June 30th Thursday. A pile of Catraeth stuff from DE; most of it alas, no good, but a noble effort on his part.
Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category
One of the pleasures of curating this blog about Rosemary Sutcliff, the eminent historical novelist and children’s writer (who regular readers will know was a close, much-loved relative of mine) is the contributions you readers make by way of ‘comments’ on particular posts, and also the ‘You Write!’ tab. A recent 1988 diary entry mentioned Catraeth. Jane mused about Catterick camp and Jane picked up the baton:
The Catterick Garrison is still in operation – it’s the largest BritIsh Army garrison in the world.
The old Roman fort of Cataractonium will be familiar to those who’ve read The Shining Company – it’s the setting for the last desperate stand of the Company against the Saxon forces of Aethelfrith, Lord of Bernicia and Deira.“Catreath, Cataractonium as the Romans had called it, was a double cohort fort, and so there was room enough for all of us within the crumbling defences.”
Cataractonium’s marching camp also makes an appearance: “And so, with the forest reaching up towards us, we came to the remains of yet one more fort in that land of lost forts, and made our last night’s camp. It was not much of a fort, maybe only a permanent marching camp in its time, and being on the edge of the forest country the wild had taken it back more completely than those of the high moors…. little remained of the buildings but turf hummocks and bramble domes”.
Although it isn’t one of the Aquila family sequence, there’s one of those “aha” moments in Shining Company which readers of Sutcliff work enjoy – a connection made with Frontier Wolf (set a couple of centuries earlier) when young Prosper and a couple of companions out on a training exercise camp at the (now ruined) Cramond fort where the action in Frontier Wolf takes place. Sutcliff uses the linking device very effectively as a way of emphasizing continuity.
And ,of course, as well as making me wiser about Catterick and Catraeth, and reminding me of Frontier Wolf , this prompts me to ask all you readers and contributors – regular and occasional – please do tell us some more “Aha” moments …
June 28th Tuesday. M for the afternoon. Joan brought back the Merlin book from Chi. It looks superb.
June 27th Monday. G and J watching Wimbledon.
June 25th Saturday. Still can’t remember what did. Ah yes, of course. Jeremy H, very nice.
June 23rd June. Midsummer Eve and just what Midsummer’s Eve ought to be but seldom is. Also Mummie’s birthday. J looked in today with a manuscript she wants me to look at. There’s another blackbird’s nest in the front garden, in place of the one the ginger cat took.
‘Mummie’, Rosemary’s mother of course, was my great Aunt, Nessie Elizabeth Lawton, who was born in 23rd June in 1885, in Poole Dorset. (She died in 1955). She married George Ernest Sutcliff, who I knew as ‘Uncle George’ when I was a young boy, on 14th September 1910, in Longleet in Dorset. The driver-handymen (like Ray in recent weeks of this diary) were employed by Rosemary after her father died in 1966: he used to look after the garden – and her – at the house in Walberton where all the events recorded in this 1988 diary take place.
June 22 Wednesday. Nice peaceful day with no visitors. Ray had his girlfriend to lunch.
Rosemary Sutcliff never turned visitors away, but as previous diary entries have suggested, they could have a major impact on her writing. So peaceful days were very welcome. An entry like this implies that, provided Rosemary was not feeling “muzzy headed”, she would have enjoyed being free to immerse herself in her writing. Visitors were a two-edged sword.
June 20th Monday. Quite a day! Hazel W at mid-morning and scarcely had gone when Evelyn A arrived, and no sooner had Ray taken her off to Aldingbourne to her sisters-in-law than G and J appeared for tea. Am flat out with no work done at all.