I am a centenarian! I cannot believe that this is the 100th time I have posted on no more wriggling out of writing. It was in July 2010 that the first tentative jottings went out into the blogosphere and at that time I wasn’t even sure if I could keep going for a week let alone eight months. So I must first thank everyone that has read my blog and supported me, even if just one post caught your interest I am grateful and I fully intend to make sure there are many more you might find interesting.
Anyway – to business. For this 100th post I thought I would set you a challenge. I am afraid there is no prize, but I will be sure to link and promote the best answer or comment I get in response. I know from the fascinating blogs I read that there could be some brilliant ideas to come.
So, in a similar vein to the Time Travel post recently put up by my old friend at The Blog Up North, I am offering you the opportunity to travel back in time to three historical events that you have wanted to witness for yourself. They can be well-known and well-documented, part of your own family history or even a key moment in your own personal history that you would like to revisit and make sense of. Fun or serious, there are just a few rules:
1) You can only spend 24 hours in any one place
2) You can only observe, not interfere. We all know what happens if you try to do that…
3) You cannot make monetary gain out of your trip. So anyone planning to go back and buy a lottery ticket after the draw – shame on you.
So – what would I choose to do? I was thinking about becoming a one woman marketing machine for John Keats, but then I realised it would have made less difference in 1820 than it can do now, and most things in my family history offer the possibility that like Michael J Fox I may end up risking my own conception. So….
Emily was born in Blackheath in 1872, and following studies at Royal Holloway College and Oxford University, at a time when women were still not permitted to take degrees, in 1906 she joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded by Emmeline Pankhurst.
She eventually gave up her career as a teacher to work for the suffragette movement and was one of those who regularly experienced arrest – campaigning as she did by causing numerous public disturbances. In 1909 she threw rocks at Lloyd George’s carriage and was subsequently sentenced to one months hard labour. She went on hunger strike, refused force-feeding and so annoyed her guards that they filled her cell with water, almost drowning her.
As a teenager I was shown the film of that fateful race, and remember Emily being referred to as a ‘poor woman’, but she had become increasingly militant, even to the point of planting bombs, and would have resented inferences of weakness. No-one really knows whether she intended martyrdom, or whether she simply wanted to scare or attach a flag to the King’s Horse, but she was trampled and died four days later.
I long to understand whether she knew death was the likely outcome of her actions, or whether she really expected to go home on the return ticket she had apparently purchased earlier in the day. She would certainly have been horrified to think that she may have held back the cause of women’s suffrage. It is thought that many hardened their views against the vote for women following her actions. Of course, I am not allowed to tell her that, and am not sure it would have changed her mind in any event.
Secondly, I would like to go back to the Battle of Trafalgar and witness the part my 3x Great Grandfather Able Seaman Dominic Addison played in the battle. Unfortunately I am too much of a coward to go anywhere near such horrors as were experienced on board those ships. He survived years in the navy and died a Greenwich pensioner. I am sure he would have some marvellous stories to tell, salty old sea dog that he was.
Lastly, I would go back into my own past and give my sixteen year old self a good talking-to. I appreciate that strictly speaking this is interference, but boy it would have made my life so much easier if a) I hadn’t let the bullies get to me b) I hadn’t wasted so much time doting on Peter Marsh who, it turned out, hadn’t realised I was flirting and just thought I was laughing at something on his face c) I had got rid of the big specs and the Deirdre from Corrie hair do and d) I had given up on the idea of studying law. Making a career decision based on fancying Dustin Hoffman in Kramer v Kramer was never going to work out well.
So – what would you do and where would you go? Obviously I would love your comments, even short ones (as long as they don’t say ‘stop blogging and get on with your life…). Tweeting it is just as good – 3 historical periods in 140 characters really is a challenge.
In any event, thank you for reading this and other posts on my blog. Blogging has offered me opportunities to write that I previously struggled to find and for that I am truly grateful.
Never has being 100 felt so good, I’m sure.