Archive | June 2016

The Children of King Stephen

More grist to England’s early heritage mill.

History... the interesting bits!

King Stephen and his wife, Matilda of Boulogne, had 3 children who survived infancy, and yet – on his death – Stephen left his throne to Henry, Count of Anjou and son of Stephen’s bitter enemy, Empress Matilda.Stepan_Blois

Matilda was Henry I’s only surviving legitimate child, and designated heir – but she was a woman  and England’s nobles were reluctant to be ruled by a woman. Stephen was Henry I’s nephew, one of his closest male relatives and in the confusion following Henry’s death it was Stephen who acted quickly and decisively, and took the crown.

What followed was a period known as the Anarchy, almost 20 years of conflict and bloodshed as Stephen and Matilda battled for supremacy. Ultimately, Stephen managed to retain control of England but Matilda’s eldest son, Henry, was eager to win back his birthright.

Following several incursions by Henry – whilst still in his teens…

View original post 750 more words

Third June Blog

Third June Blog.

My last hurrah for this month.

This is a part of my unprinted novel, also not completely edited, as yet. Been a long time. Good old FB, reminded me.

Small part of chapter 5 of my novel,
Those Tangerine Hills.

David gunned the Ute into action. He felt as if he were on a high, his mood was so happy. He had Laura, all to himself for a couple of hours and no one to say nay. The miles were eaten up by the
shiny vehicle. “Rented,” he told her.
Plenty of wonderfully coloured leaves clung to the trees as they passed. The sky held that Fall blueness which was not the blue of summer skies, but the paleness of a bird’s egg. As a breeze began blowing, the leaves twinkled where the shiny surface caught the rays of the sun. Then for a few miles, they were within ‘tunnels’ of conifers, tall sentinels that hid the sky. The low sunshine failed to enter and Laura felt a sudden chill.
“I can put the heater on,” David said.
“No, no. Don’t bother. We will be out in the sun again soon.”
But they weren’t. As soon as they left the pine trees and were back with the deciduous trees, the sky clouded over and the horizon grew dull and grey. Soon David turned off the main road. They came to a spot where the road ended and David parked.
He helped her out of the Ute. “Can you manage with one crutch?” he asked.
“I’ll try.” She put the crutch under her left arm.
“No!” He positioned the crutch under her right arm. “The plaster is supporting the broken ankle but I am worried about the right ankle.”
She made few steps in this way but the ground started to ‘give’! It was sandy. David had an arm around her but at the next step she stumbled. Suddenly David was in front of her, grabbing as she began to fall. His quick thinking arrested her downward movement. He had her in his arms, holding her up. The moment was right. He bent his head and kissed her soundly on the lips.
Laura, surprised, but delighted, sank into his arms. He was like a huge solid cuddly bear. The crutch fell away to the sand. Her arms encircled his back. It was so easy to slip into this bliss.
How long they clung together, neither knew. It was a timeless moment for them both. But finally, lack of breath broke them apart. Laura gazed with wonder into David’s eyes.
“You don’t know how long I have wanted to do that,” David stated breathlessly.
“How long?” Laura asked, equally breathlessly.
“From the moment I first saw you when I knocked at your door,” he answered.
He was tall, thought Laura, coming down to earth. She had not noticed that before. Even at the door, she had failed to register his height. So many aspects to take in. Then, without warning, embarrassment overcame her. She pulled away slightly, her head looking down at his half open jacket zipper.
“Surely you don’t regret it?” David queried.
“It’s ….it’s just too soon.” Laura did not know where to look.
His right hand moved up to clasp her face in a gentle embrace. “No, never too soon! We connected that very first time at your door. I know we did.” He was breathing heavily and Laura heard it like the soft soughing of a breeze.
“That is as may be but… I have a sick Pa and well, you know nothing about me, nor I about you.”
“What’s to know?” he replied, a grin creasing his face. “I’m thirty nine years old, a doctor who travels. The rest is here in front of you. Healthy, tall, not bad looking if I say so myself. Yes, alright. Shouldn’t have said that last bit, but it’s true, isn’t it?” He whispered the last few words.
“I’ll give you all those things David, but you just cannot roll up and a few days later it’s all lovey dovey. Life doesn’t work like that.” It was a defiant statement. Peter always said she was ‘down to earth’ in her ways, but he liked that in her. Damn! She was thinking about Peter again.
“Look,” said David, “I am not going to be so churlish as to ask how old you are, but we are both old enough to know that time is slipping away. You want happiness, don’t you?” His eyes sparkled at the hope within them.
All the while he had her face in his soft, strong hand. Now he tightened his grip. “Don’t you?” He was imploring her, nay willing her to say yes.
“I’m forty two. Too old to act like a teenager, saying yes to something just because you want me to say yes.” Laura raised her head and looked him straight in the eye. “Yes, I did feel a ‘connection’ and yes, I do want a life that is filled with love. I had it once, then it slipped away like water down a drain all muddy and brown…and….”, she almost said red!
Tears started to drop down her cheeks. David loved the way her eyelashes sparkled in the wetness of her tears. What sorrow had gone before, he had no idea. Sis was right, he didn’t really know anything about Laura. But he Hell as would find out!
Sobs racked Laura’s body. It was something that David had not really had to deal with before. There was only one thing he could do. Gently enfolding her in his arms, he hugged her with all his heart. Her stiffness gradually melted as the sobs became less ragged. She clung to him. It was as if he would fade away and she could stop him by holding on tightly.
He kissed the wet saltiness that splodged the very little makeup she was wearing. He kissed her neck, her eyes and her little red nose.
“Oh David!” she cried.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered as he nuzzled her ear, dipping his face into the soft brown hair at her neck.
“It isn’t you,” she told him.
“Are you O.K. now?” he asked.
“Come on, there is something I want to show you. The real reason I got you down here. Then we will go back to the car and talk. O.K.?”
“O.K. I’ll be fine.“
David picked up her crutch and helped her down the soft sand to a spot by some small trees, several yards from the edge of the lake. There was a bowl-shaped depression. Within the depression were rivulets of sand curling around in all ways. Little ridges that followed an erratic pattern that no human hand could have traced. Tiny broken sticks and here and there odd elongated leaves were caught up in this geometric sand picture.
“Oh,” gasped Laura. “Isn’t that beautiful! How did that come about?” She was entranced by the geometry, the style. So perfect in every detail, yet he said it was Natural.
“Sis tells me it is the wind that makes these patterns. I suppose little whirlwinds form and toss the sand about in a controlled area. I don‘t know how to explain it,” he said a little exasperated that he could not give her the information she wanted. Then he looked up at the lake just in front of them.
“Look! The colour of that water.” The lake was softly rippling in the breeze. Scudding clouds, that were a lighter grey than the high cloud cover, shone out in relief.
“Turquoise, a kind of turquoise blue,” she gasped. “Why have I never seen this before? It is beautiful. I never went far in my younger days. Then Peter and I moved away. Such treasure and almost on my own doorstep.” There was wonderment in her eyes and in her voice.
“We have to make the effort to look to see beauty under our very noses sometimes,” he said. They were at the top of the gentle slope that led down to the waters edge. It was firmer here and Laura managed to hobble down the few yards, with David’s help, There was no tide, as can be on the big lakes, but the water slid onto the packed sand a little causing a shiny wetness. The sand changed colour.
The wind had dropped and she felt warmer. Or was that because she was close to him?

Thank you for reaing and, as always, ‘ be careful, out aming the English’.


Book Corner: Edward IV Glorious Son of York by Jeffrey James

This looks interesting, though it may be a bit too centered on battles for me. However, we must include this as thes kings need looking At at this petiod in our hisyory. Evlyn

History... the interesting bits!

indexFew English monarchs had to fight harder for the right to rule than King Edward IV – Shakespeare’s glorious son of York. Cast in the true Plantagenet mould, over six feet tall, he was a naturally charismatic leader. Edward had the knack of seizing the initiative and winning battles and is free from the unflattering characterisations that plagued his brother, Richard III, having been portrayed as a good-looking and formidable military tactician. Described sometimes as reckless and profligate, all sources remark on his personal bravery. In the eleven years between 1460 and 1471 he fought five major battles in the Wars of the Roses. Three of them – Towton, Barnet and Tewkesbury – rank among the most decisive of the medieval period.

This is a history of Edward IV’s struggle to gain and retain the kingship of England during a period of sustained dynastic turmoil during the Wars of the…

View original post 739 more words

Second June Blog

Second June Blog


So often we think
Of a June that is gay,
And warm with sunshine
All through each day.
Sadly the case
Is not always so,
Like curremtlyo, June,
Is not all aglow.
It’s cloudy and rainy,
Has been mostly, so far,
And dismal and gloomy,
Like olives in a jar.
Oh, tne plants outside
Are enjoying the rain,
They’ve put on a spurt,
Like a songbird’s refrain.
A plant in my garden,
I did not intend,
Like Jack’s errant beanstalk,
Way up high. It wends.
Everything has burgeoned,
It’s green all around.
Like a heavy rich blanket
It deadens much sound.
I hardly can hear
The traffic’s furrore
As branch’s thick leafiness
Becomes like a door.
If the sun does not shine
To keep winter at bay,
Then leaves will drop early
And our blanket will fade away.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. June, 2016.

It almost seems as though we have had no summer at all. A mild winte, I am happy to have but a mild summer, No! We need a hot summer, or at least a really warm one to make up for the shortness of our so called summer months.

Lots of people have, over the last few years, been coming back to holidays in our own country. For this, we need a great summer season. It is so much better for a wek or two at the seaside or in the country when the land is bathed is sunshine. Everyhere is so much better here in the UK without cool rain. Yes, I know that rain is needed too, but, for a few weeks !!!!!

Days when we can go and pick wild blackberries, white kderflowers and later on, ldetbertues. We can enjoy apples and pears from our orchards, and nuts, ripened in our sunshine. Later, children can gather horsechestnuts (conkers) with which to play the old gane of Conkers. The corn can ripen, hay can ve plucked for winter feed. So much grows within our shores, so much better when we hv beautuful mellow warm sunny days throughout our summer season.

Lots of people still go abroad, often chasing the sun. And, quite framkly, so far, I do not blame them. In fact, I envy them the strength to travel and the joy in venturing to far flung places. I used to go to far away places too. But, I was young then and my health was reasonable. At least I had good times then.

But we all, well most of us, have great times in our youth or twenties. The best times, even if is only a drive to the coast, a visit to a countr village, a fete. Out of the orinary days which,with luck, stay in our mmories as something special, but these other days fade into oblivion less than the ordinary. So much o tht we never remember them except as a block of infamousely out of the ordinary weather for the time of year.

Be careful on wet roads, grey days and stay happy.


First June Blog

First June Blog
Desert Tones

Distant Dunes shimmer,
Shadows fade to deep lilac
Against stunning golds,
Sands, rising.
Orangy blends of
Rocky prominencesi
Gleam a dullish red, .
Turning to burnt gold
As the sun blisters
The desert air.
Though breathing is
Hard, in this
Tumultuous heat,
Still, the desert creatures
Find ways to combat
The aweful dryness,
Even the wind sears,
Until an oasis looms.
Palms, water!
Somehere to rest,
Shady trees,
Good for camels,
Cool beneath luscious fronds.
Feeling the breeze
Fanning the leaves,
Yet, this is momentary,
A space where water
Bubbles up, allows
A stopping place,
Serenity from the
Blast furnice of
Desert heat.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. June, 2016.

I would like to talk to you today about desert colours. Colours in tube form that are on offer ( to willing buyers of art supplies) to wash the deserts of the world.

They are tempting, very. Tints of blues, like Pthalo Saffire for skies or to mix with othet hues that will change the blue to a muddier colour, with thw aid of say Indian Red Deep Red or Brown Earth.

I know that art is not on everyone’s agenda, both drawing or painting , but art, in itself is widely used to educate and adorn the human life cycle. Nor will each person know the names of the colours I mention. I understand this. So, for those who do regulaly use art in its many forms for education, enjoyment, recreation, ….. I apologise if I am talking to the converted.

Art, in other forms is used to make buildings more amenble, convert stone or metal into interesting sculpture or make the ordinary items in our lives more attractive. That tub of olives that shows off the fruit within, that is a kind of art, as are those scrummy cake boxes or the beehive on a jar of honey. These are pictures which, in times when people couk not read wll, or at all, showed off the contents of the container.

Those are all under the auspices of commercial art and life would not be the same without them. From my perspective, it is personally that that has always intrigued me from a five year old’s basic drawing of a house on a slate with chalk, to the sofistication of oils on canvas in my terns and twenties, to pastels landscaoes that I am now involved in.

I have been somewhat tardy in the last couple of weeks due to home pressures, but now I am, hopefully, ‘back in the saddle again’.

A short piece this time. The unseasonable weather this June also upsets my rhythm of life, not to mention ongiing pressures. Such, my friends, is the rhythm of my life, currently.

Be careful in forest and wave if you are on vacation. And if you are enjoying the change of seaon, do be careful.


Historical Fiction Cover of the Month – June

My first visit to this blogger. Like the choices and comments going with. Evelyn.

Dodging Arrows... a History Writer's Blog

It doesn’t seem possible that we are halfway through 2016 already and so, fairly obviously, we’ve arrived at June. So what have I got for you this month?  I have rejected the usual plethora of women in red/blue dresses and, bearing in mind that this page remains a bare upper torso-free zone, here are the covers that have taken my fancy.


First up is a book that I think I mentioned in despatches last year: Matthew Harffy’s The Serpent Sword. It has been re-published and, in my view, the cover is even better than before.

It’s a matter of taste, I suppose: this new version is more stark and in your face, and consequently less subtle than the original, but I like it better. It shows off the helmet and sword in more vivid detail, giving the whole cover more light and energy.


My second choice is Elizabeth Fremantle’s

View original post 323 more words

Sane Dogs And Mad Englishmen

I totally agree Gail. Cruel. Evelyn

Just Life - Jennie Orbell

So . . . we were driving back from somewhere the other day and there, as we navigated a bend on a country road, coming towards us on the opposite side was . . . another one!

Immediately, the non-canine person might be forgiven for thinking, ‘Oh, how cute. Look at the sweet little doggie running along at the side of its owner. The doggie is almost going as fast as the mobility scooter.’

Yep, that’s it. A rare, hot, sunny day in good old Leicestershire and Mr Idiot is letting his dog gallop along on the verge at the side of his mobility scooter. Mr Idiot is loving the boiling hot midday sun because Mr Idiot is wearing shorts and a sleeveless vest and the speed at which he is going is wafting a lovely warm breeze across his face.

Now let’s pan to Mr Idiot’s dog.

Buster isn’t…

View original post 544 more words

Conisbrough Castle – it’s Life and History

To go with the owners/builders, mir if where they oartially lived. Evelyn.

History... the interesting bits!

ConisbroughCastleGrowing up near Conisbrough Castle, South Yorkshire, we always thought it was just a bland old place – it was great for exploring and rolling down the hills, but being so far from London, the centre of power,  it didn’t seem to have much history. The most famous thing about it was that it was used as the Saxon castle in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.

English Heritage have spent a lot of money on it in recent years. When I worked there in the early 1990s it was open to the elements and there was just a very narrow walkway around the inside of the keep. Now it has a roof, floors on every level, sensitive lighting and a fantastic little visitor centre. It looks so much better (although I still wouldn’t want to stand on the battlements on a windy day like today).

View original post 1,442 more words

This entry was posted on June 5, 2016. 1 Comment

The Colourful Career of Edward, 2nd Duke of York

I am learning more history this way, more o than at school. Evelyn

History... the interesting bits!

Edward_of_Norwich_Duke_of_York Edward, 2nd Duke of York

Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, was born into wealth and privilege. Grandson of 2 kings and 1st cousin to 2 kings, his life story is full of ambition, glory and war, duty and service – and a hint of treason. All the ingredients needed for a rollicking good novel; with also the possibility of a strange love story.

Edward was born, probably at King’s Langley, in about 1373. A birthday of 1375 has also been suggested, but 1373 seems most likely. The fact he has Norwich after his name has suggested he could have been born there, but there is a theory that it is a derivation of “d’Everwick”, meaning “of York”.

Edward’s father was Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York and 5th son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. His mother was Isabella of Castile, daughter of Pedro…

View original post 3,112 more words

Hamelin de Warenne, the King’s Brother

More little jigsaw pieces, to form a whole one day. Evelyn

History... the interesting bits!

A short while ago I wrote about Isabel de Warenne, Countess of Surrey and then her first husband, William of Blois (youngest son of King Stephen). So, I think it’s about time I finished the story by looking at Isabel’s second husband, Hamelin Plantagenet, 4th Earl of Surrey.

The illegitimate son of Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, Hamelin was born sometime around 1129. His mother was, possibly, Adelaide of Angers, though this is by no means certain. Geoffrey was husband to Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England and mother of Henry II, Hamelin’s half-brother.

Coa_England_Family_Warren_of_Surrey.svg The de Warenne arms

Hamelin was incredibly loyal to Henry and his marriage to an heiress was reward for his support, whilst at the same time giving him position and influence within England. Hamelin and Isabel married in 1164, Hamelin even taking the de Warenne surname after the marriage. He became Earl of…

View original post 448 more words