J D Davies

And So It Begins

It’s a little known fact that ‘June’ is derived from a Latin word which means ‘don’t even think of trying to cram anything else into your diary’. That’s certainly the case for me this month, as I embark on the exciting round of events to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Dutch attack on the Medway! It all starts this Thursday, when I’ll be attending the launch event for the festivities in the Historic Dockyard at Chatham (Marine bands, stray Dutch prince, etc etc), followed by giving a talk at Gillingham library that evening. I’m gratified and slightly daunted to learn that this has been fully booked for some weeks, with a capacity audience of eighty expected – and, of course, this is one part of the country where some audience members may well know quite a lot about what I’m going to be talking about! Over the following days, I hope to get to as many of the events, exhibitions, and so forth, as I can, and if circumstances allow, I’ll try to both ‘live tweet’ and blog daily about what’s been going on. This, after all, is almost certainly going to be the most public exposure seventeenth century naval history is ever going to get during my lifetime, so I fully intend to make the most of it!

The following weekend will see a quick trip to Portsmouth for the AGM of the Society of Nautical Research, where I’ll be presenting the report of the Research and Programmes committee, with dinner aboard HMS Victory. (Memo to self: duck even lower this time.) Then, in the following week, it’s off to Amsterdam to speak at the first of the big ‘Dutch in the Medway’ conferences, which is being organised by the wonderful Naval Dockyards Society and the Vrienden van de Witt. There are still places available at this, and even if it’s immodest to say so, the programme looks terrific – full details and booking forms can be obtained here. I’ve also factored in some time to get to the Rijksmuseum and some of the city’s other attractions (aka ‘bookshops’), so again, I hope to tweet and blog about my doings over there. A few days at home, and then it’ll be back to Medway for the second conference in the space of a week. This one is taking place at the University of Kent’s Chatham campus, and thankfully, I’m not speaking at it, so I can relax in the back row and behave abominably (only joking, speakers).

And on top of all that…the Medway-related Quinton title, The Devil Upon the Wave, should be coming out from Endeavour Press very shortly (initially e-book only, but print-on-demand shortly thereafter), while I’ve literally just completed the very last pieces of work, ie. the index and approving the jacket design, on my next non-fiction book, Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy, which is being published by Seaforth in August. So although I’m looking forward to the distinctly hectic June schedule, I’m also looking forward to July, which is derived from another old Latin word meaning ‘slump, exhausted, in a comfy armchair’.