16 March 2018

Uplands

Where did Mr Pudding go THIS time?

He went away for two nights with Mistress Pudding - to the heart of West Yorkshire.

Low mists hung over the Pennine hills and valleys. In the darkness of Wednesday night, we sped along the M62 to Junction 24. Thence to Elland, Sowerby Bridge and Mytholmroyd before turning along a "B" road to Cragg Vale.

Then up a steep single track road intersected by drainage channels till we finally arrived at Cragg Hall. We were staying in the barn conversion next door as guests of our old friend Tony and his fairly new lady, Pauline. Tony had booked the barn for a week to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. His daughters had been there at the beginning of this week.

We were there with two other old friends - Glyn and Jackie who happen to eke out an existence in the heathen territory known as Lancashire. There be dragons!

The eco-barn was amazing. Warmed by ground-sourced heating it has a huge wall of glass that overlooks Cragg Vale. The materials and fitments used throughout are top notch and it was a delightful place to stay in spite of the low lying cloud and the hair-raising track up the hillside.
Yesterday we went into Hebden Bridge - a former milltown that is now synonymous with alternative lifestyles. Businesses here are independent - no Starbucks allowed, no Tescos etcetera but there is a small co-operative supermarket. 

We climbed higher into the mist specifically to visit Sylvia Plath's grave in Heptonstall churchyard. It wasn't easy to find but when we did light upon it we noticed that previous visitors had plunged pens into the sod that covers her. Glyn and Jackie had never even heard of Sylvia Plath but I read "The Bell Jar" and her poetry many moons ago and this was a pilgrimage I had often thought of making. 
Sylvia Plath's grave in Heptonstall
"Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted"
She was such a gifted writer. If she could only have suppressed her suicidal thoughts or perhaps sought professional help for possible postnatal depression, she might easily have become a modern day literary great. She was only thirty years old when she left us. I had nothing to put on her gravestone but a ten pence piece with a crowned lion on the reverse. We walked away leaving Sylvia behind us in the swirling Pennine mists. She died in 1963.

Last night we had pints of beer in "The Hinchliffe" before climbing the precipitous track for a late dinner of chilli, rice and jacket potatoes in the lovely barn. It was nice to spend time with people we care for and in whose company we feel very much at ease. The spooky weather didn't really matter.
Ruins of the old church in Heptonstall

20 comments:

  1. I have never seen that done on a grave before. May I ask why?
    What a marvellous place to celebrate ones sixtieth birthday with friends!
    Silver Clint is doing a little overtime lately.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Are you referring to the pens Maria? I think the pens are there to show solidarity with a writer who of course used pens to write with. Silver Clint is present in the top picture. He did not like riding over the drainage channels embedded in the road.

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    2. Yes the pens. Thank you.
      x

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  2. The photo of the ruined church has a very spooky feel about it, it could be a book cover for a murder mystery.

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    1. "Rick - The Killer Hound"...I am happy with that picture Sue. In spite of the dank, misty conditions I think I have captured something there.

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  3. Yes, I am sure Sylvia Plath would have reached heights higher than those she already achieved in her few years on this earth. In so few years, she gave so much of her brilliant mind.

    Nowadays, she most certainly would have received the treatment she needed, the poor, tortured soul.

    How strange that couple had never hear of Plath.

    You certainly are always out and about and on the move, Yorkie. Hebden Bridge looks like a peaceful place...just my cup of tea!

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    1. I must say that I was dumbfounded when I realised that neither of them had heard of Sylvia Plath. It was like Australians saying they had never heard of Rodney Marsh.

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  4. How nice to see your travels. It looks as if you had an enjoyable and relaxed trip. Thank you for sharing an up to date photo of Sylvia Plath's grave. It is good to know she does have a tombstone as I have read it was often stolen or defaced.(removing her married name) She was a talented poet and led a tortured life. It was believed she was bipolar and that can be difficult to treat even today.

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    1. I think that a handful of militant feminists had a very unfair view of how Ted Hughes treated Sylvia Plath. With her suicidal character, she drove him to his wit's end. The grave does not get damaged any more. Hughes had to replace the gravestone several times.

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  5. I like the pens on the grave. I think she would have, too. And I love the photo of the spooky church ruins...you always get such great photos!

    I wanted to mention to you that I saw Sean Bean on The Late Show the other night and I just found out he's from Sheffield! So now I imagine your voice and accent sounding like Ned Stark! :D

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    1. I don't sound like Sean Bean because I am from East Yorkshire. However, many women seem to find Sean Bean sexy so I am happy for you to imagine that I sound like him.

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    2. Sean Bean IS sexy! :) And is an East Yorkshire accent that different from a West Yorkshire accent? I probably wouldn't be able to hear the difference.

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    3. I guess you are right. It is probably the same in The Carolinas. Subtle differences that outsiders would not recognise.

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  6. What a beautiful place. The fog gives such atmosphere to a church yard. Sounds like a lovely trip.

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    1. It was lovely to stay in such a warm, beautifully converted building in a part of Yorkshire I don't know.

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  7. Lots of mood there with foggy weather and grave sites . Looks like a great facility for a group of people.

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    1. Three double bedrooms downstairs and a large social open area upstairs wkith magnificent views but it was quite a climb from the pub in the valley.

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  8. The converted barn looks like a great place to stay, although I am not keen on leather armchairs. The views from there must be fantastic and even more so when the weather is not picture-book perfect.
    I didn't know Sylvia Plath was buried in Yorkshire! I read "The Bell Jar" in 2014 (before we started reading each other's blogs, I believe), and my review triggered an interesting discussion on depression. If you would like to read it, it is here.
    I am most intrigued by the ruins of the church. What happened there?

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    1. By the way, we have two leather sofas!

      I understand that the original church was badly damaged in a storm so a new church was built twenty yards away. It is a strange story.

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  9. I've often wanted to make that pilgrimage to see Sylvia Plath's grave. She has long been a literary hero of mine. I've heard about the pen thing -- and also that occasionally feminist vandals scrape the "Hughes" off her headstone, in retaliation against the philandering Ted. It looks like it's been restored, from what I can see in your photo.

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