Writing

Married, spurned, poisoned – not a life to aspire to

Today, we’ll be spending time with a lady named Blanca. Some of you may groan. After all, medieval history is full of ladies called Blanca or Blanche. Among the more famous is the Blanca of Castile who went on to become Queen Blanche of France and mother to St Louis of France. Hers was a …

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The Fine Art of Doing Nothing

When I was a teenager, my mother would often accuse me of being lazy. “Sloth,” she would say, “is a capital sin.” This often led to an entirely different discussion about capital sins in general—a rather elegant deflection, in my teenaged opinion, from the matter at hand, namely my laziness. Most teenagers are lazy—at least …

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For fans of all things Tudor

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to read quite a few of Tony Riches’ books, knowing that I am guaranteed a well-researched and enthralling ride through the past. Of late, his focus has been on the rise of the Tudors, starting with a book about Owen, the obscure Welshman who married Henry V’s widow …

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The Days Dwindle Down

”Oh it’s a long, long while, from May to December. But the days grow short, when we reach September…” Frank Sinatra would sing, and my mother would sing along. This was one of her favourite songs—especially at the advent of autumn. Her other favourite was “Les Feuilles Mortes” . Both these songs are somewhat depressing: …

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When Ms Inspiration went Greek Myth

My mother was a teacher. She taught languages and literature and accordingly my sister and I grew up surrounded by stories – and with a grammar police. The grammar thing turned out useful if not overly exciting. Yes, both my sister and I know how to decline verbs in various languages, know the difference between …

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A bad, bad man and his fiery exit

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a colourful if unsavoury gentleman. Well: gentleman he was not, no matter he was born under the fleur de lys on both sides, i.e. both his mother and his father were close relatives to the French king. Just goes to show that there is no correlation between royal …

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To all the lovely people out there – a post about gratitude

I’ve had a couple of hard weeks, weeks in which my medical journal has doubled compared to its previous size. Already here, I have a lot to be grateful for: yes, the last weeks have been tough, but I am basically healthy and have not been afflicted by a chronic or potentially lethal disease. How …

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A wish, a wish – a kingdom for a wish

In 1328, Charles IV of France died. He left behind a pregnant wife and many spent the following months praying that the widowed queen be delivered of a son, thereby ensuring a continuation of the Capet dynasty. One person who definitely did not pray for a boy was Philippe of Valois, cousin to Charles—and second …

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The narcissist within…

Nope, I do not  spend hours and hours gazing at my reflection. In fact, I mostly avoid my reflection. Now and then, though, I spend time considering who I am – specifically when I am challenged to share stuff about myself on social media. I very often find it difficult to come up with particularly …

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The Glorious Harshness of Mother Nature

At present, I am out travelling. Two weeks in which the general idea is that I should take some time off everything (including writing) and instead immerse myself in the here and now. The here and now being our trip through various stunning locations in the US. Leaving aside the fact that I cannot ever …

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