Monday, August 29, 2011

England


I have been in love with England for years and that obsession  started years ago.  As soon as  we could we started traveling to England, staying mostly in London and doing day trips in the beginning and then branching out, renting a cottage and a car, bless Mac for being willing to drive on the other side of the road.
Our first trip was in the early 70's and we've made many trips since then traveling to Stone Farm in Devon, a thatched cottage in Cornwall,   several stays at a 17th century flour mill in Somerset,  lots of cottages in the Cotswolds, an apartment in Hampshire, a farm cottage near Stroud, a thatched cottage in Wiltshire and numerous hotels from Canterbury to  York, with one swift dash across the border to Scotland.  More trips than I can count, to look at castles, manor houses, iron-age fortifications, tumuli, stone circles and standing stones, gardens, beautiful villages, and it never grows old.  The last few trips we've said no more, we'll go somewhere else, somewhere different, but when Mac sits down to book the tickets we find we really want to go to England again.  Where did this fascination come from?
As a kid I read about King Arthur and Robin Hood and was intriqued, but that's not what really "hooked" me on England.  No it was a set of 4 books by Thomas B. Costain: The Conquering Family, The Magnificent Century, The Three Edwards, The Last Plantagenents, that did the job.  I, who seldomly read nonfiction, was absolutely hooked, finishing one of the books sent me in search of the next, and in fact I'm sure it's those books that made me the history buff I am.
They're a wonderful set of books about the Plantagenets, a group of Kings who ruled England,  starting with Henry II in 1154,  to Richard III in 1485.  All the other Kings and Queens of England that I've read about seem "small' compared to this family, they were fascinating.  Easy to say which was my favorite, Richard III, and yes I've visited the remains of his castle at Middleham, followed by Henry V,  I always complain about his rather simple casket being out in the correder at Westminster.  But  strong or weak, warlike or interested in building universities,  they were an incredible family and they're one of the reasons we keep going back to England.
Not my photo, "borrowed" from a British castle site.






6 comments:

  1. You probably know more about English history than I do! You've made me want to read more about the Plantagenets.

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  2. I love England too. Haven't been there since the 70s but then travelled over most of the main island with my family, from the south coast up to Inverness, and Wales too. And since then read many books and seen many BBC TV series to remind me of the landscape.

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  3. I love this post! I've been interested in the Plantagenets and Richard III in particular since my teens through Shakespeare's plays and in my early 20s I read Josephine Tey's 'Daughter of Time' and then Rosemary Hawley Jarman's 'We Speak No Treason' - I was hooked. I try to visit Ricardian places - we recently went to Bosworth Heritage Centre again and walked the battlefield trail but I've yet to post about it. Middleham is wonderful isn't it?

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  4. Rosie, I love Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time, but I'm not familiar with Jarmans' We Speak No Treason", must go looking for it. They were having a reenactment day when we were at Middleham and I got to shoot a bow and arrow!

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  5. Thanks for your comment :)

    England does have so many fabulous places and such interesting history! I wouldn't live anywhere else. It's great that you have seen so much of it - you've probably seen more of my own coutnry that I have!! We can't afford to travel a lot right now, but I do intend to explore the whole of the UK myself in the future!

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  6. England is one of those places I always thought I might see--getting a bit old and creaky now to do the walking tours I dream about. I don't like cities but would enjoy seeing historic sites, places I've read about.
    Still very hot here--and so dry.
    Had to stay away from your posts for a day or two--that serpent!m

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