ON LIVE – THE BIG TRIP XV – VIETCONG TUNNELS AND ENTER GEORGE II

In case you only read the first 2 lines of this I wanted to mention that I am live on The Authors Show this is the link  www.theauthorsshow.com   and the  interview will play on Tuesday, July 5 from Midnight to Midnight Eastern Daylight Time for a period of 24hours. I think that is from 9 am on Wednesday GMT. This is very brave of me as I can’t remember what I said now!! We chatted about Amie.

IMG_3474

I’ve read several books about the war in Vietnam and shuddered at the tales of the tunnels used by the Vietcong in their war against the Americans. Obviously staying in Saigon as the southern Vietnamese insisted on calling it – and not Ho Chi Min city – there was a trip to view the tunnels.

To begin with I was surprised at the surrounding woodland, I’d always imagined thick jungle, not light and airy forested area.

Feeling claustrophobic, I did not enter the tunnels, and after a quick glance at DH’s tummy I was relieved when he also declined. It was quite amazing, as for cowards like me – and I’ve always professed I’m the biggest coward in the world – they had hollowed out areas so we could see the kitchens, school rooms, sleeping areas, ammunition stores etc.

And there were the horrific traps too, for unwary soldiers.

What really freaked me out was the gunfire. They had a range there and visitors could pay to shoot guns. It added to the atmosphere, but if you read my FB post this week about how I was quivering in the sports shop holding a starting pistol, you’ll understand how it affected me.  Worse was to come.

George I had popped his clogs and waiting in the wings, was George Augustus, named George II – at last it was his turn.

GEORGE II

As you can see he was very fond of wearing silver tights, which would be looked at very differently today.

George II was not a popular king, not having even been BORN in Britain and he didn’t speak English, he only spoke French. We’re told he fought non-stop with his father, only it doesn’t tell us what language this was in, it must have been so frustrating for them.

The dislike from the British people grew even worse when he was featured on “Home and Away” choosing to purchase the palace in Hanover over the country cottage in Dorset.

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

 

HOPPING BACK HOME FOR OUR SPANISH FIESTA

I thought today for a change I would hop back to Europe and share our local fiesta with you.

Every June for days and days the locals celebrate, not for tourists, but for themselves. They remember the 800 years domination of most of Spain by the Moors from north Africa and since 1990, the culmination at the end of weeks of all kinds of activities, is the Conquista and the Reconquista.

The first night the Moors come over the beach to conquer the castle – a little sad really as we don’t have a proper castle here, only a small lookout tower of fairly recent origin. But this doesn’t bother anyone.

IMG_4308IMG_4309

Sneakily the Moors invade at night under cover of darkness. In theory they arrive by sea, but these days they lurk behind the chiringita (beach bar) on the main strand. The performance begins at 10.30pm, almost our bedtime.

IMG_4310IMG_4313

We know the Christians are in residence, as they skitter along the sand and pop onto the rampart above the rocks just before the Moors arrive.

IMG_4316

The Moors then try to persuade them to give up the castle and take a hike. First they send a demanding note which is theatrically torn to pieces. Next they try the bribery tack, boxes full of gold. No takers. Then come the dancing girls, all four of them, which, if you look at the number lounging around on the battlements, would have to work very hard indeed to keep everyone satisfied. The fire dancers and eater don’t make much impression on the castle residents either. Then they set fire to the cross – sacrilege – and then skilfully cut the throat of one of the Christian women.

IMG_4318

 

Enter the horses, with battles galore and finally, in exasperation, they all take to the guns.

I don’t think I can post a video on here, but I’ll try on my FB page as the noise is truly terrifying. These are real blunderbusses, and they are filled with real gunpowder and wadding or something and they are really loud. They blast away for a while and frankly, they are lousy shots. The Moors are victorious and as the Christians march out of the castle in go the conquerors.

Eight hundred years is kaleidoscoped into twenty hours as the original inhabitants of our small town come to regain the castle. They arrive in broad daylight at 7pm, no sneaking around for them. They also try the bribery bit, with more dancing girls (I highly suspect it’s the same group from last night, so they must have changed sides earlier in the day – and I’m sure I spied the postmistress from the next village as she’s the belly dancing teacher).

The Moors are less than impressed, although the dancing was excellent. So, if the dancers failed, would the tumbling team (last seen at Benidorm Palace) succeed?

Sadly no, so after the gun-proofed horses have galloped about the beach for a bit fighting with real swords it’s back to the gunfire again and more fireworks.

A few people drop – despite the large number of guns most are really lousy shots, and the Moors give up and vacate the castle and the Christians take possession again. Mind those who have been shot lie for ages on the beach, probably tying not to breathe sand up their noses.

IMG_4339

The third night there is the grand parade, which includes babies in push chairs, toddlers who can just walk, to grandmothers and every age inbetween. It’s a fantastic side of Spanish culture and family. I even noticed some Moors and Christians sharing a pizza after the battle!

I was going to include the procession in this post, but will save it for next week as I now have far too many pictures to include. none of them are brilliant and I apologize. The conditions for the equipment I had were not good, and the subjects had a terrible habit of jiggling around.

If you have a spare moment (this is the grovelling bit) I’d love it if you could vote for Amie an African Adventure in the ReadFree.ly Best Indie Books of 2016 – other category – this is the link – and you can vote 3 times.   http://www.readfree.ly/vote-50-self-published-books-worth-reading-2016-other/

And one other thing. Amie an African Adventure is on at $/£0.99 till midnight tonight – Monday, there seems to be an extra day I was not expecting. This is the link.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWFIO5K

 

THE BIG TRIP XIII – HOI AN AND THE FATHER FROM HELL

Hoi An was possibly the town I loved best (there is one exception, but more of that later). The first evening I dragged myself out of the hotel which was also really nice. It was called the Little Hoi Hotel and if you ever go there I would recommend it.

We walked alongside the river, and I’ve not mentioned this before, but it was coming up to Chinese New Year and everywhere you looked you could see colourful red lanterns. I saw a huge Trip Advisor poster which listed Hoi An at night in the top 20 things to see and do before you die – well maybe they didn’t have the last bit on there but you get the message.  There were performers of all kinds, and cheerful crowds wandering the street markets. It was a fairyland atmosphere.

 

By the next morning, it was as much as I could do to get out of bed. I was hacking and coughing and on fire from the inside. Within minutes the hotel staff had summoned a doctor – he should have been starring in the movies he was that cute, spoke perfect English as he diagnosed bronchitis, verging on pneumonia. He also informed me I’d not been on antibiotics as I’d though, but throat pastilles of some sort.

He dosed me up, prescribed bed rest and I waved a weak farewell to DH as he went off on his day’s trips.

I don’t remember much of that day, but DH saw this village where they made pottery and a museum donated by a local philanthropist and of course another temple.

Sadly we were to leave Hoi An the next morning and were told we would be escorted to the airport, which was just as well as we had no plane tickets, we only knew we were destined to go to Ho Chi Min City.

THE HISTORY RUBBISH

There doesn’t seem to be much to say about George I except he was pretty boring, kept going back to stay in Hanover, courtesy of the cheap Ryan Air flights and had to talk to his ministers in French as he had no intention of learning English.

But of course they got their own back. Since he didn’t like the way they were so bossy, he chose a few and had secret meetings with them. But then when that big pyramid financial scandal hit, and George and his two ugly mistresses were caught up in it, the ministers got him out of a very nasty situation so he had to be nice to them. This is one of them, Robert Walpole and here he is.

robert-walpole

He also had huge fights with his son – boringly called George – especially when young George was very rude to one of the godparents his father had chosen for his son and was rude to him at the christening, George I threw him out of St James’s Place but kept the grandchildren living with him. Pretty mean eh?

Have a great week and if you have a spare moment you might like to pop over to my Amazon author page and take a peep at my books. Beware, this blog contains a monitoring device so I’ll know if you go and look.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

PS there were some comments on one of my re-blogs and I wanted to reply, but then I lost them, so sorry for that I wasn’t ignoring you.

 

THE BIG TRIP VI – AND ANNE’S DESPAIR

Once again we rose to the rattling of the alarm clock, had we fooled ourselves into thinking this was a holiday? After more unusual fare for breakfast – raw fish has never been high on my preferred breakfast menu – we were whisked off on a 3 hour road trip towards the coast. The scenery was much as I had seen on the odd television programme, small shops by the side of the road, millions of scooters, often carrying whole families and swathes of rice fields.

IMG_3310

Suddenly we turned off the road and entered a different world. The potholes had disappeared, the grass verges were neatly trimmed and floral displays abounded. Brand new buildings, retail space on the ground floor, offices or possibly apartments above. Not many were occupied but from a rural third world we were catapulted into the first world by turning a corner.

IMG_3306

At the end of the road we saw shelters, small offices and the river Halong. Hugging the kerb was a long line of tourist coaches and hugging the river bank a long line of small boats waiting to transport holidaymakers to the larger boats a little way off shore. We were provided with life jackets and catapulted onto a small boat along with our luggage. Why, oh why did I choose to buy a luggage set in white I asked myself.

I could mention at this point that it was pretty cold. The sun was shining, but gave us little warmth. I was muffled up to the eyeballs.

IMG_3307

We climbed aboard our boat, two decks, about 20 cabins and a dining room and a spa. I suppose it could cater for around 50 people, but it was less than half full. Our cabin was very pleasant and we settled in for a night on the water. I just loved the way they described this as checking in to our private cabin – we had not been planning on sharing it with anyone else.

IMG_3308IMG_3309

Soon we were gliding along, and the scenery was amazing. Tall rocky outcrops rose out of the water and the river stretched as far as the eye could see as we cruised up or down the river, I wasn’t sure which way we were going. We were transferred into a smaller boat and taken into an almost circular cave where, they informed us proudly, Leonardo de Caprio had filmed The Beach. Sad that their high point of tourist info came from the halls of Hollywood, when this World Heritage site was worth seeing simply for its beauty and grandeur.

IMG_3313

The itinerary mentioned sunbathing and swimming as leisure activities, but certainly not for me, and no one else ventured into the water either. By now I was wearing as many layers of clothes as I had brought. My suitcase was practically empty – I was like a Ryan Air passenger wearing more than I had in my luggage.

After dinner, while DH went for a massage, I decided to have a quiet read on the bed and it was then that the trouble started …  to be continued.

Poor old Anne – well of course she wasn’t poor was she, despite losing vast sums of money at cards and treating her favourite women to wads of cash on a whim. This must have been a particularly long card game as someone painted a portrait while they were at it.

Sarah_Churchill_and_Lady_Fitzharding

But she was beginning to realize that she was not going to have an heir. She’d been almost constantly pregnant since her marriage and one after another after another she either miscarried or the babies only lived for a couple of years until only one son survived.

He was a bit strange though, and sickly. As was common in those days posh women didn’t feed their own babies, they called in a wet nurse to do this for them. Enter Mrs Pack a Quaker woman who apparently was well, very well endowed in the milk production area. She saved little William’s life and was thus installed in the nursery.

little prince william

He suffered from hydrocephalus, so his head was out of proportion to his body, but this deformity was not reflected in his portrait, he was spared the vicious truth of the modern selfie. But he was quite bright with a burning interest in military affairs. He recruited 90 young boys, dressed them in uniform and drilled them daily. He even persuaded the king to come and review his troops. It’s just as well he had a big garden to play in. It must have been like the annual dreaded kid’s birthday party with hoards of screaming kids every day of the week. Sensibly, Anne gave him his own house miles away from the court.