Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Dogs – Ollie and his Guests by Beetley Pete


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the final post from Beetley Pete... also known as Pete Johnson who blogs from Norfolk about a number of interesting subjects including life working for the ambulance service and his adventures with the lovely Ollie…I could not leave the archives without sharing a post about Ollie.

Ollie and his Guests by Beetley Pete

Ever since he was a tiny pup, Ollie has always loved to greet a guest to the house. He learned the word ‘guest’ very quickly, and even if there are none, just mention the word, and he will go off in search of them. He believes everyone to be a guest, from the daily visit of the postman, to deliveries from Amazon, they all qualify in his book.

We have discovered that he can also differentiate between certain guests. When our grandson Kayton first came to visit, we told Ollie that he was ‘baby guest’. Ollie took his toys to show the baby, and went to see him every time he cried, or gurgled. Now if we say ‘baby guest’, he rushes over to where we keep Kayton’s bean bag, or baby seat, and sniffs them excitedly.

The heating engineer is also one of our fellow dog-walkers, and has a Rhodesian Ridgeback called Spike. Ollie and Spike always play rough over at The Meadows, so Ollie remembers his owner all too well. As a result, he is very excited to see Richard when he comes to fix the heating, and brings him a succession of soft toys to inspect. This morning, oblivious to the need for his guest to have his head in a cupboard, changing valves, he kept appearing with a large stuffed tortoise, offering it for play. When there were no takers for his tortoise, he amused himself instead by carefully sniffing all of the tools in the toolbox, as well as the discarded packaging of the new valve.

There are some special guests he really looks forward to seeing. If anyone who has ever taken him overnight arrives, he rewards them by jumping up to them, something he never does otherwise. The young woman who bred him, and still owns his Mum, gets special attention, with him squeaking excitedly, as he is so pleased to see his first ‘parent’. If any of the family arrive to stop over, he will always be sure to be ready to rush into the spare room when they get up, making sure that his ‘guests’ are suitably acknowledged; and that they are still there of course.

Once all the guests or visitors have departed, he will occasionally do a short tour of the rooms in the house, just to make certain that everyone has left. I have always been someone who believed that dog owners tend to treat their dogs too much like humans, and I have little truck with the claims that they understand things that are said to them. I have always believed that they take more from the tone of voice, or your expressions, and calculate things based on habit and previous experience.

But as far as understanding what ‘guest’ means, I’ve had to eat my words.

©Beetley Pete 2015

About Pete Johnson (Beetley Pete)

Hi everyone. For those of you who already know me, you will need read no further. For anyone else…

I retired in 2012, then aged 60, and moved from a busy life and work in Central London, to Beetley, in rural Norfolk. I thought I would start this blog to share my thoughts about life in general, and my new life in Norfolk in particular. My wife Julie is still working, so I am at home most of the day, accompanied by my seven year old Shar-Pei dog, Ollie.

My interests include local and global history, politics, and cinema and film. I also enjoy music; Motown, Soul, Jazz, along with many modern singers and styles.

After 22 years as an Emergency Medical Technician in the London Ambulance Service, followed by 11 years working for the Metropolitan Police in Control Rooms, it took some adjustment to being retired, and not working shifts.

Update.

I am updating this info on the 26th of March, 2019. Ollie is now seven years old, and is still a great dog to own. The blog has continued to grow, and I have now posted over 2,330 articles. I currently write a bit about films and cinema, mostly short reviews and suggestions; and I did write a lot of anecdotes about my years in the Ambulance Service. I have written a lot about past travel and holidays, and also about architecture. I post a lot about music and songs, those that have a significance in my life for one reason or another. Fiction has also become a regular feature, especially long serials. The core of the blog remains the same though; my experiences of my new life in Norfolk, walking my dog, and living in a rural setting.

Over the past couple of years, I have been adding a lot of photos, and they are always popular. I have had my blogging ups and downs; attracted some followers, both loyal and fickle, and gained a great deal from the whole process. I have written articles that were published on other blogs and websites, as well as trying my hand at more than 100 fictional stories. I am pleased to report that I have had two of these published in a magazine.

If you are considering starting a blog, I would suggest you give it a try. I really would. It may not change your life; but then again, it just might.

Get in touch with Pete

Blog: https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beetleypete

My thanks to Pete for allowing me to delve into his archives.. I recommend you head over and do some delving of your own…plenty to read.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – My Time Machine by Beetley Pete


Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Another post from Beetley Pete… also know as Pete Johnson who blogs from Norfolk about a number of interesting subjects including life working for the ambulance service and his adventures with the lovely Ollie…this week a post from 2013… but it will take you back a lot further than that!…..

My Time Machine by Beetley Pete

When I was still in primary school, aged about 10, I read the book ‘The Time Machine’, by H.G. Wells. The character in the book, which was actually written in 1895, showing remarkable prescience by Wells of many future ideas and concepts, uses his machine to travel forward in time. I was disappointed by this aspect of the story. I thought that it would be much better to travel back, and to experience things from the past, making history come to life. In my young mind, I imagined all the events that I could return to, and confirm the lurid tales of history. Custer’s Last Stand, The execution of Charles 1st, even the crucifixion of Jesus, were just some of the scenes I placed myself in.

As the years passed, I often played this mental game, and would ask others what they would do, given the chance to use such a time-travelling device. I was normally unsurprised by the results. Most young men wanted to see famous sporting events; The Four Minute Mile, Boxing Championships, or a famous cricket victory, were often cited. Others, more inclined to warlike notions, wanted to be on the beach on D-Day, see the parachute drop at Arnhem, or watch the English archers at Agincourt. As real life became more like science fiction, with space travel common, medical advances never believed possible, and supersonic jets flying the world, the idea of the game grew stale, and was placed on a metaphorical shelf, somewhere at the back of my mind.

Last month, I noticed that the original 1960 film of the book was showing on TV. I never liked the film much. I thought Rod Taylor was a strange choice for the starring role, and the whole production had a stagey, studio feel about it. I had no intention of watching it, but it did serve to rekindle the idea of the old game, removing it from the shelf, and projecting it back to the forefront of my thoughts. I also remembered one of the many ‘rules’ that applied. Only two goes in the machine. Otherwise, you could go anywhere, see anything, and as many times as you liked. Users of ‘my’ time machine could do no harm, and would also come to no harm. They would be able to communicate in the language or dialect of the day, and would not catch, or give, any disease. They could spend 24 hours in the chosen place, or return sooner, if necessary or desirable to do so. They would have something valuable that would serve as acceptable currency, and would dress appropriately to the period, before departure.

I had a long think about this childish game. What if I could do it now? Where would I choose to go, for my two excursions through time? It has taken me a long time to decide. I rejected many times and places as too obvious, and others as too unrewarding, or obscure. I finally settled on both time periods and locations, then decided that I would write this post about the whole idea. Perhaps you will consider it too, and let me know what you would choose to do with your two chances.

My first trip would be to Rome. In 80AD, The Colosseum ( or to give it its real name, The Flavian Amphitheatre) was opened, with inaugural games lasting almost 100 days. This amazing structure has held a lifetime fascination for me. I have been to see it, just once, in 2002, on a trip to Rome for my 50th birthday. It did not let me down. Despite age and decrepitude, the imposing presence of this building left me speechless with admiration. Once inside, it was easy to imagine the crowds, the spectacles, and the sheer scale of the whole thing, against the backdrop of the city at its peak. Of course, I do not condone the pointless slaughter of thousands of animals, and the fights to the death by gladiators, or the barbaric executions of criminals, all of which took place there. But these are the sensibilities of modern man, who shops at a supermarket, enjoys reasonably good health, and is generally sheltered from the struggle of survival. Life in the Roman Empire over 1,900 years ago, was a very different thing to what we understand today.

No other society has ever used this practice of ‘games’ to appease the masses, or to gain favour with the ruling classes. It was uniquely Roman, and was paid for by individuals, not the state. They would spend fortunes to stage these shows, often going into debt for years, or becoming bankrupt, to seek election, to reinforce their place in the hierarchy, or just to celebrate a military victory. Those attending got in for free, and most were given time off from work to attend as well. The games had a religious aspect, and reinforced historical legends, as well as advertising the strength and greatness of Rome, and its Gods, to the known world.

They were an industry, supplying wild beasts from all over the Empire, mercenaries to fight in battles, slaves to provide all the necessary labour, and gladiators to fight for the admiration of the crowd. That crowd was knowledgeable, and partisan. They would follow types of gladiators, some preferring the Retiarius, with his net and trident, symbolising a fisherman. Others would support his sometime adversary, the Murmillo, who would be armed with a heavy sword and shield, his head protected by a large helmet, bearing a fish motif. If the men were not fighting well, the crowd would soon notice, and make their annoyance known. They also loved to see re-enactments of famous battles, or legendary encounters between man and beast, and good shows like this would make the person sponsoring the games very popular.

So, arriving in good time in my machine, I join the crowd heading to the Flavian Amphitheatre. It is hot, dusty, and incredibly smelly. However, once we arrive, and eventually take our seats, strictly allotted by social class and official standing, we are shaded by the huge canvas canopies, moved into place by sailors, and altered as the sun changes direction. There are cooling sprays of water, humidifying the air, and settling the dust of the arena, and they are perfumed with flowers and scents, to sweeten the air inside too. There will be speeches from the dignitary sponsoring the games, as well as a distribution of bread, and cheap wine, to further impress the crowd. Trumpeters announce each event, and musicians play in the intervals. Numerous hawkers move around the tiered rows of seats, selling sweets, cakes, and fresh water, an expensive indulgence. In the corridors surrounding the entrances, all manner of services are on offer, from dentistry to prostitution. Communal toilets are plentiful, and cleaned and serviced by slaves, who will bring you sponges to clean yourself, if need be.

The morning session of the games begins with the stampeding of beasts. Many are simply killed by archers or spear-men from the sides. All the animals are terrified, by the bright light of the sun in the arena, after hours of darkness below, and by the tremendous noise of the roaring crowd. They would never have seen such exotic animals outside of the arena. There were no zoos, no TV documentaries, and few indigenous animals of interest. Now, they could see zebras, buffalo, alligators, large cats, giraffes, and all manner of unusual birds, all together in one place; and all being killed, in a variety of ways. On next, the Bestiarii, specialist animal fighters. These men would take on the animals in single combat, or in larger groups against a lot of animals, and were often unpaid, simply trying to show their bravery. Some unarmed prisoners might also be sent out, with the intention that they would be killed by the animals, as a form of public execution. There would then be a break in the proceedings, allowing some of the audience to rest, others to have lunch, or just socialise with friends in the crowd, and to avoid the hottest part of the day.

When the games resumed later in the afternoon, the main event would attract a full house, which in the Flavian Amphitheatre, could be up to 60,000 spectators. (Though some historians suggest even more, up to 85,000) They all wanted to see the gladiatorial combats. Not only did they have their favourite types, they also supported individuals, well-known men who had survived many contests, becoming celebrities in the process. There would be gambling on the outcome of the matches, fan clubs, swooning females, and chants of support; all still familiar today, at football matches, or pop concerts. The early show would begin with large numbers of lower-ranking gladiators, sometimes as many as 50 pairs fighting at once, moving around the arena, to afford a good view to all, at some stage in the proceedings. After this was over, the dead cleared away, and the sand refreshed, there would be a ‘comic’ interlude. This could involve any number of bizarre scenarios, that would have amused the Romans of the day. They might have a contest between gladiators who wore solid helmets, without any eye openings. These ‘blind’ combatants would lurch around, swinging wildly at their opponents, egged on by a jeering crowd, in their version of ‘look behind you’. Other untrained gladiators would be pushed out onto the sand, poorly armed, and tied together by ropes, often having to be branded with hot irons to make them fight to the death.

The end of this day of games is approaching, and smaller groups of gladiators appear on the sand. The crowd goes wild. These are the stars of the show. Their owners have been paid a small fortune for their appearance, and if they do well today, and survive the fighting, the men will be rewarded with good food, wine, and a willing woman. They may even get the chance to service a lady of quality, and receive gifts, to add to their savings. These men are very different from those who have gone before. Professional, incredibly fit, and brimming with confidence and bravado, they appear fearless, under their flamboyant armour and stylised headgear. Each pair fight for much longer, and with much greater skill than the earlier contestants. If they please the crowd, they might be spared if they lose the fight, though that would be rare. The watchers yell the names of their favourites, even arguing and fighting amongst themselves, when a much-admired man falls. They gasp at skillful moves, and moan when someone receives a serious injury; or rise to a tremendous cheer when a champion is once again victorious.

As the day draws to a close, people begin to leave early, to avoid the rush. The last few fighters complete their matches, men dying unnoticed by the departing throng. There will be many more days of games to come. More slaughter and executions, some larger battles, and other chances to see the celebrities in action. Time for them to get home, avoiding the robbers, pickpockets, and unsavoury characters of the night. Time for me to get back into my machine, and return to the present, having experienced something I have wondered about my whole life.

My second trip in the Time Machine is much more mundane, but no less satisfying. I would go back to Friday 7th June, 2013. In possession of the winning numbers from last night’s unclaimed Euromillions Lottery, I would buy a ticket at my local shop, and wait to claim the 100,000,000 Euros on Saturday morning. That might even be enough to build a real Time Machine.

©Pete Johnson 2013

About Pete Johnson (Beetley Pete)

Hi everyone. For those of you who already know me, you will need read no further. For anyone else…

I retired in 2012, then aged 60, and moved from a busy life and work in Central London, to Beetley, in rural Norfolk. I thought I would start this blog to share my thoughts about life in general, and my new life in Norfolk in particular. My wife Julie is still working, so I am at home most of the day, accompanied by my seven year old Shar-Pei dog, Ollie.

My interests include local and global history, politics, and cinema and film. I also enjoy music; Motown, Soul, Jazz, along with many modern singers and styles.

After 22 years as an Emergency Medical Technician in the London Ambulance Service, followed by 11 years working for the Metropolitan Police in Control Rooms, it took some adjustment to being retired, and not working shifts.

Update.

I am updating this info on the 26th of March, 2019. Ollie is now seven years old, and is still a great dog to own. The blog has continued to grow, and I have now posted over 2,330 articles. I currently write a bit about films and cinema, mostly short reviews and suggestions; and I did write a lot of anecdotes about my years in the Ambulance Service. I have written a lot about past travel and holidays, and also about architecture. I post a lot about music and songs, those that have a significance in my life for one reason or another. Fiction has also become a regular feature, especially long serials. The core of the blog remains the same though; my experiences of my new life in Norfolk, walking my dog, and living in a rural setting.

Over the past couple of years, I have been adding a lot of photos, and they are always popular. I have had my blogging ups and downs; attracted some followers, both loyal and fickle, and gained a great deal from the whole process. I have written articles that were published on other blogs and websites, as well as trying my hand at more than 100 fictional stories. I am pleased to report that I have had two of these published in a magazine.

If you are considering starting a blog, I would suggest you give it a try. I really would. It may not change your life; but then again, it just might.

Get in touch with Pete

Blog: https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beetleypete

My thanks to Pete for allowing me to delve into his archives.. I recommend you head over and do some delving of your own…plenty to read. More posts over the next two Wednesdays

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Nice Christmas? by Pete Johnson


I hope you have had an amazing time over the last few days. Pete Johnson shares a post from his archives from 2015 on his thoughts on the Christmas he had just experienced.

Nice Christmas? by Pete Johnson

As soon as the calendar hits the 27th of December, the above greeting becomes the standard conversational opening gambit, here in the UK. Everyone from your next-door neighbour, to the lady at the checkout, will immediately inquire, “Nice Christmas?”

Answering this seasonal greeting is an art in itself. The last thing that they want to hear is that you had a bad Christmas, or didn’t even bother to celebrate it. They have no interest in the presents you received, or those you bought for others. They don’t care if the turkey was ruined, or you were held up in traffic somewhere. It is just something to say. Over the years, you learn that the accepted response is very simple. You answer something like, “Yes, thanks, it was very busy.” Or, ” I was glad when it was over, but it was nice to see everyone.” Avoid at all costs the leading reply, “Very nice thanks, how about you?” They may not know the rules, and you could be in for a detailed list of events and happenings lasting much longer than you anticipated.

The beetleypete Christmas was busier than usual, as you are asking…

We had a constant run, from Christmas Eve, through to the 28th. Calling in on neighbours, family staying over, and nine for dinner on the 27th. A house full of presents, toys, and guests, including our very lively one-year old grandson. This didn’t leave much time for blogging, so no posts until now, and replies and comments have been few and far between too. There were some successes. A huge inflatable bed, purchased to save people sleeping on sofas, actually behaved itself, and worked. It inflated itself electronically when required, and deflated in the same fashion too. Yesterday, it even packed away into the bag supplied, with no need for fits of temper.

The turkey cooked to perfection, and we managed to serve everyone dinner at the agreed time, with no disasters. Despite purchasing what I was sure would be too much food, we were surprisingly left with very little, and the leftover turkey will make a nice curry tomorrow. My presents were all of a high standard. I was pleased to receive ‘Amy'(2015) on DVD, as well as ‘Wooden Crosses'(1932) on Blu-Ray. I will look forward to watching them, after the end of the festive season. I was also lucky to be given some very nice wines, including some Port, a personal favourite. Arguments and disagreements were minimal, and soon forgotten, and even all the driving and travel arrangements of our guests went without a hitch. If this all sounds too good to be true, you might be asking yourself if there were any downsides. That’s where Ollie comes in.

Ollie might tell you (if he could talk) that having lots of guests might be alright for a while, but then it starts to wear him out. Especially when one of them is at the same height, and follows him around at all times. His normal resting spots are occupied by toys, doors he likes to lie across keep being opened, and his normal routine is completely upside down. On the plus side, he has definitely had more treats, and feasted on turkey scraps too. He has had a few late nights, but his walks have stayed the same, and his mealtimes haven’t been affected. Some of the rooms he likes to investigate have had their doors closed, which he has found disconcerting, and his morning sleeps have just not been possible. But he is still young, and will enjoy the peace, when it returns.

Well, that’s Christmas 2015 done and dusted. A quiet New Year’s Eve is on the agenda, hopefully. As you might guess, I do have one question to ask all of you, and feel free to reply in the comments.

Nice Christmas?

©Pete Johnson 2015

I do hope you will regale and inundate us with your Christmas triumphs and woes in the comments.. thanks to Pete for opening that particular can of worms…..

About Pete Johnson

I retired in 2012, then aged 60, and moved from a busy life and work in Central London, to Beetley, in rural Norfolk. I thought I would start this blog to share my thoughts about life in general, and my new life in Norfolk in particular. My wife Julie is still working in a local bank, so I am at home most of the day, accompanied by my four year old Shar-Pei dog, Ollie.

My interests include local and global history, politics, and cinema and film. I also enjoy music; Motown, Soul, Jazz, along with many modern singers and styles.

After 22 years as an Emergency Medical Technician in the London Ambulance Service, followed by 11 years working for the Metropolitan Police in Control Rooms, it took some adjustment to being retired, and not working shifts.

I am updating this info on the 6th of July, 2017.

Ollie is now five years old, and is still a great dog to own. The blog has continued to grow, and I have now posted over 1330 articles. I currently write a bit about films and cinema, mostly short reviews and suggestions; and I did write a lot of anecdotes about my years in the Ambulance Service. I have written a lot about past travel and holidays, and also about architecture. I also post a lot about music and songs, those that have a significance in my life for one reason or another. The core of the blog remains the same though; my experiences of my new life in Norfolk, walking my dog, and living in a rural setting.

During the past year, I have been adding a lot of photos, and they are always popular.

I have had my blogging ups and downs; attracted some followers, both loyal and fickle, and gained a great deal from the whole process. I have written articles that were published on other blogs and websites, as well as trying my hand at more than 60 fictional stories. I am pleased to report that I have had two of these published in a magazine.

If you are considering starting a blog, I would suggest you give it a try. I really would. It may not change your life; but then again, it just might.

Get in touch with Pete

Blog: https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beetleypete

I am sure you have enjoyed this post as much as I have and I hope you will consider commenting and sharing… and heading over to Pete’s blog where you will find even more of his entertaining posts. thanks Sally

The new series of Posts from Your Archives will be starting in January so keep your eyes open for the introductory post. Thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – William Savage


Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Welcome to the Saturday edition of the book reading at the cafe and my guest today is William Savage who writes murder mysteries set in the Georgian period. Before we dive into the interview and the book reading, let’s take a look at the official biography behind the author.

About William Savage

William started to write fiction as a way of keeping his mind active in retirement. He had always lectured and written extensively on business topics, including three books, many articles and a successful leadership blog which garnered more than 5000 regular followers.

He has no intention of letting his mind stagnate or his creativity wither. This means finding new sources of interest and inspiration.Throughout his life, William has read and enjoyed hundreds of detective stories and mystery novels. One of his other loves is history, especially the local history of the many places where he has lived. It seemed natural to put the two together. Thus began two series of murder mystery books set in Norfolk. Four books have appeared so far and he is currently at work on a fifth.

William’s books are set between 1760 and around 1800. This was a period of turmoil in Britain, with constant wars, the revolutions in America and France and finally the titanic, 22-year struggle with Napoleon.

The Ashmole Foxe series takes place at the start of this time and is located in Norwich. Mr Foxe is a dandy, a bookseller and, unknown to most around him, the mayor’s immediate choice to deal with anything likely to upset the peace or economic security of the city.

The series featuring Dr Adam Bascom, a young gentleman-physician caught up in the beginning of the Napoleonic wars, takes place in a variety of locations nearer to the North Norfolk coast. Adam tries to build a successful medical practice, but his insatiable curiosity and a knack for unravelling intrigue constantly involve him in mysteries large and small.

William has spent a good deal of his life travelling in Britain and overseas. After obtaining his degree at Cambridge, he set out on a business career, during which he lived in most parts of the UK, as well as spending eleven years in the USA. He has been a senior executive, an academic and a consultant to many multinational companies.

Books by William Savage

One of the top reviews for The Fabric of Murder an Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mysteries Book 1

Absolutely loved it!  By Terry Tyler TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Feb. 2016

Having just finished William Savage’s The Code for Killing, I could read nothing else but another book by him, so started this one immediately! I loved it as much, if not more; whereas this author’s other two 18th century Norfolk murder mysteries centre round the earnest young doctor Adam Bascom, this one’s hero is the intriguing, charming man about town, Ashmole Fox, a different kettle of fish entirely.

The story is situated in Norwich, and portrays so well the different layers of society, from the upper echelons populated by Mr Foxe, to the underclasses, and illustrates that nothing changes when it comes to corruption and social pretensions. The mystery itself concerns the city’s textile industry and that of rare books, which I found fascinating, aside from the plot itself, which is intricate and well thought out, with a clever outcome that I hadn’t guessed.

One of the reasons I think this might be my favourite of this author’s books so far (although there is not much between them), is that there is more description and creation of atmosphere; I really got the feeling of 18th century Norwich, from the coffee houses, to the dwellings of the well-to-do. Because it’s a city I know quite well, this was of much interest to me.

The characterisation in this novel is terrific, as always, the dialogue subtle and witty ~ I adored Foxe and his associates. There is one character, an urchin messenger boy called Charlie Dillon, who I felt might benefit from more development in the future – I must agree with Foxe that he shows great promise 🙂

There is only one thing left to say: Mr Savage, hurry up and write me another book!

Read all the reviews and buy the books Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/William-Savage/e/B00RZBGQ0K

Find more reviews and follow William on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/814395.William_Savage

William has chosen an extract from “This Parody of Death” an Ashmole Foxe mystery for his book reading.

Once he was fixed on a topic, George Tate was one of those people who couldn’t bear to leave a single detail out. “The ringing chamber is the lowest room in the tower, Mr Foxe. It’s got a high ceiling to allow the next chamber, the one holding the bells, to be placed just below the tower roof on a level with the slatted windows that let the sound out. The higher up they are, the further the sound spreads. Our bells —”

If he wasn’t interrupted, he’d explain every rope, frame and ladder.

“Who found the man’s body?” Foxe repeated.

Mr Tate looked hurt. “I’m telling you, aren’t I? It was the watchman. He came by the church as it was getting light and noticed the west door was open a little way. That’s the one in the tower that lets you into the place where the stairway —”

Now he was going to describe the church layout. It would be the stonework next and then the stained glass.

“So he went in,” Foxe said.

Another frown. Mr Tate did not like to be hurried. “Aye, he did. Thought some vagabonds might have taken the chance to bed down in the church. Always some hanging about the Market Place. They like to sleep anywhere they can get out of the wind. Some of them build little shelters in corners —”

Heaven help us all! If Foxe didn’t stop him he was going to explain the sleeping habits of Norwich’s tramps and drunkards. It was enough to drive a man insane.

“Were there any?”

“What?”

“Vagabonds in the church?”

“No. Well … there may have been, I suppose, but the watchman never got that far. As soon as he was inside, he saw the door that leads to the stairs up the tower was open. That’s always kept shut and locked. Safety, see? Bells are dangerous things if you play about with them. A few years ago —”

“He went up?”

“Of course he did. Might be someone messing about up there. Took him a while too. He’s an old man and not strong in his wind.”

Most of the city’s watchmen were old. The pay was poor and younger people didn’t want to be wandering the streets at night in all weathers. This particular watchman must be unusually bold. They generally ran away from anything that might be dangerous.

“When he got to the ringing chamber he found Richard Logan lying there in a great pool of blood. Blood everywhere. It’ll take hours to clean it up.”

“What did the watchman do next?”

“Went back down the stairs a good deal quicker than he came up. Then ran out into the street, shaking his clapper and yelling ‘Murder! Murder!’ at the top of his lungs. That fetched a good crowd even that early.”

“And then?” It was infuriating. You either got everything, or had to drag things out of him. When he was describing things of no importance, Mr Tate rattled on and on. Once he got to what mattered, he kept stopping and staring at Foxe as if he had no idea what to say next.

“All the commotion brought one of the constables. He took charge. Sent someone to tell the magistrate what had happened. Then he had the good sense to send for me as well.”

©WilliamSavage

Now it is time to put William in the hot seat for his interview.

Welcome William and can you tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

I write historical mysteries. Historical ones because history fascinates me and sets me free from the technological and procedural biases of whodunit books set in modern times. Mysteries because they demand intellect, intuition, curiosity, reason and attention from writer and reader. What more can you ask of a book?

What adventures have you had publishing your work?

I wouldn’t claim any adventures, but I have found the path surprising. I began to write fiction very late in life (aged 69) and decided to take a Creative Writing course, which I hated! Everything was so regimented and simplistic. I almost gave up, then decided to go my own way entirely. After all, I wasn’t intending to make a career of it. I avoided the whole traditional path, self-published my first book and was convinced no one would ever read it. In the subsequent two-and-a-half years, I have published a total of six books and found more people like them than I could ever have believed possible.

Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger.

The blog arose from the research needed for my fiction. I couldn’t bear to waste all the discoveries that wouldn’t fit into the stories. Rather than make the mistake of trying to cram more in somewhere, I found my ‘spare’ research a different outlet. I blog about 18th century England — and especially Norfolk — since that’s when and where my books are set. Readers seem to like the added authenticity that comes from researching far beyond what the books themselves demand. Here is the link to William’s recent post on Dealing with Habitual Offenders in Georgian England. https://penandpension.com/2017/06/14/dealing-with-habitual-offenders-in-georgian-times/

Your books are set between 1760 and 1800 – what appealed to you about that early to mid Georgian era?

It was so exciting. A period of massive change and development, much like today. Our modern world was being born in a maelstrom of war, constant scientific discoveries, burgeoning trade and the beginnings of the British Empire. America and France had their revolutions and we fought them both. Despite the enormous cost of these wars, we still became the richest nation in the Western world at that time. Even our landscape was changed for ever. Think of all the Georgian houses in our cities; the vast houses of the gentry and their estates landscaped by Capability Brown and Repton; and even the revolutions in agriculture and industry that let us feed and employ a population greater than ever before.

How much time did you have to spend researching for the character of Dr. Adam Bascom and the medical practices of the day?

Quite a lot, though even now I am wary of getting into too much detail in medical matters. It’s too easy to get things wrong! Fortunately, the medicine of the period from around 1770 to 1800 or so was fairly primitive compared even to Victorian times. I’ve made Dr Bascom something of a progressive amongst physicians, but the techniques available to him would still have been extremely limited. By giving him a friend who is an apothecary, Peter Lassimer, I’ve been able to include a few more techniques, including the primary drugs of the day like laudanum. Fortunately, determining the cause of death in a murder at the time wasn’t much better than taking a close look and using your common sense.

You have travelled extensively and finally settled in Norfolk. What are the key attractions for living in East Anglia?

Where I live, the landscape is rural, the small towns delightful and the sea not very far away. Norfolk must be one of the most historically rich counties in England. That’s not to denigrate anywhere else. It’s a simple fact. I believe that more finds are reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Norfolk than in most of the rest of the country combined. It has more surviving mediaeval rood screens that all the rest of Europe put together.

Norwich has the greatest density of remaining mediaeval churches. The county’s full of Georgian buildings and grand mansions like Holkham Hall and Houghton. It may be barely 100 miles from London, but it’s another world. Not a flat one, either. That’s the fens, which lie mostly in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. I live on top of a hill — albeit not a very tall one — so when the rising sea levels reach Cambridge, we’ll be safe on our new island.

My thanks to William for sharing his book extract and his writing with us and you can connect to him at these sites.

Author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/William-Savage/e/B00RZBGQ0K
Website: https://penandpension.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009908836774
Twitter: https://twitter.com/penandpension