Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where Did You Get That Hat?

I mentioned in my Christmas post that I was going to put up a post during the holiday season about Roger Bigod's hats.
While writing The Time of Singing and conducting the Akashic Record research, http://www.elizabethchadwick.com/akashic_record.html
I came across the detail that Roger Bigod, my hero, was rather fond of his hats. I think they served several purposes for him. They were functional and kept his ears warm and the weather out in winter, and protected him from the sun in summer. They conveyed status and propriety. They were disguises to conceal expressions and to hide behind, they were confidence boosters, and sometimes they were fun, flamboyant objects that said 'Look at me. I'm really a unique fun guy under this quiet facade.'
I asked Alison if she would draw the hats that she had seen Roger wearing in the course of our session and she very kindly sketched and coloured a selection. When I first saw them, I was a bit surprised because some of them looked slightly later in period than what I had envisaged. I sent them to a medievalist friend for evaluation. She said that what we actually know about hats in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century is very little. There are a few examples around, but to put it in context, it's like looking around the streets of Nottingham - where I live - choosing someone at random who's wearing a particular style of hat and then saying that this hat is the only sort people wore in Europe in the 21st century. There just aren't enough existing examples. We don't know enough about the variety and styles, so Roger's hats are perfectly feasible. Certainly I have found examples of similar by trawling paintings from the next two centuries and the Maciejowski Bible, dating to the mid 13th has some close relatives.
Anyway, without further ado, here's a wander through Roger Bigod's hat gallery, complete with the Akashic session context of how and where the particular hat was mentioned: I've also added some pictures from my gallery of later, conventional illustrations. Not all the hats or the circumstances appear in the novel, but they inform the background. Enjoy!
With grateful thanks to Alison King for her artwork efforts! Click on the images to enlarge.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Halellujah, it's Christmas!

I'm going to get back to proper blogging after the Christmas break. Domestic matters have expanded to fill a lot of my time for the next fortnight, but I thought I'd post a couple of Youtube vids to a couple of procrastination pieces I have enjoyed recently, and that both have a slightly Christmassy theme. Over Christmas and New Year, I also hope to post a fun blog about Roger Bigod's hats, so watch out for that in late December or early January.

So, with Seasons Greetings to Everyone:

For some years I have been following versions of Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah. It's a tricky one to get right and there are as many excruciating versions as there are magnificent ones. Connoisseurs tend to cite Jeff Buckley's version as THE one of choice. Personally I prefer Rufus Wainwright's. Recently though, I have come across one that blows my socks off - and no, it's not Alexandra's X Factor version. It's by Welsh band Brigyn. THIS is the one that deserves to be the UK's Christmas number 1 by a long chalk. Enjoy!

Another of my Youtube followings are the hilarious Simon's Cat videos. Just recently, Simon's Cat has been joined by Simon's sisters Dog. This a wonderful video with a warning not to overfeed your pooch this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Wild Hunting....

I have several blog posts to write of a historical nature but with Christmas suddenly appearing on the horizon (erk, where did that spring from?) and a bereavement in my husband's family, I thought I'd post a couple of less labour intensive posts to keep things ticking over. Early December saw the re-issue of my first ever published novel The Wild Hunt. It was published in 1990, having been picked off the slush pile by Carole Blake of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency in London http://www.blakefriedmann.co.uk/ It went on to win a Betty Trask Award, which is an award in the UK for first novels of a romantic or traditional nature for young novelists under the age of 35 - which I was then. The award was presented by HRH the Prince of Wales at Westminster. Wow, what a start to a career, especially as previous to this I'd been stacking shelves in supermarkets to make ends meet.
The Wild Hunt is I guess what you'd call a romantic historical adventure novel. The relationship between the hero and heroine fairly to the fore and the protagonists are imaginary, although set against a solid enough historical background - the Welsh Marches of the eleventh Century. It has been sold to 16 countries and even now is still earning the royalties in far flung parts of the globe. For that reason, although I now write biographical fiction and am very into my Marshals and Bigods, I have tremendous fondness for Guyon and Judith, the hero and heroine of The Wild Hunt.
It's strange to think that when I began writing this novel, my strapping 22 year old was an infant of eighteen months! I can remember sitting in the foyer of a Bridlington guesthouse, notebook in hand, writing the opening chapter. Who knew it would lead to this. To celebrate the publication, I've made one of my youtube trailers - just a short one. See below. The 2008 edition of The Wild Hunt is an all-singing, all-dancing spiffy new version in that I've re-edited it, and in so doing deleted 15,000 words without losing any of the story. I guess I've learned to cut some of the verbiage .
I've also found a moment to post 2 small excerpts from the work in progress - the story of Mahelt Marshal and Hugh Bigod. It's rough draft at the moment, but here's a quick preview. http://elizabethchadwicks.blogspot.com/

The Wild Hunt Trailer