The title of this posting comes from an old Chinese curse - May you live in interesting times - and that's what life has been like lately. Some of it has been very exciting - for example, the news that my new book The Chain Garden will be published by Robert Hale on 31st of July instead of - as I believed - the 31st August. But though this book, a Cornish family saga dealing with the fall-out from 30 years of secrets and lies, is very dear to my heart, it's not actually set during the Georgian/Regency period, so I mustn't say any more about it here!
On a more personal note, my younger son is getting married at the end of August. So many of the family will be going that we have more or less taken over a small hotel. As mother of the groom I have very little to do other than try to decide what to wear, and lend a sympathetic ear while he unloads the frustration of trying to organise table arrangements when certain people aren't talking to certain other people. I expect many of you are smiling in recognition.
Because of the hot weather interspersed with some very heavy showers the garden is flowering wonderfully, the tomatoes have formed fruit, but the grass is beginning to resemble a hay field.
My father will be 91 on July 16th and has decided to have a patio party. So far he's invited 21 and all have accepted. Now we have to decide what to give them to eat, and beg or borrow additional chairs so everyone who wants to can sit down.
Meanwhile I'm trying to get on with Devil's Prize. I'm currently working on Chapter 6 and have discovered some more fascinating facts about the smuggling of contraband. Many of the Cornish smugglers picked up cargoes of contraband from Roscoff. A helpful merchant would have ensured that the tubs of brandy were already roped together with a sinking stone attached. The reason for this was so that should the smugglers be chased by a revenue boat, as long as they were reasonably close to shore they could jettison the cargo overboard. This was called "sowing the crop." Provided the tubs didn't land on rocks the brandy would come to no harm underwater for a few weeks. Once the coast was clear, the smugglers would return with grapnels to "creep" for it. But because French rope was twisted the opposite way from English rope, once ashore it had to be burned as quickly as possible so it could not be used as evidence.
Dangerous Waters Robert Hale March 2006 Available from www.Amazon.co.uk
The Chain Garden Robert Hale July 2006 Available from www.Amazon.co.uk