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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Born too late?

My mother always said I was born too late. Not too late for her, you understand, but too late for me. I have always been fascinated by the past and am never happier than when surrounded by the relics of another age...

Is it possible that I  have lived before? When I was little more than five-years-old my Mum took me to Newarke Museum in New Walk, Leicester, where I wandered into an authentic Victorian street setting complete with cobblestones and carefully reproduced shops. Fascinated, I scrambled over the low perimeter fence and stepped into the cobbler's shop.

Looking at the  man in flat cap and shirt sleeves working on an old last, I failed to notice the security man who appeared out of nowhere. 'Hey, you, little girl,' he shouted,  'Can't you read?' pointing at the sign that said 'No Admittance Beyond this point.'

Of course I could read - I'd been doing that since I before I started school - and I could certainly hear. He didn't need to shout. But I didn't say this out loud. Instead, I continued to stare in wonderment at the spectacle in front of me. 'I think I've been here before'  I replied.

Of course you've been here before,' he retorted. ' We have thousands of visitors every year, but the majority of them, I'm glad to say, obey the rules.' With that he picked me up by the scruff of my neck and deposited me back on the cobblestones.

'Can I go in one of the other shops?' I asked, innocently, determined to remain in this wonderful place for as long as possible.

'Ah, there you are,' my mother ran towards us, clearly out of breath.' I was just about to report you missing. What on earth were you thinking of?'

I was thinking of a time when horses and carts roamed the streets and women dressed in floor-sweeping skirts  like the queen, but somehow I knew this wasn't the right answer.

And that was the beginning of my love affair with the past.

Victorian Cobbled Street,
Newarke Museum, New Walk, Leicester

Image courtesy of


Heather Burnside said...

What a lovely post Marilyn. It conjures up a very vivid picture. I remember going to a museum like that in York with my mother. :)

Guernsey Girl said...

My daughter now lives in York with her family and I love going to the Castle Museum to visit the authentic Victorian street - the same one you must have visited with your Mum! :)

Nikki-ann said...

I go to Leicester quite frequently, yet I've never been to Newarke Museum. Time to rectify that, I think!

Guernsey Girl said...

Great to hear from you, Nikki-ann - if I lived a bit nearer, I'd be happy to show you round the museum! :)

Barbara Fisher said...

My dad was a great believe in reincarnation, and I have to say I do think there is something in it. Have you had any more ‘memories’ or times when you are sure you’ve visited somewhere before?
Maybe this could be the basis for your next novel?

Guernsey Girl said...

I'm really fascinated by your comments, Barbara. A while a I started a novel about someone who could see into the past but I wasn't sure it would work. I have had similar experiences before - and now you've prompted me to look at the manuscript again! Thanks so much. xxxx

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Used to dream about living in Victorian times. Then I realized no indoor plumbing and a few other "necessities" missing and I decided visiting would be better !
. (())

Guernsey Girl said...

That really made me smile - we are clearly kindred spirits, France. ....