The true story of Todmorden 

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There are two events we hear about from day one of arriving in Todmorden, England. 1) The coronation of Charles 2) Eurovision. Actually, we were interested/excited about Eurovision when we lived in Liverpool way back six-weeks ago. Since then, we have lived in Wales (three-weeks) and have been busy planning the next trip (August/September – USA, October – Spain), and of course India, Pakistan, somewhere else for three months or so at the beginning of 2024. Oh, and we have been exploring this area – Toddles – as I call it. Now we are all in for the events. More later.


We left Wales, driving, our only shot at having a car during these three months away. And only Narda (the younger) could drive as we were unable to get insurance for me – too old, too ugly, too whatifs. The drive to Toddles was all on freeways, much different than our drives around the countryside of Wales. See our previous blog for all that. As always, we brought sandwiches and coffee, we can spend heaps on travel tickets but penny ourselves in the moment. We stopped at a Starbucks to drink our coffee, eat our sandwiches, and use their toilets. Thanks Starbucks, you’re the best.


We got hopelessly lost upon arrival in Toddles, to continue our record for rarely finding the easiest way to target location, finding ourselves winding up a very narrow road up a very curvy straight up a hill that should be considered a mountain. Narda, the younger, beeped her horn at every turn.


Here is a clip that shows this wonderful scary drive, it is a part of this larger clip.


The long verbiage of this short story is that we got down the hill OK, still lost, our host met us at Aldi food store and walked us to their wonderful home. These are the same people’s whose house we had in Wales. This is their second home. Thanks Bob and Beth. Unfortunately, we gave them back their car so they could drive back to their home in Wales. Now, we are all up to date.


As per usual/always Narda is italic that other person isn’t


Todmorden, Yorkshire May 4

On our way on the drive by 9.30 or so. It was quite straightforward. We stopped halfway to eat our packed lunch, then onwards. The M6 was pretty busy, lots of fast-moving trucks and 8 lanes of traffic. But we made it without incident other than we got muddled with directions once in Todmorden and finished up driving up a very steep very narrow road with stone walls on both sides. I honked the horn a lot, but no car came the other way. Finally, we reached a farm and were able to turn back. Bob, our host, guided us by phone to the correct location. All good. Bob and Beth then took the car back to Wales.


The house is nice, set up for Airbnb, everything there we need. It's old, from 1890, but completely modernised inside.

We walked around town, found a nearby Aldi, which is good. Groceries are pretty pricey.


In the avo we took a nice walk along the canal.

On the way back we stepped into a pub and I enjoyed a good conversation with the publican who let me try a few different beers. I discovered that I like English ale….very smooth. The woman at the bar and I talked about our travels in India, and we seem to have the same enthusiasm about the place. She expressed her dream to go to Kashmir.


I need to warm up to this blog. I have done some videos I am pleased with – seven in all for this two week stay. Luckily, Narda has been writing stuff. Here is all I have for our first day in Toddles… “Didn’t sleep well last night – walked to town centre – bought pastry – stopped at outdoor/indoor market – nap - Walked around town along canal crossed to other side walked back via train station – stopped at pub Narda had a beer.” I stopped beer stuff in 2005 due to cirrhosis of the liver and hep C – got ride of the C with the great pharmaceutical stuff they have these days, but the liver wasn’t looking to sharp so I thought I would give alcohol a miss. Don’t miss it. However, I have had a few of those zero beers over the past year – didn’t try it at this pub. Felt sleepy and grouchy – starting to think sleep is important. Will try to get some in the future.


Saying all that crap above, my first impressions of Toddles is quite positive. It is like living in one of those specials about villages in the UK – everything so old, not just us. Apparently, this was all about mills in the 1800s and the buildings are from then. Developers have not come in and knocked the old shit down and put up those horrible new buildings we see everywhere in the world. Narda is not too sure about the name Toddles. I quite like it. It is a very easy to walk through and around places. Surrounded by tall hills, apparently folks come here for walks. We looked at the brochures… most of the walks are 2 – 5 hours, “steep, bring water, phone, food, tell someone you’re hiking…” stuff like that. We being level headed people stayed on the level – the level streets that is and confined our walks to the 15 – 20 minutes variety. There is a wonderful canal through town, I say wonderful as it is very picturesque, and I like taking photos. We thought of walking to the next town, five miles away – couple of hours along the canal…it was a very quick and passing thought, but we did walk a bit and took photos. At the end of this blog is our video clip of Todmorden. You will see the canal in that. Of the seven videos for this part of our stay it is the best.


May 5

This morning we returned to the same pub and had their English breakfast special. A young guy who was serving breakfast told us that Sardinia is actively recruiting folks to come and live there and help with their labour shortage. They are offering EU citizenship if people will live there for 2 years, and they will give you 30,000 pounds. You only need to be there 180 days in each of those years. Pretty nifty. If we were younger…….maybe.


Then the train ride to Hebden Bridge, about a 6-minute ride, but very pretty. It's a town much like Todmorden (or Toddles as we call it) but a little more upmarket and tourist oriented. A lovely town square.

These unusual pics I had to add. Sacha having a field day with AI art, created from photos and text. Not really sure how to describe it, but this is Chris and Jess and family, and us below.

Interesting!! The AI impression of Chris' family.


A bit more about these AI photos…Narda didn’t include the one of me, which is now my profile photo on FB. It has become my alter ego…if only I could look like that. Anyway, Sacha and his partner, Georgia are in Vietnam for a two-week holiday. Sacha was saying it was the hottest day in Vietnam’s history, so they were in their hotel’s pub staying cool and he started playing with AI imagery and found it quite addictive, so he did a heap of photos, many of Narda and me – a lot of me; for example, Terrell (Dr Neuage) teaching whilst sitting on the toilet. I won’t include those, but they were funny. It is a fact I was a teacher, and I am a PhD person (University of South Australia 2005) but I did not teach whilst on a toilet – at least to my conscious knowledge.

Just adding a bit to this – Adobe Photoshop has a new feature (May 2023) called Generative Fill so suddenly some of my photos have a bit added. For example, I added this castle, when in fact I was looking out the window and the scenery was just some trees and countryside. Or this one of our street in Toddles when I added a fighter jet and some fireworks. I will try to not to add too much and keep photos as they appear – to a point.

We really grooved (do we still say that?) on Hebden Bridge. See our video,  Hebden Bridge is another old, 1800s, mill town with all the buildings still in tack. I read all about it on several sites. What I remember (writing this on our flight from Manchester to Hong Kong two weeks later – quite tired – twelve-hour flight – we started at 5 am it is now 11 pm in Toddles/our time with a couple more hours to HK – then hours more before we get to our resort in Phuket – woe is me, Narda is asleep – I rarely sleep on these flights. When we arrive, it will be 5 am in our time but 11 in Phuket time. 24 hours no sleep. Anyway, to stop feeling sorry for myself….Hebden Bridge from my memory reading is quite the hippy town. It seems that in the 1980s artists of all sorts moved here. Lots of gay stuff too, as a matter of fact it has been said (by many internet sources) that it has the highest number of lesbians per population. My comments a couple of decades ago would have been different than they are now which is ‘no comment’. All I can say as a hetero male is that given assumed knowledge one is easily curious with interpretations at what one sees in any location at varying times. We sat in the village square, had coffee, and I looked at people, wondering.



Took the train to Manchester to sit in a Cathedral and watch it all, that was the closest we could get to Winchester Cathedral. It was nice. We watched the whole ceremony on big screens, and I got quite emotional. The music was fantastic, I just loved the choir. Our video of the day at


See flag waving Narda here…


Walking out, we were accosted by loud cathedral bells. One of the ushers told me that this will go on for 3 hours, and no musical sequence will be repeated. Pretty impressive!


Our experience of bells in a cathedral tower was when we were in Washington DC in 2019 visiting Narda’s son, Chris and wife Jessica and child, Liam. We stayed with their neighbour as it was Chris’s 40th birthday celebration and family was over from Australia and their house was filled with Aussies. Lucky us, our neighbour, Alex, a bell ringer at Washington National Cathedral showed us around. A rare treat as this in not even on the Cathedral paid tours. We spent an hour with him in the bell towers and this is a bit of what we saw and learned. Alex started in high school learning bell ringing and has done it since. Recently at the Fourth of July he rang bells with 9 others for 3 hours and 20 minutes. We have this wonderful video with him explaining the ringing stuff at











We made our way to Piccadilly Park where there was another venue for the coronation. More casual, folks sitting at tables drinking beer. We joined them. A nice atmosphere. The main thing I like about the monarchy is the absence of politics. I think Charles the third will bring good changes, scaling it all down, working towards a better earth, and encouraging people to care for each other. He can do this, without being accused of trying to win votes.

We were joined on the trip home by a young couple, the guy was from Syria. She had lots of questions about Terrell's camera, asking if he was professional. He made the comment that Syria is now like Dubai, fancy and expensive. Interesting couple.

May 7

A quiet day, for me mostly reading. Just finished a good book "the Diamond Eye" by Kate Quinn. It's a true story, based on a Ukrainian young female sniper who never missed. She killed 307 Nazi invaders and became famous, meeting President Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor in the WW2 period. Worth a read.


May 8

Bus Day. We bought an all-day pass for Western Yorkshire and spent the day riding from town to town. Nice.

We were lucky in that we got to ride on the top deck in the front for part of the way. See our clip at

It was pretty much raining all day, but the buses were nice and dry. Our best stop was the last one in Leeds, which is a lovely city.




One of the things it is known for is its beautiful arcades.





Several popular guidebooks have called these restored Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades among the top 20 sites in England. The Victoria Quarter consists of several linked arcades that run between Briggate, a pedestrian area that is Leeds' central retail street, and Vicars Lane. We did not read any of those guides, however, we did walk through a few of these arcades and can testify to the fact that they are very cool. It was a rainy day in Leeds – but not unpleasant. I think we could have spent a couple of days here and it is on our list of places to go back to one day as is over a thousand other places.


















We took the train home; it was a much quicker ride, and we were all bused out! A fun day.

We took the train home as the bus would have taken about three hours and the train got us back to Toddles in a bit over half an hour. Bottom line we were exhausted by the end of the day – one of those things that happens to the elderly when they don’t have their afternoon nap.

May 9

As one would expect – we have a video of our day to Liverpool to Eurovision 2023

Eurovision in Liverpool meant we just had to return. Liverpool was chosen to host, even though it was Ukraine who won it last year. It was great, and actually quite emotional to see all the Ukrainian flags, blue and yellow balloons.

We had to line up for a while to get into the free area where music was playing. There was a "village" where you could try different foods and buy Ukrainian cultural souvenirs.

Then we took the iconic canal-boat bridge at the Albert Docks, complete with a much needed coffee.

The train ride was easy, we had to change trains in Manchester, but in total about 1 ½ hours. Quite a lot of people in the train, many dressed up, lots of glitter around.

We could not get tickets to the main event so at around we had some dinner at a pub where we chatted with a friendly couple of our vintage. They have family in Melbourne or Sydney …as does the entire population of Liverpool it seems. Then took the train at St James station right across the road and went 'home'.



I really liked that day. Taking the train from Toddles early in the morning, being in Liverpool seemed like returning home. Actually, it was only a month ago we had spent three weeks here; the blog for that wonderful period is at We got off at the Lime Street Station, the main station serving the city centre of Liverpool. Opened in August 1836, it is the oldest still-operating grand terminus mainline station in the world. The same station we arrived at on our first trip, as explained in our Liverpool Blog, a month or more earlier. We walked fifteen minutes to where the Eurovision shindig was happening and stood for half an hour in a line. They would not let me use my camera as they deemed it a professional camera – one needed a journalist’s paper thingy to have such a camera. I said I was not going to publish any photos (OK perhaps one or two on social media and blogs and my webpage – but that would be all). Besides, I have a BA in journalism from Deakin University (Geelong, Victoria, Australia) and once upon a time had a journalist’s pass but that was more than thirty years ago, not worth arguing, so I put the camera in the bottom of my backpack and promised I would not take any photos with my camera. However, we did a zillion with our phone camera which is almost as good. Not quite sure the difference in the reasoning for the photos stuff. It is the same at museums, even at mosques in Pakistan. Signs everywhere no camera, then there are folks taking photos with their phone. Go figure. Bottom line these photos of Eurovision were taken on our phones which is why there are not good close ups as I did not have a telescopic lens.

Just a short note; we didn’t like Eurovision this year. It has gotten stupid, in our professional opinion. The acts seem to try and out gross one another, the emphasis is on lighting, customs (showing lots of skin which I don’t mind – being a male and all) and special effects. Music seems to be the least of each country’s show. I suppose for someone under 40 it was OK. There was no Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Country Joe and the Fish, acts…which any one of those would have put their country into the winner’s circle. I think Swedish chickadee Loreen won the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 with her song Tattoo. Loreen was previously crowned Eurovision winner in 2012 with her song Euphoria. All I remember was that she had very long nails and lots of skin and seemed to moan and groan a lot which is kind of entertaining. We watched that on TV as we were only in town the first day of it all.

We were fortunate in that it did not rain for the day; I think it was the only day of the week it did not rain. We got the train home in the evening and commented that we were happy. Also, there was no train strike on the day we travelled, which we appreciated. National Rail likes to go on strike when there are major events. For example, they went on strike on the final day of the Eurovision melody, so everyone going to the grand finale could be pissed off at them and they would get their pay rise they were striking about. Don’t think it worked because they have gone on strike a few more times since, such as on the day of some grand finale football match and a few other times folks were desperate for trains to run. I am so happy Narda, and I live in La La Land so little of what is going on in the world concerns us – we don’t pay much attention to the news – anywhere…it makes life so much easier and manageable not to be stressed by the media and their exaggerated nonsense. That is why I gave up being a journalist even after getting a degree because I didn’t want to lie and just tell scary stories to the public who for some reason believes what the media has to say. Sorry, think I got off track.


May 11

This was a treat. We saw a wonderful movie in an old-fashioned theatre in Hebden Bridge, a short train ride down the line. The movie "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" came with free tea and biscuits. We sat in the old-fashioned balcony. The audience was 100% over 65 I'm pretty sure. Old enough to appreciate this moving film.

Thinking of redecorating our lounge (Clare's colours) to match this lovely cafe where we had coffee and cake after the movie.

I've also been drinking tea English style. Only one coffee day now. Amazing how one can be easily influenced by these poms.


May 13

Epic bus road day. We bought day passes and headed to Keighley in pursuit of steam trains. It turned out better than we expected. We stumbled upon the old station; the next steam train was due to leave within the hour. So tickets in hand we rode to the furthest point, and also managed to see the very famous Flying Scotsman. Upon the advice of a savvy local we avoided the expensive tour to see this famous train. The guy said "just go over to the Co-op luv (everyone here calls each other luv) and you'll see it from the car park".

There it was. It’s famous because it was the first steam train to achieve a speed of 100 mph. A decent effort I say ...that's 161 kpm!

See our groovy clip at

Here is our train


Our next stop was the home of the Bronte sisters. A steep walk up a hill. We skipped the museum, too exhausted and I must confess, I have never read any of their books, not even Wuthering Heights, a classic.

The bus ride, called Bronte bus, was speccie.


The Bronte bus was fantastic – through varying countryside that we had not seen anywhere like it before. We grabbed the Bronte Bus B1 (this is 4.50 pounds anywhere in Yorkshire for the day) from Hebden Bridge up through Keighley for the steam train capers   and through Stanbury and Oakworth and Oxenhope.  It is actually the Keighley Bus Company, but they call it the Bronte bus because us tourists think it is cool.

“What better way to see the landscape which inspired Charlotte, Emily and Anne than from the back seat of a Brontë Bus?”

It is what makes us human social money-making creatures. Make a buck over someone else’s success.  I am sure the Bronte’s sisters did not have a life of easy bus touring through this great landscape.  The sisters, Charlotte (1816–1855), Emily (1818–1848) and Anne (1820–1849) had a bit of a shit of a life.  Their mum died whilst they were young as well as two older sisters and they had an isolated upbringing. I suppose this isolation gave them fertile imaginations for their writing – I also read that on the internet so it is good that the internet agrees with my insights.  The girls all died rather young; Anne was 29, Emily got to generation Z of their day to 30 years old, and the most woke of the lot, Charlotte ground out life to the age of 38 – she almost made it to age 39 but missed by just a hair.  Emily’s Wuthering Heights was her only novel, and really the only one I was familiar with being thoroughly engrossed in Kate Bush – what a beauty – and incidentally liking her song Wuthering Heights, which was number one on the UK singles in 1978 for four weeks because everyone was engrossed by her.

Bottom line – the Brontes lived atop a very large hill – it took us a long time to climb to the top. I was deemed rather mean to continue walking up. Of course, I felt a bit guilty a couple of weeks later when Narda experienced illness due to her having caught pneumonia at some point in this period. She said she had trouble breathing going up these hills. I thought stopping and resting was the key, maybe not. Nevertheless, she was even sicker when we were in Thailand for a week, our next blog, and took a week of antibodies when we got back to Australia to get right.  So, we had different memories of the Bronte sisters. I suppose I will read all their poems and books to right my wrongs, or not.


The steam train out of Keighley was my favourite of the day (I liked the walk up to the Bronte sister’s home too, but I won’t harp on that for various reasons.)


“The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is a unique 5-mile branch line railway set in the heart of West Yorkshire, running heritage steam and diesel trains from the industrial landscape of Keighley to the stunning Brontë Country of Oxenhope.”



As you have already viewed our video of this above and seen our slideshow you can see how great this train trip is. We had a bit of a difficult moment finding the station, getting off of the Bronte bus at the wrong stop and walking quite a long ways to a dead-end and asking a jogger  where the hell was the station and walking back a long ways then getting to this really groovy tripped out station in time to catch the next steam train out. The station workers were our age an above and Narda had good conversations with them as I wandered about taking photos.


May 14

We took a walk to the other side of the tracks, literally!

Up a pretty steep hill, discovered some really famous house, quite the area.

Then back down and off to Lidl, more our demographic :) bought some nice bakery items and enjoyed an impromptu picnic near our own local market.

Later, after 4, we went to the pub called "The Pub", where a great folk sing with a guitar sang favourites from the 60s and 70s. Beautiful. We met a couple who had recently returned from 20 years in the Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. They bought a house in a town nearby where we were, and old repurposed church. Nice conversation. We knew all the same songs and had similar views on most things.


I had seen the poster earlier in the week that on Sunday afternoon there would be a folk singer doing 1960s – 1970s tunes so of course I talked about it for days. It was well worth the visit. I even celebrated by having a beer, howbeit one of those zero beers as I have not had alcohol since 2005. Why I wanted to see this folk singer stuff was to take myself mentally back to the 1960s when I lived in NYC Greenwich Village (the Lower East Side in the Alphabet City portion of East Village). My days and evenings especially, were made up of sitting in coffee shops and often there would be a folk singer, sometimes famous ones, for example, Tim Harden ("If I Were a Carpenter", "Reason to Believe", and many others) would play in a coffee shop or in Tompkins Square Park. It was the time of Dylan and all the rest. I would spend many hours writing (I fancied myself a poet in those days. My claim to fame was that I read alongside Alan Ginsburg at a Fast for Peace @ St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery. New York Times has an article of it for that day in 1967 Bottom line it was an enjoyable afternoon and yes he did sing Dylan song too.


March 15 York

Our last big trip for this stay. We left at around 9 am and returned after 8. York is beautiful. Full of tourists, even on a cool Monday. Lots of narrow streets with old houses, now accommodating trendy shops.

The highlight for me was the York Minster. It is one of the largest of its kind in northern Europe. I joined a tour and heard lots of interesting stories. It was founded in 627 AD. The original Norman Church was further built in its present Gothic style and completed in 1472.

We leave, inshaAllah or DV depending on where you come from, on May 18 , flying from Manchester Airport then 6 nights in Phuket, braving the heat and getting over at least some jetlag, then heading home. I'm ready.


Narda seems to have moved on here. We still have three days left in Toddles – we used them to pack and walk around the neighbourhood.


Back to our day in York. Loved it! See our video and slideshows. The cathedral was really good. Narda took the tour, I wandered around and took photos. I listened a bit, I heard the part about a saint that was skinned alive who became the saint of butchers, St. Lawrence was roasted alive on a grill over hot coals. St. Euphemia was fed to lions and bears. And St. Castulus was buried alive. I once had a girlfriend, in Hawaii, when we were living on the beach and taking lots of acid who called me Saint Terrell, said she saw a halo and shining light around me, she called me that for more than a decade then I lost track of her. Not sure what the final fate of Saint Terrell will be but hope it is better than some of these other saints. We decided to walk the wall around the city of York. Rumour has it on the internet that it takes a bit over two-hours to do it. We had spent most of the day in the old section of the city, the Shambles mostly date from the later medieval era with many examples of timber-framed shops with overhanging upper floors – see our slideshow – and we clamored to the top to make the walk around the city – after fifteen minutes we took the first set of steps we saw and went and had coffee then took a train back home.


“The history of York, England, as a city dates to the beginning of the first millennium AD but archaeological evidence for the presence of people in the region of York dates back much further to between 8000 and 7000 BC.”


We took photos of the towns we passed through: Mytholmroyd, Halifax, Shelf, Bradford and etc. See below.


That’s it. Our last morning we were up 5 am, probably earlier, and because we could not get an Uber or taxi, we dragged all our crap to the train station. We managed it, even going up a steep hill, in twenty minutes. It usually takes ten minutes. From Toddles we got off at some station, forgot the name, and grabbed a train to the airport. All very easy. We will tell that story – to Thaiand – next blog. Cheers.




UK town by town Todmorden

Hebden Bridge