SUNDAY 17-9-23

Well, we had a pretty peaceful night parked up in our lay-by. This morning I noticed we had been joined by a couple of campervans lined up behind us at sometime during the night.

We had decided to try and book the Caravan & Motorhome Club site down the road in Castleton for one or two nights. The problem is the campsite and the national booking number were both on answerphones, what with this being the weekend, and of course nobody wishing to book a campsite. We decided to get scrubbed up and drive to the site to make enquiries there.

Upon our arrival (N53.347379° W1.765593°) the infamous Club signage began before we'd even reached the Reception block.

Needless to say, at about 11:00, two hours before booking in time, it was all closed up with a mobile number to call. So the Chef gave them a ring and was told we could not park in the parking area as that sometimes gets busy. We would have to go in to Castleton to park and come back again at 13:00. We obediently obliged.

Naturally, most parking areas were suitable only for cars, but we did find one with hard-standing and no marked out bays for seven pounds for all-day parking. I do my utmost to avoid parking in such car parks as we're then at risk of some officious jobsworth giving us a ticket because our vehicle was parked outside of the designated white lines. The first mistake we made was in parking in a residents-only area. There was no excuse really as the signage was big enough, but luckily I spotted the restriction as we were walking away from the vehicle, so back in I climbed and re-parked.

We had a wander around the village. It is of course totally geared up for tourism, but very nice never the less. We did pop in to the Tourist Information Office to ask about bus timetables, only to be told she didn't have any and would have to go online to find out the times. I told not to bother, I could do that myself.

In the back streets we came across a fish and chip shop and so bought one bag of chips to share as we would be having our lunch once we got booked in to the campsite.

Eventually the time came when we would have to endure the Kamp Kommandants of the Caravan Club's Reception committee. I hate the caravan Club with a vengence, I don't know why we are members really, except that as well as dabbling in campsites they are also travel agents and insurance brokers, and we have our house insurance with them because we can get a 90-day absence from home policy at a reasonable price.

We pulled up in the lay-by for new arrivals just second in the queue. The first vehicle was soon through. Next thing The Chef comes out, climbs in the cab and tells me we've got to move. The elderly lady in the office was struggling to process the arrivals (we were number two and she hadn't even started on us). We'd have to go and park over in the parking area until she had processed us.

That was it. Out I climbed to be met by a full-sized garden gnome wearing a hi-viz jacket and carrying his badge of office - a hand held radio.

So I proceeded to tell him that there was no way I was moving in to the parking area because just two hours earlier we had been told we couldn't park there resulting in us having to leave the site and incurring a seven pound parking fee in the village. Now, because it suited them we were being told that we had to park there. The garden gnome told me there was no need to get stroppy. I said "I'm not getting stroppy mate, I'm just telling you what's going to happen, and what's going to happen is I'm not going over to that parking area. I'm sat first in the queue, I'm a member, and I want to be processed now". He said it took fifteen minutes to process an arrival. I told him that was a problem for him and the Club, not me. I asked him in that case why we couldn't trust us to go through the barrier and park up while the processing took place. In the end he agreed to let us drive through, find a pitch then go back and tell them which one it was.

So that was that. We're here for two nights, not because we want to be but because we want to visit a friend in Uttoxeter as we pass, and the Club have a site on Uttoxeter racecourse where we could park up for the visit. The only trouble is the booking offices won't be open until tomorrow morning to find out if they have a pitch for us, and by the time we find out it will be much too short notice to spring our visit on our friend, so two days it is.

Not only will this be the last time we attempt to tour the UK in the motorhome but our annual subscription to the Club will not be renewed. To think that annual membership is £59 a year, and they have millions of members, so let's just say it's two million, divide that by half for couples, that's one million memberships, fifty-nine million pounds income before they even take a booking for a campsite, and for that they can't even be arsed to have a staffed 24/7 booking service.

Tomorrow is due to be yet another wet day. Oh how we envy the folk back home who have been enjoying a heatwave. Because of that we're going to have a 'bus pass day' and with Sheffield in one direction and Bakewell in the other, my money is on Bakewell for an old folks day out.

Needless to say before we set out in the morning we'll have to contact Uttoxeter to see if they have vacancies at their site. If they have we'll just do an overnighter.

After that we'll pretty much be making our way south via Ironbridge, and we won't be sorry. For one reason or another the reality of where we've been is a million miles from the Travelscript plan for the trip, but never mind, I'm past caring.

Snake Pass

SATURDAY 16-9-23

Having watch some TV yesterday evening we turned in for a nice peaceful night. Even those wedding guest who didn't stay over left peacefully.

The alarm clock went off at 07:00, this was so we could dress quickly and get clear of Holmfirth before the road closures and traffic jams began due to their annual Food & Drink Festival. Once again we'd awoken to mist and fog, I think that's because we were on top of a hill, but it's beginning to feel as if everywhere is on top of hill.

Fortunately we were clear of Holmfirth without trouble and heading for Glossop about sixteen miles away, not that Glossop has anything to offer, but it would give us the opportunity to shop at their local Tesco supermarket and, according to the map, looks to be near the start of 'Snake Pass' which is a length of the A57 heading east towards Bamford.

But first Tesco's. The car park was almost completely empty when we arrived which was probably due to the time of day we had arrived. We didn't need to buy much as The Chef tends to keep us pretty much topped up with all we need. We did however treat ourselves to four more two-litre bottles of water. Given the efforts I go to in cleaning the fresh water system before each trip it's a bit of a luxury, but we find it does make awfully good cups of tea and coffee, whereas the water in the tank is perfectly safe, it can get a bit 'blended' as it's continually getting topped up at every opportunity.

Having put the shopping away we popped back in to the store to buy a cooked breakfast. My word, that was a treat, though the toast looked a bit anaemic.

Our drive along Snake Pass would have been extremely enjoyable had it not been for the fog. The road has a weight restriction of 7.5 tons and a speed limit of 50mph. Although the road quite literally snaked up, down and around it was perfectly doable, what I had to keep an eye out for were a large number of weekend walkers on the side of the road who were part of some organised event.

Needless to say they were walking without Hi-Viz jackets or a small LED light on their backs, on top of that Lycraman and his mates were out on their bikes making it a bit tricky trying to get past them. I always try and give cyclists as much room as possible when overtaking, but I can only give them what's safely available. I'm certainly not one of those who seem prepared to have a head-on crash with an oncoming vehicle rather than get too close to a cyclist. There was one cyclist in front of us wearing dark clothing, who had not one light nor a reflector on his bike, and I bet if I'd clipped him, that annoying BBC woke tosser Jeremy Vine would have leaped out of the hedge with his helmet-mounted camera to produce evidence that it was my fault.

That done, we made our way towards a car park at the base of Bamford Edge, a steep walk up with magnificent views from the top. Unfortunately the roads going to it were very narrow indeed and quite inappropriate for our vehicle. It was remiss of me in not checking the road on Google Street View whilst planning it. In the end we threw the towel in and parked up in a lay-by on the outskirts of Hathersage. First we went back to bed to catch up on a bit of sleep before scrubbing up and reading the paper and studying the TV guide. We're about five miles from Castleton, our next intended destination.

At about 17:20 I did try and contact a Caravan & Motorhome Club campsite with a view of us driving there for a couple of nights. No chance, all I got was an answerphone, so I called the Club's main booking office. That was even worse, their answerphone told me that they are only open Monday to Friday's. What a hopeless arrangement. We're members of the Club but I really don't know why. Their campsites tend to be full of campers who just travel from one of their sites to another, and of course, go away for weekends making it next to impossible for tourers like us to get a pitch.

So we're going to spend the night here in the lay-by. We've just enjoyed a lovely chicken curry and are now watching the first episode of 'Strictly Come Dancing'. I can't get too excited about the competition because so much of it seems about to be the celebrities popularity with Joe Public than their dancing ability.

This year there looks to be two or three gay contestants. I'm so disappointed this year the woke, inclusive BBC doesn't have  a coloured one legged lesbian who self-identifies as a wardrobe, paired up with a wheelchair-bound gay man self-identifying as a Brussels Sprout, but I'm confident the day will come. Rest assured I won't be watching the begger.

I think Angela Rippon is in with a chance, but she's gonna need a bit of lubricant to see her through it - good luck Angie! I think the gay pair in the contest will soon be rehearsing their own personal dance, that well know prison classic 'Pick the Soap up in this Shower if You Dare'.

My darling Chef and I are now on the same page regarding touring the UK - there will be no more. It's nothing but grief - and expensive. As things stand at the moment we will, very reluctantly, sell the motorhome next summer having been on our final trip to Portugal and Spain next spring. That trip will be added to the blog, but not 'live'. I'll upload it all when we return. If we decide to keep the vehicle then it will be because we can't face flying off on foreign holidays squeezed next to noisy fat ugly birds who want their seat on the plane and half of ours. We'll just have to see how it goes.

Well, if we're not murdered overnight in our cosy motorhome, we'll be back again tomorrow.

St Mary's church

Sid's cafe

Compo's home

Nora Batty's steps

FRIDAY 15-9-23

It was a damp, dark evening and to 'celebrate' our being in Haworth we watched a DVD, 'The Railway Children Return', which was being filmed here the last time we visited. I'm sure Jenny Agutter, who starred in both films had a very happy bank manager having mopped up fees for appearing in both, but the sequel was very disappointing, though there was some attempt made at inclusivity. One of the actors was a young man of colour, and although there was nobody disabled in it, he was hobbling around with a nasty limp for much of the film, so I suppose that counts.

There was a lot of rain during the night but we're getting used to that. Down south they've been enjoying a heatwave since just about the day we left, but no such luxury for us. We've had a few nice warm, sunny days with cool evenings, but most have been cool, cloudy and wet.

The plan this morning was to leave about ten and make our way to The Stubbing Wharf, a Britstop location at Hebden Bridge. According to Google Maps it was in an ideal location next to a canal, but typically for this trip, it was not to be. When The Chef phoned she was told they were full for the weekend (they permit four motorhomes). So that was that, so we had to scratch that and go to the next location on our list - Holmfirth.

We were to stay at another Britstop location just outside of town, from where we would catch a bus. It's probably a good thing that I didn't look at the road atlas before we set off as I would have been thoroughly depressed. It really was an unpleasant surprise to find myself driving in very misty conditions, then through the centres of both Halifax AND Huddersfield. Both grimy, grim and very busy, with speed cameras everywhere, In some places they were no more than two hundred yards apart. Oh the joy!

I was a bit naughty at one point whilst climbing steeply on a narrow road, and coming across some roadworks and temporary  traffic lights immediately after a steep, sharp left hand hairpin bend and finding a red light, knowing that it would be difficult to get traction again, I thought bo***cks  and just went for it. Fortunately we met nothing coming the other way.

Eventually we arrived at our destination, The Huntsman Inn, (N53.570128° W1.839787°). It's a nice looking place with a function room, and so it was, as this afternoon they hosted a wedding reception.

While I was getting the vehicle sorted The Chef popped in to let them know we had arrived and to enquire about the bus services in to Holmfirth.

Oh dear. Although Google Maps show bus stops nearby it was all a load of pants- there are no buses passing by.

So we had a choice. We could either sit indoors looking out at the mist and the occasional glimpse of the field and some sheep next door, or we could book a cab and go in to town. Fortunately, The Chef favoured the latter and before long (we didn't make too much effort in 'dressing up' as up here a tracksuit and builders cleavage is quite acceptable) we were in the bar requesting they ordered us a taxi.

So a bit about Holmfirth:

The town originally grew up around a corn mill and bridge in the 13th century. Three hundred years later Holmfirth expanded rapidly as the growing cloth trade grew and the production of stone and slates from the surrounding quarries increased. The present parish church was built in 1778 after the church built in 1476 was swept away in a flood the previous year. Dr Albert Lister Peace was the church's organist, at the age of nine, in the early 1850s. In 1850 Holmfirth railway station opened, on the branch line built by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company.

Local men who served and died in the First and Second World Wars are commemorated on the Holme Valley War Memorial found outside Holme Valley Memorial Hospital.

Holmfirth was the home of Bamforth & Co Ltd, who were well known for their cheeky seaside postcards – although around the time of the First World War, they produced postcards of a more sober nature. The printing works on Station Road has now been converted into residential flats.

During the early 1900s Holmfirth was well known for film making; During the periods 1898–1900 and 1913–1915 Bamforth and Co. produced what the British Film Institute describes as 'a modest but historically significant collection of films'. Bamforth's company were early pioneers of film-making, before they abandoned the business in favour of postcards.

There are a number of instances when flooding has occurred in the Holme Valley affecting Holmfirth and other settlements in the valley. The earliest recorded Holmfirth flood was in 1738 and the most recent was 1944. The most severe flood occurred early on the morning of 5 February 1852, when the embankment of the Bilberry Reservoir collapsed causing the deaths of 81 people. Following a severe storm in 1777 the River Holme burst its banks, sweeping away people and property with the loss of three lives; the stone church built in 1476, was also swept away. A storm in 1821 again caused the river to burst its banks. The flooding on the night of 29 May 1944 was not nationally reported and it was then overshadowed by the D-Day landings the following week.

Holmfirth (and the surrounding countryside) is the setting for the BBC’s long-running comedy ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. Thousands of tourists flock to the area each year to enjoy scenery and locations familiar from the series. Filming of the TV Slaithwaite-based drama, ‘Where the Heart Is’, had also taken place in and around the area.

Upon our arrival my heart sank - what a dump. This was the filming location for the long running BBC television series 'Last of the Summer Wine', a long-running TV series which started out being funny and ended up needing to be put down, such was the pain it was in.

It didn't take long to look around the town which is very busy as far as traffic is concerned. All roads seem to lead to Holmfirth.

Whilst in the town centre we discovered that this weekend is the Holmfirth Food & Drink Festival, which results in road closures and chaotic traffic jams. Oh thank you Lord!

We hadn't managed to kill too much time and so decided to walk to the graves of Bill Owen and Peter Sallis, the two leading stars in the TV series and now lying side by side. The story goes that they were once filming in the cemetery, or thereabouts for one of the episodes when Bill Owen remarked to Peter Sallis that it would be a lovely location to be laid to rest. And so in 1999 his wish was granted, and in 2017 Peter joined him.

That done, we'd had enough and booked a taxi back to The Huntsman Inn. We've booked a table for 18:00 for an evening meal, and hopefully they'll have a wi-Fi signal beause I don't have one of my own wi uz be in up er on moor.

We're now thinking that we'll set the alarm clock early tomorrow morning, then get the hell out of town stopping somewhere on the other side to scrub up and have breakfast.

There's no noise from the wedding reception at the moment, but I assume there'll be a disco later on. I'm now debating whether or not I should go to bed very late and sit out on my folding chair armed with my first aid kit, and very public spiritedly make sure all the very merry cleavages and thongs get back across the car park safely.

Brother Branwell's studio

Emily Bronte's portable writing desk

Rev Patrick Bronte's bedroom

The kitchen

The dining room where the Bronte sisters did much of their writing.

Bronte Parsonage Museum

A picture by Adam Sheldon made from toast slices. The toast is burnt and then scraped to create the shapes

Anne Bronte's grave in Scarborough

THURSDAY 14-9-23

We touched lucky yesterday evening in that when we arrived in the pub bar to order food we spotted they offered free Wi-Fi, so I nipped back to the motorhome and bought in the laptop. Whilst we waited for our food to arrive I very rudely sat there and uploaded what I'd prepared.

We elected to have small plate meal which I assume is aimed at children, but we remembered that last time we were here the portion sizes were huge and we wasted quite a lot of it, so last night our small plate meals were just the right size, and even left room for a dessert.

Last night was very windy with numerous showers thrown in, but our trusty motorhome kept us warm and safe.

This morning we set off for Haworth, hoping to stay for three nights, giving us two complete days. One to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum and one to ride on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, the railway used for the filming of 'The Railway Children' and the sequel which was being filmed when we up here last time.

The Chef phoned the campsite enroute to book us in, but unfortunately they could only offer us a pitch for tonight, which was a reminder to us that weekend campers are a damned nuisance. Come Monday there will be plenty of pitches available again.

We decided to make our way to the campsite despite its 14:00 check-in time because time was precious. We parked in a lay-by right outside the campsite and walked downhill in to town so that The Chef could finally get to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

On the way I popped in to the railway station to enquire about the times of the steam train service. All I got was a shaking head. "No trains tomorrow, none until Saturday". So with no campsite to stay on we couldn't hang around until then. What with the lack of space on the campsite and the non-service of the steam train I was beginning to remember why we just don't like spending our motorhome pounds in this country.

Before going in to the museum we treated ourselves to a bag of chips as a tummy filler, as we hadn't had any lunch, such was the urgency to get here.

So a bit about the Bronte's:

Nearly two centuries after they were written, ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘Jane Eyre’, and ‘Agnes Grey’ remain some of the most popular novels in the world. It’s a fact made all the more impressive when one considers that they were published less than a year apart, and by three exceptionally talented sisters. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë drew inspiration from the gloomy Yorkshire moors where they grew up to craft novels which could be at once brutal and romantic.

Though the lives and careers of all three women were cut tragically short, their vivid imaginations and keen observational skills would change the course of English literature forever. Here are 42 novel facts about the Brontë sisters.

The three Brontë Sisters—Charlotte, Emily, and Anne—make up one of the most famous families in English literature. Charlotte, the oldest, was born in 1816; she was followed by Emily in 1818, and then Anne in 1820. But they were not the only Brontë children. Two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died before the age of 12.

The lone Brontë brother, Branwell, was born in 1817.

The Brontë name did not have a long and noble history. In fact, it only went back one generation. Their father Patrick Brontë was born Patrick Brunty. Hoping to hide his “embarrassing” Irish heritage, he changed his name slightly to something more recognisably British, “the Duke of Bronte” being one of the many titles of famed British admiral Horatio Nelson.

Patrick Brontë was brought up in Loughbrickland, Ireland, but immigrated to England after winning a scholarship to Cambridge. In addition to his work as the curate of Haworth, he was a poet and pamphlet writer; no doubt his literary talents rubbed off on his children.

The matriarch of the Brontë brood was a Cornish woman named Maria Branwell. She passed away in 1821, so her sister, Elizabeth, moved in to help raise the six Brontë children. Patrick Brontë never remarried.

“Aunt Branwell” proved to be an important influence on the Brontë children. She owned many books and subscribed to magazines, which the Brontës read voraciously. She also happened to have a sizeable income—the profits of a tea store founded by her father, which she spent on the children’s education. When she passed away, she left the girls ₤900 (roughly $115,000 USD today).

It was enough for them to quit their governess jobs and concentrate on their literary careers.

Elizabeth Branwell’s wealth also afforded the girls the opportunity to study abroad. Emily and Charlotte were enrolled in Monsieur and Madame Heger’s Boarding School in Brussels in 1842. The girls thrived at the school, although Emily did not much enjoy it: at the end of their six-month term, both Brontës were invited to stay at the school as teachers.

Both accepted, but Emily returned home the following year to accept a job in England.

Charlotte remained in Belgium. She was, it turns out, in love with Monsieur Heger. She may have even considered converting to Catholicism for him. Charlotte wrote four letters to Heger confessing her love for the married schoolmaster; Heger tore them up and never responded. The letters were found by Heger’s wife and pieced back together.

After Charlotte’s death, they were printed in The London Times.

With Elizabeth Branwell handling the reading and writing, Patrick Brontë was free to teach his daughters more esoteric skills, like shooting pistols. It was something he did every day without fail, firing from the top floor window to discourage rioting Luddites. When his eyesight began to fail, the responsibility was passed on to Emily.

Emily also happened to be a pretty good cook. She developed a passion for it when their maid, Tabby, fell and broke her leg. Tabby was unable to perform her usual tasks, and the girls were scared she might get fired, so they all pitched in, with Emily handling the bulk of the kitchen duties.

Emily was a skilled musician, and dabbled in painting and drawing, but the real artist of the family was Charlotte. In 1834, two of her drawings were displayed at an art exhibition in Leeds. Her skills as an artist were so respected that, when the second edition of ‘Jane Eyre’ was released, her publisher asked if she would provide the illustrations.

Anne is generally remembered as “the quiet Brontë.” She was terribly shy and would often hide when visitors came to the house. Some scholars believe she may have had a speech impediment.

The Brontë girls were encouraged by their brother, Branwell, who occasionally joined in on their childhood literary projects. He grew up to become something of a ne’er-do-well, however, and was once even burned in effigy in Haworth. His addictions to alcohol and laudanum (a lincture of opium) made it difficult for him to keep a steady job—not to mention the fact that he was sleeping with his boss’s wife.

He passed away at the tender age of 31.

Not everyone was so supportive of the aspiring writers. In 1837, 20-year-old Charlotte wrote to England’s poet laureate, Robert Southey, asking for his opinion on some of her poems. Southey replied that, while she clearly had talent, she should not bother pursuing it. After all, he said, “the more [a woman] is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure will she have for it,” adding that, once she was a mother, she “will not seek in imagination for excitement.”

Southey’s comments were not enough to dissuade the Brontës from writing, but it did remind them that the literary world of the 19th century was not especially welcoming to young women. To avoid such prejudice in the future, they adopted pen names: Charlotte became “Currer Bell,” while Emily and Anne become “Ellis Bell,” and “Acton Bell,” respectively.

“Ellis, Currer, and Acton Bell” published their first book in 1846, the simply titled Poems of Ellis, Currer, and Acton Bell. It sold just two copies.

While many of the poems in their book were written about Gondal, then altered to fit the real world, the idea for the book was born when Charlotte discovered Emily’s private poems. The poems were very personal. Although Charlotte was impressed, and eventually convinced her to publish them, Emily flew into a rage which lasted for days.

The failure of their book of poems was demoralising, no doubt, but it may have served to encourage the three young writers to pursue fiction instead. By the end of the following year, all three Brontë sisters had published a novel.

In 1847, Emily published ‘Wuthering Heights’ with the help of London publisher Thomas Newby. Anne published her novel, ‘Agnes Grey’, with the same publisher. Charlotte’s novel, ‘The Professor’, was rejected again and again. It wasn’t until she sent out a new work, ‘Jane Eyre’, that Charlotte finally won an acceptance.

It was custom, in those days for authors to front the costs of publishing a novel. Emily and Anne paid Newby ₤50, the equivalent of nearly $2,000, to publish ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Agnes Grey’.

Although Charlotte had great difficulty finding a publisher for her novel, ‘Jane Eyre’ proved to be a massive success. It outsold both ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Agnes Grey’, and earned enthusiastic praise from critics.

The names were similar. The style was similar. The books came out the same time. It seemed fishy, and many readers began to suspect that Acton, Currer, and Ellis Bell were in fact…one person. The misunderstanding became so frustrating that the Brontës were forced to travel to London to explain the situation to Charlotte’s publisher.

For better or worse, this spelled an end to the young writers’ anonymity.

Charlotte had terrible teeth. A fellow novelist remarked, after meeting her, that Charlotte had “a large mouth, and many teeth gone; altogether plain.” Charlotte spent her first earnings from ‘Jane Eyre’ on some sorely needed dental refurbishment.

The Brontës’ novels were all, to varying extents, based on their experiences at boarding schools as students or governesses. This came to bite Charlotte particularly hard: when her old schoolmaster, Rev. Wilson, recognised a similarity between himself and Jane Eyre’s Mr. Brocklehurst, she was forced to issue an apology under threat of a lawsuit.

In June of 1848, Anne released her second novel, ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’. The novel was a hit, and sold out in just six weeks.

Emily died of tuberculosis on December 19, 1848, a year after ‘Wuthering Heights’ was published and just three months after the death of her brother. The illness was exacerbated by the drinking water in her family home, which ran from the local graveyard. Emily went to her grave believing that ‘Wuthering Heights’ was a failure.

Emily was deeply mistrustful of physicians, and refused to accept any medicine given her, saying she would have “no poisoning doctor” attend her. She seemed to have a last-minute change of heart, however: her final words were “if you will send a doctor, I will see him now.”

No member of the Brontë household felt Emily’s loss as keenly as her beloved dog, Keeper. After the funeral, Keeper followed Emily’s coffin to the graveyard, then waited at her bedroom door for weeks afterward.

The week after Emily was laid to rest, Anne came down with influenza. Grief exacerbated her condition and before long, she was suffering full-blown tuberculosis. Anne learned from Emily’s refusals and accepted all medical help, but there was already little doctors could do for her. She died on May 24, 1849.

Anne passed away in Scarborough, where she was seeking treatment, and was buried in an annex of the cemetery of St Mary’s Church in Castle Road, far away from the family home in Haworth. Patrick Brontë was unable to make the 70-mile journey.

As the sole surviving Brontë, Charlotte cemented her own legacy in a way which might have undermined those of her sisters. She suppressed a rumoured second novel by Emily, supposedly out of concern that it might not live up to the standard set by ‘Wuthering Heights’. She also wrote a letter to Anne’s publisher, suggesting that ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ didn’t bear a second edition.

Charlotte’s betrayal of Anne is especially chilling. Anne’s novel focused on a woman who leaves her abusive husband. Some scholars believe that Charlotte suppressed the book because of its daring subject matter, but as others point out, Charlotte wrote about more controversial subjects in ‘Jane Eyre’. Thus, morals weren’t the problem. The real problem was that Anne’s novel, which was incredibly popular, might have overshadowed Charlotte’s work.

Charlotte carried on, publishing three more novels, none of which proved as popular as ‘Jane Eyre’. ‘Villette’, her final novel, had a bit of a revival as the century wore on. Both George Eliot and Virginia Woolf considered it Brontë’s best novel.

Charlotte’s novel ‘Shirley’ features the first use of the phrase “wild West.” It is also responsible for changing Shirley from a male name to a female name.

In 1854, Charlotte accepted a long-standing proposal from Arthur Bell Nicholls, Patrick Brontë’s curate at the Haworth Church. She had previously declined because of her father’s disapproval and Nicholls’ low salary. Patrick eventually came around, but was unable to attend the wedding: Charlotte was forced to give herself away.

None of the Brontës were exactly famous for their love lives, but Charlotte had at least received proposals. A brother of her friend was turned away, as was a local clergyman, who proposed to the author after meeting her just once at tea.

Charlotte’s marriage was by all accounts a happy one, but this happiness was short-lived. Not long after the marriage, her health began to fail. She died on March 31, 1855 of hyperemesis gravidarium—extreme morning sickness.

None of the Brontë children lived past 40. Patrick Brontë survived them all. After Charlotte’s death, her husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls, moved in to help look after him. Patrick Brontë passed away in 1861, at the age of 84.

In 1973, astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in California discovered three asteroids and named them Charlottebrontë, Emilybrontë, and Annebrontë in honour of the three sisters. The Brontë name was also attached a crater on the surface of Mercury.

After the museum visit we were about done. Take away the museum and the railway and all that's left in Haworth are shops and pubs serving tourists.

Rather than walk all the way back up the steep hill to the campsite we caught a taxi back and at only five pounds was worth every penny.

We reunited with our motorhome and booked in here at Upwood Holiday Park (N53.815593° W1.932273°) before going to our pitch. At £24.50 including electricity it was good value given the current market.

I think tomorrow we'll move down the road to Hebden Bridge and see how we get on there.

Oh, and we've now got wi-Fi, TV and mobile signals back again. What luxury.


Oh what a day it's been. We left Goathland  at about 10:30 this morning having topped up the fresh water tank and dumped everything as well as having left a donation of four hardback books to the hut's communal library. We had done so well in that we had managed to keep our habitation battery charged enough over our four night stay to allow us to function normally.

Our destination was the Station Inn at Ribblehead Viaduct, a trip of about one hundred miles. It should have been a straightforward journey, however the road through Sutton Bank was closed and a diversion was in place from Pickering, and that's when it started. As far as we could tell we faithfully followed all the diversion signs which took us west to Helmsley and then southeast to Malton on the B1257, a crappy road if ever there was one. By the time we reached Malton after an hour and a half we found we were just ten miles from Pickering to our left. I really have no idea what the hell happened with the diversion signs. Having looked at the road atlas all we had to do at Pickering was head towards Malton and then on to York. But let's not be ungrateful, we had a wonderful, though very time consuming, drive around Yorkshire, in fact we almost got to see some of Lancashire as well.

Because of our lack of progress we decided to skip lunch and eat when we finally reached our destination, which was at about 14:30, so that was four hours to cover what would have been a one hundred mile journey.

So here we are in the car park of the Station Inn at Ribblehead Viaduct (N54.206965° W2.363539°). We have no phone signal, we have no Wi-Fi signal and yet again, we have no television signal.

After a quick lunch we headed off for a bit of a walk. We couldn't be too ambitious as time was getting on and the sky looked a bit threatening.

As a 'thank you' to our hosts who are members of the 'Britstop' scheme, we shall either have an evening meal, though a child's portion as the last time we were here the meal portions were enormous, and then maybe in the morning we'll have a full English breakfast before hitting the road again.