You may have noticed that there’s been a definite flurry of activity going on at The History Magpie this past week and its all down to Sarah Arrow’s 30 day blogging challenge. I love blogging about Kent’s history but far too often I have let my half drafted posts linger on my desktop due to my feature writing commitments. Some well timed advice from Catriona Campbell (who many of you may know as @escapetocreate on twitter) initially got my mind in a whirl and, having accepted the fact that I will never have any more time in the day to do the things I want to do, I have reluctantly now set my alarm clock for 6am and I start writing before I do anything else.
I don’t think I will ever get used to getting up that early as I’m naturally a night owl but the difference in my productivity has been incredible thanks to Sarah’s blogging challenge, where I receive a daily challenge via email, I’ve now posted more in the nine days than I have during the entire first part of the year! Hopefully this means you have been receiving some helpful, informative and entertaining blog posts and, following my challenge for today, here is a list of my posts so far in case you missed one.
I’d love to know which ones you have enjoyed most, and the reasons why,so I can make sure you receive more of what you love and less of what you don’t.
With the long summer school holidays stretching out across the calendar its sometimes hard to know how to keep the youngsters happy so, as planned, I started off with 16 fun, family-friendly days out in history for August. I’d love to hear from you if you managed to go to any of them and if you have a ‘favourite, family-friendly, historical attraction’ you like to visit, please do get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monkeys! Getting children into a museum can sometimes be a challenge but with these two little monkey’s causing mischief at The Toy Museum at Penshurst Place it may be a good place to start. And once there, make sure to introduce yourself to the animated drinking bear!
On day three I decided to ask for some help and it didn’t quite go to plan. You see, for my day job I’m working on a regional museum project and my colleague and I are trying to work out the best way to help Kent’s museum visitors discover the information they need. So, with a little help from Poll Daddy I created two polls based on two very simple questions. Where is the first place you look for museum information and how much would you expect to pay for that information? Four clicks of the mouse are needed to complete the poll and I hoped that lots of you would answer. So far I have 18 votes and I need a minimum of 100 before I go to a meeting in September. So the question is what can I do to entice you to answer the poll, do you need more information about the project or perhaps a little incentive? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated and if you would like to vote please visit this page. THANK YOU.
And then came a brilliant guest post from author Kaye Jones about the terrible crimes of the chocolate cream poisoner. Needless to say, the story of Christiana Edmunds from Margate truly captured everyones imagination and I’m thrilled to say the post has been travelling all over the twitterverse.
A rook reading a sermon, a series of boxing squirrels and a cartoon family of monkeys riding a bike. All these wonderful things are currently on display at the A Walk on the Wild Side Exhibition at The Tunbridge Wells Museum and I promise you that once you’ve seem them, you won’t forget them.
My post on day 6 changed pace and time entirely and featured the magnificent Tudor Bed of Roses that’s currently on display at Hever Castle. Medieval beds have, until now, proved impossible to find in England. So when Dr Jonathan Foyle, an architectural historian and broadcaster, made a long train journey to inspect a ‘Royal Tudor bed’ he assumed it would be a fake. What he actually discovered was remarkable and you can read all about it here.
If There’s one person who has the opportunity to study Kent’s buildings in detail its an estate agent. Having known Matthew Ryde for a little while, I know that he shares my passion for historical properties, and is a true romantic at heart, which is why I couldn’t resist asking him to choose his favourite building in kent and explain why. To see where he chose please click here.
And finally, yesterday I struggled to come up with a post as I seemed to be faced with lots of loose ended drafts and then it hit me, I run into research dead ends all the time so why not write about that? One museum object that been nagging me, probably because I love it so much, is this minature bazaar dating from the 1860’s and you can find out why its been causing a problem here.
So that’s it. My first nine days of the blogging challenge are complete. I have another 21 days to go and during that time, I have 21 blog posts, five commission pieces for a local history website and two features for Kent Life magazine to write. Oh, and it’s the school holiday so I also have two boys to amuse and a five day family holiday to go on. It’s definitely going to be a challenge but I hope I make it and if you would like to join me please subscribe by entering your email address at the top, right hand side of the page.
See you soon.