Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Bookish Jaunt #1: Haworth, West Yorkshire

Picture courtesy of WorldWideWriter
This summer, Boyfriend and I have been trying to get out and about in our local area a bit more.  We've been guilty in recent years of spending most of our time off travelling away from where we live and ignoring the lovely places that are right on our doorstep.  I've mentioned before that Boyfriend isn't the reading sort so most of our trips won't be of a bookish nature but yesterday we drove the meagre 40 minutes to Bronte Country: Haworth, West Yorkshire.

I've lived in West Yorkshire since May 2008 and it's taken me that long to actually make the journey and visit the residence of my and my sister's name sakes.  Disgraceful, quite frankly.

The Parsonage:
Let's pretend I was patient enough to
 wait for people to move on...
Obviously no trip to Haworth would be quite complete for us bookish types without a trip to the Parsonage where Charlotte, Emily and Anne lived and wrote and it was first up on our agenda.  The Parsonage itself is quite small and looking around the whole thing will take you maybe an hour (at most and if you slowly read all possible signs) but there was a lot of geeky joy to be had from walking around the rooms that the sisters wrote in and peer through glass at the bonnet Charlotte Bronte wore to get married, the little writing table she sat at to write and early editions of the "Bell brothers'" books and letters to and from their publisher.  I had no idea that Emily Bronte may have written a second novel after Wuthering Heights that the world has never seen.  There's some debate over whether the letter from Emily's publisher referring to a novel being nearly completed was in fact intended for Anne and was referring to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  Either way, despite being quite a small house, it's a must for Bronte fans.  We did also have a quick peek into the church where Patrick Bronte was pastor but I neglected to take a picture. We also wandered around the adjoining graveyard for a while only to realise that we had missed the sign that said "By the way, the Brontes aren't buried here" (I'm paraphrasing).

Yorkshire Moors, with sunshine
spoiling the atmosphere
Th parsoange didn't take us as long as we'd thought so the next part of our trip was a walk from Haworth across the moors to "Bronte Waterfall".  It's about three miles each way across some gorgeously wild moors - admittedly they didn't look particularly wild when it was lovely and sunny with a light breeze but I can imagine them being hellish when the weather was less delighfully summer-like.  I spent about half of the trip recounting the stories of Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Villette so that Boyfriend could better appreciate why I'd been so keen to visit the village.  My garbled re-tellings may have not been quite as compelling as the originals but I'm sure they were very enjoyable.  Actually, the fact that my re-tellings were so garbled (particularly when it came to Wuthering Heights, which I read when I was about 15) had me keen to get some re-reading in, with a slightly more cheery but definitely evocative image of the moors to remind myself of and brood over with Cathy and Heathcliff.  The waterfall itself is pretty small (even if it is very pretty) so it's mostly about enjoying the journey with this particular part of the trip.

My own picture was a bit hopeless -
Bronte Waterfalls courtesy of RedBubble
We had actually planned on having lunch when we got back to Haworth but it turns out that it caters to a market that enjoys eating lunch at actual lunchtime (rather than 3 in the afternoon) so instead we drove home before the working people clogged up the roads.  There are a ton of adorable little shops (including a couple of lovely looking bookshops that we didn't go in because Boyfriend is imposing a book ban until we have some bookshelves...bleugh to his good sense), cafes and pubs if you do fancy staying a bit longer than we did and there's a steam railway that we might take a trip on at some point in the future.  Definitely worth a day or two if you're in the area and a bookish jaunt that I am delighted to tick off my list.

Plan your own trip to Bronte Country HERE!  And then come back and tell me what you thought and which Bronte you're inspired to read/re-read!

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