When you've lived in Hebden Bridge for as long as I have, you become accustomed to seeing peculiar things. But, on occasion, you can still be taken by surprise.
I was taking the high, narrow back-road from Halifax on Friday morning, and pulled over to let a car coming the other way pass by. As the car approached, I was somewhat astonished to see it was being driven by a clown. I'm not talking metaphorically. I don't mean the other driver was acting like a clown; I mean the other driver actually was a clown: white face-paint, red nose, sad mouth, unlikely dress-sense, the whole Grimaldi. I think she might have been a clown-woman, but I'm not entirely sure: sexing clowns is notoriously problematical.
This unlikely brief encounter has preyed on my mind ever since. What on earth would a clown be doing taking the high-road to Halifax early on a Friday morning? I have thought about it long and hard—far longer and harder than I should, in fact—and have come to the conclusion that she—if, indeed, she was a she—must have had an urgent consignment of buckets of water to deliver.
I'm not entirely convinced she was a genuine clown, however, as her car remained resolutely in one piece as it squeezed past and headed off towards Midgley.
When I was at Boots the Chemist this morning, I couldn't help noticing that the woman behind the counter was wearing a black T-shirt with the word UNCLE emblazoned across her chest.
She didn't look like any sort of uncle I'd ever seen. I wondered if her T-shirt's inscription was intended as some strange take on the American phrase to say uncle. Somehow I doubted it. I toyed with the idea of making a lame joke about her being the Woman from Uncle, but, in the end, having lived in Yorkshire for many years, I decided that the direct approach was best:
“Do you know you've got the word UNCLE written on your T-shirt?” I asked.
The woman looked momentarily confused, stepped back, then tugged at the bottom of her T-shirt, stretching it out to reveal the word JINGLE, with a little star over the I.
OK, Gruts Gang, its time to make yourselves useful [too late: didn't win].
The Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News are running a ridiculously complicated photography competition. I have entered, and my photo has made the semi-finals. There are 13 photos in the semi-finals (I told you it was ridiculously complicated). To make the final six (no, really), my photo needs your votes.
Now, here comes the really complicated part. You can vote in several ways, and you are allowed to vote in more ways than one. So, what I need you to do is to go here, then do AS MANY OF THE FOLLOWING as possible (depending on which of the following you have access to):
click the Facebook Like button alongside the article
click the Twitter button to share the article
click the G+ button alongside the article to share on Google+
click the LinkedIn button alongside the article
leave a COMMENT (or several comments!) against the article
(most importantly) ask all your friends to do the same
…then, if you're feeling really bored, you can try to do the same on this page.
The voting closes as midday on 1st December, 2014.
I have been assured—and you will no doubt be relieved to hear—that there will be no swimming costume round.
Oh, just in case you're wondering what my photo looks like, here it is:
Mitchell Brothers Mill and some buttercups this summer.
Le Tour de France passed through Hebden Bridge this afternoon. Boy, were they ever lost!
The peloton of Le Tour de France approaching Hebden Bridge this afternoon.
Jen and I headed off across the moor to cut them off at the pass, but they still managed to get through.
The best joke of the afternoon came from Jen. As the lead, breakaway group of seven cyclists passed, she turned to me and said, “Is that it?! What a huge disappointment! I was expecting a lot more riders than that.”