About Me

My photo
Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bronte Country, Haworth UK

I love England - everything about it! I love its history, its architecture, its climate (so like my own), its people and culture. I come from British ancestors that go back a long long way. My sister is our family historian and she's verified family all the way back to the year 1555 when my several times over great grandfather was born in Kelsagh, Suffolk, England. I am the 35th generation since then. The next time I visit England, I plan to try to find the family gravesite.

Because of my British ancestry, I try to keep up with as many customs as possible. For instance, our family Christmas morning breakfast consists/ed of Ayreshire bacon and fried eggs along with fried black puddin'. We do the Christmas cracker thing at dinner, too, and everyone has to wear his/her "crown." Boxing Day is big in Canada, too, and we usually have visitors over or else we go out visiting. It's a day of leftovers along with finger food like sausage rolls or other hot appies, cheese and crackers, etc. I follow the lives of the British royalty and was just as distraught as the English when Princess Diana was killed.

Last Saturday in our daily rag (as we like to call the local newspaper), there was an article about the Bronte sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne who became famous authors. You may recall Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, a novel far ahead of its time because it smashed purist morals with its rough language and passionate characters. (No one could ever do a better job acting the roles of Heathcliffe and Cathy than Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon in the 1939 movie). And who has not heard of Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte?

The three sisters originally published under the pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell in 1846. However, when it was discovered that the authors of these stories were three daughters of a clergyman, interest was piqued.

The sisters grew up in Haworth, Yorkshire, a small but crowded village sustained by the working poor in the local textile mills. It was apparently a grim place with bleak weather and blustery winds. The village suffered from lack of a drainage system, which contributed to outbreaks of cholera and piles of human and animal waste in the streets.

Haworth today is a much more romantic place. It's atop a steep hill in Yorkshire and attracts more than 7 million visitors a year to its still-quaint streets and Bronte-themed activities. The Black Bull (see below) and White Lion Inn, all popular in the mid-1800s still serve customers today and Main Street is kept tidy for picture-perfect snapshots. The buildings are well-preserved and visitors get a real sense of the Brontes' time from the active work of its citizens and the Bronte Society. The parsonage where the girls grew up has been carefully converted to the renowed Bronte Parsonage Museum (see photo below) and each room is filled with furniture and the belongings of the family.

My next trip will be to England so I can visit friends I have there, some new blogging friends (I hope), and to see other parts of the country that I haven't as yet seen. Those areas include Cambridge, a bit north-east of London; Suffolk County; and the south coast from Brighton to Portsmouth. I'd like to see the Isle of Wight as well. Finally, I absolutely MUST see Bronte Country, which is a bit west of Leeds north-west of London. The friend who will travel with me has been to England many times, too. We actually spent a week there in 1997 before doing a 2-week tour of France. We're used to the train system, so plan to base ourselves in the Salisbury area and just take overnight bags as we hop on and off the trains to get ourselves from place to place. Oh, it's going to be a wonderful trip! (Can you see me over on the top right waving from one of the beautiful hiking paths in England?)


nancygrayce said...

Wow! That sounds like such fun! You are a real traveling girl!

leslie said...

Wow, Nancy, I just published this and was reading it over for proofreading purposes when I noticed you'd already posted. Yes, I have been bitten by the travel bug because I didn't get a chance to do any exciting travel until I was 49!!! I'd sworn to myself that I'd get to France before I turned 50 and I just made it. I've been to England 3 times in total, France once and Italy once. I just love all of Europe I've seen so far. I still want to do Route 66 in the USA, though, by car! So keep an eye out for me! lol

BBC said...

I've never been there but it sounds lovely.

But I've done parts of route 66, I lived in Kingman, Az. for a year. It's not as cool as it was back in the day though.

I don't travel much anymore though, it's to hard on the planet and I choose to care about the planet over my own wants.

heiresschild said...

good history Leslie, and beautiful photos. one of my goals is to do some european traveling, and by golly, i shall, one of these days.

david mcmahon said...

Thanks for the visit and the lovely comment on the Santa/ Santana post!

I enjoyed my time in England as a sportswriter - I used to be there every summer for Wimbledon and the Test cricket.

Really enjoyed my first visit here, Leslie.

Do keep in touch.

jmb said...

Well I was lucky enough to live there for a year and a half so did a pretty thorough tour of the place over that time. Funnily enough I have never been tempted to go back, although I have been to Europe many times since.
I'm sure you'll have fun because you seem like a fun person wherever you are.

Pear tree cottage! said...

Leslie, knowing your ancestors is the most wonderful part of life isn't it.....we also have found family going back to England, Scotland, Canada and the island of St.Helena off Africa with the east India company it is a never ending story as we find more out about them the more we look, so I understand your passion and connection with England.

I loved your post about your travels and hope one day you will find yourslef in this country enjoying all it has to offer.

Best wishes Lee-ann

Josie said...

Leslie, that sounds like a wonderful trip. I have taken the train around England, and it's tons of fun. The train goes right through little neighborhoods, so you can peer into everyone's back yards. I took the train from London to Salisbury, and around England and up to Aberdeen, and it was wonderful.

I would love to see the area where the Brontes grew up. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I can assure you, Leslie, that Bronte country is wonderful -and the parsonage is not depressing as one might imagine. anyway, you will have a great time seeing for yourself! Did you know, by the way, that there is a Bronte connection with Sicily??

leslie said...

Welshcakes, no I did not know that but after reading your post, went and researched it. Now I know and thanks for pointing it out.

Smalltown RN said...

Leslie, first let me say how much I love the new look of your blog...very calming and easy to read. Well done my friend.

England....I have so much family in England. My last surviving aunt lives there along with many many cousins. I loved northern England and the rolling hills and the Lake District and Beatrix Potter, Carlisle and the Castle from where the song "I take the high road" was based upon. Hadrains Wall, and Hexhum, or further south and Chester and it's walled city, or Fortheringhay where Mary Queen of Scots was finally beheaded...on our trip to England we unknowingly visited many a castle as to where she was held captive...yes the history there is amazing...I can hardly wait to go back.

You and I seem to celebrate many of the same Christmas traditions as well...our's also had a little European slant to it with my father being from Croatia.

Cheers my friend

kissa said...

Your Christmas sounded so much more traditional than ours. Haworth is atop the moors outside Bradford and please make sure to visit it when the weather is not wet and it is lovely but when the rain is down it can be a grim spot! I lived in Suffolk for a few years it is very pretty. I have been wondering if your family hail from Kersey which is everso sweet! Your trip here sounds great.

Shirl the Girl said...

The point about those who live in the UK is - we don't always see ourselves or our own countries as you do! Nor do we consider taking the type of round Britain tour you envisage. I realise the mileage involved is nothing like the vast expanses of America and Canada, but we still don't do it. Fly to Europe and Florida, the Far East, maybe - visit England's wonders, doubtful.

My Gran had a saying - "you've no business to leave these shores unless you've been to Cornwall and Scotland - they are our treasures". My travel is now limited by MS and I know she is right.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful. After reading this, Leslie, I felt like I just went for a vacation, and believe me, I really need one. I hope you will be able to go there and post up pictures of you waving. That will be so special. Thank you for coming by and for the warm wishes. It meant so much to me. How is your weather in your part of BC? Cold here in this part... very cold.
Take care.

Ackworth Born said...

was gonna comment on your ABC post [welcome to t'club] but this is more interesting. I'm not sure if Salisbury is very well connected for trains to the north and the Worth Valley Railway which runs through Haworth is a private enthusiasts line. It is up the road [so to speak] from us but now I'm carless am unable to visit it as I've done in the past.

Miss_Yves said...

Very glad to discover youyr blog visited Haworth a long time ago because I am fond of the works (and the life)of Emily and Charlotte Bronte.
And I have enjoyed the "rewriting "of
Antoinette Cosway'Story (The first MRs Rochester, by Jean Rhys in "Wide Sargasso sea.
Miss Yves