Adventures in the North: In Search of Glass

I don’t think Mum really wanted to move away in the end.

“I just didn’t think it would all so…cold.”

The initial rush of excitement instigated by the long drive had faded and now she no longer appeared impressed by anything that Bowland Fell or the surrounding area had to offer. I, on the other hand, found myself slowly but surely falling in love with the town of Clitheroe, whilst hunting through it’s charming streets for reclusive glass artist, Jenny Cork.

It was an online advert that had snared my Mother, I found out. She’d been idly browsing the internet, typing all the queries into the search engine that would’ve told Google that there was a single elderly woman in Newhaven looking to spend a lot of money on a life changing move to a holiday park somewhere. From one night spent sipping sherry and window shopping, she’d given the bots enough information to blast her with constant targeted advertising that proved to be too much for her to deal with.

“It just doesn’t look how I’d imagined.”

Her hands fretted with a tired clasp on her handbag. My Mother didn’t like to waste other people’s time and she clearly felt that she had done just that for the ‘nice people’ at Bowland Fell.

I felt a little guilty for encouraging this impulsive behaviour, it was only ever going to end this way really. The bitter wind that blasted her as she stepped out of the car had been a surprise. The uneven gravel drive had also not been ideal and now she was looking around at the comfortable looking park home it clearly didn’t meet her expectations.

“I just don’t think I’m ready to move so far away from you.”

We thanked the ‘lovely woman’ and left. Back in the car my Mother stared despondently out the window, I couldn’t quite tell if she was drifting off in her mind or still weighing up her options, at 68, she still had a few open to her. We trundled along the country lanes until we reached the town of Clitheroe. Although hardly as bustling as Brighton or New Haven, there was a surprising amount of activity in the little centre. The afternoon light was dwindling and I could tell my Mum needed perking up.

It was a little warmer in the shelter of the town centre, despite the fact that the sun was now dipping behind the horizon. As we strolled down the High Street, we stopped from time to time to gaze through shop windows. One particular wind chime caught my eye; delicately fashioned from multi-coloured stained glass, it dangled precariously from a fine silver thread in an otherwise unremarkable gift shop. The strange warped glass was something I’d not seen before, I asked the shop keeper and he told me that it was a piece by Jenny Cork. With a reluctant smile he informed that she had moved away, off to another part of the country to continue her work in private.

Disappointing though this was, I was glad to have at least found something by this fabled artist. The piece now hangs in my Mother’s conservatory; she’s not considered moving since our trip up North, but I wouldn’t it past her to find a new dream to follow in the New Year.

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