Colin arrived at 10 a.m. after spending the night in Settle after his 25 miles Three Peaks Walk the previous day. From my window I could see him on the bridge. As it was quite sunny I suggested we went to explore places connected with Ted Hughes, one time poet laureate who spent his life dealing with the aftermath of having his first two wives commit suicide. His first wife was Sylvia Plath who is buried in Heptonstall, presumable because Hughes’s parents lived in Slack, the next settlement. So a few minutes later we were in Colin’s rental car and off to Mytholmroyd to find #1 Aspinall Street, Hughes’s birthplace. There’s a simple blue plaque on the end terrace house which can now be rented as a vacation rental.
Then I took Colin to my favorite view of Hebden Bridge, from the playground in Heptonstall. Next we went down the very, very narrow lane to Lumb Bank, an eighteenth century dwelling with fantastic views of Stoodley Pike. I’d walked up to this lane a couple of times (it’s close to Slack Bottom!) but I hadn’t realized that this is the home of the writers’ workshop that I tried to get a place in but they were full. There were lots of private signs and no turnaround signs but we were fortunate is finding the cleaning lady out and about. “I shouldn’t do this,” she said, “but would you like to come in and look around?” Yeh! It’s beautifully maintained gardens open on views to die for. Several handwritten poems by Hughes line the dining room walls. I’d love to come back and take a creative writing seminar. Classes are limited to 16 participants so you get a lot of quality time with the two teachers.
Having been in the White Lion a couple of times on this trip we opted for a light lunch in the newly repainted Cross Keys. Though we were the only occupants both the pot of tea and the pie took a long, long time to arrive. You just have to adjust to a different time frame.