Monday, 15 July 2019

Being a writer isn't all about sitting in a garret

Being a writer isn't all about sitting in a garret or some other lonely and isolated place, producing words and hoping that eventually you will end up with a book that people want to read. Sometimes they let us out. The past weekend was one of those times. 


Last Thursday morning, with excitement and expectation levels considerably raised, I met several friends at Euston Station in London and travelled with them to the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference in Lancaster. I knew I was going to have a good time. I always do. The amazing Jan Jones has been organising this event for years and her attention to detail is unbelievable. I honestly don’t know how she does it but I do know she has to put the rest of her life on hold to achieve what she does. We owe her a debt that’s impossible to exaggerate.

The Incomparable Jan Jones

On arrival, we collected the keys and went to our designated flat – student accommodation with eight bedrooms and a shared kitchen. Since everyone else was in the same fever of anticipation as I was, any observer might have been forgiven for thinking we were of the age when the majority of students would be attending university. Our majority was something we’d all attained several years ago! We were familiar with the campus, having been there three years earlier and that gave it, for me at least, a feeling of coming home. It not being term time and the facilities being self-catering, we found ourselves without any equipment in the kitchen and I’m sad to say I purloined some plastic cups when we went back to the hub at the George Fox building. Well, students we may have been for the weekend but too old to drink from the bottle. The wine bottle, that is. Somehow it’s different when it’s beer.

Nicola Cornick

I'll skip over the next twelve hours or so as we bedded in and move to Friday when the conference proper began, starting with the AGM. It being an election year, the chair passed seamlessly from Nicola Cornick (huge thanks for everything she's done for the organisation during her tenure) to Alison May (good luck to her and looking forward to seeing her achievements over the next two years). 

Alison May
And this is where in many ways it all becomes a bit of a blur. Panel talks; Q&As; workshops; Quiz the Agents; In conversation with… So many choices and mostly three at the same time. Now you tell me, how do you choose when you want to go to everything? No, I didn’t know how to either! In between all that, if you were lucky enough to have booked, there was the opportunity, organised again this year by Elaine Everest, of having a ten minute one2one with Industry Professionals. Arranging this too is a monumental task and I know Elaine spends hours and hours liaising with IPs and delegates to ensure it all runs smoothly. This particular element of the conference is priceless to any writer and several very happy people were given invaluable advice or asked to submit their full manuscript. And that’s how it was, full on, with a lot of food and visits to the bar, until suddenly it was Saturday evening and time for the Gala Dinner. Below are my dinner companions and flat mates.

Elaine Roberts and Viv Brown

Viv Brown, Rosemary Goodacre, Sarah Stephenson and Catherine Burrows

Natalie Kleinman and Francesca Burgess

Rosemary Goodacre, Sarah Stephenson, Catherine Burrows and Elaine Everest

AND THEN THERE WAS THE FLAT PARTY! Nobody hammered on the wall or banged on the ceiling so we can’t have been THAT noisy. This was the best flat party ever although it might have been quite painful to any listener with an ear for music as we sang our way around the table time after time with songs from the shows, films and popular solo artists and groups. Failing to answer a question or identify a song resulted in having to take a sip of wine. There was one member in our flat whom I wouldn’t dream of naming, who professed she didn’t know the answers and was therefore obliged to drink during every single round. She’s only a little person. I am in awe of her capacity.

Sunday came and once more we were up with the lark, though possibly a little jaded, only to return once more to the hub for more sessions during the morning. And all at once, for those not staying for the Sunday Extra, it was all over and time to go home. Hugs and goodbyes to friends old and new and we were on our way, very tired, very happy and up to here with an input of information which it will take (me at least) some time to assimilate.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this thing work and thanks to all the delegates, without whom there would be no conference. We did have fun, didn’t we?

All photos courtesy of John Jackson. Thank you, John. 

So now I’m back in my garret but filled with inspiration

See you next year.
Natalie

PS My apologies for the strange formatting. I tried. Honestly I did!




Monday, 1 July 2019

Where did the time go?




It’s been a while. Far too long. But not for one moment does it mean I have nothing to say – as if that was ever going to happen!

Like the whole of 2019, these past few weeks have whizzed by and I find it hard to believe that it’s been eight weeks since I last posted. As I write this evening, it is now July and half the year has gone. So what have I been doing?

Something monumental (for me) happened on 18th May which I splashed all over Facebook and Twitter but in my excitement omitted to shout about here on my own page. So, are you ready? Here goes then. I entered into a four book contract with Sapere Books. FOUR! I really wanted to put the whole of that sentence in capital letters because that’s what it feels like. Okay, I must lower my voice and calm down a bit. But that’s easier said than done. Why? Because these are my Regencies. 


This fabulous publisher is going to launch my books in a way that a debutante might have been launched into Society in the eighteen hundreds and I could not be more excited. You can find my page on their website here

This is the genre I most like to read, but I began my career by writing contemporary romantic fiction. With three books published I needed a pretty good reason to change direction. I enjoyed working in ‘real’ time. For one thing, there was little intensive research involved. I could rely on things I knew and could see. All I had to do was tell the story. I say all but, as any author will tell you, it isn’t quite that simple. Nevertheless it was fun, it was rewarding and I would have been quite happy to have continued in that vein.

Only something was pulling me in another direction, and tugging hard. As a teenager, my mother introduced me to the novels of Georgette Heyer, me and my sister both. Over the years my taste in reading has been quite catholic, though I gave up on horror a long time ago as it gave me nightmares. A good thriller, though, a Sci-Fi, comedy, tragedy…they were all in the mix but never have I encountered another author whose books I have read time and time again with equal and sometimes increasing enjoyment. Heyer does that for me.

As a romance writer, there is to me no more romantic age than that of the English Regency. Could I dip my quill into the inkpot and produce something of the era? The question demanded an answer and I had to try and it seemed that once I began to write I couldn’t stop. On 25th April last year, The Ghost of Glendale was published. There are now three others waiting to follow and the next is already begun.

Sometimes life hands us a gift. There are occasionally days when I do not write but they are few and far between. Weaving stories is a delightful pastime but when it’s your work as well you are truly lucky. I hope you enjoy mine.

Till next time

Natalie

Monday, 6 May 2019

Taking Tea with Elaine Everest


Well it looks like she’s done it again! Elaine’s latest saga, The Teashop Girls, brings a new cast of characters with all their hopes and dreams, and their tragedies, too, to delight us and bring a tear to our eyes. Here she is, chatting with me over a cup of tea.


Thank you, Natalie. You know I like mine strong – where’s the cake?

One of the first things that strikes me is how well the names of your characters fit so perfectly with the era in which they’re set. Do you spend long choosing the right ones and do you ever change your mind half way through the book? For example…No, she’s not a Gertrude, I’ll call her Gladys?
Hmm it is funny you should mention this. I had a big problem with Rose’s mum’s name. She started as Lizzie, but it wasn’t right. Then Esther… Then a few more I’ve forgotten. One day Flora popped into my head and it felt right. Then she flowered into a proper character I could work with. Originally, I meant to name Katie after a flower as well but, it would have been a flower too much!

Very early in the book you talk about Sallys and their work behind the counter at the iconic Lyons teashops. Your research is always meticulous but how on earth do you uncover a fact like the one that puts these girls where they are because of their height? It’s these details that ring so true; that authenticate your work. How you go about such in-depth research?
Research is the key when writing historical novels. I like to dip into any document, book or film that relates to the era and my characters. If it is useful for my story, then I save it. Sometimes a snippet of information, such as the Sallys, pops up and I think of a scene where it can be used. Once I have a grasp of the life my characters would have led, I can tell their story. Researching history does not mean we have to fill our books with facts and numbers to the point that the history takes over, but it must give a flavour of the past to be able to create a backdrop to the story we wish to tell.

As with The Woolworths series, you have three girls around whom the story revolves but I was just as enchanted by their friends and families and how they evoked the principles and matter-of-factness of the people who lived in those difficult times. I found Mildred a particularly interesting character. Was she fully-formed before you began writing?
Mildred was a gift! She was just supposed to walk into the kitchen of Sea View and have her dinner. However, she hung around and made a nuisance of herself and become a valuable member of the cast. I often find I can have fun with the secondary characters while the main characters play out the story.

You obviously know Ramsgate very well and your descriptions of Dunkirk and the little ships bring to life a terrible event in our history but also one of which we can be proud. Can you tell us what it was like writing about such an emotive issue?
I’ve written about Dunkirk before and find it so emotional to think of the owner and the small boats heading off over the Channel to save our lads. I was fortunate to have attended the 75th anniversary of the Little Ships and visited Ramsgate to witness what was left of these brave little ships heading out of the harbour surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels willing them on to France. Overhead a Spitfire and a Hurricane flew low over the crowd. So close I could see the face of the Spitfire pilot. I’ve never felt so emotional. It is occasions like this that remind us what is great about our wonderful country.

We have learned to recognise Elaine Everest as a saga writer, but you’ve also written other fiction, non-fiction and features. Have these all been in your own name or have publishers asked you to change it? Do you ever write under another name?
I’ve worked as a freelance writer since 1997. In all that time I have NEVER written under another name.
Sometimes publishers will ask us to use a pen name. I was warned it could happen with my sagas but thankfully it didn’t. Someone at the publishing house mentioned that Elaine Everest had a nice ‘ring’ to it and was it my pen name? I laughed and pointed out that ‘reader, I had to marry him’ to gain this name!

You’ve left us with some happy endings and some questions which are begging to be answered. Can we expect a sequel to The Teashop Girls?
There is to be a sequel. Currently I’m scribbling notes and have a reasonable idea of what I will throw at my girls next. Once my agent and editor have approved, I’ll be starting work on the book and hopefully this will be published at the end of 2020. Before then Wedding Bells for Woolworths is to be published in the spring of next year.

It’s been lovely chatting to you as always, and there’s nothing to beat a good cuppa! Thank you for joining me today.

Thank you so much for hosting me today. Can you squeeze another cup out of that pot? X

Of course. And this time we’ll have some cake!

About The Teashop Girls:
The Teashop Girls is a warm and moving tale of friendship and love in wartime, by the bestselling author of the Woolworths series, Elaine Everest.

It is early 1940 and World War Two has already taken a hold on the country. Rose Neville works as a Lyon’s Teashop Nippy on the Kent coast alongside her childhood friends, the ambitious Lily and Katie, whose fiancĂ© is about to be posted overseas in the navy. As war creates havoc in Europe, Rose relies on the close friendship of her friends and her family.
When Capt. Benjamin Hargreaves enters the teashop one day, Rose is immediately drawn to him. But as Lyon’s forbids courting between staff and customers, she tries to put the handsome officer out of her mind.

In increasingly dark and dangerous times, Rose fears there may not be time to waste. But is the dashing captain what he seems?
  

The Teashop Girls is the new book by Elaine Everest, much-loved author of the Woolworths Girls series. Available on Amazon

About Elaine Everest:
Elaine Everest, author of bestselling novels The Woolworths Girls, The Butlins Girls, Christmas at Woolworths, and Wartime at Woolworths was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty-two years and has written widely for women's magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.


When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students. Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors.



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Sunday, 24 March 2019

A Day to Remember!


2019 has been a good year so far. I’ve had my head down for most of the time since 1st January, writing my next book – my excuse for not posting here for a goodish while. However, yesterday was a different day and one I’d like to share with you.


At home and ready for the off

WHSmith very kindly offered to host me for a book-signing event in their Lewisham branch. As instructed, I prepared and supplied some posters which they put in the window for a week prior to my designated day. Arriving late morning as arranged and armed with copies of The Ghost of Glendale I approached a member of staff. Imagine my delight when they gave me a table right at the front, near the entrance to the store. And they provided me with a bright red cloth with which to cover it. 


Setting up took very little time and I sat down to wait, knowing that I might have to wait for a long time, if not all day. Even with four published books I am not, after all, a well-known author. Not yet anyway. There was a pretty healthy footfall and it certainly wasn’t difficult to engage with people. My first ‘customers’ were a delightful young couple who bought two books – and then, another! The first was for his mother, as a Mother’s Day gift, and the second for his partner. I’m sure you can imagine my delight when they walked away and, after only a few paces, he turned back and said he’d actually take another one because he was certain his gran would like it too. If that wasn’t a good way to start the day, I’d like to know what would be.

Starting to set up 'shop'

A smile would bring someone over for a chat, some eager to tell me about their own endeavours, some looking in wonder as I admitted that yes, I was indeed the author. As the day progressed I met a lot of people who were keen to discuss my writing with me. Well, I was in a book shop! Suffice it to say that I didn’t sit idly watching the world pass me by. There was one lady who not only bought not only a copy of my book but also the current issue of The People’s Friend Special in which I have a story (we’d been discussing how I began my writing career with short stories).

Chatting about my book
Image courtesy of fellow-author Sarah Stephenson
who dropped in to say hello

A huge ‘thank you’ is due to the manager, Rob Peters, and his staff who went out of their way to make me welcome and comfortable. A word of appreciation also to WHSmith who employ a policy of encouraging local writers. Rob also took some of my books to put on their shelves. That felt really good.

To recap, I knew there was a possibility that I would have no-one but myself to talk to all day. Never a good thing. Had I not sold a single book, the time would still have been well-invested. It was a truly positive experience which took place in very pleasant surroundings and I would encourage anyone who might be contemplating doing the same to give it a go.

Till next time.
Natalie



Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The end of the beginning OR The beginning of the end?


I began writing my latest novel on 24th July and finished the first draft yesterday. Only when I started this post did I realise that it has taken four months almost to the day to complete. Obviously, without a word count, the time frame is meaningless, but it has come in at just over 70k (it will no doubt change). This, to me, is a vindication of the old adage ‘More haste, less speed’. I made a conscious
The Beginning
decision at the start not to give myself added stress by putting a target end-date, though I hoped to be ready for editing by the end of the year. It must be said that I had the dubious luxury of neither a contract nor an agent to satisfy or a deadline to meet. My time was my own. The strange thing though is that less pressure produced quicker output, bearing in mind that though this is a first draft I do edit as I write. It always helps me to maintain continuity if I begin a day’s work by reading what I had written the previous day. We are all different, I know, but I do not have it in me not to edit as I read so, while I stand by this being the first draft, it is by no means entirely rough (I hope).


Brighton Pavilion
Enjoyment of the genre in which one is writing is, in my opinion, essential. I have tried others. I am happy with others. But writing in the Regency period gives me something I can’t even properly analyse. A joy in the use of language, this would probably be uppermost. The flair and style of Georgian England – such a romantic age in our country’s history, though I doubt social ranks below the aristocracy and privileged classes would agree - but in my books I don’t go there. A freedom that gives me access to early 19th century London, to Brighton’s Pavilion, to countless stately homes with their vast estates, to the etiquette of the times with all its nuances. Well, it seems I have managed to analyse it after all. To me the essence of this age is ‘Romance’! What could be better than to set a romance in a romantic era?
Chatsworth House

Chatsworth in the Autumn


So where does a thing begin and where does it end? I could say in all honesty that I have written a book. The story is complete and therefore I would be justified in typing ‘The End’ – something which incidentally I never do. An ending of sorts, for sure, but not the finished article. More something I would categorise as the end of the beginning. Ahead of me lies the beginning of the end. I have enjoyed writing this one more than any of its predecessors and I am looking forward to the next stage with eager anticipation.

You may have noticed that I have given this novel no title. It has a working one only, entirely inappropriate now to what comes below it, and it would be meaningless to share it with you. I am hoping that, by the time I reach the end of the end, a new title will have presented itself to me. The title – so important and yet for me one of the hardest things. A book must fit its title and vice versa. It is often the last thing that comes to me, when I can truly say I have reached the end. But that’s a discussion for another day.

See you next time

Natalie


Sunday, 28 October 2018

Chatting with Elaine Everest


Never mind A Gift from Woolworths! More like a gift to her readers as Elaine Everest delights us all with yet another book in this wonderful series. Once again I am privileged to be a participant in her blog tour so let me welcome Elaine and see what she has to tell us this time.

Starting to read A Gift from Woolworths was like cosying up with an old friend. Several old friends, in fact. Your characters are always so well-developed that we might have made the mistake of thinking we knew all about them. Not so. There is much more to learn in this book. But they are numerous. How then do you manage to ensure your readers know it’s Maisie, Sarah, Freda or Betty? Or indeed any of the others who feature. Not once did I have to flick back to the page before to check.
Thank you so much for the warm welcome to your blog, Natalie. It is always a pleasure to visit.
I’m so relieved you didn’t have to flick back to check anything – breathing a big sigh of relief here! I like to think I’m aware of my lovely readers as I write my books so stepping into a new scene I need to say not only where we are but who is in the scene. In fact I have a shopping list for each scene of what happens and who appears. I recall in my early writing days of receiving first edits for a book and my editor, at that time, writing in the margin ‘where are we Elaine?’ Things like this stick in my head so the next time I start a new scene I make sure it is clear. I treat each scene in a chapter as a standalone story starting with ‘Freda walked into the kitchen,’ or ‘Maisie bellowed at her husband’ until it becomes second nature to explain to my readers what is I want to say. I’m sure I get it wrong sometimes but I have a fab team supporting me at Pan Macmillan and they will soon point out my mistake.

There are several threads running through the book. I know you are a planner but can you tell us how you manage to interweave all the stories so that in the end we are left with one of Maisie’s beautifully finished garments rather than a tangled mess?
Good question! Before I start to write a book I like to know what will happen to each of my main characters so I write down each girl’s own story on individual pages. Some of their problems start later in the book – sometimes extra ideas come to me as I write! I then look at the war timeline as well as local and Woolworths events. This means some of the girls’ stories start later than others as they weave around a situation. Occasionally there will be an on-going storyline from a previous book (Ruby’s on off marriage comes to mind) so I need to check old notes and even read the previous book before I start to write. However, I do my best to tie up every thread by that last chapter. A tick sheet is handy in these circumstances.

I can almost touch the human spirit and camaraderie that emanate from your Erith community. It’s obviously an area you know and love well. What can you tell us about your personal connection to the place that is as much a character in your book as any of the living and breathing ones?
If anyone asks me where I come from I always say Erith and nearby Slade Green even though I’ve lived in Swanley for over twenty-five years. Visiting the area now I know that my Erith no longer exists but it is in my heart. I think of it as rather like Brigadoon and hope that perhaps one day the town I know and write about with it’s Victorian buildings and many shops will return. These days the area is just an extension of Greater London but dig around and there are glimpses of the old town we love so much. Pop onto Facebook and visit the groups set up by past school friends and locals and in an instant we are talking about the past – the ‘good old days’ that we think of with so much fondness. Currently we are chatting about St Augustine’s church where so many of us have been christened, married and said sad farewell to love ones. The London Borough of Bexley, where Erith now dwells, has a wonderful archive centre and along with local libraries there is a wealth of old photographs and information for us to view and discuss. At times it is as if the town I know is there just out of reach…

You aren’t afraid to confront reality. There are some harsh features and not everyone has a happy ending. Are these aspects easier or harder to deal with when you are writing them?
I write sagas so life isn’t always pleasant, although these days saga authors no longer write the predictable ‘gritty clogs and shawls’ kind of books from Catherine Cookson’s era. Anything could happen to my girls and has. Freda was attacked by a boyfriend in one of the earlier Woolworths books which is distressing for any young girl – I apologise now for putting poor Freda through so many failed romances. Maisie’s terrible family secret – I do love a secret! My girls and their families are normal people and sadly most people do encounter sadness and harshness at times. At least I can also give them happiness – one of the perks of being a writer.

Do you ever make yourself cry?
I was going to say no as I hate it when writers put something on social media to say they sobbed over their own words. However… In one of my earlier books my three girls all faced the death of a parent. A friend asked at the time if this was because I lost my own mum when she was only forty. I put more than a little of my own grief into my girls’ stories in that book – yes I shed a few tears.
Also, as I wrote the last chapter of A Gift from Woolworths and we reached the end of 1945 I felt as though my girls had grown up so much since we met them in 1938 and I was saying goodbye to them. At that time I wondered if there would be another Woolies book so I took an age to write that one chapter fearing the worse. Tears were in evidence then.

It’s no secret that the war comes to an end in this book, but our connection with your characters does not. Can we expect another Woolworths saga from you?
I’ve been promised by my publisher that we will return to Woolworths. I have such plans for the girls for the late 1940s onwards. My publisher is holding two outlines for more books and I’m looking forward to seeing what can happen, not only to the girls but also their children – after all Woolies didn’t close until 2008. However, before then there will be new girls and a new series, which I hope my readers will take to their hearts as they have with Sarah, Maisie and Freda. 
I have a short story in the My Weekly magazine at the end of November following a Saturday girl as Woolworths closes and if you listen carefully you can hear my girls…


Finally, A Gift from Woolworths will make a wonderful present, not just at this festive season but at any time of the year. Are you in a position to tell us what your next gift to your readers will be? And when?
My next gift will be a trip to the seaside in May 2019 with The Teashop Girls. We are visiting Margate and Ramsgate on the Kent coast in 1940 and taking tea in the famous Lyons Teashops. We meet Rose, Katie and Lily and their friends from the Sea View guesthouse. I can’t wait to introduce you!

Elaine xx

And I can’t wait to meet them! Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Elaine.

About A Gift From Woolworths:
Will the war be over by Christmas?
As the war moves into 1945 the lives of the women of Woolworths continue. When store manager, Betty Billington, announces she is expecting Douglas’s baby her future life is about to change more than she expects.
Freda has fallen in love with the handsome Scottish engineer but will it end happily?
Maisie loves being a mother and also caring for her two nieces although she still has her own dreams. When her brother appears on the scene he brings unexpected danger to the family.
Meanwhile Sarah dreams of her husband’s return and a cottage with roses around the door but Woolworths beckons.
Will our girls sail into times of peace, or will they experience more heartache and sorrow? With a wedding on the horizon, surely only happiness lies ahead – or does it?
Links:
Twitter: @elaineeverest

Author Information:
Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novels The Woolworths Girls, The Butlins Girls, Christmas at Woolworths, and Wartime at Woolworths was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women's magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.
When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.
Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors.
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Saturday, 18 August 2018

A Journey Through Time


My recent holiday on the Isle of Wight turned out to be other than I was expecting. Instead of the rather relaxed break we had intended combined with the occasional cultural excursion, it turned out to be crammed full of history.

Our first visit was to the Isle of Wight Zoo. Pretty innocuous, you’d think but, as well as being privileged to see some of the wonderful animals who are cared for by The Wildheart Trust Charity…








 Little and Large


…we were taken back to the Second World War. I learned from a friend only the day before that the zoo is housed on the site of an old fort, remnants of which remain. The fort played a critical role in Operation PLUTO and within it is a small exhibition which contains one of the original pumps and some fascinating details of the PipeLineUnderTheOcean.



In addition to the natural history we were anticipating, we had an unexpected history lesson and another reminder of how much we owe to those who went before us. A fabulous day. 




A new day, a new outing, this time to Carisbrooke Castle and the thirteenth century when Isabella de Fortibus reigned supreme on the Isle of Wight, ruling it independently from the Crown. 




Over the years it has been a romantic castle, an Elizabethan artillery fortress, a king’s prison (Charles I – held for fourteen months before his execution) and a royal summer residence. I visited the small but fascinatingly comprehensive museum housed within the castle walls.


Castle Museum
Queuing to get in to the Castle
Castle Bats

Falconry Display












Through the Centuries
View from the Castle


  
Our final major visit was to Osborne House, described by Queen Victoria in 1845 as ‘Our dear Osborne, which is like a little Paradise for us’. It had been a long-held ambition of mine to see this royal residence, so renowned for being the queen’s favourite home, and boy was it worth the wait. There is far too much history for me to be able to share with you here so I have attached some images to give you a taste of its splendour.

Osborne House
Just your average ceiling
The Billiard Room

Fine Dining



With my housewifely hat on I wondered at the task of cleaning the amazing coloured glass and ormolu chandelier depicting convolvulus, Prince Albert’s favourite flower, and arum lilies.



I had an amazing sense of history when I entered Queen Victoria’s bedroom. It was in this room on 22nd January 1901 that she died, on a small couch bed, surrounded by her children. More than a hundred years later and it felt as though I could reach out and touch the past.


Queen Victoria's Bed




See you next time
Natalie