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After the soothing train journey I wrote about yesterday, I met up with an amazing couple who spent a whole year working with abandoned children in Bulgaria, children who were living in even worse conditions than the ones I blogged about here and here. Alan and Jenni were inspiring and challenging and gave me lots of food and wine. What more could you ask for?

Well, no matter how good a trip away, it is always great to return home so when I arrived back I took some photos of one of my favourite places in Sheffield. This is Sheaf Square,  just outside the station.

On the right as you walk up to town is the Cutting Edge sculpture, an installation that celebrates steel, which has played such a crucial role in Sheffield’s history. I love the contrast between the rigidity of the structure and the constant, shimmering play of light and reflection.

On the other side of the path is a lavish water feature which similarly juxtaposes clear lines and strong patterns with endless fluidity.

The path continues up to Sheffield Hallam University and then into the Millennium Gallery and the glorious Winter Garden. It’s a rare example of truly successful regeneration and one of the many things that make me proud to live in Sheffield.

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I have found another tonic for the winter blues: a good long train journey. Yesterday I travelled from South Yorkshire to Devon in the blessed peace of the Quiet Coach (which was surprisingly quiet). Without internet access, I managed to read two chapters of my current set book- and almost understand them too – and also type up about 10 pages of interviews from Todmorden. It was like being suspended in a place where I had no responsibilities, no deadlines and no distractions. Absolute bliss. If only train fares weren’t so extortionate, I could make a habit of this.

Countryside somewhere near Bristol