Showing posts with label Victorian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Victorian. Show all posts

Monday 3 September 2018

A Seaside Visit...

I'm home and catching up from a short break away at the seaside - Scarborough in North Yorkshire.

Unfortunately our four hour journey turned into six hours as not only was Friday lunchtime around the York area busy, but there'd been an accident earlier in the morning and the exit we should have taken off the motorway was closed, so lots of traffic having to travel further along and get back onto the correct route.

It was a relief to finally arrive...

We were staying at a hotel in the North Bay. The views are spectacular whether it's day, night or sunrise- the latter my OH was up very early to photograph while I continued to sleep.

Late afternoon at North Bay
with Scarborough Castle
in the distance...

We did a lot of walking but took advantage of the bus that ran along from the North Bay to the Spa at the far end of the South Bay.
You can walk up from the Foreshore Road to the main pedestrianised shopping area, but it's quicker to use the Central Tramway; it's history in action and only takes a very short time from the bottom to the top or vice versa.

Up or down...
The service is still run by the original company, The Central Tramway Company (Scarborough) Ltd, which was set up in 1881.

Of course it has had a lot of updates since then.

You can read more and see some photos of the trams in action on their website.

There's also a statue in the gardens across from the tramway building...                           

Queen Victoria...

This visit to Scarborough did not have any research motives, but of course history is always around.

The Castle is a scheduled ancient monument; from an Iron Age settlement to a Roman signal station, then on to the 12th century enclosure castle and through to the gun batteries of the 18th century and 19th century garrison during the Napoleonic Wars.

The town was bombarded by a German Destroyer in 1914. In WW2 it was a listening post.

It has strong literary connections too, not only Alan Ayckbourn's long association with the Stephen Joseph Theatre, but also poet Edith Sitwell who was born in Scarborough.

Anne Bronte died there in the late 1840's and is buried in the graveyard near to St Mary's Church.

There are regular boat trips for pleasure, or you can watch the working boats in the harbour. Crab seems to be a popular catch for the boats- and children on the pier with their buckets dangling by a long cord over the side into the harbour water.

The Harbour...

The weather was good and the sea air was refreshing; a much needed break after a busy summer.

Now it's back to work...

Sunday 15 June 2014

Historical Heroes Writing Competition 16th June to 6th July...

Mills and Boon have a writing tournament for historical heroes for the next three weeks, and you could win a detailed editorial consultation on your full manuscript...

Each week Mills and Boon will be looking for first chapters that feature particular categories of heroes.

This Monday, 16th until Sunday 22nd June it's Regency/Victorian heroes.

Then from the 23rd to 29th it's for Medieval/Tudor Knights/Lords.

For the third week 30th June until the 6th July, it's Warrior Heroes. (This is where your Vikings and Highlanders fit.)

So when Monday rolls round what do you need to send?

A short pitch: Setting,- where and when; a short blurb. You've got 100 words to pitch your story, so you need to make every word count. And there's a link to their current historical books so you can see the sort of thing you're aiming for. Then the big question to answer, why is your hero the best, and "what makes your hero the most delectable man in history".

Your first chapter: 3000 to 5000 words. Don't forget your contact details.

You can only submit once to each of the categories...

Then the editors for the M&B Historical will pick their favourites from the three sections, and they will feature on the Mills &Boon website for a public vote. 

Finally three different chapters will go online on the 14th July and the public votes again.

Midday (GMT) on the 18th July the winner will be announced. 

The winner (Tournament Champion) receives a detailed editorial consultation of their 'full manuscript'. 

There will be a variety of tips, blogs and other snippets across social media, so look out for during the three weeks with the #HistoricalHeroes.

The full competition details are here

You'll also find the Twitter handles for the editors of the historical books, so you can follow them and hear the latest news on the competition, with the #HistoricalHeroes.

If you haven't read any of the M&B Historical then have a peek here.

It's good to see historical romance getting some attention...

Saturday 1 June 2013

Medicines in History...

Sadly I'm indoors with an oil burner infusing the air around me with Eucalyptus pure essential oil- a couple of the family have had a cold and now it's got me- always happens during half terms when everyone is home and exposure is at the maximum- while they recover I get poor breathing...

As much as I'd have liked to spend time in the 18th/19th century, I really wouldn't want to have lived there forever- I would never have survived the various bugs and germs that were lurking...

There's some info about medicine through the ages, here.

Having blood tests done for valid reasons nowadays is bad enough, but bleeding someone as a general treatment for curing many ills as was done in the past, I can only say thank goodness we've moved on!

And you'll find some of the medical equipment used at the time displayed on Pinterest, here.

The local chemist, near where I grew up, still had the big glass jars in the window, (like the big one filled with blue liquid here) and at the back behind the counter area, the chemist's domain, still had the original polished and labelled wooden draws and counters- must have been a high class pharmacy in it's heyday. Sadly the shop is long gone...

Those old shops really had character...

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Late Nights and Reading 'Crystal Gardens'...

The late nights started with the Olympic closing ceremony- I especially enjoyed Eric Idle's 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' performance with Nuns and Roman Soldiers (Monty Python links) in the background...

Then a couple of days ago I got an Amazon delivery of a book by one of my favourite writers, Jayne Ann Krentz, though this book was using her historical pseudonym, Amanda Quick. She also writes futuristic stories under her Jayne Castle name.

I started reading her books years ago, and have a mixture of old copies bought second-hand as well as those that I purchased at the time they came out. I even have a few of her books written as Stephanie James (they've also been reprinted over time with the JAK name mentioned on the cover).

For quite some time her books have been dealing with the paranormal/physic element around
the romance and mystery mix. I've read all the novels related to the Arcane Society and the Jones family...

I'm sure any prolific author will have one or two books that don't reach their usual high standard, and a few years ago there was one that sounded very much like the plot of one a few novels back and as a result it wasn't as good as I had come to expect.

But I'd seen this happen to other authors I'd been reading for quite a time, and they had all gotten over the blips and gone on to produce more good books.

So I was wondering whether to get 'Crystal Gardens', the first of The Ladies of Lantern Street novels, after reading a couple of mixed reviews. I decided that if I didn't like this one then I wouldn't buy the next one.

The book arrived and I started reading, and I stayed up a bit longer to have a quick scan of the plot further on in the book, and then it was gone midnight. The next evening I started reading again and it was a case of just one more chapter before I go to bed, and yes it was way past midnight again before I stopped reading.

I'm now three-quarters of the way through. Yes, I'm enjoying it, and I'm looking forward to the happy ending (which I know will happen) after the near the end moment when the villain may just ruin it all.

And as the heroine, Evangeline, is not only a professional companion but a writer of Victorian sensation novels, there were moments, and comments that she makes, that any writer of romances would smile at.

Finally if attempted murder, and the extremely handsome and intriguing hero, Lucas isn't enough for you, then you might be intrigued by the carnivorous plants... (And yes, there is a logical explanation for them.)

I've just got time for a few more chapters...

Friday 16 March 2012

Costume Heaven for the Writer of Historicals...

The Dictionary of Fashion History by Valerie Cumming, C W and P E Cunnington published by Berg (an imprint of Oxford International Publishers Ltd). This is a revised and updated version of the latter two authors dictionary.

(When I saw the cover image of the Victorian, red and yellow corset, close to, one of my future (but unknown) characters flitted by wearing it...)

Now admittedly I do have quite a few books on historical costume on my bookshelves, some are general, other specific to certain time periods such as the 18th or 19th century. But they each have elements that the others don't.

The newer books have beautiful coloured illustrations, which allow you to see detail, while the much older books relied on old illustrations and black and white images to accompany the text. But old copies of books by Phillis and her husband can be very expensive second hand- and I've picked up a couple in charity shops, but still had to pay quite a bit for them.

The updated dictionary gives a general date period, and a description of the garment, sometimes even a relevent quote. I like the mid-19thC term Howling bags, a slang term for trousers which sport a very 'loud' pattern. I've seen some modern trousers that would certainly fit that description!

If you've ever wanted to know what a particular fabric looked like, or what fibres it was made from, then there's an A-Z covering 50 sides; a glossary of laces- again with dates and descriptions, and a page of obsolete colour names.

Now I don't think anyone would question why the (16th C) Yellowish-green Goose-turd became an obsolete colour...

There's a comprehensive Bibliography too- and I do have a few of the books mentioned.

As many of my characters inhabit the 18th and 19th centuries, I can visualize their clothes better and appreciate the effect on their movements, as well as the texture.

In my Dorset novel my heroine sometimes has to wear clothes that are completely different to her normal attire, and I know that when she first puts them on it will feel strange to her...

Ideally I'd go and look at costumes on display, but costume museums are few and quite a distance from me, and won't necessarily have garments from the time period I need. So books, the web and costume postcards are very useful.

If I chose a particular costume item I'd like for using now, it would be a Calash- especially when I've been to the hairdressers and the weather is breezy... :-)

From any century, what item of clothing, footwear or headgear would you choose?

Monday 16 May 2011

A Boat on the River...

I spent two hours on the river today. Well I was inside the boat, which was fortunate as it was a bit breezy and dismal outside.

A friend was celebrating her birthday and she chose a two hour boat trip up and down (parts of) the River Trent-where still navigable, so we could enjoy sandwiches and scones as we passed by some of Nottingham's past- warehouses, canal locks leading to other once connected waterways, and the two football grounds (Nottingham Forest and Notts County).

It was interesting to see the backs of the many buildings whose frontage I'm so familiar with that I don't pay much attention to them anymore, or even think about what is behind them.

Each of the places we passed had stories attached and could give a writer ideas- I have enough ideas to deal with at the moment...

So if you ever get the chance to take this sort of river trip, a mystery tour or an open-topped bus trip around a historic city, then go, look beyond the obvious and discover...

Saturday 27 November 2010

Useful and Interesting Websites...

The world wide web has been a boon to writers of fiction or non-fiction- or both. We can now access documents and pictures that would have previously required time and a visit to libraries or museums that may not even be in the same county or even the same country!

One website leads to another and a reference on one to another. Result, a problem solved, knowledge gained or another story idea pops up- I have too many of them to deal with at the moment.

Thank goodness for Favourites...

As I'm having a quiet spell (Wednesday evening and Awards Night at my writers' club approaches - my competition entries will be returned with the judges comments) I thought I'd suggest some interesting websites that I have in my Favourites folder that you might want to look at some time.

History. I love history as you may have realised from the posts about my recent travels. So I've chosen two sites that I'm sure you will enjoy.

The Georgian Index can be graphic intensive so you can click on a text only A-Z list (well Y actually) and go from there. There's also a Napoleonic and American Front Door you can explore (those leads I mentioned).

Particular sections that interest me in the GI include the London Street and Business Index covering London Merchants (with addresses and dates where known).
Just a few examples:
Gun makers- where a Gentleman would go to obtain his weaponry or practice on targets.

Goldsmiths and Jewelers- where Royalty and the wealthy were supplied.

Purveyors (suppliers) of Wine, Tea or Food- Twining for Tea (still producing tea now) and Fortnum and Masons- a well known name- who thrived providing care packages (apparently) for Officers during the Napoleonic Wars.

Modistes, Milliners and Furriers- for Ladies clothing.

Addresses recognised in Regency romances: Grosvenor Square, Hanover Square, Bond Street and Park Lane...

You can find out what the card games of Piquet and Loo were at a Regency Card Party and see pictures of Furniture and a Sedan Chair (I don't envy those Chairmen who carried people around).

There's so much to find out-I haven't even touched on the list of Newspapers...

At a slightly later date- Victorian- there is The Victorian Web.

This site is very text intensive so be warned.

Subjects covered include Thomas Hardy's Dorchester, a gallery of images you can click on including one of the building reputed to be the house of Henchard in the Mayor of Casterbridge- it is now a Bank.

Architecture- Gothic Revival,  Classicism and Moorish.

Victorian Theatre, Gender matters, the list just goes on. You will find something that interests you in the numerous pages.

So go and have a look and enjoy...