Friday, June 23, 2006

A book and a friend

I am going to be absent for a few days, researching in Wiltshire, so in the interim, thought I'd post a photo of a couple of members of my backup team during an off duty moment. I'm not sure what my husband Roger was reading at the time I posted the photo, but obviously something engrossing. Our dog Taz decided to join him and take the weight off his paws.

When I return, it'll be to the official publication of The Greatest Knight in paperback. I understand there's going to be an advertising campaign in various shopping centres throughout the South of England and it looks as if Amazon UK is already despatching copies as the book has suddenly taken a sharp leap upwards. I feel a little nervous, but on William's behalf rather than mine!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yippee, new books and bookshelves!

Not only do I have two new bookshelves for the overflow study/guest room, I even have some books to put on them as my long awaited Oxbow Books order arrived this morning. I am in ecstacy. So, What have I been buying?

THE IMAGE OF ARISTOCRACY IN BRITAIN 1000-1300 By David Crouch. Cost an arm and a leg but I've been needing this one for ages.

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF RABBIT WARRENS by Tom Williamson. Not of this minute vital to my research, but good background reading. Even after 1066 the rabbit didn't run wild in Britain for 100's of years.

MEDIEVAL OBSCENITIES Edited by Nicola McDonald - featuring nuns plucking the ummm...fruits of a penis tree. I suspect this will be an interesting read!

RELIGIOUS LIFE FOR WOMEN C. 1100-C1350 Fontevraud in England by Berenice Kerr. Something a bit more sober than the previous title methinks!

OLD LONDON BRIDGE: LOST AND FOUND By Bruce Watson. A fairly basic book, aimed at the general reader, but published by the Museum of London, so the research should be reasonably sound.

THIRTEENTH CENTURY ENGLAND X: Proceedings of the Durham Conference 2003 edited by Michael Prestwich, Richard Britnell and Robin Frame. Sundry articles. Having read Sharon Kay Penman's Here Be Dragons, I am particularly interested in the one about Joanna, wife of Llewellyn Fawr.

KING STEPHEN By Donald Matthew. Another take on Stephen and since I'm writing about the period, it'll make interesting general reading.

SURVEY OF MEDIEVAL WINCHESTER 2 By Derek Keene. 2 Volumes. Not for reading in the bath. Just under 1,500 pages. I am going to have to continue weight lifting at the gym for a while longer before I can read this one in my hands. John Marshal had a dwelling in Winchester near the castle, which he used when he sat at the exchequer there (have discovered I am writing about a guy who worked for the Inland Revenue - eek!), and I want to find out more about the particular environs.

DIALOGUS DE SCACCARIO/CONSTITUTIO DOMUS REGIS Edited and translated by the late Charles Johnson. Basically Richard FitzNigel's instructions on how the exchequer works and the establishment of the royal household i.e. who did what and how much they got paid. John Marshal was on two shillings a day at a time when an ordinary household knight could expect to receive eight pence. A hornblower on the hunting staff received three pence. Fascinating if you're into that sort of thing!

Anyway, plenty here to keep me out of mischief - except perhaps the obscenities book!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Return from talks and conferences

Generally I like to post something at least once a week, but I'm a bit late this time around. June's being a busy month. Apart from giving a talk to a full house at Borrowash library at the very beginning of June as part of Derbyshire Literature festival, I' was away all last weekend at the Southern Writers' Conference on the Earnley Concourse just outside Chichester. I was invited to speak on Sunday as part of their programme, but thought I might as well go along for the entire Friday to Sunday agenda.
What a wonderful place - of course I forgot my camera. However, here's the url to their website.
The weather was glorious which was a bonus. I arrived Friday afternoon to be greeted by tea and home made raspberry ripple cake (yum). My en suite room was very comfortable with windows opening onto a lawned garden. The grounds were populated by a variety of wildlife including some spectacular peacocks. One of my abiding memories of the conference will be opening my bedroom window on Sunday morning to watch a peacock displaying his fan and shimmying his stunning irridescent feathers. What a treat. Earnley is 15 minutes walk from the beach with a distant view of the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth. The weather being so wonderful, I went paddling on Saturday afternoon. The wind was warm and the sea was blue - heaven!
The food and service were excellent, and the workshops and the speakers educational and entertaining. Sandy Toksvig is just brilliant. My other fellow speakers, Peter Lovesey and Penny Jordan were both charming, interesting and had plenty to say that made good sense and gave the delegates food for thought.
If anyone's looking for a three day writing break with fabulous food, comfortable and beautiful surroundings, not to mention a fabulous indoor swimming pool, they couldn't do better than attend the Southern Writers' Conference. It's not just for writers from the South of England, but you need to book early. This year there was a waiting list and places are always snapped up the moment the committee starts taking bookings.

Meanwhile, historical fiction wise, I have embarked on The Agony and the Ecstacy by Irving Stone for a reading group project. So far I'm loving it, but it's going to be a long haul!

Friday, June 02, 2006

A quick update on the Temple Church effigies

Just dropping by to say that I have had a reply from the Master of the Temple Church, the Reverend Robin Griffith-Jones.
Here's what he said:

Dear Mrs Chadwick,
Many thanks for your message. I am glad you have spotted the mistake - the "nameplates" were recently removed for filming and have been put back in the wrong sequence. We will have them re-arranged, accurately.

With our thanks for pointing out the slip, and with best regards

Robin Griffith-Jones

So all's well that ends well, but I wonder how long William Marshal's son, William II would have remained the 'effigy of an unknown knight' if I hadn't pursued the matter!