May 07 2014

I don’t even know where it is, but I’m going to be there!

Right after my fun weekend at the World Humanist Congress, I’m heading off to Hebden Bridge. It’s somewhere in England, I hear.


I just looked it up: north of Manchester, about a 4.5 hour train ride from Oxford. And Edinburgh is 4 hours north of that; I’m hoping to pop in there, too.

I expect you all to show up, except for that one goofy English wackadoodle on twitter who always calls for everyone to boycott my talks. There’s the remotest chance he could show up, so his personal boycott might actually mean something, for a change.


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  1. 1

    Which reminds me, somehow, of the “Mystery Engagement” a few days ago. How did that turn out?

  2. 2
    chigau (違う)

    How old is that photo?

  3. 3
    Pierce R. Butler

    When Science Education Goes Wrong

    You mean like the disruption of the “biology” program at William Jennings Bryan College in Dayton, TN?

  4. 4

    When I say that that’s a horrifyingly far distance to travel from the south of England, you should put that down entirely to the psychological effects of living in a smaller country. Three hours is a substantial drive requiring overnight stops. But seven or eight? I’m feeling faint.

  5. 5
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, I’m much greyer now. Need to get a more up-to-date picture.

    The mystery engagement went fine. Sparsely attended (last week of classes? Bad planning), but Mark Borrello and I had a fine time talking about Cosmos and Your Inner Fish and evolutionary psychology and lots of other things.

  6. 6
    PZ Myers

    I have to drive three hours just to get to the airport. That’s like taking a drive from Morris to Madison, WI — I’ve done it many times.

    Only in this case it’s on a train, and I just sit back with a good book on my iPad, or enjoy the English countryside.

  7. 7

    Pity. School starts on the 11th.

  8. 8
    Crimson Clupeidae

    We all have our personal whackadoodles.

  9. 9

    North of Manchester! Thar’s, that’s… (stops to do some mental geography) …somewhere near Finland!? Or Mongolia, I always get those three mixed up. Anyways, that’s dangerous wild country. I hear they even play Rugby League out in those badlands.

  10. 10
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I think I know A few places that might contest their claim to be hippy central…

  11. 11

    I thought you fell off if you went much further north than Banbury?

    I’m not surprised the train takes over four hours though – it’s probably pulled along the rails by a cantankerous dragon-ogre past Northampton, and has to stop regularly to repulse raids from warbands of cannibal marauders.

  12. 12
    Rich Woods

    I expect you all to show up

    Sorry, it’s too far to walk.

    @cartomancer #11:

    and has to stop regularly to repulse raids from warbands of cannibal marauders.

    So you’ve been to Wolverhampton too?

  13. 13
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Hebden Bridge is lovely! You’ll have a blast there, PZ!

  14. 14
    Dave W

    Argh! And that’s the weekend right before Worldcon down here in London, which means I’ll have a flat-ful of family and Things To Do.

  15. 15

    Three hours to drive to the airport! If you can get to Heathrow in under 3 hours you have to live less than 20 miles away.

  16. 16

    PZ @6
    That reminds me of the saying-” In England 100 miles is along way, In the US 100 years is a long time”.

  17. 17

    Hebden Bridge has a reputation for being full of lesbians. Or as Wikipedia puts it more soberly “As of 2004 Hebden Bridge had the highest number of lesbians per head in the UK.” You’ll fit right in.

    Transport direct says it would take me 13 hours 23 minutes to get there by public transport from my my home in the North of Scotland, so sadly I will have to give this is miss.

  18. 18
    Roy G

    I expect you all to show up

    I might have, if not for the fact that I was late in getting my ticket to WHC, and BHA announced yesterday that those on the waiting list are out of luck. :(

  19. 19

    At least I know around which date to plan my next UK weekend. I can at least make the attempt.

  20. 20

    So, I’ve been reading the blog for a while, but never commented.

    Anyway, Hebden Bridge isn’t that far away, so I’ve bought a ticket – looking forward to it.

    It’s quite an attractive Yorkshire town – and I definitely recommend Edinburgh.

    By the way, there are a few layout problems when registering with the site using Firefox:-

    Label for username field not showing (in Firefox 28.0) – I guessed that it was the username field, as the field itself is visible, and checked by having a look at the source code).

    It seems that the username field label is actually displayed underneath the FTB banner.
    (Now confirmed, disabling images renders it usable in Firefox)

  21. 21

    Curiously enough, Hebden Bridge has recently been suggested as the UK’s second city, a kind of capital of North, being roughly halfway between the major metropolises (metropoles?) of Manchester and Leeds. Think of this then as a major cultural excursion.

  22. 22
    Eamon Knight

    North of Manchester? Make that: west of Bradford. Yes, there really is a whole lot of very nice England up there, despite what some of the southerners are implying. We’re going to be in Settle that week, doing some walking in the Dales. Which is quite a bit north of Hebden Bridge. And since we won’t have a car, I don’t think we’ll be popping down for the evening.

  23. 23

    Some very good pubs and excellent local beer too.

  24. 24

    Hebden Bridge is the lesbian capital of Britain, was dubbed by none other than the London Times as the coolest place to live in Britain, and is considered to be the prime candidate for the UK’s Second City (after Liverpool, obviously). It also happens to be the centre of the known universe.

    Looking forward to meeting you. I’ll put the kettle on.

  25. 25

    Hebden Bridge is really not much more than a village. The public toilets were “pay only” and didn’t work because the electricity was off. The small cafe in town sold a magnificent bacon and egg “butty” though.

  26. 26

    Hebdon Bridge is on the Rochdale Canal. I saw a series produced by Channel 4 about it and some other canals. The one on the Rochdale showed Hebdon Bridge. It was a mill town that was just about abandoned until the 70s, when a lot of artists, writers, and activists moved there. Including a lot of “New Age” types, so PZ will have to watch out for those.

  27. 27
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Wait, you mean there are people and cities and countries and stuff outside the United States? Does that mean the US isn’t the center of the world? Does that mean important events occur outside the US?

    My mind…it is boggled!


  28. 28

    You mean you’re not going to be in England for the Kate Bush concerts?

  29. 29

    Also the setting for the BBC’s latest crime drama – ‘Happy Valley‘. So expect Baltimore levels of drugs and violence like The Wire, but run out of a holiday caravan park.

  30. 30

    Wait a minute — PZ claims he DRIVES three hours to the airport? Just another librul lie! Obviously he flies there in the private jet provided for him by the Evilutionist Atheist Muslim Educational Establisment. Along with the Trophy Wife, of course.

  31. 31
    Jennifer Burdoo

    I’m seriously thinking of visiting the UK and Ireland around that time; I might try and make it.

  32. 32

    Hey, that’s just down the road from me! I’d better go.

  33. 33
    Frodo McDaniel

    If you make it up to Edinburgh, you’ll arrive bang in the middle of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. I’d be happy to recommend some shows and buy you a beer.

  34. 34

    Unfortunately I had to give those hard benches at Oxford a miss because I’m broke and the fee was outrageous, so for once I will miss your summer tour of Europe I’m afraid….But Hebden Bridge def sounds interesting!

  35. 35


    Might see you there.

  36. 36

    Might see you there.

    I’ll try my best, but might not be able to travel until October, and then I most likely just go to Tuscany for a week to breathe some civilisation.

  37. 37
    Imbecile Heureux

    Any plans to give a talk if/when in Edinburgh?

  38. 38

    There are lots of great pubs up there and it’s only 16.5 miles from me. I shall attempt to get some tickets! Plenty of good pubs all within staggering distance of each other. See me for beer(s) if lucky on the tickets front.

  39. 39

    See if you can blag a trip on the Rochdale Canal.

    Also remember to say, at every opportunity, “Yorkshire born, Yorkshire bred, strong in the arm and, thick in the custard,”

    I want to go but £ … Though I might be able to stop off if we go to visit the in-laws – hmmmm.

  40. 40


    You remind me of a poem my dad once wrote about our particular place in the north of England:

    There’s some as lives in Scotland
    There’s some as lives in Wales
    There’s some as lives as far as France and eats a lot of snails
    I reckons nowt to none of them and none of them can please
    As they as lives just north of York and south o’t river Tees.

    I’m not sure I can go all that way, but our part of the world is very beautiful. PZ, if you’d like to see the Yorkshire Dales on your way further up North I can show you some geography that means business.

  41. 41
    twas brillig (stevem)

    ” It also happens to be the centre of the known universe.”
    Directly above the center of the Earth! :-D

  42. 42
    Gregory Greenwood

    Just remember that, according to Prime Minister Cameron, the UK is a ‘christian nation’, a position that has, in a staggering display of disregard for the principle of the separartion if church and state, been supported by several prominment figures in the Coalition government.

    It seems that we Brits need all the help we can get in dealing with our woo-addled government. Have at ‘em, PZ.

  43. 43

    There’s some as lives as far as France and eats a lot of snails

    And you don’t have to take a long trip on a dragon-orge powered train either. Troll-Gnome-Valkyrie power is used instead.

  44. 44

    As an Edinbugger I’d be interested in knowing if you’re going to give a talk here too. As Frodo McDaniel mentioned, you could catch some Festival shows too!

  45. 45

    Good, you’re fleshing out my itinerary, PZ. I’ll be at the WHC and was planning to go to Edinburgh afterwards. I might be able to find my way to Hebden Bridge along the way, though I’ll be driving, not riding the rails.

  46. 46

    Tickets bought! Myself and eldest daughter (studying Biology no less at Manchester Metropolitan University) will be there. I intend to make good on the beer offer in return for an autograph (always a catch ya know)

  47. 47
    Christine Smith

    Just got my tickets, v excited! Hebden Bridge is lovely,gooooood beer too. Cant comment on the lesbians, I live in Penistone…
    Looking forward to showing you some Yorkshire hospitality!

  48. 48

    I am in Manchester during that time, so I don’t mind making my way down to Hebden Bridge (or hitching a ride with some other mancunian) and saying hello.

  49. 49

    ‘Ey up PZ – ‘ebden Bridge’ll be grand ! Ah’s’ll si thee there. Bradford, Saltaire, Yorkshire Dales, Bolton Abbey and Leeds are good places to nosey around Lnd get a good alternative slice of English culture and heritage, as opposed to the more usual, go-too destinations that Americans usually head for.

  50. 50
    Sarahface, who is trying to break the lurking habit

    I could get to this! Yay! :D
    Well, if I arrange to go visit boyfriend for a few days at that time, because he lives a hell of a lot closer. And also has parents who’d be more supportive >.>

  51. 51
    Ophelia Benson

    Um – PZ – you must have overlooked an email from me some time back, in which I passed on the email address of some people north of Hebden Bridge – in Edinburgh, to be exact – who want to talk to you about something. They’ve just told me they haven’t heard from you, hence my suggestion that you must have overlooked.


  52. 52
    Ophelia Benson

    Never mind. You’re talking to them now. Excellent.

  53. 53

    You will not be far from Bronte county either you big culture vulture.

  54. 54

    Got my tickets. Its some consolation for missing out on getting Kate Bush tickets, but not much of one.

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