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Richard III And Future Learn

18 Jun

Just a quick note. You remember I said I was thinking of signing up for a free online course about England in the time of Richard III? Well I made the decision, I did it; I signed up. It’s 3 hours a week for 6 weeks. I can do that, right? It’s starts on the 30th of June. I’m hoping it’ll help me warm up for my full OU study in October.

Wish me luck

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Finding Inspiration In The Past

5 Mar

In light of my recent upsets I have been trying to relax and distract myself with the things I like to do just for fun; so I decided to start looking at my local and family history again. I bought myself a years subscription to the British Newspaper Archive and started looking up my ancestors again 😀 . I found a few stories before and I’ve added a few to my collection. I’ve mentioned the archive before but if you’re interested in local or family history it’s a brilliant resource. Of course if you find your family in the news, like I did, it wont necessarily be because they are a pillar of the community and an all ’round good egg 😉

It feels so strange reading about the village I live in a hundred and more years ago. This village now has no industry and is really starting to look like a retirement village. Most young people don’t stay here and most sure as heck can’t afford to buy their own home. So when I read about the village in the Victorian age it’s like a different world. There was so much going on. High birth rates and sadly high infant death rates; people living in the same village cradle to grave. There were inns and coaching houses every couple of yards. There were thriving businesses and so many industries. It’s such a quite little village on the whole, industry isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you look at it.

I found myself imagining how different life must have been here then. How different the landscape was, what the people looked like. I’m beginning to wonder if I could carve a story out of some of these old historical accounts. I don’t mean a true life, non fiction book. I mean a fiction book inspired by the people and events that shaped this village and their apparently frequent misdemeanours. Maybe I could use it as the backdrop for a Victorian gothic novella?

I do feel a little bit nosey reading these articles, like I’m spying on my ancestors. Due to my issues with travelling etc I’m reliant on online records and transcripts to do my family history research. I’ve been making use of family search lately but I still haven’t managed to trace my 4x great-grandfather. Where did he come from? He’s seems to have just appeared in the village and with no birth certificates in the 1700’s I can’t find him. The only likely candidate I had found in parish registers, I’ve discounted so I have a mystery on my hands. Maybe I can make this mysterious arrival into a plot point?

Have you ever researched your family tree? Ever found anything interesting? Have you ever used history which is close to you to inspire your work?

Books That Get You In The Creative Mood

13 Jan

I have been struggling lately to find my Victorian voice again for my first person narration. It seems to have drifted off; so to get myself back into the Victorian mind I’ve been reading some Sherlock Holmes,  Googling Victorian info and reading snippets of this:

Enquire Within Upon Everything 1890

Enquire Within Upon Everything 1890

 

Please excuse the dodgy picture, I took it on my tablet and it’s not the best.  Anyway enquire within is a real insight into the Victorian mind.  Their home remedies, recipes, household advice, baby names, their recommendations for bringing up children, how to address a letter, doing the washing. The sections on how to correct regional accents and how women should behave are real eye openers! It’s a brilliant book whether you’re a writer or just a history buff, or both. I wondered if anyone else had any go to books to help them get into character, as it were, when writing?

 

Eyam – A Tale Of Sacrifice

2 Sep

Yesterday my friend and I went for a wander around Eyam. She was my tour guide for the day as she knows the village layout better than me, though I’m a Derbyshire lass too!

Eyam Village Stocks

Eyam Village Stocks

Sheep roast

Eyam Sheep Roast

Eyam DelfBeing brought up in the Derbyshire Peak district means you can’t not have heard of Eyam’s past. It’s a well known story and many of you may well know it already. That said I’m going to tell it anyway for those who don’t or those like me who like to refresh their memories so let me set the scene….

Let me tell you a story. It’s September 1665; Oliver Cromwell has been dead for 7 years,  Richard Cromwell has been driven from power and the newly restored monarchy is still in its infancy. Charles II has been in power for just 5 years.

The last of the major outbreaks of the great plague to hit England is sweeping through London and the King and his court have fled the city.

Meanwhile, in the Derbyshire village of Eyam, so tradition has it,  tailor George Viccars Is tasked with unpacking a newly delivered parcel of cloth from London. On opening the parcel he discovers the fabric is damp; the cloth is therefore hung up to dry in the cottage. A few days later George Viccars is dead.

It is believed that the fabric from London was infested with plague carrying fleas. The great plague had come to Eyam.

Plaque outside the residence of the first plague victims

Plaque outside the residence of the first plague victims

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Guilty Pleasures Part 1- Horrible Histories

19 Jul

This is the First in my guilty pleasures series and I’m starting with Horrible Histories.Now before you shout ‘but it’s a kids show!’ I’d say disregard any preconceived ideas you have about this show it is so much more than a kids show.

There seems to be two demographics in which it is acceptable to like Horrible Histories, namely children and parents. Now is this because parents have a more juvenile sense of humour than childless adults? I doubt it but as I don’t have kids I can’t be sure 😉 joking! No my theory is that it’s just more likely a parent is going to have their TV on children’s TV shows. As a childless adult I don’t make a habit of watching kids T.V. On the rare occasions I’ve been channel flicking or waiting for another show and I’ve caught a glimpse of kids TV, I find myself thinking I’m sure kids TV was better when I was young. ( I loved knightmare!) .Nevertheless it was through these happy accidents of catching the odd sketch here and there and seeing a bit of the Stephen Fry fronted compilation that I fell in love with this show. The team behind horrible histories have always said that their intention wasn’t to make something children could laugh at but something everyone could laugh at, mission accomplished. Continue reading

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