Adventures of an Agoraphobic: Haworth

The big news in my life at the moment is that I'm moving to a new town. Imminently. This weekend, in fact. Kris and I have been together for three and a half years and have been trying hard to find jobs near to each other so that we can get a place together. Things have finally come together, and so we're having the lovely stress of moving to a completely new town. It's exciting, but not exactly easy when it's a holiday weekend! And we've not got much time because we're going away to Iceland next week. Lots to do!

Kris moved up to the North in the summer of 2015, and lived in Mytholmroyd, near Hebden Bridge. It's a lovely place (despite the flooding) but not somewhere where we could settle. That still, I'm really going to miss it.

As English graduates, we always talked about visiting the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth. Ever since Kris moved up we planned to go, but never seemed to find the right time. With neither of us driving things can get a little bit tricky once you live in a more rural area. But we decided that we needed to go before we moved, so off we went!
To get to Haworth we took the "Brontë Bus" from Hebden Bridge train station (it's the green bus to Keighley). This takes about 30 mins and winds through the streets of Hebden then goes up over the moors to Oxenhope and then Haworth. The bus is actually pretty snazzy, with comfy seats, free Wi-Fi and USB ports. I was a bit wobbly with my anxiety on the way there, but I don't think the massive coffee I had before I left helped! Going through the wilds of West Yorkshire helped get us in the mood for Haworth, although the weather was quite lovely - not exactly the scenes you see in Wuthering Heights...

I've been to the museum before, a long time ago before I'd actually read any of the Brontë's novels myself. So this time it was much better because I had more of an understanding! We were pleasantly surprised to find that they had lots of information about To Walk Invisible, the TV film about the Brontës that was shown over Christmas. The museum is beautifully curated, with information about each of the rooms in the parsonage, as well as letters and possessions belonging to the family. The Brontë sisters had really tiny feet! One thing we found a little bit eerie and weird was being in the rooms where people had died. Looking at the bed where Branwell died, standing in the room where Emily died. It made me want to be very quiet and contemplative.

However, something that quite tickled me was a quote from an early review of Wuthering Heights, which suggested that Emily Brontë had been eating far too much cheese before bed when writing, causing her to have the most dark and satanic dreams that inspired her work!

We couldn't leave without raiding the gift shop - it seemed rude not to. Kris bought a lovely cloth-bound edition of Jane Eyre because he hasn't read it before. I felt left out so bought How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis; it looks like an interesting read and I wanted to get one of the special bookplate stamps available only available at the Parsonage. We also got bookmarks, because why not, and a canvas bag.

Haworth itself is a pretty small place, but still with plenty of shops to look in. We ambled down the hill on our way back to the bus, and popped into a few places. Kris got his first new £1 coin in the "...and Chocolate" shop. The owner said it was a marketing tactic because it means we'll never forget where we got our first new pound. He wasn't wrong! Much more interesting than when I got my first new fiver (the self service checkout at the Co-op near Manchester Victoria station). From his shop we picked up a few chocolate delights, which were all very yummy. I also bought some macarons, because I've never had one before. They were nice, but not the most amazing thing I've ever tasted. Definitely a little bit overrated! Although I wouldn't say no to someone bringing me a box from Ladurée...

Before we went to the chocolate shop we also called into Mrs Beighton's Sweet Shop, where I bought some lemon river stones. Yes, they're really sweets! They were just so unusual, I couldn't pass them by!

We also looked in a shop called Lighthouse Lane; I wanted to buy the whole shop! It was packed full of artwork and prints, as well as quirky gifts. They have an Etsy shop, so I might have to make a cheeky purchase!

When we got back to Hebden Bridge we decided to go to The Stubbing Wharf for tea. We'd always talked about going, but then it closed due to the winter floods and it just never happened. So we knew we had to go. And I really wish I'd gone sooner! We were absolutely starving and yet the portions were so generous I still couldn't finish. I got fish and chips, which were really tasty (especially the chips). After that we waddled home and collapsed on the sofa.

I don't think it's goodbye forever to Haworth and Hebden Bridge. We'll definitely come back. Once we've recovered from the move, that is!

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