You’ve not seen nothing like the mighty Cougars!

Oh fine, on the first day of the rugby league season over here for my team in the UK, lets confuse all my US readers totally! How best to describe the sport to most Americans, hmm? Best I can suggest is American Football, only a lot more kicking, and no body padding! Fine, I’m sure you can find something on You Tube, if you really want to know more.

Strictly, the top 2 divisions over here have already (just about) got under way, but the bottom division, in which my beloved Keighley Cougars play, today was the day. And yes, they started the season with a win too! Yes, Rugby League does exist below Super League, for the doubters.

I’m guessing my first visit to watch them play, was on a visit ‘up north’ when I was in my teens. Not that I had much clue what was going on back then, and in truth, probably didnt really care! But thanks to watching the sport on TV back then, with BBC providing coverage, and Eddie Waring doing the commentaries, I got hooked. So after that, whenever I was visiting the area, and they were at home, I tended to go to a game, for a giggle!

There have been a lot of bad days for the team, and some good days in the 90’s as well, and I’ve sort of followed them through thick and thin. Irony being, that since I moved up to Yorkshire, just over 12 years ago, I’ve been to 1 home game! Yes, getting there from Huddersfield, on a Sunday, by public transport, not good. But even now, there is still one rugby league result I look out for each Sunday all the same.

What, support Huddersfield? Oh please, no thanks! A lot has happened over 60 years, but one thing has never changed, the rugby league team I follow. And no, I dont expect that to change during my lifetime!

Will I ever go to a game again at Cougar Park? Who knows, would have to say its doubtful, given the travel, and given my state of health. But all the same, every Sunday, until the end, I’m sure there will be one result I look out for.

Video time. A pair of songs that actually probably predate my first visit to watch Keighley play. Certainly do those that I remember, but I might have been as a small child, and just not remember it? Yes, they’re called the Manfreds, mainly because the main ‘Mann’ has his own group nowadays. But there are more of the old group here, and as can be seen they can still sing the songs!

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The return of the prodigal daughter

Oh fine, we’ll get to the title in good time, just bear with me. And no, for once, the title is no clue to the video lol!

So, despite a less than inspiring weather forecast, the weather was fair (well reasonably fair) this morning, so I decided to head back to Haworth today, as I’d originally planned, prior to seeing a wet forecast. By now, I’ve done the trip to Bradford so often that I’m not even going to mention that, beyond a feisty wing mirror outside the bus that the driver must have tried to re-position about 20 times. Crazy thing was, he still got into Bradford on time, despite that! I think because the previous bus was late (we caught it up, before the mirror incident), we had no one hardly to pick up.

The most notable point of the journey to Keighley was the section through Bingley. When I was younger, that was the main road, and could be a bottle neck at times. Now, there’s a bypass round the town, so far less traffic on that road. One thing that hasnt changed in over 40 years, despite road improvements, is the traffic jams in Keighley town center. The rail station, to the bus station, which is 400 yards at most, took about 15 minutes! Anyway, after a refreshment break, on to the main goal, Haworth.

When I was young, you used to get a battered looking old Metro bus on that route, which wheezed its way up the steep hill out of Keighley, towards Haworth. Now you get a flash new bus, that tells you what the next stop is, and they are all named after the 3 more famous Bronte sisters, seemingly. Rode a bus named Charlotte on the way there, and an Anne on the way back. Positive there is an Emily too, but wouldnt bank on rest of family, especially the 2 eldest sisters, who died before reaching the age of 13!

On arrival at Haworth, I took my chance at the bottom of the hill named Main Street, and got off the bus. There’s a good reason for that, my first ever ‘real home’ was near the bottom of said street. Now that, and its next door neighbor have been knocked into 1 cottage, which is now seemingly one of these rental places. The fact that its originally 2 cottages is given away by 2 facts, the street jumps a number there, and secondly the old door is still there, though nowadays with plants in the doorway, to stop anyone using it. No, our old door is still there, though it now has 1 of those coded locks on it, presumably so the people renting in out can get in without a key? Well, it may be a new door, not sure, but its the entrance you still use, all the same.

One blessing of visiting Haworth in January, over peak summer, is the lack of visitors! Fine, the fact that the Parsonage shuts to visitors during January might have something to do with that! Yes, you guessed it, just as I reached the top of Main Street, approaching the church, the heavens opened! Maybe someone was crying for my return to the village, who knows? I doubt it, but…? Anyway, I went in the church (where all but Anne are buried), and paid my respects, before heading back down the hill in the rain. Then, for one last time, I stopped outside 51 Main Street, and paid my respects to my first home, maybe for the last time. Thats right, there is no 49 any more!

I then took the ‘short cut’ back down to the bottom of the village, near the railway station, passing the school I would have gone to, had I stayed in the village, which is now a set of apartments, called Haworth Mews. To add to the moment, as I got down by the station, there was a steam train parked in the station, seemingly doing a goods run, probably topping up the souvenir shop, though I didnt investigate. But no, no passenger carriages, and besides I checked the timetable, no trains today, not at this time of year.

I didnt time my return well, because I didnt know the timetable any more, so stood for about 15 minutes in the rain, waiting for a bus to take me back home. Well, 3 buses to get all the way home, strictly! Will I go back? Who knows? Its taken me about 10 years to do so this time, and if it goes that long again, I cant see it happening. In truth, my back, even now, supported by a brace felt the climb, so give it a few more years, and it will probably be beyond me. And believe me, that hill is not wheelchair friendly lol!

But yes, one thing, I can now say, at long last, I’ve got back there eventually! I stopped living there when I was a young child, but used to return on a regular basis up until the turn of the century, but after that, with no reason to do so, visits have become rare.

I wonder how things would have played out if I’d grown up in Haworth, instead of moving down South, because of my father being in the navy? The truth, we will never know! Happily married, with children, who knows? Lol, I doubt it somehow, but…?

OK, the video, what this probably was, but not Doris Day! I found this on a search to see what I could find, and…! Not the most famous singing Beatle, but this is so out of left field, and in truth, pretty good!