“If you would like to move to the front of the plane, we have spare seating with an extra six inches leg room, at the cost of £20 per passenger.”

Yes, seriously that was the announcement they made just as we were settling in.

Don’t you just love/hate these budget airlines?


I glared at DH indicating he had no need to apply for the unoccupied, hard, plastic formations they called seats, which offered all this extra space for the mere cost of £20 or, for us, €28. (You didn’t think I was referring to anything else did you?)


OK so you’ve bought your ticket, and then they keep harassing you for all the extras. Suitcase? No, we managed with hand baggage only. Hire car? No thanks, we were being met at the airport. Need a hotel? No thanks, we booked a budget one on-line weeks ago. Food on board – pre-order now? Our pockets were stuffed with energy bars. Insurance surely? Er, no, we’ll live dangerously, we’re only hopping over to UK for 3 days.

Yet, once again UK had the last laugh. I lost a tooth on a toffee in the middle of a social gathering. I turned to a piece of quivering jelly as I realized this meant a trip to the dentist, my least favourite place on the planet.

My current flu was treated to icy winds, rain and several trips to the pharmacy. Why I wasn’t arrested for drug smuggling on my return was a miracle. I had more painkillers, cough remedies, anti-ache pills and kill-a-cold tablets in my carry on than I did clothes.

I’d quite forgotten about the tweezers, the nail clippers, the miniature hand cream and the tiny anti-bacterial gel in my handbag, but security snatched the 105 ml deodorant I had obediently put in the clear plastic bag. Before they could get their hands on it, I liberally sprayed myself with the contents much to the horror of the staff who assured me I would set off every alarm in Gatwick. I thought for a brief moment that the security man was about to fling himself bodily over the divide and wrestle me to the ground.

He may have had second thoughts as by now I was beltless, shoeless and trying to save my trousers from joining my socks.

They probably came to the conclusion that this passenger was simply too stupid to be of any harm to anyone as long as they kept the straightjacket handy.

I’d already peppered the airport with free pens and bookmarks, although those nice people reading kindles didn’t seem to know quite what to do with the bookmarks. However, I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to distribute to English speaking people.

Luckily DH restrained me from popping them inside all the books in WH Smiths. He’s told me often he doesn’t do jail visits.


Since after only 3 days away I returned to almost 500 emails, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who have commented, blogged and re-blogged about my books. I can’t tell you how wonderful you all are and I so appreciate it. I’m sorry if I don’t get to thank you all personally, but I hope you understand. Life is frenetic and I’m several degrees below par right now.

Remember I said that James was none too bright? Well he didn’t seem to notice that the English wanted a Protestant King and he was Roman Catholic. He begrudgingly agreed that his eldest daughter Mary could marry the Protestant Prince William of Orange who lived somewhere over on the other side of the English Channel. (No relation to Nel Gywnn who only liked oranges). Both his daughters, Mary and Anne had been brought up to be non Roman Catholics.


James kept some of his brother’s ministers – but only those who were still alive – and he brought in more Catholic ones and the people began to get totally fed up with him.

There was one rebellion from Monmouth, not sure where he fits into the picture, but I’m sure it doesn’t matter much.


MONMOUTH James Scott, Duke of Monmouth on horseback (Henri Gascar, 1672)

He was easily defeated and the rebels were brought before Judge Jeffreys who suspended them all – this is a modified form of hanging.

To make matters worse, James then had a son, James Francis Edward, and since he was obviously going to be brought up as a Catholic, seven of the most important nobles asked William to pop on over and rule England instead.

King James took fright and ran away. First he threw the Great Seal into the River Thames and then legged it. He was captured in Kent and then ‘allowed’ to escape to France.

He tried once to get this throne back, by landing in Ireland (I suspect his navigational skills weren’t too good as that is the island next door). However William’s atlas was more up to date, and he raced over and defeated the king at the battle of the Boyne.

Parliament then passed a law saying that no monarch of England could be a Roman Catholic and that was that. James was officially out, so he ran away to France again where his good friend Louis XIV offered him this little cottage,

Château_de_Saint-Germain-en-Laye01.jpjames home

a pension, petrol vouchers and an account at Marks and Spencer.

Now the really gruesome bit I will tell you next week. It’s so horrific you might want to have the valium or prozac to hand.




  1. The cringiest (new word I’ve made up for the Oxford Dictionary) is when they play that &*^^% trumpet on landing on Lyon Air urrrggg. To think of how people dressed in suits and high heels to fly – Lord really showing my age now. I shall be digging out my old video location pants for the flights next week, also with the takkies and crinkly t-shirt. If I look shabby enough, they might thing I’m someone famous and I can bombard them with pens and bookmarks. I can dream can’t I?


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