He’s mad as hell.
This morning we did a couple of miles in the boat, with no locks at all, though there were three swing bridges. Paula gets a bit embarrassed making the traffic wait while our boat sidles through a swing bridge, so she decided to drive while I worked the bridges. The most fun thing we passed was this this boat.
Our goal was Stockbridge Wharf, on the outskirts of Keighley (pronounced KEETH-lee). There’s a National Trust property near, and a steam train that goes to Haworth (pronounced HOW-uth) where the Bronte sisters used to live. We settled on the NT property, East Riddlesden Hall today, and Bronteville tomorrow.
It’s a 17th century stone building, which as Paula says needs pressure washing, though I think the National Trust regards the industrial grime on the outside as something historic, like the patina on a netsuke or body paint on a nude.
The building was empty when the Trust acquired it, so they have been doing their best to fill it with period furniture. This clock still keeps time after three hundred years, and tells you the day of the month.
The plaster ceilings are original…
… though the smoke alarm is not.
Then there’s the dresser, with a row of pewter plates and tankards.
This, the room guide tells us, came from a house the Bronte sisters could have visited, and so was the inspiration for the dresser that appears in the first few pages of Wuthering Heights.
Because obviously a brilliant woman novelist would not have been capable of making up a piece of furniture out of her f*cking imagination.
There’s a bird hide in the garden. I sat in there for a while. I didn’t see many birds, but there was one bunny, and one small mammal that was probably a shrew since the (introduced) minks have eaten all the (native) water voles. Alas poor Ratty! Water voles were quite common when I was a kid.
The gardens are delightful.
Worst pun award goes to this.
It’s a thyme table.
One corner has been infested by hobbits.
You’d think with a name like Riddle’s Den you would find Lord Voldemort lurking behind a plinth somewhere, but no, bloody hobbits again.
Down in the lower meadow there is a lawn maze.
Of course I had to go down and try it. It’s hard to see the solution when you are in the middle of it.
The always-turn-left algorithm that works for Hampton Court Maze does not work in this one, but I managed to find my way in without too much repetition.
We took a walk through the estate past a field of sheep and a cricket club to the River Aire, where the sky was full of sand martins.
You may have to look at the full size version of that photo for the full effect. It was quite an effect.