Chillin’ at Court

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Latimer: For as long as I can remember, I wanted to go to Hampton Court.

But, I kept forgetting/never knew, what it was called, so I’d get really frustrated trying to explain to people where it was I wanted to go.

“I’d love to go to Henry VIII’s Palace… you know with the,” cue my distant expression, “with the red-brick gatehouse.”

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I would stare expectantly at the person and they would stare back rightly confused. I would get frustrated, thinking everyone should know what I meant and give me the name of said building (so I could forever remember it and not look like a fool every time I said I wanted to visit it!).

This has been the way it’s been for me for years. But finally I realised it was Hampton Court I wanted to visit.

It’s in London, so when Ridley and I went there, I just had to go!

Hampton Court is epic and after being stuck in a queue for every which-way-thing in London, it was surprisingly low on visitors, which probably made the experience all the better. We had an ice-cream on the lawn, enjoyed the sun and stared in wonderment at the gorgeousness that is the Court.

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While there, Ridley got real bohemian. She headed over to a tree, sat down, pulled out a notebook and pen, and with a big smile said –

“Let’s do book-work!”

I shuffled over to the tree, thinking this was a very quaint idea; we’d be like Jane Austen or something. A minute later I leaped up. “There’re ants crawling all over the tree! I hate nature -!”

Ridley jumped up, screaming, her dream of book-work in the park destroyed by nature. Deflated we gave up and headed into the Palace, letting the magic of Hampton Court wash over us.

If anyone watches/reads Game of Thrones, Robert Baratheon reminds me of Henry VIII. I think that might be intentional – George R. R. Martin draws from history right? Well, the banquet hall has Baratheon stamped all over it – it’s so cool!

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In my head I was saying, ‘ours is the fury’! over and over again, until I annoyed myself!

Ours is the Fury!... or something.. ha!
Ours is the Fury!… or something.. ha!

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Apparently the tapestries that hang in the hall are made of gold and silver thread.

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Rich people back then got tapestries as a show of wealth, because of the cost involved in making them and the materials used. Henry VIII amassed tapestries like celebrities today buy diamond encrusted iPhones and fancy cars. Tapestries were the flash accessory of the day, and Henry VIII had the largest collection. The tapestries aren’t as bright now as they were in his day, but they are still impressive!

Throughout our holiday we were asking each other the question of – ‘what would you do if you fell back in time?’ Our hypothesis started out with the notion that we’d be gods! We’d know everything.

But, Dara O’Briain sums up the truth of what would happen…

Ridley struggled to read the tiny script writing on a massive charter in Hampton Court. Waving her hand she moaned; “And I wouldn’t even be able to read!”

Even if we could read it wouldn’t be written in the same English as it is today – we would probably not even understand what people were saying to us. That old adage by Wittgenstein that; “If a lion could talk, we would not understand him,” because his frame of reference would be so different to ours.

So, the portal that opens sucking me and Ridley into the past becomes more and more dangerous! I think our science backgrounds would also lead to us being burnt as witches!

We did conclude, on our travels, that it would not be good to get sucked back in time and end up in Edinburgh. It was hit by ‘plague’ (we never learned which plague) 11 times. We also would not have survived the closes, with people tossing buckets of waste down the narrow streets… or having to drink beer because the water was so dangerously full of bacteria (from the waste flowing down into the lake and therefore the drinking water).

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Walking around the Court is almost like walking through time (the safer version of it). You half expect to turn a corner and see a man in tights, a grey curly wig, heels and a fancy velvet jacket…

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Funnily enough, that did actually happen at one point. He was sitting talking to a 1700’s era woman.

We (the tourists) all walked past them, listening in on the conversation, confused as to whether they were in-character or not and nobody talking to them to find out.

We all kept a safe distance; blinking and straining inward to listen to them, but glancing to each other and giving a nervous laugh, like we were all thinking, ‘is this a mass hallucination?! Can you see them too?!’

We left the palace, happier for having been there! If you’re in need of an oasis of calm in London, head to Court!

In the Blink of an Eye

 
What do you mean... wasn't it?!
What do you mean… wasn’t it?!

Latimer: I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the 90s wasn’t 10 years ago… No, seriously, the naughties really did have its first decade… 3 years ago…

From time-to-time, I remember this and get scared.

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This post is where I float in the ether of feeling old because of a youtube video!

Recently I’ve learned there comes a point in life where you start to feel a real, proper, disconnect with younger people. It’s inevitable and normal, but when you start to notice it, it does take a minute to orientate yourself (in between screaming; ‘what happened to us!’).

I know I’m not that old, not really, but technology and entertainment moves so fast that if you take a break, you come back and realise that the craze you experienced what seemed like yesterday, was in fact another generation ago…

Let me show you – look at this youtube video; it’s one of the ‘kid’s react to…’ videos – about The Hobbit trailer. Listen to the people behind the camera asking the kids; ‘what age were you when lord of the rings came out?’…

Although I knew it already, the full force of being closer in age to the people behind the camera than those in front hit me. Usually my people are the ones in front, but now they are the ones making the shows.

I nearly choked on my tea. The kids were… 1 year old… not born… NOT BORN when Lord of the Rings came out? What?! (They don’t remember a world before Lord of the Rings!) I was older than they are now when I first saw Lord of the Rings.

My head is spinning at this point – this series just doesn’t feel like it was that long ago!

Then I realised that even most of the ‘youtubers’ are actually, I blush… younger than me. In some ways I don’t feel as old as them, but then I think I suffer from distorted perceptions of my place in time and space!

This post in some ways harks back to the fact that last week was my birthday…I am now 27! There! Oh I said it.

When I went to get my haircut at the weekend, the hairdresser mentioned dye to me and initially I smiled thinking ‘sure, that’s cool, I was thinking of flaming red or something’ then a few moments into the conversation she mentions my Dorian’s (my code for the greys) and that’s why she was talking dye…

 Again I am forced to say in my mind; look I have very dark hair, those Dorian’s have nowhere to hide…. And they aren’t Dorian’s – they’re Gandalf the White’s actually… argh!

There are lately lots of things to remind me of my passage far away from teenager-hood (okay it was a long time ago at this point– but still!).

I look at my dog for example. He’s managed to live far longer than anyone could have expected, but even he’s starting to show the strain of age… you know intolerance to the younger generation and general exhaustion..

My poor dog Levi, sweetest creature in all of creation - FACT
My poor dog Levi, sweetest creature in all of creation – FACT

He’s 17 years old.

He’s older than the kids in the youtube video.

Let’s put it this way, my dog remembers Lord of the Rings… 

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Another shade of grey

Time is ticking by and we are moving towards 2013!

Latimer: I’m reminded that with another year biting the dust, I’m another year older. I’m finding grey in my hair these days – that’s a little worrying. Rightly or wrongly, I do get rid of them – but it always shocks me when they return… with friends!

It's BACK!!
It’s BACK!!
And it brought friends!!
And it brought friends!!

Am I at the point now where I should be a little offended, or protective, when people ask ‘what age are you?’

It happened in work recently; “Latimer what age are you?”

I smiled, though warily because it felt like I shouldn’t be telling! “Why?”

The woman asking reached out to my hair (that’s odd, I thought, then I dropped, I knew where this was going!); “You have grey hair!”

I KNOW!! And they're white... actually!
I KNOW!! And they’re white… actually!

“I have a stressful life!” I shot back.

“But you are so young,” she pressed. I narrowed my eyes, well again, this was odd. “You look young on the face,” she added. I don’t know if that was just a cover for the grey hair comment, but I smiled anyway.

“Hopefully that sticks around,” I laughed. Then as I walked away, I located the white hair and yanked it out.

My mother told me children get grey hair too, apparently.

That’s good! Maybe I’m actually Peter Pan so 🙂

 

Happy New Year from MLR, wherever and whenever you are 🙂