I was born in Thomas Hardy country and grew up in Wareham, his town of Anglebury. I work in Dorchester, which to Hardy was Casterbridge. Thomas Hardy is all around me and I love his works.
Today, being a glorious spring Sunday, we went for a work around Hardy's birthplace of Lower Bockhampton.
This famous building is known as Hardy's Cottage. It's where he was born. Out of shot they are constructing a visitor's centre near the cottage now.
We trekked across fields and skirted the edge of Stinsford. Thomas Hardy's heart lies buried in the churchyard there (the rest of him is in Westminster Abbey) next to his first wife, Emma. We didn't visit the church today but skirted the village and the very imposing Kingston Maurward House, which is now Dorset's agricultural college. Round the back of Kingston Maurward we found some interesting bits and pieces:
A 16th century manor house, all shuttered up:
I got very excited when I saw this plaque on the manor house wall until I realised there was no mention of sewing machines!
It was a most glorious day. The sky was really this blue and the spring flowers and blossoms are just starting to come out.
And then we passed the schoolhouse that the young Master Hardy attended when he was seven. I wonder if this was the bell that called him into his lessons?
All in all, we walked about four miles. It was good to get out in the sunshine after so much rain and enjoy some of the stunning countryside where we live.
But Thomas Hardy isn't the only literary figure on my mind this weekend. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle features too I've joined Sherlock's Great Afghan Adventure Mystery KAL on Ravelry. Twelve months, twelve squares and twelve of the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories to get through. I can remember reading The Hound of the Baskervilles as a teenager, but that is all of the Sherlock Holmes canon I ever got through, so this should be fun. Would anyone care to join in too? It just officially launched with the first square and the first reading assignment yesterday.