You can't get away from it – well, not here in the UK anyway. The Olympics are everywhere, and even when I retreat into my Regency writing world those darn games still get in!
August sees the launch of the Castonbury Park series – 8 books by 8 authors, a sort of Regency Downton Abbey – for me taking part in that seemed like a marathon in itself, but we will all be blogging and tweeting about it over the coming weeks and months so I thought today I would take a little time out and indulge in a little fantasy of how the Olympics might have looked in Regency times (well, my Olympics, anyway).
We all know that the Regency bucks were mad on sport and I think the Prince Regent would have loved the idea of the games! It would have to be held at Brighton, of course – just imagine the Pavilion as the venue for the opening ceremonial ball and then, perhaps a beacon at Beachy Head plus a dance at the assembly rooms and a fair or two for the common people .And of course Prinny would want to design the uniform for the British athletes… he might ask Brummell to help. On second thoughts, probably not. Brummell's designs would be far too elegant and tasteful.
All those Regency Corinthians would be in their element, for we could have boxing (bare fists, of course) and we could make use of those duelling skills that all Regency heroes seem to have, so there would be fencing and shooting.
And swimming – how about Byron to represent us? After all he was a good swimmer and swam the Hellespont (and men swam naked in those days, so wouldn't that be fun!)
Horse racing, of course and possibly curricle racing. In one of my Melinda Hammond books, Autumn Bride, I had curricles racing along a flat, sandy beach with the tide hurtling in, adding an extra element of danger. Great stuff, but no good on Brighton's pebbles, so perhaps that would have to take place on the Downs somewhere. Then there's rowing, and sailing - Fencing and shooting of course, making use of their duelling skills.
And for the ladies? Well, archery would be a suitable sport, and riding was acceptable. After that, well perhaps we might have to include tatting, or knotting a fringe. But perhaps we could have a team event of dancing, after all those country dances are fiendishly complicated, and the participants deserve medals (especially those heroes and heroines who can make such delicious conversation whilst taking part in the dance). NOT the waltz, though, that might upset those of a more sensitive disposition.
What do you think? Is there anything -or anyone - you would like to include in these fantasy Regency olympics? Do let me know.
Sarah Mallory/Melinda Hammond
The Illegitimate Montague - book 5 in the
Castonbury Park Series - is published in December 2012