On the train on the way back to Beverley from a meeting in Leeds last tuesday, I felt impulsive - must have been the weak spring sunshine - and jumped off at Howden. Howden station is perhaps a mile from town so I had a good walk to start with - and noticed the ditch between the path and the fields. It looked lifeless - at a time when other still water is surging with frogs. Is it full of chemicals due to our current intensive agricultural methods? Can anyone tell me?
Nearing town, the first thing I noticed was the huge carpark in a field. I later discovered it's for the Press Association. As its quite a step back to the station, I decided I'd better first find out train times and was told Shire Hall was my best bet for tourist information - but - Shire Hall is closed on mondays and tuesdays. So where could I get information? This search gave me insight into the kindliness of people in Howden: the owners of the Minster View Hotel found me a train timetable, the landlord of the Wellington Hotel let me use his computer to try to check current train times (not easy!), and one of the post office staff found me an up to date timetable. I bought a meaty little magazine - Howden Matters - and chatted with the owners of various hostelries and shops. Some were angry about East Riding Council drawing yellow lines on the road and fining people for parking...but, to be fair (and I'm no admirer of ERYC), others felt it wasn't such an issue. Cars! It was nice to be free of one.
Having spent monday evening at a meeting in Hornsea of small traders trying to develop survival strategies for the arrival of Tesco, I do feel Howden is very lucky to have the ethical Co-operative and not to be dominated by the big-bully supermarkets. There are some great little shops in Howden - including butchers, deli, homecare - long may they thrive.
I spent a really pleasant afternoon in historic Howden and hope to return soon - thanks for the friendly welcome!