My imagination has always been overactive. As a child, I longed to see the Blue Lady at Haden Hall in the park near my home. As I was not allowed there after dark, I never did of course. She was supposed to float around the lawns at dusk (I don’t live near there now, but I suppose she still does). I was inspired by her story – Caught with her lover, a young monk, in the passageway that linked the house and the monastery on the hill, I imagined their cries as her angry father discovered them and had them walled up in the passage. There was a recent search made to try to locate the passage and I couldn’t believe they didn’t find the two entwined skeletons of my youthful imagination.
I searched Glastonbury Tor, convinced that I would be the one to find the Holy Grail. My fertile mind cartwheeled around the stories I had heard and read. The search of Tintagel proved just as fruitless, I couldn’t find Excalibur anywhere. It didn’t stop me feeling the weight of it in my hands and watching the glint of the sun on its blade. We had to go to Dozmary Pool too, reputedly where the sword was given back to the Lady of the Lake. Mom and Dad humoured me, even though they must have been bored watching the surface of the pool for an hour, just in case a hand emerged with the blade.
Reading widely, I was soon imagining myself as Lorna Doon and we visited the small church in Devon where a scene was reputedly set. I could feel the bullet entering my body and the blood pouring down my dress as I was shot at the altar while marrying John Ridd. My heroes and heroines circled around and thus I was never alone, despite being an only child until I was seven. My mind could always transport me to other worlds, as Merlin became my friend and a knight in shining armour always came to my aid in times of trouble.
I sailed the seas in a galleon with billowing sails and lived in a castle high up on a hill. I was the archaeologist who found Sutton Hoo and I knew what it felt like to go down with the Titanic. Big brothers fought my corner at school and in the holidays rowed boats to islands with hidden caves containing treasure boxes full of jewellery and gold ingots. We were menaced by pirates, but lived to fight another day.
What inspired you as a child?