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:”
Spoiler free | Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars | Read: 7 April – 9 April, 2018
I was debating whether I should write a review for this book. Personally, I wouldn’t feel compelled to read a chunk of text about this book, but something inside me convinced me to write this. I had to get some things off my chest, and, who knows, it might tempt you into reading this. The Shepherd’s Life is a non-fictional novel that recounts the life of an average sheep owner. It’s sectioned off into seasons, each detailing the trials and tribulations of being a shepherd in the Lake District. It follows Rebanks from his childhood, slowly making its way up into his current life. Generations of his family have lived and worked in the Lake District shepherding community, and now it’s his turn.
In general, this was an insightful read into the life of a shepherd. Their life is anything but monotonous; every day brings something new with it, whether that be lambing or shearing, feeding or relocation, it’s always something different. As someone who is currently living in a city, I appreciated the opportunity to live vicariously through someone native to my favourite place on earth. He knows the landscape, its animal and its weather like the back of his hand. It was every nature-lover’s dream. You were at one with the landscape, working alongside Rebanks as he performed his shepherding duties. I loved being able to familiarise myself with the places Rebanks recounted; I have visited the places he mentioned so many times before, and I love being transported back to them.
Continue reading “James Rebanks’ The Shepherd’s Life:”
April has flown by, which means it’s time for my reading wrap-up. I’m going to keep this introduction extremely short because I read a total of 14 books this month. A lot, I know. I don’t know how, or why. But I somehow managed to do it.
As always, there will be reviews for the majority of the following novels. I’ll link the ones published.
Anyway, let’s get into the mini-reviews:
Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities | 4 out of 5 stars:
I have been meaning to read this Dickens’ novel since I read Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices in 2014. I finally got round to it, and I loved it. The backdrop is set during the French Revolution, depicting both Paris and London. The story, however, follows two men who are both “redeemed and condemned by their love for the same woman, as the shadow of La Guillotine draws closer…” (Penguin English Library).
I loved the social criticism, the brutal imagery and language used to depict a revolutionary Paris and a poor London, and the unique characters who guided the plot in such a wonderful way. I only had one issue with this, and it tends to be a recurring issue with Dickens, and that’s my attention to detail. I often miss things when reading Dickens, so I think his and my literary tastes are at odds with each other.
Continue reading “April Wrap-Up:”