Daughters of Doubt and Eyerolling

Category: My Precious

Armchair Time-Travelling with St Mary’s #2 – or: Once I fall down a Rabbit Hole…

Dear Jodi Taylor, should St Mary’s need another Historian, please send me the link to where I can apply. Apart from an actual degree in History and being fluent in at least two languages, I bring the most essential prerequisites: I run on tea, sarcasm and inappropriate behaviour.

When I started readingthe first book in The Chronicles of St Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor, Just One Damned Thing After Another, I thought I’d just get it over with, get another eBook-ghost off #MountTBR. Boy, was I wrong!

I fell into the time travelling world of St Mary’s with its snarky characters and well-researched adventures like Alice fell down that rabbit hole. I literally had to scramble to come out for reality and other books. I ran through the first four books and some of the short stories in no time. Then forced myself to read something else, which I barely finished before I went back to St Mary’s.

When I had finished book eight, And the Rest is History, I knew I’d re-read the stories about Max and Leon and Peterson and Markham and the rest of St Mary’s motley crew. So I took the plunge and bought the full set of signed novels plus two short story collections from Jodi Taylor’s site. Not more than 2.5 days after I ordered, the fourteen books arrived. I greedily put my talons out to snap the box from the postman’s hands.

I’m feeling like a mix of Gollum and Smaug at the moment. My precious! My hoard! I might or might not have hugged the books before I made room on my shelf for the collection. Fourteen books. All signed by the author. All the same format, because they were published by the same publisher. It’s definitely Christmas come early for this book-dragon. [Pictures of my unboxing and shelf stacking can be found on Instagram.]

TheMarquessMagpie and TheLadyDuckOfDoom might follow me down this rabbit hole. They have both agreed that if a series is that much the-Rt.-Hon.-Harpy-Eagle-approved that said Harpy Eagle didn’t even blink once at the expenses of international shipping and customs (the UK is no longer part of the EU), it must be good. IT IS! Make yourself a large mug of tea and dive into this world. Trust me on this.

Are cultural sights about to go extinct?

This post is more about culture and memories than about books, but I feel that I have to get on a virtual soap box and make this speech. Bear with me, it might get soppy and long.

Right about 19 years ago I went to London on a university excursion, based, of course, on a Shakespeare seminar I was attending. I clearly remember not liking the coach trip at all, the driver was overly tired having just come back from Greece a few hours before we were scheduled to roll off towards England, and he was about to fall asleep at the wheel several times. Anyway, we managed to arrive in London and drive past the Palace of Westminster just as Big Ben was banging out at 8 a.m. Not being able to check into our hotel in a side street behind Piccadilly Circus until the afternoon, we started to roam the streets of London at a very early hour.

Having recently read Rutherfurd’s London and armed with my knowledge of previous visits to London, I went off towards Trafalgar Square, because in a side street between Piccadilly and Leicester Square there was a tiny café that served a marvellous English Breakfast. That day I managed to find exactly what I was looking for without ever having to consult a map, Trafalgar’s Square, Twining’s on Fleet Street, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Museum of London, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Seven Dials, and several bookshops on the way. Perfect day! About to be crowned with a theatrical performance.

Then my group of students met at The Globe Theatre in the evening to watch a performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Definitely not one of my favourite plays. Add Groundling tickets, a slight drizzle, and a hurting back from ten hours of nearly constant walking through the city. I was so not up for standing around for three hours and watching the play, BUT Vanessa Redgrave, in her role as Prospero, made every aching muscle worth it. I’m not going to pretend she and the wonderful performance by all of the cast made me fall in love with the play, but I will never forget the fish that were flying into the audience at one point. And that is a memory I will treasure all my life and it’s the memory I share the most when being asked whether I have been to the Globe.

I promised you memories at the beginning of this post. I have fond memories of this visit to the Globe. Other friends have similar memories, Emily, for example, saw Love’s Labour’s Lost with her mother when she was eleven and got hooked so much that she’s now working at the Globe. But will she be able to be working at the Globe for much longer? World renowned ‘heritage sights’ all over the UK are suddenly under threat of closing FOR EVER due to lack of funding; see the arts funding plea. Do we really want this to happen? Everyone should get a chance at making such profound memories. It doesn’t have to be at the Globe, it could be at Jane Austen’s home, or any other literary and/or historically relevant place.

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