We’re back on the Blogging from A-Z challenge again today, and we have arrived at the letter “E”.
Today is Easter Monday, the day after Easter Sunday and here in the UK it is a Bank Holiday. In recent years we have gone camping in the week after Easter but this year we decided to have a traditional family Day Out instead.
When I say “family”, of course nowadays I mean just Kevin and me as the kids, well the kids aren’t kids any more and it’s hard to drag a 16 year old boy out of his pit on a bank holiday to go for a ride out with mum and dad, and our 21 year old daughter has got her law degree finals to study for. So, we had an “us” day out instead. And it was a glorious day to be riding round England in the Spring I can tell you!
We went up to the Yorkshire village of Haworth, well-known for being the home of the Bronte family for some time in the 1860s, and where the Bronte sisters famously wrote their novels. We didn’t go there on any sort of a literary pilgrimage but to go and see if we could find some Morris dancers. Morris dancing is a traditional English activity performed by groups of men, or “rings”, and like most folk traditions its origins are hidden in the mists of time. Some people think it is pagan in origin, but for the last 500 years or so Morris dancing has been closely associated with Christian festivals too, such as Easter and Harvest gathering. My own thoughts on it are that it is colourful, musical, rhythmical and entertaining to watch, and it is something I do like to make the effort to go and see when I can.
I looked online last night to see where there was going to be some Morris dancing and we had a choice of Buxton or Haworth. Up until we set out this morning, we hadn’t decided which one to go for but as my heart lies closer to Yorkshire than Derbyshire, I suggested we went up there.
It was a bit grey and murky when we set out and to be honest I questioned the decision to go anywhere at all, but half a hour up the M62 and after a couple of miles of thick fog over Saddleworth Moor, we broke out into glorious sunshine and it lasted all day. We were fortunate enough to find a parking space on the main road just outside Haworth and it was a lovely stroll up the hill to the village. We had a look inside the church (where Patrick Bronte, the patriarch, was minister) and went for a stroll/ramble through the graveyard at the back which sits between the church and the parsonage where the Bronte family lived.
Walking back down to the main street we heard the dulcet tones of a friend of ours, Paul Harper, who sings 1940s songs at re-enactment events and concerts throughout the year all over the country. We know him from doing the Severn Valley Railway and the East Lancs Railway 1940s weekends with the Middleton Youth Band, and it was lovely to see him performing in Haworth today.
We were very tempted to have a pint of bitter in the Black Bull, but tummies were rumbling and neither of us trusted our heads to drink on an empty stomach so we headed back to the car for lunch. We sat on a bench overlooking the next village, Oakworth, and had some sandwiches. We would have had a cup of tea too except someone forgot to bring the milk…
After a quick lunch we walked back up to the shops again to see if there was any sign of the Morris dancers and we saw them forming up outside the Woollen Mill shop down the road.
There was two groups dancing, one was men with two accordian accompaniment, and the other was ladies with a couple of accordians, a hurdy-gurdy, a trombone and a drum. The ladies group was really unusual and I haven’t seen anything like them before. Their costumes looked Spanish in origin, their music sounded very Scottish in flavour and their dance steps looked very Medieval to me and they put me in mind of an Elizabethan court dance. I might have got it wrong, so I would welcome any correction from anyone who knows how and why they were so different.
We stood and watched them for a little while until they were ready to move on to their next stop, and we were ready to move on too. We decided to go and have a look down the lane that led to Oakworth village and we ended up on the other side of the valley looking backwards towards Haworth. You might just be able to pick out the church clock in the distance if you look closely!
We made our way home after then, all the while enjoying the glorious views of the moors and the hills in the Spring sunshine. I am so glad we decided to stick with our plan to go out for the day today instead of staying at home and doing jobs around the house as we were tempted to do when we saw the mist this morning.
Another Easter Monday over and it’s back to work tomorrow for Kevin and back to studying for me. But boy, what a gorgeous day today has been!