Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Brian Wainwright "How I Wish I Had Written That" Award for 2019

The coveted and prestigious Brian Wainwright "How I Wish I Had Written That" Award for 2019 goes to the late, great and much lamented Edith Pargeter.
In this scene from A Bloody Field By Shrewsbury, Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, is addressing that toad, Bolingbroke...
"My lord of Lancaster, there is nothing now your vengeance can do to me, nothing you can take from me that I will not gladly part with. But I tell you this to your face, you do ill to use such words as traitor and treason to me, or to him that's dead in his splendour. What have we done that you have not taught us before? We took arms for our rights against wrongs inflicted by an unjust king. So did you! We did our endeavour to curb his actions and take from his his crown. So did you! If we are traitors, so were you when you struck at Richard. Did we go back on an oath of allegiance? So did you! There is nothing we have now done against the crown that you did not commit against it four years ago. Hold up the mirror of treason before you, and see your own face! And more - for you do things we have not done, and never thought to do. It was in fair fight in the field, and far outnumbered, that Harry Percy set out to take your life, Henry of Lancaster, man to man, not by proxy in a prison cell, fifteen days starving to death!"
A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury, Edith Pargeter, page 397.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Maria de Padilla

I am surprised to find the internet has several images of Maria de Padilla.

Her daughters married John of Gaunt and Edmund of Langley and she was the grandmother (among others) of Edward, Duke of York, Constance of York and Richard of Conisbrough. (Richard of Conisbrough is known thus to historians but as Lord Richard of York in his lifetime, later Earl of Cambridge. But that's a detail.)

What is really cool about Maria is that her coat of arms included frying pans. This may be unique in heraldry, it is certainly unusual. It is apparently a pun on her surname, which I presume works in Castilian. Not three lions on a shirt - several frying pans on a shield. (Or in her case, a lozenge.)

This New Spring of Time.

I am still pressing on with the novel, which has now reached Chapter 8. I wish I could write more quickly and more fluently, but I can't. I take the view that continuing progress is a Good Thing.

What would speed me up (probably) would be a lucrative publishing contract and a deadline; but I might as well say that a visit from the Blessed Virgin Mary would help. The latter is more probable, after all.

However I am absolutely determined to finish this book. I am writing it, basically for two people. Constance and me. If anyone else likes it, that will be a bonus, but as I do not expect to be able to buy a Rolls Royce with the proceeds, I am remarkably relaxed about the whole thing.

What I can say is the style is quite different from anything I have written before. It May Not Please Everyone. But it so happens I am finding it easier to write that way.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Richard II

Today I saw on the internet an extract from a book which suggested Richard II's marriage to Anne of Bohemia was never consummated.

This is utter bull excrement. We know, as a fact, that Anne lost children  she had conceived. For details, see Kathryn Warner's book on Richard.

So unless the Holy Ghost was busy in late 14th Century England, it's a certain as anything can be that happened over 600 years ago that the marriage was consummated.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Deferring the Garter Meeting.

In Kathryn Warner's book on Richard II I found that in 1386 the usual meeting of the Order of the Garter was deferred from St George's Day, although no reason was given in the King's letters. This threw me as the opening scene of This New Spring of Time is that very meeting and I had written it as taking place on St George's Day. Suddenly, this was wrong!

So I searched as one does, and found that the Garter statutes (albeit compiled in Henry V's time) provided that if the feast of St George fell close to Easter, the meeting would be deferred until the following Sunday. This was to save the knights having to travel over Easter, which was a no-no.

In 1386, St George's Day fell on Easter Monday! So at a stroke, I knew why it had been deferred and the likely replacement date. Simples!

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Progress on This New Spring of Time

I am finally making some progress with the novel This New Spring of Time which is a prequel to Within the Fetterlock.

Currently I am four chapters in and making (by my standards) good progress. This has been a start from scratch as I am using what is (for me) a new style.

All other writing is currently suspended. I have written about 60,000 words of Alianore II, but I am not satisfied with it, so it is going to have to have a complete rethink.

Friday, 31 August 2018

August 31st marks the death in 1688 of John Bunyan, author of the very influential book, Pilgrim's Progress, which has been loved by Christians across the world since it was first published.

Interestingly, Bunyan wrote the book while he was in prison, to which he was sent for the terrible crime of preaching without a licence by the tyrannical, bigoted government of Oliver Cromwell.

Oh, sorry! Cromwell died in 1658 and Bunyan was not arrested until 1661. It was actually the tyrannical, bigoted government of King Charles II.

This demonstrates two things:

1. While we should strive not to be bigoted, the "right kind" of bigot often escapes criticism, not least in history.

2. (For writers). If it's possible to write a major book within the confines of  17th Century prison, it should be possible anywhere.