Memories, Music and Medieval Medicine

It’s been a good fortnight for writing and family contacts. Have visited my daughter in Madrid and spent countless hours playing with my new grandaughter. Songs and rhymes that I haven’t thought about for years flew into my consciousness – and memories of my mother always singing when she did the ironing. Songs that she probably heard from my grandmother. Luckily, nowadays we can look up the lyrics on the internet. Paul Robeson’s Ma Curly-Headed Baby had a soporific effect on Alba, even when sung by me, though she appeared transfixed by the original soundtrack on You Tube.

Image of The Whirlstone

I’ve been redrafting The Whirlstone and have extended the prologue of the book, making it into the first part of the story, written from three different characters points of view. I will have to amend the extract on the pages of this blog once I’ve finished editing.

Rochester, Kent, where I live has a literary festival this weekend. Unfortunately, it has no funding so publicity is through social media and word of mouth. Toni Mount was promoting her new book Dragon’s Blood and Willow Bark: The Mysteries of Medieval Medicine. A fascinating and informative talk – it’s a shame it wasn’t more widely publicized – and of great interest to me as the mysterious Willow Groves feature so strongly in my fantasy novel The Whirlstone, which has Healers using remedies and tinctures.

Specifically this week I have been researching traditional methods of making charcoal as this is the occupation of the Treeherders.  Film 32693 from the Huntley Film Archives is from the 1930’s. A hazardous job, dangerous to health.

Watch the You Tube upload from the Dean Heritage Centre, Soudley. The explanation of how to make charcoal is excellent, but even better is the demonstration of the one legged stool. Watch to the end – I think my Treeherders are going to have one legged stools.



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