Walk­ing With My Fa­ther, 1939

The London Magazine - - ANGELA KIRBY -

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.

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