Friday, May 27, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The bi-centenary of the battle of Albuera
The Friends of the British Cemetery was set up to restore both the abandoned cemetery and also the tiny chapel of S. Joao, which had been the military hospital in Wellington's time but which had fallen into serious disrepair. After long negotiations with the Archdiocese of Evora, the Friends were allowed right of usage and took on the responsibility for the chapel's restoration and maintenance. This was marked by a formal ceremony in which the bishop of Evora re-dedicated the chapel.
The picture below shows the Corps of Drums - Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, looking splendid in their scarlet uniforms, who were there to mark the occasion.
The seond picture (below) shows the Portuguese Infantry Regiment No 8. There are wearing original 1811 uniforms which were doscovered in an old cupboard in the now-disused barracks. Unfortunately, all the uniforms were too small for 21st century Portuguese soldiers, so the 'soldiers' on parade are, in fact, women!
Top photograph of the chapel of S. Joao was taken by the author, the other two are courtesy of http://www.british-cemetery-elvas.org/
Friday, May 20, 2011
Having moved a month ago we're still chasing both things and time, so instead of the quite long and detailed post I was planning for today I am just going to share a couple of Regency prints which amused me and which focus on housing problems of some kind.
The couple on the pavement surrounded by their possessions are part of a series published by Ackermann featuring "boring" social situations. This one is all about what a bore it is when your landlady discovers that the young woman sharing your rooms is not married to you - "you have not pass'd thro the inconvenience of the matrimonial ceremony" - and evicts you without ceremony - along with lapdog, parrot and potplant. The young gentleman in his highly fashionable pantaloons and wasp-waisted coat looks as though he is about to take off and leave his weeping ladyfriend to deal with the situation!
The lodgings shown above look very respectable and the street is clean. Even the family begging seem unthreatening, if pathetic.
The other print shows lodgings that are far less respectable. It is from the famous "Tom and Jerry" series and shows Jerry returning to London and calling on his old friend Bob at his lodgings. His post chaise is standing in the road behind and the postillion is knocking on the door but there is no sign of Bob, only the annoyed landlady hanging out of the window and the nightwatchman snoring down below. The ricketty house is propped up on the pawnbroker's shop opposite, a pair of cats are squaring up for a fight on the roof and the dome of St Paul's Cathedral looms over the scene.
I doubt whether this landlady would turn a hair if her gentlemen lodgers brought home a woman who who was not their wife!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Last December my husband Mike was given indefinite loan of a field in which to grow fruit and vegetables. Though thigh-high in weeds, for him it was a clean page. First he bought a brush-cutter and strimmed the entire field including the hedges – working in 15-minute bursts as this machine is heavy, requires a supporting harness, and is swung from hip height. It took weeks. Next he dug over the first 3 metre by 9 metre plot and poured on thirty bags of home-made compost - a mix of straw-free horse poo and seaweed gathered from our local beach during the freezing winter (I held the sacks open) when it was so cold our faces were numb and even with gloves on we couldn’t feel our hands. Never has no pain no gain rung more true. But to get good stuff out you have to put good stuff in. And with gardening, as with writing, preparation is the key. Meanwhile the field’s previous occupants, rabbits, pheasants and pigeons, were watching, biding their time. With the soil warm from four weeks of hot dry weather in April, new and second-early potatoes were planted before Easter. Additional plots were prepared and planted. That’s when the trouble started.
The day after planting leeks and onions he had grown from seed, Mike returned to the field. The onions had gone and there were random diggings among the potatoes. Clearly something was trying to reach the fresh shoots. We ordered some plastic mesh – the kind builders use – and surrounded the plots with that. The rabbits chewed through it and the pheasants simply jumped over. Each morning he’d arrive and catch the pheasants among the crops. Once over the mesh in a flurry of wings and squawks they stretched their necks forward, head and body totally level as they hurtled towards the hedge, looking as if they were on wheels. Mike dismantled the frames and used the wire netting as an additional barrier all the way round the outside of the mesh. That stopped the rabbits but not the pheasants. This was war and demanded radical measures. My suggestion of an air rifle with telescopic sights and a silencer was declined. Instead he ordered some black electrical conduit and a roll of fine-mesh green netting and built a cage to cover each plot. He made a door for each cage from spare panels of corrugated Perspex on a wooden frame. So far it’s working. The netting allows sun and rain through, keeps the pheasants out, and has created a micro-climate. And we’ve just dug our first new potatoes.
While this was going on I sent off a 14-page outline and character biogs for my new book to my editor who had asked for "a darker edge". She received them on the Tuesday after Bank Holiday. On Thursday of the same week I received an email from her to say she had read them, liked them, and looked forward to receiving an exciting book. So no pressure!
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Henry Tilney - what a bargain!
It isn't my day, but I'm just dropping in to let you know that Amazon UK are offering the hardback of Henry Tilney's Diary at the absolute bargain price of £7.83 instead of RRP £18.99
Hale hardbacks are beautiful books, with removable glossy covers, and at £7.83 the hardback is cheaper than many paperbacks. I've no idea how long this offer will last, so seize the day!!!
Thursday, May 12, 2011
and I'll send a free copy anywhere in the world free of charge to your snailmail.
Just got back from holiday in Spain, which was lovely but it is nice to be home. Haven't started work yet but I have lots of ideas for future books. In the Uk M&B are bringing out Bought For The Harem in August. Captive of the Harem is now on sale in China as a comic book and I bought a copy for my kindle from uk site. The pictures are wonderful. You can see what is happening without understanding the balloons. It is a lot of fun and I feel delighted it has been done that way in Chinese. It was done a while ago in Japense. COTH has sold in so many countries. I wonder if Bought For The Harem will do as well?
:ove to you all, Linda/Anne