15 August 2015

Hinterland

Hinterland. As I was rambling through the north Nottinghamshire countryside this afternoon, that word popped into my head. It is a word I have liked since I first heard it and began to understand what it means. Hinterland sounds like Winterland but that is co-incidental.

The hinterland is the heart of a region, a continent, a country, a state. It is where you will probably find the essence of that geographical area. Perhaps it is where you will find its heartbeat - its industry, its fullest expressions of culture, its mountains. It is the core, the centre. Reality is surely to be found in the hinterland.
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Figuratively, you can use "hinterland" in other, more obtuse ways. Inside all of us there is a "hinterland" - like a geographical heart. Where we keep our secrets and our deepest thoughts and feelings. Others may be unaware of what lies beneath the surface but it's there, deep in the hinterland of who we really are.

A long novel may have a hinterland. So too a century, a marriage, a period of history, a relationship, a life. It could be mysterious, difficult to define but it's always there, behind the edges and frequently unsung and quiet, like the earth beneath our feet or the gaps between the stars.

...And there were other words and thoughts and memories on my long Nottinghamshire ramble - as if the rhythm of my footsteps was drawing them to the surface like fishes but I won't bother you with those other things, not today anyway.

20 comments:

  1. My beautiful part of the world had some glorious hinterland's. I am with you Yorkie, I like the word hinterland. Here it conjures up the image of glorious mountains , sub tropical and beautiful rain forest.

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    1. You are talking about Queensland's hinterland. Is that where we find the real Queensland ?

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  2. It is no secret that I literally live in the Gold Coast Hinterland...on the beautiful Tamborine Mountain up behind the the beaches and glitz of the Gold Coast.

    And yes..."Tamborine" is the correct spelling...there is no "u" in the name...but there is a "me" on the mountain; and an "I", which is me.

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    1. I guess that Tamborine Mountain must have been first spelled by a dyslexic or someone who had been sampling beer for too long at the MT Brewery!

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  3. This is very interesting. Your term hinterland has obviously been adopted from the German "Hinterland", which literally means "the country behind". Behind what, you may ask? Well, in your use of it, it is behind/beneath the surface or, geographically speaking, the heart of a country.
    In German, it really means what it says: the country behind. Behind/beyond the big city, for instance, there is a Hinterland of small towns and villages with significantly less infrastructure and inhabitants. In military terms, behind each frontline there is a Hinterland. In traffic, it can mean the area of influence of a seaport, airport or any other point of some importance where roads, railways, water paths etc. meet.
    I like the thought of a personal Hinterland inside each of us. Mine probably resembles a wilderness a lot more than most people would guess..

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    1. Yes. The word definitely comes from German and only entered English at the back end of the nineteenth century. Thank you for this useful gift!

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  4. Interesting post Mr Pudding. My first thought was about the hinterland in Queensland; there may be other hinterlands (as a distinct location) in Australia but I do not know of them.
    Ms Soup

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    1. Well Alphie, surely you could say that Uluru and Alice Springs are both deep in Australia's hinterland - like the mines of Western Australia.

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  5. I thought the word came from the seamen of old perched at the masthead who used to cry 'Is that a hint o land I see?'

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    1. Hahahahaha! That's a beauty, Graham! :)

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    2. Hey, don't encourage him Lee or he'll start doing stand-up comedy in Stornoway! "And now everyone please show your appreciation for tonight's star act - fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe - Mr Graham "Jimmy" Edwards!" (Loud applause!)

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  6. And then there's 'Hinterland' as in 'Y Gwyll' dark, Welsh drama first shown on S4C. The English version was later shown on BBC. I hope you watched it, YP. :)

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    1. I only found out about that show after I had written this little post Jenny.

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  7. As Lee points out, there is the hinterland of the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast hinterland north of Brisbane which is also very beautiful. I can't say I have ever heard the Atherton Tablelands referred to as the hinterland of Far North Queensland though.

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    1. Any lands that lie behind the coast can legitimately be referred to as "the hinterland" Carol.

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  8. Seems you have a lot of Queenslanders commenting here YP. Perhaps it is because we ( those of us who live in Southern Queensland especially) hear the term used very often when talking about our coastal beach areas and the neighbouring "hinterland". The sort of talk that comes from tourist agencies and the like. To me , it is a term reserved for areas near the coast and I wouldn't apply it to central Oz and places like Ayers Rock - just too far inland.

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    1. Maybe Ayers Rock (Uluru) lies beyond the hinterlands in the hinterland of the hinterland. Australians seem to have developed a new meaning for the term.

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  9. We have developed our own slant on lots of things YP. ..... a result of hanging upside down all the time !

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.