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.


  1. Callinectes says

    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.

  2. says

    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.

  3. says

    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.

  4. blf says

    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.

  5. cartomancer says

    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.

  6. Rich Woods says

    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?

  7. Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^= says

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

  8. Dave W says

    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.

  9. madtom1999 says

    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.

  10. AndrewD says

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

  11. grahamjones says

    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.

  12. Roy G says

    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. :(

  13. rq says

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

  14. barrysoames says

    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)

  15. jimthefrog says

    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.

  16. says

    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.

  17. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Some very good pubs and excellent local beer too.

  18. says

    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.

  19. jefferylanam says

    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.

  20. says

    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!


  21. dexitroboper says

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

  22. ethicsgradient says

    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.

  23. Trebuchet says

    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.

  24. says

    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.

  25. rorschach says

    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!

  26. rorschach says

    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.

  27. dancaban says

    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.

  28. playonwords says

    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.

  29. latsot says


    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.

  30. twas brillig (stevem) says

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

  31. blf says

    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.

  32. Crimbly says

    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!

  33. redwood says

    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.

  34. dancaban says

    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)

  35. says

    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!

  36. says

    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.

  37. ajbjasus says

    ‘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.

  38. Sarahface, who is trying to break the lurking habit says

    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 >.>

  39. says

    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.


  40. dadboyghost says

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

  41. davidmc says

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