My #TravelAtHome this month is a combination of another retrospective (at least in part) and a bang up to date experience.
When I was 8 years old I went to live in the UK for the first time in my life. At that time I did not know that it was to become a very important country to me. Before that time my only experience of the UK was through period dramas (the BBC 1980s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility amongst others) on the Norwegian television. While the English people I knew in Norway seemed normal (or perhaps, when I considered my teacher, cruel heartless individuals out of Jane Eyre and not really normal at all) I thought people in the country itself wore period fashions and drove coaches and horses. I was convinced in this belief by the fact that, age 7, during a lay over in Heathrow early one morning I walked past the Sherlock Holmes Appreciation society lining up for a flight to Switzerland, all dressed in period costume!
|King John's Castle at Odiham
|The children enjoyed exploring our childhood haunts with their aunt.
|A walk along the Canal with my sister 30 years ago.
|And with my sister and her husband in 2016
We walked down to the ruins of an old Norman Motte and Bailey castle built by King John for use as a hunting lodge in or around 1207. It was from this castle that he rode to Runnymede (now a scant 45 minutes away by car) to sign the Magna Carta. His daughter, Eleanor, lived in it for a while with her husband Simon de Montfort but it passed to Edward I following Simon’s rebellion. The castle passed through the ownership of the Plantagenet Edwardian kings and Edward III gifted it to his wife Philippa who once again used it as a hunting lodge. It is possible, if you look carefully, to see the remains of the fireplace on the main floor. It is quite something to imagine John, Eleanor and Philippa sitting in front of it for warmth and riding out over the countryside.
|Philippa, Eleanor and John's fireplace
As a nomadic expat I have very few chances to share experiences of my childhood with my own children. They do not ski to school across the Norwegian mountains, go on trips down the Niger or live on the banks of the Tigris. A walk along the Basingstoke Canal at Odiham allows them to do and enjoy something that I did at their age and I cherish that opportunity.
Posted as part of the Travel At Home link up.