5 things to do today by Royal Historian Tracy Borman

Thank you very much to historian Tracy Borman for contributing her 5 things to do today.

Get up with the lark – or preferably before. I’ve always been an early bird and love being up before anyone else. I get more done in the first hour or so of the day than the rest of the hours combined – writing in particular. During the lighter mornings of summer, I take my dog (Cromwell) to the local golf course so that he can have a good run around off the lead. It’s the most beautiful oasis of green space in the suburban area where I live so it’s a complete joy…until the golfers turn up and spoil it!

Coffee and cake. Although one of my favourite things is eating out, the best part of my day is at about 10.30am when I make a cafetiere of strong coffee and choose a cake to go with it. I have a very sweet tooth and absolutely love baking – if I didn’t write books, I would open up a cake shop. My cake of choice is a teacake. I found an amazing recipe during lockdown and haven’t looked back since. Warmed up and with a generous amount of butter, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the coffee.

Cycle around Richmond Park. Cycling is another thing I discovered during lockdown. As someone who spent most of their life believing that they were rubbish at all exercise except walking, it was a complete revelation. My husband has always been a keen cyclist and bought me a road bike…as well as a LOT of lycra. We’ve done some ambitious rides together, including cycling around the Isle of Wight (which nearly finished me off), but our most regular circuit is around the beautiful Richmond Park.

Have a declutter. I am a self-confessed hoarder. I keep so many things ‘just in case’ – from broken irons to the cardboard box that my old stereo came in. Keeping old letters, cards and diaries (I’ve kept a diary since I was 8 years old so that’s a LOT of diaries) is something that strongly appeals to the historian in me. I like to think that they will be a goldmine to future historians, but in my less whimsical moments I realise that they’ll just be a pain in the neck for someone to clear out one day.

Immerse yourself in the past. OK, so I would say this, being a historian, but I believe everyone should take refuge in the past now and again. Whether it’s visiting a historic house or museum, reading a historical biography or novel, or binge-watching the latest costume drama, there is something deeply comforting about finding out that no matter how stressful or at times frightening life can get, nearly everything has been endured, experienced and in many cases overcome before.

Tracy Borman is an author, historian and broadcaster. Her latest book is Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy.