Ambleside Reading Announced!

We don’t like to rest!

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However, we DO like the beautiful Lake District, so we’re heading up to Ambleside on the  25th August at 5:30pm, where we’ll be delivering our highly popular readings of Brontë poetry and prose in the lovely library!

Take a look at the Facebook page for further details. Please spread the word – we can promise a highly enjoyable evening for all!

CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Ambleside Reading Announced!

A Fine Day in Scarborough!

After a month with no readings, it seemed only right to get the ball rolling again with a trip to gloriously sunny Scarborough, a standout gem of Yorkshire where they do tea the proper way!

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Tea from Cafe and Bistro on the Corner! Full English also recommended, especially after a long train journey!

 Of course, my joy at the appearance of actual real sunshine and the partaking of good strong tea was tempered by certain sober facts. Scarborough was the favourite holiday destination of the Robinson family, who employed first Anne Brontë, then Branwell too, as tutors for their children between 1840 and 1845, and took the two siblings with them on their trips, probably exposing them to more affluence than they had seen in their entire lives! It is very likely that the Robinsons made use of the highly fashionable Spa complex whilst visiting Scarborough, especially because of its strong connections to the world of music hall.

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Part of the Spa. Tres poshe.

(Lydia Robinson Jr later eloped with a comedian. Music hall became slightly less popular with the family after that!)

Branwell allegedly conducted an extra-marital affair with Lydia Robinson Sr, which was discovered just before he was due to join the family on a holiday, and his contract was terminated. Anne left the Robisons’ employment at around the same time – something that has never been fully explained but that many suggest was down to a powerful sense of shame. However, the seaside at Scarborough was always a very special place for her.

Four years later, after the death of her brother and older sister Emily, Anne became consumptive and was accompanied back to her favourite town by her oldest sister Charlotte and Charlotte’s friend, Ellen, for rest and recuperation. However, Anne’s health had suffered a critical blow and she died at the age of 29 in a house which once stood where the Grand Hotel is now located on St Nicholas’ Cliffs. Her final words to her sister were supposedly “Take courage, Charlotte. Take courage.”

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Before her passing, Anne expressed a wish to be buried in Scarborough. As a result, she is the only member of the family not interred in the Brontë crypt in the church of St Michael and All Angels at Haworth. Her beautiful grave stands on the hillside to this day, alongside a new plaque provided by the Brontë Society:

 

Lavender courtesy of DTK!
Lavender courtesy of DTK!

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After a lovely walk along the beach and becoming slightly overexcited by an original Victorian tram:

VIDEO: TRAM!!

I arrived at Taylor’s Cafe and Books, a gorgeous independent venue on the beautiful hide-away Bar Street.

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The readings went down brilliantly, but even more exciting were the lovely people I got the chance to meet. Among my friendly and receptive audience members was Julie Noble, an author of young adult fiction who wrote the astonishing Talli’s Secretthe story of a young girl suffering from dyslexia and dyspraxia with an inspired link to the Brontës. I am already two-thirds of the way through it and I cannot put it down! Please do read it if you get the chance, especially any parents with children that might be affected by these particular issues.

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www.tallissecret.com

Also with us were the brilliant Melissa (8) and Leon (7). Melissa volunteered to read one of the poems herself, and presented Charlotte Brontë’s Life with panache and great skill despite some very tough vocabulary. She also gave me this beautiful drawing of a ballerina, complete with ringlets and voluminous tutu for you to admire:

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Meanwhile, skilled photographer Leon captured these images of me hard at work! Leon did a superb job, and I’m extremely pleased with the pictures. Here they are!

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Leon also provided me with two fine examples of pen-drawing:

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The first is a dramatic and very relevant image of a factory, smoke billowing from its chimney – just how the industrial buildings of Yorkshire might have looked in Victorian times. The second is a more domestic scene – a lovely house.

Well done, Melissa and Leon! You should be very proud of your work today 🙂

It was wonderful to meet my lovely Scarborough group this evening, and the staff of Taylor’s Cafe and Books were helpful, enthusiastic and generally really lovely to be around. I’d strongly recommend a visit. Also, huge thanks to Wardle & Jones Books and Scarborough Library for their help in promoting the event! I’ll be at the Library on 1st October in anticipation of National Poetry Day, so get that in your diaries! Also, keep you eyes peeled for more news about Dangerous To Know in Scarborough!

A Fine Day in Scarborough!

Further readings in Scarborough!

Not simply content with one reading in Scarborough (come along to Taylor’s Café and Books on 8th August at 6pm!) we have just confirmed a second event in anticipation of National Poetry Day!

Caroline will be at Scarborough Library from 6pm on 1st October, reading a special selection of work by the Brontë family. The event will last for roughly an hour, and there will be refreshments available.

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Scarborough is, of course, the resting place of Anne Brontë, the youngest member of the family, who died at the age of 29 in 1849. Her literary legacy is vastly underrated; Agnes Grey, her first novel, speaks out with understated sensitivity about the torturous trials and damage to self-respect suffered by governesses, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall tackles readily the stigma attached to women who flee domestic abuse, and the moral dilemmas faced when raising a son or daughter in a society all too ready to dictate how it must be done.

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Anne, who worked as a governess with the Robinson family of Little Ouseburn near York for a lengthy period of her adult life, often accompanied her employers on their holidays to Scarborough. Her brother Branwell, who entered the Robinson’s employment a little later, would also join them. Branwell was later fired – strong evidence points to an affair with Mrs Robinson – and Anne left her position too, apparently out of shame.

When her sister’s health began to fail due to tuberculosis, a condition the whole family seemed susceptible to, Charlotte Brontë escorted Anne to the seaside town once more. Anne loved the ocean, and it was thought that the sea air might assist in her recuperation, but sadly the young woman died in her hotel room with her sister and a close friend, Ellen Nussey, by her side. In her final hours, Anne voiced a wish to be buried in Scarborough. Her last words to Charlotte were “Take courage, Charlotte. Take courage.”

Anne’s pretty grave can still be visited today. She is the only member of her family not to be buried in the Brontë crypt under Haworth church in West Yorkshire.

Further readings in Scarborough!

Announced: Event in Ambleside!

Another event in August! Come along to Ambleside Library on 25th August at 5:30pm to get a chance to hear gorgeous Brontë work and enter into a discussion about the unique and unusual family.

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The event is FREE to attend! Please see the Facebook event page here.

Original pieces will also be brought to the stand, and audience members are welcome to donate a short piece of work for this purpose. Simply email dtkmanchester@gmail.com!

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Dangerous To Know is a currently self-funded Northern theatre company, which will always be grateful of support. Our upcoming production, The Dissolution of Percy, an original piece about the final few years in the life of Branwell Brontë, will be staged in Greater Manchester and Yorkshire this coming November. For more information, and to watch a trailer for the production…

PLEASE CLICK HERE

Announced: Event in Ambleside!

Announced: Scarborough Event!

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Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be in Scarborough on 8th August at 6pm, reading a little more of the beautiful work by the Bronte family, and chatting about their intriguing lives and (in some cases) scandalous relationships!

Original pieces will also be brought to the stand, and audience members are welcome to donate a short piece of work for this purpose. Simply email dtkmanchester@gmail.com!

If you’d like a little more information about the event…

PLEASE CLICK HERE

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Dangerous To Know is a currently self-funded Northern theatre company, which will always be grateful of support. Our upcoming production, The Dissolution of Percy, an original piece about the final few years in the life of Branwell Bronte, will be staged in Greater Manchester and Yorkshire this coming November. For more information, and to watch a trailer for the production…

PLEASE CLICK HERE

Announced: Scarborough Event!

Fundraising walk: Final day

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We had an early start, and set off from Haworth with the sun beating down upon us as we set a course for the final point in our journey: Sowerby Bridge, where Branwell Brontë once worked as a clerk  on the railway.

It isn’t just the Brontë connection that causes me to be fascinated by Haworth – it’s the fact that, visually, it has changed so little since their time, and the thought that a number of its inhabitants can boast local ancestry stretching back before the time of the famous literary family.

VIDEO: “MYSTERIOUS” HAWORTH

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The names used in the area also suggest their link to the town’s history. The Haworth Free School may once have welcomed Branwell into its tutelage, but for some reason – be it his highly strung personality, the mental or physical health issues that many now suggest that he had, or something else – he could only have attended for a few months before being withdrawn for home-schooling.

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I got the chance once again to pass over the lovely West Yorkshire Moors, though the terrain wasn’t always on my side.

VIDEO: DAD JOKE

Though I did make a couple of friends along the way. The locals of West Yorkshire are friendly whatever their species!

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As is always the way with the North, one kind of weather didn’t seem to be enough and, suddenly I found myself battling gale-force winds as I made my way through Wainstalls.

VIDEO: BIT WINDY!

Eventually, signs for Luddenden Foot, where Branwell briefly enjoyed a promotion to the position of clerk in charge, lifted my spirits someone despite the sweltering sun, as my destination was getting ever-closer:

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However, I knew my legs and feet wouldn’t hold up for much longer, and was grudgingly grateful that this was the final ten miles of my 130 mile journey. I decided to write a short song to commemorate the quest as I hobbled along. (Warning: suggests a naughty word!)

VIDEO: CAROLINE’S TOTALLY ORIGINAL COMPOSITION

Trivia: Caroline holds Grade 8 with distinction with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Seriously. It’s on her Spotlight and everything. The fraud.

I was overjoyed to arrive in Sowerby Bridge in good time, and found a wonderful welcome awaiting. This fab display really made it all feel a bit special, and was particularly poignant as this was the final date of my readings tour:

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Audience members were arriving a good fifteen minutes before the start, and, once I began, all seemed highly interested in the subject and started some really interesting discussions after the talk was finished. Sowerby Bridge library really seems a vital part of its community, and this seemed evident in the numbers that attended the event.

At the end, I packed away my things with a degree of sadness, because, though I was looking forward to heading home for a good rest, I knew I would miss this project hugely. I hope to put on some more readings in the near future (there is one lined up for 8th July at 7:30, at the Kings Arms in Salford), but it was the combination of those and the walking that really made this an experience to remember.

The adventure had also left its mark on my trainers, which evidently decided that enough was enough and have now been given last rites.

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You have served me well, trainers. You will be remembered.

VIDEO: TRIBUTE TO MY TRAINERS

So it’s over now! A few really exciting opportunities have arisen from this venture, and we have big plans for the next couple of months before The Dissolution Percy hits the stage at the Kings Arms in Salford from 4th – 7th November and for one night in Haworth at the Parkside Social Club on 14th November.

So keep an eye on our website and Twitter feed (@DTKManc) for updates. In the meantime, please do take a look at the below link for The Dissolution of Percy‘s trailer, further information about the production, and for the chance to donate to our exciting new company! Please share the information wherever you can – any assistance is hugely appreciated.

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Fundraising walk: Final day

Fundraising Walk: Day 7

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It was a rather grim start to the day, damp and overcast, but the walk was only a little over six miles in a straight line between Thornton and Haworth.

To set me up for the day ahead, I thought I’d give a little history lesson as I went on my way:

VIDEO: THORNTON ROAD

Then I recalled that it was time to do a birthday shout-out for a certain someone. I wasn’t quite up for stopping off to buy 198 candles though.

VIDEO: MANY (MANY) HAPPY RETURNS!

While the walk into Haworth was utterly gorgeous and highly atmospheric, it seemed so short compared with earlier treks that I could have blinked and missed it. I did have time, however, to be substantially miffed by the sight of a lovely claret-leather chair sitting alone in a field.

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I’m sure we could have made use of it if no one had wanted it; it looked in decent nick! However, if a person had brought it out with thoughts of sitting and admiring the fabulous view, then kudos to them – I’d have done the same.

After a short time, I found myself skirting the moors, with a direct path over them to Haworth. I was far too tempted. I clambered off the road, and had a little peace and quiet amidst the scrubby heather and tussocks of grass.

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Breaking over the brow of a hill, I finally came across this belter of a vista, with the town half-shrouded in mist at the bottom of the valley:

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A little further along, a steam train puffed along the Worth Valley railway below me, and I went completely potty, scrambling to film. Sadly I failed. You’ll have to imagine it. But it was lovely.

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The bunting was out in the town as I walked to the top of the steep street, making a beeline for the obligatory selfie outside:

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The Brontë Parsonage.

After admiring the bullet holes left in the church tower opposite by the wonderfully unique Reverend Patrick Brontë – who slept with a loaded pistol close at hand every night and discharged it out of the window every morning for safety’s sake – I had a poignant moment in the church where I paid my respects to the whole family, save Anne who was laid to rest in Scarborough.

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The talk, at the brilliant art cafe, Cobbles and Clay, was very well attended and the response was superb. The pieces that audience members donated to be read were of an extremely high standard as usual. After a very nice chat with the attendees, I popped over to The Black Bull, famously Branwell’s preferred watering hole, for a respectful pint, and was pleased to see that his favourite chair, still in one piece almost one hundred and seventy years after his death, was on display partway up the stairs.

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It’s hardly as if I’m a stranger to Haworth, but I very much enjoyed this visit – as I do all visits – to perhaps the most famous of my destinations.

With tomorrow comes the final stretch to Sowerby Bridge, where Branwell worked as a clerk on the railway, before I return to Manchester and reality. I’ll be at Sowerby Bridge library at 2pm, and it would be fantastic to see this wonderful adventure off in style.

Please do come along!

See the company’s trailer for The Dissolution of Percy, find out more information and take a look at our crowdfunding campaign below:

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Fundraising Walk: Day 7

Fundraising Walk: Day 4

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The weather was absolutely fantastic today (the above photo perhaps not being the best evidence, but the sunburn on my forehead, ears and neck confirms it!), and we chose a route away from main roads in order to enjoy a bit of quiet and to get a chance to take in the surrounding landscape.

It was a little longer – around 27 miles in total – but it took us by Haworth and over the moors, through to Halifax.

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Alright for some… lazy cows.

The views were stunning, and we enjoyed the opportunity to relax a bit, though we were still working to a time limit! By the time we reached Halifax, we’d walked over 90 miles overall, so the tiredness really was kicking in!

VIDEO: CAROLINE CRACKS UNDER THE PRESSURE

VIDEO: INSPIRED BY THE MOORS AND DISTRACTED BY BIRDS

What a fantastic venue Halifax Library is, and what a lovely and receptive audience turned up! Many thanks must go out to the staff who not only worked hard to promote the event, but had chairs, teas and coffees set up for the attendees when we arrived.

Today marks the end – I think – of the 20+ mile stretches. Tomorrow, we deliver readings at The Cardigan Centre in Headingley, Leeds, at 8pm, and we’d love to see you there!

I can’t possibly close without thanking a very special member of my support team – my mum – who has worked twice as hard as I have; walking alongside me, planning and navigating the routes, listening with great patience to my incessant impromptu Brontë lectures… Time pressures have rendered it impossible for her to continue the journey with me, but we’ll check in frequently. A million thanks and lots of love!

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See the link below for details of how you can support our campaign. Watch the trailer for our production, The Dissolution of Percy, donate or share the information as you wish!

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Here are the remaining dates and venues for Caroline’s walk and readings tour:

The Cardigan Centre, Leeds – Wednesday 24th June – 20:00pm

The New Inn, Thornton – Thursday 25th June – 20:00pm

Cobbles and Clay, Haworth – Friday 26th June – 18:00pm

Sowerby Bridge Library, Sowerby Bridge – Saturday 27th June – 14:00pm

The Kings Arms Theatre, Salford – Wednesday 8th July – 7:30pm

Follow the company on Twitter (@DTKManc) and use the hashtag #nocowardsoulismine to tweet about this adventure!

Fundraising Walk: Day 4

Fundraising Walk: Day Three (Lots of videos!)

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Early start for us!

VIDEO: EARLY START (very quiet – apologies for whispering!)

As we had to crack on from Cowan Bridge to Gargrave – a total of 25 miles – and reach our destination by 5pm, we had to get going asap. It will be a similar story tomorrow when we head to Halifax, as the readings at the Central Library will be at 5:30pm!

Today was a slog. With no reading to look forward to, foul weather, and the only route available the rain-soaked verge of a dual carriageway (in fact, we often found we were forced to walk along the carriageway itself!), it was psychologically challenging. Physically also, as there were many narrow stretches of road and tight corners where we were facing traffic head-on, including numerous articulated lorries, and that meant we were forced to stop and start over and over! Luckily, no one was squashed.

The highlight of our day was being passed by a train. We thought that fact was so sad that I thought I’d pop a quick video up in memory of the moment:

VIDEO: TRAAAIIIINNNN!

We also saw some really cute cows. That was another highlight. No time for a photo op though.

Today was not easy.

VIDEO: CAROLINE HAS A WHINE ABOUT THINGS

Upon reaching Gargrave, we dragged ourselves to the other end of the village, and we were done!

photo (3)This is not a power stance. The sign is keeping me upright.

VIDEO: COMPLETE AND UTTER RELIEF!

We’re really, really looking forward to Halifax tomorrow. Please do come along and support our readings. We’ll be at the Central Library from 5:30pm onwards. Take a look at the link below to see the trailer for our production, to donate, to find out more information or to share our campaign!

See you soon.

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Current Venue List for Caroline’s Readings Tour:

The Black Cock Inn, Broughton-in-Furness – Saturday 20th June – 14:00pm

Kendal Library, Kendal – Sunday 21st June – 12:00pm

Cowan Bridge Village Hall, Cowan Bridge – Sunday 21st June – 19:00pm

Halifax Central Library, Halifax – Tuesday 23rd June – 17:30pm

The Cardigan Centre, Leeds – Wednesday 24th June – 20:00pm

The New Inn, Thornton – Thursday 25th June – 20:00pm

Cobbles and Clay, Haworth – Friday 26th June – 18:00pm

Sowerby Bridge Library, Sowerby Bridge – Saturday 27th June – 14:00pm

The Kings Arms Theatre, Salford – Wednesday 8th July – 7:30pm

Follow the company on Twitter (@DTKManc) and use the hashtag #nocowardsoulismine to tweet about this adventure!

Fundraising Walk: Day Three (Lots of videos!)

Fundraising Walk: Day Two

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If I look tired, it’s because I am!

Day one in Broughton-in-Furness was a fantastic start to the readings, with a lovely audience who asked really interesting and pertinent questions. It was a pleasure to chat to them, and, despite the ominous drizzle that had accompanied our journey to Broughton, on setting out from the Black Cock Inn and heading off on our way, the clouds dissipated and we enjoyed gentle sunlight for the rest of our 24.4 mile journey!

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Despite an 11pm finish in Kendal, I was feeling fresh and ready to go this morning, when I whizzed over to Lakeland Radio to chat to Simon Yaxley about the adventure so far. We cut it fine, but made it to Kendal Library with time to spare.

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After a fantastic 12 o’clock reading with a very warm welcome and another friendly, hugely receptive audience, we struck out once again towards Cowan Bridge, and we made it in astonishingly good time, having enjoyed a little impromptu parade through Kirkby Lonsdale as we stumbled across a local brass band contest!

VIDEO: PLAYED THROUGH KIRKBY LONSDALE

VIDEO: COWAN BRIDGE APPEARS

VIDEO: THE COWAN BRIDGE SCHOOL PLAQUE 

The Cowan Bridge readings also went down a treat, thanks to a very enthusiastic audience and despite our having walked around forty miles over the past two days. The reception we’ve had each time has been wonderful!

And now I look like this:

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This is a face that has worked hard. This is a face that has travelled many miles and said many words multiple times to many nice audience members. This face alone deserves support. Whether you donate or simply spread the word, it would be hugely appreciated.

We’re on a two-day push to Halifax starting tomorrow. We’ll be in the library from 5:30pm on Tuesday. Please support the company by sharing the below link, or clicking it, watching our trailer and making a donation. See you on the other side!

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Fundraising Walk: Day Two