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Archive for August, 2009

A Midsummer Nightmare…

August 22nd, 2009 4 comments

This evening I went to see Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve had the tickets for over a month so I knew I was going (though the fact on the way there I had an anxiety attack and had to double check with my husband what day it was just to be sure I had the right date should have clued me in that trouble lay ahead). The Goblin dropped me and my friend Liz off at Tolethorpe, where they have an outdoor summer theatre and we ambled past the picnickers and sat down on this little wall. I took out my phone to take a picture of us (for the blog post I knew I’d want to do) and found my phone battery was dead. No phone. I turned to my friend and said (in complete seriousness) “I don’t know my phone number…do you know my phone number?” “No, she said, and I didn’t bring my phone either.” I had taken two calming pills right before we left, but they take at least half an hour to start working…have I mentioned I suffer from anxiety or that I regularly find myself in these sorts of situations? I do. I started to panic; I have no phone…I don’t know my own phone number and I’m several miles out of town…half a mile up a road with no lighting and no sidewalk/pavement (I’ve walked it in broad daylight-it’s dangerous) and my friend Liz is a pensioner with a cane and four broken ribs (healing). Amid the panic I somehow remembered that after I bought my wallet I’d put one of my husband’s business cards in it…because it has my address and all his phone numbers. I sighed with relief as I took out the card. I had my coin purse that for once had change in it…all I needed was a phone because the Goblin wasn’t going to come pick me up until I phoned him to tell him the play was over. Read more…

Categories: I've been thinking Tags:

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered…

August 15th, 2009 Comments off

I’ve been ill all week with a low grade fever so I’ve been watching a lot of tv shows on youtube again. Miraculously I have written about three thousand words and hopefully I won’t have to delete them. But after accepting that I’d watched ALL the Star Trek episodes I looked up the early sixties show, Bewitched. I remember this show from when I was a child even though we rarely had a television set. If you’re interested in 50’s Americana, it’s fascinating. It was shot in the early sixties, but everything still looks fifties and the characters…well, they’re definiately from the fifties including the rampant misogyny and patronising attitudes towards women…but with a clever twist. Underneath the veneer of typical suburbia the writers are actually mocking the standards of the day. The misogynists and patronising males always end up looking stupid. I never noticed this until I sat here and watched episode after episode. (Social Studies 101)

The show is about a mortal man who marries a witch (who can twitch her nose and make things happen…or cast spells) and the tension is often caused by the fact they come from different worlds. Read more…

Categories: History Notes, I've been thinking Tags:

John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave

August 10th, 2009 Comments off
Earl of Mulgrave

Earl of Mulgrave

If you’ve read my stories, particularly An Unlikely Hero, you may recall my rat-faced villain the Earl of Mulgrave whose often mentioned in passing. The Character is named after and in my mind looks like, John Sheffield who was the Earl of Mulgrave (before he became a Duke). As you can see by his portrait he wasn’t ugly (he was allowed to be handsome), but stare at his lips and nose for several minutes and you’ll get the feeling the man finds you beneath his contempt and you’d be right. The fictional Mulgrave has been heavy on my mind these last few months because he’s a main character in the short story I’m writing (I’m also working on Dancing the Maypole). I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Mulgrave better, even if he is a rat. As the fictional Mulgrave developed I was struck by a need to know more about the real Mulgrave. I knew he’d written some awful poetry, but I wanted more and I found it.

In 1933 The Haworth press printed 250 copies of a condensed version of an orginal publication of the real Mulgrave’s writings published by his wife after his death in 1721. I own number 84; my very first, first edition! It cost me ten pounds. There’s no line of eagre readers waiting to snatch up John Sheffield’s earthly ramblings. I was so excited to get my book. I was going to read it as a treat ( a reward for doing some work) but I cracked it open and couldn’t put it down ’till I got to the final section which is on 18th century law which nearly put me to sleep, but the opening section ‘A short life…’ was worth ten pounds. Read more…

Categories: Book Reviews, History Notes Tags:

Knaresborough; King John, Blind Jack and Regency linen

August 9th, 2009 2 comments

I’ve always found learning to be a chain reaction. I’ll come across something that sounds interesting, look it up…learn something new…look it up…read something that sounds interesting…look it up…the chain continues. Knaresborough, Yorkshire has become a link in the chain. A few months ago one of my members (Hello Fiona!) e-mailed me after reading my post about visiting with King John and wanted to know what kind of lipstick I was wearing and mentioned she lived in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. After writing back and telling her that I was wearing Mary Kay, Copper Mine number 2347 (for anyone else interested) I looked up Knaresborough and was amazed that I’d never heard of it before. Read more…

Categories: History Notes, King John, Regency Notes Tags: