Walking With My Father, 1939
Sundays, we take the back ways there, through overhung lanes with Threlkeld’s two great Shires thundering alongside, bruising the insubstantial hedges of cut-and-laid hawthorn.
He knows each bird, flower and tree by their northern names, shows me where lovers carve hearts and entwined initials into bark of beech and ash and where a recusant priest was caught by the king’s men three hundred years ago.
It’s a long steep climb for us up Millstone Lane, past Livsey’s farm, St Hilda’s Well and the wishing stones to find Tom Brierley at home beside a stoked up fire, his collies, Moss and Hemp asleep on sacks beside him.
He nods in greeting, pulls out chairs, produces ginger beer, Chorley cakes and rhubarb wine. They glance at me, talk in low slow voices - of sheep, the unseasonable weather the high price of hay - and how the days are drawing in.