Monday, 29 July 2019

Storm Area 51

Because my second Kestrel novel is called Alien Secrets, I set up a Google Alert for the title to capture any mentions. The last week or so it has been alerting me to the viral spread of Storm Area 51.
Area 51 (Image Getty)
Area 51 is a secret US base in Nevada used for weapons research and testing, but widely believed to contain aliens and their weapons and craft that have been captured since the 1950s. Well, not so secret now, but heavily guarded and access restricted. The military claim that several UFO sightings in the area were test flights of spy planes under development.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Chalke Valley History Festival

Well, it's been over 5 weeks since my last post, as my recovery from the fall was complicated by bursitis in my hip, but my husband and I have just had a week's holiday and feel much better for it. I've got a lot to catch up on, but I'm getting back to work.

We've been to the Chalke Valley History Festival near Salisbury, and what a fabulous time we've had at this festival I didn't even know existed until a couple of months ago! This was the ninth year of the festival and there's nothing else like it, certainly in the UK. Huge marquees, lots of quality speakers, bookshop, good range of food stalls, History Tellers, living history and lots more. In addition the volunteers and staff were so friendly and helpful. It made a big difference.

We nearly cancelled the holiday after my fall and the ensuing complications, but I was able to use a mobility scooter free for the first three days. I'm so glad we were able to go, not just because of the quality of the event but because we both so needed a break. The only drawback was that although we stayed only 12 miles away, it was through narrow country lanes with few road signs, and the local council closed the roads in the evening for roadworks, making the journey back twice as far.

In spite of that we had a great time. There wasn't anything about my Medieval period this week, but we did have Anglo Saxons and the Black Death, which come before and afterwards. Both very interesting talks. Did you know the Black Death came into England via Weymouth, and once you showed symptoms you were dead in three days? As much as 70% of the population died and it ended serfdom, because the only way land owners could get the work done was to pay.

I recommend anyone who can get there next year should go. Entry is free Monday to Friday, you only pay for the talks if you want them. There is an entrance fee at the weekend but if you pay for a talk, you get in free. We're definitely going next year.

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