Hindsight: A Well-Trod Path
ROMAN MOSAICS AND STICKY toffee pudding, Jane Austen’s novels, Stephenson’s “Rocket,” Welsh male choirs, the Glenfinnan Viaduct and a pint of real ale at the Rose & Crown: They are all part of a cultural legacy and a social and political history that have influenced the world far beyond their proportion to the “sceptered isle’s” size and population. It is all the delightful scope of British Heritage. What a privilege it is to be invited to serve as guest editor for the next few issues of BH! For three decades now, Britain has been my stomping groundfrom Penzance to Inverness. In a career of teaching, writing, designing specialized tours and leading travel groups in Britain, I have reveled in the discovery of this green and pleasant land. Nowhere in Great Britain (except perhaps in the western Highlands) can a traveler venture 20 miles without happening upon a significant landmark in social, industrial or political history. Beyond that, however, Britain’s heritage lies as well in its people, and in the nuances of a contemporary culture that lives so comfortably within its history. To many BH readers, I need perhaps little introduction. For many years I’ve been a regular feature writer and a book reviewer for this grand magazine. More than a handful of you, of course, have traveled to Britain with me, or with British Heritage and Lord Addison Travel. When the publishing offices of BH recently moved from Harrisburg, Pa., to Leesburg, Va., my good friend and trusty BH Editor Bruce Heydt decided not to relocate his young family. And so, somehow, here I am. Any editor inherits the work of his or her predecessors. Gail Huganir and Bruce Heydt left BIG shoes to fill with a loyal BH readership. I can only hope to build upon their foundation. British Heritage has long offered travel opportunities for readers to England, Scotland and Wales with its editors. Certainly, this is a tradition that I am pleased to continue. In fact, I shall be leading an adventure for BH readers this spring that will bring to life several of the features in this very issue. Jim Hargan’s superb article on Jane Austen’s Hampshire village roots just begs to jump out of the pages between London and Bath, and Roman Britain must be seen to be appreciated. Of course, editors bring their own personal style and slant to a publication. Methinks you will see mine begin to emerge in this very issue. As to how such changes might play with you, the astute and worshipful readers of these fair pages, I suspect you will let me know. And I shall be delighted to hear from you.