Arrivederci, London!

And so my amazing European globetrotting adventure gently draws to a close. I fly home tomorrow night, rested and rejuvenated and ready to leap back into work. Everything I’ve seen and done while I’ve been travelling truly has nourished the storyteller in me. Many many notes have been jotted down, often in the middle of a meal! And scenes continue to take shape and come alive in my imagination. It’s very exciting and I’m so looking forward to diving back into the next book once I’m home again.

I’ll also be posting a series of photo essays on things I’ve seen and what they mean to me, as a writer. I’m really looking forward to that, too.

What won’t I miss? Well, let’s put it this way. What do London – and England in general – have that Sydney doesn’t?

More fabulous theatre than you can poke a stick at? Yes, but that’s not it.

A stupendously effective public transport system? Yes, but that’s not it either.

Easy and financially manageable access to the wonders of Europe? Yes, but no, no, that’s still not it.

More history, culture and exciting adventures to be had on a daily basis than anyone could think possible? Yes, they certainly do, but still that’s not it.

Give up? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s stairs! Stairs! Oh my giddy aunt, there are so many STAIRS. I’ve been here almost a month and I swear on my great aunt’s grave I now have buns of steel. Or at least bronze. Or they would be bronze if I ever did any sunbathing. Bottom line (ha ha, that was a pun, did you notice?) you cannot escape stairs in England. In the museums, in the hotels, in the tube stations! Oy vey, the tube stations! I’d forgotten the stairs in the tube stations. I’d forgotten the stairs full stop.

The only good thing is that this month away has handily laid the foundations for the new get fit regime I’ll be starting when I get home. Stay tuned for that! I have walked many many kilometres on this trip and I have climbed more stairs than any human being should have to. Which is good because I need to get back into shape again, pronto.

But if you’re coming over for a visit? Just remember what I say. Beware the stairs! And make sure you have good trainers for the climbing.

Guedelon!

So, one of the reasons I wanted to research in France was so I could visit the amazing Guedelon — where they’re building a medieval castle from scratch, using only medieval tools, techniques and materials. The project started in 1998 and they anticipate the castle being finished in 2023. I’d love to come back for that.

It’s an amazing experience and I look forward to putting up some photos when I get home. Mind you, it’s not the most straightforward place to get to! We hired a car in Nevers and drove there. Cue the white knuckles — they drive on the wrong *g* side of the road in France and the sat nav was in French to boot and neither of us is fluent! But we made it. On the way back we detoured via St-Fargeau to see the amazing castle in that small town. The castle has a 1000 year history, but had been let deteriorate. Not all of it is open, but what we did see was amazing in a bizarre kind of way … plus there was something truly ick, but I’m not saying what because it is so going to feature in Tarnished Crown book 2! In due course I will post photos, when it comes time to talk about the book.  Less icky was the truly stupendous tartlette citron we enjoyed after our hours of tramping through the woods and half built castle, and then the chateau.

Tomorrow we sally forth to Angers, where there is another astonishing castle to explore. And then we head back to the UK, and part ways. But I catch up with Glenda Larke again then – so stay tuned for more whacky research adventures!

Last day in Paris … sniff …

First of all, it’s publication day in Australia/New Zealand! The Falcon Throne is officially let loose into the wild. If you do buy a copy, Oz and Kiwi readers, I hope I haven’t disappointed you!

In other news, Sharon and I had a wonderful morning stroll along the Rue de Rivoli then along the Champs d’Elysee, all the way up to the L’Arc de Triomphe. We may have perpetrated French pastry and bread along the way. Yes, all right, we did. I indulged in a small pistorale avec olives (yum!!! French bread! Yum!! It doesn’t make me unwell the way bread at home does. A good thing then that I don’t live here, or I’d end up looking like a baguette.) I also bought a beignet chocolate, petit, and a tartlet citron. The tartlet I will share with Sharon for dessert after our final dinner in Paris at Chez Claude’s.

Then we strolled back (in the rain, sigh) and enjoyed the wonderful artefacts in the Musee des Artes Decoratifs. Some truly beautiful pieces and many many stairs, which made up for the beignet and the bread.

Now I’m about to download all my photos, then relax until dejeuner. Tomorrow we bid adieu a Paris, and frolic our way to Nevers. Stay tuned!

And in closing, here’s a link to the Oz/NZ edition of The Falcon Throne, now available in trade paperback and ebook.

More information about it here, at this link.

 

 

Gargoyles!!!!!

If I had to pick one reason to love Paris, it would have to be the gargoyles. I don’t know why I love them so much. I just do. If it’s not the ones right outside my hotel window (courtesy of St Germain church) then it’s the ones that populate the exterior of Notre Dame. I got some wonderful photos of them today with my handy dandy emergency purchase camera (it’s brilliant, I’ll talk more about it later) and will post a gargoyle photo essay upon my return to Oz.

A couple of days in Paris just isn’t enough. There is so much to see and explore. But I had to choose between all Paris or chateaux in the countryside, so of course the chateaux won. But next time … more Paris!

The writing continues. Oddly enough, the weird sleep cycle helps. If I’m awake at 3 am, what else is there to do???  I’m already having lots of fun with it. Plus it helps take my mind off the fact that The Falcon Throne is released very soon now. Arrgghhhh! My knees, my knees, they are knocking!

Also? Apparently the French govt just fell over. I swear, it wasn’t me.

Paris!!!!!

How wonderful. I’m in Paris! And there are gargoyles almost close enough to touch right outside the hotel window. Around the corner there’s the Louvre. C’est magnifique!

Having a fabulous trip. Winchester and Canterbury were beautiful, with many photos and much inspiration. The writing for Tarnished Crown bk 2 continues, a little slow but good work, I think. Writing on the road can be a challenge! So can having a stupid bloody cold, but I’m fighting it with many remedies. I seem to be winning, just …

After Paris it’s Nevers, and then Angers. All too exciting for words. Can’t post photos while I’m travelling, but be warned — there will be many once I’m home again!