This weekend was the Lord Mayor’s Show in London. We did not make it down, due to a ridiculously complicated morning of activities. However, we arranged to meet my nephews and brother to see the fireworks on the Thames. We wouldn’t normally be so silly as to go to something incredibly popular in London, but it seemed like a good plan. If it was too busy, we would do something else. To our surprise, it was fairly straight forward. We joined the masses at Charing Cross and headed up on to the bridge. It was a little bit pathetic, that some people behind us stared to push, almost sending my son head first. I did ask one large man what the rush was, and if he got there ten seconds later, would the world really end? He seemed to get the hint. My rbother and nephews had a prime standing spot overlooking the Thames. I half-expected a complaint when our boys joined them at the front. Everyone seemed so good humoured though. And so at 5pm on the dot, the first firework raced up into the sky, with a beautiful backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral. They were beautiful. The sky was filled with glitter. Ten minutes of oohs and ahhs followed and then it finished. ‘Is that it?’ asked one person, after we had seen tens of thousands of pounds worth of fireworks go up in smoke. ‘What a waste of the taxpayer’s money.’ grumbled a woman nearby. Well I don’t care, what these miserable, over-demanding people say. What a sad world we live in, when we can’t enjoy something so beautiful. To me, the best part was how many people we laughed and bantered with whilst we standing on the bridge waiting for it to start!
Yes, it’s that time of year again and we were off to the atmospheric city of Edinburgh and this time we would be there on Halloween! After a relatively easy journey, we started off in Greyfriars Kirkyard. It never ceases to get to me. It always feels so sinister. I don’t think that it is the design of the graves, but more, the feeling of cold and desolation. There doesn’t ever seem to be much wildlife. We visited it again at midnight on Halloween, where we trekked round in the dark and ended up in the Covenanter’s prison, where there is a mausoleum, reputed to be the home of a very unfriendly poltergeist, but I think it was too cold for even it to be out haunting.
We visited Holyrood Palace this time. It was a beautiful palace set around a courtyard. We saw Mary Queen of Scot’s bedroom and the place where David Rizzio’s body was placed after he had been murdered. He was the private secretary of Mray Queen of Scots. I don’t think that I would have been too happy to spend a night alone in the palace. There is also the ruins of an abbey next to the palace which looked beautiful.
The highlight for me, however, was Mary King Close. Edinburgh consists of tiny, narrow streets. The buildings used to be around 12 storeys high, however, some of the older closes have been built over, resulting in an underground network of old streets and houses. We went down and visited them. It really gave you an insight into how people lived. Even when the closes were not covered over, the houses only got an hour of daylight and were knee deep in sewage. There is one room in the underground network of houses, where there is a pile of toys. It is said that a medium went down Mary Kings Close and could not sense any presences apart from that of a small child. The little girl was very upset as she had been abandoned by her parents because she had the plague. She had lost her doll. The medium was so upset that she went out immediately and bought the ghost a doll. Since then the story has spread, and dolls and toys have been sent from around the world. So if you want a very atmospheric place to visit, I highly recommend Edinburgh, with its dark twisting wynds, it’s old haunted pubs and its sinister history.
What a month! I feel like I’ve been running at full pelt, but not actually getting any where. But today is my most favourite day of the year. It is the day the clocks go back an hour. I can stay in bed an hour later and I don’t lose out on any hours in the day. I get the hour back that disappeared sometime in early spring, when the clocks went forward. Yes I do grudge the hour going forward. I lose and hour of MY day and already 24 hours is not enough. It is like they (whoever they are) take an hour of my life. My husband reckons I’m over reacting slightly. So this morning when I woke up at 7am. I was delighted to look at my alarm clock and say ‘You’re wrong. It’s 6am and I am going to go back to sleep.’ What a wonderful, fantastic feeling. I have to confess that I squandered my extra hour today. I was decadent and very bad and stayed in bed for that extra hour!
I have to admit that our motives were not pure when we went to visit Highgate Cemetery. We had read in a ‘Walking Haunted London’ book, that the place was haunted. There were rumours of vampires and so, as dedicated ghost hunters, we were so there. Highgate Cemetery West can only be visited by guided tour. All I can say is, that if you ever visit London, it HAS to go on your places to visit list. Not because it is ghostly, or scary, simply because it is fascinating. Our tour guide was John Waite, who has regular slots on Radio 4. He was brilliant.
He informed us that the the cemetery was designed so that you could never see where you were going. It was a trip into the unknown. The cemetery is overgrown with trees and the smell of ferns is gorgeous. There are about 100,000 people buried there, including Alexander Litvinenko, who has been buried about 12 feet down in a lead-lined coffin, due to his being poisoned by polonium 210. Other dead residents include: the architect for Buckingham Palace, the man who built Big Ben and Faraday. The highlight for me was the Circle of Lebanon, which consisted of tombs around a large tree. The tree used to be the only one in the graveyard. Then we went to the Terrace Catacombs. Here some of the coffins could be seen. Some had been stolen. Apparently back in the 60s, children used to bunk off school and go and play with the dead bodies. The very strange part of the cemetery’s history, was that back in the 70s, a corner of it was sold off to build a house! The house is built on the graves of paupers and babies. The residents then sold off the garden and 10 years ago a new house was built, mostly of glass. I could go on and on about all the things I learned and this wouldn’t even include the east cemetery. However, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. You have to go. When you get there. Ask about the tunnel.
I am a light-sleeper and so am likely to wake up with a start at all manner of things. There was the time I woke up to an earthquake. At first I thought I was imagining things. Then I decided it was my neighbours (say no more). Then I woke Andrew so that he could clarify that I was not going mad. By the time he came too, the earthquake had stopped. He did not believe me until it was on the news the next day. Then there was the explosion. There had been rumours that there had been a bomb-threat to the shopping centre. I awoke to a loud explosion in the night. I woke Andrew.
‘I think a bomb has gone off.’
He was about to say I was being ridiculous, when the night was filled with the sound of sirens. I was wrong about the bomb, it was an explosion at an oil refinery about 30 miles away.
Then there was the murderous scream in the middle of the night, from the fields behind the house. Even Andrew woke up to that one.
‘S**t someone is being murdered.’ I said, hauling myself out of bed.
‘Take your phone’ said Andrew as he drew the covers back over his head. Quite what the phone would do to protect me from the raging axe murderer, I don’t know, but I took it any way.
Tentatively I went down the path to the fields. The mobile came in handy as it lit the path for me. I could see a couple of cats and a fox. No body and thankfully no murderer. I assume said fox and cats may have been guilty of the commotion.
Now you may have noticed that my husband is not a great one for taking part in these night time excursions, but there is one condition under which he knows he cannot get away with drawing the covers over his head. The condition is when I say ‘There is a creature in the room.’
You see, I don’t do creatures. By creatures, I mean anything with more than 4 legs. So when we were on holiday this year and I awoke to a loud scuffling noise at the end of the bed, the word ‘creature’sprung into my head. Whatever it was, it was big. It was exploring where it should not be exploring (i.e. my bedroom in the middle of the night) and it needed to be persuaded that this was not a good thing to do. I woke Andy.
‘There’s something in the room.’
‘It’s a creature and it’s big.’
And that is the magic phrase. He knows there will be no peace until it has been dealt with. I kid you not, when we turned on the light, even Andrew went pale at the size of the cockroach that was playing around at the end of the bed. Monster was a more appropriate phrase. A few thousand blasts of insecticide later and we were more at risk of being killed by the fumes than the cockroach. I’d rather take on an axe -wielding murderer, during an explosion and an earthquake!
I have just been to one of the most beautiful places in England, Kingley Vale. It is a National Nature Reserve near Chichester and it contains my most favourite tree of all time, the Yew Tree. My mother-in-law calls them Disney Trees and it is not hard to see why. Each one looks as though it has a face and the long, sweeping branches look as though they will scoop you up. They reminded me of the Ents in the ‘Lord of the Rings’. It is not just what they look like that I love, but the tales that surround them. They are poisonous. They also used to be planted in graveyards. This was because they had fibrous roots, which would grow through the skulls of the dead, and prevent them from finding their way back to the world of the living. I love the creepiness of the trees when they grow close together and blot out the light. Having climbed and played on the yews, we headed out into a beautiful valley. There were butterflies and bees everywhere. The stillness of the area was beautiful. Unfortunatley, as with all good things, they do come to an end and all too soon, we had to head home. We hadn’t managed to see the Bronze Age Burial Mounds, or the views of the sea. I have promised myself that I will go back and spend a day there exploring. To top it all, as we walked back to the car park, a Spitfire flew overhead.
The long-awaited sequel to ‘The Medi’, ‘Sycax’ will be avaliable on Amazon from TODAY!!!. Here is an overview of the novel. Enjoy!
The adventure continues. Sarah braves the treacherous desert to reach Sycax, where she receives a hostile reception. To make matters worse, she believes that she is transforming again and is placed under the care of Medicio, who seems to have an agenda of his own. She learns that Primus is under attack and returns to protect them, only to find that her mate, Sam, has been captured by the Thirteen. Jack tries to console her, causing their relationship to become even more complicated. Sarah’s life is rapidly falling apart and she does not seem to be living up to the prophecies. The Thirteen’s army is growing in strength and Sycax and Primus seem unwilling to lay their differences aside and unite against the Thirteen. However, there is a glimmer of hope. There appears to be someone who is willing to betray the Thirteen and the Medi is the key.