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Ciara can't stop "Christmas" revels in Huddersfield

Picture by Hermann Traub/Pixabay

North East Mensan JENNY GILL reports from the Huddersfield Christmas party - despite the best efforts of Storm Ciara

She came from the west on 8th February 2020. We were warned: she was named Ciara, which is the feminine version of the name Ciarán, meaning "dark", "black", "dark-haired" or "black-haired" in Irish Gaelic. She wreaked havoc as she passed through, leaving chaos in her wake.

After a noisy, wet and windy night we woke to more of the same on Sunday 9th February, the day 14 Mensans were due to celebrate Christmas (a tradition of the Huddersfield Mensa group to hold Christmas in February) with a slap-up lunch in Brighouse - a town with both a river and a canal.

At about mid-day the storm abated, and we left home to make the 15-minute journey to Brighouse. Others were due to travel from further away and I did wonder how they would fare, or even if they would make it.

All went well until we arrived in Brighouse. Crossing the bridge into the town, the river was very high and a raging torrent. Turning at the bend, the road was impassable and quickly becoming an extension of the river running alongside. Turning around, we set off to higher ground and to find an alternative route to where we needed to be. Finally arriving in the car park by the restaurant, we parked well away from the wall overlooking the canal.

The restaurant, Prego, is in an old mill by the canal. Staff welcomed us and told us that the dining room and kitchen were fine as they were half a storey up, but the basement where the cloakrooms were was disappearing under water coming in from the fire doors which opened on to the tow path. The good news was that we would not need to cross our legs, as there was an accessible toilet on the same floor as the restaurant.

Happily, everyone made it with only one or two being late because of detours. Many were wearing Christmas T-shirts and jumpers, there were some antlers about and we started with crackers, so those without headgear had a paper crown. We enjoyed a lovely Italian meal, between courses attempting to do a dingbats puzzle. I failed miserably, though I think the answers were wrong, not me! 

After a lovely meal, good company, laughter and chatter it was time to depart and brave Storm Ciara again. By this time, Sainsbury’s on the opposite side of the road to Prego, had a flooded car park and the situation was not improving.

We left to take a similar detour home - more flooding and a couple of turnabouts later, we arrived home just before the storm picked up speed again.

To see what Storm Ciara left in her wake in this part of West Yorkshire, read the Huddersfield Examiner's report here