How does taking a walk around the periiphery of the village admiring bouncy spring lambs playing in gangs connect with making discoveries about the nature of identity? Quite right, absolutely nothing. I think it was the old subconscious working away again. A bit like my Internet Security system does on the computer. If I leave my machine on for a while and go away to a displacement activity, the programme gets busy and tells me its working on background tasks.
I was advised to include a little information on my website about the authors I like to read and something about my favourite books. I was taking my daily amble, absorbed in the landscape and the lambs and absently considering these subjects. Whilst I have a very catholic taste in literature and authors, I realised I actually spend a lot of my time imbibing any historical texts I can get my sticky mitts on, the more ancient and medieval, the better. I wondered why this was and a couple of miles and several flocks of sheep later, realisation dawned on me.
I am connecting with my roots, however tenuous a connection this may be. I will not be alone in being born in one place, (in my case in the south of England), uprooted and plonked down aged eight and a half, in the north of England - with hindsight, never to truly put down roots again. So, maybe I am searching amongst my ancestors for a place for myself - harking back to ancient memory to give myself a sense of inherited identity and a sense of place.
Interestingly, the three serious novels I have plotted all involve issues of identity in one way or another - a deliberate change of identity, an imposed change of identity and loss of identity due to age-related illness.
And so I arrived home a little more muddy and rain sodden than I set out, but happy with my historical perpectives on life. I am fine with Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Medieval Knights and Ladies, but marauding Vikings, Eric Bloodaxe and all that ... mmm, maybe I need to investigate that ancestry a bit now.