Medieval Misconception: They Didn’t Bathe

Very interesting write. An aspect of history re-thought!

Kim Rendfeld

When I decided to write a novel based on one of the Roland legends, I knew very little about the Middle Ages, but I was certain of one thing: medieval people didn’t bathe. I recall being told by teachers that the folk thought it was unhealthy. As an author, all I needed to decide was whether the characters would notice how bad they smelled.

So imagine my surprise to find a section about bathing in Pierre Riche’s Daily Life in the World of Charlemagne. Carolingian princes took baths and changed their clothes once a week. OK, so that’s not as often as Americans who can’t live without their daily showers, but it’s a lot more frequent than what I was led to believe.

Commoners would have bathed less often than aristocrats because of the time and labor it took to fill a tub, but they would have bathed as…

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Chapter Thirteen: The Aftermath of the Battle

The next morning, Poitiers was to record in poetic prose this poignant phrase referring to the carnage of the day before: ‘Far and wide the earth was covered with the flower of the English n…

Source: Chapter Thirteen: The Aftermath of the Battle

A Bit of Confusion and an achievement

This year I achieved something that I’m very proud of. I have finally published the last book in a trilogy I have been writing. I know there are many writers out there who have done that, perhaps they’ve written quite a few trilogies and that’s really great; I admire someone who can do that because I’ll probably not do it again. I can tell you, it’s hard.

I wrote my first book, The Sixpenny Tiger, in 2010. Some of my friends read it and loved it. My writing mentor, David, read it and his verdict was that it was a collection of incidents joined up together. He knew I’d written it ‘out of order’, that is, not starting at the beginning and working through to the end. I wrote the beginning, then a bit in the middle and so on. ‘You must try to keep the metaphor’ he would say. I tried to be intelligent but no matter how much I talked with him about it (after all, I knew what a metaphor was) I didn’t understand what he was getting at. The book was no good, I decided disappointedly, so it was put on one side.

After a ‘barren’ period of writer’s block, I wrote three books in one year. Then I wrote another. Eventually, after a lot of thought, I decided to publish with CreateSpace, or Amazon. I started with ‘Rosa’ the third book I wrote and I followed it up with Bell of Warning and The Hiraeth.

‘Yes, yes,’ said David, ‘they are all good, but when are you going to publish Tiger, it’s your best work.’

To say I was stunned would be accurate; ‘but, you don’t like Tiger, you said so.’

‘I never said that; I said make sure you keep the metaphor. It’s great; it’s my favourite of all your stories.’


So, The Sixpenny Tiger was next. In the meantime, I’d decided, having written The Hiraeth, that the story should continue so I wrote ‘Bronwen’s Revenge’ and now I have done book 3, ‘Yr Aberth’ (The Sacrifice) which is the first book I have written that David has not seen because he died in February. It seems strange that I can’t send it to him so he can read it but I know he would be proud of me for doing it.

I feel that if I never wrote another book, I have achieved in completing a trilogy, something that, as far as I’m aware, nobody else in my family has done so far. So, even if no one else sees fit to give me a pat on my back for it, I give myself a pat. It just goes to show that even if a person doesn’t achieve much at school, all is not lost.

In finishing with Shelly and family and the beautiful ‘Castell Glas’ I thought I would feel bereft because they have been with me for so long. But I think, because they have been with me a long time and finally their story is told, I have done my best by them and now it’s time to leave them in peace and move on. Now, I can hold all three books in my hand, or set them side by side and admire them; not only am I proud of my achievement, I am also proud and very grateful to Jezz Lewis, photographer, who has produced the beautiful covers.


Are we OK, you and I, after you voted to destroy my dreams?

My thoughts exactly. As I see the worries that our son has for their future business and the worries of our other children and also for my fears of losing allies in an unstable world.

Andrew Reid Wildman, Scottish Artist living in France

I feel like someone has taken something dear to me, my identity, my connection to my continent, and they have killed it. If you voted Leave, I hope you are prepared to take responsibility for what you have done, and that you do not regret it. It is over to you now, to sort out. Some friends view my reaction as an affront. That I am ‘dissing” them. It is not. It is just that you have killed something that was precious to me. You have created a country around me that I do not recognise, which feels broken and insular. That was your right to do that, you voted the way you thought was best. And you won and I lost. But in so doing you destroyed something. Many of you are now regretting your vote. Save your tears, I do not want to hear them lest I scream…

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Fourth Book in the Series

Angel Rigley writes lovely books. She has the same attitude as me; if someone says they have enjoyed a book, she keeps on trying. Why not give her a try?

Authory Antics

If I heard that an author had had the fourth book in a series published – besides 3 different novels – I would be very impressed, and want to read the whole lot.

I have many super friends and a marvelous family who buy all my books, love them, and pass them on to their families and friends.One friend said, when I told her that Choices for Jamie had been published, “Oo, my mum will be so thrilled. She keeps asking me when the next book will be out.” This sort of comment spurs me on to continue writing when I feel defeated, and wonder why I bother, when I hardly sell any on the internet. But if I can make at least one person happy, then I’ll keep trying.

Book number 4

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Review of ‘Love’s Long Road’ by G.D. Harper

Final cover design

This is a story which has elements with which many of us can identify. The main character Bobby Sinclair, a talented actress just out of University, is devastated by the suicide of her boyfriend, Joe. She had just finished the relationship and felt his terrible end was her fault. She imagines everyone is blaming her and she also can’t come to terms with the guilt she feels so she decides that never again will she get so involved with anyone to any depth and sets out to be a ‘good time girl’, only having ‘one night stands’ and leaving them, however attracted to them she might be. The only thing that didn’t sit quite right with me was her constant ‘one nighters’ throughout most of the story which covered a few years, although this did get less as the story got closer to the end. However, I do realise that sex with lots of different partners can become addictive.

This rather mercenary attitude leads her into disaster when she becomes involved with a fascinating and compelling character called Michael and she realises eventually that he is actually very dangerous. However, she is now deeply involved and knows she is up to her ears in trouble. She has to get away, but how?

I don’t want to spoil anything for the readers by telling any more of the story. However, I must say that I found it riveting and very hard to put down. I loved that it was set in the 1970s as that was when I was in my twenties; I was able to enjoy the reminders of certain pop stars and other things that pertained to that era.

The author is obviously familiar with both Glasgow and London and describes those places with confidence and ease, helping the reader to ‘see’ the scenes without going into too much heavy description, which I like; I can’t bear large descriptive paragraphs when a story is so interesting – I want to get on with it! I loved Bobbie and understood her; I am sure that most of us have done some pretty stupid stuff when we have made wrong choices or something has happened that was beyond our control although hopefully most of us never found a ‘Michael’.

I also loved that Bobbie had a devoted male friend who did not judge her but was always there to do what he could, in spite of his own relationships.

This has a fast moving storyline and is an absorbing book; I thoroughly recommend it.


Life and Writing


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Hello friends! Hello, hello? Have you forgotten me? It’s true I haven’t written my blog since last November so if you have forgotten me it’s not surprising. 

‘Last November?’ I hear you say. ‘What on earth have you been doing all that time?’

You might well ask! When I think about it I really don’t know. Just ‘life’ really. 

At first, it was Christmas; you all know what that’s like and with a big family of six ‘children’ (I use the term loosely as they are all adults), and their partners, various, seven grandchildren and a gorgeous wee great-granddaughter, there is a lot of shopping, wrapping presents and food to think about, not to mention the many cards to write and send off – yes, I still do that, although my list is getting shorter as various elderly relatives have passed on. It is a sobering thought that my husband and I are the oldest generation in our family, now that my mum has gone. That was our first Christmas without her.

The New Year brought a sense of urgency as I became aware that my close friend, David McCalden, was dying and I really wanted him to see a small book of poems and short stories that I had compiled from my posting on his Facebook page ‘Teddy Story Lines’ which was to be dedicated to him. It is called ‘Mostly About Bears’. Sadly, I never managed it; hampered as I was by my inability to draw and I was waiting for a member of my family to do them as she is a talented artist. However, although talented, she is also super-unorganised and unreliable and in the end I published the book without the final picture that I’d wanted.  David never saw it, which made me very sad. I like to think that he’s still watching what I’m up to from wherever he is now.

At the same time, I was formatting my book, ‘Bronwen’s Revenge’, which is the second book in my Castell Glas Trilogy and then I had to wait for my proof-reader whose little son was having health problems. ‘Bronwen’s Revenge’ slipped into being published fairly quietly in April. Both books are still waiting to be ‘discovered’ by readers, although I would recommend that any prospective readers should read Book 1, ‘The Hiraeth’ before they go on to find out what Bronwen got up to next.

I help my eldest daughter out by having her little one once a week so she can work; on other days he is looked after by his other grandparents and his father. I find looking after him quite tiring – I often wonder how I managed to bring up six children!

Upon retrospect, I have the same problem that many writers do, especially female writers who have so many other roles to play; we are the mothers, the carers of the sick and the elderly, the baby-sitters, the shoppers, the housewives and so on. How on earth do we fit in writing as well? And then there is the BIG problem that all self-published writers face – that of the publicising, the constant, grinding use of the ‘soshial media’ (as my good friend, successful author, Seumas Gallacher refers to it) which we mostly hate and don’t want to do. But we know we have to if we’re ever going to get noticed by anyone.

I want to know, do other authors rebel over having to do all the media-advertising thing, the ‘twitter-facing’ and so on? Do you ever think ‘to hell with it, I’m just going to write’? I know one writer friend who has done just that; he’s taken himself off Facebook and so on in order to concentrate on writing his book. Sometimes I wish I was brave enough to do that but I’m afraid to let go of all the strings – not to mention nosey because I like to know what all my friends are up to!

bronwen 2 a copyHow do other authors feel about all this stuff we have to do and do we make time to have a quality life other than to just grind away at the proverbial typewriter all the time? Please let me know what you think – am I being paranoid about the social media; I didn’t have to publish my books, did I? But if I hadn’t, what would be the point of writing them? Perhaps I should just give it all up and let myself slip quietly into old age and senility…?