Manchester/Bath UK Journal Day 4
John Rylands Library, Manchester, UK
I am sitting in the closed café of the Rylands Library, waiting for my 10:00 appointment with the readers’ room. Today, I am looking at letters written to Elizabeth Gaskell in the hopes of finding something that will benefit my project. I will be here for a few hours before I catch a train to Knutsford. Knutsford is where Gaskell grew up, where she is buried, and the town she based Cranford on. This is a whirlwind trip for me because I didn’t know Knutsford was so close to Manchester, only 20 miles or so, a short train ride away, and I decided, at the last minute, to make this pilgrimage as well. If I’m going to Jane Austen’s house, shouldn’t I go to Gaskell’s town?
Something you may not know about me, Gentle Reader, is that I suffer from anxiety, and this morning, I experienced a wallop. Most of the time, it’s free floating anxiety, and it attaches itself to ridiculous, stupid things. I had to call the Darling Husband in the middle of the night on Facetime to get him to help me calm down. Luckily, he was able to, and I have righted myself, mostly.
But there is some lingering doubt and anxiety left, and I don’t know if this is from traveling to a foreign country, being by myself, my anxiety in general, or something else I don’t know about. I’ll work through it, I always do, but it distresses me that it in any way mars my trip.
Knutsford, because it was unexpected, it exciting me. This is the Adventure I’ve been talking about, something unplanned and unexpected. I am not really all that prepared to go there. I have my train schedules, my basic idea of where Gaskell’s grave is, but I am mostly going to rely on walking around and asking questions. I will probably eat dinner in Knutsford before I head back to my last night in the Manchester Guesthouse. Tomorrow, I travel to Bath.
Perhaps, because it is unexpected, it is making me anxious as well? I’m not sure. I am not an Adventurer, not a risk-taker or a darer. I was the one in grammar school the teacher left in charge of the classroom, because I am a grand tattletale. But not on other people: on myself. I hate keeping secrets—not other people’s, but my own.
I think it’s about time to go into my reading appointment. Until then, Gentle Reader, I bid you good-day.