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.
I love how history develops in these kinds of places over time for us as expats - we don't always know it at the beginning but its' funny how there are always places we end up coming back to...ReplyDelete
It is so true - there really are some places that have a golden thread.Delete
I can empathise completely with this feeling of not sharing your childhood with your own kids. My kids have such a different life to the one I had at their age so what opportunities arise I love to grab them too. I can just imagine how lovely it was to walk along the unchanged canal with your offspring just like 30 years ago. Beautiful post. Thanks for hosting #travelathomeReplyDelete
Wow! I can't imagine having that experience as a child. Sounds wonderful. And for the family to meet back up like that, simply awesome!ReplyDelete
I loved how you thought everyone in the UK was from period dramas. I wish we all still had a child's mind!
We are very lucky to be able to relive this in such a way. I can;t believe now that I thought that way but I remember my disappointment so clearly.Delete
This makes me quite homesick - the picture of the canal looks very similar to the one near where my parents live (but it isn't because they are in Wiltshire but I guess canals all look pretty similar). I love the thought of you seeing all those people dressed up in Sherlock Holmes costumes and thinking that was normal! I worry that there is a whole generation of Americans growing up thinking we all live like the cast of Downton Abbey :)ReplyDelete
They do all rather look alike don't they. My sister and her husband live in Wiltshire so we sometimes do a canal walk near her home instead of my father's and I have to really look at the pictures to make sure they are where I think they are.Delete