Where I’ve Been and What I’m Doing (an update post)

Things have been a little chaotic here since the beginning of July.  It all started with my attempt to write the first draft of a short novel in a month, and ended with the (hopefully) final edit of a poetry collection – but there were many exciting things in between.  So, by way of an update post, I thought I would share a little of what I’ve been up to.

Writing a Short Novel in A Month

As always, things never quite go to plan.  My short novel has turned out to be longer than I anticipated, but it’s been so much fun writing it.  I’ve been uploading the chapters to Wattpad and there are currently 27 posted.  I must say, the response to the story has been better than I could have ever imagined and I’m ever so grateful to those who’ve been reading it.

It’s been a week since I did any work on it, but hopefully that will change in the next day or two.

If you are interested in reading it or want to learn more about it, you can find Oathbreaker here.  Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts – your wisdom could help shape the rest of the story.

 

Stratford-upon-Avon

Another trip to The Bard’s birthplace.  Although the weather was still hot, thankfully it cooled a little for our few days away, otherwise it would have been unbearable.

One of the things we did this visit was take a boat tour up the river.  I took the photo of the church in which William Shakespeare is buried, from the boat.

 

 

Banbury

We drove through Banbury on the way to Stratford-upon-Avon, and having seen how lovely the town looked from the car, decided to stop on our way home.

Of course, those of you who know your nursery rhymes will have heard of Banbury:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes

It was interesting to learn about the history around the nursery rhyme, and although there are many theories as to her identity and the time in which she lived, no-one is certain.  As for the statue, I’m not usually a fan as they often have (to my eye) strange faces.  Not so with this one; I thought there was something absolutely captivating about her.

Shrewsbury

A day and a night in Shrewsbury, a popular choice for time away in our house.

That evening, as the sun was setting, we visited the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury, where the photo was taken.  It was fought in 1403 between King Henry IV and Harry Hotspur leading a rebel army.  For a place where so many men lost their lives in the most horrific of ways, it’s strange to think how peaceful the place was…

 

Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle

This is one of my favourite places in the world.

Situated on the top of a hill, with England to one side and Wales to the other, Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle is a beautiful, evocative place.  It doesn’t take much of an imagination to find yourself transported back 3000 years in history…

As we explored the stones, rain was coming in off the Welsh hills, giving my photo a magical, moody, intense quality.

It was hard choosing the one photo to share, but I think this one captured our time there perfectly.

 

Lilleshall Abbey and White Ladies Priory

On our return trip, we stopped off at two ruined monastic sites, Lilleshall Abbey (in the photograph) and White Ladies Priory.

We have visited these sites on a number of occasions and each time they have astounded us with their impressive remains.

The atmosphere at each site conjures images straight out of Cadfael: monks and nuns going about their daily religious life, as well as making you wonder how those in residence must have felt at the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.  If you had never been part of the outside world, I can imagine how life beyond the walls could have seemed scary.

 

Wall / Letocetum

At Wall, there are the ruins of a small Roman town, on one of the main road arteries in Roman Britain, Watling Street.

The Latin name of the town is Letocetum.

The ruins here are of a mansio, where horses could be changed and lodgings for the night found, and a bath house.

It’s an amazing place to wander around, and a great source of inspiration for my historical fiction writing.

My Poetry Book

One of the projects I’ve been working off and on is my first proper poetry book.  Now, after much tinkering, I think it’s finished…Woohoo? Well, sort of.

The problem I have with my poetry is I can never tell if it’s any good.  So, I think the next sensible step is ask if there is anyone out there interested in beta-reading it for me?  Ideally, I would like to get it in front of a poetry publisher as I’m not sure I have the necessary skills to self-publish, and to do that it would be great to hear what other people think of it.  For more information, please check this out.

Amongst the Ruins – Monday Inspiration

Continuing on with the recent theme of the spirit of place, I thought I would post about another place that I find incredibly inspiring, one that I had the chance to visit again over the bank holiday: a ruined and roofless church in Bedfordshire…

The church for the now vanished village of Segenhoe was dedicated to All Saints, the earliest parts of which date to the late Anglo-Saxon period.  This quiet corner is the perfect place to indulge in a little inspiration – and a cup of tea 🙂  It was raining during our visit, and the colours chosen for the photos matched the moody, gothic atmosphere perfectly…

The Abbey Ruins

The full moon cast an eerie glow over the abbey ruins, lighting up the yellow stone work in shades of pale gold.

Through the empty doorway a shadow moved, indistinct, but with purpose, an unfulfilled mission, centuries old, repeated each night, over and over, on a quest for peace.