Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A Stay in the Duchess Room, Old Registry, Haworth

A while ago I decided to stay in Haworth as often as I can. One or two night getaway to my favourite village makes me happy; to me waking up in Haworth is something life is worth living for. The last time it happened was a month ago - Sunday, 30 October, the day before Halloween. G and I arrived at the village about 11 o'clock, and after a good English breakfast at the recently refurbished "Villette" cafe, we headed for the moor to do a little portrait photo shoot with G being my model! (blog post to follow in not a very distant future, I hope).
Back in the village we watched and followed the Halloween Parade, and then it was time to check in to our room at the Old Registry Bed & Breakfast - the Duchess Room.

Our room was on the first floor, its window to the left of the skeleton in this image.

The scene next door outside the "Sleeping House" Bed & Breakfast. This was the Halloween Parade starting point.

Our beautiful and elegant room with its super comfy antique half tester king size bed. I was really impressed by the beautiful lacquer finish wood of the canopy frame and bed footer.

The room's chocolate and cream decor is both simple and classy.

Loved the dark crocodile skin effect wallpaper and the two original portrait paintings on either side of the bed, .....

......the heavy, gold, velvet curtains and all the antique furniture.

It was the first time that I stayed in a room overlooking the gorgeous cobbled Main Street, and that was one of the highlights of renting this room for me.

 I opened the sash window and leant out to take a shot or two.

The large luxury ensuite with its lovely wood paneling.....

......and whirlpool bath with stained glass side panel.

We thoroughly enjoyed staying in this room where you do start to feel a bit like a very important person.

We woke up to a rather misty Halloween morning which soon turned into a beautiful, sunny and warm autumn day.

Heading downstairs to breakfast I stopped to admire some detail in the entrance hall.

The old black and white framed photos of people on the wall near the front door particularly caught my attention.

This is the restaurant bar. I took this shot from our breakfast table. I really like the Victorian red, the old radio and the hats on the top shelf.

Another corner of the room we had breakfast in. There is always lovely music playing here - an eclectic, but very tasteful mixture of old songs.

There are two more rooms in this most charming and romantic restaurant,......

.......each full of old fashioned and interesting ornaments carefully placed for maximum impact. Just look at those war medals hanging off the deer antlers.

I just love this corner. It perfectly sums up the romantic and intimate character of the place and the whole hotel.

The breakfast was delicious, very high quality, just like evening meals are too. (In fact, this restaurant is rated as the best place to eat in Haworth and completely deserves it) Soon after breakfast we were ready to leave for our planned autumn walk around Oxenhope, which we have been looking forward to very much.

This was my second stay at the Old Registry. The first time I stayed here was back in April for my birthday, when I treated myself to the lovely Lilac Room. Without a doubt, I will be back here. In fact, I want to check out all of the rooms at this special B&B.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Autumn Walk Around Oxenhope, Bronte Country

Monday 31 October, Halloween, was one of the most beautiful days I can remember in my life. I woke up in Haworth with G, and it was a glorious autumn morning - sunny and very mild. After a sumptuous breakfast at my favourite Old Registry (best ever smoked salmon and scrambled eggs) we drove to Oxenhope station to start a walk featured in the "Walking with the Brontes" book. Yorkshire in England is not the place with the most spectacular autumn colours in the world, but autumn is still a very beautiful season here just like everywhere else. And I believe the colours were at their best when we did the walk.

We parked in the large car park outside attractive Oxenhope Station, and I soon started looking for my opening shot. It had to "scream" autumn, so I walked over to these beautiful trees with yellow and orange leaves and positioned myself so I could use them to frame the station building. I liked how the red detail on the building complements the autumn colours in the image.
Oxenhope Station is served only by steam trains and is the last stop of the preserved Keighley and Worth Valley Railway line.

I love coming across beautiful houses on my walks, and this one, called Wilton House, was no exception. I marveled at the virtually bare willow tree with just a few golden leaves still, only just, hanging onto their branches.

I peered into the forlorn, but still very beautiful autumn garden ...

Very soon we were on a countryside path, with Bridgehouse Beck to our left. We were accompanied by its soothing murmur, if not always its visible presence, for most of our walk.

We crossed the railway, and I lingered trying to make sure I get a decent shot of the railway tracks. Railway tracks and stations are a subject I have long had on my list to explore photographically in greater detail. There is something nostalgic and romantic about old railways that speaks to my soul, and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway with its past times steam trains feels perfect for the sort of images I would like to create.

Looking back towards Oxenhope station and its Railway Museum.

As we climbed a steep path uphill along the edge of a field this little scene caught my eye thanks to the lovely tree with its russet leaves.

At the top of the hill I stopped to look back and admire the view.

Ahead of us was Bents House of the lovely, feel good Railway Children film.

Further along there was a little surprise pond.

I always enjoy simple rural scenes like this one, with the subject relatively small in the frame, and large areas of sky and foreground. Such scenes are ideal for processing with textures, and being a great fan of this editing technique I usually can't resist having a go. I like how the scene ended up looking more autumnal through the use of textures.

The Original 

Half way through the route we reached Haworth and its melancholy Parsonage cemetery. The graves were nearly all covered in colourful fallen leaves now, and you could only see the jutting head stones. The village of Oxenhope is only a mile and a half away from Haworth. The part of the walk we had done so far is also part of the Bronte Way, a 43 mile long distance footpath which connects places associated with the Brontes. 

We soon started our return along a valley bottom path, never far from the railway and Bridgehouse Beck. 

We passed a derelict dwelling, and I spent a few minutes here taking photos. Ruins always seem to hold an uncanny fascination for me.

There was a charming old bridge over the beck.

Loved this part of the walk; the calming sound of flowing water and mellow afternoon sunlight filtering through autumnal leaves were to me the highlight of the day.

We were now walking along a main road towards the entrance to the village with beautiful views over Oxenhope to our right.

Back in the village we visited a small park on the crossroads with a small weir. I wish I had made a note of the name of this lovely corner of the village.

The fallen leaves floating in the water, some glowing light and reflections made me smile.

At the entrance to the car park I spotted another delightful autumn sight. The trees here were now bathed in low sunlight which brought out the wonderful colours of the leaves.

I was very impressed by this short but beautiful walk as well as the village of Oxenhope just outside my beloved Haworth. I have since started to read a book that told me more about this area - "Bronte Country Lives & Landscapes" by Peggy Hewitt whom I was so pleased and lucky to meet at the Bronte Society Literary Lunch last weekend. In her recently republished book Peggy mentions and talks about some interesting landmarks we actually passed on our walk, but I never knew exactly what they were about. I am so looking forward to going back and photographing this places for a future blog post.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Bronte Society Annual Literary Lunch 2016

As a keen Bronte Society member I attend the very enjoyable literary lunch every year, but this is the first year I have blogged about it. Social photography is not my forte, to be truthful, so here are just a few quick snaps from the event.

This year the Literary Lunch was held at Midlands Hotel in Bradford, a short journey from where I live in Leeds. It is a very elegant and opulent three star hotel built at the end of 19th century.

The beautiful French Ballroom where the event took place. I loved the green and gold decor and glittering chandeliers. The sunlight streamed in through large French windows making the room feel warm and inviting.

Kitty Wright (apologies if I didn't catch or spell the name correctly), a Bronte Society associate, gave us all the introductory information regarding the hotel and the agenda of the day.

Each year there is a featured talk on a Bronte theme, and this year our speaker was Juliet Barker, one of the highest authorities on the Brontes and a renowned Bronte scholar and writer. As this is the year of the Bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Bronte, Juliet's talk was mainly about Charlotte with the emphasis on the biography by the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, who was Charlotte's friend. Juliet was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed her animated and very knowledgeable talk.

The beautiful hotel foyer outside our function room........

..........where you could buy two of Juliet's books and some other items from the Bronte Parsonage Museum shop. Juliet's books were "The Brontes", her seminal biography of the Bronte family, and "The Brontes A Life in Letters", a recently revised and republished collection of letters written by the Brontes to various people, mainly friends and family.

After her talk, Juliet took the time to sign her books, both bought on the day and brought along.

My friend was having her book signed too.

Two lovely Bronte Society ladies: Linda, the Membership Officer and Alison, the Management Support Officer.

Each of the tables boasted a bottle of Bronte Liqueur, as well as a bicentenary, limited edition gift box which looks like a book, with a bottle of the liqueur inside. The liqueur is made of blackberry and sloe, and it really is delicious. I hear it is available from the "Cobbles and Clay" cafe on Haworth's Main Street. It was nice to see Juliet receive one of the boxes as a thank-you gesture for her talk and contributions to the day.

Our lunch was very good; it consisted of mozzarella and tomato starter, chicken wrapped in bacon with confit potatoes and ratatouille for main course and a lemon tart for dessert.

The meal was followed by tea and coffee, and some pleasant socialising and chatting to newly met people with common interest.

Juliet Barker at her table towards the end of the event.

It was such a lovely and inspiring day. I came away more in love with the Brontes than I have ever been. I am very much looking forward to next year's Bronte Society literary lunch.