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More Britpicking Resources. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
More Britpicking Resources.

It is possible that alexia75 is right, and that I am wasting my time, here, but I cannot believe it (despite the dreary evidence that militates in favour of the proposition that Potterficcers do not care about making their fics recognisably British, much less informed by history and a sense of place). I will continue to believe – faith being the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – that there are those who will profit by this.

So. Let us look at further resources available almost everywhere to the Potterfan who wishes to earth his fic in the real soil of Britain.

Have a rather grand character with holdings in the country? The Countryside Alliance has a website, as does the Scottish Countryside Alliance.  So too does the Masters of Foxhounds Association. (I wonder: now that we are not to hunt foxes, may we hunt sabs and those who supported the ban? I’m in favour). If nothing else, you may model, oh, wyvern hunts on Muggle hunting (remember that Stod Withers is on your Famous Wizards Cards for a reason, as you may be reminded when next you have a choccy frog).

Need to keep up with things? The Times, the Telegraph, and the Scotsman are on the Web, as are the Guardian, the Independent, and various tabloids. The Beeb is also on the Web, and webcasts are available (the same is true for Sky), and in the BBC’s instance that includes BBC Radio, that is, the wireless. If nothing else, you want to have some familiarity at least with The Archers and Gardener’s Question Time. Additionally, the Beeb has excellent guide pages to politics, the Commons, nature and habitats and British mammals and flora and fauna of all sorts, gardens, and the whole boiling, as well as regional pages that often give receipts for regional specialities and have features on local landmarks and traditions and even dialect. IDEA, the International Dialects of English Archive, and the English Accents and Dialects page at the Collect Britain site run by the British Library, are indispensable, and have audio files and lexicons.

The House – Christ Church, Oxford – has a superb website (accessible from my links list) which will also serve as a portal to the University as a whole (‘and what a whole it is’). Presumably the Tabs and their little colleges have something of the sort as well. Eton has a website. So does that exemplary grammar school, Bp Wordsworth’s, in Salisbury. So do such places as Harrow and Marlborough and such small deer. For the distaff side, I know that Roedean and Cheltenham do have sites.

I’ve adverted you to the mapping sites – Streetmap, Multimap, the Ordnance Survey – before, but I wish to emphasise how valuable they can be. For one thing, it’s worthwhile to look up place names that are the surnames of Potterverse characters (Dursley, Snape, &c). In fact, you may find that there are several place names that cd serve: in the case of the Dursleys, for example, I chose to use the well-known town in Gloucs so I cd make a ‘Gloucester Old Spot’ joke (that being a British breed of pig), but if you wished to make Uncle Vernon a distant Squib connexion of the equally nasty Malfoys, well, there’s a Dursley hamlet in Wilts, also, just south of Trowbridge, near the A350. And just as they have been for JKR, maps and place names are a boon to you, in siting characters and in giving them surnames. (And you never know what you may be inspired by maps to write. We all know that Ottery St Catchpole is modelled on Ottery St Mary, but the choice of the name for the Weasley’s place is very evocative of Burrow Bridge in Somerset, just outside Othery.) The OS also provides historical mapping for many places.

The C of E have a website that lists every parish church in the kingdom, and many dioceses and most cathedrals have websites, as will many parishes (as I mentioned yesterday). The Diocese of Salisbury has a useful site, Salisbury Cathedral a superb one, and All That.

Especially do I wish to call to your attention the England in Particular site, and its mother site, Common Ground. I should imagine that in many ways, they and I have no common ground whatever in how we came to similar views, yet they are as committed as I to local distinctiveness, to preserving chalk streams and orchards, old buildings and hedgerows, and all the fun of the fair, and their websites are superb places in which to immerse oneself in the local and the particular, be it cider, local traditions and festivals, the Green Man, old trees, the River Stour, otters, or what have you.

As to local concerns, do not forget the local newspapers. The Salisbury Journal and Avon Advertiser, the Wiltshire Times, the Amesbury Journal, the Swindon Advertiser, the Gazette and Herald, all the local papers in Wilts have a joint website (thisiswiltshire[dot]co[dot]uk), and I’m sure the same is true elsewhere. Look for things such as the parish news and the rural reports and livestock sales to get a feel for rooted reality.

UpMyStreet, as I have noted before, is a wonderful resource, and includes area (postcode) profiles based on the ACORN neighbourhood classification system (prosperity, education, mortgages, newspapers read, leisure activities preferred, and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all), to which UpMyStreet links for greater detail.

Finally, of course, the Britpicking thread at FA and Essy’s brilliant Britticus Totallus site (linked on my profile page or per margin) are indispensable.

Please tell me this is not in vain: go forth and fic!

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19 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 2nd, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ah. Well.

You lot have Parkinson.

So far, Harry's sole biographer is JKR.

Glad it's of use.
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 18th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sorry Abt the Delay in Answering.

Had to pop over to Rome. (Thank God for the Hotel Hassler.)

I've had CNP on the shelves for yonks. Interesting, if dated.

For land / Army matters of time, try Haythornthwaite.

More when I can breathe.
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 18th, 2005 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

I Assume...

... You've his The Armies of Wellington?

The standard biography of the Iron Duke, Elizabeth Longford's, in its unabridged version, has some meat on the Army in the first volume.

For the Navy, alas, I cannot be much help. The Senior Service is not my forte.
magic_at_mungos From: magic_at_mungos Date: November 1st, 2005 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
yessir! *salutes*
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 2nd, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Carry On.

We want a good turn-out at fic inspection.
magic_at_mungos From: magic_at_mungos Date: November 2nd, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Carry On.

*looks shifty* Of course you shall. Although nothing that is being written really shouldn't see the light of day.
From: seneska Date: November 1st, 2005 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Darling you are not wasting your time. All you need is a little bit of PR. (Though I wouldn't get anyone that has ever been associated with Peter Mandelson to do it)

Even if other authors don't bother, I for one feel that a day when I learn more about my own country is a worthwhile day.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 2nd, 2005 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank You.

Is it all right if I don't really care to have Blunkett's publicity, either?
From: seneska Date: November 3rd, 2005 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank You.

No that's alright too. In fact, I wouldn't go for anyone directly associated with the PM at the mo. It could lead to a public condemnation from the tory party, and we wouldn't want that, as well as a slur campaign.

Let's face it, politics at the moment has the maturity of a schoolyard playground.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 5th, 2005 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)


Let's face it, politics at the moment has the maturity of a schoolyard playground.

Only 'at the moment'?
From: seneska Date: November 7th, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: (Snort.)

Good point.

The Torys pulled my hair so the lib dems threw mud at them. Then New Labour kept trying to steal my lunch. So I refused to vote, and now they're moaning.

But they started it.

bufo_viridis From: bufo_viridis Date: November 2nd, 2005 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I quite understand that you're too polite to do it yourself (although I'm sure you could be very polite and extremely unpleasant at the same time :)), so please do send to me the next person who tells you you're wasting your time with these essays.
I will not mind informing such person in great detail what kind of unintelligent female reproductory organ / uneducated male member she/he is.

My goodness. The gall some people have.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 2nd, 2005 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

No, No.

My dear Alexia simply noted, rightly, that those who might profit by these considerations, likely already knew them, and those who must wanted teaching most probably didn't care to be taught.

And isn't that just the way of the world.
the_gentleman From: the_gentleman Date: November 2nd, 2005 12:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
You can still hunt with cats, apparently. Time for the Old Berks to train up some cougars...

In any case, it's highly likely the older generations of the Blacks went Muggle-hunting with Krups. Certainly suggests a few explanations for the Wild Hunt...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 2nd, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

God Help the Whips.

A pack of cats.... The mind boggles. Or buggers.

I can't say that yr suggestion regarding the Blacks is absolutely certainly the source of the Wild Hunt, but I'd not be surprised. After all, does anyone seriously not suspect that the Beast of Bodmin is an unregistered Animagus?

Oh, well. I suppose I'll comfort myself by re-reading my favourite Holmes tale, The Grim of the Baskervilles.
From: seneska Date: November 3rd, 2005 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Beast of Bodmin

The Beast of Bodmin is fairly obviously a Quintaped that a wizard relocated for a lark. However I maintain that the Black family has a house in the country close to Baskerville Hall and a relative of Sirius decided to scare the neighbours after they moved the garden fence eight inches over their property wihout asking.

patagonian From: patagonian Date: November 29th, 2005 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi. bufo_viridis commented that you would have some answers for me. I'm buying Christmas gifts for a disadvantaged person. He/She asked for classic books and indicated that meant Mark Twain and Shakespeare. I'm just trying to wide range of things and I'm asking for suggestions from everyone, so if you have any, I would love to hear them.

And as a gormless American who thought she was Brit-picking tolerably well on her own, a couple of your links made me realize I need to try a bit harder. So thanks as well for the links.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 29th, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Delighted to Help, I'm Sure.

In both ways.

As to the books, if yr recipient can stand the un-PC elements of Twain, he or she can doubtless stand Kipling. And that is a clue, in a way: so many of the old classics have been shunted off to the children's shelf, at least mentally: Dumas, RL Stevenson, Trollope (notably the Barchester novels), Scott, and indeed Dante, Homer, and Vergil, God help us all. Conrad is superb. Hardy, as well. Dunsany is the great fantasist, and Gissing's The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft is astounding. For humour, there's The Diary of a Nobody, and for a cold thrill there's plenty of Henry James.

Have fun.
patagonian From: patagonian Date: November 30th, 2005 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Delighted to Help, I'm Sure.

Thanks much. I don't know this person, but I have an inkling that she is kind of trying to expand her horizons. I was considering Conrad and Twain and I think I'll go that way.
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