FRANCE AND A FAREWELL

TRAVEL STUFF

So there we were in Carcassonne, and we’d ‘done’ the castle what was next? Back at the B & B we discovered that our landlady had left a bottle of wine in our room, which was a nice touch, I guess she saw the birthday cards on the dresser.

Sunday we decided to visit the cathedral, but we should have gone earlier as a service was about to begin and the place was packed. We noticed no less than 3 beggars sitting outside but did not see anyone give them anything.

Coffee in the square followed, but all the shops were shut which surprised me, I remember them being open on Sundays in France. After a cup of very mediocre coffee at an exorbitant price, we wandered down to the canal to book our boat trip. (And I know Val has been waiting for this).

Carcassonne lies on the Canal du Midi which is the 240 kilometre long canal that joins the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, considered at the time to be one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century. It was one of my favourite kings, Louise XIV who got things moving. The canal was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.

Now for those techie people, I mined these facts off Google. The total rise is 57.18 metres, and the summit level is 189.43 metres. It’s 2 metres deep and 20 metres wide on the surface but only 10 metres on the canal bed. I guess that means it’s best to stay in the middle?

HISTORY

Ex Edward VIII now the Duke of Windsor, only came home again to Britain after he passed on when the Royals attended his funeral.

 

grave of Edward VIII

He died in Paris, but before we say goodbye to him a bit of trivia. Edward VIII is the fourth longest-lived British Monarch, a total of 28,463 days. Well, of course, I had to get my calculator out to find out just how old he was when he died, and that’s your homework for this week!

By now his brother sat on the throne, not all the time you understand, there were times when he got up and walked around for a while. He didn’t want to be king, for a start he stuttered badly and that’s not good as kings are supposed to give very long speeches.

PIC of FUNERAL from the BBC.

EMBARRASSING NATURAL BREAK

Apart from DH (and he has a tendency to grunt when shown), there is no one to share this with except you, a lovely review I got from Book Viral for Amie African Adventure.

A powerful and riveting adventure set against a background of violent upheaval, Amie African Adventure proves a masterfully penned novel with just the right mix of suspense and plot. Matching storytelling grace with a story truly worth the telling, Clarke’s novel is explosively authentic and she’s not an author to skip on social commentary. In fact, far from it; but she makes her points without too much breast-beating, with a tender regard for her characters that gives her storytelling a natural gravitas thoroughly suited to unfolding events. We feel Amie’s angst and her character is carefully observed, Clarke’s dialogue is timely and authentic whilst tension and suspense are always to the fore as she navigates the complexities of her plot. It’s the necessity of circumstances which dictate the choices Amie makes and readers will react with varying degrees of outrage, anger and concern as they hope for a better future for her. Most importantly, it all makes for an enthralling read that keeps the pages turning at a feverish pace whilst setting the tone for an exciting new series.

For readers who appreciate a well written, intelligent and engrossing adventure story Amie African Adventure proves a must read and is recommended without reservation.

Buy link myBook.to/Amie1

Till next week, take care.

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TOURISTS AND TITLES

CARCASSONE CASTLE

There is quite a town now around the castle and the basilica at Carcassone. Even though it was raining when we were there the place is packed with tourists.  The narrow streets are crammed full of eateries, souvenir shops, more souvenir shops and a few more souvenir shops. DH is always a little tetchy when there are swarms of people around but he does understand they were not going to clear the place for us.

There are also a couple of hotels in the citadel. I couldn’t find out – probably due to my appalling French – if any of these buildings had people left in them when they were all ordered to go and live across the river. Did they all flock back again when they heard the tourists were coming?

The only museum worth seeing according to the Trip Advisor reviews was the school. Now I’d hate you to think I am quite this old, but I did recognize some of the things I saw on display. And it was fun to practice writing with a nibbed pen and real blue ink in a pottery inkwell set into the desk. DH chickened out of that one.

HISTORY STUFF

Who knows if Edward thought through his decision to abdicate? His reign lasted 326 days one of the shortest ever (if you don’t count Lady Jane Grey who only managed 9 days). He couldn’t marry straight away as Wallace still had to finish getting divorced from husband #2.

300px-Wallis_and_Edward wedding

Edward was downgraded to a Duke and then took his new wife off to visit Germany (I showed a pic of this a couple of weeks ago). This was not a popular thing to do at that particular time, and from being wildly celebrated when he was younger, life didn’t seem like much fun. He also had to take a huge cut in salary of course. They don’t look wildly happy, do they?

I hope you don’t feel sorry for him, remember what he said when his younger brother died? Here is another quote:  from 1920 when he visited Australia about the indigenous Australians: “They are the most revolting form of living creatures I’ve ever seen!! They are the lowest known form of human beings & are the nearest thing to monkeys.”

So you can imagine how he felt down at being demoted, and serve him right.

BEGINNING OF Amie book 3 Amie: Future Shock

Behind her veil, the tears streamed down Amie’s face as she watched them lower the coffins into the freshly dug graves. She could remember little about the previous few days and constantly fought an overwhelming panic. Her mind was a jumble of disconnected thoughts, blurred memories and questions. People she didn’t know well had invaded her world to arrange this terrible funeral.

From where she was standing on the far side of the cemetery, partially concealed behind a tall Natal Mahogany tree, she could see Ouma Adede who had once foretold her future. What was she doing here? There were others: Mrs Motswezi from the orphanage where Amie had first found Angelina, half-familiar faces from the Club, couples they’d dined or swam with at the beach. There was a tall, very good looking man with blonde hair she had never seen before, he was probably from the embassy. And Ken, of course, the sun reflecting off his dark skin and black curly hair that showed his African heritage. Even Jennifer and Patrick were there, but Amie was not allowed to talk to them, neither could she approach them. At one point, without thinking, she’d taken a step forward as if to walk over and join them, but a hand had grabbed her arm and held her back.

stolen-future-kindle cover 150dpi

“You can’t go any closer, not now, not ever,” the stern voice displayed no emotion.

At last the preacher finished his eulogy. One by one the mourners filed past the graves on the way to their cars. Ouma Adede looked up and stared straight at Amie, even though she was shrouded in a black muslin veil and hidden behind the tree, and Amie could have sworn she gave a brief nod. But then the elderly witchdoctor walked out of the graveyard without a backward glance. Did their eyes really connect or was it her imagination?

Once all the mourners had departed and the preacher had hurried away, Amie was herded straight to the car, then back to her room and once more the door was firmly locked behind her.  Now Amie could weep in private.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4

Also available in Spanish.

Till next week, take care.

 

WANDERINGS AND WALLACE

TRAVEL BIT

We walked around Carcassone castle and were very impressed with how well the building had stood up for the last 800 years, I mean even the walls were nice and clean.

DH remarked several times that they don’t erect edifices like they used to, to last for centuries. I detected the odd pitying glance from the passers-by, which was puzzling. We sat and watched the movie on its history and learned that all the people living in and around the castle had been ordered to go and relocate on the other side of the river.

Next, the Black Prince came along and set light to the Bastide as they call it, and that didn’t do it much good either.

The locals were quick to grab what stones were left to build their own houses and I understand they didn’t leave much of it.

So what did we see? I’ll tell you next week.

SHOCKING HISTORY

Now, on one hand asking Wallace Simpson to marry him might have reassured many people that Edward VIII was not gay as had been thought by some. But there was an even bigger problem. She had married and divorced twice before and both her ex-husbands were alive and well.

Prinz Harrys Urgroßonkel Herzog von Windsor traf Hitler

This would never do. The King was the head of the Church of England they didn’t allow such things. The answer was to marry and shove off, or find a better match. Some historians tell us that the lady in question wasn’t all that fussed about marrying Edward, but she had told everyone that she would re-furnish Balmoral Castle and get rid of all that nasty tartan that Queen Victoria had installed.

BALMORAL

THE NATURAL BREAK

That’s what they say to pretend they are not advertising yes?

I thought I would do something a little different and paste in the beginning of one of my books over the next few weeks. I’ll start with book 1 of the Amie adventure/spy series African Adventure.

They came for her soon after the first rays of the sun began to pour over the far distant hills, spilling down the slopes onto the earth below. At first the gentle beams warmed the air, but as the sun rose higher in the sky, it produced a scorching heat, which beat down on the land with relentless energy.

She heard them approach, their footsteps echoing loudly on the bare concrete floors. As the marching feet drew closer, she curled up as small as she could, and tried to breathe slowly to stop her heart racing. No, please, not again, she whispered to herself. She couldn’t take much more. What did they want? Would they beat her again? What did they expect her to say?AMIE 1 NEW COVER KINDLE HIGHER RES

There was nothing she could tell them, she was keeping no secrets. She knew she couldn’t take any more pain; every little bit of her body ached. How many films had she seen where people were kicked or beaten up? She’d never understood real pain, the real agony even a single punch could inflict on the body. Now all she wanted was to die, to escape the torture and slide away into oblivion.

The large fat one was the first to appear on the other side of the door. She knew he was important, because the gold braid, medals, ribbons, and badges on his uniform told everyone he was a powerful man, a man it would be very dangerous to cross. He was accompanied by three other warders, also in uniform, but with fewer decorations.

They unlocked the old, rusty cell door and the skinny one walked over and dragged her to her feet. He pushed her away from him, swung her round and bound her wrists together behind her back, with a long strip of dirty cotton material. She winced as he pulled roughly on the cloth and then propelled her towards the door. The others stood back as they shoved her into the corridor and up the steps to the ground floor.

She thought they were going to turn left towards the room where they made her sit for hours and hours on a small chair. They’d shouted and screamed at her and got annoyed when she couldn’t answer their questions. This made them angry so they hit her again.

She’d lost track of the time she’d been here, was it a few days, or several weeks? As she drifted in and out of consciousness, she had lost all sense of reality. Her former life was a blur, and it was too late to mark the cell walls to record how long they’d kept her imprisoned.

This time, however, they didn’t turn left. They turned right at the top of the steps and pulled her down a long corridor towards an opening at the far end. She could see the bright sunlight reflecting off the dirty white walls. For a brief moment, she had a sudden feeling of euphoria. They were going to let her go!

myBook.to/Amie1

audio   https://www.amazon.com/Amie-African-Adventure/dp/B0725CYNYG

Till next week, take care.

 

CASTLE AND KINGS

CARCASSONE CASTLE

As we walked (well DH walked, I staggered) over the dry, grassy moat and the bridge to buy our entry tickets, I thought the castle was in a remarkably good condition considering it had been assembled in the XII century. It was built by the Trencavel family who added a bit more to it in the following century. Showing off how rich they were no doubt.

An interesting family they turned a blind eye to the Cathars, who’d developed their own version of religion and so the Pope of the day declared a crusade under Simon de Montford who laid siege to the city.

After all that was over, the town was declared French and they thought the castle would be very useful in manning the Franco/Spanish border. Which turned not to be such a good idea as someone went and moved the border further south. Now, Carcassone was several miles inside France. After all that effort!!

HISTORY NONSENSE

Now while George had 5 sons, one as I’ve said was locked away so you’ve probably heard about the two eldest Edward and George – though Edward was called David, just to be confusing.

EDWARD viii

  • File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-13538, Edward Herzog von Windsor.jpg

He’d only been king a few months (his father George V had died in the meantime, so it was Ok for him to become king) when he asked a lady called Mrs Wallace Simpson to marry him and this shocked the whole nation.

THE EMBARRASSING BIT

Yes, here is where I mention my books, though I have far more fun writing about the other stuff on my blog.

I have 8 out so far, in 3 different genres which only goes to prove I’m a bit schizophrenic I guess. Memoirs x 3 – Humour x 1 – Adventure/thriller/spy x 4.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

Worst Riding School - 2

 

Don’t forget my reader magnet which you can snaffle for free – short read myBook.to/WRS embarrassingly all true.  All books are wide except for the Amie series.   Until next week take care.

 

 

FRANCE AND FALSEHOODS

TRAVEL SECTION

Well, it’s a whole month already since my birthday, but I promised I would share my adventures with you as it was a bitter/sweet experience.

I’d been waiting in great excitement for the big moment when DH would ask me what I’d like as a present and I had my answer all ready.

blonde wig

 

I wanted proper publicity photos, taken at one of those places which provided the wigs, the warpaint, and the Photoshop experts. I would then burst forth onto Facebook and other places with my long, golden locks flowing over my shoulders looking 25 years old with ‘go to bed’ eyes the size of flying saucers.

It was not to be. Instead, he waved the bed and breakfast booking for 3 nights in Carcassone. This would have been my second choice and I was looking forward to visiting the medieval walled city in south-west France.

We set off in the car very early in the morning and after a few hours realized we were in France. We’d stayed on the motorway (the tolls were horrendous) but it cut the journey by hours. We whipped round the Pyrenees and reached Carcassone in the late afternoon. We had a bit of a battle with the GPS as it insisted on trying to take us down a pedestrian street to the B&B. Later, we discovered that everyone else drove down these walk only streets! We found a teeny, weeny parking place right outside the door, but by the time DH had maneuvered the Tank (that’s what I call his truck thingie) into the minute space there wasn’t room to put tissue paper between the bumpers.

The B&B was lovely, though by the time I’d climbed the 3 flights of tiny, windy stairs I was exhausted.

Now to my mind, a castle is in a town right? Not in Carcassone. The town is one side of the river and the castle is on the other, very strange I thought. The first evening we took a gentle stroll into the town, and had a highly priced coffee.

We also popped into a church and had a look round.

Next morning we planned to go to the castle, but I began to have my doubts – and this is where the bitter part comes in. It was perched somewhere up in the clouds!! DH goes mountain walking in the winter, and it was no problem for him. I, on the other hand, see no necessity to walk farther than from the front door to the car.

I huffed and puffed up this HUGE hill – honestly nearer to a mountain – with not a coffee shop open until finally, we got to the top. Imagine my fury when I saw a car park right next to the castle! I was totally exhausted by the time we made it up there, and it didn’t look as if there was any public transport going back down either! I’d not planned a workout on my special day. I was too tired to take photos of the steepest bit. More next week.

HISTORY TWADDLE

Now George V was probably a little worried about keeping his seat on the throne. Not only had his cousin Tsar Nicholas of Russia been cruelly disposed of, Kaiser Willhelm II of Germany also got the boot. George and his wife May had 5 sons and a daughter and he is quoted as saying “My father was frightened of his mother, I was frightened of my father, and I am damned well going to see to it that my children are frightened of me.” GEORGE v PLUS WIFE

See, I told you he wasn’t a very nice person. His sons were quite terrified of him. Yet, and this is a spin doctor’s dream – on his father’s death he wrote in his diary “I have lost my best friend and the best of fathers … I never had a [cross] word with him in my life. I am heart-broken and overwhelmed with grief but God will help me in my responsibilities and darling May will be my comfort as she has always been. May God give me strength and guidance in the heavy task which has fallen on me.”  Somebody’s telling porkies! (London Cockney rhyming slang – pork pies = lies).

 

THE ADD BREAK

By the time you read this Amie: Cut for Life book 4 will be off the pre-order and you can take a peep in the look inside. Book one is also available in audio.

You can find them all here on my Web page – http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Till next week take care.