After thirty-some years, I am going to “Manderley again.” Well, not really, but I have long wanted to use a line reminiscent of the haunting opening to Daphne Du Maurier’s book Rebecca: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” However, this summer, I am, in fact, going to England again, the home of the novelist and playwright Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning; that part is true if all works out. Though my family and I will spend a few days in London where du Maurier was born, we plan to head up to Yorkshire, actually to North Yorkshire, the area where we lived so many years ago, now known as the setting of the fictional Crawley estate and town of Downton, and of All Creatures Great and Small, the television adaptation of some James Harriet (James Alfred Wight) novels loosely based on Wight’s life as a Yorkshire veterinarian. Wight was alive and well when we lived in North Yorkshire. He resided in the village of Thirsk, and I always hoped to bump into him when I stopped there. But alas! I did not. I read his All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and The Lord God Made Them All in the 1970s and early 1980s long before we made it to England. I look forward to seeing Catterick and Richmond, North Yorkshire again, the surrounding dales, moors, villages, castles, and ruins. It will be strange, I’m sure, for my husband and me to be there this time with grandchildren older than our sons were then. From there we plan to visit the Lake District–the land of Romantic Poets, Beatrice Potter, and too many other writers to name. Oh, and the lakes, meres, valleys, mountains, and hills are nice, too. I am hoping to make it to Haworth, West Yorkshire, to see again the parsonage home of the Bronte sisters: Charlotte, Emily, and Anne and to head up to Scotland (Burns and Scott country). I hope you will travel along some on this journey with me while I try to incorporate musings on a few contemporary, or least more recent, British writers as well. England is a land strong in literary history, and it is sometimes hard to drag oneself into the present. But literary tradition is important. I believe that contemporary writing sits atop the shoulders of past practitioners even when new literary movements react against former influences and intellectual constructs. At least they have something to push against. After all, the only thing most of us require is a good story that chases through our minds as we make our beds or get ready for work. If we find ourselves enveloped by dense layers of truth and beauty, all the better.

3 thoughts on “Adventure

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