I’m pleased to announced that I have signed a contract with history publishers Amberley Publishing for a book about Warwickshire to be published in June 2020. This will be a highly illustrated book full of stories arranged under themes from Shakespeare’s ghosts and spirits.
The book will explore some of the supernatural and spiritual stories in the region. It describes a number of Warwickshire’s most iconic locations which I believe have spiritual resonance and which I’ve visited many times.
I’m weaving into this insights from Shakespeare’s ghosts and spirits. And I’ve also been out and about interviewing and listening to people closely associated with the properties who have rich and fascinating stories to tell.
More news on this to follow!
psychological, paranormal, mystery fiction
Author of Mystical Circles, A Passionate Spirit & Perilous Path
A great garden is an image of paradise, in more than one religious outlook. Perhaps this is because within such a garden, all the very best of the natural world is taken by human ingenuity, and then gifted and skilled gardeners weave their own design and creativity into it. Our dreams become realised through a beautiful garden.
I remember once taking a tour with the Head Gardener here and he pointed out that the garden is defined by borders and obeys a structure closer to the house, and yet the further you wander from the house, the more you feel the garden becoming fluid and serpentine in its design, less structured, as if it is flowing into the land beyond.
And I remember him saying that they have protection rights over the view here, for the vistas are some of the garden’s most prized elements.
When I visited a few days ago (February 2019) the garden was of course still at the end of winter, beginning to move towards the opening-up time of spring.
Even so, its beauty is still apparent.
Enjoy the photos here and reflect upon how much we owe to those visionaries and dreamers who are able to bring what they imagine into reality, for the enrichment of the spirits of others.
psychological, paranormal, mystery fiction and inspirational non-fiction
Author of Mystical Circles, A Passionate Spirit, Perilous Path
What do you do in a heatwave? We headed for the Cotwolds and one of our favourite places, Broadway Tower.
The last time I was there a cold gusty wind and a heavy damp mist greeted us.
But on this visit, the sun blazed out of an azure sky,
and it was an ideal day to climb the Tower and view the 16 counties from the top.
I’ve written about Broadway Tower before on this blog as it’s a place of inspiration, not least because of its association with the preRaphaelites and in particular William Morris, whose philosophy I admire and whose designs I love.
As I wrote in my previous post about Broadway Tower, among all things most romantic to me is a high place.
I go to high places for calmness and peace, and also to reconnect with that sense of perspective we all need so dearly in the world today.
There are a number of high places I love to visit, from where I live in Warwickshire. the nearest are the Burton Dasset Hills; Broadway Tower is about half an hour away; and the Malverns a little further. But all are sources of inspiration.
What are your favourite places to visit, for inspiration and upliftment of spirits? I’d love to hear about them, wherever you live… unless of course they are secret locations that you don’t want to be swamped by visitors! Do share in the comments below.
Highgrove Garden made me think of the plot of a children’s book, quirky, fun, playful. At every turn there is a new surprise, like something dreamed up by Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. It was an odyssey through a quirky and unpredictable environment.
Vistas and views and angles, abundant ferns and eccentric topiary, temples, thatched tree house and giant slate pots abounded.
The downpour intensified as we went round, yet everyone was so entranced by the garden, it remained a minor issue – even when we waded through deep puddles on the unmade paths.
Moving through the garden is like progressing from one chapter to another in a beguiling story. If fairies inhabited this garden they would be the wild, anarchic spirits Shakespeare portrays in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I particularly loved the juxtaposition of wilderness and artistry. HRH The Prince of Wales has invited artists and sculptors to run wild with their imagination; everywhere you may see the evidence of free expression and creativity.
In summary, this is a unique and profoundly inspiring garden.
So says the heartwarming 1997 Christmas video “Annabelle’s Wish” (which I watched again with my 2 teenagers yesterday).
But the Christmas programming this year on BBC and ITV seemed to be all about dashing dreams.
King Arthur died; Maria was unmasked; the creator of The Snowman was revealed to be an old curmudgeon; and tragedy hit Downton Abbey again.
First of all, we learned that the real Maria Von Trapp seems to have carried off one of the most successful pieces of spin of the twentieth century.
The lovely Maria who danced and sang in the mountains, and transformed the lives of the Von Trapp children, turns out to be based upon a real Maria who was, it seems, a rather nasty piece of work – according to the investigation by Sue Perkins of the real story behind The Sound of Music. The testimony of Maria’s daughter Rosemarie was quite chilling. In fact the truth appears to be exactly the opposite to its portrayal in the Rodgers & Hammerstein film.
Then there was the end to the much-loved Merlin series.
We had tears on Christmas Day when we caught up with “Merlin” and watched the heartrending scene at the death of Arthur – and then saw a contemporary Emrys making his lonely way along the road, a wandering traveller many centuries later.
But, of course, as regards Arthur’s destiny, we know from Tennyson’s “Morte d’Arthur”, it had to be.
Excalibur had to be returned to the lake so that there might arise a hand, clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, to receive the wonderful sword.
And then of there was a scene of cruel irony at the end of Downton Abbey – an irony perhaps many of us can relate to.
And finally, we were reminded that the creator of the gentle, poignant and enchanting film The Snowman, Raymond Briggs, was more like Fungus the Bogeyman.
There seemed an unusually high dose of sadness and grief and irony on TV this Christmas.
So where is the positive, hopeful light in this? For that, let us return to Charles Dickens.
His Christmas Carol encompasses all the sadness, cruelty and injustice of life, together with the mistakes we make, and an uplifting message of transformation at the end.
Ultimately, Scrooge “did all that he promised and much more.”
Thank God for that, and for the hope we can draw from the choice one man made after being visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve.