Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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February 12, 2013

Latifundium – definition : a large country estate.

Today’s word had me remembering weekends galore that I spent in England, visiting numerous historical sites and magnificent estates. My friend Deb and I would spend our days off (we were nursing at the time) travelling all over the country. I have dozens of scrap books full of brochures and postcards of every place visited. These are wonderful reminders and very interesting to revisit. England has centuries of a rich and varied history, all evidenced by ancient sites; such as Stonehenge to vast estates purchased and maintained by the National Trust. These wonderful places are kept not only for prosperity but also as a living history.

English: Stonehenge, Wiltshire county, England...

English: Stonehenge, Wiltshire county, England Français : Stonehenge, comté de Wiltshire, Angleterre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many a time Deb and I would hang back from guided tours to really take in the atmosphere and touch objects that were not supposed to. Naughty I know but too tempting not to! My first scrap book has the  very first postcard I purchased on a infant (elementary) school trip to the New Forest– I was five years old. Some of the places have changed hands, been abandoned or become commercialized. It saddens me that Stonehenge is now fenced off from visitors. As a child I climbed on the stones playing king of the castle or hide and seek with my siblings. Some mansions have become private residencies or even hotels, which is good for the building as it will be maintained but maybe not in the way it should be for historical reasons.

Now that I live in Canada I miss the rich history of England as my new home is so young in comparison. When someone tells me now,  ‘Oh, its so old,” I have to bite my lip knowing that at the most it is less than one hundred years old. Compared to a 14th century church it is a newborn.

English: Court Barn near West Pennard, Somerse...

English: Court Barn near West Pennard, Somerset. This barn is in the care of the National Trust. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also my time as a member of an archaeology group was not only enjoyable but fascinating. Scraping away dried earth to reveal a piece of Roman pottery or a trinket is an awesome feeling. To touch history is so much more exciting than reading it – I know as an author that’s not the thing to say but history comes alive when you actually place your hand on it and make a connection to its owner. Walking along a Roman road or climbing a tor, somehow resonates with your ancient memory.

These experiences give me a wonderful resource for my stories and characters. They are cherished memories.

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