I currently live in Staffordshire, right in the middle of England’s green and pleasant land. I’ve said before that it is much further from the shore than I would like, but there’s no denying that we’ve got a great deal of interesting history going for us. We have the recently discovered Staffordshire Hoard and the ceramic heritage of The Potteries, as well as countless churches, cathedrals and steam railways, apparently.
The local history story that interests me the most has nothing to do with any of this. My favourite is the tale of a young man who came to stay in my village in 1916, whilst recovering from trench fever. He was so inspired by the area and its landmarks that he decided to incorporate them into the book that he was working on at the time. That young man was JRR Tolkien, and the book was The Silmarillion.
I like to think that this means that I live in Middle Earth, and that every dog-walk is the start of a long and arduous trek to return the One Ring to Mordor. More importantly, it means I can choose to believe that, at 5’1″, I’m not short or stumpy or petite – I’m just a real-life Hobbit!