The light that poured through her window was the only source of illumination in an otherwise dismal existence. They said her harsh treatment was deserved, that her idle ways had led to an inevitable conclusion. Only she knew just how hard she’d strived to avoid such a fate. She tried not to let bitterness consume her as she remembered the long days she’d spent seeking any work available, and the unpleasant tasks she’d undertaken for a few meager pennies. But the work had simply not been there – not for someone like her, without education or experience.
She held on to her sense of self-worth through the darkest times. Like the light through the window that brightened her days, hope cast its rays into her soul, giving her the strength to continue. Someday she’d be able to leave the bleak confines of the workhouse. With the new skills she’d been forced her to learn, employment would be found. Someday, she prayed, her life would be better.
let the light pour in
bright rays alleviating
the darkness within
Like last week’s picture, this is another photograph taken at Southwell Workhouse. If you’d like to know more about the workhouses of Victorian England, check out Millie Thom’s post here.
look beyond the urban rush
and glimpse a vanished world
thriving amidst concrete and brick
Tucked behind a gate on a busy road in the middle of the city of Lincoln (UK), lies an oasis of green amongst the urban sprawl. The place is well concealed, surrounded by buildings, but walk a short path and you’ll find yourself within an area of nearly two hectares, filled with fruit trees – the Cross O’Cliff orchard.
The place is a wildlife haven, attracting birds, butterflies, bees, and insects galore. The old trees and dead wood provide perfect conditions for insects and beetles, whilst the fallen apples and pears are a welcome food source for a number of different creatures. In the early 2000s, with the help of a Wildspace! grant from English Nature, the orchard was designated a local nature reserve,
The Cross O’Cliff orchard first appeared on maps in the late 1800s, though it could date back further. It’s filled with a range of fruit trees, including a number of specialist heritage varieties. One such apple is the ‘Peasgood Nonsuch’, described by the RHS in 1872 as ‘One of the most handsome apples in cultivation’. Despite it having been awarded a first-class certificate, it never became commercially important as it didn’t travel well. Other varieties include the Allington Pippin, the Blenheim Orange and the Glou Morceau. Only in orchards, such as the one at Cross O’Cliff, do such varieties of apple survive.
The story of Cross O’Cliff orchard has not always been a good one. In the early 1990s, after nearly 50 years of neglect, the orchard was nearly lost. The then Lincolnshire county council, who owned the land, granted itself planning permission to build houses on the space. Fortunately, through a change in the council and the tireless hard work of local campaigners, the orchard was saved. Restoration began in 1995.
It is only through the continuing hard work of locals – the Cross O‘Cliff Area Residents Group – that the orchard remains open to the public. Members regularly meet to assist with jobs such as tree planting and pruning, hedge laying and meadow mowing. Hopefully, the orchard will remain for many future generations to enjoy.
sticky tendrils dragging ever deeper
into the depths of
fear and hate and hopelessness
desolation clinging with tar-like viscosity
but don’t give up
glimpse the light that lies ahead
encompassing hope of better times to come
leave the darkness behind
and embrace the future’s bright promise
don’t give up
never give up
This week’s photo was taken at Southwell Workhouse a few weeks ago.
The Victorian workhouses were places designed to help the poorest members of society, giving them a roof over their heads, clothes, food and work, but they were also intended to be harsh, unpleasant places in order to deter all but the very poorest from applying for help. The able bloodied men and women who lived within the Workhouses were labelled as being ‘idle and profligate’, as they were unable to support themselves without aid. The cause of their hardship, however, was actually more often a simple lack of available work, but that fact didn’t prevent hem from being stigmatized.
If you’d like to know more about Southwell Workhouse, and workhouses in general, you can check out my mum’s (Millie Thom’s) post about the place here.
as the new day begins
haloed by the rising sun her
laughter echoing as
golden rays dance over cloudtops
ribbons unfurling in joyous celebration
of harvests safely gathered
I hadn’t even realised I’d taken these dawn shots on the Autumn Equinox until I was sorting through my pictures for the Changing Seasons post and spotted the date on the folder. I was already thinking about using them for a post; this discovery just made their use a certainty.
wending in life-giving flows