Tango’ed in ‘alifax!

Am a fan of Sally Wainwright’s work and if summat is set in t’Pennines, I’ll give it a shot. Last night’s penultimate episode managed to give a nod to Happy Valley and Gentleman Jack in the script, whilst combining comedy with hints of pending doom as some characters are under pressure to make changes in their chaotic lives. It’s filmed in various locations which includes Ilkley’s Booths – so they gad about the hood.

Will Gillian sell up, finally letting go – but will the police nail her in the process. Is Caroline going to find twu wuv again or is she heading for a disciplinary. There’s drunken authors (both smitten with Caroline) and a homeless boy who likes to read in a shed.

Wainwright gives actors (established and not) plenty of good lines to weave a story with and keep tensions going as it looks like everything is about to pop. I think you can tell the quality of writing by how much actors cherish their lines.

And of course sheep escape, land on a cannabis farm munching their way through it, then go rampant in t’village. Exactly what y’d expect.

Very nice scarves, big cookers and kitchen tables, mullioned windows.

Details on imdb below.

Last Tango in Halifax

The Birthday Chocolatier

I hoped to treat myself to a hot chocolate, but time slipped by whilst caught up in a morning meeting. On the way home I called in to a chocolatier. Sitting on the corner of a beautiful Victorian sandstone building with large arch windows, it seemed opulent through the glass. I assumed its speciality was Belgian or such like. I avoided it for months.

Then I stepped inside.

I was wrong!
I was in Turkish nirvana!
The assistant explained to me. Everything was from Turkey.
I pointed at her djezma on a shelf, which had a base like an electric kettle. And all the little coffee cups, prava kafa in sachets.
Yes, there was Delight too and special sumptuous dates.
I told her it was my birthday and I was treating myself.
She asked what I did.
I said I wrote sometimes.
She told me her life story.

A young woman with four sons, who had survived abuse as a child, from her father, her mother’s partner, care homes, her partner. She’d been through the mill she said, but she was as okay as she could be. She became Muslim and it helped her to find stability and security.

I told her I once worked at Women’s Aid and she said that the organisation was her lifeline, helping her flee and resettle.
I wanted to hug her, but she was on the other side of the counter. So I put my hand out to her and she took it.
You’re okay now, I said. I am, she replied.
She gave me a birthday treat and I bought a beautiful wooden egg with small praline eggs  inside.
Poignant really, am also reading Chocolat by Joanne Harris again.
I’ll go back for gifts.
Time came for the bus home.

Don’t walk past the chocolatier, there’s more than cocoa inside.


It’s a part of West Yorkshire’s industrial heritage. There’s a saying – ‘load of old rhubarb’ – meaning what nonsense. Every allotment still has at least one plant.

The stalks are chopped, cooked with sugar and ginger then a dollop of custard added on top for a lazy school pudding. It’s a certain kind of person who can consume that tart, slippery mess – a hungry one!

I’ve always had some in a garden. The leaves are good for pesticide when dunked in water. the stalks freeze rather well, but an instant crumble is best.

I’ve read a little recently about its history in Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc. Rhubarb comes from China (as many plants have) and Siberia. It became popular in West Yorkshire and the Victorian era, in London.

There is the tradition of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb whereby it is grown in sheds in the dark by candlelight. Certainly sparks the imagination!

‘Forced rhubarb plants are shrouded in such an aura of mystery and romance, like fragile prima donnas that have to be handled so gently,’ says Raymond.

We are all stalks in the dark sometimes, growing slowly.

Image from slowfood.org.uk