Her Diverse Fun Day
I don’t know everyone in Hebden Bridge but I do know some of the shopkeepers, the people in the Post Office, musicians who play in the square or in the pubs or at the Trades Club, the guy who mends my bike, friends of my daughters who work in the cafes and pubs, the postmen, the man who sold the Big Issue, photographers, a true friend who runs an art class, sculptors, singers, actors, roofers, painters, plumbers, dog-walkers, designers, the late-night intruder who I told to go home to his Mum’s house, the people who are green, those who live on barges on the canal, journalists, jugglers, a joiner who plays drums, a professor who plays fiddle, a barber who was at the Royal College of Art, the woman who hardly knew me but who lent me her car without question in an emergency, the stalker (but he’s gone now), the writers of soaps, the intellectuals, the drinkers, dancers and social workers. I know some who have had tragedy; some who have been ill; some who have cheated, and some who have been brave; I have seen some fall in and out of love; some who have thieved; some who have grown old; some who have beaten each other up on mad Friday nights and some who have become the best friends I have ever had; maybe I know five hundred people in Hebden Bridge even if they don’t know me.
On foot or by bike, it doesn’t take long to get around the town, to buy vegetables from Holts, get a bottle of milk from the Co-op, a bottle of wine from Oasis, go to the dentist, post a letter, drink coffee outside Café Cali, visit a friend, buy some incense sticks, take home a warm granary loaf from Waite’s, find a new skirt at Limited Edition or an old one at Oxfam, and you can have a mug of coffee while you watch a film at the Picture House.Beyond the town you can walk in any direction and become part of the lush green countryside along the canal, or up to Hell-Hole Rocks, into historic Heptonstall via the buttress and down into Lumb Bank, or climb through the woods to Old Town, go through Hardcastle Crags and on to Blake Dean, or up the steep hill to Horsehold and Stoodley Pike and if it’s raining, you can call in at the Fox and Goose to hear some music on a Wednesday, or walk on to Stubbing Wharf or, back in the centre, have a veggie meal at Nelson’s Wine Bar or a drink at any of the many pubs. If you are a night person you can walk very late through the empty streets, when the town is beautiful and still, and down the wavy steps, to follow the river path; one night, there were two, old, too old people who were seen smiling and kissing on the 500 year old bridge; one of them was me.