January has been a bit of a mixed month, I’ve enjoyed my first half decent beer session in four months, visited some of the pubs which have opened or re-opened in late 2015, seen the destruction to Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge from the Christmas floods and the subsequent roots of recovery that are now sprouting in the Calder Valley with all the community efforts to support victims both business and personal from a financial and practical point of view.  Not forgetting the amazing response by the local pub and music scene in the series of Floodstock gigs all across Calderdale to raise money for the same cause, with dozens of bands giving their time for free.  It’s a pity I’ve not had a chance to attend any of the Floodstock events with everything going on this month personally, but from what I’ve gathered they have raised a lot of money, for example The Bull on the Bridge (Sowerby Bridge) raised more than £2000 over their two day festival.   The Beck (Brighouse) also had a very successful all day festival this month where valuable funds were raised, only two of many events across the area.  Pubs often get criticised in the media, but this deserves a collective round of applause, extended to the musicians, from those who use our pubs either as a local or as a visitor.

In the Upper Calder Valley, the Old Gate (Hebden Bridge) and Dusty Miller (Mytholmroyd) have re-opened for business.   The latter pub is not fully restored to pre-flood state, but is open with four real ales and usual selection of other beers, giving Mytholmroyd a local pub again for people to go to.    Hebden Bridge is back up to four pubs now, the Old Gate adding to Trades Club (where I hope they have sorted their cellar issue to save the poor bar manager lugging kegs of beer up three flights of stairs to serve straight off the barrel), Fox and Goose and White Lion.  Further down the valley there is good news for the management at the Barge and Barrel, Elland after a terrible month both commercially and personally (more on this at http://chrisdyson55.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/not-dry-january.html).  Funding for repairs to the main Elland bridge and an adjacent temporary footbridge while the work is done has been provided from central government with £5.5m being pledged in total.  This means that soon Elland town based drinkers will be able to access the Barge and Barrel again without having to walk along the canal and use an existing bridge.  This existing linkage is a narrow limited canal lock bridge which does not allow Wheelchair or Pushchair access as well as having limited lighting in these dark nights.  Darkness, water and beer is not a good combination after a evening session on the beer.

I return to work this week after three months on long term absence.  If you ever want an incentive to get back to work, just look at your pay slip when you go off full pay.  This time off gives you a lot of time to think during the day and the sleepless nights.   You may resent routine and relative lack of free time in a 40 hour / 5 day routine, but take away that routine and you have to work hard to force yourself into a new productive routine if you are not 100% well.  Back in October and November I had weeks where post treatment I’d watch the same crap daytime TV in the same order each day of the week without even being aware of it until looking in retrospect.

Getting out and about was key to that, pubs being one of the main places I visited, even if not drinking beer.  It gave me that freedom to be with other people and not within the four imprisoning walls of home.  It was my choice to chat with staff and customers or be the unsociable sod in the corner on his phone and tablet, but variety was added to the day even if it was for an hour or two at most.   As my energy grew, the duration of my visits increased, I moved from non alcoholic to halfs to prints.   I still can’t drink like I used to, maybe something which won’t return, but I am back enjoying my beer and pubs and that is what matters.   The support I got from the regular pubs I visit was amazing, putting up with what were unsociable side effects for long periods.   Two shouts go out in particular, firstly to Hugh, Ruth and the team at the Cross Keys, Siddal for their support and concern over this period (thanks for the numerous free half pints).  The second pub is the Commercial / Railway Inn (Brighouse) with biggest thanks to Jason Fieldhouse along with Trevor and Sue.  It is people like this along with family and old friends which get you through tough times.  You never know when it will strike, so appreciate those places and people who show concern and interest in you and you will be paid back.

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    Good to hear everything’s gone well with your treatment 🙂