• Stuffed birds

    Someone has just sent me news about the medieval taste of the supermarkets.  Apparently they now have ballotine on their shelves.  That’s duck inside a chicken inside a turkey,  much as Richard II’s master cook would offer blackbird inside a snipe inside a duck inside a etc. etc. inside a swan.  Nothing changes.

  • Gladstone’s Library

    Four times prime minister Gladstone donated 30,000 books to the nation housed in the early years in a tin tabernacle and now in a beautiful Edwardian purpose-built library near Chester.  Once called St Deiniol’s after the Welsh saint it has been renamed Gladstone’s library now the accommodation has been updated. I’ve just spent a blissful few days there researching my next novel.   It was heaven on earth.  I recommend it to anybody who wants peace and quiet in which to write.  As well as a comprehensive collection of books ranging from illuminated manuscripts to the latest novels there is also good food, good company and wonderful countryside.  Check it out for your new year’s gift to yourself. You won’t be disappointed.