Thursday, 17 May 2018

Weddings

May weddings seem all the rage and not just dear old Harry and Meghan!  Been invited to my friends' second wedding, and I have not a single thought what to wear. I asked her and she said "Posh".

What is posh to me may not be posh to anyone else. Port Out Starboard Home - is the real definition of posh - 1930s cruising acronym.

17th Century Banqueting gear mayhap?

1940s spotted red dress with red hair net and rose?

20th Century Flowery frock with big hat?

I have a big hat that I have worn only once it's black with sugar pink feathers, the last time I wore it was ten years ago. Probably eaten by the mice in the attic by now

Ooooh...  I have a 18th Century Gainsborough hat,  I have a 1920s cloche hat, I have a leopard skin hat that goes with my 1930s stuff.

I think that's the trouble with living in the past as the re-enactor, you spend so much money
on clothes that don't belong to this century - the 21st!

How far can I go back?  Uummm I have a Wilma Flintstone outfit if that's any help!

Well me and my holy toe (hole in my toe - took me a bit of courage to look at today, but it's ok!) will have to hit the shops and see if I can re-enact being part of the 21st Century.

I honestly thought that by this time the 2000s I'd have my own Jet Pack and a little weekend getaway on the moon, and be wearing silver one piece suits. Bit disappointed but hey, onwards and upwards.

Speak soon have a totes amazeballs weekend all.

Do you think it's the painkillers?  Urm perhaps too many? Never mind I'm happy!

 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Back to work/real life!

Yesterday I re-read my book making some small alterations as I went along, then the muse took me and I ended up writing all day, lost in the English Civil War, with all it's horrors and pleasures. 

I am using diaries, letters, troop movements of the time to weave a story of one woman's life during the War and the Protectorate. My main character is loosely based on Lady Anne Halkett, the words, the deeds my Anne performs are my imagination not history, the battle of Naseby, the hot muggy day it was fought on, is real history, research told me the weather, where the troops mustered, what hymns the Parliament soldiers sung.

Re-enactment with the Sealed Knot taught me the life of a 17th century woman, wearing hot restrictive clothing, cooking over a live fire. The fragrance of bread baking in the morning, how to use herbs for cooking and medicines.

On the Knot camp I don't feel it's really much different from the armies of the time except we all camp together, and usually no-one dies. I say usually, because it has happened. Not through fighting, but through 21st Century illnesses.

Our troop numbers are around 2-3 thousand, at the timeof the war the troop numbers would have been in the hundreds of thousands. It amazed me how many men actually fought and died in the English Civil Wars.

As for real life, it creeps in as it does after a holiday, I came back feeling great. It didn't last, it's only Wednesday today and already this week we have had our shower unit replaced as it had stopped working, I have had holes drilled in my toes to rid me of an infection, and one of my cats has fallen ill, can hardly move poor boy, so it's off to the vets later today.

My poor sister rang yesterday suffering from food poisoning, then having an allergic re-action to the medicine to help her, scary, making her tongue, toes and fingers go numb.

Allergies. Seems to run in our family, but that's another story.

So back to work, hubby is fighting with computers that have lost him three days work as they wiped the memory as they fell over and died.

The peace and tranquillity of Cornwall seem a million miles away - here's another lovely photo to get me through the day.  Have a good weekend everyone.
The view from our campsite.
 

Monday, 14 May 2018

Holiday!

 Boscastle beautiful day, beautiful place
 Golitha falls, Bodmin Moor
 Minoean ship at Charlestown Shipwreck Museum
A square rigger Charlestown harbour
Busy Mevagissy

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Once more into the breeches dear friends

So I'm writing so much that my hands hurt. Writing and typing, and checking facts, as I try to bring a seventeenth century woman to life in my latest book. My 21st century sensibilities have to be knocked aside. 

It was a strange time to live for any woman who had a brain in her head.  A strange time for a woman to live in this country. The English Civil war left scars across the land that can still be seen today in the castles and houses 'slighted' by Fairfax and Cromwell.

'Slighted' in old English means totally destroyed, burnt to the ground, erased from the land. To us today it sounds like, well, it was kind of knocked out of the way.

Behind each of these buildings are peoples lives,where they began and ended. Sometimes brutally, the moral compass of the beligerants no longer existed.  It was a feral life in elegant clothes.

I own a few musket balls, they are some of the most common historical artifacts found by metal detectors. I look at them sometimes wondering who they have hit.

It was like any modern war, men women and children were obliterated for no other reason than they were in the way. Wrong religion, wrong language, wrong ideals.

A silly ineffectual man with a stutter who believed in the Divine Right of Kings to rule without Parliament and a blood thirsty bully of a dictator, who was the man who would become King.  Had himself painted in exactly the same positions as nearly every portrait of the King.
A farmer from Huntingdon wearing ermine and posing with a sceptre, scruffy collar, warty and balding.

Through my research I found out Cromwell had a prediliction for young girls, twelve to fourteen, bouncing them on his lap and getting them to sing to him. Even his favourite daughter Bettie. 

Kind of Trumpesque, bully, thug, entrepreneur, (he married for money) sexual predator.

The little King - vassilating and blown this way and that by his advisors and his wife. Trying to live up to his father's memory. A loving father dying bravely in front of his people wearing two shirts so as not to shiver on a cold day so that he was thought a coward.

Cromwell was punished after his natural death, his head put on a pike on Tower Bridge by 
Charles II. It was blown down in a gale and taken away and hidden in Cambridge, such is the venom still rampant in this country towards him - and I must say to still to the King.

Recently the head was taken from it's hiding place and inspected for the first time in many years. It turns out that at some time during his life probably towards the end, he had been trepanned. A hole cut by a surgical instrument was evident on the skull.

I am for King Charles, I am a Cavalier, a Royalist and proud of it. 

He didn't slaughter the Irish people of Drogda, he fought on battlefields and was dragged away because he wanted to go and help his men. At Naseby one of his officers took his horses reins to pull him away and said "Sire will you go to your death?"

Life under Cromwell's protectorate was hard. It must have been like living in Nazi Germany.
Everyone was watched, reported, criticised. Young men who raised a maypole in celebration of the season were hauled away to be executed. Only saved when one of them said that it wasn't for May Day but in celebration of Cromwells victory in a battle. They got off but the maypole was burnt.

Soon I will be re-enacting the Battle of Bristol, it's the one that Prince Rupert of the Rhine decided would be too high a cost in blood and men, so surrendered. 

I will be running a casualty dressing station for wounded soldiers, and some of my real musket balls will appear on the battlefield again. This time to be dropped in a bowl covered in fake blood as I use my implements to fake remove them.

We do this so it will never happen again. To show how horrible war is.

But we are again a divided country, the awful politicians we have are tearing us apart. Do they not understand that divided we fall? Perhaps that's the way we are to be controlled.






Friday, 20 April 2018

Been a while.

After a very busy week going here there and everywhere I at last found time to sit and work on my new book. It's based on one of the ladies in my Women in the Civil War book, and using her adventures as the plot.

I find that proof reading is the hardest part, yes it will be proof read again after me, but I want it to be as good as it can get, I also want to get the dates right and troop movements right for the "bolt counters" who read history books.

I went to bed late last night trying to work out what to do for a holiday this year. All I really want to do is go back and live in Cornwall. I wouldn't need holidays then.

There's something about walking along a Cornish beach early in the morning before anyone else is around, the salt smell in the air, the fresh breeze whipping your hair. Seagulls screeching in the blue sky.

We went to Lyme Regis and it was very cold but very sunny, we needed a break to get out of the snow and rain of the Oxfordshire countryside.
It was lovely, Lyme is one of my favourite places, it still has a character all of it's own. 
 Love to see the gulls dancing in the wind and screaming for their food!

Found out this week that the deafness in my ear is not cureable. The ear drum has healed but the nerve that sends signals to the brain is broken. Oh well, at least my other ear is fairly ok.  So on I go write write write.... got to get this book to an agent who showed interest. Almost finished, nearly there.

Have a good weekend everybody whatever you do.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Easter

Happy Easter Everyone!


Buds are at last starting to appear!  Bring on the Easter Eggs, the sunny days the chicks and bunnies, the roast turkey on Easter Sunday, the hot cross buns, the four days off!
Easter bunnies looking at a little Victory! Let's face it we all need a little victory now and again!  Have a lovely time everyone.
 
 

Sunday, 25 March 2018

The Heart of Overdown

It will be out tomorrow, my supernatural thriller, it gives me a pause and a chance to give my poor Overdown inhabitants a rest for a few months.

It has been one of the hardest to write, the research has been scary, and it has been a real mission to get it finished. 

Andy as usual made my pencil sketch into a wonderful book cover that glows off the page.

Life for me has always had it's spooky moments, and I have tried to incorporate that into everything I write.

Whether it be a phone call I took at 8am, from my father in hospital to tell mum he was all right. Followed by the Hospital ringing back at 9am, to say he'd died at 4am with a nurse holding his hand.

To playing guess the cards with my sisters hold up a playing card from the pack and one of the other girls had to guess it. We got it right so many times we got bored playing it. When I was working at the BBC I filmed a programme on probabilities, and the game we played should have been impossible!

Then there was the photo in my Cornish house with the ghosts - I asked them to all get in the photo, and they did, eight orbs of the men who died in the Levant mine under my house
in the 1960s. 

The weekend is over, and back to the next book A Farthing for Oxford, almost finished. No supernatural stuff in that, it's all about a midwife's life in the English Civil War.