Lazy rolls of thunder, sheets of silver and pounding water on sills late at night finally burst the brief heat bubble. Everyone was out. The bus which goes every ten minutes between two old wool towns was full, stopping at every sign, we eventually reached our destination.

The difference between the two towns and their approach to regeneration is apparent. One is achieving the other is flailing. How so, when they share a common history, heritage. What does it say about visionaries in town planning and investment. Both have relied heavily on grants, with some mill owners investing in their own properties to enhance new uses of vast mills, both towns have such places.

Färben mit Pflanzen via pinterest

But vision isn’t about money, it’s about love. I can’t help but compare to cities of Italy. Small is beautiful. The artisan is appreciated, local produce desired, and from such visions of love have come a world-wide reputation.

Färben mit Pflanzen via pinterest 2

Today I did a little experiment with layering. The usual way to make filling for a pita or gibanica is to place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. This time I layered with out mixing. Two sheets of filo for the base, the fresh spinach leaves followed by cracking eggs directly on top, then grating the courgette. Finally a layer of filo. The result was an enticing picture of colours and flavours, brought to life. Like winter in to spring. Am loving greens and yellows right now.


Past, present, future – writing and making for here and now.

Knitting and stitching projects, story-writing and rediscovering poetry are working towards being in the here and now and creating a new tomorrow.

I think it can take quite some time to make a shift, through the generations, out of tradition and into modernity. I am reading a mix of novels at the moment, including Lacuna by Kingsolver, Bosnian Chronicle, by Andric, The Ministry of.. by Roy. All of them evolve around cultures and the shifting of humanity across time. I have also learnt to accept that it’s fine to be between times, one foot here and another over there.

Progress is often slow, with a lot of stalling. It can be frustrating when a vision seems to take forever to transpire. But knitting and writing demand pacing, giving time and trusting the imagination. Trusting that if something wants to happen it will, when it’s ready. The vision of my work in progress is constantly there and I allow it to lead me to tell the story of others.

It’s Easter this weekend, and that draws me to painting eggs, baking with filo. The tradition would have been to pick food colouring from shelves, make a gibanica loaded with cheeses. Now it’s more about the natural (modern) way. Eggs are dyed with turmeric and coffee, as I used to with yarn years ago. Gibanica has a heavy dose of spinach and eggs, with sparing use of sheets.


Shifting is possible, keeping some traditions is too, if they are a part of you, ingrained. But a new way of being is also essential, for all of us. We travel constantly. Be sure to document your journey, and of others too. There’s a common theme for all of us.

I enjoyed a year of reading Italy, fiction and history, language and cuisine. I haven’t done yet. The dream is to go back again, soon, if possible.





Coming full-circle

It was always a special place to me. Somewhere I went as a young person, to walk and take in the atmosphere.

But they say there’s trouble in t’mill. It’s all to do with tradition versus modernity.

We can have both, can’t we. I like the Chinese interpretation in characters of passages from the Bronte novels.

The Parsonage itself is set in time. It exudes calmness and serenity.

Let me close the door she said so you can take a picture, it looks better. But you can’t take photos inside.

Artefacts and history sit in glass cabinets. Boards tell the story of each room.

The blues and greens of walls, stone floors and stairs, gentle curling banister and long case windows all remind me of a house I once lived in, in the same village.

But the real story wasn’t written on the walls. The one of disease – cholera, typhoid and tb. The life of the mill workers, the murky water which Mr Bronte fought to have cleaned for over a decade.

A graveyard full of children and young people. The Brontes faired well and lived longer because they had their own well. But they were blighted by a family illness – incurable.

Just 200 years ago, the process of the beginning of industrialisation was beginning on the Pennine ridge. This was not a romantic place.

Yet during that time, three sisters wrote stories which are  part of us today. Not just locally, nationally – but internationally too.

Everyone has found a way to fall in love with a Bronte tale. Women who wrote under male pseudonyms didn’t fool us for long.

So what’s stirring. Why the conflict. We can have both tradition and modernity.

I looked around and came away with a copy of Jane Eyre. I’m sending it to a friend in Europe with a letter. The old-fashioned way. I’ve sent her an email to say that it’s on its way.

Here’s my modern slant on the Parsonage and the Brontes:

The Parsonage – Kazumi (beautiful peace)

Emily Bronte – Akira (clear and intelligent)

Charlotte Bronte – Naoki (tree of truth)

Anne Bronte – Hisao (story of life)

I’d like to move back one day – I’m not far at the moment – just down the road. But I feel the need to walk the walks every morning and to have my muse, Charlotte, near by. Oh, and the crows of course. To finish my writing and editing on cobbled streets. To come full circle.