I took this photo yesterday afternoon, tootling about in Leeds. It is beautiful. I wish I’d got a photo on Wednesday evening driving north to Stockton-on-Tees. The sun was setting over the valleys of Yorkshire–Hild’s native heath, and mine. It was golden hour; cows and pasture and stone walls lit like like honey.
In Hild’s time there wouldn’t have been tarmac’d roads. The cows would have been smaller, and fewer, the walls non-existent–probably. But the rise and fall of the land would have been the same.
And the Stockton Central Library was lovely: a sunlit room, bright comfy chairs, and wine! There were plenty of smart, engaged readers, two of whom were nuns, Sisters of St Hilda.
We had a great evening. We talked about Bede, and gender, and politics, and hagiography, about how and why I chose to write about Hild, about the historical socio-economic divide between North and South.
Northern identity is becoming a clear theme of these events. It was true at the Calderdale Central Library in Halifax, too. I find that about half an hour into the evening the slight American overly evaporates from my accent and I become quite Yorkshire.
Tomorrow I’m in Ilkley at the Literature Festival–more Yorkshire. And last night I was in a bar drinking Ilkley beer, and Kelley ate Yorkshire Blue cheese. I am feeling my roots, and loving it.