GOODBYE AND GLASSES

TRAVEL

Now you probably think that DH (Dear Husband) and I go globetrotting all the time.  No, sadly that is not true at all. We manage to get away maybe once or twice a year. If I could, I’d be exploring new places at least 50% of the time.

This week the last few pictures of Vienna (of course, since DH is social media shy I can’t use any that show him).

This first is the hotel we stayed at – highly recommended – and I was particularly impressed to learn that during World War II it was used as lodgings for the German high command. Hedda Hopper the gossip columnist also stayed there. Of course, I had to play the mental history game – imagining I was there at the time.

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And a couple of side streets and a restaurant where we had a typical Austrian meal. I think the Austrians have their cuisine just right. I was very sad to say goodbye to Vienna as I really loved the city.

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HISTORY

Isabella of Spain

About time we talked about Isabella herself. She’s now at the court and life is much better. Beatriz Fernandez de Bobadilla becomes a maid of honour and a friend to Isabella – a very important servant who helped to change the face of the whole world.  I’ll come back to her later and you’ll find out how.

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This picture is a little fuzzy as she refused to sit still while I photographed her.

But the dowager Queen (Isabella’s mother who is a bit, no a lot, over the edge) does not behave well at court, and the King sends her back to Arevalo, probably to Isabella’s relief.

Alfonso V Portugal

 

Isabella turns 13 years old a ripe age for marriage in those days and the Queen’s brother, King Alfonso V of Portugal, asks for her hand in marriage. The year is now 1464. He looks a heck of a lot older than 13 doesn’t he? And to be quite honest she’s not thrilled at all. Not too cuddly with in all that armour and he  doesn’t look as if he has much of a sense of humour.

 

 

AFRICAN FACTS 

SANGOMAS PART 3

We had been filming in a rural village where they had recently installed electricity and the local sangoma (witch doctor) acted as a spokesperson on camera. I hesitantly asked her if she would throw the bones for me. She agreed and I returned a few days later and sat in her hut on the floor. She lit incense sticks and threw a mixture of objects onto a grass mat and chanted. There were some small animal bones, together with Coke bottle tops, half a clothes peg, scraps of material and glass and pieces of painted wood.

After quite some time she said “Take care driving as there is danger. Also, your eldest daughter will need to buy glasses.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was sceptical but kept my speed down to 30 kilometres an hour for days. Possibly as I was driving so slowly the police pulled me over and noticed my rather bald tyres. They said I would hear from them. I didn’t, so missed the time to pay the fine, also the date to appear in court for non-payment and so they issued a warrant for my arrest. (I had to admit it eventually that I’m a criminal).  It all got sorted but gave me a hell of a scare.

And, within a year my eldest daughter was prescribed glasses despite having had 20-20 vision up until then.

So, I would never, ever discount what the sangomas say – just in case. There is still much we don’t understand.

FB BANNER UPDATED SEPT 2017

Ouma Adede the sangoma appears in all the Amie books, with cryptic messages for her which come true but not in the way Amie expects.

myBook.to/Amie1   At the moment they are all in KU so you can read them for free.

Till next time, take care.

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MUSIC AND MUTI

TRAVEL

Everywhere we went in Vienna we were offered tickets to concerts. Now both DH and I love classical music, but we hadn’t packed evening dresses or a tux so we declined many of these historically dressed ticket touts. However, one particularly eager young man explained that the audience didn’t have to dress up for any of the smaller venues.

The programme was very much to my taste, Strauss x 2, Mozart and light opera – no rap or jazz and that suited me fine.

It was held in one of the minor palaces and sadly they didn’t allow pictures, though I did sneak this one before it started. My biggest fear was the tiny red velvet covered seats with very spindly legs, and DH is a large guy and my over active imagination could just see his chair collapsing – I mentally read the headlines, only I wouldn’t be able to understand them as they would be written in German.

HISTORY

La Beltranaja

 

The new princess born to King Henry and his Queen Joan is christened Joanna, but everyone whispers the name La Beltraneja.  Court gossip is “The Queen is a harlot, the King is a fool and the child is a bastard.”

Please note this picture was painted a little time after her birth.

 

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Many say that Beltran de la Cueva (remember, he was the cool, skinny guy who was the Queen’s bit on the side) does everything for his king! – even produce a bastard heir.

For this, he is promoted and given the title Count of Ledesma. Here’s his pic to remind you.

 

AFRICAN FACTS   SANGOMAS PART 3

I heard many stories while I lived in Africa about spells being put on westerners. I was told my horses had been poisoned for muti (medicine) as a way of making me move the stables when we first moved to Francistown.

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My head stable boy told me we were on sacred ground, although I’m sure the lady who owned the farm was unaware of this. She had allowed us to use the land in return for looking after her two horses which were barely fit for the knacker’s yard.

I was solemnly informed that I had been warned when two of the horses had their manes and tails cut off. However, I’d no idea it was anything more than wanton vandalism and came to the conclusion the hair was wanted for fly whisks. If only I had listened to them sooner.

You can read the whole story of the riding school for free  here

 

and by signing up for my monthly newsletter you get the second part free as well.

Link for newsletter  http://eepurl.com/c-GqWr

Till next time, take care.

 

 

 

COLUMNS AND CURSES

TRAVEL

We had a guide while touring the Parliament building in Vienna.

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I noticed there was not a lot of furniture around – but maybe there isn’t an IKEA in Vienna?

This is where the 183 members of the National Council meet – I thought it great that we were even encouraged to take photographs. It’s really difficult to get inside the Houses of Parliament in London.

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The Federal Parliamentary assembly has naked ladies propping up the pillars. I do hope that the members, while sitting listening to long boring speeches, don’t let their minds wander to other more enjoyable pastimes.

HISTORY

Isabel young

Now life becomes exciting for Isabella. She is no longer under Mummy’s control but that of the king, and she will finish her education at court.  Alfonso is put under the care of a tutor and Isabella becomes part of the Queen’s household.

The princess has plenty to eat, lives in a castle adorned with gold and silver and has lessons in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, maths, art, chess, dancing, embroidery and music.  She lives a relaxed lifestyle, except for the fact that Henry will not allow her to leave Segovia.  However, she is astute enough to have full knowledge of what is going on in the kingdom, the court is a hotbed of intrigue.

 

AFRICAN FACTS 

SANGOMAS PART 2

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A lot depends on the financial status of the family of a sangoma (witch doctor) and how long they have been practising their craft, but many have ordinary, everyday jobs as well. I met them in the health department, working in shops and even road sweeping. Generally, they are treated with a lot of respect by the community, and are partially feared for the powers they have.

It may surprise many to learn that even professionals such as medical doctors (even those trained overseas), teachers, politicians, just about anyone, will consult sangomas for potions to make someone fall in love with them, put spells on those they don’t like, to protect them against enemies or for good crops or successful business deals.

I named my witch doctor in the Amie series as Ouma Adede – Ouma is a respectful term used by Afrikaners which literally means grandmother but is often used as a respectful address to the elderly.

The Amie series  has been translated into Spanish and other languages are in production.

Till next time, take care.

MEET PAULETTE MAHURIN

This week another author from the Reader Recommends Facebook group. I love the books this author writes and I think I’ve read every single one of them. For someone who says they have lived a very conventional life, her imagination is exceptional.  Not only are they great reads, but the royalties go to a very good cause.

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You can connect with Paulette here :

BLOG http://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Paulette-Mahurins-Books-695108163960200/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

 

MEET BRENDA MOHAMMED

There is a small group on Facebook who committed to promoting each other. One author is Brenda Mohammed.  I’ve read at least one of her books and I’m happy to share her work with you. Here are 6 fabulous slides about her.

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You can connect with Brenda on her blog: http://brenchristo.blogspot.com

her website: http://brenchris.allauthor.com

and check out all her books here  http://Author.to/BCM786

 

 

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 happened 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.

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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

 

 

MEET HILARY COOMBES

My guest this week is an author I have actually met. Yes, a real-life meeting, we even shook hands, kissed in the Spanish tradition, and drank coffee together but she’s also a cyber friend of course.

She’s written two books and is currently formatting the third one. But enough waffle from me – over to Hilary.

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I’ve always wanted to write, but then if you’ve never written anything you don’t know any better do you? It started with a couple of successes with magazine articles a lifetime ago and developed from there to short stories and eventually full-blown novels.

Alongside the day job, I decided to become a novelist to put my talent for making up stuff to good use. At the time I mistakenly thought I’d have the power to make my characters do my bidding … it turns out the tail very much wags the dog. My main characters wake me up in the middle of the night and tell me they don’t like what I’ve written about them. I usually end up having to get up and rewrite in the small hours! This is why I sometimes need matchsticks to keep my eyes open during daylight hours.

You may know that I live between the Costa Blanca, Spain and Oxfordshire, England and I adore both my countries, which is probably why they often feature in my writing. I think I must be the luckiest person on earth to live my lifestyle. I wouldn’t change places with anyone – not even the Queen of England or Posh Spice! J

HILARY COOMBES HEN PARTY

I’ve had a love affair with Spain since my first visit as a teenager. The good weather, great people, Mediterranean food, scenic beauty, not forgetting the wine of course, and I must confess I have a weakness for a glass of red.

Not sure whether you will really find this bit interesting, but I’ll include it in case you’re wondering which country gave birth to such a lucky soul. I was born in Devon in the south west of England, although when I was adopted I moved to Bristol and I grew up there. I very much feel like a Bristolian and I can talk the talk if need be (‘Ow bee mee luvver?). As an adult, I moved around a bit, as you do, and luckily nowadays we can all live almost anywhere we choose, as the Internet easily keeps everyone in touch.

I love humans (well, most of them); long thick hair (mine is incredibly fine); sunshine; eating al fresco (especially breakfast as this seems decadent somehow); plus writing of course.

 

I have won several writing awards, two of which I am particularly proud of (probably because of their Spanish connections)  … the 2015 Spanish Radio short story competition, and the 2017 Ian Goven Award. I won’t name all the others – far too uninteresting.

I have found that the writing community are one of the loveliest bunch of people you could hope to meet, especially indie writers. I have been lucky enough to write for the big publishers (Macmillan), the small publishers (UPBooks) and lately I have chosen to go it alone as an indie publisher. It’s hard work, but boy have I learned a lot and the support of other indie writers has been there every step of the way.

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My personal challenge for my last novel BEYOND PROMISES was that wanted to put myself in a man’s shoes.

Charlie the main character is male. His powerful politician father parts him from the love of his life, and then the reader follows his exile in 1980’s Spain where he becomes trapped in a criminal underworld. The story follows his life through to the present day. It is a story of passion, heartbreak and humour.

It had very good five star ***** reviews, but to be honest this face-to-face encounter is my favourite feedback  –

I was sat in the local laundry when a lady I had never met before tapped me on the shoulder. ‘You’re that writer lady, aren’t you?’

I was amazed (I have no idea how she knew me, I can only imagine it was word of mouth). ‘Um, y-yes.’

‘I’ve just read your book, Beyond Promises.’

‘Oh.’ (I wondered what was coming next).

‘I want you to know it’s the best book that I have read in the last twelve months. It’s fantastic. I couldn’t put it down.’

I could have kissed her! (I didn’t), but it was such a lovely thing to hear.

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My next book is due out in July 2018, and once again it was born because of a challenge to myself. This time I decided I wanted to write short stories with a theme, so ‘Short LOVE Stories’ was born. Readers are going to be treated to love in all its guises, from brotherly love, love of an artist, elderly love, child love, and even the traditional boy meets girl type love, but of course there are no certainties in love are there, so the themes range from “Game. Set. Heartache” to “Passionate Crime”, of course, sprinkled with humour along the way.

Thank you for coming along with me on Lucinda’s blog today, it’s been great to talk with you, and thank you, Lucinda, for inviting me to be your guest.

I’d love to hear from any reader that would like to get in touch, and there are many ways you could do this. I run a webpage, a blog, and I endeavour to amuse people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so do and come join me

http://hilarycoombes.com   (my new blog is here)

https://medium.com/@HILARYCOOMBES   (my old blog – has writing tips as well as topical news articles about Spain and the UK)

https://facebook.com/hilary.coombes.94

http://twitter.com/HILARYCOOMBES

http://www.instagram.com/hilary.coombes/

Thank you, Hilary and we’ll be meeting up for coffee again very soon. You can read more of Hilary’s work as she’s contributed a short story to the book her creative writing group is preparing to publish to commemorate their 10th anniversary – I’ll keep you updated on that as soon as I know more.

Until next time, take care.