A Day at Dover Castle

           I do intend to blog about my Richard III Tour, but I have had to put it off for a while as I fight the Deadline Dragon, who came back again as soon as the galley proofs for A King’s Ransom landed with a resounding thump on my front porch.   Before I disappear into the dragon badlands again, I want to put a new blog up, for the current one is probably collecting cyberspace cobwebs by now.  So here is the story of my day at Dover Castle.
 After the Richard III Tour was over and I’d done what I needed to do for my British publisher in connection with the hardback publication of The Sunne in Splendour on September 12th, I had five whole days for myself.    By pure chance, my friend Stephanie Churchill Ling and her husband, Steve, were visiting the UK at the same time and we were able to get together on the weekend before they flew home.  On Saturday we went with my friend, Dr John Philipps, to the Globe Theatre in Southwark to see a performance of MacBeth.  This Globe is a reconstruction of the original Globe theater in Shakespeare’s time, and it was such a remarkable experience to watch one of Shakespeare’s plays in a sixteenth century theatre.  They even had standing room space in front of the stage for the “groundlings.”   We were wimps and sat in the sheltered section, having rented cushions to soften the hard wooden benches; John has often been to the Globe and we benefited from his expertise as it was the first visit for Stephanie, Steve, and me.   Here is a link to a great website offering the history of the original Globe theatre and a certain playwright from Stratford on Avon.  http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-globe-theatre.htm   And this site has some striking photos of the new Globe. http://www.londontown.com/LondonInformation/Entertainment/Shakespeares_Globe/8f9c/imagesPage/15462/ 
 On Sunday, John drove us to Dover Castle as I was eager to see the renovations that had been done since my last visit.  They have set up interior chambers that look as they would have done in the time of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.   This was one of the highpoints of my trip, for we usually have to rely upon our imaginations in order to envision a medieval bedchamber or garderobe or kitchen.    At Dover, no imagination needed!   I will try to post a few photos with this blog, but we’ve had trouble doing this in the past and I am not sure the problem has been resolved.  However, Stephanie found this wonderful virtual tour of Dover Castle, which is almost as good as being there.   http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/dover-castle/great-tower/virtual-tour/   Be sure to click onto the interactive map on the left side of the page.   On certain days, Henry is there to greet visitors, muttering about his troublesome wife and sons; if you click onto the great hall introduction on the interactive map, you’ll get to see a brief video of his grumbling.    
 I’ve been fortunate enough to pay numerous visits to Dover Castle over the years, and whenever I crossed the Channel from France, I enjoyed watching the white cliffs of Dover come into view. ( I’ve never taken the Chunnel as I am not crazy about tunnels, especially underwater ones.)   I am an even bigger fan of Dover Castle now, for I kept thinking that if only I turned around fast enough, I might catch a glimpse of Eleanor’s skirts as she entered the stairwell or see Henry striding across the great hall, bellowing for his hounds and huntsmen, eager to indulge his passion for the hunt.   
 Castles have atmosphere, at least to me, and they are often claimed by the ghosts of the people who lived in them.  At Middleham, I never think of the Kingmaker, only of Richard and Anne during the years when he was the Lord of the North.   Kenilworth stirs no echoes of Simon de Montfort, for I think it belongs to Elizabeth Tudor’s great love, Robert Dudley.   I can easily envision Edward I at his Conquest Castles in Wales, probably one reason why I much prefer the strongholds of the Welsh princes!  When I visit Clifford’s Tower in York, I can think only of the medieval Masada, the tragedy that engulfed the city’s Jews in March, 1191.    Fougeres Castle in Brittany puts me in mind of my fictional characters, Justin de Quincy and Durand de Curzon, who were entombed in its underground dungeon.  
But Dover Castle never evoked the spirit of the Angevins to me—not until this last visit, looking at it through Henry, Eleanor, and John’s eyes; I don’t sense Richard’s spirit there, am not even sure if he ever visited it during the six months that he spent on English soil.    The key to the kingdom, they called this awesome fortress,  and getting to see it with friends on a rare sunlit day was about as good as it gets for a woman whose favorite century is the twelfth and whose favorite king is the second Henry to rule England since the Conquest.  
November 16, 2013

65 Responses to “A Day at Dover Castle”

  1. Paula Mildenhall Says:

    The first time I visited Dover castle I felt something while I strolled down the passageways, I think I could sense Henry. On my most recent visit I was impressed by the refurbishments, especially the kitchens. I was quite taken with the loaves of bread with the crosses on the top. How delightful to be able to visit with friends. On my last visit I was there all by myself.

  2. Joan Says:

    Marvelous post, Sharon!! Love your last sentence. What a wonderful time you all must have had at Dover Castle, not to mention the Globe. The virtual tour of the castle is mesmerizing…..thank you Stephanie.

    Sharon, I wish you would have, if not actually caught a glimpse of Eleanor’s skirts, at least have heard the swish of silk.

    Looking at the sites of the Globe reminded me of an episode of the BBC series “Shakespeare Uncovered”, hosted by Joely Richardson. I found this little write-up:

    …….Joely Richarson wanders around an empty Globe Theatre talking about what a Shakespeare performance would have been like 400 years ago in such a place. She imagines the heckling, laughing, & cheering the actors would have been dealing with & how it would have added to Shakespeare’s plays. As she does this the snow starts to fall & she momentarily has to stop & wonder at the beauty of it…….

    It’s a lovely moment if you have time to watch the episode on youtube.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for next Sept…..most likely York??

  3. Stephanie Says:

    Joan, you’re welcome! It was a fun video to find because it helps to bring back the lovely memories of that day. It was my first time at Dover, but it was especially special to see it with my friends.

  4. Koby Says:

    A wonderful post, Sharon. It was great to read your feelings of certain castles and who inhabits them in your mind.
    Today, Adelaide of Savoy died - she was Eleanor’s mother-in-law. Her son Louis VII also died on this day, officially making his son Philip II Augustus King of France. Otto IV, Matilda’s son and Holy Roman Emperor was excommunicated today by Innocent III, and lastly, Mary I of England died yesterday.

  5. skpenman Says:

    I had a rough week, losing a dear friend, and was very much in need of some cheerful news. All three of these stories more than qualify. The city of San Francisco responded in an awesome way for a little boy who’s been fighting cancer. A brave woman drove 600 miles to rescue family and friends trapped in an area devastated by the typhoon that struck the Philippines. And a waitress, who also happened to be a former Marine, was refused a tip by customers because she was a lesbian; that may not sound like a happy story, but the aftermath was, for she has received a heartening wave of support from the restaurant and other customers.



  6. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I’m very sorry for your loss. It does help to read these heartwarming stories.

  7. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I’m sorry to read about your friend. I hope you do feel better. I do not know what might have happened to my e-mail written in reply to your letter. I will try to re-send it as soon as I can. I love your post and absolutely agree with Koby about the castles and their dear inhabitants. Unfortunately I cannot agree with him about the date of Louis’s death. Actually, Henry the Young King’s father-in-law died on 18 September [1180]. But I do know the other member of Henry’s family who passed away on this day in 1189. It was his brother-in-law, William of Sicily.

  8. Malcolm Craig Says:

    My condolences, Sharon. Unfortunately, these things happen more often at our time in life. This helps us appreciate and enjoy our good friends even more. Do take care of yourself.

  9. skpenman Says:

    I posted the other day that a good friend of mine had died and I would like to thank you all for your kind expressions of sympathy and for sharing your own stories of loss and grief. Because I spoke of him so often on Facebook and he posted here, too, many of you may feel as if you knew him, my computer guru pal, Lowell. So I am posting here something that I wrote about Lowell this weekend.
    * * *
    Most of us are fortunate enough to find others to love, but few of us ever meet someone who is truly memorable. I was one of the lucky ones, for my friend, Lowell LaMont, blazed his own trail with courage, humor, and determination. We lost Lowell on Friday when his battered body could no longer keep up with his indomitable spirit. I would rather remember how he lived, though, than how he died. Lowell was an original in so many ways. He was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known, blessed with a photographic memory and a creative brain that could think “outside the box,” He was more than my friend; he was my knight in shining armor, fending off the demons and dragons that haunted my computers over the years. He could always outwit them, finding another detour every time he hit a roadblock, and he never understood why I found his skills so remarkable. He was generous with his genius, too, often helping friends and neighbors with their computer woes. I’ve bragged about his technological expertise so often on-line that whenever I complained on Facebook about computer bad behavior, people would immediately post, “What does Lowell say?”
    When he was not vanquishing Demon Spawn or outsmarting Melusine, he was probably listening to his beloved classical music. He loved all music, especially classical and opera, and could identify almost any piece after hearing just the first few notes. He also loved trains and planes; he took flying lessons at one time and would have made a fine pilot had circumstances permitted it. He loved animals, too, and they loved him in return. We called him the Goose Whisperer after he worked his magic on a flock of wild geese. Cats relied upon their feline radar to turn up on Lowell and Valerie’s porch, knowing they’d find a good home—and they always did. My dogs all adored him, even my neurotic little Chelsea, who was emotionally damaged from puppyhood and only felt safe with four people: me, my dad, my nephew, and Lowell. It took her several years to accept my nephew, but although she only saw Lowell once a year, she fell under his spell from their first meeting, and when he’d get up early to work on one of my balky computers, she would sneak in to keep him company and when he’d play music for her, she’d dance; he’d laugh and say that she was probably a Cajun dog in a past life, for that was her favorite music.
    Lowell was a scientist who wed a woman whose passion was for history and languages, but their disparate interests never mattered. They raised two fine sons, Andy and Kyle, and I loved to listen as Lowell talked to me about his family—about Valerie and his boys and his brother Jim down in Florida—for his face would light up when he did. He touched so many lives in so many ways; whenever we went out to dinner, he always knew the names and histories of our servers by the time the meal was done, for he was genuinely interested in other people. He liked to tell me stories of his time in the Navy and his time in Buffalo, where he met Valerie, who was the love of his life. He was proud of his brother, Jim, for handling high-stress work as a dispatcher, marveling that Jim was always so focused, so calm in a crisis. He was, too, of course. Whenever Lyndon Johnson wanted to praise someone, he used to say that “He was a man to go to the well with.” Lowell was a man to go to the well with
    * * *.

  10. Joan Says:

    Beautiful & touching, Sharon. You have so many wonderful memories of your good friend & this will bring you much peace at this difficult time.

  11. skpenman Says:

    Here is today’s Facebook Note. Sadly, we cannot share John’s photos here.

    I would like to thank everyone for their expressions of sympathy for the death of my friend, Lowell. His wife, Valerie, asked me to thank you all, too.
    I have some good news today. Elizabeth Chadwick is doing a second William Marshal Tour next October. The first one was a huge success; several of my friends participated and they enjoyed themselves greatly. William Marshal is one of the more interesting figures in English history and Elizabeth is the perfect person to bring his world to life, being the author of two acclaimed novels about him, The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion. Here is the link to the website giving more information about the tour. http://elizabethchadwick.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/BestKnight_Final.pdf My friend John just gave a talk to his local historical society about William, and I will ask him to post some of his photos here.

  12. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Beautifully written, Sharon. I did not know Lowell, but Valerie is my FB friend. I keep her in my thoughts and in my prayers.

  13. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, I promise I will write back as soon as I can. I have got stuck with my latest text about Henry and my deadline is tomorrow (during weekends there is no chance I could proceed with my writing- my children are all at home :-)). I do hope you are better???

  14. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    As for today’s anniversaries, on 21/22 November 1181 Roger of Pont l’Eveque, Archbishop of York died. By some called “a learned and eloquent man, and in worldly affairs, prudent almost to singularity” by others simply “a devil”, it was he, who, acting at Henry II’s order, in 1170 crowned the Young Henry king of England in Westminster Abbey, in the absence of the exiled Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. The coronation enraged Thomas Becket and renewed the long-lasting dispute over primacy between Canterbury and York. The Archbishop of Canterbury reminded that it was the traditional right of the archbishop of Canterbury, and not the archbishop of York, to perform coronations. In his turn, Archbishop Roger evoked Pope Gregory the Great’s words “Let there be between the bishops of London and York distinction of honour according to seniority of ordination”, and explained that in 1161 he received a letter in which His Holiness, the Pope permitted the King of England to have his son, Henry crowned by any bishop of his choosing. Roger was well acquainted with Thomas: the two had been members of the household of Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury, before acquiring even more honourable positions. When Becket went to exile in 1164, it was Roger who acted as the senior churchman in England, the situation which, on 14 June 1170, lead him straight to Westminster Abbey and the young prince awaiting to be crowned. The act that he was to pay for dearly. The coronation was considered illegal and Roger and the bishops who assisted him at the ceremony excommunicated. He was later able to return to his duties, but with the war already lost: Canterbury now had her freshly canonized martyr, Thomas of blessed memory. Roger, however, never gave up his claim to primacy over Canterbury. He died “full of days, after having happily ruled his archbishopric for twenty-seven years and six weeks”. On his deathbed he distributed his property for the use of the poor and, “among other wondrous deeds of his power”, sent more than five hundred ponds of silver to the bishops of France, a similar sum respectively to the bishops of Normandy and England. Fortunately the archbishop never learned what happened to the money. He died on “ the tenth day before the calends of December, being Saturday, at twilight”. Two men were greatly delighted upon hearing of his death, each for different reason: king William of Scotland, “still remaining under the sentence of excommunication which the before-mentioned archbishop of York had pronounced against him’, and king Henry of England who confiscated all the money Archbishop wanted to give away.

  15. skpenman Says:

    Kassia, a fascinating post, as always. The Archbishop of York was as slippery as an eel; he struck me as a very political creature and the last one I’d have come to for spiritual solace!

  16. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thank you, Sharon! I do agree about Roger. High ambitions must have burned within him. Just like within his greatest opponent, Thomas Becket. In this they were equals.

  17. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    So many medieval prelates were consumed with ambition, Kasia. Stephen’s brother, the Bishop of Winchester, encouraged Stephen to seize the crown, and switched sides several time in the civil war that followed. The Bishop of Durham, a character in Lionheart, openly kept a mistress and bought an earldom from Richard I, who joked that he’d made a new earl out of an old bishop. Of course there was also Hugh of Lincoln, who would be canonized by the Church, the patron saint of the sick–and of swans!
    Today’s Facebook Note.
    November 22, 1428 was the birthdate of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, better known to history as the Kingmaker. He was an interesting man and I like writing about his power struggle with his cousin Edward, whom he foolishly underestimated, but my sympathies were always with his brother John. And on November 22, 1220, Frederick II, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor; he was the only son of Richard I’s nemesis, Heinrich von Hohenstaufen, and the very courageous Constance de Hauteville, who’d invited the women of Jesi to watch her give birth in order to disprove the rumors that she was not really pregnant. Frederick was also King of Sicily, his mother’s legacy,, and King of Jerusalem through his marriage to the sad little teenage Queen of Jerusalem, whom he wed at fourteen and who died in childbirth at sixteen. (Her mother had died giving birth to her, at age twenty.)
    November 22nd is also, of course, a dark day in American history, the fiftieth anniversary today of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Those of us old enough to remember that traumatic event will never forget where we were when we heard, just as another generation remembered where they were when the news of Pearl Harbor broke.

  18. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I shared this quotation some time ago, but let me share it again. Henry of Winchester in his own words, presenting one of his altars to heaven:
    ‘May the Angel takes the giver to Heaven for this gifts, but not just yet, lest England groan for it, since on him it depends for peace or war, agitation or rest. Art comes before gold and gems, the author before everything. Henry, alive in bronze, gives gifts to God. Henry, whose fame commends him to men, whose character commends him to heavens, a man equal in mind to the Muses, and in eloquence higher than Marcus’ :-) I love it!

    P.S. At least le loved art, for which we should be grateful. Winchester Bible is perfectly beautiful

  19. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    My dear cheeky St Hugh. He was afraid neither of Henry nor Richard :-) He always spoke his mind, perhaps that is why they always forgave him :-)

  20. Joan Says:

    Very interesting posts! And all these fabulous tours in the offing!

    Kasia, I’m fine, thank you for asking…….I hope all is well with you too, you & your busy family life, Henry not the least of it! And please don’t be concerned about emailing.

  21. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I enjoyed reading Hugh’s biography, Kasia, and had even more fun giving him a few scenes with Richard in Ransom. Who wouldn’t like a man who was the patron saint of swans? But he could be a prickly saint, too. He thought all of the problems that beset the Angevins came from Henry’s marriage to Eleanor, which he considered invalid. But he never criticized Louis for marrying again, which seems blatantly unfair to me!

    Today’s Facebook post.
    November 23rd is a significant day on the Yorkist calendar. On November 23rd, 1499, Perkin Warbeck was hanged for an alleged “escape” from the Tower. I personally don’t believe he was Richard of York, but many others do. And on November 23rd, 1503, the Duchess of Burgundy, Margaret of York died at age fifty-seven. Some point to her support of Perkin Warbeck as proof he was one of the Princes in the Tower, but I think Margaret would have thrown her support to any reasonably plausible pretender if she thought it would give Henry Tudor some grief. (One of the reasons why I like her so much.) Anne Easter Smith has written a novel about Margaret, Daughter of York; she definitely deserved her own book.
    Many of you may already have seen these photos for they quickly went viral. Here is the link for those who missed them. They may be the cutest photos of a toddler and his puppy ever posted on the Internet. Below the photos is a link to the mother’s blog if you are interested in finding out the back story. http://twentytwowords.com/2013/11/18/toddler-naps-with-his-2-month-old-puppy-every-day-14-pictures/

  22. Joan Says:

    Yesterday was indeed, a day to reminisce about John F Kennedy’s days in the Oval office, his family, & yes, where we were that tragic day. Some things are forever etched in our minds, but also our hearts. When I first visited the White House several years ago & saw his portrait, emotion overwhelmed me.

  23. skpenman Says:

    This is an interesting story about the reburial of Richard III. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24643787

  24. skpenman Says:

    November 25, 1120 was a date of momentous significance, for the sinking of the White Ship and the loss of Henry I’s only legitimate son set in motion events that would lead to civil war and the eventual accession to the English throne of the first king of the Plantagenet dynasty, Henry II. Imagine how different English and French history would have been if the White Ship had not gone down on that frigid November night. (Just the thought of being denied the Plantagenets to write about gives me a shiver.) Over three hundred men and women died when the White Ship struck a rock in Barfleur Harbor, most of them highborn. Here is a passage from that scene in Saints, page 22, as the only survivor, a butcher’s apprentice from Rouen who had clung to the ship’s yardarm during that long, icy night, waits to die.
    * * *
    When he heard the voices, muffled and distorted in the fog, Berold felt a weary wonderment that his ordeal was over, that God’s good angels were coming for him at last. But they came not in winged chariots as the priests had taught. Instead, they glided out of the fog in a small fishing craft, its hull painted yellow and black, its single sail as bright as blood.
    Berold tried to yell; it emerged as a hoarse croak. But they’d already seen him, were dipping their oars into the sea. And then they were alongside, and one of the men had nimbly scrambled out onto the mast, was cutting him loose, and Berold realized that for him, salvation had come in the unlikely guise of three Breton fishermen. He had been spared to bear witness, to tell the world that the White Ship had gone down off Barfleur Point, with the loss of the English king’s son and all aboard, save only a butcher’s lad from Rouen.
    * * *
    The accepted story is that the crew were drunk, having shared some of the wine on board as they awaited the arrival of the young prince, William, who was carousing with friends in a wharfside tavern. But one historian later made an intriguing suggestion, speculating that it might have been murder. I tend to be very skeptical of conspiracy theories, especially when there is no way of proving them. The obvious suspect would have been the king’s nephew, Stephen, who was supposed to sail on the White Ship and changed his mind at the eleventh hour. From what we know of Stephen, though, he would not have been ruthless enough, or crafty enough, to pull off a mass murder of this magnitude.. But the historian, Victoria Chandler, had a much more interesting—and more plausible—suspect than Stephen in mind. She suggested that attention should be paid to Ranulf de Mechelin, a major character in Saints, whose checkered career indicates he would have been quite capable of such a monstrous crime and without losing a night’s sleep over the three hundred people who died when the White Ship sank. He also had a compelling motive; his uncle was a passenger on the White Ship and his death enabled Ranulf to claim the earldom of Chester. I am not convinced this was the case, but the story set forth in the the following link definitely makes interesting reading. http://www.medievalists.net/2013/05/21/was-the-white-ship-disaster-mass-murder/
    November 25th was also the date of a significant battle in the Holy Land, when in 1177, the sixteen year old Baldwin IV, known to history as the Leper King, soundly defeated Saladin at the battle of Montgisard, which I will be writing about in my next book.
    And on November 25, 1487, Henry Tudor finally got around to having his wife, Elizabeth of York, crowned as his queen.

  25. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I do hope you will be able to attend the reburial of Richard. One thing for sure, the prayers & psalms sent forth that day will be voiced & sung by a congregation (& city) brimming with love & devotion for this last of the Plantagenet Kings.

    Re your excerpt above, I love how….”they came not in winged chariots as the priests had taught…(but) glided out of the fog in a small fishing craft…” I always have to pause when I come across such poetic phrases in your novels, which means I do a lot of pausing!

    And now to read the site you posted….with a fun article on bathing in medieval times!

  26. Joan Says:

    Did I just hit the motherlode…..Medievalists.Net ?!?!?!

  27. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I read the article last week preparing my post about the White Ship :-). I checked Orderic Vitalis, and he does give the names of the three survivors (who withdrew just in good time) and it seems that the hypthesis may have had a solid base in reality. This is really fascinating.

    I have a question, too. What age was Willaim’s wife, Matilda of Anjou. I have come across cotradictory info. Orderic Vitalis claims she was of a similar age to her young husband, but Wikipedia gives 1113 as the year of her birth, which makes her nine years old in 1120???

    Joan, I too love the line. What a vivid imagery!

  28. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Vicki Chandler was a graduate student with me at the University of Virginia in the mid-1970s. I was unaware of the referenced article until now. I did not have a lot of contact with Vicki after we left UVa, but I was aware of some of her work and of her too-early death.

  29. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I meant seven, of course :-)

  30. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Malcolm, I’m really sad to hear about Miss Chandler’s untimely death. Judging by the article her work must be impressive.

  31. skpenman Says:

    I would like to wish all my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels, especially for those of you in the path of the storm. I’d also like to wish a Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends and readers. And on this date in history in 1198, Constance de Hauteville, the Queen of Sicily and unhappy consort of Heinrich von Hohenstaufen, died at age forty-four. Constance had a remarkable, dramatic life in which she proved herself to be very courageous and just as resourceful. My first ever short story, A Queen in Exile, relates Constance’s life and will appear in George RR Martin’s anthology, Dangerous Women, due out December 3rd. Constance is also an important character in A King’s Ransom.

  32. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Day, Sharon! In my mother Polish: Szczęśliwego Dnia Dziękczynienia :-)

  33. Stephanie Says:

    Just popping in here to say ‘hi” to everyone. It’s been a while!

    Joan, I saw your comment about medievalists.net and yes… you did hit the motherload! That site is fabulous and always has very interesting articles. Enjoy!

  34. Teka Lynn Says:

    My husband gave me a link to an article about Richard’s dental health. It’s from last May, but I thought people might be interested: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Richard-III-teeth-grinder/story-18871584-detail/story.html

  35. Joan Says:

    Hi Stephanie! I’m having a ton of fun with the site. I’ve sent my brother an article on how the ancients viewed the world (round or flat), one on midwifery to my niece (Naturopath doctor), something on Eleanor of Aquitaine to a friend, & on & on. Share the wealth, which is what we do here isn’t it?

  36. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Hi, Stephanie and Joan! :-) The site is a treasure chest full of info, I cannot agree more! And it covers so many aspects of life. Joan, I have missed my deadline and still been working on the before-mentioned text for Henry blog. Helenka has caught a cold and so far given me many a sleepless night :-) But i do hope to post in the nearest future ( and reply to your a-mail).

    Koby, we miss you! I do hope you are safe and sound.

    P.S. As for today’s events, on 1 December 1135 Henry I of England died, after long, eventful and prosperous reign. Unfortunately his passing triggered the chain of events that led to the darkest period in the history of medieval England.

  37. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    But, after second thoughts, fortunately for us, Sharon’s readers :-)

  38. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I missed one important anniversary yesterday. On 1 December 1170, Thomas Becket returned to England after six years of exile. He safely landed at Sandwich only to be murdered twenty-seven days later, in his own cathedral.

  39. skpenman Says:

    I am sorry to have disappeared again. No dragon to blame this time. I injured my wrist and have had to stay off the computer as it heals. Luckily I am now in the “serious research” phase of the new book. I will be stopping by when I can, trusting that no one will take advantage of my absence to stage a coup.

  40. Joan Says:

    Heal well, Sharon. We’ll behave ourselves. Your new book underway, how exciting!

    Kasia, I hope little Helenka is over her cold soon…..give her a kiss for me. Also hope you can catch some zzz’s soon! Take care.

    Also hope all is well with you Koby.

  41. Paula Mildenhall Says:

    Sharon, Georgie sends purrs, headbumps and a few kitty kisses. He says fur therapy is the best way to heal >^..^<

  42. Stephanie Says:

    Paula, wouldn’t Georgie’s head bumps give Sharon a headache though? That boy has some strength!

  43. Paula Mildenhall Says:

    Well, maybe we should skip the Georgie headbumps and cuddles. He might break Sharon. Myffy kitty sends cuddles instead :)

  44. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I wish you quick recovery and safe return to us! And do forgive me, but i need to cite Ozzy Osbourne here, on your blog: “Mama! I’m coming home..”, meaning I’ve just given up FB :-)

  45. skpenman Says:

    I’ll take head bumps from Georgie any day of the week!
    Kasia, are you really fleeing Facebook?

    The Dangerous Women anthology is out! I am so looking forward to reading the stories; hope you all like mine, of course.

  46. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Kasia told me in a message that she simply does not have the time for Facebook. Working, raising children, maintaining good conjugal relations, supporting the Young King, and paying frequent visits to Sharon’s blog appear to be enough for even such an extraordinary young woman.

  47. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thank you, Malcolm! You’ve made me blush. To win praise from such an extraordinary man and historian- I’m deeply honoured. What’s more I wouldn’t have summed it up better.

    Yes, Sharon! It’s done. But I’m going to be in touch with a few wonderful people I’ve come to meet on you FB Fan Club page. Thank you for these friendships made thanks to your books :-)

    On a medieval note, on 4 December 1214, William I the Lion of Scotland died and was succeeded by his son, king Alexander II. William had been one of the Young King’s chief supporters in the Great Revolt of 1173-74 and a very interesting figure in his own right.

  48. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I have just found The Dangerous Women in the Polish online bookstore!!!

  49. Joan Says:

    To Malcolm’s comment, I say…..Hear Hear!!!

  50. May Says:

    Hi, Kasia–We will miss you on FB! (Not only do I say this, but there are entire choruses of mournful cries on Sharon’s FB page.) I hope you will stay in touch on here, however.

  51. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Perhaps Kasia will join one of Sharon’s future tours, as the first member from Poland, enabling many of us to meet her in person.

  52. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thank you all. You are so very kind. Dear May, please do expect an e-mail from Stephanie. I asked her to do me a favour. Just check your inbox, please.

    Malcolm, I would love to join Sharon’s tours and meet you all, but first I need to go on my private Henry the Young King pilgrimage. And in my present situation it may take some time :-)

  53. Joan Says:

    Kasia, I was thinking that if you do have a few moments in the evening to relax & need a bit of a diversion, it might be a good time to think about getting the DVD “Lost in Austen” & also “Wives & Daughters” (Elizabeth Gaskell)…..this an exquisite BBC production with monumentally brilliant acting!! Both films get better with each rewatch. I’ve lost count of my rewatches!

  54. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Enjoy Rouen, etc., Kasia. While you are at it, you might take a side trip into Brittany. During the months that Allys and I lived in Rennes, I often thought about being in the city where Geoffrey and Constance kept their court almost 800 years earlier.

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