Oct 142013
 

As ever, this year’s Literature Festival was a cracking affair.  To prevent myself from becoming bankrupt I usually just pick one or two events I am particularly interested in.

This year I chose Simon Schama’s talk on his latest book The Story of the Jews and The King’s Grave: Search for Richard 111 featuring the host, my friend Caroline Sanderson and Philipa Langley of Channel 4 fame and Michael Jones, co-author and historian.

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Sep 032013
 

August is a very chilled out month when nothing much happens and an indolence overtakes us all.  So it has been with me but September has kicked in and I’m ready to get going again and tell you what I’ve been up to.

Saturday 17 August I attended a Gloucester Civic Trust Tower Talk in St Michael’s Tower in Gloucester.

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The talk was being given by Ian Holt, a member of the Trust who was very knowledgeable, particularly about the early world history of the Jewish people.  I booked this talk many months ago as it is the subject of my next book tentatively entitled, Blood Libel, beginning in 1168 in the city of Gloucester when a young boy named Harold was found murdered.  The blame was placed on the Jewish community.  Ian Holt touched on this incident and many other fascinating events in the history of the Jews in Gloucester.  They were eventually expelled from the city in 1275 by Queen Eleanor who didn’t want any Jewish people living in her Dower towns – Gloucester being one of them.  Most of the community fled to Bristol and Hereford and as far as I can tell the community never quite recovered in numbers.  When the Synagogue was built and consecrated in Cheltenham in 1839 most of the community migrated there.

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Jul 242013
 

The characters in my book, City of Secrets, drink plenty of weak ale, local cider made from the Longney Russet apple and eat a variety of medieval food from roasted lark to frumenty to cheese made from the milk of Gloucester Cattle.  This food was popular in the middle ages in and around Gloucester.  So I thought I would find out what the present day Gloucester citizen liked to eat and what better place than the annual Gloucester Quays Food Festival.

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Jul 192013
 

Some months ago I tweeted that I was carrying out some research on medieval fishing techniques.  Someone from the Gloucester Waterways Museum was kind enough to tweet back to say they could help so yesterday I set off, writing pad and camera phone in hand to get down to some much needed research.  It turned out that the Waterways Museum doesn’t hold any information on Elver Fishing but the Gloucester Folk Museum does.  I was in the mood for a walk as the weather was glorious so I set off, this time, to the other side of Gloucester.

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Jul 162013
 

Today the Duke of Gloucester will present members of the Gloucester Civic Trust with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award that can be given for volunteer services and it is richly deserved by the men and women of the Civic Trust for their tireless work in maintaining and promoting Gloucester’s rich heritage.

Officially, the award has been given for “Promoting Gloucester’s Heritage through Civic Tour Guides, exhibitions and restoration projects.” Gloucester Civic Trust is one of 117 voluntary organisations in the UK to have received the award in 2013.

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