Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Roads not taken.

Two things set me thinking today.   First of all Thelma's post(North Stoke) about which age we would like to have lived in.   Then a sentence in Iris Murdoch's 'The Bell' which I happen to be reading at present.   I have tried to find it but of course I should have marked it and so I shall have to just give you the general idea.   She speaks of two countrymen standing in the vegetable garden, speaking desultorily and lapsing into silence which is companionable in the kind of way which only occurs with countrymen.

 I was born and brought up in the depths of the Lincolnshire fens and I know just what she means.
The same is true here - I witnessed it regularly with the farmer; he and another farmer could stand for ever looking out over the fields, speaking about some aspect now and again and then lapsing again into companionable silence as they contemplated things around them.    And I suspect it was ever thus. 

Living here in the Yorkshire Dales would it really have made a difference had we been born in a different age?    Yes of course it would.   Many of the villages around us have Viking names.For example Gunnar (a Viking name made up of words meaning 'war' and 'warrior' ) is most likely the origin of the name of the village of Gunnerside in Swaledale.   With a name like that it is hard to think of the countryside as being particularly peaceful when he was around.   But it was a stage in the development of the area and the true Dalesmen are no doubt descended from that time (there are still a few of them about, although obviously intermarried).   Would I have liked to
live then?   On reflection, no.   The cold, the unrest, the worry of Viking raids.    I could go on, so maybe it is the road which we have taken which is the one chosen for us.  (unless of course you believe in reincarnation).

21 comments:

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Normally I'd say - "The present one" - I'd miss the technology andcommunications. But frankly the shitty Brexitty nonsense and the power given to the illiterate means I'd like to go back to the 90s and try and have a better University life

justjill said...

I am happy where I am. My late Mother really enjoyed the war when she shot down planes.

Sue in Suffolk said...

Looking back to past times when people had to wear so many clothes even in hot weather - how did they cope? So I'm happy to be around now when I can wear shorts and a vest top!

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful, interesting post. I think of the fact I would like to live in a different time because of the art and design. With possible the people and the world being somewhat better ? That could just be a dream.
I rater like where I am I just wish the people were better.

cheers, parsnip

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I would love to take quick visits and peek at the lives of people in a variety of different time periods... but I would never want to actually exist and live in different time periods. I like pain free medical care, being able to vote or own land, not being in the middle of a horrible war, and cars. I really like being able to travel by car. Oh and indoor plumbing is nice, too. -Jenn

the veg artist said...

No thanks to changing times. For all the faults of our modern world, there are huge benefits, especially in the lot of women. My grandmother was born in the late 1800s, and I knew her for long enough to appreciate how grindingly hard farm work was for everyone in those days. Give me safe food to eat, clean hot and cold water, and a washing machine and I'm very grateful.

Tom Stephenson said...

It is easy (for me) to forget the influence of the Vikings on life in the North. Loads of Viking words and customs the further North you go. My mother was partly Viking. Her name gave it away.

Chris said...

I always felt I should have been born in the 30's - I love the clothes, movies and music from that time... and at least it was relatively civilized! Having said that, I was a teenager in the 60's and that was a fun era too.

Alphie Soup said...

I'm quite happy to live in the present age. It may be far from perfect at times but the positive side of education,health, transport & communication, for me, outweigh the negative.
My paternal grandmother wished she had been born 50 years later as she observed and experienced much change for the better at the end of her life.
Alphie

Cro Magnon said...

I was born right at the end of the second German war, and, frankly, I don't think there's been a better time to have lived. There's been peace, wealth, and plenty; what more could one ask!

Frugal in Essex said...

I would love a time machine. I would flit from era to era to see what life was like. Of course your status would have a baring on how your easy or hard your life was too.

Derek Faulkner said...

Funnily enough, here on Sheppey in the Thames Estuary, some of the earliest settlement remains found have been Viking also.
Chis Elliot echos my thoughts the closest. I love a lot of how it was in the 1930's but if offered the chance, would happily go back and re-live my teenage years in the 1960's. Those ten years not only shaped me as I still remain now but also gave the world a range of freedoms
and equalities that it had never known before.

Librarian said...

Even today, the lot of many (especially women) is like something straight out of medieval times. Just think of countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan. Or the awful tradition of genital mutilation of young girls in many African countries.
So, just like most others here, I am grateful for where (and when) I live - with all mod cons and being able to make my own choices as what kind of work to do, where to live and who with, and so on.
As for the 1930s (and other decades, like the 50s and 60s), I really like the fashion, music and design of that time, too. But that is just "outside" stuff and does not mean I'd wish to live in that era.

thelma said...

Well I suppose a time machine is the answer, though of course the human race had devolved into two types, the Eloi and the Morlocks, and I suspect the world is just a bit like that.... You have to build up good karma to get anywhere ;)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems we are all pretty happy where we are then.

Heather said...

Food for thought - but on the whole I think I have been very lucky to be born into the 20th century in spite of wars and other bad times. So many aspects of life have been improved during my lifetime and I think, on the whole, that I have had the best of it. For the sake of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren I hope their lives will be as blessed. I know I have been very lucky.

Rachel Phillips said...

I would like to have lived in a time of less of the smug and self righteous people we have today.

Jean Jennings said...

I love that I regularly need to look up a word you use in your writing. Today - fen. Can you tell me a little more about them? How were they drained? Were there still swampy areas? I live in the central US and am a farm girl too - born and raised and married a farmer. We vigorously tile and drain low areas to get more land into production. And lo and behold are now finding that the marshy spots serve a purpose.

But we still tile and drain. Love your blog. It's the first one I read every morning.

Mary said...

I've always had such great memories of my English childhood from the mid-forties through the fifties following WWII. To me it was close to perfect, safe, happy, peaceful, and with so few material things made us even stronger and more independent. I fear there will never, ever be another such time for children to grow and prosper on their way to a productive, happy adult lifestyle. . . . . . which is sad.

Anonymous said...

Hello, sorry at being anonymous but I can't get my Google account working.
We spent a week at Gunnerside a few years ago, walking in the local area. The mining ruins suggest that things were very different in the past, only a century or so ago, working in the lead mines must have been a really hard life and it certainly wouldn't have been "pretty rural scenery" back then.

Terra said...

I'd choose the present day, partly due to medical progress. Although due to my love of horses I could have enjoyed riding them and in a carriage in an earlier era.