. . . to a busy day.
So today was the first day I didn’t wake up with a plan already hatched. In fact, I didn’t leave the house until after lunch – can you believe that? I thought I’d try and catch up with some family history research online since Angela had some serious doubts about my Tempests of Tong connection, saying that she didn’t believe the Barracloughs would have moved so far. I also tried to further my plans for what to do after I leave the mill, emailing my brother-in-law, trying a travel agent (yes, they still exist, though I haven’t used one since my trip to India in the early 80’s, and trying to figure out if I can get back by public transport if I go to a play tonight in Todmorden. So I tackled all that while having the opening games of Wimbledon on in the background.
After lunch I was undecided whether to take a walk in Luddenden Foot, retracing some of Branwell Brontë’s footsteps or go to find Hardcastle Crags. The latter won after I sought advice at the tourist information center in town. It was a place that I had heard my mum talk about a lot. She may even have taken me there as a very small child but I have no recollection of it. I followed what was billed as ‘an easy walk, mainly on the flat.’ It was anything BUT flat, and what I had mistakenly thought was a gentle half hour stroll along the river (well, Beccie said it was) turned out to be a 6 1/2 mile hike.
I passed through the square where I saw Chris with her pro-Palestinian banners that she’d been designing last night, and then went off into the woods with my map. Within 15 minutes it started to pour down. I mean, really pour down. 2 elderly gentlemen chatting by their allotment said,’Yaw right, luv?’ and that was that! I had flights of steep narrow stone stairs to contend with, rock hopping, mud squelching, cobbled pack horse bridges as I followed the river up to Midgehole,a tiny hamlet, before entering National Trust land and the entrance to Hardcastle Crags. I followed a wide boring path that was obviously a service road, and the one mile to Gibson Mill was totally wrong. I was spurred on, however, by the sign that said Cafe Open til 4 p.m. It was 3:15 so I made as good a time as possible and arrived in time for tea and a wander around the weaving sheds, that had been turned into tea rooms by the time my mom went. at one time it had also served as a roller skating rink. The view from the mill pond was lovely and the reflections were perfect. I chatted with a lady who was giving directions to workmen and she apologized for the poor sign-posting at the entrance to the park. I should have followed the mill walk for a more interesting route. I did that on the way back, at one point in the darkness of the woods, besides the rushing river a pterodactyl flew overhead following the line of the water. experiencing yet another deluge as I passed the defunct bowling club.
“In a deep gorge under palaeolithic moorland
Meditation of conifers, a hide-out of elation,
Is a grave of echoes.
Name-lists off cenotaphs tangle here to mystify
The voice of the dilapidated river.”
from Hardcastle Crags by Ted Hughes
A sketch performance of a theater production about the day of the floods ended the day. held in the town hall this was part of the Hebden Bridge festival and Chris and Beccie and couple who are AirB&B with Beccie came along too. it was brilliant, really giving a sense of the personal impact of not only the day of the flood but the huge clean up operation that is still visible in many of the businesses about town. I presume it’s just the same in people’s homes – I just can’t see it.