Friday, 8 September 2017

of mice and poets

Wednesday 23 August
Off we three venture again on our now annual magical mystery literary dash up North! This time in search of the Brynmor Jones Library . . .
To view the wonderful Hull City of Culture exhibition on Philip Larkin's life and work - New Eyes Each Year
After a much needed coffee boost, we meet one of the Larkin Toads inside the library
And here we are at last, actually inside what was once Philip Larkin's office, as Chief Librarian of the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull
A highlight was leafing through book after book of copies of his poems and revisions
Finally we reach the exhibition which is really well curated and quite fascinating.  There's a great Guardian review here and one of the many highlights was a series of Super-8 films taken by the library staff themselves larking about (with Larkin)! in short vignettes.
Another interesting article here questioning Larkin's relationship with Hull over the years.

But it was now time to move on and into Hull proper.  
A stunning coffee at Caffeinated - in the lovely renovated Trinity Market - right opposite Holy Trinity Church, recently rebranded as Hull Minster
and more incredible literary associations as we learn that Andrew Marvell was born in Hull and his statue is right outside the old Grammar School he attended.  And here he is with one of his biggest fans!
Some really grand buildings in Hull
and we loved the striking and moving artwork inside the Minster - The Electric Fence by Annabel McCourt which is part of the Hull City of Culture 2017
and the Minster itself - beautifully light, airy and colourful
where we discovered two lovely old Mousey Thompsons
However, it was now onwards and Northwards with a quick peek at the gigantic Beverley Minster
before our upwards climb onto the North Yorkshire Moors and our first heady sniff of purple heather and fresh air
Cue ofcourse a bit of the wonderful Joan Baez
We pause at the top of Sutton Bank, ready for our 1 in 4 drop down into Rosedale Abbey
and here we are at our lovely B&B - Sevenford House
and a very welcome welcoming cuppa!
beautiful gounds
and soon we are off for a walk down the lane for supper at the White Horse Farm Inn which has changed hugely since Mike and I camped nearby in the 70s, but was still friendly and served good beer.
Thursday morning dawns brightly and after a stunning breakfast . . .
. . . we are given a great hiking route from Ian, the owner at Sevenford.  Starting at the phone box in Rosedale East we venture up onto the old iron ore workings railway line
meeting noisy friends en route
and discovering the magnificent old lime kilns dotted around these hillsides
and again a song springs into my head, the wonderful bleak but beautifully haunting Dalesman's Litany sung by Tim Hart and Maddy Prior. I've always loved the bit about Sheffield's furnaces ..
and here are two ex-steelworkers enjoying the fresh air
spied on by a passing hiker - ha ha
and what's this tempting oasis?
a little piece of heaven
in the shape of Maggie's cosy cafe
Dale Head Farm Tea Gardens
High up on the hillside away from it all, with the most fabulous homemade sandwiches, soups and lemon drizzle cake!
but all too soon we were off back to find the car
and hurtle to York (what a magnificent station!) for fond farewells onto the London train
But the quest didn't end here.  The two final muskateers continued on the Andrew Marvell trail to look for Nun Appleton Hall and Bickling Hall, where Marvell was a tutor Fairfax's daughter Mary from 1650-52 and where, during this period, he lived and wrote poems such as Upon Appleton House.  An extract from the poem is shown on this Poetry Foundation webpage if you care to read.
However, this old gate was as far as we could get as there were many private property signs and the present Hall lies close to the River Wharfe. There's a very thorough article on the estate with a great map which might have helped us more on the day had I found it then - you can read more at Historic England, Nun Appleton Hall.
We also used this useful piece from the Andrew Marvell Society to locate Bilbrough, where Marvell wrote "Upon the Hill and Grove at Bilbrough", and found the present Hall and the church, with the Fairfax family graves.
So all in all a wonderful whistlestop two days -  here's to the next adventure!

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