Why Do I Love History…?

I am quite often asked “Why do you like history so much?”, and I end up launching into a twenty five minute rant about the importance of history and all my very favourite characters throughout the ages. But I’ve never really sat down and thought about it properly until now. So this post is probably going to be entirely useless and have no purpose other than allowing me to rant and ramble away about nothing in particular. So please feel free to ignore this and get on with the rest of your day.

So how did it all begin? The answer is really very simple. My aunt introduced me to Ancient Egypt, and brought me a special set of hieroglyphic stamps. They were awesome, and I had loads of fun printing out people’s names as they would (or very likely wouldn’t, it was a kids play set after all) have been in hieroglyphics. At any rate, it made me want more. So I began to take books out of the library, and my aunt brought me loads of books about life in Ancient Egypt. Very simply, I was in love with the era. I clearly remember the first time I ever saw the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum. I was in absolute awe of the thing, this massive slab that helped us to understand just how to read Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Now, I always make a point to visit it if I’m in London and spend a few minutes just gazing at this amazing piece of history.

It was only a matter of time after then that I would begin to become interested in other eras of history. I absolutely adored history at school, and it was always my favourite subject. No word of a lie though, I struggled with it at A-Level. No idea why, probably because I was so damned fed up of the Tudors that I just lost interest. At any rate, it was during my A-Levels that I began to develop a huge interest in the Seventeenth Century and particularly the English Civil War. We studied the reign of Charles I, and how he ended up making a massive mess of things and screwing himself over. Many in the class hated ole Charlie. I however found his derpiness adorable. And I fell completely head over heels in love.
Would you believe when I saw this portrait of Charlie boy at Hampton Court, I burst into tears? Yes, I am that much of a Charlie fangirl. The staff looked at me as if I was crazy. I was even worse in front of the massive portrait of Charles II. Honestly, a gross sobbing mess doesn’t even begin to cover it. 
My interest in the Seventeenth Century filtered through to University. I toddled off from my cosy little sixth form in Wiltshire, all the way to Winchester where I began a degree in History and Archaeology. After my first year, I dropped history (which I now believe is the biggest mistake I ever made) and studied single honours archaeology. My final year dissertation ended up being on the landscape archaeology of a lesser known English Civil War battlefield. Cheriton, in fact. This little village and its surrounding fields now have a special place in my heart and I visit as often as I am able, just to walk around the fields in which the Royalists and Parliamentarians fought on 29th March 1644.
To many of you, that will look just like a field. To me, it is where men fought and died for what they believed in. Those fields have a very special place in my heart. Particularly as my work on them earned me an award for the best Final Year Project, which I was given at graduation in 2009 (God, that is SO long ago. I feel so OLD now!)
When I graduated Uni, I was lucky enough to gain a contract with my local archaeology unit. That was awesome, probably the best job I have ever had. At any rate, the contract ended and I was unable to get work with any other units. It was then that I realised I should probably have gone down the history route. I began to get back into my history books. I began reading more around the ECW and expanded beyond the usual Tudor crap that I had on my shelf. I had always been somewhat interested in the Renaissance, but it was then that I really started reading about it and my interest in and around the history of the Roman Catholic grew, and my obsession with the Borgia family grew beyond sensible bounds. I have spoken enough of my love of Cesare Borgia for you all to know about it, but there is something about that era that just speaks to me. I was a mess in front of the Charlie portrait? You should have seen me in the Borgia apartments in the Vatican. I have never been such a mess in my life. Just all that passion and adoration pouring out in what I can only call “liquid feels”. The same happened when I saw Cesare’s sword scabbard at the V&A. Nothing can really describe the passion I have for that family. Except that it has gotten so bad I now have Cesare’s motto tattooed on my arm. Now THAT is love…
My love of history has taken me to some amazing places over the past few years. From places right on my doorstep, to the heat of Rome. And I am planning on going to many more places to expand my love, to expand my learning…

And there we have it. A bit of a fangirly post all about where my love of history came from.
My apologies…
I will let you get back to your day now………..

And Now For Something Completely Different…

It’s taken me a while to get to this, due to various bits and pieces going on. I woke up this morning and found a comment from the lovely Anna Belfrage nominating me for a blogger award. This has put a massive smile on my face after a particularly difficult few weeks. The premise of the whole thing is to nominate inspiring blogs for the award, and answer a few questions about yourself in the process. Thank you for nominating me, Anna – here we go!

1. Display the logo on your blog. 
2. Link back to the person who nominated you. 
3. State 7 things about yourself. 
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award. 
5. Notify your nominees.
I’ve done the first two, so on with the seven random facts.
  1. I have type 1 diabetes, and we’re coming up to the 18th anniversary of my diagnoses.
  2. I really regret my decision to not carry on with history while I was doing my degree. In my first year I did a joint honours with archaeology but alas when it came to the second year, I decided to go for single honours archaeology.
  3. I am thus, a trained archaeologist. I’ve done loads of awesome digs both for research and commercial contract purposes – two Roman villas, a leper hospital, Tudor House in Southampton and a random building site – my commercial contracts were the best jobs I’ve ever had.
  4. I used to be in a rock band. We were truly awful, but playing in front of two packed auditoriums and a pub packed to the rafters was absolutely amazing!
  5. As well as the diabetes, I also have coeliac disease and diabetic nueropathy. Because of all this, I take enough tablets to make my stomach rattle!
  6. I adore wine and consider myself something of a connoisseur of the stuff. I completely blame my parents for this as they’re wine nuts themselves (and that I blame on their impending move to Portugal where the wine is amazing, and super cheap!).
  7. I’m a tad obsessed with Monty Python, and can quote both Life of Brian and The Holy Grail almost word for word.
I’m now supposed to nominate 15 blogs who deserve this award. But if I’m honest every blog I read deserves it, as they’re all inspirational in their own right. I would like to mention a few blogs that are my particular inspirations:
  • Three Pipe Problem – This blog is absolutely amazing, and all about the Renaissance and art history. Please do check it out as it’s one of my favourite blogs out there!
  • Madame Guillotine – Does Melanie need any other introduction? She’s just brilliant!
  • The frenetic fox – I consider Claire one of my best friends, and her blog is brilliant! Although not history related, it’s certainly worth a read!