A Visit to Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall lies on the edge of The Savernake Forest and was the familial home of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife. This location does not actually enter into my novel The Woman in the Shadows. My novel is about Elizabeth, Thomas Cromwell’s wife and it, in fact, ends in 1528 before Cromwell becomes a courtier. None the less, The … Read More

Out of the Shadows: Story of the Book Launch in Pictures.

On the 4th August The Woman in the Shadows was published. The launch party was held in Oxford Waterstones on publication day and was attended by over seventy guests. It was a pleasant evening with sunshine pouring in through the long windows of the second floor restaurant. You can see my publisher, Hazel Cushion, in the first picture. She is … Read More

Summer Books by guest author Brenda Brittan

I welcome Brenda Brittan, Writer from The Greek Mani Writer’s Group to share her favoured summer reads. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning – Laurie Lee This delightful sequel to Cider With Rosie, is an ideal summer read when one wants to escape the restrictions of everyday life and visit somewhere different. This is a captivating tale of a … Read More

Falconry, Lepers and the Angel

The medieval festival in the small Tuscan hill town of Montevettolini takes place in September for one day only. Montevettolini nestles in the hills about a half hour’s drive from Lucca and dominates the hinterland a few miles south of Montecatini Terme. This annual medieval experience is a crowd drawing event; being a fortified hilltop town there is only one … Read More

A Medieval Summer Picnic

The early medieval climate from circa the ninth century until the Norman Conquest was mild enough to allow the cultivation of vines in Hampshire. Bede remarks ‘the land is rich in crops and trees, and has good pasturage for cattle and beasts of burden. It also produces vines in certain districts, and has plenty of both land-and waterfowl of various … Read More

Medieval Travel, Trade, Pilgrimage, Maps and Journeys

Exactly one year ago I took to the pilgrim route from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostella. It was the one favoured by the English pilgrims who sailed to either Ferrol or A Coruna to begin their pilgrimage to the shrine of St James. This experience reminded me of how much travel went on throughout the Middle Ages. Pilgrim routes were … Read More

The Bayleaf Farmstead, a Late Medieval Building

The Bayleaf Farmstead, a Late Medieval Building, is an inspiration for anyone who loves timber-framed constructions. This building is a Wealden Hall house that was extended in two separate stages and has now been transported from Chiddinghurst in Kent to the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex. The first phase has been dated to 1405-30 when it … Read More

A Titanic Weekend in Belfast

The weekend of 14th April was the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, a hugely significant date in the maritime and social history of Belfast. We had arranged to visit the city for a Van Morrison dinner concert taking place that weekend in The Culloden Hotel. We had set out innocent of all knowledge of the imminent anniversary but … Read More

Stanfords, A London Treasure

Apart from the joy of reading books (and writing them!) there is also the pleasure to be had from just browsing in bookshops and handling the goods. Last weekend I visited Stanfords, probably Britain’s best travel bookshop. The store is in Covent Garden’s Floral Street, just down the road from Paul Smith’s flagship clothes shop. It is spread over three … Read More

She Stoops to Conquer at The National Theatre

She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith is one of those plays I always thought I had seen but actually never had, not unless I saw it as a school production way back when. Written and set in the eighteenth century, it is currently showing at London’s National Theatre. It is the best play I have seen so far this … Read More