A Very Special Constable

24th March, 2017

(A different from the usual blog, following the attack at Westminster, Wednesday 22 March 2017)   I cried when I saw the picture of a smiling PC Palmer on TV when his identity was disclosed after the events in London on Wednesday. People who know me know I like policemen. I like them especially in… Read More

Created with love

13th February, 2017

Valentine’s Day has its origins in pagan rituals and has been a feature in the year’s calendar in one form or another ever since. The 18th century was no different and customs we would recognise today were also enjoyed at that time. The sending of messages and love letters was common. Use of pre-printed cards began… Read More

An 18th-Century Christmas

21st December, 2016

Christmas Gambols. Print by John Raphael Smith (British Museum)   In The Moonrakers of Avon the action takes place at Christmastime. Before the story begins to unfold, Danny Clark is looking forward most of all to Twelfth Night; why then and not Christmas itself? Today’s Christmas traditions have evolved over the centuries from pagan winter… Read More

Pirates versus Smugglers!

11th September, 2016

Pirates vs Smugglers Pirates versus smugglers? Well not in any battle I know of, but it could well have been, as the two groups of varmints were of a different ilk. I often hear people say ‘Julie writes about pirates’. I’ve been asked to do talks about pirates, but it’s smugglers I know about. What’s… Read More

A hobby and a passion, knitted together

4th June, 2016

  When I’m not reading or writing I’m often found with a pair of knitting needles in my hands. I can be working on something for myself or, very often, items for my grandchildren either something to wear or maybe a toy. I was sitting in the garden a few Sundays ago, working on a summer jacket… Read More

Debtors, felons and a man who cared

22nd May, 2016

Debtors, felons and a gentleman who cared A little while ago I posted a quote from an 18th-century report by John Howard, who was the first prison reformer. I was reminded of it today as the government announced reforms to the present prison system. John Howard toured the country inspecting prisons and produced a report,… Read More