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Bradford Lad: Home Of The Brontes

Mike Coatesworth's daughter and son-in-law are forced to fight an uphill battle against cobblestones and the weather when they visit the home of the famous Brontes.

Recently, along with my daughter Lesley, and son-in-law Neal, I decided to visit Haworth, the place where the Bronte family lived. I have been there many times in fair spring weather and during the summer, but it was my first visit in winter in winter.

Anyone who lives in or has visited Haworth knows how difficult the cobbles can be for prams and wheelchairs in good weather. I was about to find out how how awkward they would be to negotiate in winter. We decided to park at the top of the hill and go down the cobbled area, rather than have Neal push my wheelchair uphill, and possibly inducing a coronary.

It was pretty cold up there, and the icy wind was almost blowing a gale.

People we passed had wrapped themselves up to keep warm. They were huddled over, collars up, coats buttoned to keep the cold wind from their chests, sporting woolly hats and gloves. I was wearing my sheepskin coat, but Neal and Lesley both had short thin jackets.

Neal had also forgotten his gloves. His hands were freezing as he carefully manoeuvred my chair along the cobbles.

‘Turn right here,' I requested. ‘I’d like to visit the church.’

After a few minutes of puffing and blowing, Neal and Lesley managed to get my chair over the cobbles and up a short pathway, only to discover that we had taken a wrong turning, to be confronted by an allotment. The church was now behind us.

With smiles on their faces and steam coming from their mouths, my daughter and son-in-law got me back onto the cobbled hill. Then there was another uphill struggle against the elements and cobbles until we were finallyat the church. We were reading some of the interesting epitaphs on the heavy gravestones in the churchyard when Neil asked 'Can we lift one of those up? If I have to push you against the cobbles any longer in this weather I’ll probably be in one of those graves.’

I could see he was not happy. we visited the local sweet shop to get a few OF THE goodies I used to enjoy as a child, then much to the relief of my two carers, we headed back towards the car.

‘Take a left here,’ I told Neal as we drove off. Without question he turned left, but he glanced at me to reassure himself that I knew where I was going. Soon we were going uphill along country roads, with wide-open spaces on either side of us. We could feel the strong wind tugging at the car. The higher we went the more ice we saw on the road, which narrowed with numerous bends. Neal had to frequently change gear.

Then we went steeply downhill, encountering ever more difficult bends. Neal had to use every ounce of his driving skill on this unfamiliar road.

‘Why did we come that way?' Neal asked, wiping the sweat from his forehead as we eventually neared Brafford.

‘I wanted to see how good a driver you are,’ I replied.

I didn’t like to inform him that I had taken another wrong turning!

If you think my stories are true, then they probably are.

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