. . . . . . or Kenilworth Castle and the Right-handed Camera
As soon as we drew up to Kenilworth Castle After we drove around the town of Kenilworth for 15 minutes looking for somewhere to park our Chevy unsuitable-for-tiny-villages truck, I leapt stumbled out of the passenger seat and grabbed my camera to fight with the zip to release it from its case. The parapets of Kenilworth Castle stood out in stark relief to the azure blue sky of a perfect English summer day.
Tiny specks of tourists wandered the parapets putting into perspective the enormity of the castle. If I was quick I could capture the scene. I managed to flick the lens cap off – it dangled on its safety cord – and held my camera clumsily in my left hand. I held it up to my face but daren’t even switch it on for fear of dropping it. Himself draped the neck cord over me and my hastily donned, stupid-looking Dora the Explorer hat and I tried again.
With no fear of dropping the camera I might have been able to awkwardly press the shutter button but the framing was wrong and I couldn’t possibly pull on the zoom lever. I let the camera drop on its cord, whipped my dumb hat off in disgust and himself pulled the camera off over my head. I could have asked him to be my cameraman for the day but I was so annoyed with the whole ordeal I thrust the disgraced and useless piece of equipment back in the truck.
A right-handed camera. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. I had taken for granted that it fit neatly tucked in my right 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers leaving my index finger free for the zoom lever and my thumb for the shutter. It was a perfect fit in my right hand and clearly unusable in my left hand.
If you’ve just happened on my blog and haven’t heard me whining before, my right arm is in plaster.
On a lighter note, I was free (as free as you can be with your arm in sling) to enjoy the delights of Kenilworth Castle and its Elizabethan gardens without the pressure of recording each scene at every step.
The following information comes compliments of a mature PhD student who was holding court with a history teacher and her family at the next table in the tea room. Naturally I eavesdropped. After a quick restorative nap I committed as much as I could remember to print.
He let us them know that much of the information was not available on the internet. You would need to go to the Tower of London and read and copy out documents by hand as he had done as you cannot borrow or photocopy any of these ancient documents. He also let us them know that this was privileged information that would be divulged in his dissertation. Am I about to reveal . . . ?
According to Mr. Not-Quite-Doctor, Kenilworth Castle is mentioned in the Domesday Book – a survey of much of England and parts of Wales ordered by William the Conqueror and completed in 1086.
Kenilworth Castle was the most powerful castle in the land, much more so than its neighbour Warwick Castle, at one point housing 6000 troops as compared to the 2000 troops at Warwick.
Killing pits with weight sensitive trap doors were used at entry points. Attacking troops would fall in and be at the mercy of the castle troops. Lime mixed with water was a form of torture that would cause eyeballs to burst and fatal burns. It was a political stronghold.
I knew of Warwick Castle but had never heard of Kenilworth Castle until I picked it off the road atlas map as being the nearest garden to our campsite near Coventry. You revolutionaries in the US may not have heard of either castle.
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, turned the medieval castle into a fortress late in the 14th c. He was one of the most powerful men of his time owning 30 castles and land in virtually every county in England. His legitimate heirs included Kings Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI.
Rulers were always wary of castles as they were seats of power so according to Mr. NQD the very first Act of Parliament was to destroy Kenilworth Castle as it was a threat to the seat of government.
Part of Kenilworth Castle was destroyed by Parliamentary forces in 1649 but I can’t substantiate this as a first act of parliament and that is way past John of G’s time. In fact, the dates are completely wrong. Is this one of Mr. NQD’s secret facts or did I zone out after a dose of sunshine? If he’d known I was listening he’d have kept his voice down. If I hadn’t had a tantrum over my frustrating (albeit temporary, yes I know that) disability I would have had my phone with me and could have recorded him verbatim and could wow you with many more fascinating facts.
I have padded this post out with some Google images but none of them are as perfect as the pictures that are in my mind’s eye: the jutting ruin and every space within filled with families picnicking, children frolicking, couples courting, teens bounding, all on the green, green grass under the blue, blue sky. The fact that it was at odds with the gory, impromptu history lesson made the present day scene even more delightful. It was a lost photo opportunity. I just hate that.
Do you have any missed photo opportunities that play on your mind still?
Do you have a right-handed camera? Is there such a thing as a left-handed camera?