Sunday, May 31, 2009

Where we are

by Michele Ann Young
We are travelling in Ireland at the moment and will have lots to tell you on our return. Oh, this is Blarney Castle for those who are wondering. The weather has been good so far and we are looking forward to telling you all about our Happy Rambles.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The London of the Ton - Part VII

By Ann Lethbridge

Just a little reminder that The Rake's Inherited Courtesan, with special UK cover, is out next month in the UK. But you can still purchase in North America on line, or order it at your bookstore. All right shameless, but there we go.

This, as you can see from the header, is Parliament Street in 1829.

I have a bit of a thing for streetscapes, probably because my characters walk about on the street, as well as dance at balls and when you get such a graphic picture it is so helpful.

This one is a little bit late, but still very indicative of our period. I particular like how crowded it is, and the different social strata, and the various vehicles.

This one is of Hyde Park in 1814. As the caption says, it is a model of the fleet at Anchor on the Serpentine as part of the 1814 Peace Celebrations.

Note, this was before Waterloo in June 1815 and the 100 days of Napoleon. They really thought the war was over. But it would take one more battle.

To me what is interesting about this picture is the level of detail of the ships and the cost. This would be a huge undertaking, even today. And is also a great view of Hyde Park from this angle.

That is all from me for today, until next time, Happy Rambles.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


by Michele Ann Young
This is a peek at the Spanish ebook cover for No Regrets. I'm an international author!! The print book is due out in September.

Don't you think it looks intriguing with "SIN" in such large letter. Of course I'm assuming it means "No", but I really like the design. Very baroque.

What do you address the widow of the previous title holder?

Ah, back to earth. Dowagers result in much discussion and therefore deserve a heading of their own, even though most of them would prefer not to be labeled such, especially if they are young and pretty.

Dowager ~ is a widow who holds a title or property, or dower, derived from her deceased husband. All very straightforward.

When it comes to the widows of peers, then we seem to add complications. A dowager peeress is the mother, stepmother, or grandmother of the reigning peer, and the widow of a preceding one.

For example, if you are Joan, the wife of Earl Goodbody, you are Countess Goodbody or Lady Goodbody. You become a dowager on the earl's death. Your son, hopefully you did your job and produced the next heir, becomes the earl.

If he is not married you continue to be Countess Goodbody

If he is married you become Dowager Countess Goodbody, because his wife is now Countess Goodbody. You will be addressed as Lady Goodbody. The Dowager designation only becomes truly important at formal occasions, or introductions when both the widow and the current Countess are present at the same time.

If you are introduced or formally addressed when the current countess is not present, then you are Joan, Countess Goodbody, again remembering that only the current peer's wife if Countess Goodbody.

If the previous countess is still living, the current peers grandmother, she retains the title of Dowager Countess Goodbody, and you are Joan, Countess Goodbody.

If you are wondering why I have burbled on about this, it is so I can find this information here, next time I need it.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The London of the Ton - Part VI

Counting down to the UK release of UK edition of The Rake's Inherited Courtesan. Due out June 6 over there. I might just see it in stores while I am over there. which would be very exciting. Isn't the cover pretty? A little different from the North American version, which I also liked very much.

I digress.

On to London. The Great Wen. Which means The Great Tumour or Wart. Who knew? Oh, you did? One can understand why it became called that as it grew and grew during this period.

London of the ton was of course the London of entertainment for the rich. This is the Pantheon on Oxford Street in 1809 (The current site of Marks and Spencers). Designed by James Wyatt and opened in 1772, alas none of the old building remains, though the frontage as shown here did survive at least until around 1834 when additional columns were added.

This view not only gives us a view of the building, but once more gives us an idea of the street itself and those shopping.

The picture shows a masquerade ball no less. Of course this is a tad earlier than the Regency, but not by much. It also shows that the original domed interior had been replaced by a flat ceiling.

The popularity of masquerades was declining by this time, and therefore so was the popularity of the Pantheon. Looking at this picture, cartoon though it is, I'm not exactly surprised.

As usual I find the issue of lighting interesting. All those candles. No wonder things burned down so often. It must have been terribly hot and smokey. I wonder if that is why the gentleman in the forefront appears to be just about naked.

There are lots more sights to see in London, and lots more to do. But our time has run out, so until next time, Happy Rambles.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Flora and Fauna of Regency Britain ~ May

By Michele Ann Young

In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

William Shakespeare

Must be the rain and the smell of green things making me wax lyrical this morning.

I must say, May always makes me think of dancing around the May pole on the village green. I just could not resist this picture, so antique looking and the little girls dresses are so sweet.

And of course one of the shrubs, bushes or trees most associated with May is the May tree. It's real name is the Hawthorn and it flowers in May at least in the south of England. In ancient times, Beltane or May Day celebrations, were when people and houses were decked with may blossoms ("bringing home the May"). The popular rhyme "Here we go gathering nuts in May" is thought to have been sung by the young men, gathering not "nuts" (which do not grow in May) but "knots" of may blossoms for the May Day Celebrations. These celebrations included a May Queen, representing the Goddess, and a Green May, representing the God and the spirit of the new vegetation. It was known as the "Merry Month" and folk went about "wearing the green", decking themselves in greenery and may blossom.

Some of these traditions, although pagan, continued long into our era, although the church repressed the more sensual erotic side of the celebrations. Hawthorn was everywhere in England, particularly in the hedges so the sight of white blooms would have been beautiful and still is in some areas.

And of course May is a great time for nesting birds. Our Naturists says this:
The spotted fly-catcher (muscicapa grisola), the most mute and familiar of all our summer birds, builds in a vine or sweet-briar, against the walls of a house, or on the end of a beam, and sometimes close to the post of a door.

What our naturists doesn't say, is that this little bird is very clever. It can tell the difference between a cuckoos egg and one of its own, which some other birds, like the dunnock, cannot.

Well much as I would like to continue this ramble, since there would be so many more things to tell you about May in England, chores are calling.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Regency Fashion - May

A real Andalusian dress, formed of a bodice of pink or rose coloured velvet with a puff sleeve of white satin; the rest of the dress being of the same materials and edged at the bottom a la Vandyke, and ornamented with tab fringe; the bodice is terminated in a jacket behind and edged with the same fringe as the dress; the stomacher crossed with white lacing, in braid, fastened at each lacing with a diamond or paste button; ridicule of rose or pink coloured velvet; white gloves and shoes of white with the quarters the colour of the bodice; ear-rings of plain pearl. The Sevigne curl is the most prominent fashion for the head dress.

While the title on the picture says afternoon, the description says evening. My interpretation is a flexible gown, but I must say the jacket concept sounds more like the afternoon. I really like the idea of a stomacher. something we don't often see in the regency.

This is a walking dress from 1817 from La Belle Assemblee

This is a fussy gown, and very blue, but it would be perfect for Spring Weather.

That is all from me today. Until next time,
Happy Rambles