Monday, 3 May 2010

Walking in the footsteps of the dead.

I love the idea of history. Not just the events that happened like the holocaust and the invention of the wheel, but the whole concept of how people used to live so differently yet in exactly the same place as you do. Millions of people could have stood and walked your way into town hundreds of years ago, maybe not into town, but walked where you have walked. Your footsteps covering their ancient ones. I am quite lucky to live in a place steeped with history. Castles and forts surround the place, old hospitals and so on. I feel a connection to those figures of history that everyone knows but who I may have walked in the footsteps of. Charles Dickens literally lived 10 minutes away from me at some point in his life and a couple of his books are based in the area where I live. Walking through the old cathedral city over the bridge almost takes me back in time. All the buildings are slightly wonky, have decaying wood that make them impossible to keep up the appearance of. When you walk down that High Street you feel part of history, you can image people in the Victorian times walking round in their big gowns and bonnets selling and buying things, conversing with their acquaintances just like in a Charles Dickens novel.
Another historically important building is the fort that Florence Nightingale converted into a hospital for army soldiers in 1860. It was also home to an asylum, which is not too great to think about whilst walking around the school which is now there instead. There are rumours of mental ghosts and spirits haunting the place, and although I am not a believer of such things, it is a bit creepy to walk around there on your own. But still, imagine what it was like back then, all the people who walked the same corridors as you do. I just find it fascinating.

I never really enjoyed history as a subject at school mainly due to my bad experiences with bad teachers who did not give me an enthusiasm for the subject and I hated going to every lesson. I am a bit sad that I didn't take it for GCSE, but although I think it would have been incredibly interesting, it's not the individual events that fascinate me as much as the whole concept of history and how people lived almost as you do now. We may have computers and cars, but life was still largely the same, we all still have the same problems and feel elation at some of the same things. As humans we have not progressed that much.

I don't know about anyone else, but I also find it insane that those born in 2000 are already 10 years old! I still remember 1999/2000 new years eve. I was in Denmark. I remember sitting in a tree with my friend and sister and we were firing these firework bullet things from these toy guns (I was such a boy!) Then I remember seeing the number 2000 in large blue figures printed across the sky. We ate lamb.

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