December 15th 1683 saw the death of arguably the most famous British angler. On this, the 330th anniversary of his passing, I am reminded of a story which featured in my Paranormal Staffordshire.
Across the M6 from Stone is the tiny hamlet of Shallowford. The watery reference is appropriate, for here is the former home of Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, first published in 1653.
Featured on the cover of my book, Walton’s black-and-white thatched cottage is now a museum, a testimony to the man who is known as a fisherman but loved the countryside as a whole. This delightful building throws its doors open to the public for only limited times of the year. Any activity outside the normal opening hours seems to bother Miriam, the resident ghost here. Lights and electrical equipment turn on and off without warning, while her presence is almost always accompanied by a distinct drop in temperature. Why she is referred to as Miriam is a mystery; indeed the only reason for suggesting she is female is down to a psychic stating she is a busy lady.
There is a second, less well-documented presence that has not been named. However, there is no doubt as to his gender, for he has been seen walking through a hedge and following the line of an old path before vanishing from sight. He wears a costume dating to the seventeenth century. Perhaps, if not the man himself, he is a friend and colleague of Izaak Walton. If so, he would be sure to have much information to add to the museum, although maybe this would further irritate Miriam.
As always I would welcome any suggestions for themes or subjects, or even specific words to examine the origins, meanings and etymologies. I’d be delighted to hear from you.