History, Life & Immortality
Tuesday dawned with me starting my 61st year on this planet. As with all my birthdays since about the age of 20, I’d have been perfectly content to let the day pass unmarked.
I’m grateful of course. Grateful to be healthy, grateful to be alive, grateful to be me.
It’s my belief that, as with so many things in life, age is really just a state of mind. The numbers don’t matter if you have your health and an active brain.
I’m fitter, wiser and happier than I was 12 months ago. To me, that’s all that matters.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln:
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years”
My Birthday gratitude doesn’t end there though. My thanks go to all of you who sent greetings, wishes and gifts. In particular, they go to Gail. She treated me like a king, setting up my day with a special ‘Full English’ breakfast. It was a delicious treat.
I know I promised not to post pictures of food again but I’m going to break it already. I hope you’ll forgive me.
(Particular thanks go to friends June and Garry for delivering the breakfast ingredients to us!)
Gail also bought me a wonderful gift. A pewter pendant, handmade in Cornwall, and bearing the Wharram Eye-symbol.
James Wharram adopted this symbol as his trademark in 1965. We have it prominently displayed on ‘Gleda’s’ sails.
As a marine archaeologist, he’d seen this symbol carved on rocks and ornaments right around the coasts of Europe. Believed to have originated in the Balkan region examples can be found from Crete right up to the Baltic.
In 1889, a round prehistoric barrow was discovered in the UK, near Folkton in North Yorkshire. Inside it was a neolithic grave dating to the time of Stonehenge, estimated to be between 2600 and 2000 BC.
Several bodies were uncovered including that of a small child. Alongside the remains lay three drum-like objects made of chalk. They were decorated with stylised human faces and geometric patterns, including the Eye-symbol.
Nobody really knows what the symbol means. James is adamant that there is a connection with the megalithic seafarers of 5000 years ago. Some say its origins lie with the owl carried by the Greek goddess Pallas Athena.
Perhaps we’ll never know. It matters not. I know what the symbol means to me and I’ll wear it always.
Our favourite tour guide Vera had arranged for her friend, the archaeologist Pedro Huertas, to give a group of us a guided visit to the Municipal Archaeological Museum of Cartagena.
The museum is located on the site of the late Roman San Antón necropolis. For those that don’t know, a necropolis is a large, designed cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments. The name stems from the Ancient Greek and literally means “city of the dead”.
In Roman times it lay well outside the city and would have looked something like this.
Today it looks like this.
Pedro is not your stereotypical academic. He plays rugby, he has close-cropped hair, a bushy beard, and tattoos on his arms. He looks like someone to be wary of.
But don’t be deceived. He’s contagiously enthusiastic about history and his knowledge is impressive. After our tour, he presented a lecture about two fragments of inscribed marble discovered in the recent excavations of the Roman Forum area. Later this week he’s going to Rome to learn more.
The museum house artefacts from all over the region of Murcia.
There are objects from 3000 years BC right through to the 19th Century. From pre-historic cave dwellers to Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors.
Cartagena has been a trading port for over 2000 years.‘Qart Hadasht‘ under the Carthaginians ‘Carthago Nova’ under the Romans, ‘Qartayannat al-Halfa’ under the Moors.
Whatever the name, seafarers from all over the world have come and gone from this place for millennia.
Our little band of seafarers comprised Brits, French, German and Swedes. Our visit reminded me that we were simply following the footsteps of our ancestors.
The author Elizabeth Hunter said;
“We’re all immortal, as long as our stories are told”
If that’s true then today marks another step on my road to immortality.
My book ‘A Foolish Odyssey’ has been launched and it is now available on Amazon.
Earlier in the week, an advance proof copy of the paperback arrived here in the post.
I have to admit to getting a buzz from having the physical book in my hands. ‘A Foolish Voyage’ was a slim volume, 157 pages. ‘A Foolish Odyssey’ is over twice the size, 344 pages. It’s a meaty book, with illustrations, it’s got a glossy cover, with my name on it. For the longest time it’s just been words on a screen. Now I have something to see, touch and smell. Now the book is real.
So now comes the scary part. I have to wait and see what the world thinks of my creation.
The fear is real, there’s no escaping the apprehension. It’s out of my hands now. But with fear comes excitement. I’m excited to be on this journey.
If you’d like to help me get the book going please feel free to tell as many folks as you can about it.
This link http://getbook.at/FoolishOdyssey will take people straight to the book on the right Amazon site for their location.
Please share it as much as you like, thanks.
Whatever feedback I get, good or bad, one thing is certain.
Creating ‘A Foolish Odyssey’ has made me a better writer. The next book will be better still.
Yes, the decision is made. There will be another book in the ‘Foolish’ series. There will be a ‘Foolish’ trilogy box set available before the year is out.
If ’A Foolish Odyssey’ is a screaming newborn baby. ‘A Foolish Escape’ is just a twinkle in my eye.
If you want a sneak peak of my ’twinkle’ you’ll have to be on my ‘Neil’s Notes’ list!
I try and send something out to my list every couple of weeks or so. It’s the no holds barred depository for my most unrestrained writing.
It’d be great to have you aboard.
Just put your email address in the box right at the top of this page.
So here we are, March already.
I said at the beginning of this month that I planned to take this year one month at a time. Well, February was all about the book. Now it’s time for a change. March will be all about the boat. More on that next time.
Have a good week.