Monday, May 30, 2011

More Old Devon

But first a squee! 

On Wednesday you will find my short story, Deliciously Debauched by the Rake on - follow the link to e-harlequin on the right. I think this cover is delicious all by itself!

Elizabeth Bentham has been John, Lord Radthorn's lover for five glorious years. But she wants him to have a chance to marry a respectable lady, not a woman with her tarnished reputation. Elizabeth thinks telling him their relationship has lost its spark will help him move on...but John isn't prepared to lose her, and sets out to prove their passion is as strong as ever....
I did have fun writing this story about minor characters who appear in The Gamekeeper's Lady. This is a fun and sexy read.

Clovelly Continued:

There is no mistaking what the inhabitants of this charming village do for a living, apart from tourists, with all the lobster pots attractively arranged at the entrance to the alleyway behind the cottages that face the harbour and the sea.  Although Tourism is probably the prevalent business now.
In past days there was another important industry for the people along the coast.  If you look closely, at the picture to the right you will see a rounded stone shape that looks a bit like a castle turret.  This was a lime-kiln.

Lime was a very important product in the 18th and 19th century, used by farmers to counteract the acidity in their soil and for whitewash for cottage walls.  The lime-kiln used a very cheap form of fuel, coal dust, called culm, brought by boat from South Wales.

Layers of lime and coal dust were put in the top of the kiln, called the pot, then set alight from the base. You can see the arched entrance, which is now covered by a wooden door.  As the stone burned, it produced calcium oxide or the substance we know as quicklime which was drawn off through the draw hole loaded onto donkey and taken up the hill.  Lime mortar was also used between the stones from which the cottages are built. This mortar allows the walls to "breathe" in the damp climate and is used today.  This kiln ceased operation in 1911.

Steps up to the pier are not for the faint-hearted and flat shoes are recommended, but once up there the views are worth the effort.

That is all from me, today, but make sure you have your walking shoes handy next time because we will be climbing up the cobbled street to the top of the hill.

Until then, Happy Rambles

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rambling in Old Devon

Did I ever tell you I consider myself a very fortunate person. I have a wonderful family, and lots of great friends.

This last week, I was once again reminded how fortunate I am, when my sister-in-law and brother-in-law surprised me by booking a room in a hotel in Clovelly.  I knew we were going to visit Clovelly, but did not expect to be staying there, because it is very small and very difficult to access. You will see why I was so excited and pleased, when you see the pictures I am going to share with you over the next few posts.

This is the Red Lion hotel where we stayed and as you can see we were blessed with lovely weather. It was once several fishermen's cottages and was joined together to form an inn a great many years ago.

Early records of the village date back to Saxon times, but  it has been around in something like its present form since the 16th century.  If you haven't visited Clovelly, then hopefully you enjoy thes pictures as we rambled around the harbour and up through the village itself.

 The populatin in the village in 1801 was 714 people and a great many of these would have been children, since families were large and the number of cottages is quite small.

The hillside is very steep so we have to go up very slowly and you will have to take lots of breaks, but first may I suggest a small libation at the bar in the Red Lion.  We also had a crab sandwich for lunch, which was delicious.

To get down to the hotel by car (as only hotel guests are permitted to do), we used what is called The Turnpike road, which in the old days was very steep and very rough and it is this way that the supplies were delivered to the village at the very bottom of the hill, only to be have to then carried up to the houses. More about this later.

This is the cobbled alleyway that leads from Turnpike at the back of the Red Lion to the harbour side of the pier.

And here is the harbour as it appeared to us the day we arrived. You can see that the tide is out.

I have to say that we were enchanted with these first view of Clovelly, and there is so much more to come.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Monday, May 23, 2011

Regency Fashion 1811

We are still in the first year of the Regency, 1811,  and what is everyone wearing?

May 1811 Evening Dress

Clearly this has all the Regency classic styling we have come to expect, with the romanesque draping to the gown and the tunic style overdress.  Personally I am not keen on the turban, but the whole outfit is very nicely pulled together by the gold and green embroidery and the diamond shapes.

A robe and petticoat of white satin with short sleeves,trimmed with green or yellow chenille, over which is worn a light green drapery of crape, fastened on the left shoulder with an amber or cornelian brooch, folded over the left side of the figure in front , nearly concealing the waist on that side. The hind part of the drapery is simply bound in at the bottom of the waist, confined underneath the drapery in front, entirely ornamented round with yellow chenille. With this dress is worn a Turkish turban of green crape, with trimming to correspond with plume on the right side. Shoes of green kid or silk.

The gowns on the right are opera dresses for the same month.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Regency Timelines

What was happening in the Regency?
One major thing going on was the war with Napoleon, but there were lots of additional items in the newspapers two.  Here is a selection.

  • Mar.1 A stone weighing fifteen pounds fell from the clouds in Russia.Oops.  I bet that was a surprise.
  • Mar.5: The battle of Barossa gained by Gen. Graham, against the French under Marshal Victor. Sergeant Patrick Masterson captured the first French eagle to be taken in battle by th British from the French, in this case from the 8th of the Line
  • Mar.11: Badajos surrendered to the French.
  • Mar.11: The House of Commons voted a loan of six millions for the relief of merchants and manufacturers. You  will see why, later.
  • Mar.12: Riots at Nottingham, in consequence of distress among workmen.
  • Mar.20: Birth of Bonaparte's son. The king of Rome. Pictured on the left as the Duke of Reichstadt, he became the Emperor of France for fifteen days, when his father abdicated in 1815, though it is doubtful he was aware of it, as he and his mother had fled to Austria. 
  • Mar.23:A riot in Bristol caused by a rise in the price of butter,
  • Mar.26: Sequestrated English merchandise to the amount of £100,000 sterling, burned at Swinemunde.
  • Mar.31: Confiscated English manufacturer to the amount of £50,000 burned at Rugenwalde.
  • Apr. 1: Confiscated English manufactures to the amount of £60,000 burned at Memel.What a lot of waste and loss. This was part of the blockade.
  • Apr.3: At the late Duke Queensberry's sale, his Tokay wine sold at eighty four pounds per dozen. So to put that in perspective when you go to the liquor store, or wherever you buy your wine, that is about £2,852.64 for 12. Tokay is really Tokaji wine. It comes from Hungary and is a sweet wine and was  the subject of the world's first appellation control, established several decades before Port wine and over 120 years before the classification of Bordeaux. Vineyard classification began in 1730 with vineyards being classified into 3 categories depending on the soil, sun exposure and potential to develop noble rot, botrytis cinerea, first class. A royal decree in 1757 established a closed production district in Tokaj. The classification system was completed by the national censuses of 1765 and 1772. Introduced to the French court, it  was also a very popular wine during the regency in England, as indicated by the price.
  • Apr.4: A proclamation to the Berlin Court Gazette, forbidding any English man, or any other foreigner, to enter the Prussian territory  without a passport.
  • Apr.8: several persons killed by the fall of two houses in Ironmonger Row, Old Street.
  • Apr.10: a riot at Brighton between a party of the South Gloucester militia, and a party of the inhabitants,
  • Apr.10: William Gibbs reprieved at the moment when about to be hanged for a robbery committed by his sweetheart of which he had taken upon  himself the guilt in order to save her life. Talk about true love. And the save sounds a bit last minute too.
  • Apr,14: The French Garrison of Olivenza surrendered at discretion to the allied army.
  • Apr.20: Eight persons perished in the conflagration of a house in Half Moon Alley, Bishopsgate.
  • Apr.21: A Young nobleman lost £24,000 at one of the fashionable gambling houses. In today’s money, according to the British National Archives this would be worth in the order of £814,0000 or in US $1,337,238.10. Now I don’t know how you feel about that but my little flutters at the casino amount to $30 in a night.
  • Apr.24:Mackerel sold at Billingsgate, at eight shillings a piece by the hundred. Not so expensive, then.
  • Apr.24: A subscription set on foot at the London Tavern for the relief of the Portuguese.
  • Apr.25: Thirty five men killed, and eighteen wounded, by an explosion of inflammable air in a coal mine near Liege. Interesting how they call it air rather than gas.

  • Apr.29: The commissioners of Hyde Park turnpike let their tolls for £17,000 per annum.  A profit of £580,000 in today's money. One can only imagine how much the person taking the tolls actually made.
That is all from me, until next time, Happy Rambles.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Toast to the Royal Newlyweds

It was a great day, wasn't it? Did you like me, get up at four in the morning to watch on tv here in North America? I think I have only just recovered from that early morning.  Or were you one of the lucky ones in London standing on the Mall to watch the couple pass by? From what I heard you too rose at four, if you ever went to bed.

Perhaps you were in Britain and attended one of the many street parties that day?

The_happy couple_on_the_balcony.jpg: Magnus D

Something that was very clear to me was the happiness of this couple.  And I wish them all the very best for their futures.  I am sure it is not easy being in their position, but let us hope they are as happy as me and my husband are.

Princess Charlotte's Choice If you want to know more about Royal Weddings down the ages, might I suggest you check out the Harlequin Digital Royal Wedding Series? You can find my story at Amazon Princess Charlotte's Choice or at
Or go to my website at to find out more.

The next two months will be busy ones, since I have two books out, in addition to this digital short story, and there is another Undone due for release any day now, but I will try to get us back on track with our regular postings of all things Regency.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.