A Week in Books: Star gazing, poetry and Advent begins

On a Sunday evening, I like to clear the shelf next to my desk, in preparation for the week ahead. There will always be a pile of books that have accumulated beside me. These will include stories my daughter has brought over for me to read to her and those that I have quickly grabbed to find a quotation, or check an ingredient for a recipe. There might be a seasonal book or two where I have looked up a flower name or gardening wisdom.

I enjoy the moment when I scoop them up and shelve them again, the titles on the spines evoke a diary of the days just passed:  A Week in Books.

I Am The Seed That Grew: A Nature Poem for Every day of the Year by The National Trust

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2020 by Lia Leendertz

This week’s reading reflects a change in the seasons. As winter begins, our daily poetry book, I Am The Seed That Grew, encourages us to listen to the sounds of the night-time garden and watch the “silent moon.”

My Almanac also reminds us that the “Full Cold Moon is the highest and brightest of the year.”

Every evening I look skywards as November draws to a close. After days of fog and cloud cover, one crisp and clear evening, the shining moon’s reflection is caught in our tiny garden stream. A moment of perfect stillness.

Dancing by the Light of the Moon: How poetry can transform your memory and change your life by Gyles Brandreth

I have been browsing all year through this beautiful poetry collection curated by Gyles Brandreth. Now though, I am going to spend the colder months reading it from start to finish and learning the poetry off-by-heart as I go. I wonder; can I learn over 250 poems by this time next year? Brandreth starts us off with a quick and fun Tom Stoppard poem.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Autumn seems to me the perfect month to be wandering the moors with Catherine and Heathcliff. My copy of the book is from my childhood and was later covered in notes during my college and university years.

As I read through this much-loved book for close on the 40th time, I have been sketching my favourite scenes. Here is my draft of Catherine’s wooden bed and the snowy tree beyond the window that scratches at the glass one stormy night.

Shadow and Light: A Journey into Advent by Tsh Oxenreider

A rare new book purchase for me was “Shadow and Light”. Each day of Advent brings a reading, a reflective question, a suggested piece of seasonal music to listen to and an artwork to contemplate. I was drawn to the gentle, contemplative lead-in to Christmas Day and beyond, especially after such a difficult year of uncertainty. Rather than reading this at night, because we are very early risers, we have been lighting a candle and listening to the recommended music as day breaks.

It is now Sunday evening and time to gather up all of the books and replace them on the shelves, whilst wondering what the next week will bring.

I hope that you have a calm and peaceful Advent time wherever you are in the world.

Visit my little Art Shop: tinypotager.shop

Commission Enquiries: tinypotager@hotmail.com

I’ve linked below to where you can buy the items mentioned in my post from Amazon. If you click on the picture and buy the item I will get a small commission to help support my art.

National Trust: I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year (Poetry Collections)

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2020

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2021

Wuthering Heights

Dancing By The Light of The Moon: Over 250 poems to read, relish and recite

Shadow and Light: A Journey into Advent

Travel Diaries: Yorkshire Tour – A walking tour of Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage

We arrived in Haworth by steam train, travelling along the lovingly restored Keighley Valley Railway.

This is Haworth Station and the bridge in the distance is the footpath up into the village towards the Bronte Parsonage.

A steep cobbled path leads up through the main street, past tea rooms and vintage shops.

This was my favourite place in the village – The Cabinet of Curiosities, which is an apothecary shop.

Antique wooden cabinets lined the walls, and the little labelled drawers were full of eclectic bath items and loose talc powders.

At the top of the hill, you turn to the left, up a small residential street…

… past the church…

… and wonderful gardens …

… to the Bronte Parsonage.

This is where all three Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne) lived with their brother, Bramwell, and their father, the Reverend Patrick Bronte.  We chose this day to visit as it was the anniversary of Emily Bronte’s birthday (July 30th 1818).

The front room is where the sisters would sit together, and the museum has carefully set it up as if they are about to return and continue writing at any moment.

Preserved under glass is Emily’s writing desk.  You can see “Emily Jane Bronte” inscribed on the brass plaque.

It is said that Emily Bronte made the family’s bread every morning (even on the day she died) … and here is the little stove where it would have been baked.

I loved how Bramwell’s room had messes of paper strewn about everywhere.  He was a creative, though often tortured, genius and this less orderly room captures this perfectly.  His writing tools are stored in ale jugs and smudged hand written pages have been thrown to the floor in frustration.

Back outside, this meadow has always been attached to the Parsonage, and the museum has simply mowed paths through the long grass, with benches where visitors can sit quietly and look out to the moors.

A footpath leads from the Parsonage up onto the moors and we hiked across the wild heather-covered hillside to get a full sense of the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.  More on our countryside walk, the steam train journey and the vintage open top bus tour through the moors in a future post …

Visit my Little Art Shop: www.tinypotager.shop

Commission Enquiries: tinypotager@hotmail.com