When I was training to be an English teacher, we took a group of students up to the museum. They’d been reading Wuthering Heights with another teacher, and I came along to help out and experience a school trip as a supervisor.
It was a fascinating museum, their old house; each room felt haunted, with everything recreated and preserved as if they were still present. We had a guide take us round and she told us stories as we went.
After the tour, the other teacher, a man (I can’t recall his name, or even what he looked like), told the students that we’d meet them outside the apothecary in two hours. Most of them were eighteen and a couple of them even older, so they were perfectly all right to have some time to themselves.
Their teacher and I decided to go for a walk on Haworth Moors. I remember that we talked about Wuthering Heights in depth, then we imagined Heathcliff and Catherine walking together on the moors that stretched out around us. We described them to each other.
Our imaginings shifted to the Brontes themselves walking the moors, with mud soaking their skirts and strong winds pulling their hair. Then conversation shifted to other writers, other books. Before we left to go back to town, I stooped to pick some heather.
I have that heather still. It sits next to me on my desk as I write. I keep it to remember a moment when I was completely content, and to honour those sisters who, in their loneliness on the moors, wrote two of my most favourite novels. I don’t know how many times I’ve read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights over the years, but I know I’ll read them again. And again. And again.
Ps. None of the students were waiting outside the apothecary. They’d made their way to the pub. We had a pint and a pie with them before heading back. Perfect.