Sunday, 17 March 2013

Liebster Blog Award

Many thanks to  Kathryn  for giving me a Liebster (German for 'favourite') Blog Award!  It's going to be tough for me!

The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows :

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

So here goes with answering the Kathryn's questions -
1. What's your favourite novel and what do you love about it?

I'm afraid I have to go with one of the most popular novels of all time - 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte.  I studied it for A Level English, and have read it so many times since.  I love the use of the different narrators to tell the story - Nelly Dean, and the total outsider, Lockwood.  The speech where Cathy talks about her love for Heathcliff  is so powerful, and reveals for me how egotistical Cathy is.  I'm afraid I have very little sympathy for her.  I visited Bronte Parsonage last year, and was quite moved to see the fantasy world invented by the sisters.

2.  Do you have any pet peeves in historical fiction?

Where do I start?  I'm appreciative of interpretation, but when I get people telling me 'The Other Boleyn Girl' is a true story, and see Phillippa Gregory on chat shows talking how it could be possible Mary Boleyn's children were Henry VIII's, I seriously lose it.  I also hate lazy stereotyping whenever Piers Gaveston and Edward II are written about.  They are usually effeminate and weak, when in fact Piers was a knight who was praised for his graceful manners and had fought in wars and tournaments and clearly knew how to, whilst Edward enjoyed outdoor pursuits, clearly didn't mind getting his hands dirty and must have been extremely fit.  And coming back again to interpretation - the idea of Piers as some rent boy is too ridiculous for words!

3.  What are you most proud of?

Passing my driving test - yes, really.  Never had problems with anything academic - A levels, BA degree, Post grad diploma - but trying to pass my driving test was a nightmare - 3 attempts!  I'm afraid I have poor spacial awareness.

4.  Your favourite and least favourite people in history? (As few or as many as you like!)
Hmm, favs first - Anne Boleyn, Piers Gaveston, Thomas Cranmer, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VII, Katherine Parr, Edward II, King John, Prince Arthur (Tudors).

Least fav - Richard III, without a doubt!  Thomas of Lancaster,  Thomas More.

5.  The country, city or other place you'd most like to visit?

Moscow, and any country in South America.

6.  Which five people would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

Anne Boleyn, Piers Gaveston, Edward II, Henry VIII and George, Duke of Clarence.

7.  Facebook or Twitter or neither?

neither - they cause alot of problems for people, and Twitter in particular seems so banal.

8.  What's one of your goals for the future?

To finally complete my Masters.

9.  What's your favourite season?


10.  Dogs or cats or neither?

Cats, without a doubt.

11.  What's your favourite hobby?

Reading, when I get time.  If I can't give at least an hour to reading, I don't really bother.  Nothing like a 3 hour reading session - I just don't get enough time.

11 random facts, eh?  OK, here I go.

I live in Wales and wish I spoke 'proper Welsh'.

I'd love to take up horse-riding.

From the age of 10, I read every Jean Plaidy novel I could get my hands on - my fav being 'Murder Most Royal'.

If I won the lottery I'd open a small animal sanctuary.

Best holiday I ever had was in Cuba on the revolutionary trail.

Best castle I've visited - Warwick.

Best tv series ever for me is Blackadder, and I quote it endlessly.

My favourite music to listen to is the New Romantics from the early 1980s.

I'm a member of the Royal Historical Palaces society, and my most visited place is the Tower of London.

My favourite period of history is Tudor, and it's the one I know most about.  It's also the one I'm most disappointed in, in novels and 'factual' works - it's just so exploited and to have factual books about 'Mary Boleyn' and 'The Early Loves of Anne Boleyn' when there is so little information is just silly.  I tend to buy them, read them, and then discover I've learnt absolutely nothing new as it's all full of 'maybes, possibly', and I vow never to buy again - and then I do! 

My degree was in Medieval history, with the main focus on the Anjevin Empire and Medieval Peasant Revolts (Bohemia, Florence and Britain).

Now here's where I come unstuck - I don't know 11 blogs who haven't already been awarded the Liebster Award!  Sorry!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

snippet of news on Edward II in BBC History magazine

The March issue of the BBC History magazine is consumed by the discovery of Richard III's skeleton and it's impact on history.  Mark Ormrod has written an article in which he questions whether the same investigations might now be carried on other royal burials.  The obvious one would be the urn in Westminster Abbey containing the bones of 'the little princes', but both the Queen and the Abbey say they have no reason to doubt they are the bones of the princes, and any examination would not answer any questions we might have.  Ormrod actually suggests something which has crossed my mind - an investigation into the tomb of Edward II, to discover whether -

1.  the body contained in it is Edward II

2.  and if so, the age of the king when he died.

This obviously stems from the story that Edward II survived after 13 27, and the body in the tomb is either a substitute or in fact Edward interred at a later date.  I obviously appreciate respect is needed for the opening/investigating of royal tombs, but the mystery of the possible survival of Edward II is as exciting to me as 'the princes in the Tower'.  Ian Mortimer and Kathryn on her superb blog - 
Death of Edward II - make a strong case that Edward did indeed survive, and one of the most compelling arguments for me is the fact that his son, Edward III, did not visit his father's tomb for many years, and it begs the question, why?   Because he knew the tomb did not contain his father's body?  and when he did visit, was it because his father had really died then and he was attending the actual funeral?  makes sense to me.