On the outskirts of Lancashire sits Rufford Old Hall, a home of ‘romance, wealth and five-hundred years of family history’. I’ve been aching to visit here for the best part of a year now, and I’m finally within touching distance. The gravel crunches under my feet as I wander slowly up the pathway, taking in the natural beauty that surrounds me. The heavy, sweet scent of the blossoming rhododendrons wraps around me, blanketing me from the sweltering heat. It calms me as the white and black timber-framed hall comes into view. The wooden doors have endured for centuries but they are still willing to invite me in, desperate for me to amble along the Hall’s corridors and soak in its history.
Despite the wide windows, I am shrouded in darkness. The north hall is blocking the sunlight, and I carefully scrutinise the furniture. As I bend lower, the smell of old wood suddenly hits me, reassuring me of its authenticity. It knocks me back, and I turn to leave. I weave in and out of rooms, breathing in the Hall’s history. Dotted around each room sits rotting sofas and tables; they were once vibrant with colour but now have faded to a dull mess of grey, black and green. From the corner of my eye, I peep the Hesketh’s coat of arms. It sits proudly craved into the Great Hall’s wall, and has been since the mid-1500s. This was, undoubtedly, a hall built to impress. It’s said that the Bard himself visited here during his teens. I wonder what Shakespeare thought whilst wandering these very hallways? I am, you might say, following in his footsteps.
Continue reading “Spring:”
Walking boots, knitted accessories, a thick coat and a steaming mug of tea; I am ready to brave the winter. We drive the long route, admiring the frosty fields that were once vibrant green in their prime. The winding roads up to Beacon Fell are slippery; our tyres grip for dear life. Once up, we circle the perimeter of the forest, searching endlessly for a brown patch to park our car. The door opens and I am greeted, quite violently, by the nipping breeze. It welcomes me to its humble abode.
I start up the path leading into the abyss of fir trees, wildflowers and hedgerows. I am desperate to find the summit. Along the way, I listen to the aching music of my dear Lancashire. The piercing whistle of the hurrying wind; the squelching of mud beneath my boots; the sweet cries of birds calling out to one another; the faint rustling of a wild animal desperate not to be seen; and the complete lack of anything human. I have found peace at last.
Continue reading “Winter:”
Today’s post is something a little different. It’s not book-related, but a piece of creative writing.
A few weeks ago, I found such liberating comfort in writing about my favourite season. Below, you will find all the attributes I subscribe to Autumn. I must pay tribute to Louise Baker, who inspired me to write this piece. After reading how she defines the season in Autumn: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons, I knew I had to isolate myself from the world and become at one with Autumn. This is my offspring. Please be gentle – I am not used to sharing my creative writing on such a platform. I suffer from creative self-doubt, but I knew this piece would call out to a lot of you, like Cathy calls out to Heathcliff on those blustery moors. Enjoy.
Continue reading “Autumn”