Why did I ever think it would be a good idea to write a blog on a Monday morning? Is it because I know that yesterday was called Sunday and my brains would turn to mush the following morning?  It’s not as if I never write on a Sunday, I often do and the other six days of the week as well.

A little about the progress on the HUGE trip. I do understand that you are not the slightest bit interested but I’m going to include it anyway. We have now got as far as Perth, I think via Singapore. I know I chose more meal options and I’m praying that their teriyaki chicken is not too hot. So, on paper we are now set to spend Christmas down under with DH’s family, but  then we stall. DH wants to go to Sydney and drive up the east coast of Australia.

“Why?” I ask.  There is no reply.

“What is there to see or do for 2,420 kilometres in an air conditioned car in the blazing heat?”  Silence.

To my mind you can only see just so many kangaroos right? You can even get blase about dozens of cuddly koala bears. I’m all for pushing on to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and all points north west of Perth. This will be our one and only HUGE trip, we don’t have that big a budget after all – unless the world goes mad and starts buying my books by the million. Am I expecting that? Hardly! Did the Titanic fly? Watch this space.

A serious bit now. I would like to give a mention to this book by Margaret Eleanor Leigh as I really enjoy her  style of writing.

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“This is the second book I have read by Margaret Eleanor Leigh, and I liked it even better than the last one. It was a great read and I particularly enjoyed the language, phrasing and the clever descriptive pieces which come with a touch of humour. I really liked those! Also the story moved quickly and did not linger for hours on minute descriptions of one flower. A good book for a lazy afternoon, that will entertain you and keep you engrossed. I shall be buying all the other books by this author.”

On Friday I will be sharing a guest blog from John Hennessy, as right now, Elizabeth is waiting in the wings to make another appearance. And here she is.


This is known as the Ditchley portrait, and personally I think a quick trip to SpecSavers would not have gone amiss. Did she really have a waist that small? Sadly history does not recall what she said to him, but I guess she must have been pleased or she would have set fire to the canvass and chopped his head off for making her look somewhat deformed.

But that was not all Elizabeth had to worry about. Oh no!!

North of the border lived a great nuisance called Mary Queen of Scots. She had lots of husbands, including the king of France, Cardinal Ritzio and Boswell, who was blown up on the staircase at Hollywood  House.


This is an early portrait.


While this is a more casual photograph of her after a busy night with one of her husbands looking a little disheveled.


And this portrait shows her getting on a bit.

The knights over the border imprisoned her in Loch Ness, but she escaped and fled to England where Elizabeth first looked after her, but when she became even MORE tiresome, had her head chopped off.

I don’t blame Elizabeth for this at all. Since Mary had been married to the King of France, she had too many airs and graces with ideas far above her station and a tiresome brat of a son. However, she might have been persuaded to allow Mary to live in the comfort of a dungeon in the Tower of London, but then a court official drew her attention to the fact that Mary had way more Facebook friends, likes and followers than Elizabeth, so of course she had to go.

Next time we return to the love of Elizabeth’s life. Have a great week.


Who is the spoiled brat? Me! Have you noticed any difference on this blog? It’s not red anymore, it’s gone blue, it has little buttons to press to take you to other pages and the links to all my books lead you straight to them.  I have Erika Szabo to thank for all her hard work, she is very nice and patient with techie idiots like me. Tom Benson also helped to get my web page working, so I am one lucky spoiled brat. Thanks so much to both of you.

We have a winner for the ‘spot the deliberate error’ competition and it’s Ann Patras. She noticed that I told you that Queen Mary had lots of heads chopped off for not being Catholic and then also mentioned she was desperate to leave a male Protestant heir on the throne.

She has chosen to receive More Truth, Lies and Propaganda, but it wasn’t quite as simple as that. Between us we spent about 2 hours last night trying to get it from me to her. Because of course we are both technical experts it took some fiddling, then a bit more fiddling and it might even be on its way as I type this.

I’m a little distracted this morning as DH is planning our HUGE trip at the end of the year. He’s working on the flights to start with, and so far it seems we will be about three solid weeks in planes of varying sorts. He is now swearing and cursing as he battles with airline sites which do not like his card, the colour of his lap top or the fact he is in Spain and wants to book in English. We got as far as choosing our meals and snacks on one leg yesterday before the whole thing crashed out. He is not a happy bunny right now. (And yes we did have another slight hiccup on our last trip – but I may share that with you another time). We seem to have these little problems every time we leave the house.

Progress! We are now booked from Madrid to Hong Kong. DH is all smiles again. Hopefully he will be able to find a flight out or I will be blogging from there.

I’ve had a request for pics of African animals to make this blog more interesting so here is a rhino


But on with the serious stuff now so I can eulogize over my favourite queen, which means she was the best queen ever – simply because I say so. She had red hair, and I like red hair. We share a birthday month and she was very smart, and I am… let’s not go there right?

queen liz 1

Now she had a boyfriend of sorts, though she was a very chaste lady of course I won’t hear a word said against her. His name was Sir Walter Raleigh, and he made bicycles in his spare time when he wasn’t in attendance at court.


Elizabeth would often send him out for groceries and he loved her so much he went all the way across the Atlantic to fetch her tobacco and potatoes. As you can see, he wore very nice expensive clothes.

sir waltar 2

But that didn’t matter, as he was prepared to whip them off and lay them over puddles every time the Queen went out in the rain. As it rains a lot in England he was often to be seen hopping around practically naked, trying to avoid frost bite in awkward places. But he didn’t mind as long as his beloved did not get her feet wet. How romantic is that!

Next time we learn about the nuisance north of the border.


So, the holiday is over and we are all back to normal. For anyone who has read ‘Walking over Eggshells’ and knows a little about my background, you may guess that it was a bitter-sweet visit. It was absolutely brilliant to meet up with all my cousins for the first time since we were children, but also a fearful trip down memory lane.

We ‘did’ Wexford


and Waterford


and stayed at Fawlty Towers, a nice hotel with clueless staff. I had my doubts even before we landed, since I’d read the reviews with horror. On arrival, after traveling non stop for over 12 hours, I was desperate for a coffee, (would DH stop for refreshment? Not a bit of it, we were in super space flight mode as usual), so by the time we crawled into the bar I was caving in at the knees. (Note we’d had a delay at the airport since we couldn’t find out how to open the boot (trunk) of the hired car, nor get it to start).

It also took some time to photograph all the scratches, dents and bumps and then the next day the hire company helpfully sent us their pics of the scratches, dents and bumps ringed nicely in red – and we’d not noticed half of them!

Back at the hotel, the bartender, his hands hovering over the beer pump, looked quite disappointed when he informed us the coffee machine was broken.

“You have water?”


“And coffee?”


Then, I paused for dramatic effect, “Could you fill the kettle on the shelf behind you and make coffee the old fashioned way?”

Light bulb moment. I got my coffee, a whole pot of it.

Despite the enormous sign swinging outside the front door announcing they served food 24 hours 7 days a week, they closed the kitchens after breakfast as it was still out of season (in June?) and we had to traipse miles for food. But I must add that I could not fault the spread they put on on the Saturday night for the party which was a roaring success.

On to Dublin


and I visited my father’s grave for the first time. (They helpfully sold me a map for one Euro and suggested I return the next day when a staff member would help search for a further ten Euro).

cemetery 2

Initially I couldn’t find it and I was devastated, but eventually, in a neglected area of the cemetery, there it was, undisturbed for over 60 years. As I laid the flowers, I realized with a shock that I am not precisely sure where my mother’s ashes have been placed. One day I will make that pilgrimage as well and lay the final ghosts to rest.

cemetery 1

From death to birth, as I sent my new baby out into the world this week, to some wise, kind and clever people, to be mauled, criticized, corrected, mangled and all the other things which help to improve her. It’s a very worrying time for a new mother who has given birth, and now Amie 2 must be knocked into final shape before she has her coming out party in July or August.

A huge thank you to all those people who have taken the time and trouble to write a review on Amazon, I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

So, back we go in time and I have just popped into my last blog to see how far we have traveled together with our history lesson and noticed an ENORMOUS mistake. I cringed when I read it, but then, thinking out of the box, instead of correcting it, I thought why not offer a free file of one of my books to the first person who spots it? That’s the way you turn adversity into opportunity. So if you want a free read, just pop back and check. This will also tell me if

a) anybody is reading this rubbish and

b) if anybody is paying attention.

We now move on to my favourite queen and I share her name. No, not Queen Lucinda but the great Queen Elizabeth I.

QUEEN ELIZABETH IShe was affectionately known as Black Beauty or Brown Bess. She was also applauded for riding to Tilbury on a large white horse and encouraging the soldiers … but history sadly doesn’t tell us how encouraging she was, or quite how she did it.


But there they all were, standing around on the windswept cliffs, (which played havoc with her hair style), all waiting for the arrival of the Spanish Armadillo. It was only because this great and glorious queen was there that the English were victorious once again.

The saga continues next time….


I am brain dead this morning, trying to think of too many things to do as I get ready for my holiday. Now most people just go away. I don’t. I have to plan days and days in advance, make out dozens of lists of what I’m going to pack, ensure everything is washed, buy essentials to go into the case, then clean the house until it is squeaky clean, get all ordinary washing done and ironed and I must leave clean sheets and towels ready for our return.

A few people might just call me a little obsessive, and if you could see the lists I make, they are probably right. But it kind of extends a holiday and you can drag out the pre-holiday preparations for weeks beforehand, so you feel like you’ve had a really long break. Of course the fact that you are exhausted by the time you climb onto the plane, all adds to the fun.

Among all the other things I was going to prepare were my blogs for the next couple of weeks, but there is no chance of that. You don’t want 6 of these things dropping into your inbox all in one day, so I tried the queuing and post later thing, and scheduled it to go out Friday morning. I then sat and waited for my wonderful pearls of wisdom, or rubbish, however you want to look at it, to go speeding over the airwaves all by themselves last Friday. It never arrived. Wherever it was, it simply went to ground, and after further investigation, I couldn’t find that blog anywhere. As a result, I had to write it out all over again. I keep imagining a bunch of Martians puzzling over my words, and discussing how the educational standards on earth have plummeted.

So the thought of writing another five or so and trusting to luck? Well it just isn’t going to happen, not until I have a better hang of this techie stuff.

So this blog is going on holiday too and will be back again in the middle of June. (You can stop cheering now).

Other news is that we have a winner for the competition, a signed copy of any of my books and the winner, Lizzie Hall has chosen More Truth, Lies and Propaganda, so it will be on its way to you very soon Lizzie (it’s on one of the lists). Thank you for entering and I hope you enjoy the follow-on book in the series.

Now last time we were chatting about Queen Mary – well I was anyway. It was time to start procreating she thought, now I am on the throne, so she looked around for a husband.

Mary was a rather sad queen, and so she married a sad king, Philip of Spain, who came over to England every now and again so that they could begat an heir – that was the way they described it in those days.  And it was a long, difficult and arduous journey just for a quick bonking session on a Bank holiday weekend.

Here is Mary getting on a bit. QUEEN MARY

But we should probably be thankful to Philip as he quite possibly gave Michael O’Leary the idea of providing a quicker, more convenient way for us to visit our relatives and loved ones across the Channel. (This was originally written for an expat audience living in Spain).


Of course Philip complained bitterly about having to pay for his mead and mutton sandwiches on the flight and bickered about the high number of groats it cost him. He was very parsimonious.

MOU52694 Portrait of Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) by Moro, Antonio (c.1519-c.1576) (studio of) (attr. to) Private Collection © Philip Mould, Historical Portraits Ltd, London, UK Spanish, out of copyright
MOU52694 Portrait of Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) by Moro, Antonio (c.1519-c.1576) (studio of) (attr. to)
Private Collection
© Philip Mould, Historical Portraits Ltd, London, UK
Spanish, out of copyright

How parsimonious he was with Mary, the court chroniclers don’t tell us, but soon she had a very large tummy, and the doctors, who would only examine her from a very long way away, pronounced her enciente. (That’s a posh French word for having a bun in the oven).

Even in those days the National Health Service was hopeless, and they pronounced her pregnant time after time after time.

They were afraid to come any closer than a couple of hundred metres, as the thought of rifling around in the Queen’s underwear was unthinkable. But nothing happened. No heir appeared.

She tried ordering a private medical service, but they would only advance as close as the end of the bed, so they were pretty useless as well.

Again and again Mary thought she was pregnant, she was so very keen to leave the throne to a male Protestant heir. But, it was not to be. It was very tiring having to have all those citizens executed for not being Catholic, so Mary expired too to make way for…..

And that is the perfect cliff hanger ending for now as we will move on to my favourite Queen when I am back later this month.

Enjoy, and if you get desperately bored with nothing to do, you can always read one of my books and write me a thrilling review on Amazon I really don’t mind if you do. The links will mysteriously appear if you scroll down a bit more.

Walking over Eggshells

Amie an African Adventure

Truth, Lies and Propaganda

More Truth, Lies and Propaganda

Take care.