MIXED GENRES AND THE PORRIGE PLOT

I knew exactly what I was going to write about today but do you think I can remember it? I do know it had something to do with books, but that’s as far as I’ve got. Sad isn’t it?

The nearest I can come up with is genres. Should an author stick to one genre or branch out and write about all kinds of other things?

Agatha Christie did very well with one, so did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but what about us little indies? Remember in those days they all had publishers and I bet they marketed their writers ruthlessly. Can you imagine Agatha traipsing up and down Fleet Street, or lurking outside bookshops? No, I can’t either. That’s the answer – we were born too late!

The next book I have in mind, is something that has been vegetating under the bed since 1999 – I must explain here it’s a storage area box thingie, my house isn’t quite that dirty – and the book is 89% complete, so it won’t take a lot to finish it. But here is the problem, it’s a humourous, political satire with a few naughty bits in it. (Are you overwhelmed by my versatility? No? Well never mind). So should I go for it? Would I shock the three reader fans I have, or appeal to a new audience who would never think to open the other 5 books?

Should I publish it in my own name, as a few people have got to know me, or use a different name? Then of course it’s like starting again at the bottom, another FB page, Twitter account etc etc.

So all opinions gratefully received. I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK.

And having typed that last sentence I now remember what I was going to write about today, never mind, I’ll use it next time.

I must pause for a moment to tell you of some momentous events that happened during the reign of Charles II, besides all his love affairs that is.

Here is another picture of him just to remind you what he looks like, and as you can see, curly hair was very ‘in’ at the time.

Charles_II

The perfidious Dutch tried to become master of the seas, but since they were breaking the law of the Freedom of the Seas, which stated that ALL the oceans belonged to England, they were defeated under their Admiral Van Broom.  (Huge apologies to any Dutch readers here, as we weren’t friends in those days, but now we are of course. I’m sure it was only the English that thought of them as perfidious, and you can’t blame me, because I am Irish and so had nothing to do with it, and I was very young at the time as well).

DUTCH WAR

Three other important and memorable things happened during this reign.  There was the Quaker Oats plot to say that Catholics were going to attack the king,

QUAKER OATS

Finally, and worst of all, on a date I simply refuse to mention, (remember this is a date free history lesson) they had the Great Plague, which struck London – caused by rats who had deserted a sinking ship on its way to China – a good thing as there were too many people in London who were always in bad health.

RATS 2

(I think he looks so cute and cuddly don’t you? Probably won Mr World Rat)

So all in all, things were not looking or feeling too good. And they were about to get a whole lot worse.

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Now I have always been careful with money. Read any of my biographical books and you will understand why. However, I am prepared to spend money if I can see the long term benefits – food and shelter come quite high up the list, along with my daily gallons of coffee.

However, I figured that as I spend most of my life on the lap top – 10% writing and 90% marketing, I had better protect my most valuable asset – (after DH of course, better put that bit in here). So I went to town or should that be I went to the big shop in the sky and upgraded my security from free to paid – yes, I paid to protect my baby.

LAPTOP

As I receive many, many notification thingies every day, I need it to work really fast as well. So I’ll go one better I thought – I do that occasionally. After much soul searching I purchased a copy of PC tune up. This was punted as turning off all programmes running in the background that would slow up the performance speed of my i3-2350M – I’m no guru I read that off the label still affixed to my well tended processor.

So then what happened? Every few seconds I get a pop up message obliterating a large area of the screen, telling me to turn off various programmes. Now this would be fine if it wasn’t suggesting I turned off my browser and my word docs. Hmmm, but I’m using them, working in them right now. If I refuse to follow its suggestions, it goes into sulk mode.

Then another problem arises. My laptop decides now and again to refuse to talk to the router on the shelf. I sent out 35 emails the other day and then noticed they were all bouncing. Did I have the wrong addresses? No, my laptop took a quick holiday from the world wide web. Is it trying to tell me something?

Chrome browser crashes. Again, and again and again even when connected.

So, then I reason maybe I need to update to windows 10, as perhaps having everything new and up to date might solve my problems. It will talk to the other new programmes once they are nestled side by side somewhere in the interior.

LAPTOP INTERIOR

BIG MISTAKE. Now I can’t find anything. The start-up page has hidden stuff like my programme list and wants me to go buy Apps. Apps I don’t want, Apps that will clutter up my hard drive and Apps that will further slow everything else down.

And I don’t have time to go searching for stuff I could find in a flash only a couple of weeks ago. I can’t even find where to locate the lurking PC tune up that I have decided to dump – just in case I can get back to normal.

In the meantime I have sent rather rude (no, maybe pathetic) emails to AVG and to Goodreads cryimg out for help. Then I discovered that my system was refusing to transmit URL’s from me to the eagerly awaiting public.

Sadly I’ve not received a reply from either of them.

In the meantime I battle on and I can only say thank you to Chrome for their ‘restore’ button.

Because she is new, I make no excuse for repeating the first paragraph of Amie and the Child of African here, although I have blasted it all over the web (I have no shame).

The silence of the night was shattered by the sound of approaching vehicles. Bright lights split the night illuminating flying insects in their beams as the trucks drew nearer. There were excited shouts and one driver blasted his horn which immediately woke everyone in the camp. Whoever had been on guard duty barely had time to shout a warning as the new arrivals thundered towards them.

Jonathon wriggled out of his sleeping bag and seized the rucksack that was always next to him before pulling Amie to her feet.

“Run. Run,” he whispered loudly. “Run as you’ve never run before.” Stopping only to grab their shoes, they left the tent and raced off into the darkness.

Amie didn’t need to be told twice. They’d been discovered and the only thought she had was to get as far away as fast as she could. There was no time to jump in the two trucks parked next to the tents, their only chance was to make for the other side of the valley on foot and hide in the trees on the lower slopes of the mountain range.

Well Charles II didn’t bother to hide his love affairs. The first one was Barbara Palmer and they were ‘at it’ when he was still in exile.

barbara palmer

They had 5 children together, so they saw a lot of one another I suspect. She actually gave birth to their second child while Charles was on honeymoon with his ‘proper’ wife’. Did you know that one of her descendants was Lady Diana?

Princess-Diana

Next came Mol Davis who behaved in a rather vulgar fashion by flaunting all the rich pressies she got from the king.

She was followed by our orange seller who gave the king two more children. I won’t bother to write about the other 5 mistresses as I don’t think they are important.

What is important is that during these times, more important events occurred, but they will have to wait until next time. This is exciting isn’t it? Well never mind, it keeps me occupied and out of trouble.

WINDOWS 10 AND NAKED LADIES

Aren’t computers wonderful things? Well maybe not. Still struggling at this end but in a fit of total unselfishness and total dedication I am blogging anyway and if it never reaches another soul, at least my conscience is clear.

My new Windows 10 now houses programmes that refuse to let me in unless I give them my password every single time – to my email, to this site, to Facebook and it won’t let me into Twitter at all.

To add insult to injury Amazon went down too, and I was unable to do my regular 5 minute check to see how many books I had not sold.

Which reminds me, I’ve not mentioned that Amie 2 – ‘Amie and the Child of Africa’ – is up for pre-order. She is actually ready to go, but the idea is if there are a huge number of downloads on publication day October 16th then she will go to number 1 paid on Amazon. OK, I don’t believe that either, but it was worth a try. Anyway, for those of you reduced to reading the back of the cereal packet here is the link. A few early readers have said some very nice things about book 2 and I need to make sales to pay them.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015CI29O4

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B015CI29O4

I often wonder what the heck I am doing putting in all these hours to sell a few books. The chances of making it big must be millions to one, and despite DH cheerfully announcing to me that yet another of my competitors had died – sadly Jackie Collins has passed away – (Does he really think I’m in that league?), personally, I think he was just being sarcastic.

Jackie_Collins_-_The_Power_Trip

“Jackie Collins – The Power Trip” by Cyotethndr – I took this photo of my boss, Jackie Collins, with her new book for her Wiki page.

I somehow can’t imagine Jackie Collins or the Frederick Forsythe’s of this world checking their downloads every few minutes can you?

However, this morning I was going to comment on a couple of things I do as a writer and lots of other people do too and it’s really infuriating.

Choosing names for characters is fun, especially if I remember that spiteful girl who lead the ‘in group’ at school – you know the one I never stood a chance of getting into. That will be the perfect name for my villain. And you can bring her to a really sticky end, mangle her up, make her suffer etc.

Of course most books have several people in them but have you noticed their names often begin with the same letter? The hero is Bill and his friend is called Ben. The main lady is Charlotte who is friends with Christine, whose mother is called Caroline whose hairdresser was baptized Cynthia who is living with her partner Coleen, who unknown to anyone has a bit on the side called Coreen who lives in Colchester.

If, like me you are now challenged in all directions, it takes a few moments to work out who is doing what to whom and where.

I know I’ve done it myself, and had to go back and do the ‘find’ thing to change a name – or not. I’ve just realized Amie fostered Angelina. See, I’ve proved my point – and I never got round to changing either of them.

The other appalling thing I do is to have a particular adjective / adverb stuck in my brain and this comes out in every other sentence. She was fearless, …. he fearlessly, … they ignored their fear when they… and so on. It’s not until you read it through you realize that today’s word has been written to death. Then it’s out with the Thesaurus. Mine is falling apart. I took it off the shelf the other day and the interior landed at my feet in separate pages and then blew all over the floor. I’m not sure my vocabulary will ever be the same.

Nel Gwyn’s life wasn’t the same once she met King Charles. She is known to have had a fetish for oranges, but this is not really fair as she was hired to sell oranges outside the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane.

Theatre_Royal_Drury_Lane_2007

She later acted on stage and we must assume that Charles liked her acting skills and maybe a few of her other skills as well?

Nell-Gwyn-G03

Her friend the Duke of Buckingham managed her love affairs and was keen to pair her off with the King, but apparently Nel asked for £500 a year, and proved far too expensive. That’s top rates even for today.

The Duke was determined to in supplant Barbara Palmer the mistress at that time. Charles had several of them, he had to remind people he was The Merry Monarch’.

Finally the King finally noticed Nel and invited her to supper, sadly leaving her with the bill. But, as they say, things continued from there.

I promised you a pic of Nel in all her glory, and as a bonus here are two of them. Both painted by well known artists of the day and highly regarded as art and not porn.

Nell Gwynne and the Duke of St. Albans as Venus and Cupid by Sir Peter Lely

Charles commissioned this secret painting by Lely and urban legend says it was hung over his bed – an early version of Playboy I suppose.

And just one more: Nell_Gwyn_as_Cupid“Nell Gwyn as Cupid” by Richard Tompson, after a painting by Peter Cross.

Apparently Samuel Pepys hung a copy of this over his desk at the Admiralty!

Come on, you didn’t expect anything really naughty from an author who can’t even write a sex scene did you?

CHEATING AND A LITTLE ABOUT NEL GWYN

I have been out all day, planning a marketing strategy with another author. Plus, you just might be aware that I have been having big problems since I downloaded Windows 10 – folks don’t go there just yet. It’s fighting with lots of my other applications. So this is an interview I gave with Aurorawatcherak. The alternative was to share the post, but I couldn’t find out how to do that, so here is a cut and paste version.

Today’s interview is with Lucinda E. Clarke, a friend from the Booktrap, and quite the adventuress. Tell us something about yourself, Lucinda. 

Starting with basics, I was conceived and born in Dublin, Ireland (I don’t remember the conception part too well), then taken to England. By the time I got married I had spent years and years in the classroom, then trained to spend the rest of my life in the classroom, so I was not ready for the big, bad world.

That is so true for all of us.School is definitely not real life.

After first wedding, I tried crofting in Scotland (disaster we couldn’t get a spade through the permafrost) – bred small animals for pet shops (disaster, they all died) –  bred dogs (disaster, one took off and killed chickens).

So we took off for Kenya (disaster, husband walked off the job and we were almost stranded). On to Libya (disaster, this time we were thrown out of the country altogether), then Botswana (disaster, husband got fired, and I ran the worst riding school in the world). Then South Africa (finally success!!!) After slogging for a while in the classroom (this time I was fired) I began to write for radio and TV. Eventually I had my own video production company.

LClarke EggshellsWhat was the first story you wrote and how old were you?

You want me to remember that far back? I think it was when I was about 6 and it was written on little scraps of paper and I was so proud of it until my mother sneered at it. I do remember being an avid reader of Enid Blyton and thinking this doesn’t look too difficult, I could do this! (I was a precocious brat).

What are you passionate about?

My writing. Injustices against women. Cutting down trees. Population control.

What can you not live without?

In no particular order – my laptop, my iPad and my iPhone, a good internet connection and I better add my husband in there as well. Peace and quiet to write, beauty around me, that is vital too.

LClarke TLPYou lived in South Africa, have met Nelson Mandela, (scary) had a huge career in broadcast journalism (thank you). Tell us about that.

I am passionate about Africa and her people, but I just wish they would go the mentorship route and stop worrying about skin colour. In my books Truth, Lies and Propaganda and More Truth, Lies and Propaganda I tried to point out that mindsets and tribalism and nepotism are a factor, not race. I want to cry when I see how things are developing now in South Africa, everyone is adversely affected, all races and all people, except for the elite few who are exploiting those who are weaker.

Tell us about Walking Over Eggshells.

Originally I wrote this as a long, long letter to my children, and it stayed in manuscript form for several years. Then after the bombardment from the media about sexual abuse and how terrible it was, I began to get angry. Sure, that is horrific, but emotional abuse is more insidious. It does not stop at maturity, it does not stop if you move away, it goes on relentlessly, even after death. It’s difficult to pinpoint, almost impossible to explain and a nightmare to prove. It robs you of your self worth, your self confidence and your relationships with everyone you meet.

Then one day I decided to publish, in the hope that it might help even a few people who had had the same experiences. The emails I’ve received have been amazing and I have no regrets about sharing my story with the world (well a few people anyway!)LClarke More TLP

But it’s not a doom and gloom book, there is lots of humour there, and I think, an easy read.

Tell us about Amie.

Amie is my first real attempt at a full length novel. Most of my documentaries I turned into short, funny stories as they were aimed at educating and I feel this is best done through humour.

It was much harder than the autobiographies as I had to ‘make stuff up’ and I had to remember who was where and how they would behave in character. I’ve written stage plays, so I had a grounding in that format, but a 108,000-word book was much, much trickier. I just sit down at the lap top and write. I only have a basic storyline in my head and the characters take over and then I have to go back and mop up afterwards in case they made mistakes or contradicted themselves. It’s nothing to do with me, I blame them every time, I’m just on the scene to write down what they tell me.

LClarke AmieOh, I so represent that!

I have just finished the second Amie book – Amie and the African Child – which I hope to publish in August if not sooner.

I have a love / hate relationship with Amie, but she has become more feisty and so I like her a little better now.

I love feisty female characters. Tell us about Truth, Lies and Propaganda 1 and 2. Having been a journalist, I find that most of my former colleagues don’t see themselves as propagandists, but I know they are. So talk about that some.

These two books follow my writing career from the beginning to when I left South Africa. I had dreamed of writing for a living ever since I could remember, but was told to ‘get a proper job’ (hence the teaching).

It’s almost impossible not to play the propaganda game. Every newspaper has an agenda or supports one political party or another, or the views of the proprietor. If you are paid to write, then you write what the client wants, and I had my share of the clients from hell! You soon learn to take criticism (the customer / client is always right even when they are wrong), hone your tact and diplomacy and I guess lifting the lid on the few blatant examples in the books, I was getting my revenge!

Sure, you can starve in a garret and hold fast to your principles, but if you want the luxuries in life, such as food, a roof and clothes to wear, then you toe the line. I worked with some amazing people and many of the stories I reported and filmed were true to life, but of course it is the ones which tell lies, which tell the funny stories.

I feel very privileged to have been welcomed into rural huts, township shacks, Chief’s councils, had my fortune told by a witch doctor, visited AIDS patients, there are just too many incidents to mention here. I believe I saw Africa as few others have. I’d ask my crew to take care of me as I was probably the only white person for miles in any direction. I have to read my books to remember it all.

Every incident in both books really happened without exaggeration.

What are your literary plans for the future?

This is going to sound so pompous, but you asked? OK, so I’m not going to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, they don’t go for the kind of books I write. One of my heroines is Dorothy Parker and I would be in my seventh heaven (or the other place) if any of my phrases or sayings were to be printed in a book of quotations, that would be great!

Of course I’d love to be on all the bestseller lists, and write the screen play from one of my books. On a more practical level, I’m hoping they will put up a shelf for me in the local old folks home, so I can gaze at my books when I can no longer get out of bed. I’m almost up to 5 now and I plan to write a whole lot more.

Anything else you would like to say.

Since I have been a lecturer in script-writing, I can’t help be honest, so if anyone asks me for a review, or comments they will always get the truth. I still have grave doubts about my own writing, I’ve always been the same and never believed all the awards even when I walked up to collect them. The only advice I can give any new writers is to sit down and write, do it and then get ready to change it again and again until it is right. It’s worth it.

I am happy to be self published, and I’ve been approached by a publisher and refused. It’s much harder on your own, but more rewarding. I’ve been published by two of the Big 5 way back in the 80’s and so far (I could be bribed) I’m happy to continue being self employed.

There are two amazing moments in life – when you hold your baby in your arms and when you hold your first book in your hands.

Well I can’t deprive my history students, so just a snippet this week as you’ve probably read enough already.

Nel Gwyn became the mistress of Charles II. There were ghastly rumours that she was ‘low born’ (please gasp here). Her mother died after falling into a ditch dead drunk – pun intended. Although 3 English cities all claim to be the birth place of this royal mistress, everyone seemed sure that the ditch, mentioned above, was in Westminster.

This is all a bit shocking as apparently Nel was a cross dresser for a while, calling herself William Gwyn, and she is reputed to have been either a child prostitute in her mother’s brothel or a street hawker of herring, oysters or turnips. So take your pick, we will never know for sure. This is a picture of her with clothes on and next time I’ll show you a picture of her without her clothes.

Nell_gwyn_peter_lely_c_1675

Nel Gwyn by Peter Lely  1675.

THE AGING PROCESS AND A CUPPA TEA

Well it’s Monday morning and time for me to write a brilliant, witty and side splitting blog – well OK you might have other ideas, and so does my brain. It is indeed a small miracle that I have anything to type up this blog, as laptop, plus cables, nearly went over the balcony yesterday. What with Chrome freezing up and the new Windows 10 deliberately hiding all my own settings, and a new safety programme giving me irritating little pop ups that obscured the post button on Facebook – which then froze up all by itself.

WIN 10

Don’t you just wish those irritating techies in their parkland surroundings in America would just back off and stop changing things? It’s what they do all day.

Microsoft_building_17_front_door

“Yeah!” They exclaim. “It’s about time now those old wrinklies have finally got to grips with Windows 7 or 8, so let’s throw them a curved ball. Where can we hide their favourite icons and buttons? Oh, go on, let’s change the whole programme, that will raise their blood pressure.”

So while I scribble this rubbish, I have yet to open the browser and see what appalling problems I get today.

I was waiting last Friday with bated breath for Her Majesty to remain healthy over the weekend so she would qualify as the longest reigning monarch on the British throne.  She made it, and I suspect it will be a couple of hundred years before that record will be broken. I was imagining her in Buckingham palace slurping champagne (no, she wouldn’t slurp would she, just sipping in a gentile manner) toasting herself, and thinking ‘this one’s for you Victoria.’

Have the sound on…

This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen. It’s a little unnerving watching the aging process (both in this and in the mirror) since it happens to us all. Only a little over 3 minutes of very clever work. The Queen…click on below…go full screen – it told me there was an error when I tested it but by hitting the learn more button it played.

Click here: Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (morph sequence) -Safeshare.TV

Well let’s hope that gets into wordpress. It’s just crashed my internet.

Further back in time, they were not expecting to live quite as long, although Charles II probably had a very good try. He was having such a good time, well wouldn’t you, if parliament had chopped your Daddy’s head off? It was quite enough to give him nightmares. But it was his wife who was in danger this time. Catherine of Braganza came from Portugal and was a Roman Catholic – not a healthy choice of religion at that time in Britain.  Her life was threatened by Titus Oates, but Charles protected her.

cATHERINE OF BRAGANZA

Now in those days Sleezy Jet and Ryan Air did not fly to Portugal, so Catherine had to make the long, long journey by coach and ferry. They’d run out of food at the coach terminal and the bar on the P & O Dover/ Calais crossing was shut, so the moment she landed on English soil, she was so exhausted, she asked for a quick cup of tea.

t cupThe English hadn’t the faintest idea what she was talking about, so she had to make the cuppa herself!  Thus Cathy became the unofficial saint of the tea cup and started a trend with which we are all familiar today. The cure for all British ills, a ‘nice cuppa tea’.

So what did the English drink at that time? Beer, mead, water, more beer, whisky, beer and more beer.

Charles passed lots of new laws, such as the one where everyone had to pay money to the king and then forget about it, and no one should be closer than five miles to anyone one else and the Corporation Act which said that everyone should be fat, except for Nel Gwyn.

But all was not well in the royal household as far as heirs went. Poor Catherine had three miscarriages and so Charles looked elsewhere. More about them next time.

THE PORRIGE GREMLIN, CHARLES II AND THE PINEAPPLE

It may or may not be quite correct to call it a gremlin, more of a disease I think. I get it on days when I have lots to do, like today, and I realize that I have no brains at all, only what feels like a large bowl of cold, congealed cereal between my ears.

For example I had a brilliant idea for my blog today, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it is. To make matters worse, I did one of those clean-out thingy programmes on my lap top which has wiped out all the cookies and links lurking in the background or behind files out of sight, along with my history and now I can’t find any files.

So to the less than brilliant blog post.

Since I would like to sell lots of books, I understand advertising is important. I’m hopeless at it, really I am. I’m just not an ‘in-your-face’, ‘look at me sort of person’. (Though I’m getting there).  So, it seemed a good idea to get pens stamped with my name on them and hand them out everywhere I go. (As if I didn’t have enough stuff in my handbag as it is!) Pens are useful things. People are generally happy to get free ones. They often leave them all over the place, to be picked up by third parties. So what could go wrong?

PENS

I collected 500 of them from the printers, in five different colours with lucindaeclarkeauthor.com printed clearly on the side. Type that in to the search engine and wow – you reach my web page which lists and describes all my books and has a nifty little link to this (less than) amazing blog page as well.

Now because I live in Spain, it’s a bit pointless handing them out to Spanish speakers, so I’m learning to get up close and personal with people so I can eavesdrop to see if they are conversing in English. If they are, then I pop a pen into their hands, shopping bags etc with a smile “Please have a free pen with my compliments.”

Most people are pleased, a couple looked worried, so I had to assure them the pens don’t explode, they just write.

While waiting to greet guests at the airport, I managed to part with 12, and assured a lady I had not gone there to distribute writing implements but to meet relatives.

But there is possibly a small downside to this. I’ve received another low star review, the one book the reader did not like much, and having bought all four she said she would probably not like any of the others either. I suspect the lady lives in Spain, and I also suspect she may have been the recipient of a free pen. While I can’t ask her to return the pen after giving me a lousy review, be aware there is a downside to getting noticed.

Just a last reminder that “Truth, Lies & Propaganda” is still $/£ 0.99 until midnight on 11th September if you want to grab it cheap.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QE35BO2  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QE35O2

I will understand if you want to read a book written by someone else and I’ll still be friends.

Amie 2 proof was delivered today, only 3 days after ordering it. That’s pretty good from the US isn’t it? So it’s proofreading time again.

I’m not sure if Charles II had to proofread anything, I expect he had people to do that for him, and he probably didn’t have the time as he was very busy partying. You can’t blame him really as he’d been shipped out of England at 16 just when it looked as if Daddy was losing the war and his head.

MAP SCOTLAND

He’d popped back briefly to Scotland and was crowned king there, but had to rush off and hide in a tree when he lost the battle of Worcester. It was tricky hiding, as he was 6 foot tall and most other people in those days were shorter than that. Luckily he found a tall tree like this one.

OAK TREE

He was known as the Merry Monarch as he was pleased he did not have to spend any more time hiding in oak trees and so was romantic and popular. He was also an environmentalist, keeping his pet King Charles’ Spaniards at court,

KING CHARLES SPANIELS

including Catherine of Braganza,

cATHERINE OF BRAGANZA

but although he married her, he was even fonder of Elinor Gwyn who unfortunately had a fetish for oranges.

The most important milestone of this reign was the first pineapple grown in England. This was such a momentous event, they painted a picture of it. The King was not too pleased at having to stand still for such a long time and the well dressed farmer suffered very badly from have to stay on his knees for days on end while the painter captured the scene. He was on the knee replacement surgery waiting list for months.

CHARLES AND PINEAPPLE

Next time, what Catherine brought to England.

TWO FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS AND THE RESTORATION

It was my birthday this week, and a huge thank you to all the people who sent me ‘have a happy day’ wishes.  (It was, except for car which simply refused to start. But then I can hardly complain about purchasing a new battery, the first in 7 years).

One of the messages I received was from my cousin who pointed out that Facebook was kindly telling the whole world just how old I am. She was even kinder in listing the steps I needed to take to remove this piece of incriminating evidence. So in a spare millisecond, I popped into the settings bit and attempted to remove the offending information. I mean, how can I pretend to be 25 if Facebook is screaming the truth to the whole world?

It wouldn’t let me! Seriously! I tried everything, but either I have no birthday at all, or I have to accept the inevitable. It may be because I am listed as an author, a sort of one man/woman international corporation, but it stands.

Does it really matter? Well probably not. I can’t expect to write biographies spanning 60 years and get people to believe I’m still in the bloom of youth, but what it does do, is allow Facebook to tailor their advertisements within my age bracket.

So far, in the last two days, they have offered me walking aids, mobility scooters and one of those nifty chair things that will take you upstairs – their research here is woefully lacking as all our accommodation is on one level. So thank you Facebook for making me feel even older and placing me in an age bracket that will remind me that I’m approaching senility at a rate of knots. I’m now just waiting for the adds for the incontinence pants, hearing aids and old folks homes.

I don’t think I’ll have a birthday next year.

Latest update on Amie 2 is that we ordered the first proof copy this morning, which should arrive next Thursday, so publication date is getting nearer. Watch this space.

Other update is that I have a Kindle Countdown on Truth, Lies and Propaganda from 5-11 September, reduced to $/£ 0.99.  Here are the links should you wish to purchase.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QE35BO2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QE35O2

TLP Front cover + title

Enough of this modern stuff as we whisk back a few hundred years to find out what happened after Oliver went to the big battleground in the sky. He, as all good dictators do (those who scream they are bringing democracy to the people), was succeeded by his son. But, poor lad, he only lasted 9 months and Richard Cromwell begged what was let of parliament to bring back the king.

Richard Cromwell

Now Charles, named after his daddy who, you may remember was also called Charles, had been in exile for 9 years, staying with a variety of relatives and wealthy friends on the continent.

Charles II (to distinguish him from daddy, who was Charles I) came back to a tumultuous reception and so got the nickname of ‘The Merry Monarch’. He was merry, not surprising as he got his throne back, along with a few nice houses, castles and palaces to live in, and the people were merry as well, as they could now knit on a Sunday.

KNITTING

He arrived in London on his birthday, and being given a country to rule must be among the nicest birthday presents anyone could have.

CHARLES II

Even Beckham hasn’t managed that.

david_beckham-759

Till next time.