When we were first getting to know one another, I told Mark my favourite film, the one I absolutely loved and watched repeatedly, was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
He’d never seen it.
Years later, it happened to be on television and I was excited to finally watch it together.
He did not like it.
Once the shock and confusion had worn off, I didn’t really know what to do. I mean, obviously, it’s ok not to like all of the same things (I’m not keen on football, new Mustang cars or meat, for example) but Ferris is part of my DNA. It’s fundamental to who I am. I LOVE that film. No, love isn’t strong enough, it needs to be said in a foreign language J’aime, io amo, jag älskar.
If Mark “didn’t get” that film, did it mean he didn’t ‘get’ me?
Uh-oh. Reader, I’d married him.
Annnnyyyway, fast forward some more years and I was planning a little mother/daughter adventure last summer. I thought Freya and I could head to York to catch up with a good friend I haven’t seen in ages. What I was in two minds about, having learnt my lesson, was tagging on a visit to my favourite place, Haworth.
If she didn’t like the home of the Brontës, it would be a thousand times worse than not liking Ferris (I will never take Mark there, just in case).
I read Wuthering Heights when I was 13 and was captivated not just by Cathy and Heathcliff and a tale unlike anything I had ever read before but also by the famous literary family.
For some reason, it never occurred to me that you could actually visit where they lived. I was 17/18 before I first made that pilgrimage, completing the final leg of the journey via steam train in a magical cloud of soot and smoke.
I’m not being dramatic when I say it felt like coming home. Since then I’ve been several times and I always get this odd sense of peace wash over me the minute my feet touch Main Street (going back in my family tree, we were from Sheffield so maybe it’s my northern roots?).
The last time I was there, Freya wasn’t even a consideration so it’s not like I stood looking over the higgledy-piggledy graveyard at the parsonage wondering if I would ever bring my child. But, now the opportunity arose, it felt big. What if she hated it? What if she dismissed it as boring and wanted to come home? The fear was real but, when I talked to her about it, she seemed very excited.
I booked it and then started prepping her on everything Brontë (including this book, which we read together).
When the day finally arrived, after a fantastic couple of days in York, I was hoping to recreate the magical steam train arrival but I mistimed it and we caught the slightly smelly vintage diesel instead. It was still a cool journey.
Want to know what wasn’t so cool? Lugging the heavy backpack with all our clothes in up the wrong hill on a hot August day. Yes, despite having been there many times, I went the wrong way.
Luckily, after a tasty/fortifying lunch back down the hill at the Treehouse Bar and Kitchen (very friendly staff), we then walked up the right hill. At the very top was our lovely B&B, Weavers of Haworth.
I was a sweaty mess by the time we arrived but our hosts very kindly had our room ready early (I had emailed in advance to see if I could dump the bag) so I was able to clean up before we made our way to the parsonage, which was just across the car park.
The family moved to the village in 1820 where the Reverend Patrick Brontë was appointed Curate of Haworth.
Before, I was euphoric just to be back (or maybe it was the endorphins from climbing that steep hill) but now the nerves kicked in, especially when there was a small queue to get into the parsonage (like many children, she’s not a lover of queues).
We’ve blown through museums before like a gale force wind, hardly even stopping to look at the prized artefacts. Luckily, the museum children’s guide helped to slow her down as we spotted various objects and learnt more about the family.
I like that they space visitors out, even if it means a queue, so it didn’t feel like you had to move on quickly. The various rooms are decorated and set out as they would have been when the Brontës lived there, along with many items once owned by the family, such as Charlotte’s striped dress, which was found hidden away during previous renovations of the museum.
Freya even got to sew a flower before I embarrassed her. Apparently, I got “over excited” in the gift shop when the lady asked if I wanted the new copy of Wuthering Heights I was buying officially stamped. YES PLEASE!!!
That evening, I thought she might be a bit tired (I was) but she was raring to go up on the moors. It was just what the doctor ordered. I’ve never visited when the heather has been in bloom before. It was spectacular. The peace and quiet was only interrupted by the breeze (and the occasional dog walker/horse rider).
While we were there we snapped some 9th birthday photos, with Freya in a pretty (pre-loved) dress. She also spent some time doing a watercolour in her travel journal while I took even more photos and then she just ran around for a bit, like she was a young Emily Brontë. I wasn’t sure how long she’d want to stay but she was perfectly happy and content, which is exactly how I felt. It was starting to get dark by the time she was ready to leave. We had a nice amble along country lanes lined with dry-stoned walls back to the guest house.
After a peaceful night of sleep and a very nice breakfast where Freya tried tea for the first time (Yorkshire Tea, obviously), it was time to head back down the hill. I had planned to stay longer but there were train strikes announced after I had booked the trip and I had to rearrange everything so we could get home.
It was raining when we left, which I felt reflected how sad we both were.
We did manage to catch the steam train back to Keighley though.
It’s safe to say Freya didn’t just like Haworth, she loved it. In fact, she’s regularly been asking when we can go back and, just last night, was singing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights at high volume.
Now, the big question is, do I watch Ferris with her when she’s old enough?
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller.
2 thoughts on “Taking my favourite person to my favourite place (Haworth, Yorkshire).”
I love this! For all the times I’ve been to Yorkshire on holiday, we’ve never quite been near enough to Haworth. I saw some amazing photos of it under a blanket of snow during the recent cold snap.
Thank you. I think I saw the same photos on FB. I visited in December one year for the lovely lantern parade and it was freezing but I’ve never seen snow there. Maybe one day!
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