Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chapel Allerton, Gipton Wood, Howarth and Mirfield

Had a very busy day today. Listening to a radio four programme about location has made me think: people; time; place. Was out leafleting with Hope not Hate in Gipton Wood. Turns out the main organiser lives on my road so he was roping me in for more stuff to do. Then zoomed over to Howarth where Mum has rented an apartment for a week with a friend. After terrible traffic issues would you believe, we found a pub still open at 1.30 (Grim up North) and got ourselves a pub lunch. Then after a series of complicated travelling arrangements got into the centre of Howarth to torrential rain, when there was a 1940s weekend going on. Highly anachronistic.

We went into the old parsonage where the Brontes' lives are celebrated. I actually found it quite inspirational. It doesn't feel that long ago suddenly where you see the very sofa that Emily Bronte died on. It still looks brand new. I was born one hundred and thirty seven years later. To the very day. And you're walking around, creaking the floor boards as they must have done, casting your eye over the slated roof of the scullery as you're walking down the stairs, pausing to catch the time on the grandfather clock. Tick-tock, time passing by.

I hadn't realised but our alleged distant relative - Miss Margaret Wooler from Mirfield (our family were the mill owning Woolers from Mirfield - surely related?) gave Charlotte Bronte away at her wedding. Her father of course, officiated. Charlotte Bronte briefly experienced success as Jane Eyre was an instant hit, so it did feel good to see her treasured possessions: her beautiful wedding dress, bonnet and white leather gloves. And the tiny delicate handwriting as she writes to her book reviewers complaining of their ignorance. Charlotte Bronte's husband died in 1906, so her generation is only our great-great grandparents'.

A few degrees of separation in people, time and place.

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