The Good Old Days

Have you ever had one of those days that is absolutely brilliant? Today was one of those days for me.

I was born in Hastings, a seaside/fishing town in East Sussex. It became over the years a very touristy town but I remember as a child where now stand tall buildings and housing estates, once were fields of sheep and huge mansions. The history of Hastings is well known and as part of that history many museums, buildings and places of interest still remain, very much commercialised unfortunatley, but, never-the-less the historical connections remain strong and there for people to see and relive. I lived most of my life in the shadow of Hastings castle, on a cliff overlooking the seafront. Opposite our house was a special lift that was reported to have taken Queen Victoria down to the old town. It has been preserved and renovated. On the East Hill is the Old Town lift, beneath the cliffs lies the Old Town itself with its unique fishing huts and fish market… well it was there once. They still fish from there but the big market has long gone to commercialism, still a nice place to go though. Anyway on the East Hill is the castle and nearby, the caves. Full of stories of smuggling and its use as a bomb shelter during the war, the caves are now a museum, but the caves and tunnels used to travel underneath the town. In fact as children we knew of one house at the end of the row we lived in that had the end of one of those tunnels. But I digress…. the point I am eventually trying to make is that when you live somewhere with somewhere special, historically, curious, or what ever, you never tend to go there. I visited the places after I’d left there and we actually lived on the West Hill back then!

Today I live in Gosport, Hampshire. Home ,once upon a time, to the sailors of the Royal Navy. The Naval Dockyards are still there and the Navy ships but I have only visited the Historical Dockyard before I lived here, never since. Well apart from a works do on the Warrior. Today, the writer’s group I belong to were invited by another group to Titchfield to a talk by the curator of the 17th Century Village we have here in Gosport. And no, I have never been there. Always keep saying ‘we must go there, sounds interesting,’  but never do. That is all about to change. I have never enjoyed a lecture or a talk so much in all my life. It was interesting, factual/ historically correct and taught me so many things about where the customs and saying we use today come from to how to aneasthetise a sore throat for up to 8 hours using a plant you might grow in your garden. I knew a lot of the history but never in such detail before, this lady made it live! If ever anyone reading this comes to Gosport or lives there, I recommend going along and visiting living history at the village if you haven’t been before.

So often we miss so much in the hub hub of life. I have always tried to make my children aware of the world around them and to be able to notice the little things in life. Today showed me that I was right, the children of today have everything yet have so little. Material things are nice but what good are they of you don’t notice the beautiful things around you that are free. To run in the wind and play in the rain, make mud pies, get dirty, understand how wild animals live, watch the seasons change and know how the world around will change, to make toys from nature,  forage for food, grow your own food, cook your own food, understand the natural world and that it has all you need to survive, and, well,  just be one with the world. We might have so many material things but most of them keep us indoors and shut away. Get out there and find out how the real natural world exists, or existed in the 17th century. I am sure that we would all find life so much more interesting and healthier. That is my thoughts and lecture over for today but what a GREAT DAY. I recommend heartily, a trip into the past.


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