Thursday, 21 November 2019

Afternoon With Author Rowan Coleman, Holdsworth House, Halifax

Last Sunday I attended a literary talk event organized by the Brontë Society. The speaker was Rowan Coleman, an acclaimed writer from Hertfordshire who has recently written books inspired by the Brontë Sisters. The venue for this most enjoyable talk was the very beautiful Holdsworth House Hotel on the outskirts of Halifax. It is a 17th century Jacobean manor house surrounded by stunning landscaped gardens. It has been privately owned through centuries by people of wealth and distinction, and in 1963 it opened to the public as a hotel.

Awed by the photos of the house I'd seen on internet prior to the event I decided to arrive a bit earlier and have a look around the gardens and the exterior of the house. It was a cold, dull and drizzly day....

It was lovely to meet the charming and friendly writer Rowan Coleman and listen to what she had to say about herself, her writing and her books. She talked about her Brontë inspired novels- "The Girl At the Window", published back in August, and "The Vanished Bride", published earlier this month. I had already read the former book and loved it, and am just about to start reading the latter.

Author Rowan Coleman reading from her book "The Girl At The Window"

After the talk we were treated to the traditional English cream tea which was extremely good and full of home made taste.

After the event, I took some photos of the wonderful courtyard and interior of the house.

It was just getting dark, the time of day when lights start coming on their warm glow mingling with the dark blue of the dusk sky, and I thought I'd return to the garden and take a few more pics before heading back to the Halifax train station.

This was just a perfect Sunday afternoon for me. There is nothing I would like more than a day filled with literature, pleasant and inspiring people, lovely food and a most beautiful olde worlde place. In fact, the hotel is one of the most beautiful period houses I have ever seen; it strikes me as a great bolthole from which to explore Shibden Hall and the surrounding countryside. I shall remember that when I want to stay somewhere special next.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Walks With My Dog - Fulneck and Tong Valley 10/11/19

It's mid November and there is still a lot of beautiful autumn colour around. Mud as well, mind you, as we have had more than fair share of rain lately, but it didn't spoil our dog walk in the lovely Tong Valley last Sunday. On the contrary, I enjoyed the little ramble very much and ended up with some pretty moody shots I am quite pleased about:). I am getting more and more fond of this area on the border of Leeds and Bradford; it is fast becoming my favourite place within a reasonable distance from our home to go dog walking and, of course, just watching and enjoying Nature.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Walks With My Dog - Golden Acre 30/10/19

It was one of the most lovely and pleasing dog walks I've had since we got our puppy Midge: all three of us were together; it was a very beautiful time of the year; and we rounded up the walk by a warming cup of coffee and a slice of scrummy homemade cake at the park's cafe. We are so lucky to live a short drive from this gorgeous park where we can enjoy the seasons to the full and take our doggy for a great walk.
I watched the last of the vibrant autumn colours: The golden yellow of the leaves still left on the trees and the copper and maroon of the ones long since fallen to the ground; the stunning vivid red of acer (red maple) trees, young and old, scattered randomly all over the park; the fading magenta pink of wondrous dahlia.....Soon the only colours that remain will be grey and brown as the nature takes its long winter slumber. Yay, bring on the new season....

Friday, 1 November 2019

Autumn at Halloween Time Around Haworth and Stanbury, Brontë Country

Last weekend I wanted to stay at the wonderful Ponden Hall and go for a walk around Ponden Kirk on Stanbury Moor. However, Ponden was closed as the owners, my dear friends, were away on holiday. There was a room available at the nearby Old Silent Inn; I thought of the amazing Halloween decor I saw there previous years and booked the room hoping to experience the season's atmosphere at a leisurely pace through staying at this ancient pub, which is said to be haunted by a couple of ghosts.
My two day visit didn't start off very well. On the Saturday it rained heavily till afternoon, so the planned walk to Ponden Kirk went out the window. Instead, I visited Brontë Parsonage Museum and popped into the old School Room where there was a craft fair. I thought it was a good time to go and have a look at the Scartop Furniture shop too, which is tucked away up the hill past Ponden Reservoir; but when I got there I learned that it was now permanently closed.
On arriving at the Old Silent Inn I could tell even from the outside that things had changed here and that I wouldn't be finding what I had expected. Unbeknown to me, the pub changed management last January and currently nothing is left of the atmosphere I knew and loved; there was no trace of the attractive Halloween decor; not even a single pumpkin to be seen! Oh well, after a pang of disappointment I was determined to enjoy myself anyway. There would be no pics from a walk on the moors or of the Halloween at the pub, but what I could do was simply take season's shots from around the villages of Haworth and Stanbury. Sunday was a cold, but bright day with a few brief showers. Here is a selection of the pics I came up with.

Main Street, Haworth

Main Street, Haworth

Detail near the steps leading to Church Lane

Fuchsia on the corner of The Fold and West Lane

The front of the " Cabinet of Curiosities" shop at the top of Main Street

The book I had with me and am currently reading. Some of the tales are likely to be those Tabby, the Brontë servant, told the Brontë siblings. The book mentions the story of "The Old Silent Inn" (see below the photo of the inn) as well as those of alleged sightings of the ghost of Emily Brontë. It is a great read at this time of year.

The kitchen in the Brontë Parsonage Museum. It is here, around a roaring fire on cold days that the Brontë children gathered to listen Tabby's dark tales of Yorkshire Moors.

Branwell's last known drawing, made in 1848 two months before his death, showing himself lying ill in bed and being summoned by Death symbolized by a mocking skeleton.

The sculpture of the Brontë sisters and a pot containing "Emily" rose in the garden of the Parsonage.

A portrait of Branwell (based on his self portrait drawing) carved in wood in the Parsonage garden.

The Old Silent Inn. The pub was originally called The Eagle. When Bonnie Prince Charles came to hide here in 1745, the patrons remained quiet about his presence despite a huge reward for the Pretender's capture. Hence the inn's name changed to the "Old Silent". Several ghosts are said to inhabit the rooms of the inn, among which a ghost of a former landlady who sometimes strokes the heads of sleeping guests. Unfortunately, my head didn't get stroked, but I did wake up at the dead of the night thinking I could feel a presence in my room.

The old well outside "The Old Silent Inn"

Ponden Mill
View to The Old Silent Inn and Ponden Reservoir

Royds Hall Farm

Stanbury village

Main Street, Stanbury 

Main Street, Stanbury 
Scene behind "The Friendly" pub in Stanbury
View over Worth Valley and Milking Hill Farm from the path along Cemetery Road, Haworth

Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth

Church Lane, Haworth

Haworth Church graveyard 
Tabitha Aykroyd, the faithful Brontë servant's grave