I have been enjoying watching Wimbledon these last few days, well didn’t enjoy watching Andy Murray getting beat, but it was a good match.

It is interesting how the UK becomes tennis fans for a fortnight every year!

It is a very old game, even King Henry VIII is said to have enjoyed playing it in his younger days.

It looks like Federer will make history when, sorry if, he wins again on sunday.

There was a quote on tv about how much these tennis players earn from Wimbledon, so I googled the prize monies for this years event, and I was shocked.

A first round loser earns £35,000, a second round loser earns £57,000, a third round loser earns £90,000, a fourth round loser earns £147,000, a quarter final loser earns £275,000, a semi final loser earns £550,000, the second place player, the loser in the final earns a whopping £1.1m and the winner of the final earns £2.2m !!!!

I am definately in the wrong job !!

Right, which kid can we train to be a tennis player……………………………



Today, the 12th July, in the year 1543, a young widow stood in the chapel at Hampton Court Palace.  She was stood next to her new husband, her third, listening to the Archbishop pronouncing their marriage.

She had not sought this marriage, her husband had set his sights upon her and she had had no choice but to obey.

Her first two husbands had been older men, she had been their nursemaid as much as their wife.  She had not wanted to face the same in her third husband, but knew that she could not expect much more.

She worried not about nursing him, she could do that, but this man had killed two of his previous wives, deserted another to a lonely death, allowed another to die from her childbed, and exiled yet another.  Would she even survive this marriage?

The widow was of course, Katherine Latimer (Parr was her birthname).  She was marrying King Henry VIII.

She did survive the marriage, and outlive her husband, who was already ailing, though she did come close to being sent to the Tower at one time.

She also made the perfect stepmother to Henry’s young children.  Edward knew no other mother as he grew from child to teenage King.  Mary respected her stepmother, though hated her religious beliefs.  Elizabeth would go on to live with Katherine after her father’s death, which would prove to be a bad decision in the long run, after Katherine married her fourth husband, Thomas Seymour.

Unfortunately the only natural child that would come from her four marriages was a little girl, whose birth would lead to Katherine’s own death within hours.

She is remembered as an intelligent Queen and generally a good Queen, but I feel she must have had a sad life.  She thought she had found happiness with Seymour, even managing to have her heart’s desire and become pregnant by him.  But his suspected abuse of the young Elizabeth ruined that happiness and by the time she gave birth, she was in such a depression, that she could not fight for her life.  Or maybe not want to fight for her life.

Poor woman.


Growing up in the north of England as I did, every history lesson included some work on the Romans, who had a big presence in our area.

One of the most prominent would be Emporer Hadrian.

Every school year included a school trip to see the wall that he ordered to be built across the northern territory of England, in order to keep out the unruly Scots, who the Romans had failed to be able to conquer.

He became the Roman emporer after the death of Trajan in year 117.

Hadrian was a well travelled emporer, who visited most areas of the empire during his reign.

It would have been around 119 or 120 when he reached Brittania, which at the time was besieged by many rebellions.  At some point he decided against trying to push his armies further north on the island and the wall that bears his name was begun in 122.

He did not stay in Brittania to see the wall built, he would never see the finished product, which took around six years, leaving the country towards the end of 122.

He toured around his empire until the early 130’s when he returned to Rome, his health beginning to fail him.  It was not until 138 when he died though, on the 10th of July of that year (hence my talking about him today!).

Hadrian’s wall was quite an achievement, for the time.  It comprised a fort approximately every mile, of varying sizes.  A Vicus or small town grew up around some of these forts, some bigger than others.

Vindolanda and Chesters are the two best preserved forts on the wall, and make an enjoyable day out with the family.  It was also fun to walk along some lengths of the wall on our school trips, though some parts are quite high.  I believe it is now discouraged to walk along the wall itself, for fear of damaging it, but it is not strictly forbidden!

See, Mrs Marshall, I was listening during history class !!!!


Today in 1553, King Edward VI died at the tender age of 16.

He had been the son that Henry VIII had longed for and spilt so much blood to get.  Yet his reign lasted a mere 6 years.

His father had kept him from the usual childhood cuts, scrapes, illnesses, keeping him locked up in what he thought was safety, but which eventually led to his death.  His constitution was not strong enough to withstand the rigours of being head of a busy court such as the Tudor one.

Just as he was approaching adulthood, he was taken seriously ill and died 3 months before his 16th birthday.

A few years earlier, in 1535, his father Henry VIII, had his former chancellor beheaded on this same day, the innocent Thomas More.  More died simply because he disagreed with the King and would not support the marriage to Anne Boleyn, who the King would tire of and behead also, just 10 months later.

Perhaps karma caught up with Henry VIII and took his longed for son in retaliation for his treatment of innocent people.

One died in 1535 and one in 1553.

Isn’t karma a bitch??

Another birthday…..

Today is the birthday, in 1960, of a racing driver who died tragically on the track, doing the job he loved.

His death is largely forgotten as it happened the day before the death of the great Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994.  Senna’s death, during the race was tragic, and a great loss to F1, but I have always felt that Roland Ratzenberger’s death was equally as tragic and should have been remembered with the same sadness.

He was born on the 4th of July 1960 in Austria.  He made his way through the ranks of the lower classes of motor racing, including showing very well in the Le Mans 24 race series.

For the 1994 season, he showed great promise as he was signed to the Simtek team.  Though other big name teams were rumoured to be watching him for future advancement.

During qualifying for the Imola GP Ratzenberger left the track and broke his wing on the car, but as time was precious and he was driving for position, he did not go to the pits to get it changed.  He continued, and on the fast straight, the wing broke off, doubling under the car and stopping him from turning on the next corner, or braking.  He hit the wall at almost 200 MPH and died pratically instantly of a severe head injury.  He was airlifted to hospital from the track but pronounced dead on arrival.

His death led to a resurgence of the Grand Prix Drivers Association at the drivers meeting the next morning, which would go on to demand safer conditions for drivers.  One of the first directors voted in on that day was Senna, who would die in his car a few hours later.  Upon his extraction from the car after his accident, an Austrian flag was found in his car, which he had intended to fly after the race, in memorial of Ratzenberger.

Senna’s death was the big news of the weekend and his funeral was by far better attended by members of the racing community than Ratzenberger’s was, and is by far better remembered in history, but Ratzenberger played just as important a role in shaping the future safety measures in F1 cars.

The HANS device that is used now on cars was developed to prevent the type of head injury that Roland suffered, and has probably saved many lives since then.


On holiday !!

Well we are still in Yorkshire, having a sunny time today.

I very much enjoyed the concert on thursday evening, Scarborough Open Air Theatre is a much bigger place than I had expected, but a very pleasant place to go to.

Cliff Richard gave a brilliant performance, as he has every other time I have seen him in concert.  It is amazing how his voice sounds as fresh and beautiful as the day he recorded those songs originally.  He can still make the hairs stand up on my neck with his voice.

Collabro were also singing and it was the first time I had seen them.  I am not usually a fan of the opera type of music, but they sang very well.  Their version of Bring him home, from Les Miserables, was very uplifting.

Tomorrow we are planning a trip to Middleham, for their Richard III festival and a visit to the castle.

It stands on the location of a Norman tower castle, and was built up into the royal castle that it became under the Neville family in the 15th century.

Richard, Duke of Gloucester, inherited the castle when he married Anne Neville, co heiress of her father, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (also known as Kingmaker).  He had lived there under the training of the Earl when he was a teenager, perhaps already under consideration as a husband for one of the Earl’s daughters.

After Richard’s death at Bosworth, the castle fell into disrepair under the Tudors and never really recovered it’s splendour from the Plantagenet times.

The village beneath the castle holds a festival once a year, celebrating it’s relationship with the former King.

We are looking forward to seeing the re-enactments of village life in medieval times, for me, a kind of research for my writing, for my children, a fun day out !!!!

excited !

Today am in Yorkshire.

I am going to see a concert tonight, in Scarborough.  Some of my friends have called me brave for still going to the concert after the recent attack on a pop concert, but my answer is simple.  I am not going to let some idiot who wants to make a name for themselves, ruin my plans.  I was bought this ticket as a birthday present last year and I intend to use it and enjoy it.

I try to be philosophical about these things and if we allow these people to rule our lives and force us to make changes, then we are letting them win and have the power over us that they crave.

Let’s face it, we could die at any time, hit by a bus, heart attack, anaphylaxis (in my case), piano fall on your head from above (I do love those old comedy sketches), etc.  When our time is up, there is little we can do to change things, so we should just live for the day.  When you have come close to death, as I have with my anaphylaxis attacks, you realise how precious your time on this earth is.

Love your family, have fun, make the most of what you have, it is all over too soon.  Try not to die with any regrets, I don’t intend to !!!!