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

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.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Research: Solar Panels in Space

Solar power is already widely used, from individuals with panels on their roof to great solar farms covering acres of land. But the major drawback is the atmosphere, which filters the sunlight, and the weather. Solar power only works when the sun is shining, or when the cloud cover is thin. If the panels could be placed outside the atmosphere those problems would be avoided.

However, solar panels in space have other problems, the first of which is getting them into space in the first place. Current rockets are expensive and the cost of getting large panels into space outweighs the benefits. Most satellites have solar panels for power once they are deployed, but the cost of getting them into space is offset by the benefits of the satellite's function.