13.07.17~ Entry One

The first post. This blog, “The Purple Notebook” (although I doubt it will be long before I end up changing it), is named after a purple notebook. The first time I wrote in that notebook it was winter and I was 16. I had decided to rekindle my love of writing and wrote mainly about trees. It’s just over a year later. It is summer and I am 17. And when I write, I am usually still writing about trees. This blog is probably going to be filled with the crappy articles of an aspiring journalist, or badly taken photographs, or random ramblings, or adventures. I will probably change my mind about what I put in this blog, and in 2 months I will probably re-read this first post, cringe intensely, and promptly delete it. Either way this is the first step, it’s time to stop writing about trees.

 

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31.07.17~ The Four Heads of Caerphilly Castle

A grand symbol of medieval engineering, Caerphilly caste stands proudly at the heart of the small welsh town. Similarly to Chepstow castle and many others along the welsh border, the castles purpose was to aid the attempted Norman conquest of the Welsh. Built in the 13th Century by Gilbert de Clare the castle is a testament to Norman architecture and defence. As we continued to explore the castle it felt increasingly infinite: a new room and ruin around every corner, vast stone towers and towering archways. In the far-left corner of the castle up a spiralling stair case I entered a chamber which told a story.
The King, the Villain, the Lover, and the Wife. The tale is set under the tyrannous rule of King Edward II and Hugh le Despenser. Together their actions caused a war that brought about a period of repression and suffering. Queen Isabella, the She- Wolf of France and the femme fatale of the story, was driven into exile in France where she met Roger Mortimer, arch-enemy of the villain Hugh le Despenser. The two began a love affair, returning to England and seizing control. Edward and Despenser fled with their fortune, hiding it in Caerphilly castle. Once captured, Despenser was hung drawn and quartered, and Edward was detained at Berkley Castle where he died under suspicious circumstances. This death brought the end to Edwards tyrannous reign and the beginning of Isabella’s regency.

15.07.17~ The Viking Parade

Last Saturday, instead of the usually traffic travelling through Chepstow’s town centre, there was a parade of Vikings. The high street was filled with the banging of drums, the laughs and shouts of excited spectators. Reenactors were kitted out in the traditional Norse attire, playing music and shouting loudly, embodying everything one would expect from a group of middle aged Viking men and women. 950 years, the castle has stood upon hill, overlooking the wye. There is some irony in how greatly the castle is being celebrated, nearly a millennium after it was built, when its purpose was to supress the Welsh living on that side of the border. Despite all of this, the anniversary of this castle is serving a better purpose than it was made for, bringing together the community that is divided by the Wye.

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