This was my first double game weekend of the season, I was shattered. The previous nights alcohol was making its presence felt. I don’t get the chemical reaction, like I used to with the fizz, I mistook for beer, but I was still feeling a little fragile. Even with the tea I’d tried to rehydrate myself with, I still needed something sweet and fizzy. (No, not Carling) Along with a lottery ticket and copy of the Guardian, I got a can of black grape. I got to New Street, to find that my booked train, had been cancelled. Not a good start. It would knock my plans sideways. I sat on a bench, and drank the black grape. It had been a while since I’d had one, I remembered why. I didn’t hate it, but rather have chosen differently. I enjoy rail travel, what I don’t enjoy, is the chaotic way, in which it’s run. Different franchises are loath to work with each other. It’s detrimental to customers. Although (Through no fault of my own) my train had been cancelled, my ticket wasn’t valid to use on another companies service. Surely this is when companies should work alongside, and not against each other, for the benefit of the passengers. It’s almost childish. Whilst sat waiting, I watched a morning after the night before, broken reveller, shuffling his way home, I noticed he’d somehow, lost one of his converse trainers. Other than the morning after shuffling, it didn’t seem to affect him. Like it happens to him, on a regular basis. Once on the train, I went back to sleep. I got off at Manchester Piccadilly, and although later than originally planned, I hadn’t long before the Hull train to Huddersfield. I shivered with the drop in temperature. A pointer to the weather to come. On the Trans Pennine Express, I found a seat. It was still warm. I thought of who had sat there before me, wondering how many had sat there, what kind of people. It was the first time, I’d actually thought properly about it. How did people who have extreme cleanliness issues, travel on public transport? How do they cope? It had never occurred to me. It also dawned on me, that I had a copy of the Guardian. Although I knew it was produced in Manchester, this was the first time, I’d felt it was. I spent the journey to Huddersfield, reading said copy, and glancing at the scenery. Scenery that I never get tired of. Getting off at Huddersfield, I scanned the timetables for the next train to Halifax, roughly a 40 minute wait. The aroma of bacon cooking, attacked my nostrils.
“McDonald’s doesn’t do breakfast, places like this does”
The cafe was just what I wanted, a proper station cafe. Not something plastic. I had a bacon bap (Or is that barm?). Cheap, lots of it, and tasty. (No, not me. I’m not tasty.) A Northern Rail banger, got me the last bit to Halifax. Although I have an itinerary, complete with directions, everything is never how I imagine a new place to be. I take in more, always looking, watching, taken out of my normal routine. I try to spend more time looking, and less time following my directions, appreciating my surroundings. Trying not to miss a thing. It’s probably why I end up going the wrong way so much, too busy to actually look out for the pointers, I’ve written down. I try not to put too much detail in my directions, keeping it brief. I might be a tourist, but I don’t want to act, and look like one. I was later into Halifax anyway, so my itinerary was out. Re-gigging, I headed for The Victorian Craft Beer Cafe.
“I didn’t see any Victorians”
This is such a cool place. Much better than I was expecting. A Heaven for anyone who likes any kind of liquid at all. Beer or tea, wouldn’t matter. Listening to the proper Ska being played over the loud speakers, I felt at home. As I looked around, I spotted the wine list, on a board behind the bar, it also displayed a snack list on it. On the same line that it had the prices for chardonnay, it proudly announced, pork pies. Only in Yorkshire. The Royal Oak was next. I’d noted this place on my itinerary, as I’d mooched passed. More of a locals boozer. The two televisions, each had different sports on. I totally ignored whatever premier league game was on, for the cricket. Ten years ago, twenty years ago, I would’ve been glued to the football, now, I’m bored of it, to the point of irritation. (Gary Neville, I detest) It was nice to be in a pub, with the cricket on, but tiz Yorkshire. I was taken back by the sight of a bloke, in an F.C.United of Manchester polo shirt on, complete with Yorkshire Red, embroidered on it. I was disgusted, until I found out that F.C.U.M.s game away at Chester, had been postponed, he was exonerated. From here, I walked up towards the Grayston Unity, spotting The Gundog on the way. This was another great little place, great range. I got talking to the barman and a local, about beer, and the choice, us drinkers now have. Yet you have people, with a lack of imagination, being sucked in by blanket advertising. I’m not even going to mention Carling. The barman was a youngster, who was knowledgeable about ale, if only I could just instill that in my lad. I dropped in The Gundog next, and I’m glad I did.
“Justice is not served”
I say this a lot, think it even more, photos and videos, do not do what you see, justice. You see in 3D, but can’t record (As of yet) in 3D. I know I’m extremely lucky to have excellent eyesight, even at my age, but 2D photos/videos don’t do stuff justice. The Gundog, is an absolute gem in the restoration. Gary, who owns the pub, is working hard with the restoration, doing an awful lot himself. He still has a lot to go, but what he has done, is brilliant. I hope he succeeds in restoring it, to its former glory, and it can be truly appreciated, like the last place I went in, before the game.
“Amongst other things, I’m a sucker for Art Deco”
Ossett Brewery owned Three Pigeons, was the place I wanted to visit most. It didn’t disappoint, and I had a decent conversation, with a very proud local, about Halifax, and the pub itself. Drinking up, I headed for the ground.
I went in the home end, and bought a programme. (How much longer, will I be able to?)
“Non league, at the moment”
The coach load of Dagenham supporters, made a racket, all game, but not once, did I feel, I wanted to be in their end. They reminded me, very much, of watching both Barnet or Enfield, years ago, v Telford. Pace, power, movement, but somehow, soulless. Halifax took the lead through a player, who was to turn out to be their best player. I will be keeping tabs on Matty Kosylo. Daggers equalised through one of their players that didn’t stand out (Could’ve been any of them)
“Not climbing up here, to get a view”
Whilst waiting for the second half, I remembered a thread that someone on the Small Heath Alliance forum had posted, about a quote off Jurgen Klopp, stating that it was his job to entertain. I had been dumbfounded by a lot of the comments. The general consensus was, winning was all that mattered. The forum might only be a slice of supporters views, and thus, doesn’t represent all, but really? Winning is everything? Not in my eyes. It’s nice to win, but not if it feels like you’ve mugged a Granny. I would rather, and always will, prefer to watch a game that finishes 4:3, than 1:0. Attacking is creative, defending is destructive. For me, Klopp is right. With the hard earned money we part with, we deserve to be entertained. To be able to remember skill, not just a win that you will forget. Nobody feels anxious at the time, at the end of a game, if their team has possession. In the second half, Halifax pushed for the winner. They were very much, making home advantage count. The winner came from a powerful header, that was then guided in. Unless it’s absolutely freezing, and I need to thaw out, I could watch a game, I’m ground hopping at, for about half a day, the referee brought this one to an end.
Although it was on my itinerary, and was originally planned before the game, I headed for The Pump Room. On the way, I took a quick deviation, and I’m glad I did.
“A piece of manufacturing history, unknown to workers everywhere”
According to the proud local in The Three Pigeons, the local council, drew up plans to knock this place down. Had that happened, a piece of working history, would’ve been obliterated. I have no idea who reads this, other than family and friends, but if you’ve ever heard the term “Piece work”, then this is the place, that term was coined. Coined being an operative word. Weaver’s brought their work here for inspection, and their pieces, were bought. The faster you could produce, the better the quality, the more you got paid. (Or didn’t) Factories that were introduced, in this area, took this method of payment on. It was to expand around the country. Thankfully, it’s been mainly phased out. An hourly rate, (Albeit, disgustingly low) is better than no work, no money. Of course, employers, will find other ways, to screw their workers into the ground, to maximise their profits. The Pump Room, is another micro pub, another good one.
Although on my itinerary, it was also recommended, and rightly so. A dog friendly place, and very cosy too. I could’ve stayed in here, quite easily. I reluctantly peeled myself from out of the chair and headed home, changing at Leeds, the most confusing station in the country.