Sunday, 22 July 2012

A Sunday Drive to Hebden Bridge

Today was entirely too lovely to be spent indoors.  So, although I had slept but a scant few hours I knew I needed to go ahead with the plans to hike with friends.  Why, you may ask, had I not slept much?  I had been working incredibly hard on an application for a job.  This is no ordinary job.  This job is so unusual, so specific, and so remarkable that it must have been made for me.  This job is to conserve, repair and generally work with model ships in bottles.  If I were to get it I would work at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, under an organic conservator and help do tiny repairs to ships in bottles.  I cannot think of a more random or delightful job to do.   I love ships in bottles.  I make miniature dollhouse furniture etc. in my spare time.  I studied the history and science and sailing at university and learned how to calculate longitude.  Yeah, that's right.  So, because I cannot think of a more amazing job and because I am randomly the most perfectly suited person for this job I spent hours agonizing over every detail of my resume and cover letter.  Eventually I admitted defeat, sent the application in its imperfect state and went to bed far too late.

Lantern that reads: The Hole in the Wall, Pubmaster

Why did I need to go on this hike today?  Well for one thing, I told them I was going.  I am a person of my word.  If I say something I mean it and if I tell you I will do something I will.  For another thing, the sun was actually shining.  In case you do not know or cannot appreciate the significance of this I will explain.  I live in the UK.  This means that the sun NEVER shines.  Ok, to be fair it shines three days a year.  But this is simply not enough days in the year for me to fulfill my sunlight quota and replenish my vitamin D levels.  I was born on the West coast of the USA and I need my sunlight.  Needless to say I needed to savor the rare and delicious sunshine on this fine day.

The Hole in the Wall: Pubmaster.  I just loved this lantern.

Reluctantly and determinedly I got up way too early and got ready to go.  We were going to Hebden Bridge a cute little town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.  The drive was leisurely as we wound our way past idyllic landscapes made even more perfect by the delicious sunlight pouring down on them. Hebden Bridge was delightful.  We had a nice lunch outside in a park.  We strolled along the river.  We admired architectural details, ducks, and dogs.

Hillside cemetery in Hebden Bridge
Tiny hillside cemetery on the way up the hill.

We climbed a small hill to go explore the little town of Heptonstall.  It was adorable as well.  It had its own tiny museum, the place where Sylvia Plath was buried, and a fascinating church ruin.  The old medieval church ruin sits majestically at the top of the hill nestled amongst the gravestones of the long dead.  Just at the other end of the small cemetery in the same churchyard is the newer larger church that is still used.  The ruined medieval church began its life in the 1200's and its stones bore witness to the many changes it saw during its lifetime.  The roofline was clearly altered, raised to match the new nave that was added.  The arches and windows were updated to be a bit more gothic.  Many churches have changes made to them through the centuries, but what made this church unique was the fact that it had two naves side by side.  When the town was prospering and growing in the sixteenth century the church was made larger to accommodate the growth of the town.  The walls and aisles were not just widened, an entire second nave with a new north aisle was added alongside the first.  I have never seen a church with two naves like that before.  It was fascinating to think about and gorgeous to behold.

Medieval church in Hebden Bridge with two naves
The flowers growing among the stones mark the division between the two naves of this church. 

In case this was not evidence enough for you that this was a fascinating church I have another oddity for you.  The south entryway into the church seems to have been roofed with old gravestones.  I'm not sure at what point in history that decision was made, but I suppose they were a handy material as there are lots of them lying about the church yard.

Gravestones being used as roofing tiles
Note the writing on the gravestones now acting as roofing material.

In the newer cemetery we did not find Sylvia Plath's grave.  The weeds were quite troublesome to wade through in much of the cemetery and we eventually gave up our search. I did see a headstone with RIP on it though.  I don't believe I've ever seen one outside of cartoons.

Cross with R.I.P. on it

We walked back down the hill climbing on a few nice boulders on the way down.  We sang some songs about rocks, mostly meant to be about rock and roll, but we giggled anyway.  Then we ended our day back along the river in Hebden Bridge eating ice cream.  It was a lovely way to soak up some sunshine.  If my luck holds I may read in the sunshine tomorrow.

Foxgloves growing behind a gate in Hebden Bridge

Low sunset over Leeds
Sunset over Leeds

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