Sunday, 29 March 2020

Chester Castle and Auckland Castle


Here are two items of news I picked up in recent weeks:

Chester Castle’s Agricola tower has been undergoing restoration and, when this crisis allows the tourists out again, you will be able to go right to the top of the tower and enjoy the fabulous view. In the mean time, here is a short article with a video of the view.

Archaeologists in Durham County, northern England have discovered the remains of a monumental medieval chapel destroyed during the English Civil War. It was feared Bishop Bek’s 14th century chapel would never be located, but archaeologists discovered the religious site was hidden on the grounds of Auckland Castle all along.


Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Research: The Second Great Walking


Seven months ago I wrote about the First Great Walking in 2095, caused by climate change. As I make my way through A Brief History of the Future I come to the Second Great Walking, in 2243. 

If you read my previous post, I wondered if it might come sooner than expected. So too with this date. Here is the prediction:
By the 2240s planetary warming had made some hot and dry parts of the Earth impossible to live in. After formerly vegetated parts underwent desertification people began leaving in 2243. In reality the Second Great Walking was more about fresh water than it was about heat... a billion people were on the move. 

Because of population decline there was actually competition to adopt these refugees. This meant that unlike the First Walking this crisis was solved amicably without disputes or wars between migrants and adoptees.
Interesting that the first was caused by too much water and the second by lack of it. Also the comment about population decline. At the moment the population is still increasing (despite the Corona virus). Experts say it will plateau but Charles Joynson says it will decline, to the point where the migrants are welcomed.

Food for thought.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz



Saturday, 29 February 2020

Dolbadarn Castle and the artist William Turner


An interesting article appeared today on the North Wales News site about Dolbadarn Castle in North Wales. You can read it in full here I have written a lot about castles, particularly in south Wales and Gower, but this castle was the first Welsh castle to be built in stone, guarding the Llanberis Pass.
Dolbadarn Castle and Lynn Padarn (North Wales Live)

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Research: Living Longer


A Brief History of the Future  makes the following speculation:
In 2224 the continued research into animal symbionts discovered a bat hosted species which doubled the life span of the bats. Initial scepticism was overcome when the symbiont was tested and proven to have the effect in short-living species such as mice and rats.
My research into this led to increasingly complex scientific papers, which were not very useful to me, but it showed that symbiosis is critical thing for some animals, plants and bacteria today.
A section of a root nodule cell showing symbiosomes enclosing bacteroids

Monday, 27 January 2020

History Question


My last history blog post brought to an end my series on Building a Castle and the question is, what next? I don't want to scrabble around each week looking for any old thing to fill the space. I'm very concerned that if I'm bored writing, you're going to be bored reading it.
Here's a list of what I've done previously, and a link to the first post of each series:
My history books are about medieval Gower and I don't want to go outside the medieval period. It would mean researching a new period from scratch, which I don't have time for right now.

So, over to you!

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz




Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Research: Advanced Technology for All


Parts of the world today have a generally high standard of living while others are very poor. We categorise countries as developed or developing, but it's not straightforward. Some countries have advanced enough technology to have a space programme while huge numbers of the population endure subsistence living. Will it ever even out? Will all the world ever be classed as developed?


Sunday, 12 January 2020

Building a Castle: Meals


We looked previously at the food supply and the kitchen, so we finish this long series by looking at meals. There is a chapter on meals in my free book Life in a Medieval Castle which you get for joining my mailing list. 

The main meal of the day was dinner, served about 11am. People may grab some bread and some ale before they started work at sunrise, but they then all came together for dinner. The Lord and his guests would have chairs at a table on a dais, but everyone else sat on benches at trestle tables which could be easily moved out of the way to free up the space in the hall. The word banquet comes from the French for little bench, banquette.