There is a short and moving story, written by Rudyard Kipling called ‘The Gardener.’ First published in 1925, it is the tale of Helen Turrell, a well-off respectable woman of country stock, and Michael. Though Michael is, ostensibly Helen’s nephew, she lets him call her ‘Mummy’ at bedtime, by way of a “pet-name between themselves.” Helen fears that he might reject her, when, aged ten, Michael got the idea that his civil status was “not quite regular,” but instead their bond grows tighter. Michael realises after all that there were plenty of his sort in English history.
Hadrian’s wall stretched a full 80 miles across the province in Britannia, from Mais, the fort at Bowness on Solway in the West to Segundum, the fort at Wallsend in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the East. Construction began in 122BC, and when finished the wall stood 10ft wide and 13ft high and was replete with forts, gateways, observation towers and a defensive ditch running in front.
Have you ever been to a quiet, peaceful and unexciting place and pictured it in your mind as the scene of a colossal disaster? This is the imaginative journey that Sir George Tomkyns Chesney was inviting his readers to make with his 1871 novella The Battle of Dorking. As a high-ranking army officer with a keen interest in politics, he had become concerned about the fragility of Britain’s defences and the complacency of the British public at a time of turbulence in Europe and he decided that creative fiction was the means by which to sound his warning.