Serendipity or Help from the Gods?

Pic 1 Marsden BayChristina here. As writers, we do a lot of background research for our books and personally I like to go and look at the settings for my stories if at all possible. Having decided that my hero and heroine were going to end up in the north-east of England (Northumbria and Mercia as it was called in the 9th century), I really wanted to visit those places for myself to see first-hand what it was like. I persuaded my poor long-suffering husband to come with me, and as we had two very elderly dogs they came along for the ride too. And what a ride it turned out to be!

A 775 English miles roundtrip in two days – it was what I would definitely call an epic journey. And all done in torrential rain, which is very tiring for the driver (mostly my husband). But somehow it all worked out very well and although this might sound very fanciful, I actually felt as though the Norse gods were with me, helping me to find exactly what I needed. Because the weirdest thing happened – although it was raining the entire two days – and I’m talking deluge here, not just a shower or two – each time we stopped at a site I wanted to see and photograph, the rain stopped for just long enough to give me a chance to do that. Coincidence? I started to doubt it. I mean, what are the chances?

Torksey (5)There were other lucky occurrences too. Our first stop was the tiny village of Torksey in Lincolnshire, where the Viking Great Heathen Army overwintered in 872/3 AD. I’d read that they camped by the river and I knew there was an old castle ruin nearby so I thought it would be easy to find the approximate site. Not so. When we arrived, you couldn’t see the river at all and there was no sign of any ruins (even though I’d seen a picture of them and knew they had to be there). We drove through the village three times – nothing. Eventually we stopped a man walking his dog and he told us there was a disused railway bridge, reached via some newly built steps, and from there you could see both the river and the ruins (the only way unless you went into someone’s back garden). We must have driven past those stairs several times and not noticed, but once we found them – bingo! The bridge gave a perfect view of what I needed to see and, as I said, the rain stopped just long enough for us to walk across it and back to the car.

Pic 8 Humber estuary sea skyI then wanted to see the Humber estuary, specifically the outermost point – Spurn Head. As luck (or the gods?) would have it, the tide was out, the rain stopped for ten minutes, and I was able to see this amazing place in all its glory. It was truly magical – a bit bleak perhaps (especially on a rainy September day) but majestic and awe-inspiring. So much sea and sky, making me feel very small, but I couldn't stop staring at it. It was like stepping into a Turner painting and I didn’t want to leave. It was also very windy though and I could imagine it’s not a nice place to be during the autumn storms – our little dogs nearly blew away!

MOur third stop was Marsden Bay, a beach in Northumberland just south of Newcastle. Again, the rain stopped just as we got there and I went to have a wander on the sand. I think I was extremely lucky in that the tide was out there as well – the beach could have been very small otherwise. Here too were the enormous skies and vistas across the North Sea – unbelievably beautiful. I had come in search of a specific place on the beach – I needed a cave for my story – and there it was. Serendipity? I honestly don’t think so.

Repton Church (7)Finally, we headed for the village of Repton in Derbyshire, where the Viking army over-wintered in 873/4 AD. I’d read that they used the church of St Wystan’s as part of their defensive walls and wanted to have a look. Obviously, nothing remains of those, but the church is still there, including a crypt where the kings of Mercia were said to have been buried.

Repton cryptNow, I’m not good in dark spaces that may or may not contain spiders, but for the sake of research, I had to be courageous. Having found the narrow steps leading down to the crypt, I braved the spiders (yes, I saw some – yuck!), took some photos and fled. Not just because I was scared of the creepy crawlies, but I received the distinct impression I wasn’t welcome! My imagination supplied the answer – the souls down there knew I was visiting because of the Vikings, who presumably had desecrated their holy space, and any descendants (plus the Norse gods) were not wanted there. Fanciful, moi? Possibly, but you can’t persuade me otherwise.

Pic 7 Humber dogsSo it would seem I owe huge thanks to the Norse gods for helping me with what could otherwise have been a very difficult reconnaissance trip! The result was my new novel WHISPERS OF THE RUNES which is published next week.

I hope you enjoyed my research journey vicariously – have you ever been to Northumberland and if so, did you like its wild beauty? Or have you been on any trips where you really felt luck was on your side?

145 thoughts on “Serendipity or Help from the Gods?”

  1. Christina, I have twice had Lindisfarne Castle on a driving itinerary of England/Scotland, only to have it scratched. The first time, odd (wet!) weather in the south, at the beginning of our tour, caused us to shorten the northern part of our trip. The second time, the castle was closed for renovation and we only saw it from a train headed south. I guess the Norse gods thought we were unneeded interlopers! The countryside was just as wild and beautiful (from the train) as you’ve shown us, though. Sorry I couldn’t get closer, but at least–no spiders.

    Reply
  2. Christina, I have twice had Lindisfarne Castle on a driving itinerary of England/Scotland, only to have it scratched. The first time, odd (wet!) weather in the south, at the beginning of our tour, caused us to shorten the northern part of our trip. The second time, the castle was closed for renovation and we only saw it from a train headed south. I guess the Norse gods thought we were unneeded interlopers! The countryside was just as wild and beautiful (from the train) as you’ve shown us, though. Sorry I couldn’t get closer, but at least–no spiders.

    Reply
  3. Christina, I have twice had Lindisfarne Castle on a driving itinerary of England/Scotland, only to have it scratched. The first time, odd (wet!) weather in the south, at the beginning of our tour, caused us to shorten the northern part of our trip. The second time, the castle was closed for renovation and we only saw it from a train headed south. I guess the Norse gods thought we were unneeded interlopers! The countryside was just as wild and beautiful (from the train) as you’ve shown us, though. Sorry I couldn’t get closer, but at least–no spiders.

    Reply
  4. Christina, I have twice had Lindisfarne Castle on a driving itinerary of England/Scotland, only to have it scratched. The first time, odd (wet!) weather in the south, at the beginning of our tour, caused us to shorten the northern part of our trip. The second time, the castle was closed for renovation and we only saw it from a train headed south. I guess the Norse gods thought we were unneeded interlopers! The countryside was just as wild and beautiful (from the train) as you’ve shown us, though. Sorry I couldn’t get closer, but at least–no spiders.

    Reply
  5. Christina, I have twice had Lindisfarne Castle on a driving itinerary of England/Scotland, only to have it scratched. The first time, odd (wet!) weather in the south, at the beginning of our tour, caused us to shorten the northern part of our trip. The second time, the castle was closed for renovation and we only saw it from a train headed south. I guess the Norse gods thought we were unneeded interlopers! The countryside was just as wild and beautiful (from the train) as you’ve shown us, though. Sorry I couldn’t get closer, but at least–no spiders.

    Reply
  6. That is so weird, Mary! I guess it just wasn’t meant to be – unless it’s third time lucky? We didn’t go all the way to Lindisfarne but I’d love to see that as well. Hopefully next time!

    Reply
  7. That is so weird, Mary! I guess it just wasn’t meant to be – unless it’s third time lucky? We didn’t go all the way to Lindisfarne but I’d love to see that as well. Hopefully next time!

    Reply
  8. That is so weird, Mary! I guess it just wasn’t meant to be – unless it’s third time lucky? We didn’t go all the way to Lindisfarne but I’d love to see that as well. Hopefully next time!

    Reply
  9. That is so weird, Mary! I guess it just wasn’t meant to be – unless it’s third time lucky? We didn’t go all the way to Lindisfarne but I’d love to see that as well. Hopefully next time!

    Reply
  10. That is so weird, Mary! I guess it just wasn’t meant to be – unless it’s third time lucky? We didn’t go all the way to Lindisfarne but I’d love to see that as well. Hopefully next time!

    Reply
  11. What a wonderful trip plus lots of adventure. We haven’t proven esper exists, but I am a great believer in it. (And if it isn’t esper as we understand that field, it is very close to it.)

    Reply
  12. What a wonderful trip plus lots of adventure. We haven’t proven esper exists, but I am a great believer in it. (And if it isn’t esper as we understand that field, it is very close to it.)

    Reply
  13. What a wonderful trip plus lots of adventure. We haven’t proven esper exists, but I am a great believer in it. (And if it isn’t esper as we understand that field, it is very close to it.)

    Reply
  14. What a wonderful trip plus lots of adventure. We haven’t proven esper exists, but I am a great believer in it. (And if it isn’t esper as we understand that field, it is very close to it.)

    Reply
  15. What a wonderful trip plus lots of adventure. We haven’t proven esper exists, but I am a great believer in it. (And if it isn’t esper as we understand that field, it is very close to it.)

    Reply
  16. Wonderful post! I just enjoy reading about all the trips and adventures that the wenches have! Always wanted to visit England and Scotland but it looks like it won’t happen now, so it is doubly lovely to read your posts and see your photos.

    Reply
  17. Wonderful post! I just enjoy reading about all the trips and adventures that the wenches have! Always wanted to visit England and Scotland but it looks like it won’t happen now, so it is doubly lovely to read your posts and see your photos.

    Reply
  18. Wonderful post! I just enjoy reading about all the trips and adventures that the wenches have! Always wanted to visit England and Scotland but it looks like it won’t happen now, so it is doubly lovely to read your posts and see your photos.

    Reply
  19. Wonderful post! I just enjoy reading about all the trips and adventures that the wenches have! Always wanted to visit England and Scotland but it looks like it won’t happen now, so it is doubly lovely to read your posts and see your photos.

    Reply
  20. Wonderful post! I just enjoy reading about all the trips and adventures that the wenches have! Always wanted to visit England and Scotland but it looks like it won’t happen now, so it is doubly lovely to read your posts and see your photos.

    Reply
  21. Thank you Donna, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I am doing a lot of armchair travel myself at the moment and it’s great, isn’t it!

    Reply
  22. Thank you Donna, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I am doing a lot of armchair travel myself at the moment and it’s great, isn’t it!

    Reply
  23. Thank you Donna, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I am doing a lot of armchair travel myself at the moment and it’s great, isn’t it!

    Reply
  24. Thank you Donna, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I am doing a lot of armchair travel myself at the moment and it’s great, isn’t it!

    Reply
  25. Thank you Donna, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I am doing a lot of armchair travel myself at the moment and it’s great, isn’t it!

    Reply
  26. Thank you Karin, I’m so pleased you liked it! I had never been to that part of England myself and I found it beautiful and awe-inspiring!

    Reply
  27. Thank you Karin, I’m so pleased you liked it! I had never been to that part of England myself and I found it beautiful and awe-inspiring!

    Reply
  28. Thank you Karin, I’m so pleased you liked it! I had never been to that part of England myself and I found it beautiful and awe-inspiring!

    Reply
  29. Thank you Karin, I’m so pleased you liked it! I had never been to that part of England myself and I found it beautiful and awe-inspiring!

    Reply
  30. Thank you Karin, I’m so pleased you liked it! I had never been to that part of England myself and I found it beautiful and awe-inspiring!

    Reply
  31. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. It wasn’t even hard to imagine driving in all that rain. I’ve taken a few trips like that myself. Your husband is a real hero.
    One of the worst trips that I can remember was on a road trip to California. We decided to take a side trip to the Grand Canyon since we had never been there before. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did. Hot as Hades, car problems, got lost a couple of times. But when we finally reached our destination at sunset, I can honestly say it was worth all the trouble. It truly was a beautiful sight.

    Reply
  32. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. It wasn’t even hard to imagine driving in all that rain. I’ve taken a few trips like that myself. Your husband is a real hero.
    One of the worst trips that I can remember was on a road trip to California. We decided to take a side trip to the Grand Canyon since we had never been there before. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did. Hot as Hades, car problems, got lost a couple of times. But when we finally reached our destination at sunset, I can honestly say it was worth all the trouble. It truly was a beautiful sight.

    Reply
  33. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. It wasn’t even hard to imagine driving in all that rain. I’ve taken a few trips like that myself. Your husband is a real hero.
    One of the worst trips that I can remember was on a road trip to California. We decided to take a side trip to the Grand Canyon since we had never been there before. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did. Hot as Hades, car problems, got lost a couple of times. But when we finally reached our destination at sunset, I can honestly say it was worth all the trouble. It truly was a beautiful sight.

    Reply
  34. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. It wasn’t even hard to imagine driving in all that rain. I’ve taken a few trips like that myself. Your husband is a real hero.
    One of the worst trips that I can remember was on a road trip to California. We decided to take a side trip to the Grand Canyon since we had never been there before. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did. Hot as Hades, car problems, got lost a couple of times. But when we finally reached our destination at sunset, I can honestly say it was worth all the trouble. It truly was a beautiful sight.

    Reply
  35. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. It wasn’t even hard to imagine driving in all that rain. I’ve taken a few trips like that myself. Your husband is a real hero.
    One of the worst trips that I can remember was on a road trip to California. We decided to take a side trip to the Grand Canyon since we had never been there before. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did. Hot as Hades, car problems, got lost a couple of times. But when we finally reached our destination at sunset, I can honestly say it was worth all the trouble. It truly was a beautiful sight.

    Reply
  36. Thank you Mary – he is! Lucky for me he loves driving, even in rain. And that does sound like an amazing trip you had! I’m so glad it was worth the hassle and I’d love to visit the Grand Canyon one day too.

    Reply
  37. Thank you Mary – he is! Lucky for me he loves driving, even in rain. And that does sound like an amazing trip you had! I’m so glad it was worth the hassle and I’d love to visit the Grand Canyon one day too.

    Reply
  38. Thank you Mary – he is! Lucky for me he loves driving, even in rain. And that does sound like an amazing trip you had! I’m so glad it was worth the hassle and I’d love to visit the Grand Canyon one day too.

    Reply
  39. Thank you Mary – he is! Lucky for me he loves driving, even in rain. And that does sound like an amazing trip you had! I’m so glad it was worth the hassle and I’d love to visit the Grand Canyon one day too.

    Reply
  40. Thank you Mary – he is! Lucky for me he loves driving, even in rain. And that does sound like an amazing trip you had! I’m so glad it was worth the hassle and I’d love to visit the Grand Canyon one day too.

    Reply
  41. Beautiful pictures. Obviously, you were blessed by someone. I must say, love your dogs. They are very cute.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us. Hope everyone is well, safe and happy.

    Reply
  42. Beautiful pictures. Obviously, you were blessed by someone. I must say, love your dogs. They are very cute.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us. Hope everyone is well, safe and happy.

    Reply
  43. Beautiful pictures. Obviously, you were blessed by someone. I must say, love your dogs. They are very cute.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us. Hope everyone is well, safe and happy.

    Reply
  44. Beautiful pictures. Obviously, you were blessed by someone. I must say, love your dogs. They are very cute.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us. Hope everyone is well, safe and happy.

    Reply
  45. Beautiful pictures. Obviously, you were blessed by someone. I must say, love your dogs. They are very cute.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us. Hope everyone is well, safe and happy.

    Reply
  46. Yes! I was in Northumberland about 3 years ago. I think we walked on that same beach. We went to Lindisfarne, to Alnwick (and learned that it is pronounced “Annick”) to see the Percys’ castle, and to Hadrians Wall. It was beautiful and did NOT rain at all the entire time we were there. Very nice and welcoming people. Looking forward to Whispers of the Runes.

    Reply
  47. Yes! I was in Northumberland about 3 years ago. I think we walked on that same beach. We went to Lindisfarne, to Alnwick (and learned that it is pronounced “Annick”) to see the Percys’ castle, and to Hadrians Wall. It was beautiful and did NOT rain at all the entire time we were there. Very nice and welcoming people. Looking forward to Whispers of the Runes.

    Reply
  48. Yes! I was in Northumberland about 3 years ago. I think we walked on that same beach. We went to Lindisfarne, to Alnwick (and learned that it is pronounced “Annick”) to see the Percys’ castle, and to Hadrians Wall. It was beautiful and did NOT rain at all the entire time we were there. Very nice and welcoming people. Looking forward to Whispers of the Runes.

    Reply
  49. Yes! I was in Northumberland about 3 years ago. I think we walked on that same beach. We went to Lindisfarne, to Alnwick (and learned that it is pronounced “Annick”) to see the Percys’ castle, and to Hadrians Wall. It was beautiful and did NOT rain at all the entire time we were there. Very nice and welcoming people. Looking forward to Whispers of the Runes.

    Reply
  50. Yes! I was in Northumberland about 3 years ago. I think we walked on that same beach. We went to Lindisfarne, to Alnwick (and learned that it is pronounced “Annick”) to see the Percys’ castle, and to Hadrians Wall. It was beautiful and did NOT rain at all the entire time we were there. Very nice and welcoming people. Looking forward to Whispers of the Runes.

    Reply
  51. Thank you Annette – yes, I got some lovely photos during that trip, much better than I had thought! I definitely had some kind of help.

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  52. Thank you Annette – yes, I got some lovely photos during that trip, much better than I had thought! I definitely had some kind of help.

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  53. Thank you Annette – yes, I got some lovely photos during that trip, much better than I had thought! I definitely had some kind of help.

    Reply
  54. Thank you Annette – yes, I got some lovely photos during that trip, much better than I had thought! I definitely had some kind of help.

    Reply
  55. Thank you Annette – yes, I got some lovely photos during that trip, much better than I had thought! I definitely had some kind of help.

    Reply
  56. Great column Christina! Who doesn’t love a road trip? My husband and I have been cross country here in the USA quite a few times and we always seem to find what we need just in the nick of time (so to speak).

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  57. Great column Christina! Who doesn’t love a road trip? My husband and I have been cross country here in the USA quite a few times and we always seem to find what we need just in the nick of time (so to speak).

    Reply
  58. Great column Christina! Who doesn’t love a road trip? My husband and I have been cross country here in the USA quite a few times and we always seem to find what we need just in the nick of time (so to speak).

    Reply
  59. Great column Christina! Who doesn’t love a road trip? My husband and I have been cross country here in the USA quite a few times and we always seem to find what we need just in the nick of time (so to speak).

    Reply
  60. Great column Christina! Who doesn’t love a road trip? My husband and I have been cross country here in the USA quite a few times and we always seem to find what we need just in the nick of time (so to speak).

    Reply
  61. Thank you Jeannette! I definitely need to go back as I missed Alnwick and Lindisfarne – just didn’t have time on that trip but I’d love to see both. I have been to Hadrian’s Wall, but on the other side of the country. It would be great to go again.

    Reply
  62. Thank you Jeannette! I definitely need to go back as I missed Alnwick and Lindisfarne – just didn’t have time on that trip but I’d love to see both. I have been to Hadrian’s Wall, but on the other side of the country. It would be great to go again.

    Reply
  63. Thank you Jeannette! I definitely need to go back as I missed Alnwick and Lindisfarne – just didn’t have time on that trip but I’d love to see both. I have been to Hadrian’s Wall, but on the other side of the country. It would be great to go again.

    Reply
  64. Thank you Jeannette! I definitely need to go back as I missed Alnwick and Lindisfarne – just didn’t have time on that trip but I’d love to see both. I have been to Hadrian’s Wall, but on the other side of the country. It would be great to go again.

    Reply
  65. Thank you Jeannette! I definitely need to go back as I missed Alnwick and Lindisfarne – just didn’t have time on that trip but I’d love to see both. I have been to Hadrian’s Wall, but on the other side of the country. It would be great to go again.

    Reply
  66. That’s great, Jeanne, you must have had serendipity (or someone) on your side as well! I’d love to take a road trip across America – it’s one of those things on the bucket list for sure.

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  67. That’s great, Jeanne, you must have had serendipity (or someone) on your side as well! I’d love to take a road trip across America – it’s one of those things on the bucket list for sure.

    Reply
  68. That’s great, Jeanne, you must have had serendipity (or someone) on your side as well! I’d love to take a road trip across America – it’s one of those things on the bucket list for sure.

    Reply
  69. That’s great, Jeanne, you must have had serendipity (or someone) on your side as well! I’d love to take a road trip across America – it’s one of those things on the bucket list for sure.

    Reply
  70. That’s great, Jeanne, you must have had serendipity (or someone) on your side as well! I’d love to take a road trip across America – it’s one of those things on the bucket list for sure.

    Reply
  71. “Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?” *G* But what a great research trip! I’ve visited that part of the world, though not for research, just being a tourist. (I took a picture of a British Harrier jet swooping over Hadrian’s wall. What a study in contrasts!) Your poor little dogs looked on the verge of being blown away!

    Reply
  72. “Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?” *G* But what a great research trip! I’ve visited that part of the world, though not for research, just being a tourist. (I took a picture of a British Harrier jet swooping over Hadrian’s wall. What a study in contrasts!) Your poor little dogs looked on the verge of being blown away!

    Reply
  73. “Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?” *G* But what a great research trip! I’ve visited that part of the world, though not for research, just being a tourist. (I took a picture of a British Harrier jet swooping over Hadrian’s wall. What a study in contrasts!) Your poor little dogs looked on the verge of being blown away!

    Reply
  74. “Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?” *G* But what a great research trip! I’ve visited that part of the world, though not for research, just being a tourist. (I took a picture of a British Harrier jet swooping over Hadrian’s wall. What a study in contrasts!) Your poor little dogs looked on the verge of being blown away!

    Reply
  75. “Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?” *G* But what a great research trip! I’ve visited that part of the world, though not for research, just being a tourist. (I took a picture of a British Harrier jet swooping over Hadrian’s wall. What a study in contrasts!) Your poor little dogs looked on the verge of being blown away!

    Reply
  76. Yes, of course it had to be spiders! And the doorway was incredibly narrow and low even for someone as short as me, so those webs were too close for comfort – but I made it past them *G*. That sounds like a wonderful photo, Mary Jo! And yes, we had to hold on to the dogs’ leashes very tightly.

    Reply
  77. Yes, of course it had to be spiders! And the doorway was incredibly narrow and low even for someone as short as me, so those webs were too close for comfort – but I made it past them *G*. That sounds like a wonderful photo, Mary Jo! And yes, we had to hold on to the dogs’ leashes very tightly.

    Reply
  78. Yes, of course it had to be spiders! And the doorway was incredibly narrow and low even for someone as short as me, so those webs were too close for comfort – but I made it past them *G*. That sounds like a wonderful photo, Mary Jo! And yes, we had to hold on to the dogs’ leashes very tightly.

    Reply
  79. Yes, of course it had to be spiders! And the doorway was incredibly narrow and low even for someone as short as me, so those webs were too close for comfort – but I made it past them *G*. That sounds like a wonderful photo, Mary Jo! And yes, we had to hold on to the dogs’ leashes very tightly.

    Reply
  80. Yes, of course it had to be spiders! And the doorway was incredibly narrow and low even for someone as short as me, so those webs were too close for comfort – but I made it past them *G*. That sounds like a wonderful photo, Mary Jo! And yes, we had to hold on to the dogs’ leashes very tightly.

    Reply
  81. I have had many holidays in Northumberland and found the coast North of Newcastle particularly attractive. The spectacular beach and castle at Bamburgh and Holy Island of course where the earliest Viking raids occurred. It would need more than a quick car trip to do justice to the area! I think that later Viking landings (865 onward) were in the South (East Anglia) from where they rode North and It sounds as though your book deals with this phase.
    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_invasion_of_Britain
    I’m very much Looking forward to listening to the audio version. In ‘Echoes of the Runes’ your Viking hero was an honorable fellow … almost British … quite different to the impression I had from school history lessons where the Viking invaders were portrayed as a fearsome barbarous lot. If only we could time travel for real to get an accurate impression!

    Reply
  82. I have had many holidays in Northumberland and found the coast North of Newcastle particularly attractive. The spectacular beach and castle at Bamburgh and Holy Island of course where the earliest Viking raids occurred. It would need more than a quick car trip to do justice to the area! I think that later Viking landings (865 onward) were in the South (East Anglia) from where they rode North and It sounds as though your book deals with this phase.
    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_invasion_of_Britain
    I’m very much Looking forward to listening to the audio version. In ‘Echoes of the Runes’ your Viking hero was an honorable fellow … almost British … quite different to the impression I had from school history lessons where the Viking invaders were portrayed as a fearsome barbarous lot. If only we could time travel for real to get an accurate impression!

    Reply
  83. I have had many holidays in Northumberland and found the coast North of Newcastle particularly attractive. The spectacular beach and castle at Bamburgh and Holy Island of course where the earliest Viking raids occurred. It would need more than a quick car trip to do justice to the area! I think that later Viking landings (865 onward) were in the South (East Anglia) from where they rode North and It sounds as though your book deals with this phase.
    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_invasion_of_Britain
    I’m very much Looking forward to listening to the audio version. In ‘Echoes of the Runes’ your Viking hero was an honorable fellow … almost British … quite different to the impression I had from school history lessons where the Viking invaders were portrayed as a fearsome barbarous lot. If only we could time travel for real to get an accurate impression!

    Reply
  84. I have had many holidays in Northumberland and found the coast North of Newcastle particularly attractive. The spectacular beach and castle at Bamburgh and Holy Island of course where the earliest Viking raids occurred. It would need more than a quick car trip to do justice to the area! I think that later Viking landings (865 onward) were in the South (East Anglia) from where they rode North and It sounds as though your book deals with this phase.
    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_invasion_of_Britain
    I’m very much Looking forward to listening to the audio version. In ‘Echoes of the Runes’ your Viking hero was an honorable fellow … almost British … quite different to the impression I had from school history lessons where the Viking invaders were portrayed as a fearsome barbarous lot. If only we could time travel for real to get an accurate impression!

    Reply
  85. I have had many holidays in Northumberland and found the coast North of Newcastle particularly attractive. The spectacular beach and castle at Bamburgh and Holy Island of course where the earliest Viking raids occurred. It would need more than a quick car trip to do justice to the area! I think that later Viking landings (865 onward) were in the South (East Anglia) from where they rode North and It sounds as though your book deals with this phase.
    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_invasion_of_Britain
    I’m very much Looking forward to listening to the audio version. In ‘Echoes of the Runes’ your Viking hero was an honorable fellow … almost British … quite different to the impression I had from school history lessons where the Viking invaders were portrayed as a fearsome barbarous lot. If only we could time travel for real to get an accurate impression!

    Reply
  86. You’re so right, Quantum, I would love to spend much more time in Northumberland as two days was definitely not long enough. And yes, my book deals partly with the Great Heathen Army, who roamed far and wide after first landing in East Anglia. I think the king there at that time was the weakest, so it was probably a good place for them to start. I do feel the Vikings have been wrongly portrayed for the most part – although some of them were fearsome and barbarous, they were a small minority. In my books, I try to show the more normal ones who led quite different lives to these marauders. They weren’t all bad!

    Reply
  87. You’re so right, Quantum, I would love to spend much more time in Northumberland as two days was definitely not long enough. And yes, my book deals partly with the Great Heathen Army, who roamed far and wide after first landing in East Anglia. I think the king there at that time was the weakest, so it was probably a good place for them to start. I do feel the Vikings have been wrongly portrayed for the most part – although some of them were fearsome and barbarous, they were a small minority. In my books, I try to show the more normal ones who led quite different lives to these marauders. They weren’t all bad!

    Reply
  88. You’re so right, Quantum, I would love to spend much more time in Northumberland as two days was definitely not long enough. And yes, my book deals partly with the Great Heathen Army, who roamed far and wide after first landing in East Anglia. I think the king there at that time was the weakest, so it was probably a good place for them to start. I do feel the Vikings have been wrongly portrayed for the most part – although some of them were fearsome and barbarous, they were a small minority. In my books, I try to show the more normal ones who led quite different lives to these marauders. They weren’t all bad!

    Reply
  89. You’re so right, Quantum, I would love to spend much more time in Northumberland as two days was definitely not long enough. And yes, my book deals partly with the Great Heathen Army, who roamed far and wide after first landing in East Anglia. I think the king there at that time was the weakest, so it was probably a good place for them to start. I do feel the Vikings have been wrongly portrayed for the most part – although some of them were fearsome and barbarous, they were a small minority. In my books, I try to show the more normal ones who led quite different lives to these marauders. They weren’t all bad!

    Reply
  90. You’re so right, Quantum, I would love to spend much more time in Northumberland as two days was definitely not long enough. And yes, my book deals partly with the Great Heathen Army, who roamed far and wide after first landing in East Anglia. I think the king there at that time was the weakest, so it was probably a good place for them to start. I do feel the Vikings have been wrongly portrayed for the most part – although some of them were fearsome and barbarous, they were a small minority. In my books, I try to show the more normal ones who led quite different lives to these marauders. They weren’t all bad!

    Reply
  91. This journey was a couple of years ago now so the dogs are sadly no longer with us but they are much missed! The little black one was called Shennie (short for Dragonsong Shendu) and the sable-coloured one was Fu-Tsi (his fancy kennel name was Deshurland Does It In Style). They both lived to a grand old age – Shennie was 16 and Fu-Tsi 19 when they passed. They were Tibetan spaniels and they have left me with so many wonderful memories – this is one of them!

    Reply
  92. This journey was a couple of years ago now so the dogs are sadly no longer with us but they are much missed! The little black one was called Shennie (short for Dragonsong Shendu) and the sable-coloured one was Fu-Tsi (his fancy kennel name was Deshurland Does It In Style). They both lived to a grand old age – Shennie was 16 and Fu-Tsi 19 when they passed. They were Tibetan spaniels and they have left me with so many wonderful memories – this is one of them!

    Reply
  93. This journey was a couple of years ago now so the dogs are sadly no longer with us but they are much missed! The little black one was called Shennie (short for Dragonsong Shendu) and the sable-coloured one was Fu-Tsi (his fancy kennel name was Deshurland Does It In Style). They both lived to a grand old age – Shennie was 16 and Fu-Tsi 19 when they passed. They were Tibetan spaniels and they have left me with so many wonderful memories – this is one of them!

    Reply
  94. This journey was a couple of years ago now so the dogs are sadly no longer with us but they are much missed! The little black one was called Shennie (short for Dragonsong Shendu) and the sable-coloured one was Fu-Tsi (his fancy kennel name was Deshurland Does It In Style). They both lived to a grand old age – Shennie was 16 and Fu-Tsi 19 when they passed. They were Tibetan spaniels and they have left me with so many wonderful memories – this is one of them!

    Reply
  95. This journey was a couple of years ago now so the dogs are sadly no longer with us but they are much missed! The little black one was called Shennie (short for Dragonsong Shendu) and the sable-coloured one was Fu-Tsi (his fancy kennel name was Deshurland Does It In Style). They both lived to a grand old age – Shennie was 16 and Fu-Tsi 19 when they passed. They were Tibetan spaniels and they have left me with so many wonderful memories – this is one of them!

    Reply
  96. I enjoyed that trip Christina very much. I was about to admire your dogs when I read your last piece. So sad they’re gone. They were cute looking. At least you have great memories because that is a long time to have them.
    My own little guy is unwell at the moment and near the end of his days I think. Never an easy time.
    Never visited the north of England. Maybe some day.

    Reply
  97. I enjoyed that trip Christina very much. I was about to admire your dogs when I read your last piece. So sad they’re gone. They were cute looking. At least you have great memories because that is a long time to have them.
    My own little guy is unwell at the moment and near the end of his days I think. Never an easy time.
    Never visited the north of England. Maybe some day.

    Reply
  98. I enjoyed that trip Christina very much. I was about to admire your dogs when I read your last piece. So sad they’re gone. They were cute looking. At least you have great memories because that is a long time to have them.
    My own little guy is unwell at the moment and near the end of his days I think. Never an easy time.
    Never visited the north of England. Maybe some day.

    Reply
  99. I enjoyed that trip Christina very much. I was about to admire your dogs when I read your last piece. So sad they’re gone. They were cute looking. At least you have great memories because that is a long time to have them.
    My own little guy is unwell at the moment and near the end of his days I think. Never an easy time.
    Never visited the north of England. Maybe some day.

    Reply
  100. I enjoyed that trip Christina very much. I was about to admire your dogs when I read your last piece. So sad they’re gone. They were cute looking. At least you have great memories because that is a long time to have them.
    My own little guy is unwell at the moment and near the end of his days I think. Never an easy time.
    Never visited the north of England. Maybe some day.

    Reply
  101. Thank you, Teresa! I was in two minds whether to include the photo or not because I miss them like crazy, but the two of them were such a huge part of that trip and I have only good memories of it so I really wanted to. Pets are so wonderful and it’s unfortunate that they can’t live as long as us, but they give so much enjoyment while we have them. I hope you get to keep yours for a long while yet!

    Reply
  102. Thank you, Teresa! I was in two minds whether to include the photo or not because I miss them like crazy, but the two of them were such a huge part of that trip and I have only good memories of it so I really wanted to. Pets are so wonderful and it’s unfortunate that they can’t live as long as us, but they give so much enjoyment while we have them. I hope you get to keep yours for a long while yet!

    Reply
  103. Thank you, Teresa! I was in two minds whether to include the photo or not because I miss them like crazy, but the two of them were such a huge part of that trip and I have only good memories of it so I really wanted to. Pets are so wonderful and it’s unfortunate that they can’t live as long as us, but they give so much enjoyment while we have them. I hope you get to keep yours for a long while yet!

    Reply
  104. Thank you, Teresa! I was in two minds whether to include the photo or not because I miss them like crazy, but the two of them were such a huge part of that trip and I have only good memories of it so I really wanted to. Pets are so wonderful and it’s unfortunate that they can’t live as long as us, but they give so much enjoyment while we have them. I hope you get to keep yours for a long while yet!

    Reply
  105. Thank you, Teresa! I was in two minds whether to include the photo or not because I miss them like crazy, but the two of them were such a huge part of that trip and I have only good memories of it so I really wanted to. Pets are so wonderful and it’s unfortunate that they can’t live as long as us, but they give so much enjoyment while we have them. I hope you get to keep yours for a long while yet!

    Reply

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