A rare free Sunday. I was going to be diligent and do some writing but the sun was shining so I went out and had a break from everyone and everything. In fact, one way and another I've managed to get most of the last three days off, so am a tad less stressy to be around!
I took myself off to Shugborough, near Stafford, which, thanks to my National Trust membership cost me £3 for an 'access all areas' ticket. It was a lovely place to spend time, with beautiful gardens and a virtually complete working estate with costumed guides. There were lots of signs telling us these people thought they lived in the 1880's and did not know anything of the 21st century, so would we please not confuse them by referring to it - which was a nice touch.
There were some delightful anachronisms - electronic till and scales in the sweet shop, photocopied recipes on sale in the kitchens and paper cups and plates in the tea room.
It made me smile, as I found my mind connecting all this with what I'd read about the dangers of history reducing past generations to 21st century people in fancy dress - exactly what Shugborough is doing in a valiant attempt to make the past interesting for 21st century people. So much for avoiding work!
The nice man in the sweet shop told me he was looking forward to the law changing next month to allow him to use pounds and ounces again because he'll be able to get out the old scales (though presumably he'll keep his electroinc till!).
I came home with a bag of traditionally milled organic bread flour - plus instructions to keep it in the freezer once opened - and a sense that even if we cannot recreate the past, and even if our best efforts are full of anachronisms, there really is something to be gained from an active engagement with the stories, artefacts and records we do have.