In truth, I tend to avoid watching the news too often nowadays, as its usually pretty depressing stuff, especially if Brexit, or Trump are involved, and at present, they usually are! But for once, tonight, I’m glad I watched the regional news at least, as it gave me something to blog about, a matter I was seriously lacking until then.
Before I was born, the plan my family had, was that I would be born in Yorkshire. Apart from being the home county at the time, there was also all this thing about only people from Yorkshire could play cricket for the county, so my father, in his wisdom, wanted his child born in the county, just in case. The snag was, my father was in the Navy, based in Chatham, in Kent, and I decided to enter this world a few days early. Thats why, sadly, I have Chatham as my place of birth, and not Haworth, or Keighley. Not that I would ever have been good enough to play cricket for Yorkshire (School team was highest standard I reached), so that didnt matter at least. I did get the consolation prize of being baptised in Yorkshire, but that was it.
So, intermittently, for the first 3 or 4 years of my life, we lived in Kent, and had a small place in Haworth too. When I say small, that, and the house next to it, are now one dwelling, and its still just a reasonable size!
Haworth is generally famous for 2 things. One is the steep climb up Main Street, which believe me, from experience, I can say isn’t fun in winter! The second are a family including 3 authors, from the Victorian era. Anyone who didnt know they’re the Bronte sisters, hold your head in shame!
Back in the 60’s, and 70’s, when I used to live there/visit, beyond a small area at the top of the hill, it was a typical Yorkshire mill village. Life wasnt easy, and even worse for Haworth, with the regular influx of tourists. Then slowly, during the 80’s, the tourism area began to spread down the village, and now its pretty much the whole area, in truth. So what does a village that attracts so many tourists need? A tourist information office, of course! And very popular in summer it was too.
But now, due to all the cutbacks, one of the prime tourist destinations of West Yorkshire, no longer has one, it closed recently, as part of the council cutbacks. I know, I doubt it will stop tourists invading the village in large numbers, in the tourist season, but it still seems crazy to me. Hopefully someone will see sense before the summer, but who knows?
One certainty as an author was though, that no matter how successful I was, I was never likely to be more than the 4th most famous author from Haworth! Ah well…
Right, video time. I doubt many will remember this song, it was a very minor hit. Some might recognise 2 of the group, as they went on to far more success, as The Eurythmics! Tourists, get it?
Tonight, for both blogs, I have people to thank for providing the image inspiration. In this case, its a lovely guy named Matt, that I used to work with, in my last long term job before this one, from which we both took redundancy at the same time. Fortunately for me, the last couple of days he’s been in Scarborough. So, given that info, and the blog title, well, if you havent worked out the song, I’m disappointed!
I think its fair to say, that unless I had miraculously became a major acting sensation, I was never in danger of being the most famous woman who lived her childhood in Haworth! Funnily enough, neither of us were actually born there. Her, because her famous Father only took up the pastor role there when she was a babe in arms, and me, because my family couldnt get my mother back to Yorkshire in time! Some of whom probably never forgave her for the fact I couldnt have played cricket for Yorkshire (as things stood at the time), but my father was based in Chatham, in the Navy, so…
Yes, I wonder if the treatment of an intersex baby might have been different in a West Yorkshire hospital, to a Kent one, but we will never know!
But yes, just under 140 years before I went home to Haworth for the first time (I was told within a few weeks of birth), a far more famous family to be arrived in the village for the first time, the Bronte’s! The youngest, seemingly the sweetest, and the one I took most interest in, was Anne. No, not the most famous of the 3 writers by far, but maybe thats why I was always closest to her, her lack of relative fame!
In the end, only 2 members of the ‘family’ who lived in that Parsonage arent buried in the little church at Haworth. One is cheating a bit, because he was never a Bronte. Charlotte’s husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls, who returned to Ireland after their father died in 1861, and wasnt offered the parish priesthood is one, the other of course, was Anne.
In her life, she fell in love with Scarborough, and decided that was where she was going, to end her life. As much as history tells us, Charlotte couldnt summon the means, or enthusiasm to take her dead body back to Haworth, or of course, its possible that Anne made it clear she wanted to be buried there. So, in St Mary’s Churchyard, just under the Castle, she was put to rest. I have visited her there, more times than you can imagine, though not in recent years, for various reasons, at least partly, health! Its quite a climb up there, believe me!
Anyway, I asked Matt very nicely to pay my respects for me, and not only that, but I found a picture in my Facebook timeline today, this one.
The new plaque is actually more recent than my last visit, but is a nice touch, as the old one, like me, is very much showing its age! Maybe, like a few other places, one more visit is called for at least? I really should, but… we will see!
So yes, I dont think, that now, whatever I do, I’ll ever be more than the 4th most famous woman to live in Haworth, lol, and I’m not even sure I’d rank that high!
So, video time. I only know one song title mentioning Scarborough, and if there is more, this is the most famous one!
Oh fine, we’ll get to the title in good time, just bear with me. And no, for once, the title is no clue to the video lol!
So, despite a less than inspiring weather forecast, the weather was fair (well reasonably fair) this morning, so I decided to head back to Haworth today, as I’d originally planned, prior to seeing a wet forecast. By now, I’ve done the trip to Bradford so often that I’m not even going to mention that, beyond a feisty wing mirror outside the bus that the driver must have tried to re-position about 20 times. Crazy thing was, he still got into Bradford on time, despite that! I think because the previous bus was late (we caught it up, before the mirror incident), we had no one hardly to pick up.
The most notable point of the journey to Keighley was the section through Bingley. When I was younger, that was the main road, and could be a bottle neck at times. Now, there’s a bypass round the town, so far less traffic on that road. One thing that hasnt changed in over 40 years, despite road improvements, is the traffic jams in Keighley town center. The rail station, to the bus station, which is 400 yards at most, took about 15 minutes! Anyway, after a refreshment break, on to the main goal, Haworth.
When I was young, you used to get a battered looking old Metro bus on that route, which wheezed its way up the steep hill out of Keighley, towards Haworth. Now you get a flash new bus, that tells you what the next stop is, and they are all named after the 3 more famous Bronte sisters, seemingly. Rode a bus named Charlotte on the way there, and an Anne on the way back. Positive there is an Emily too, but wouldnt bank on rest of family, especially the 2 eldest sisters, who died before reaching the age of 13!
On arrival at Haworth, I took my chance at the bottom of the hill named Main Street, and got off the bus. There’s a good reason for that, my first ever ‘real home’ was near the bottom of said street. Now that, and its next door neighbor have been knocked into 1 cottage, which is now seemingly one of these rental places. The fact that its originally 2 cottages is given away by 2 facts, the street jumps a number there, and secondly the old door is still there, though nowadays with plants in the doorway, to stop anyone using it. No, our old door is still there, though it now has 1 of those coded locks on it, presumably so the people renting in out can get in without a key? Well, it may be a new door, not sure, but its the entrance you still use, all the same.
One blessing of visiting Haworth in January, over peak summer, is the lack of visitors! Fine, the fact that the Parsonage shuts to visitors during January might have something to do with that! Yes, you guessed it, just as I reached the top of Main Street, approaching the church, the heavens opened! Maybe someone was crying for my return to the village, who knows? I doubt it, but…? Anyway, I went in the church (where all but Anne are buried), and paid my respects, before heading back down the hill in the rain. Then, for one last time, I stopped outside 51 Main Street, and paid my respects to my first home, maybe for the last time. Thats right, there is no 49 any more!
I then took the ‘short cut’ back down to the bottom of the village, near the railway station, passing the school I would have gone to, had I stayed in the village, which is now a set of apartments, called Haworth Mews. To add to the moment, as I got down by the station, there was a steam train parked in the station, seemingly doing a goods run, probably topping up the souvenir shop, though I didnt investigate. But no, no passenger carriages, and besides I checked the timetable, no trains today, not at this time of year.
I didnt time my return well, because I didnt know the timetable any more, so stood for about 15 minutes in the rain, waiting for a bus to take me back home. Well, 3 buses to get all the way home, strictly! Will I go back? Who knows? Its taken me about 10 years to do so this time, and if it goes that long again, I cant see it happening. In truth, my back, even now, supported by a brace felt the climb, so give it a few more years, and it will probably be beyond me. And believe me, that hill is not wheelchair friendly lol!
But yes, one thing, I can now say, at long last, I’ve got back there as a woman! I stopped living there when I was a young child, but used to return on a regular basis up until the turn of the century, but after that, with no reason to do so, visits have become rare.
I wonder how things would have played out if I’d grown up in Haworth, instead of moving down South, because of my father being in the navy? The truth, we will never know! Even more intriguing thought, suppose that young child, growing up in Haworth had been a girl?
OK, video time. I dont know if I was amazed by the visit today, or if it just felt good to be back in the village? Either way, a Wings song tonight. A live performance from the first US city I spent a long period of time in, and which I’m going back to in May!
In truth, on the whole, the one thing I’ve avoided in my life, is going back to places where I lived for a long period of time. And before anyone says anything, 4 weeks isnt a long period of time, so revisiting Los Angeles is fine in my book! 😛
But the Medway Towns (departure date, 2003), Yeovil (1999), and Leytonstone (2005), I’ve pretty much passed on all 3 since leaving them for the last time. I passed through Leytonstone once in a car, but thats it! Yes, I’ve excluded Newbury (2001) because I did go back once, about 14 years later, and fine, it didnt really work. Unsurprisingly, it had changed dramatically from what I remembered, and only made me more determined not to go back to the others. In truth, the only one I’m torn about is Yeovil, but after 19 years, there is no way it could go well now, so I mustn’t!
So why, this week, am I going back to Haworth (1962), you might reasonably ask? Its funny, I’ve no idea why I dont have any issues in returning there, not that I have now been back for about 10 years, because I guess I just dont remember actually living there. Yes, you have to remember, the family moved officially to Medway Towns when I was 3, or 4, and hey, I was too young to remember much of that. I do know where the ‘old house’ is, or did 10 years ago, and ironically it, and its next door neighbor were now 1 house! May I add, that made it into 1 decent sized home!
Let me say it had changed dramatically, but it had changed dramatically long before then. When I came home as a teen even, it was just a small section at the top of the village that was pure tourism, the rest of the village, just an ordinary mill village. Move on 35 years, and the whole place was a tourist haven. So why go back now, I hear you ask?
Simple, if its going to be done, it needs to be done soon. As anyone who knows Haworth will know, or even seen pictures of the village, you know the Main Street is steep. Regular readers will also know my back isnt what it used to be! Whereas 10 years ago, going up the hill was fine, I suspect its going to be more of a challenge now, with my back, and lets face it, that situation isnt going to improve! So yes, if I want to do it, I need to do it soon.
I’m not saying it will be the last time, but I suspect, it might be. Its not exactly a disabled friendly village, by design, lets face it, lol. And yes, I’ll probably stop off in Keighley on the way. Thats not the town I remember as a youngster either, but it will be a swift pass through town, and on, I suspect.
In truth, I dont know if this is a good idea, or not, but just feel it needs to be done?
Video time. I did use this before, but it was 7 years ago, so dont really see this as a repeat?
Firstly, let me say, that for those who are curious, this video was shot, not a ‘million miles’ from where I live in Hebden Bridge! I suspect it might have changed a little in 30 years, but it paints an accurate picture of a small northern town back then. Well, put it this way, I remember Haworth back then, and it looks a fair match!
However, my northern town, as such, as you should already know, is Huddersfield. No, I cant remember what that looked like back in the 70’s, or early 80’s, because back then, it really wasnt on my travel route when heading up north. In truth, my memories of most of the places around Yorkshire from that long ago are fairly vague, apart from probably Haworth (and maybe Keighley?), because I either didnt see them at all, or only saw them in passing in a car, or bus.
Of course, that adds another alternate universe thing to the whole of my life. Suppose we hadnt moved down South permanently when I was 3 or 4, and suppose I had grown up from a young girl, in a northern town like Haworth. Marriage, children, work in a mill, who will ever know? Or working in one of the multitude of tourist type shops that grew through the village, as time moved on. No, I havent even been back in recent times, I know its not the village I grew up knowing, and though part of me wants to see it now, to see what its like, another part of me just wants to stay away, and preserve the memories, as they were. I know, I know, I have no idea which is the best route to go down, but I’m sure, at some point I will go back, like it or not!
Ironically, the only city I have really seen through all ages, is the one I now work in, Bradford. Even more amusing, where I work, I remember that area when it was actually a mill, and that children were told to stay well away from that area. Now across the road is a shopping centre, and our mill building is an office! Not hard to tell the latter mind, when you see the stairs inside the building, they’re steep, which is why this poor old crock has to use a lift at present, due to the state of her back.
And thats a matter I will soon know the state of, given that I rang the surgery today, and found out my scan results are back. No details yet, as the Nurse dealing with my case was off today, and to quote the receptionist, the results were all in medical talk, so none the wiser at present. I’ll find out Thursday, I’m told, and will report accordingly. I’d love a new cybernetically upgraded back, or full body, but pretty sure that offer isnt available! Most likely some more pills to take, will be interesting to see if estrogen is amongst them, given what I said I would do if they were!
So I guess I might yet end up as a Northern housewife, but I wouldnt put good money on it, lol! Would be amusing though, over 50 years on from when a ‘young girl’ might have had that planned out for her?
Video time. How this group was a one hit wonder, no idea, but they were. There is a different version of this video, filmed across the Pennines, near Manchester, but this is the Yorkshire version!