By the main gate he saw a group of young boys seemingly at play. The costumes he described could have been those of the ‘poor boys’ admitted in the late 1600s. He thought these spirits were happy in themselves. Then in the Baronial Dining Room he saw a group of gentlemen from the early 1700s having a serious meeting but again nothing threatening.
However, in the Audit Room, which already has a hell mouth carving of a demon eating a sinner (see picture below) and a burn mark supposedly from Satan, he found himself standing next to a beautiful young woman from the nineteenth century in a striking red dress to which something terrible had happened. Oh dear.
Now like I say I am of a sceptical mind but when you are alone in these ancient, on the one hand, and abandoned, on the other hand, places, you can’t help things playing on your mind. Why can’t all ghosts be happy ghosts, just hanging around because they so enjoyed it down here and can’t let go.
By the way the diesel pump in Mayfield is becoming a celebrity on the tours. It’s a seventies entity in vivid yellow with a Total tag for Total Oil. It’s a handsome devil too and in the quiet of the vast Mayfield depot, in my mind’s eye, I imagine it comes alive and hops around the depot when nobody is there. Matt Wilkinson, a photographer, came on the Sunday tour and took some marvellous images, including one of the diesel pump, below. I particularly like the picture at the top of this page too of the rows of iron pillars receding into the distance, like something from the Lord of the Rings..
27 January is also a very sombre day as it marks the liberation of Auschwitz and is thus International Holocaust Day. I took the family to Auschwitz several years ago, everybody should visit. It never leaves you and nor should it. Alice and death camps. 27 January, it seems, is absurdity and horror. I suppose one way or another every day is, somewhere in this imperfect world. Not the most cheerful of thoughts but pertinent given what Holocaust Day represents.