Monday, 26 December 2016

Names and dates and famous deaths.

Last year on Boxing Day our river flooded the centre of the village. Further down the river, going through other Saddleworth villages it caused further flooding havoc. Today, by contrast, we have blue skies, intermittently partially covered with cloud, but mostly bright and sunny. It's cold and windy but you can wrap up for that. However the weathermen suggest that this is just a lull between storms. Storm Barbara has been and gone. Storm Conor is supposed to be on his way. We might even have snow. Winds could reach 90 miles per hour. Never a dull moment.

So this morning I got up and ran along the local bridle path, the Donkey Line. I didn't see any donkeys. But then today is Boxing Day and I haven't seen any boxing. Not yet anyway.

The Delph Donkey used to be a railway line, part of the London and North Western Railway, connecting Oldham, Greenfield and Delph to the main Manchester - Huddersfield line. It opened in 1849 and stopped carrying passengers in 1955: just over a century of working. The Manchester - Huddersfield line still operates a regular commuter service. Just think how much easier commuting from here to Manchester would be if they have kept the Donkey Line open!

Legend has it that it is called the Donkey Line because originally it had carriages pulled by horses. (Maybe they thought Donkey Line sounded better than Horse Line. Who knows?) People who think they know stuff pooh pooh this theory: "Since the branch trains worked onto the main Manchester to Huddersfield line, it is unlikely horse drawn trains would have been permitted." I am sure stranger things went on back in the 19th century!

Anyway, we have a bit of the old track as a bridle path and walkway. All good!

As regards Boxing Day, I always thought it had to do with rich people giving presents to their servants - Christmas Boxes - on the day after Christmas Day, perhaps making up for their having to cook and serve a huge meal on the 25th. King Wenceslas, who wasn't really a king but only a duke, has something to do with it as well. Here's a link for those who want to know more.

 Meanwhile 2016 continues to wipe out famous people. Not that I was ever a great fan of George Michael but surely he died too young.

A friend of mine has been posting that 2016 should end quickly while we still have some singers left! 

She might be right!

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