MUSEUMS AND MUMS

TRAVEL

After another coffee and yet more apple strudel, we walked (I was gazing longingly at the taxis) to a venue labelled The Time Travel Experience – again no photos allowed.

This is a must visit if you go to Vienna. They take you from the earliest days when the city was founded to the present. Each small group has a multilingual guide leading us past talking mannequins, swirling roundabouts with flashing lights listening to Strauss, realistic displays, a superb film with 3D glasses which had me gripping the seat, a bomb shelter with the bombs exploding outside and a carriage ride. It was so cleverly put together and well worth the Euros.

It was time for more coffee and food.

HISTORY

Carlos 2

We left the Dowager Queen mother to little Isabella breathlessly waiting for the betrothal to little Ferdinand of Aragon, sadly he was the younger son and from dad’s second marriage, but then he was King of Sicily so better than a passing peasant. There were talks but nothing happed because while they were busy chatting his father King John of Aragon had a huge fight with his eldest son Carlos, stepbrother to Ferdinand and civil broke out and Navarre and Castile all got involved and it was one big mess. mind in this picture he looks more than a little-laid back.

Then another emissary arrives to grab Isabella as a bride, this time from the said Carlos above. He’s legally heir to the throne, but Daddy has disowned him. Isabella is not pleased, she has fanaticised about Ferdinand for years, as an escape from her insane mother and her fear of Uncle Henry. It might also something to do with the fact that Isabella is only 9 years old, and Carlos is 40.

AFRICA FACTS

I made a complete idiot of myself the other week by putting out a tweet giving the gestation period of a lioness as 11 days. One person noticed which was a thrill to discover that someone actually read one of my tweets. It should have been 110 days of course and the lioness will leave the pride and go some distance to give birth.

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The reason? Often the male dominant lion will kill the cubs. Not sure if he is worried about being daddy and bringing up stepchildren, but the lioness will wait about two months before returning to the pride. It’s an unsettling time for her as if there is a new dominant male he will kill the cub but her sisters will take turns on helping her feed her cub if they are lactating.

TED WILDTUIN 09 069

You can read what happened when we edited footage about introducing lions into a game park for the first time in More Truth, Lies and Propaganda.

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

 

 

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DOCUMENTS AND DANCING

TRAVEL

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The inside of the Military Museum in Vienna was truly enormous, with the early history on the first floor and the ground floor devoted to World War I and II. The marble statues in the entrance hall were most impressive.

After several hours I finally managed to drag DH (Dear Husband) away from all things military, muttering rude comments about the insanity of war and the unnecessary posturing of men for power and validation and the suffering caused as a result, but I don’t make many inroads. I often forget he was once in the British army himself, but he didn’t run around shooting people.

After a coffee break and more apple strudel, we walked to the nearest Uban (underground metro) and went 3 stops to Pietersplatz and then walked to the Document Centre of the Austrian Resistance.

OIC DOCUMENT CENTRE VIENNA

I’ve heard lots about the French resistance fighters in the last world War but nothing about groups in Austria. It was sad to see that many of them were turned in to the Gestapo by friends and neighbours and there were very few left alive by 1946. No photos allowed, unfortunately, but I have to admit that these days museums with the inclusion of films and dioramas are not the boring places they once were.

This centre was founded in 1963 by former resistance fighters and has 350 metres of shelf space filled with documents and a library with 44,000 books.

It was time for another coffee break (we have a lot of those).

HISTORY

Time to hear more about little Isabella’s story. Life is tough since her mother the Dowager hears of Henry’s second marriage she is even more convinced he wants to do away with her and her children. Life in Avila is all praying and daily reminders of duty but events take a turn for the better when King John of Aragon sends men to Arevalo to betroth Isabella to his son Ferdinand who is only 11 months younger than her. The Dowager is absolutely thrilled.

young isabella

A YOUNG ISABELLA

Now, just to put you in the picture her is a map to show what was where. During the 1400’s there were three separate Christian kingdoms – Aragon, Navarre and Castile – and the Muslim kingdom of Granada. As you can see, Castile, with its capital in Burgos and Toledo covers a bigger area than Aragon and therefore we must assume it was more important.

 

map spain, early

 

Notice I did not use the word Spain, this was to come later. The capital of Aragon is Zaragoza.

The story begins to get really exciting from this point.

AFRICA FACTS

The last thing I expected to see in a rural area in Mpumalanga was a troop of American drum majorettes. They were really good and must have practiced for hours and hours.

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In another school they welcomed us performing a traditional dance –CIMG3674

While these ladies who set up and ran chicken business danced and sang waving branches, leaves and straw fronds when we first arrived and got out of the car.

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I never planned to write about my filming life, but I realized one day I was forgetting so many of the locations, the people, and the experiences. So, I sat down and wrote about them to remind myself in the old age home what I had done. The manuscript got longer and longer so I turned it into 2 books and it seemed silly not to publish. To my surprise, several of my readers say these are the favourites of all my books. I never realized how precious these photographs would be to me now I’m not living in Africa.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VF0S3RG

This is the universal link to all marketplaces. https://www.books2read.com/u/4AgL6p 

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

 

INFIDELITY AND INGENUITY

TRAVEL

Last time I left you all as we approached the military museum.

It seemed we had the place to ourselves, there were no other visitors. The displays were quite amazing, even for me who hates ‘war’ stuff. It included uniforms, equipment, battle scenes, maps, descriptions of conflicts and so much more.

Set out over two floors it covered just about the whole history of Austria – and it was interesting to compare what they showed us in their version to what I remembered from history lessons at school. History is always written by the victor!

HISTORY

Having divorced Blanche, a year later in 1455, Henry marries Joan of Portugal, sister to Alfonso V of Portugal. However, he soon gets bored with her too, and it’s not long before he takes another mistress, one of Joan’s ladies in waiting. (Now that is really sleazy).

Henry IV and Joan of Navarre

Here he is with ‘the other woman’  In turn, Joan is so incensed that she begins an affair with a handsome courtier named Beltran de la Cueva.  That’s practically unheard of in history on the female side!  While kings could play around, queens stayed pure and chaste didn’t they? They could get into all kinds of bother. – Remember the saying Momma’s baby, Poppa’s maybe?)

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Henry? He doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest, you can almost take indolence to extremes can’t you?

And here is the lucky man, Beltran de la Cueva  (I think that = Bertran from the cave). Quite a dishy sort of guy I guess but awfully thin – take that armour away and there’d be nothing left of him. I do hope the Queen fed him up a little.

 

 

 

AFRICAN FACTS

This week a few more pictures of some of the rural schools we visited. At one, they had built a whole new assembly hall and gym, yes, from all those collected pennies. The previous one had been flooded out (uninsured of course) and the parents had working parties to dig ditches or whatever was needed to prevent it from flooding again.

If only communities would work together like this everywhere, just think of what we could achieve. There is so much hope and inspiration from these little ones, all so keen to get an education. If they hear there will be a day closure of the schools, say for example to use as a polling station, they all get very upset.

I’ve written 2 books dedicated to my media work it’s packed with dozens of humorous and inspirational stories, and a few shocking ones too, of the people we met and the various ways they were all trying to make a better life. This is the first one.

https://www.books2read.com/u/47kzYN 

The second link will take you to all marketplaces.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

 

PALACES AND PRINCIPALS

TRAVEL

The next morning in Vienna we set off to visit the Belvedere Palace a complex of palaces built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Yes, there are two palaces plus an orangery and stables. We walked from the hotel so I was pretty exhausted by the time we got there, it must have been in the hundreds of meters.

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It was a bit puzzling to see two palaces facing each other with gardens in between, I wondered if it was a ‘his and her’ situation but it seems they were hardly occupied as the royal family members had lots of other palaces to choose from. Today they are art galleries, but on one occasion when Maria Antonia married the French Dauphin (later to become Louis XVI) they hosted a ball there for 16,000 close personal friends.  That’s more than I have on Twitter, FB and BookBub combined. You wouldn’t like to pop here and follow me, would you? It will just take a second.

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucinda-e-clarke

lower belvedere Photo: Andreas Praefcke - Self-photographed
Photo: Andreas Praefcke – Self-photographed

HISTORY

King Henry also has a problem with his wife Blanche. After 13 years she still hasn’t produced any offspring and Henry is also finding her rather boring in bed, so he has the marriage annulled on the grounds of “por impotancia respective.”  (And no, I’m not going into that here). This is a family blog.

Blanche II of Navarre

Here she is and butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth – poor lady. She was shipped off back to her parents and locked away for the rest of her life. Have I persuaded you yet that you DON’T want to be a princess?

Some say that due to witchcraft the marriage was never consummated, and they subjected poor Blanche to an examination to prove she was still a virgin.  The priests also questioned the prostitutes in and around Sergovia who all attested that King Henry was more than capable. (Well they would, wouldn’t they? Can you imagine the consequences if they said he was rubbish in the bedroom?) Below is a picture of Sergovia a few years later.

sergovia 4

AFRICA FACTS

I was incredibly privileged to have the opportunity of filming in deep rural areas and visiting places where tourists and even locals rarely go and I saw so many examples of the tenacity of the human spirit, especially in the educational sector. Despite having minimal funds these head teachers and staff worked miracles.

I’ve included many of these schemes in my books about my experiences in rural Africa – Truth, Lies and Propaganda, and I will tell you about some over the next few weeks.

Many blogs do state how important a book cover is, and maybe I could improve on this, but these guys were my crew and the book is also for them in memory of the times we spent together – so it’s staying as it is!

Until next time, take care

Lucinda

 

 

ANIMALS AND AFRICA

TRAVEL

The Schonbrunn zoo is managed scientifically and set among the gardens, with several pavilions set in the area it’s a really great place to spend a long afternoon. We walked all of it, and I know this because my feet told me I had.

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Today they focus on conserving species and they have also conserved some of the old buildings as well (apparently, they are in the baroque model – so remember you heard that first here on my blog). Oh, and the menagerie-buildings are after the Versailles model, I’m sure you needed to know that as well. Personally, I’d just look at the pretty pics of the animals.

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Red pandas look nothing like their giant cousins do they?  I noted that we saw elephants, a polar bear, meerkats, giraffe, zebra lion and eland with the comment that many of the animals were past masters at hiding behind the leaves, branches, and shelters.

HISTORY

Bishop of toledo

 

Now, do you remember that King Henry, uncle to little Isabella, just isn’t a statesman, he’s an intellectual and he’s indolent? He’s frivolous, loves splendour, colourful pageants, and filling his court with poets and dreamers. He is wildly extravagant and imposes taxes on his poverty-stricken people to pay for it all. He’s at his pleasure 24/7 and leaves it to John Pacheo, Marquis of Villena, and Alfonso Carillo, the Archbishop of Toledo to run the country.

That’s a picture of the Archbishop and not the king – you can tell that from his pointy hat.

AFRICA FACTS

Over the 30+ year period, I lost count of the number of radio and TV scripts I wrote. At one time I had 4 x 15 minute programmes running daily on the radio all translated into one of the 9 indigenous African languages and the totals must run into the thousands. It’s also sad that I seldom even thought to take still pictures of all the TV shoots – mind those were in the days when you took a photograph and – wait for it – traipsed all the way to the chemist or similar, handed in the film and waited several days before you could go back and collect your pictures – which were occasionally rather blurred.

few of the videos I made

Later when we were filming I rarely took pictures of the crew or the subjects until I was working on a series which also commissioned illustrated booklets to accompany the videos.

I was also unfortunate to lose all my photographs in 1994, every single one of them.

Want to know what happened? You can find out in Walking over Eggshells my first biography – the personal one.

Until next time, take care.

Lucinda

A PALACE AND THE DEVIL’S CLAW

TRAVEL

To make up for not being able to have a seaside cottage for the summer holidays, the Habsburgs built lovely gardens round their holiday shack which stretch way into the distance. We were there in May and the flowers, despite me not knowing a dandelion from a tulip, were delightful. I was rather surprised I didn’t see a single gardener as we walked around – they don’t mow the lawns and tend the gardens at night do they?

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There was also another surprise attraction I’ll share with you next week.

HISTORY

Last week I left poor little princess Isabella growing up lonely in a huge, dark, empty, dank castle in the middle of nowhere. (You may get the tissues out here).

Henry IV 3

Her father John II had arranged in his will for his children to be financially well cared for, but half-brother Henry doesn’t comply – either from a desire to keep his half siblings restricted or simply through ineptitude. Like his father before him, he is a totally incompetent king.

He just likes playing all day long and letting his advisors run the country (as you do when you’re king). Come on, be honest. Would you be bothered by your insane sister in law and her brats miles away when you could hunt, sit for your portrait, whore and play with your crown jewels all day long? Of course, you wouldn’t. So, he didn’t either.

 

AFRICA FACTS

There is a pharmaceutical company in Germany (I suspect there are several) who have discovered the benefits of a root growing in Africa that helps control arthritis. It’s called the Devil’s Claw. We were sent to make a programme about this which led to one of my most embarrassing moments.

The moment we stepped out of the car, we were greeted as we often were, with a group singing and dancing in national costume. I was then led into the village hall and to my horror up onto a stage and a paper thrust into my hands. It read “REASON FOR DAY MRS (REAL NAME)”

I was then asked to make a speech and I had no idea what to say. What I knew about their work digging up the Devil’s Claw roots you could write on a pin. This often happened to us, budget and time were so tight there was no chance of researching beforehand and no internet to take a quick peep.

This is what the root looks like and I’ll tell you more next time.

devils claw

THE FINAL WORD

WRS 13 FEB 2018

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

 

VIENNA AND A VICIOUS ANIMAL

TRAVEL

Now because I’ve decided we need more pictures in here, these are two statues in Vienna, but sadly I can’t tell you anything about them.

I thought I would be really mean and pop up a couple more pics of the scrumptious cakes they have in Vienna. Austria is renowned worldwide for its cakes and hot chocolate.

Saturday, we got up early and walked to Karlsplatz and got on the underground for a trip out of town to visit the Schönbrunn (beautiful spring) Palace.

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This is the tiny country cottage that Empress Maria Theresa inherited and then extended it a little (as you do). She enlarged it to 1,441 rooms in the Baroque style making it one of the most important monuments in Austria. It’s been the summer holiday home for the Habsburgs, and it’s very sad they couldn’t play on the beach or swim in the sea as Austria doesn’t have a seaside.

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These days, in fact since the mid 50’s they let any old people wander around it, so we were let in too. The palace reflects 300 years of history, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

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HISTORY

Over 500 years earlier in Spain, in the castle of Avila, the Dowager Queen constantly tells her young daughter “If your stepbrother Henry dies without heirs, then your younger brother Alfonso will be king.  If Alfonso dies, you, Isabella will become queen.”  This is a little daunting when you’re only 6, but the really scary thing is that the Dowager Queen is terrified that the new king is out to harm the little Princess Isabella. Don’t forget she is mad.Henry IV 6

So, she whisks the kids off to the lonely castle of Aravelo to keep them safe. Princess Isabella has lessons and, under instruction from her mother spends an awful lot of time praying. She spends hours and hours each day on her knees.  Court etiquette is rigid, it’s more nunnery than a royal court.

Aravelo castle 2

AFRICA FACTS

I thought that as all but one of my books is set in Africa I would try and include an interesting fact that you might not know.

Ask anyone which animal is the most dangerous in Africa and they will probably quote one of the Big 5 – lion, Cape buffalo, leopard, rhinoceros and elephant.

However, many local Africans living in rural areas will tell you it’s the Honey Badger.

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Many Africans will tell you they are the fiercest of all the animals. They’re not really badgers and though only 28 centimeters high, they’re notorious for their strength, ferocity, and toughness. They have been known to savagely and fearlessly attack almost any kind of animal when escape is impossible, even repelling lions. They will also attack horses, cattle and Cape Buffalo and their skin is so thick that bee stings and porcupine quills rarely penetrate it. When they attack they are virtually tireless and urban legend has it they will jump up and grab a large animal by the testicles and refuse to let go.

I scripted a video for National Geographic a few years ago, where a couple hand reared a cub before releasing it into the wild when it was old enough to fend for itself. It was one of the best projects I have ever worked on.

Finally, a quick reminder about my books with this advert.

WANTED READERS 27 MARCH 2018

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

Till next week, take care.

Lucinda