Wednesday, 8 July 2015

"Begin at the beginning..."

Okay so I'm new to all this, so please bear with me while I learn. I'm trained to work with pre-school children and my method is always to get them to have a go at whatever is the day's new challenge. I'll show them how to hold their scissors, but then I encourage them to get right on and try to cut the paper. So I think I need to apply my own teaching methods to this blog: jump right in and have a go.
The first thing I was asked to do when I was attempting to set up this page was to come up with a title. I chose this one because my first three novels are all set in the period known as the Dark Ages. But I don't envisage posting only about my novels. I also want to share my thoughts on current news items and post links to shorter articles, some of which are already written and published, some of which exist only as a series of hand-scrawled notes.

Sometimes I might just want to share my thoughts on anything that has caused me to smile during my day, or given me reason to stop and consider. These musings are what my children call my WOW moments (Wise Old Woman). If I tell you that these same children (and many of their friends) all have me on speed-dial under the name "Mother Hen", you might get the idea.

In a seminar room one stuffy summer's morning, smoke billowing everywhere (no,there wasn't a fire - everybody was allowed to smoke indoors in those days) I heard my lecturer say "No one really knows where Ethelred came from." Well, this notion intrigued me, but it wasn't really relevant to the business of studying and gaining my degree, so I filed it away at the back of my mind. Many years later, when I had the time to sit and write my first novel, that statement came back to me. But, whilst I hadn't lost interest in this mystery man who came riding into the pages of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, I realised that the story was, in fact, about his wife - Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians.

She was the daughter of King Alfred, her husband was de facto King of Mercia and yet it was she who helped keep her adopted kingdom of Mercia free from the Viking invaders and paved the way for her nephew, Athelstan, to unite the country.

I hope to tell you more about this remarkable lady and, indeed, more about the period that is so erroneously called the "Dark" ages, but for now let me thank you for visiting this page and say Wes Hal, (Welcome)

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