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Little boy in a cardboard airplane

When I started writing a historical novel, it was hard not to notice how many things I take for granted. The list grows regularly. Like travel for example. I’m booking a trip to Melbourne for a writers conference. I’ve decided to just go down for the barest minimum – down Friday morning and back Sunday evening. Just a three day weekend action packed then back Sunday night for work on Monday.

It does my head in if I think how long that would have taken for my characters in 1850. There were no flying visits in those days! No flying at all although one of my characters might just have had a broomstick she could ride…

What would they think if they time-travelled to 2015? Electricity, gas, electronic gizmos, kitchen gizmos, cars, traffic, recorded music whenever you wish to plug in some headphones and I’m sure you can think of a million other things which would be objects of wonder for those from a simpler time.

On the other hand, what do we miss, with all our technology and convenience?

We live our lives at a much faster pace, there is information coming at us from every direction, fewer ‘home’ musicians who would play for a sing-a-long, family time without the idiot box in the corner, when people would play games, read books aloud to the whole family. Even books were a much more precious resource. How many of you can remember when every new book was something to treasure and marvel at? When libraries were the only source of reference books, unless a fast talking travelling salesman had convinced your parents to invest in the latest expensive set of encyclopaedias.

Oh and when I pack for my conference in August I’ll be grateful that my 23 kilos of baggage allowance isn’t consumed by all those layers of clothing and corsets, neck to knee and smothered in petticoats to within an inch of your life! Yes there are pros and cons which are fun to think of and important for a writer to know so that your experience reading is as authentic as I can make it without any of us having to live that life. Pity really though I’m sure, if we could travel back to that time, after a while we would miss at least some of our modern conveniences.

What would you miss most? What do you miss most, even from your own lifetime?  I’d love to hear from you.