|The view from the footbridge outside the Mill|
These are the old copper beeches that line the lane that runs up from the river to the hamlet of Bongate - named because the bonded slaves that served the castle used to live here, probably in dreadful hovels. It's a little more genteel these days.
This year the swans have raised five cygnets, all as big as their parents now, though still with their grey colouring, and yesterday I saw them begin their journey down the river - the last I will see of them until the parents (hopefully) return next spring to raise another brood.
It's also been a busy week, workwise, with visits to York, Huddersfield, and across the Lake District to the west coast. The fells are looking beautiful - the coarse grass and bracken beginning to turn that wonderful fox colour. This is Mosedale, near to Caldbeck, where my father had a small fell farm. My native territory and it always makes my heart beat a little faster.
It's getting to the time of year to curl up with a good book. What am I reading? I've just bought Dundee poet Don Paterson's '40 Sonnets' (shortlisted for the TS Eliot award), which I'm enjoying immensely. I don't like all of them - they're a mixed bag of more traditional and the very experimental. But any poet who writes a poem about an unborn child hearing his mother's "loud heart like a landlord at the door", and who can produce quattrains like this, definitely gets my vote:
'What is the sound that fades up from the hiss,
like a glass some random downdraught had set ringing,
now full of its only note, its lonely call,
drawing on its song to keep it singing?"