Give a good answer to this question in the Comments below and win one of five copies of July guest Sue Reid's novel, By My Side.
What place, monument or building most inspires you with a sense of its past?
We're afraid our competitions are open to UK residents only.
Closing date 7th August.
Have you ladies ever considered asking your publishers to offer an ebook so that people outside the UK can enter? :-) They tend to be international publishers such as HC and the books will eventually be available outside the UK, so the promo would be just as useful...
A cave called Pech Merle, in south west France - it has beautiful cave paintings and hand prints which people stencilled 25 000 years ago. They look as fresh as if they were done yesterday.
I have just fallen in love with Perth in the last few days. It is full of solid buildings, gloriously interesting roofs including grey slated towers and an impressive dome. It is full of green places for people and a wide tidal river in which jetskis play during the sunny evenings. The people are extraordinarily welcoming and friendly. Had some great chats in supermarkets and on Moncrieff island last night. This little island is in the river and accessible by a footbridge. After discovering that gem,I went into the riverside sculpture park with imaginativly planted beds, There are bits of sculpture providing interest everywhere.
Sue, they are not our publishers but the publishers of the books by our guests. It would mean contacting every one each month and working out how it could be done. I'm not saying "no" just that I haven't had the time to organise it yet.
Did you see Daughters of Time is now available as an e-book? It's on the News page.
Many years ago on a trip to Orkney I went on a tour and we stopped at standing stones of Steness and the Ring of Brodgar, as a child I had been taken to Stonehenge, (back when you could go up and touch them easily) and I loved it, I expected a similar feeling, despite being older and more experienced. There was a fair few on the bus, so we piled out at the next stop, and got told how long we had, the rain was intermittent and many just took a picture and got back on, I went with a few to touch them.
I have never felt age before, never felt my own small place in the distant future to the makers of the ring. There was a stillness about them, you could almost feel the years and the past was around you. You could see why they were here, good views, good access, centre of a large natural bowl, even if we do not know why they built them at all. The rain meant few folk at the stones and I stood for hours, it felt like, breathing in history. The tour guide had to come tap my shoulder to say we had had our time and I needed to come.
I have never felt so lost as I did walking away from them. Two years later I moved to the mainland close by, and every visit to Orkney takes me to the stones, I love the early or late times of day when very few are there, I have walked the whole site many times and bought my children as they grew and now without them as they move away, but the stones still feel magical.
'What place, monument or building most inspires you with a sense of its past?'
At the risk of seeming an extreme navel gazer, my own house does. It's 300 years old, a brick and timber framed cottage that was once part of the Highclere Castle/Carnarvon Estate. I am almost daily transported to other times and other lives here as I dig the garden and simultaneously dig up little fragments of its history.
Sometimes it's a scrap of red earthenware plate - probably purchased in Newbury on Market Day, and used daily by the inhabitants of the cottage. Previous tenants included workers in the estate sawmill, who were likely always ready to consume hearty food off those sturdy, plain dishes.
But at other times, it has been a piece of much finer porcelain, maybe with a detailed Chinoiserie pattern, or a band of trailing ivy around the delicate, translucent rim. On those occasions, my imagination likes to tell me that it has been carried home with pride by someone in service at the Castle, after being discarded and passed on - intercepted, rather than being tossed onto the kitchen rubbish heap.
Which is perhaps why, as an avid antique (ok - junk!) collector, I feel such an affinity with my home. I'm not hoarding, merely carrying on a long tradition!
Where I live - here on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides. The island is littered with the ruins of old blackhouses, some of them lived in until the 1970's. The basic design is practically unchanged since the Norse settlers built their longhouses here more than a thousand years ago. On some crofts you have the ruined blackhouse, the derelict whitehouse which began to be built from the 1920's as a modern alternative, and the 20th/21st century kit house, a marvellous visual history of island architecture in one small field!
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