It’s my last night in Blackburn (ahem, the Ribble Valley), and I’m feeling a little sentimental. I’ve been wandering around all day, taking photographs, with a Beatles soundtrack playing in my head. It probably should be A Day in the Life, for its mention of how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall, but in fact, it’s In My Life that comes to me all unbidden and sticks there.
We’ve used our week well, I think. After Monday at the Roman Museum in Ribchester (excellent) and Tuesday’s Roman Experience in Chester (suspect: they’ve put what looks like a modern toilet brush recently used in a box and suggest we sniff it to get an idea of what a Roman latrine might smell like. It’s like a very cheap version of Jorvik, but you have to walk round; call me lazy, but what I always liked about York’s Jorvik Centre was that you got to sit down in cars, a bit like a historical ghost train), not to mention Leo and my Dad walking the route of a Roman road, we’ve pretty much reached Roman saturation point, and Leo’s starting to find a flicker of enthusiasm.
We have also been swimming in Blackburn, and fed the ducks at Stonyhurst, the Jesuit boys’ boarding school where Tolkien was a teacher, and Conan Doyle a pupil – it’s that kind of mysterious and full blooded landscape. We’ve generally soaked in the sight of the Ribble Valley, and I suppose a glowering sky sets the right tone for viewing Pendle Witch country.
This isn’t a sad leave taking; not really. I don’t feel much connection to the post-industrial urban dereliction these days; I don’t want to romanticise the ruins of decaying dark satanic mills; I don’t suppose my ancestors had that good a time in them. What I want to remember are the beautiful views.
I tried to make a slideshow, soundtracked by In My Life; but it was bad. So here are some pictures, and you can hum the tune to yourself, if you feel like it.