7 p.m. Old Gate

7 weeks to the day since I arrived so I thought it only fitting that I went full circle and had dinner where I had dinner on the night I arrived. Today I chatted with my host as I packed my bags feeling sad, and very conflicted. Over the last 4 days I’ve talked to several people, some for the first time, and some whom I’ve known for many years, about what I feel would be the differences in my life living in England as opposed to living in Santa Cruz. Of course, it’s all conjecture. Here I’m somewhat of a novelty – a Californian in town for a limited time trying to fit in as many things as possible. But that’s not real life, is it? A strange coincidence happened today, which just typifies what I see here. The journalist who showed me around Sowerby put me in touch with a friend and colleague of hers who lives in Hebden Bridge. We met for coffee for the first time – and ended up suggesting we do a house swap. When I mentioned the encounter to my host it turns out that she’s a good friend of hers. My host once moved to Spain but ended up returning to Hebden Bridge because she found it difficult to become part of the society in Spain because it’s centered so much around the family. As Colin said so aptly, ’the problem with having lived in two different cultures is that we end up wanting the best of what each has to offer.

A Sunday in Hebden Bridge has a somewhat Santa Cruzian feel


Today I bought 4 books – oh, the extravagance of the woman! One was Ted Hughes’s The Remains of Elmet and the other was Up North by Simon Armitage. Hughes’s collection of poetry has so many poems about the area that I’ve visited over the past few weeks: Lullenden, Hardcastle Crags, Top Withens, Haworth Parsonage. I spent the afternoon inserting these poems into my blog.

I took myself out for a late lunch in a lovely restaurant – Rendezvous – which I’ve never noticed before though I must have passed it many times. There I dipped into Simon’s book for the first time and found myself laughing out loud at his wit and humour as he depicts his life in a northern town. To prepare for our trip to Ted Hughes’s house yesterday I had watched a documentary , and Simon Arminitage (currently professor of poetry at Oxford) was one of the key commentators. As I watched I couldn’t understand why he was conducting his commentary from a seat in an empty theater until I realized that it was the Old Movie House in Hebden Bridge (where I’d gone the first week) because Ted Hughes did several poetry readings there. Late news: my current host had worked at the Little Theater, also where I’d gone to a show the first week, sometime as an actress and sometimes working behind the scenes.

My Caesar salad has just arrived thirty minutes after I ordered it, but the chicken and the bacon are hot off the grill, and I’ve been able to write seven pages in my notebook as I waited – though why I just found an anchovy in it remains a mystery!