Rutherfurd on Rutherfurd


London

Q. You turned to London next, a place you knew well. Was the process similar to Sarum?

A. I was very fortunate in finding a wonderful team to help me at the Museum of London which is the best and most creative historical museum I know. These curators and historians let me use their library, shared their knowledge and corrected my texts. One day, for instance, one of them showed me a little clay mold they'd just dug up outside the Old London Wall. It had been used to produce forged coins in Roman times, and the curator and I spent a while imagining together the little guy who might have used it, and how he might have been nearly caught. That became the story in the Roman chapter of the book. They'd found a Roman leather bikini as well, which reminded me to give him a girlfriend.

Q. Archeology comes to life.

A. Thanks to those wonderful curators. Working with them really changed the way I looked at museums. When I go into a museum now and see the objects, - a golden ring, a clay pipe, a sword - I don't just see an artefact any more, I see something that belonged to a person just like you and me, with hopes and fears and loves. Every object has a human story, if only we could guess it.

Q. London took five years. Was it a strain?

A. It was fun; but because there was so much to work in, it was technically complex to write.

Q. Was it, like Sarum, an eternal city?

A. London is about the ever-flowing River Thames. It's about the river of life.

Q. It was a huge bestseller.

A. Fortunately. Five years is a chunk of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Know?
Hard to believe, but this month of April is the 50th anniversary of the 'official' break-up of the Beatles. This author was a very timid young student at Cambridge then. But the far more worldly and talented guy who had the room across the corridor from me had a lovely girlfriend who worked for John Lennon; and one day they scooped me up and took me to Lennon's house at Ascot. The white house with the white piano. Lennon himself wasn't there, but all the same . . . Fifty years later, that day is still so vivid




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