Wednesday, 26 September 2007


This is a disaster. Richard II has been deposed by Henry of Bolingbroke. That crafty Archbishop Arundel had quite a lot to do with it. Actually, by the look of things, so did most of England.

Well anyway, it's all over. After Richard's bumped off in some darkened castle and Henry of Bolingbroke takes the throne, then what happens? I won't know. History's at a standstill. I've reached the last page. And that's the disaster.

I've been reading this book on Richard II and the events of 1399 for nearly two months and it's been a faithful companion in parks, gardens, playgrounds, the space next to the freezer and morningtimes over coffee. I'd like to say bedtimes too, but I can't. I can read one sentence at night-time before falling asleep. I usually then wake up two hours later, still sitting upright clutching the book with the light on and dribbling a bit, probably. Dig will be downstairs working without being interrupted by small people demanding printouts of unicorns.

Although I knew the end had to come sometime, I yet have to steel myself to say farewell to 1399 and to Richard II and Henry of Bolingbroke, and take them all back to the library. The loss will wound me. I'm already considering nicking the book.

Anyway, if I do have to say goodbye, I've left my mark. Tiger was most insistent that she needed her gym practice at the local park, so there is a bit of a grass stain on page 105. Richard was just lying his back teeth out to Archbishop Arundel about being banished from the realm, so I had to take them both with me to sit on the park bench next to Tiger swinging about on the monkey bars. I had to find out whether the bish would see through Richie's dastardly tales.

On page 134 Henry of Bolingbroke was preparing to take his leave from England, having been banished by Richard for ten years, and forced to go off and live in the misery that is Paris. Unfortunately I left there the remains of one of Shark's home-cooked oat biscuits which crumbled over his sad leave-taking at Dover. Tiny ground-down crumbs are now stuck in the gutter and I can't get them out without the aid of a vacuum cleaner.

On page 149 Richard II leaves for Ireland. Foolish king. He might have guessed that the minute his back was turned, Henry would be back in England to stake his claim. I would too. So I'm leaving a bookmark in there. It is Squirrel's drawing of a hazelnut. She has been into hazlenuts in a big way recently since she wangled from me the knowledge of her blog name. Unfortunately she is also amusing herself by hiding them all over the house.

On page 173 there is a tomato-sauce thumbprint. I can't apologise. The pasta was ready and the sauce was not, so there was a bit of hurried tin opening going on after Henry returned to England, swept through the shires victorious, captured Richard without a struggle, and led him captive to London. Well it got quite exciting, so the pasta did have to wait quite a bit.

And I didn't engineer this, but there is a squashed fly on page 204. Richard II is disappeared. Henry of Bolingbroke is made King Henry IV and suffering head lice and rumours. The fly was from a hurried snap of the book when it started to rain at that playground in Bedford where there is a wooden fort.

Goodness, how the rain fell. I had to finish reading my wonderful book on Richard II and the events of 1399 to the very last page while sitting in the little playhouse. Shark, Squirrel and Tiger were in there as well, complaining that the fort is leaking and suggesting I might be a peasant and go and be a roof.

Of course I cannot be a roof I say to Shark, Squirrel and Tiger as I finish the last page on 208. I have much more important things to do. Like sit here and wonder what's going to happen in 1400.

Bennett, M. (1999) Richard II and the Revolution of 1399. Gloucester: Sutton Publishing Ltd.


HelenHaricot said...

1400: I think there was a spot of bother with the welsh!!

grit said...

a spot of bother with the welsh sounds just up my street.

Allie said...

How very educational.

I've crouched in the park playhouse, with a book, in rain too.