Dead rats aside, there was one area of the garden that always made me feel a little uneasy. As the name suggests, there was once a mill here. Upper Vatch Mill was one of several in the area and reputedly the highest around Stroud, at seven storeys. In the late 18th century it was a paper mill, but by the 1820s had become a cloth-mill. By the end of the Victorian era, the mill was gone.
Is it possible to be haunted by a place? I think that I may be. In this case it is Ashley Vale in Bristol – an exceptional urban oasis caught between the tracks, containing allotments, woods, hilltops and a pub next door to a farm.
Crumbling ruins, moonlight, tree-lined walks, bats flitting, owls hooting, wolves howling, trapdoors and darkling cellar stairs…
Ever since I can remember I’ve been attracted to things that might be termed ‘Gothic’. For that reason I have been looking forward enormously to the latest exhibition at the British Library: Terror and Wonder – The Gothic Imagination.
Clevedon: the most boring seaside town in all England; filled with dusty, fusty little sepia-tinted shops, selling dull stuff like lacework, horse brasses and pink and blue vintage porcelain salt-and-pepper sets in the shape of Edwardian ladies.
At least that’s what I used to think…
A ‘spotter’s guide’ to some of the more common themes, obsessions and clichés to be found in non-fiction ghost books.
The beauty of books is that you can read them anywhere, at any time.
But is there an ideal place to do it? Indoors, outdoors, under a tree, in a favourite chair, on a train, or on the loo?
And coming down from high moors
I caught a whiff of Whitby,
Through bitching rain, a coastal squall,
Came a smalltown smell so subtle almost dreamt