Thursday, 20 August 2015

Heritage Open Days : A Personal Preparation.

When I was at primary school on my way home I would meander up Beulah Road in Tunbridge Wells. I say up, because after a long day the slight incline appeared to be a steep hill. Often I would gaze into windows, whilst my long socks would fall in Michelin man tyres around my ankles, the elastic having gone. One house I passed would always have a man sitting at a table covered with towers of books and papers. What he was researching or writing I probably will never know, unless a reader of this blog has a similar connection with place and time as myself. However, now in preparation for Heritage Open Days, my table resembles his. Piles of papers, in order under name, but to anyone else, just piles of paper, have taken over my house, my life and my mind.

It may appear lonely, obsessive even. But to me it is fascinating. Bringing to life, those now only remembered on a grave stone in an infrequently visited spot, the cemetery in Tunbridge Wells.
But I believe, the dead left memorial stones for a reason, that being to be remembered.
So my quest is to search out their stories, their lives, their idiosyncrasies, their adventures.

In preparing for my talk, Women, Writers and Widows on September 12, 2015, I have had fun, amazement and connectivity. Connectivity, mainly because so many of the eminent people of Tunbridge Wells were connected . Fun, because serious people do have a sense of humour, you just need to look for their playful side. Amazement, because we as twenty-first century individuals think we discovered the world , but no, the Victorians were there before us and actually they were much more adventurous than us, taking risks and exploring the world without mobiles, in a time when letters took ages to arrive and photography was a unique record.

So, spare a thought for everyone involved in Heritage Open Days. We have all been working long hours to ensure that visitors will have an interesting time. But we are filled with a passion for heritage which we want to share. So come along and partake of as much as you can fit in over four glorious days in September.

Whilst I am out talking and walking, my family will be clearing the table and we can share a meal around the table afterwards.

Here is the National link , search for your area, you never know what you might find and what might inspire you :Heritage open Days 2015

The top image is of the postcards available at Tunbridge Wells Cemetery with all proceeds going towards the Friends fund for the benefit of the Cemetery.

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