23 July 2013

"A strange uncivilised little place" ~ Charlotte Bronte

Today I went to Haworth again.

A windswept land of moors and heather surrounds the space where Haworth is nestled. Crooked rows of grey brick shops and homes line the steep cobbled street running through Haworth's heart. Front doors open onto the street and worn down stone doorsteps reflect the years of men, women and children who have come and gone about their daily business. 
The Bronte association is why I, like so many others, am drawn to this place, to Haworth, to Yorkshire. Without the Bronte association Haworth would be just another small Yorkshire village. As it is the literary pilgrimage has changed the fortune of this village which just about clings on to its original charm (if you ignore Ye Olde Bronte Tearooms and the dated Bronte Hotel and other slightly lame tourist attractions hanging their hats on the Bronte connection).
Haworth, to me, is one big warm home surrounded by cold, foreboding, bleak and harsh moorland. A fireplace in a lounge through a window at night in winter is what I see when I come into Haworth. It may sound as though I am taking its picturesque charm on a sunny day and romanticising it but I'm truly not. Well aware of its past blighted by poverty, workhouses, child labour, illness and premature death I see its resilience and dogged determination to carry on in the face of such hardship as a beautiful and real tribute to its character.
This place was the home to three of my favourite writers all taken too young by the darker side of the village and the time in which they lived. Before it took them it inspired them. It inspired them to write some of the greatest novels ever written in which they all use the natural beauty and hardships around them to examine the states of their own lives, relationships and psyches. 

Their tragic stories of lives cut short are overshadowed by their incredible talents  and by the fact that they fought against society's barriers to gain recognition as women in the literary world whilst remaining firmly rooted in this unassuming little village in Yorkshire. 

"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it." ~ Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights, 1845-1846)

"I would always rather be happy than dignified" ~ Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre, 1847)

“It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior.” ~ Anne Bronte (Agnes Grey, 1847)

20 July 2013

My Garden

My place I can be in I said.
Surrounded in things that have grown.
It clears my mind and my head,
Peacefully being alone.
Informal edges quite wild.
So natural seems this man-made space.
The breeze is warm and mild.
It feels that the world meant this place.
The pond's nestled down in its space.
Fish, plants and creatures reside.
Lush and green, my watery place,
A place to just be beside.
Shed stands sturdy. English and proud.
It's stood for years in its place.
Sun-baked wood has paled now.
It's sense of belonging, so great.

My beautiful gate of Provence blue. 
Before it was nothing, just plain.
Now is perfect, a perfect hue.
Just a gate, but never the same.

~ The End ~ 

"If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden" -Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden.

14 July 2013

Poetry is harder than it looks....

I had a go at writing a poem. I'm not sure I adhered to all of the poetry rules but I enjoyed trying and promise to learn all about rhyming prose and structure for the next one! 

You & Me

I wanted a girl. I dreamed of a girl.
I was meant to have a girl in my world.
A voice on the phone said you were a girl.
My little girl lovely, all blue eyes and curls.

I was a girl. I knew how to be one.
It just felt right that you were one too.
So many things to enjoy, me and you.
Reading and singing a lullaby loo.

I want to stop time and to keep you this small.
But I want you to learn and grow strong and tall.
I cherish your joys and cherish your fears.
For in a blink of an eye, the minutes are years.

I may tell you off. I may make you cross.
But goodness I love you with all that I've got.
It won't always be perfect but will always be,
that you are my girl and your Mummy is me.


3 July 2013

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of...

I've only been once, in 2008, but this city is now firmly entrenched in my heart and is up there with the places I will go back to one day. New York is most definitely my city of dreams.
I can not write this blog post without a nod to our very favourite Americans, Sean and Allison Adrian. Without their incredible hospitality and amazing planning our NYC experience would have been a tenth of what it actually was. So, thank you Adrians. One day we will repay the favour with a British extravaganza in your honour...although now there will be smaller people in tow so there may be less Guinness and cocktails drunk, less sailor and fireman hats stolen, and worn (proudly!) and more Zoos visited.
Allison and me out and about
Nick and Sean on the night of the British invasion!

We packed a lot into our short break and there's still a million things we didn't do. We saw the bulk of the main sites from the obligatory open top city tour bus. We climbed the Empire State Building. We visited Ground Zero. Not much to see back then but being in the district, on the street where the World Trade Centre once stood was a somber, unreal experience. No one can believe that what happened actually happened that day in 2001. We took a boat out to the Statue of Liberty. We had dinner in Tao, a fabulous restaurant between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue. We watched Van Halen at Madison Square Gardens. We saw the NY Yankees play baseball at the old Yankee Stadium. We took a horse and cart round Central Park. We drunk cocktails at the Museum of Modern Art and we ate burgers at The Corner Bistro in West Greenwich Village. We shopped in Macy's, we walked down Wall Street and we wandered round Times Square, by day and by night. 

Times Square is at the end of the road we stayed on and became the crossroads of our trip. More famously known as "the crossroads of the world"  this junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue is instantly recognisable with its brightly illuminated signs showing world financial market information, new M&M flavours, what's on Broadway and many a Coca Cola advert. The famous intersection is so iconic that I felt totally at home, like I'd been there before. 

Of course, this feeling of déjà vu is everywhere in New York and is partly attributable to the wealth of films that have been set there. From West Side Story to Breakfast at Tiffany's to Ghostbusters to You've Got Mail to Big. Round nearly every corner is a familiar scene from a film you've once seen.

Although my existence there was transient, whilst I was there my New York was friendly, bohemian, cosmopolitan, eccentric, colourful, rebellious, and inviting. I like the anonymity of cities. I like the culture, stories, lives and people that inhabit their insides and make up their souls. For as long as I can remember, travel has brought about a childlike feeling inside of me. A feeling of "wow, my feet are actually standing here." This feeling was there in bucket loads in New York. I still can't believe I was there. People say it's noisy but it was noise I wanted to hear. Each to their own but there was nothing in this city that I didn't want more of.

"One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years"