I love this job
A chill November afternoon; rain in the air. Every time the door opened you could feel the damp breath of autumn in the wind.
I had just had afternoon tea with eleven ladies from a Lancashire Libraries’ Reading group from Whalley. We were about to visit the Contemporary Heritage installation ‘Taken’ by Ailis Ni Riain in the Castle Keep. It is inspired by the true story of the Lancashire Witches. But before we could move there were some challenging questions: “Who is paying for this? Where does the money come from? Lancashire’s logo is on the flyer – does this mean we that we are paying ? Is it a sensible use of money in these difficult times? The great thing about the discussion which followed was that I was not expected to answer all the questions – they just set everyone off. When you belong to a reading group, I realised, you are used to challenge, the challenge of other opinions being different from your own.
Onwards and upwards…to the Keep.
All we did was to lean with our backs against the castle walls, in silence at first; listening….listening to the layers of voices in the wind, to the humming, to the chords from the harp…the perfect instrument, an inspirational choice for the mood of the piece and for this setting.
..and what did they say when the silence was broken? There was no more talk about funding…
“…I could feel their voices in the stone…you can see them sitting on a cold floor, rocking back and forwards with their heads in their hands murmuring, humming…it should stay here as a part of the experience of visiting the Castle; it really takes you back in time…I can still hear their voices now we’ve come back…those poor women…there was a real feeling of despair up there…yes, of hopelessness, disturbing…I think there are places where these things are still happening….”
I don’t have say more only that it a privilege to share this experience with this group of ladies….and of course the afternoon tea!
I love this job.
Author: David Smith
TAKEN is open daily 10am-5pm and can be visited till early Summer at Clitheroe Castle Museum, Clitheroe BB7 1BA.
Free admission to the installation in the Castle Keep
Have you seen TAKEN already?What are your thoughts?