It’s officially autumn. Even our sunflowers have wrapped shawls round their heads against the October chills.
I can personally vouch for the season’s change, having caught the Great-Grandmother of all colds nearly four weeks ago. It kept me in bed for a fortnight, and then ruined a week’s holiday in the Dordogne, especially when my Beloved also fell prey to the virus and couldn’t drive us home. We were a menace on four wheels as we wobbled our way back to the Channel, cutting our trip short and coughing a bug-filled hurricane over every passing French person. Continue reading “Back on your heads!”→
Readers of my travel blog (peteandjacmotorbikingineurope.wordpress.com) will immediately appreciate the serendipity of the picture above. Tracy Chevalier, my hero and talented author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Last Runaway, and most recently The Edge of the Orchard, was a speaker at the Historical Novel Society’s 2016 conference in Oxford last weekend, which I attended. (Apologies for the poor quality of the image, taken on my phone from way back in the hall.) Her wit, modesty and plain good sense are like gold dust. Coming only a few days after seeing the Vermeer original of Girl in The Hague on the final day of our European travels, her keynote address just seemed to really bookend that wonderful trip. Continue reading “Special moments in history”→
Well, I hope that’s how it turned out for the five writers who braved my Write Your Own Short Story workshop last Saturday. It was all part of the Cheddar Arts Fringe Festival. The idea was to add writing to the line-up of arts on display throughout Cheddar last weekend. But I wasn’t sure anyone would come, and set up my big table in the library half expecting to have a quiet morning to myself.
In spring 2013 I visited the entrancing city of Istanbul with my parents. I instantly fell in love with this exotic and history-drenched city. I was less enamoured by the hustling carpet salesmen, but managed to return home without a Turkish rug under my arm. Continue reading “A Touch of the Sinister”→
Doesn’t look like much, does it? Just a muddy field in a farm on the edge of the northern Somerset Levels. You’d never guess that under these grassy clods lie the remains of a large second century Roman courtyard villa.
In 1998 metal detectorists found a hoard of over 9000 silver denarii in this field. That is a serious amount of money, folks, something like £250,000 in modern money. The coins had been buried in the corner of a small room inside the villa. No-one knows by whom, or why. (The hoard is now on show in the Museum of Somerset, in Taunton). At around the same time as the hoard was hidden, c. AD 225, the villa was totally demolished, possibly after a major fire. Continue reading “Changes of scene”→
So here we are … Christmas has been and gone, and we’re looking 2016 firmly in the eye.
How about you – any life-changing body-morphing liver-mending resolves made? Fortunately for my liver, my appreciation of alcohol is correlated to quality rather than quantity these days. The Chief Medical Officer and I are so in alignment, with no effort on my part. Must be getting old. Continue reading “Beach Walks”→