Here, there, everywhere!
We all talk about being busy, but I really have been. Early in October I went to France for a Dorothy Dunnett gathering, which was delightful. I got home in time to prepare to move from Yorkshire to Devon. We'd hardly settled, and certainly not opened all the boxes, before I set off to Rome to play with Mary Jo and attend a writer/reader conference there. It was delightful, too, but now I can try to settle back to ordinary life, pick up the MIP, refresh my web page and generally get caught up with everything.
Including picking the winners from my last blog. I haven't forgotten!
First Paris, and Dorothy Dunnett.
To save space I'll just say, if you haven't tried her historical novels, do so. (Click on the link above for more.) You may not like them, but if you do, they're a feast. Her 15th and 16th century books travel a lot, so they naturally lead to exploratory visits to very interesting places.
You can enjoy some picture journeys to a few here. There's one coming up next year to Istanbul.
Pictures of Paris.
Sainte Barbe. These students were bewildered to find a group of tourists staring reverently at the uninspiring modern College de Ste Barbe. But the original, founded 1460, was where Lymond, Dunnett's great hero, went for his education in France. And in one of the novels, he climbs the walls as he had as a student. Of course we gathered!
The Seine. For a more conventional offering, one early start caught magical light on the Seine near our apartment.
Jeu de Paume Back to the unusual, but not so much, this is the jeu de paumme court in Fontainebleau. A game of jeu de paumme between King Henri II and one of the fictional characters plays a significant part in book 2 of the Lymond Chronicles, Queens' Play.
I'll blog more about this later, but it was fascinating to watch a demonstration of this ancient forerunner of tennis. The original game was played in the streets, bouncing the ball off walls, which is why it's enclosed, and even incorporates a sloping bit at the left to represent the roofs of stalls.
In the books, Lymond never visited the Chateau de Chantilly (yes, of the cream fame) but it's definitely in the period, and we had a wonderful private tour and a delicious dinner. As we all left happily at a late hour, I took this picture of part of the chateau reflected in water.
Rome was mainly to meet fans there. Both Mary Jo and I have many books translated into Italian and published by Mondadori, and we did indeed meet a bunch of very happy readers, which is always delightful.
Back to the Convent! We also got to stay in a hotel — the Domus Sessoriana — which was once a convent. I attended convent boarding school, and the high, echoing corridors brought back memories.
My school was Layton Hill Convent, now St. Mary's College in Blackpool, and on the website here I found a picture of me! I'm in the back row next to the nun.
The pic of the Blessed Sacrament dormitory is from the '40s, but it was still the same when I slept in it in the '60s. In the senior years we had rooms.
Roman Ruins. I reckon everyone's seen pictures of Roman ruins, but this one caught our eye as we walked along a very ordinary street near the convent. The grass and other weeds indicated it had been in this state for quite a while, but inside one could see magnificent details and painted ceilings. The next picture shows a door.
The end of the journey.
A wandering blog to go with my wandering life. And now I'm curious as to what you find most interesting or suitable for comment here.
At home for a while, thank heavens,