– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Sometimes in Bath’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but b
About the Author :
The stories and History of ‘Britain’s most elegant and intriguing city’. Sometimes in Bath is a captivating story-tour through the city’s history conducted by Charles Nevin, the award-winning journalist, national newspaper columnist, author and humorist. Beau Nash, Old King Bladud, young Horatio Nelson, Jane Austen’s Mr Bennet, the Emperor Haile Selassie and many more spring to life in episodes shimmering with the curious magic of Britain’s oldest resort and premier purveyor of good health, happiness and romance for the last 2000 years. Each story has an afterword distinguishing the fiction from fact, adding enthralling historical detail – and giving visitors useful links to Bath’s many sights and fascinations. Sometimes in Bath is warm, witty, wistful and will be loved by all who come to and from this most enchanting and enchanted of cities.
Guest Post :
Everyone who knows England knows Bath. Indeed, they know it so well that they are pleasingly oblivious to the oddness of its name. We don’t, for example, have anywhere called Shower, or Sink, or Bed. No, everyone knows Bath because Bath has always been there, or at least was there well before we started writing our history down. And so, exactly like an old and familiar piece of furniture, Bath goes unnoticed and unremarked, its unique peculiarities unconsidered.
That was certainly the case for me when I came to live nearby, not because of Bath, although I had been a couple of times before on day trips. Why I wasn’t smitten then, I cannot say. Probably something to do with the chippiness of someone from a northern industrial town confronted by age and beauty that seem a touch unfair. Similarly, a certain smugness about the place. And, possibly, a slight resentment that it was almost an obligation for a Briton to visit the place.
Whatever, somewhere that’s been around for over 2,000 years and has endured or enjoyed any number of charmers, chancers and charlatans can afford to be magnificently untroubled by carping from some Johnny Come Lately. This is a city that knows how to wait.
And, sure enough, that old Bath magic soon got me under its spell. It’s in the look of the place, the way it sits in and climbs the mighty green natural amphitheatre that holds and surrounds it, the way its buildings and pasts nudge each other, and you, all within a walk, Georgian elegances next to Roman remains next to Medieval survivals like the magnificent Abbey.
Once you begin to appreciate this, you also start to take notice of other unique and extraordinary aspects of Bath, not least its reason for being, the hot springs that have fed its baths for so many centuries and made it the oldest holiday resort in Britain and quite possibly Europe. The water arrives from thousands of feet below the Mendip Hills at a temperature of at least 45° C and at a rate of a quarter of a million gallons of water a day, channelling the result of rain that fell 6,000 years ago. How could there not be magic here?
Then, of course, there are those charmers, chancers and charlatans: what a collection of characters! From the legendary King Bladud, founder of the city and the man, who among much else tried to fly, through Romans and Saxons, including the great Alfred, through the Abbey builders to the Georgian era of Beau Nash, John Wood and the stream of visitors, Elizabeth I, Dr Johnson, Horatio Nelson, Charles Dickens, the Emperor Haile Selassie, John Betjeman…what else would a writer of short stories do but write a series of stories about them set in Bath through its time?
Stories. But, being a journalist, I also wanted to be clear how much fiction was going on without spoiling the magic. Which is why I hit on the idea of giving each story an afterword setting out the history of its era, with suggestions for further reading and where to go in Bath to see where the action takes place. This has the useful added function of building up a history and guide to the city.
It’s an unusual format, but one which I think works rather well. But then I would, wouldn’t I? So why not see for yourself?
The Magic of Wor(l)ds