This summer, I made a pilgrimage of sorts.
Virginia Woolf has been my favorite author for years. She was a driven and stubborn woman with a tragic history who nevertheless found the love of her life and fought tooth and nail for as long as she could to live her best life, and to support her fellow authors through her publishing company. She was deathly honest in her observations of the world around her, sometimes to a fault, but that honesty gave a voice to mental health issues that had long been silenced in society. Her writing is unlike anything of the time.
She fought for as long as she could, and produced many incredible works of literature in that time span. A large amount of them were written at her home with her husband Leonard, Monk's House in Rodmell. I had resolved that I absolutely had to visit Rodmell. So when Joshua and I were going back to Belfast, and I very much wanted to see my friend Joanne in London, it seemed only necessary that I finally take the opportunity.
We didn't rent a car this trip, so we found the closest train station to the tiny town and decided to brave the walk. The station was very literally a tiny wooden platform in the middle of a giant field; only a tiny pathway and sign assured us we were in the right place. The walk was beyond worth it, and the weather was perfect despite some high winds.
Monk's House has been preserved as an homage to Virginia and Leonard, while their extensive garden has been turned into a beautiful haven open to the public. Virginia's office is right in the middle, in a separate house meant to offer her seclusion and privacy to work. Her bedroom features a beautiful fireplace that her sister painted for her. In their kitchen is one of Leonard's remaining jars of coffee, and Virginia's carefully-cultivated coffee station complete with weights and a grinder. Allegedly the only other person she trusted to make her coffee correctly was her husband.