The Spirit of Not Dead Fred Revisited

For the next few weeks, I’m going to have my head down as I work on the first of my new Tudor naval novels, so I’m clearing the decks of as many other commitments and distractions as I can – and that includes blogging, for the time being at any rate. So I thought I’d […]


Sometimes – very, very rarely, but sometimes – thinks click together in an unexpected but beautiful, seemingly preordained way. This is the moment called ‘serendipity’, and it’s doubly appropriate in this case, as that was part of the official pedigree name of my first dog. (‘Peredur Serendipity’, since you ask – a distinctly wilful dachsund […]

Highways and Byways of the Seventeenth Century: Campden Wonders

Before getting into this week’s topic, I can’t let pass the fact that yesterday, it was announced that the Royal Navy’s latest nuclear submarine would be named HMS Agincourt. Cue cheers or groans on social media, depending which side of the Brexit fence you sit on, but regular readers of this blog, who will know my abiding […]

And…We’re Back!

Sorry for the delay in posting this week. We were away for the sweltering Bank Holiday Weekend, in a wonderful historic location which I intended to blog about (and will next week). However, this intention was overtaken by a dramatic development – namely, the terrific news that the Quinton series e-books are available once again! […]

Cooking the Books with Added Attenborough

Last Friday evening saw me at the British Library for the members’ preview of the new Captain Cook exhibition, marking the 250th anniversary of the start of the first of his three great voyages. (I used to be a Friend of the BL, but it recently decided to abolish that body and subsume it into […]

An American Abroad, Part 3

Time now for the final instalment of my distant American relative John D Lewis’s account of his extended business and personal visit to the UK in May and June 1952 – in which he goes into tourist mode in London, finds West End theatre unbearably exciting (or not), and witnesses those far distant days when […]

Sorry, What Did You Say Your Name Was Again? Any Relation of Robert Wagner?

I was going to post the third and final part of ‘An American Abroad’ this week, but then stumbled across something so weird that it set me off on a different train of thought. Don’t worry, though, my relative John D Lewis’s bemused take on early 1950s Britain will return next week (unless something more […]

An American Abroad, Part 2

Another extract from the journal of my grandmother’s cousin, Ohio businessman John D Lewis, during his extended visit to the UK in May and June 1952. He’s now moved on to Birmingham, where he spends one night at the Midland Hotel and two at the Grand. But the weather is a lot cooler than he […]

An American Abroad, Part 1

Among the items I’ve recently inherited from my mother is a typewritten journal of a visit to Britain in May and June 1952 by my grandmother’s cousin, John D Lewis, a businessman from Cleveland, Ohio, whose branch of the family emigrated to the US in the 1890s. It gives some fascinating insights into the time, […]

Weapons of Mass Destruction

I don’t usually comment on current events in this blog. For one thing, it’s a guaranteed way of losing half your readership; the phrase ‘agreeing to differ’ seems to be on the point of extinction in the English language, with plenty of people seeming to take offence at reading or hearing something that even mildly […]