Traveling the hills of home by steam and on foot

Yorkshire tourism23/08/2016

Life has been very full life recently. Busy is one word that could be used to describe it, but busy, I feel, has some rather negative connotations. Instead I prefer the word full. I’ve been going to bed tired, both physically and mentally, and waking up bright after a generous night of deep and luxurious sleep. Since my week when I couldn’t sleep in the Spring, I’ve become considerably more appreciative that I can just do this.

Sleep gives me the energy to play the roles of hostess and tourist. This morning Lady Patricia and I climbed up onto the moors where the Brontë sisters used to walk. The hills were purple and uncharacteristically warm in the sunshine. Below, in Haworth village, we wandered through the rooms of the parsonage where the sisters lived and wrote. I imagined myself sitting at the table on which they crafted their novels and poems and imagined the letters written of their neat fold away writing desks.

Haworth is known for being quaint. Some years ago I watched the cyclists climbing up the cobbled streets for the Tour De France. You can see me, crouching on the pavement with my camera, on the photo blue tacked to the mirror in the jewellery, glasses case and fascinator shop. You still see many yellow bicycles as you drive around Yorkshire. On Monday we took a quick trip on the steam train through the village, visiting neighbouring Oakworth station where the Railway Children was filmed. We passed under the tunnel and enjoyed a muddy walk down the valley.

yorkshire sculpture trail, saltaireLast week was more chaotic. Eight of us had a brunch in the village, which for some of the group lasted for most of the afternoon. Some people got overly enthusiastic and slightly obsessive over their pottery painting. And to my utmost surprise, I wasn’t the last to finish. We went on some beautiful walks, but also got completely drenched out on the hills. We found a path with little sculptures – including a cat in a bath, and many blackberries. The beginning of last week was stunningly sunny, and spent much time in the garden. Digging, sawing and hauling scaffolding planks around the garden was somewhat exhausting, but in a good sort of way. Laying in the sun eating the Grump’s cake and flapjack was more relaxing. The Mother seems pleased with her raised beds.

A subset of us also took a trip to Salts Mill in Saltaire. Placed conveniently on the main railway line and the Leeds-Liverpool canal, Saltaire was, like Bourneville of Cadbury fame, a Victorian village designed for factory workers with concern for their well-being. The old mill is no longer used for the production of cloth. Nowadays it’s a wonderful combination of museum, art gallery, bookshop, art materials supplier, antique shop and seller of useful home stuff. The Dutch-Kiwi bought a vegetable peeler from a display that felt more like a design exhibition than a shop. I found a very expensive table I liked. We feasted at the diner and came away from smiling.

Now it’s just the family here. Time for a little quiet to reflect on how wonderful it’s all been and how lucky I am for the incredible friendship I’ve been shown. Life is good.