died when they were 11 and 10 respectively when they died of complications of typhus they contracted while at school.

Looking down to the front hall.

Looking up, we can see the entrance to “Charlotte’s room” (at an angle), flanked by the children’s study on the left and the servant’s room on the right.

The Brontës normally had one servant, who had quite a cosy room.

I used quotation marks above for Charlotte’s room because it was originally that of the parents. When Mrs. Brontë died in 1821, her sister Elizabeth Branwell took over. Charlotte didn’t get this room until she married Arthur Bell Nicholls… and it was here that she died. The room is filled with Charlotte’s effects.

I thought it was odd that this costume was in a box when the others weren’t but now I realise that that’s just because there’s no way to keep it away from curious fingers the way there was downstairs with only a small sliver of the rooms being available to walk through.

I loved her collection of shoes! Some are very dainty and barely worn, showing that they were for special occasions.

She bought these moccasins on a trip to the beach.

Her writing desk, spectacles, and quill cutter, which is what made her impossibly teeny handwriting possible.

Next, I went to Mr. Brontë’s bedroom. He moved here after his wife died. It was furnished from replicas thanks to a drawing by Branwell, who was often kept in this room under his father’s supervision because of his alcoholism. He died here in 1848 at age 31.

With the crowd thinning out, I was able to peek into the children’s study, where Emily may have slept. It is so small because room was taken from it to enlarge Charlotte’s room.

The little red arrows point to faint pencil marks on the walls that were likely made by the sisters.

Branwell’s studio was very messy! I was impressed that it was portrayed so realistically.

From his study, we move into the extension, which has a lot more background information. If you’re really into the Brontës and want to get more information about the parsonage, you can virtually visit the rooms on the Brontë Parsonage Museum website.

I learned about the Clergy Daughters’ School in Cowan Bridge, where Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Emily went. The school regime was harsh and the two elder girls were sent home in ill health in 1825 and died soon thereafter. “Charlotte’s sense of loss stayed with her for the rest of her life, and she later immortalized Cowan Bridge as the infamous Lowood School in her novel Jane Eyre.”

Charlotte’s writing really was teeny!

That’s a fragment from her “Roe Head journal.” There were a lot of interesting artefacts in that case, including an accounts book for the family where she worked as a governess that showed her final payout before leaving the job.

Here is a trunk that Charlotte bought in Brussels, where she was trying to improve her language skills.

Patrick Branwell outlived all his children and lived to the surprising age of 84, in 1861, five years after Charlotte died. As I wrote above, Branwell died in 1848, aged 31. Emily and Anne became ill soon thereafter. Emily died three months after her brother from tuberculosis, aged 30. Anne tried a sea cure and went to Scarborough with Charlotte and a family friend, only to die there on 28th May, 1849, age 29. “To spare her father the anguish of another family funeral, Charlotte had her sister buried in Scarborough, then she returned to Haworth alone.” In 1854, Charlotte accepted Nicholls’ proposal and they married, but she died on 31st March 1855 in the early stages of pregnancy. Nicholls took care of his father-in-law for six years at the parsonage.

Here is Branwell’s drawing of death visiting him in his father’s room. He called it “A Parody.”

It was then time to head off to “Wuthering Heights.” It was 1:30, sunset was at five, and I was told to allow 3.5 hours, which meant three hours for me. That only gave me 30 minutes of wiggle room. So I was hyper aware of distances and times as I walked and hiked as I did not want to be out on the moor in the dark!

The walk starts behind the parsonage. I got so lucky with the weather!

A look back at the parsonage and the gift shop.

I immediately felt at ease with the landscape. It was really not that different from my experience hiking in the Highlands, which I remember in vivid detail thanks to my journal. Most of this is private land and there are rights of way for walkers. Follow the path and close any gate you open.

Sheep here instead of “hairy coos.”

Remember that structure out on the lake. It’ll be worth an exclamation point later.

Status report on my boots about a mile in.

The sky looked ominous, but I didn’t get so much as a spatter of rain. The path was very mucky, though.

This man overtook me just before the waterfall. I was jealous of his trekking poles, seriously overdressed, but surefooted.

Charlotte wrote this about the waterfall on 29th November, 1854

“We set off, not intending to go far; but though wild and cloudy it was fine in the morning; when we got about half-a-mile on the moors, Arthur suggested the idea of the waterfall; after the melted snow, he said it would be fine. I had often wished to see it in its winter power, so we walked on. It was fine indeed; a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful!”

There obviously hasn’t been much rain this winter!

I then headed over this bridge, knowing that I would soon need to check the time.

I’d just come down so of course I had to go up.

Looking back down to the bridge.

Left towards “Wuthering Heights,” right back to the parsonage. The sky worried me. I was adding two miles to my trek if I went left. According to my clock, I had time. It takes me about 20 minutes to walk a mile in rough terrain, so if I wasn’t at the end of the trail in that time, I would turn back.

This lovely stone path did not last.

On the other side of this wall was was… muck.

This is a “stile.” I was bemused by the “please close the gate” sign seeing as there is no obvious “closed” position.

Oh, this was going to be fun.

I soon was hiking in what was more like a very shallow river.

I stepped into one puddle and ended up in water up past my ankles. Incredibly enough, while my jeans got soaked through, my boots didn’t. They earned their keep!

There’s the end of the trail at the distance. Can you see the building on top of the hill?


It had taken 20 minutes to get to this point, so it was time to turn around. I’m glad that I know my limits and speeds so well when hiking that I can make smart decisions. I wasn’t that disappointed since I knew that I’d just get more of this and this was more than I ever imagined seeing!

So I headed back in the muck.

In case there’s any doubt that I was doing some serious hiking. 😉

So much GREEN! This is where I wasn’t sure which direction to go as there was no obvious path. I felt like I was in a video game looking for the exit and trying to avoid obstacles. I spent way too much time and energy in this pasture trying to figure out how to keep moving towards Haworth. The hike is meant to be a loop and I didn’t want to go back the way I’d come.

Ah, the exit.

Which had a swimming pool at the bottom. Total real life video game. 😀

I made it around!

I have rarely in my life been so happy to see a proper road!

The sheep here are dyed, presumably to identify their owners.

Had a nice chat with this handsome fellow.

Remember that structure in the lake from earlier?! I was a bit shocked to find myself so far from it on the opposite side.

I ended up in a place called Stanbury. Huh. A nice lady confirmed that I just had to keep going straight to get to Haworth but that “it’s really far.” I knew I had about two miles to go so while I was definitely off the trail, I wasn’t out of my way.

Everything was going swimmingly to about a mile from Haworth as I’d been going downhill for ages, then I had to climb back up much of that distance. This staircase was fun. I particularly liked the barbed wire handrail.

I was shocked when I got to this intersection because on the way out, I’d had a brief section off the moor and on the road along the fork at the top. I really had done a perfect circle!

I was at the end of my strength so I just made my way straight to the bus stop. I had just enough time to check the time on my phone (40 minutes to the bus, gah) when my phone died. I thought on the way in to get a cream tea if I had such a long bus wait, but I hadn’t seen any tea shops or cafés open and I was way too foot sore to go exploring. So I sat on a bench across the street to wait.

This bus from another company went by. The Quebec ambulance yellow colour caught my eye.

I spent my time just watching the traffic (trying to “normalise” the driving on the left traffic patterns) and shivering as the temperature went from comfortable to frigid as the sun set. A lovely police community support officer who looked just like my favourite character on “Happy Valley” passed me and stopped to ask if I was okay. Nothing that a warm bus and a hot shower at home wouldn’t cure. And maybe a view ibuprofen tablets…

Final status report on my boots. The need a good cleaning once they dry and a coating or two of wax!

The bus finally arrived and it was crowded. Thankfully, I got one of the last seats and no more older people came on so I didn’t have to give it up. It was super dark and I knew there was no way I would recognise when to ask to get off. What I normally do in such circumstances is track my route on my phone. I finally found out what’s wrong with the stupid thing, its battery is on the point of failing, and I’ve discovered that I can sometimes revive it after its shut down. After we got through Oxenhope, across the moor, and started to head down, I tried to turn it on and it came to life. It conked out again promptly, but lasted just long enough to make up for a lot of its recent idiocy by doing so just as my stop was coming up. I was going to go tell the driver my stop when a lady signalled to get off. Based on what I’d seen on the map, she would either be the stop before mine, if there was one, or my stop. As it turned out, it was my stop!

I was so glad to have nothing more to do to get home than to cross the street and go down the stairs. I promptly hopped into a hot shower and fresh clothes.

It was an incredible day in Brontë country. I had perfect weather for it, learned a lot, and got some fresh air and exercise. I now feel that I’ve done all the touristy stuff I needed to do here and am ready to move on to my next location.

A Ten-Year Anniversary

It was a bitter cold morning ten years ago today that my dad died. Ten years! I’m not going to ask the cliché question of “Where did that time go?” when I know exactly where it went.

I think he’d be delighted that I’m in England today, just as he would have happy for me to be in Mexico, the US, and western Canada in years past, all because that meant I had finally found my way out of that old life that made me so unhappy.

I went down to the village this afternoon for a little human interaction and shopping and treated myself to fish and chips because Dad would have loved them. I still have all the letters I wrote him from Scotland nineteen years ago. If I was writing him today, I’d just have this to say:

Hi Dad!

I’m finally learning to speak English! I was at the supermarket today looking for crackers and asked someone, “Please, where may I find the cr…ispbreads.” Crackers here go boom!

Miss you and wish you were here!



Off to Heptonstall in Search of a Grave

Whew. Today was the first time in ages that I was able to get away for a few hours. I keep hoping to be able to get away to Leeds for a day, but that’s looking less and less likely. At least, I could look for something close by to do today and the answer was obvious, visit the ancient village of Heptonstall, which towers over Hebden Bridge. As the crow flies, I am about 0.5KM from the centre of Heptonstall, but I have to go all the way down into the valley, cross the river, and climb up to Heptonstall, so it is quite a trek!

Take a second here to check out the Heptonstall Parish website. You’ll know why when you get there. 😉

Heptonstall is a quaint place to visit for its churches and ancient buildings, but it is probably best known for being the final resting place of author Sylvia Plath. I don’t pretend to be a huge connoisseur of her (it’s been so long since I read The Bell Jar that I barely remember it), but she asked a question that I asked myself many times before setting off on my life by design:

Why can’t I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which one fits me and is most becoming?

Why not indeed? I sure didn’t find a valid answer.

Standing on my porch, sort of looking towards Heptonstall:

I headed down to the village, but where I normally turn left, I turned right to cross this bridge.

When I came home, there were archers practicing on this field.

Looking back towards Hebden before starting the climb up.

I somehow missed the staircase on the trip home and end up going down this super muddy path with only barbed wire to hold on to. That was fun.

At the top of the staircase, I followed a pretty path for a bit.

Climbing up above Hebden.

I eventually found myself on a very rough road with tons of caution signs to truck drivers.

My boots were a bit muddy.

I then had to walk along this road without a footpath.

Hebden’s layout is becoming clearer.

Just in case anyone has any doubt as to where I am, the slow sign being the wrong way should narrow it down.

Blue sky, just for a bit. I’d been switchbacking to this point and was at my final turn. I now have to follow that fence you see at the lower left. It’s now a straight climb to Heptonstall.

I loved how there were these super narrow breaks in the wall for people to squeeze through to reach sheds and footpaths.

I made it!

I made a note of the tearoom as I thought that I might have earned a cream tea!

There is a walk you can do in Heptonstall to see all the sights, but I really didn’t have that much time. So I headed straight for the churches and graveyards.

These are the ruins of the original village church.

And there’s new church.

Quoting from a plaque:

“The original church, dedicated to the martyred archbishop St Thomas à Becket, remained in use until the mid 19th century. Following storm damage in 1847, the decision was taken to raise money to build a replacement. The new church was completed in 1854 at a cost of £6,666. Instead of being demolished, the earlier building was left to become a ruin.”

It was very slippy and I had to be super cautious as I poked around.

Sylvia Plath is buried in the “overflow” cemetery across the street.

I had some limited instructions on my phone for how to find the grave, but of course, the stupid thing decided to die on me the second I arrived (despite having 85% battery life). I can’t wait to replace it!

So I walked among the gravestones looking for it. This stone caught my eye. Neville Longbottom is my favourite character in Harry Potter and I thought his unusual name was made up by JK Rowling. Nope!

I wandered the small graveyard a lot longer than I had planned to be there, looking for anything that had tributes by it. I eventually was able to discern a bit of a pattern to the dates on the markers and narrowed down in what rows Plath’s gravestone could be. On my final pass, I found it!

The gravestone has been damaged by vandals who removed “Hughes” from it, as some of her fans feel her estranged husband was to blame for her suicide.

Heading out, I passed this home with a lovely tower. Anyone who watches “Grand Designs” knows that a common way to update these old stone buildings in the UK and add on to them is by using glass and steel.

There were workers on site doing repairs to the church tower.

I did go for tea! 🙂 They didn’t have a cream tea per se, but I was able to order a pot of tea (Yorkshire blend), a raisin scone without butter, a pot of clotted cream, and a pot of jam à la carte for a total of £5. I was cold and tired and this was the prefect treat to get me home!

Of course, the walk down to Hebden was a lot quicker than the walk up to Heptonstall! I could see my front door from here!

I eventually found my way back to to the bridge after that harrowing downhill journey. It was only while going back over my photos that I realised where I missed a turn to get back to the staircase.

It’s a Small World

I don’t answer the landline when I’m housesitting, but when the phone rang last night, this morning, and about 30 minutes before Spanish class today, I made the correct deduction that I should pick up. It was the Spanish teacher uninviting me to attend her conversation class because my skills are too advanced. Instead, she suggested I come by around 3:30 and meet a Mexican friend of hers who lives here in Hebden. She could speak to me in English, me to her in Spanish, and we could talk about my impending move to Mexico. How awesome is that?!


The gal, who is from Chiapas, near Yucatán, cautiously felt me out, asking me quite pointed questions about why I’m moving to Mexico and what my views are on certain topics. It was incredible to see her warm up to me as I answered what I guess was correctly for her. Before I knew it, we were both laughing and crying as we talked about what we missed about Mexico, like the food (al pastor tacos and Abuelita hot chocolate!) and the brights colours. We bonded over how bland we find Europe, the US, and Canada compared to the explosion of sights, sounds, tastes, and smells that is Mexico. She was so excited for me to be moving at this time of major social transition in Mexico and she found my observations very astute for the limited amount of time I’ve been there and that I’ve really only been to one small part of the country.

We finally had to leave as our host had another class. I asked if they knew if Co-Op would still be open and my new friend’s expression brightened at that. She lives near the store, so she was happy that we could walk together and keep chatting as we headed there. Her English is very basic and after a bit more of her haltingly trying to make her points and me confirming that I could understand her we switched to just Spanish. We got some strange looks as we made our way through this sleepy English village giggling away in Spanish. It was the best time I’ve had with someone in a very long time, even more special than my last night in Spain.

I’ve only got two more weeks here (already!), but we promised to see each other again. I think that this is one person I might end up keeping in touch with. We shall see…

I got what I needed at Co-Op and then decided that since a) I didn’t spend the £5 I was going to spend on a lesson, b) I am incredibly well under my food budget for January (thank you, Tesco!), and c) I had to get back to work when I got home, I was going to get fish and chips to keep my hands warm on my long walk home! Oh, didn’t I mention that it was about -1C/30F out? BRRRRRRR.

The chippy was doing a brisk business, but the line moved quickly. I was able to get a half portion of chips for 50p less than a full portion and that was absolutely perfect for me. It was sooooo good and I conveniently finished as I approached the public garbage can by my house so I didn’t have to worry about stinky trash at home.

What an incredible day it’s been. I’m going to be working late, of course, but it was worth it. Who would have thought that I’d make a Mexican friend here of all places?