Today the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, England recognises “Plague Sunday”.
The day remembers the decision of the village’s reverend and his wife – in 1665 – to convince the plague-stricken residents to barricade themselves in so that the disease wouldn’t spread to other villages in the area.
Hundreds of people died, but other communities survived.
Above is a picture from last year, when we visited the old well on a hilltop outside the village, which is where others would come to leave the people of Eyam food.
With spring in the air in Canberra, we’re having a bit of a currawong invasion (that’s just a few of them!).
It’s deafening around here at the moment.
I had the opportunity to attend a special screening of Danger Close – The Battle of Long Tan last night with some Vietnam veterans (including my father) and other members of the Australian Defence Force. They actually had a counsellor there just in case, and now I understand why – it was quite the experience.
Long Tan is the best-known battle Australia (and New Zealand) fought in the Vietnam War, but I was still amazed both by the quality of the movie, and the actors in it. The “face” of the movie is Major Harry Smith, played by Travis Fimmel, of Vikings fame.
In the 1960s my father was an armoured personnel carrier driver stationed in Nui Dat, which is the base under attack in the movie. He later fought another major battle only a few kilometres from the base: Binh Ba, which had its fiftieth anniversary this year.
It was amazing to see people my father knows portrayed on the big screen, and to know people who consulted on the film.
I would strongly recommend this movie, as long as you’re prepared for it. It’s very confronting, and that much sadder because none of it is fiction.
Romance.com.au (run by Harlequin/HarperCollins) has the first two chapters of my book up, if you’d like to read them.