I love the castle – I was born in the shelter of its mighty walls – and though I’ve travelled far and wide with my Lady, and seen the sea and the mountains from its topmost tower, I’ve no desire to live anywhere else.
It may seem gloomy and severe to you, but I’ve explored its every nook and cranny, and the deepest dungeons cause me no fear, nor can its hard, cold stones get me down. I sleep in the room with the deepest carpet and the best feather mattress, where great tapestries keep the draughts away from me.
I know where to find warmth on a cold day, company on a lonely day, and good food and drink after a long day’s hunting.
I often walk with the ladies in their garden when Spring has reached our northern land. The scents of the herbs are like the bouquet of a fine wine to my nostrils, and I love to watch the birds singing from the branches of the old pear tree.
Though I say it myself, I’m a great favourite with the castle folk – if I’m hungry between meals the cook gives me a tasty snack. If I come in wet and cold, the servants hurry to answer my every need, and even my Lord’s hounds are removed to the kennels so that I can sit undisturbed by the fire in the Great Hall.
Of course I do my allotted work. I’m neither a guest nor a relation of his Lordship, but a hardworking servant, and I understand my place. He relies on the watch and guard I keep over his great castle. Night after night I patrol the walls and climb to the battlemented watch-towers. No soldier sleeps at his post as long as I’m around.
I love the night, especially when the moon is full and soars across the sky like a galleon in full sail. Her light shining down on frost or snow is like a spell of wonder cast over the whole world. Yes, Summer or Winter, my favourite place is up among the castle’s turrets and spires, where I sing to the stars of my hopes and dreams, of love and desire; I call out my challenge to the Lord’s enemies, and warn them not to risk their lives against the greatest champion in the land. And when dawn comes I go to my room knowing I have kept my Lord and Lady safe through another night, and will be honoured in everyone’s eyes.
‘Johan, I don’t care what my sister says, do something about that cat! He was wailing from the roof again all last night, and I didn’t get a wink of sleep.’
‘Yes, my Lord. I’ll see to it at once.’
Despite the way it looks, the picture is of the Methodist Church on Cockermouth
Main Street – taken from a little back lane going down behind it to the river!