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Nel's voice is presented like this

Aedgar's voice is shown like this

Take you’re time, just enjoy being here. It’s been a little while. I’m very happy that you’re here. I recognise you by your bearing, Aedgar. You have a regal bearing.

Do you? That’s interesting.

The way you participate in this body is recognisable to me now.

Still not completely easy for me.

We’ll keep practising.

Good.

We have all the time in the world.

Not as much as you think.

I understand.

You try to.

I do. I try to. I've been working out your relationship with Aiden, You were Aiden and Aedgar.

Yes. I thought about it. I thought you’d got it.

I was interested in talking about herbs available during your lifetime in Bristol. I have an interest in the medicinal qualities of herbs.

I know you do. Many people do. I used to know what to do with them.

Yes, me too. Do you remember some of the plants that you used?

[As if recalling a distant memory] Tiny yellow ones. Tiny yellow blossoms.

Not yellow and white ones?

No, just yellow.

They grew in the forest?

In the meadows. It was too dark in the forest. They need the sunlight.

Did you pick them and dry them for a tea?

I got other people to pick them.

[Laughs]

I just watched them, making sure they got the right ones. Too tiring to pick them. You need lots of them, at least of some kinds. Tiny amounts of others could kill you easily.
There was that little purple one, shaped like a bell: would have been a bad idea to use a big amount of that one.
 The deadly foxglove flower. Pic by  George Hiles

The deadly foxglove flower. Pic by George Hiles

Even a tiny amount could be a bad idea. Could get people quickly onto the other side.
It would stop suffering.

Did you ever use it that way?

We did.

You used it in a kind way?

Yes. You wouldn’t let animals suffer, so why should humans? It was said they had nice dreams.
I can’t tell, I’ve never done it myself.

Is it belladonna? It that what it’s called?

No.

Digitalis, then?

That’s closer to it.
You could use a bit of this with some ale and off they went, happily.

I don’t know if you know, but in this lifetime, I’m a doctor. I’ve worked to help people to comfortably pass. It’s one of the privileges I’ve had.

That’s important work. It’s underestimated. It helps spirits find their way around more quickly on the other side.

[Pause]

What did the little yellow flowers help with?

Infected wounds.

So they have antibacterial or disinfectant properties?

Yes.

Did you use it as a tincture?

Yes. It was used for other things too, internally, in much smaller amounts. It made sad people see the colours again.

That’s a beautiful way to put it.

 St John's Wort "made sad people see the colours again". Pic  John Tann

St John's Wort "made sad people see the colours again". Pic John Tann

[Pause]

Do you have meadows here?

Hmmm — we do but it’s a very different kind of —

You don’t. You had to think too much.

[Laughs] It’s a very different ecology. In some parts of the land we have something like meadows.

So you would have herbs that are much sturdier than the ones in the meadows. Which could mean stronger.

Yes, particularly here where there is very little water. They are quite concentrated.

You better not use too much, then.

Yes. Well, you know I’m not from here, but the old people know about the herbs, some of them.

Some of them don’t, but they say they do. It can be dangerous. These things are very powerful.

So you used herbs to make people feel better, make their spirits stronger —

Stop the young ones from passing and help the other ones to do so.

You must have been very respected for these skills.

In some circles; hated in others. People get afraid. If you know too much you’ll be crucified as kind of a Satan.
But I still had the power.
So I could turn into something like Satan for some of them. That was my privilege.

[Laughs]

I loved to use that. It taught them respect.
For some of them it was too late for us. Others just had a happy passage from that life.

You had to defend yourself?

I had to defend my family and friends. If they can’t get to you, they make your family and friends suffer.

Yes. Unfortunately it’s still going on, that kind of stuff.

We know.

I've been told I had a lifetime working in a monastery, where I knew some of these herbs and salves.

Did you teach?

Yes, but quietly, secretly.

Another one in the dark.
It’s a sad thought.
Knowledge is power, if it’s used in the right way.

Who taught you?

Monks. Some old people. And I had these, kind of, intuitions or dreams. I couldn’t talk about it. That would have made me even more ‘evil’. I had a secret life already.

With Aiden?

Yes.

So you had a doubly secret life?

More than that.

Very sophisticated.

Very hard to organise things.

[Laughs]

Takes a lot of energy, that could have been used in other ways.

That’s right. It can be tiring, keeping secrets.

Yes.

Did you have a sympathetic wife?

She was like an innocent child.
It wasn’t so much about being sympathetic. It was more about not knowing.

Uhuh.

But she was very good.

So she allowed you to be yourself, to some extent.

She never questioned things. It wasn’t the role of women to do so at that time.
We had to bury a son.

[Pause]

Didn’t last long.

Your son?

Yep.

That’s sad.

He had his time and then he had to go. He wasn’t able to live this kind of life. It was the wrong time for sensitive little children.
The rude ones survived.

[Pause]

We had quite a few girls though.

[Pause]

Did it become a problem, to have daughters?

Not for me.

That’s good. Other were unhappy about it?

Some, especially the poor people, because they needed them to work. Boys were stronger. And they could sell boys off to other people who needed ‘work power’; so they could buy food for the other children.

You saw this going on around you?

Yes. It was normal back then.
People would have been suspicious if you didn’t sell your boys, if you had more than one. They would have thought that you had treasure somewhere hidden and tried to find it. Some people behaved like animals.

So a poor person would protect themselves from violence and suspicion by selling their son?

Not if they had only one.

Okay.

That would have been suspicious too, very suspicious.

So it was a time of suspicion and vilification and a lot of fear, especially among the poor.

 Children Working. Pic from  Wikicommons .

Children Working. Pic from Wikicommons.

Mainly fear of the unknown and the stories they’ve been told by some who teach.

And the Church.

Of course.

What was your relationship with the Church like in that life?

You had to participate, especially when you had to hide a secret life or two. It’s all about suspicion.

It was very challenging?

It’s not a bad thing to believe in god, as they call it. But it’s a bad thing to believe in the system that other people build around it.
They used the fact people were not able to read and write. So they were told lies, but these people didn’t know, because they couldn’t prove — they couldn’t realise — what was written in the first place.

So people with power exploited the fact that people couldn’t read and write to create a system around so-called god.

Aren’t they still doing it?

They certainly are.

It’s never changed.

Not yet.

Well, there are some changes coming, slowly and steadily.

[Pause]

So you used your herbs secretly? Or some of them you could use openly and use other ones secretly?

Some people consulted me about it. Some people didn’t know. And some forgot about their fear when they got really unwell. It was like, “I give it a try, because I’ve got no chance, anyway.”
It was sad. I could have helped many of them at an earlier stage. But that it still going on, too.

Yes. Claudia knows about that. She did some training in European herbs. And she looked after some people who came to her too late.

Happens all the time.

Was this a time when people talked about witches?

[Scoffs] Yes. I was more like a Satan, because I wasn’t female. If I would have been in a female body they would have just burned me. It had advantages to be in a male body.

Absolutely. Still does.

Except if you want to have a child.

Yes. So was it the Catholic Church burning witches and taking the land?

Both [churches]. Well, there were more than two different belief systems. They were all talking about a god. But they all used it in different ways.

So there were several different churches competing for power?

It was religions. They didn’t call it “churches”.
They had wars about the power. All the time.
 The Lady Chapel at Bristol Cathedral. Photo by  David Iliff

The Lady Chapel at Bristol Cathedral. Photo by David Iliff

Are we talking about the so-called Wars of the Roses?

That was one of them.

Was that in this period?

No.

That was before?

Yes.

Were there any monarchs I would have heard about involved in these wars? My knowledge of the period is very basic.

I have to think about it.

Thank you. I think you mentioned Cromwell before and Charles, Charles the second.

There was an Edward, too.

Was he called Edward the Good?

He wasn’t particularly good.
One of the relatives of Arthur, late descendant.

I thought Arthur was a mythical character.

No, he wasn’t. Some people back then would have wished he was. He was a violent man.

We’re talking about a despot or a tyrant?

A tyrant, a violent tyrant.

That’s interesting. He’s been mythologised in England as a good fellow nowadays.

They made him a hero, we don’t know why.
It wasn’t a part of history to be particularly proud of — that’s probably why they changed it. Plenty of things have been changed about history. If people knew they would be really sad and ashamed to be descendants of that tribe.

Were you aware of this during your lifetime in Bristol?

We enjoyed the good things in life, because they were available, but we knew about the bad things too. But why make it worse by participating?

Did you go hunting?

For food.

Did you hunt deer?

At times.

Pheasant?

They were too difficult to hunt. Ducks.
 A duck for a forest roast. Pic by  Tore Skogheim .

A duck for a forest roast. Pic by Tore Skogheim.

What kind of weapons were you using?

Slingshots. Not for deer of course.

What did you use for deer?

Bows and arrows.

Not the crossbow?

No.

Did you know the crossbow in that time?

Yes. It wasn’t easy to transport.

Very heavy.

We preferred to use the ones that were easily hidden, under the coat.

So you weren’t always on your own land when you were hunting?

No.

Did you and Aiden like to go hunting when you were together?

If we were hungry. Well, the woods were a good place to hide.

You had some good times in the woods together.

Yes.

[Laughing] I have to make a note of how you raise an eyebrow.

 Forest in the Fall. Photo by  Charles Yeager

Forest in the Fall. Photo by Charles Yeager

So homosexuality was not accepted in this period?

It didn’t exist.

It didn’t exist. You and Aiden discovered it yourselves.

As one does. I was considered a Satan anyway.

[Laughs] You had nothing to lose!
How did you meet, you and Aiden?

At a celebration.
We had some ales; felt attracted.

I’ll bet he was just gorgeous.

Of course. So was I.
At least that’s what people said.

I have an image of you as tall, dark, handsome.

I was tall for that period of time.

Quite slender, at least in your youth?

Yes, but not skinny. Muscles.

Muscles. You had muscles.
Perhaps Aiden was somebody smaller, fairer, with very bright eyes.

You’re right about bright eyes. Not about the rest.
He was the same size, maybe taller than me.
Redhead, curly red hair, long hair. But not with the fair skin they usually have.

Wow. That’s a striking individual.

I had good taste. Very special, he was very special.

What colour were his eyes?

Green.

Ah. And a magical mind as well.

Cheeky.

So you met at a celebration. You saw him and were attracted.

Yes.

You had some ales together.

 Yeah, one or two.

Was it a men’s celebration, the wives were not there?

We weren’t married at the time.

Oh! You were still very young?

Yes — old enough to have fun.

Yes. But you fell in love with each other before your marriages were arranged.

Yes. It was good. We had more time.

You had time to be together, before you were married.

We could never be together officially. No matter if married or not.
But of course we married.

Who got married first?

I did.

It must have been very sad.

No. It was the thing to do; I was expected to do it. But I never stopped my secret life. So it wasn’t a loss.

You never had to give up Aiden.

[Intensely] I didn’t.
He got married too, soon after.

You were able to support each other a bit, through that change.

It wasn’t a loss. It was a gain. We had wives as well, as we were supposed to, and we still had our secret life. We never stopped. We were lucky.

You were very lucky. But you also arranged it that way, I think.

 [Indistinct]

Well Claudia and I in this time are two women together. We’ve been able to marry in another country but in this country our marriage is not recognised. We are able to live together, though.

[Startled] You have marriage?

We have marriage.

Interesting.

There’s a big discussion in this time about whether marriage for homosexuals should be permitted or not.

Is that how you call it?

Well, women call ourselves lesbian, men call themselves gay.

Yeah, like having fun. That’s how it is.

It’s true. Was there a name for being that way in your time?

Didn’t exist.

You must have felt like you were on another planet, you two.

We were.

Did you ever meet others like you?

No. You couldn’t trust people, especially not if they were fearful at times.

You must have noticed interactions between people that made you say to each other, “Do you think they are like us?”

Once or twice.

You were able to have your lives together? Your whole lives you were able to be together in a secret life?

Inseparable!

Did you live close to each other?

It depends on what you call close or what transportation you had. He didn’t live in the next house, of course.

He came with a horse and wagon or on his horse to see you?

Different ways.

Did he have land as well? Was he a landed man of property?

Yes.

Did he have a son?

Yes.

I wonder if perhaps in this lifetime, Claudia and I might go and visit Bristol with you, sometime?

 It has changed.

Of course.

You wouldn’t find the interesting parts.

What about The Nag’s Head? The tavern?

That was the wrong name, I think. It was The Hog’s Head.

It might still exist.

I don’t think so.

It’s getting hot now. I think Claudia's body is wearing a little.

I can feel it.

We’ll take a break now and talk again soon. It’s been a delight, absolutely delightful to talk to you, as always.

Thank you. The pleasure is on my side.

 

 

 

 

 

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