Saturday, 24 July 2010

Home isn't home unless -

you spend time there.
I had a fascinating time hearing about literary connections to Birmingham and the Midlands, and not just Tolkien, Auden and Dr Johnson, also Louis Macneice, Langland of Piers Plowman fame (the medieval poem which starts on the Malvern hills), and the author of Gawain and the Green Knight. Aston Hall where we were greeted by 'Barbara Cartland' (born in Edgbaston, 'fraid so! and who went to Malvern Girls' College (1) ) while joining us on the bus were Rip van Winkle, created by Washington Irving while the author was living in Birmingham, (2), Dr Johnson who hailed from Lichfield of course, and Sherlock Holmes whose creator Conan Doyle had his first story published while living here, and who refers to the city in some of the Holmes stories. Golumn gave us a fright near the end, must have got on at Sarehole Mill which has Tolkien weekends and allegedly provided inspiration for him.
Blakesley Hall was the final stop for tea and lovely cake and a recap from Dr Chris Upton, our genial guide, lecturer and local history expert.

Authors tended to grow up here and then leave, or spend some time here, and then leave ... but all left their mark, and maybe Brum left its mark (in a positive way) on them too.

But then I went home, spent time at home, and I'm waiting for my other half who'll be back home soon from work. In fact, she's back home now.

Really though, I've been home all day, learning about where I'm from and knowing where home is (for a while at any rate).



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