I won a bursary to visit the Bronte Parsonage and to attend a Festival of Women’s Writing. A dream prize.
The weather was most un-Yorkshirelike, sunny with temperatures in the mid-twenties. That was until the last day when the heavens opened and made the moors look more like they do in the movies.
Yorkshire is so ingrained in popular culture, James Herriot is a favourite of mine. But there are so many tv shows filmed in Yorkshire that it felt familiar even though I’d never been.
I got Wuthering Heights from the library to reread it after a long time and I bought a copy of Jane Eyre in the Parsonage shop, they stamp it, a nice touch. It was overwhelming to be in the place where these iconic books were written.
One of the authors interviewed at the festival, Sara Collins, said she felt emotional arrving into Haworth after growing up in Jamaica reading the Brontes. To be so far removed and then to be in the place they lived and wrote is an emotional experience.
I felt the same way, overawed and overwhelmed. I grew up on Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and of course Austen, Eliot, and Shakespeare with the result that because they belonged to the realm of study, I read them many years ago but after being at the Parsonage am inspired to revisit them now.
That beautiful movie with Jenny Agutter is another cherished memory of childhood.
Then there were the moors. Singed into popular culture in good ways and bad.
In the sunshine there were lots of people walking, there wasn’t the sense of desolation and abandonment the moors inspire.
Then there was the food. While this has absolutely nothing to do with Yorkshire, when we were growing up, we used to go on holidays every August to a guest house in Rosslare. Mrs Doyle cooked delicious food, made even more tasty by the fact we spent every day in the open air. It was her cooking that introduced me to Yorkshire puddings. I’ve loved them ever since. I find them hard to make and no matter where I eat them they never seem to taste as good as Mrs Doyle’s! This one was pretty good though!