Monthly Archives: May 2012

May Day

When I was a small girl, I remember my Welsh grandmother getting very upset because I had brought a twig of hawthorn in flower into her house. That incident has stuck in my mind for nearly sixty years and at … Continue reading

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Troublesome Tristan

Long, long ago and far, far away, I wrote a short story for children called Troublesome Tristan. There were a lot of alliterative names: Buxom Brunhilda; Lovely Lancelot etc., and yes, BB did go in for singing and LL caused … Continue reading

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Snottor’s Ham

Nottingham was, as I understand it, originally Snottor’s Ham, the place of the Snottingas, Snottor’s or Snot’s people. I have chosen to place a character with this name in my murder mystery, set in the seventh century. He and his … Continue reading

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Framing historical fiction; or to prologue or not to prologue

Are prologues a ‘good thing’ in historical fiction? Or are they a waste of words? I think of the paragraphs that typically run over the opening credits in Hollywood  histories. I always struggle to read them; well, I’m an historian, … Continue reading

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More on sleeping arrangements in the past

This week, in my (largely futile) search for primary sources on everyday life in seventh-century Gwynedd/North Wales, I returned to two old favourites. The first is the account bequeathed to us by Gerald of Wales and the second is the … Continue reading

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Cadwallon mab Cadfan or Catguollaun mab Guitcun?

I should say before I begin that my partner thinks my concern with this issue is silly. ‘It’s a novel, he says; stop being such an historian, he says; just make it up.’ The trouble is, I can’t – make … Continue reading

Posted in Ancient Welsh History, Anglo-Saxon History, Early Christianity, Elmet, Historical characters, Original sources | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Of fire, sleeping arrangements and the strangeness of the past

I have just spent a long weekend with six friends, walking and camping on Maria Island. This is a glorious national park island off the east coast of Tasmania, currently inhabited by wombats, kangaroos, possums, Cape Barren Geese and park … Continue reading

Posted in Anglo-Saxon History, Early Christianity, Landscape, Original sources | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments