Friday, 20 January 2012

Two Katherines and grey weather

It's grey here in northern England at the moment.  The air tastes of snow and there's what - in Scotland - they call "a lazy wind" - lazy because it goes straight through you instead of going round!  The Mill is very damp, having been uninhabited for a while, and it takes a few days for the heating to get a grip on the thick stone walls.


My trip back home is proving unexpectedly busy.  Before I was even off the train I was being rung up by BBC producers wanting to talk about Catherine Cookson. Not having seen the UK newspapers for a while, I had no idea why and had to Google the subject.   'Catherine Cookson Country' is, apparently, to be abolished.  The inhabitants are shocked and horrified.  The novelist's sales have slumped since her death (inevitably), and she isn't the household name she once was,  but the landscape Catherine Cookson wrote about and made famous is still associated with her, even though the tour buses don't come in their hundreds as they once did. 
Apparently the tourist board in the north east have decided that 'Catherine Cookson Country' is not how they want to market the area at all, that it gives a negative image and they want to advertise their beaches instead.   Catherine would have been furious with rejection. And it does seem to be a curious decision.  The north east of England has some of the most beautiful beaches in Britain, but add in the Catherine Cookson connection and it definitely gives them an edge - beauty and books.    Like the Bronte's Haworth and Du Maurier's Cornwall, Jarrow and South Shields will always be Catherine Cookson's country, even if they take the signs down.

So this morning I'm talking about CC on Radio 4, and then this afternoon I'm 'doing' the Wordsworth Trust's Arts and Books festival talking about Katherine Mansfield and the Dorothy Wordsworth connection.  Let's hope I don't get the two C/Katherine's confused!

1 comment:

  1. K/Catherines abound!

    I have no less than 6 in my office!

    ReplyDelete