Looking forward to a Saturday evening chat with fellow "Roman" author Ben Kane on 23 January! We'll be safely Zooming from our own homes and I've been assured that despite the title, weapons won't be necessary. So instead of sharpening my nonexistent sword I've bought a new webcam, and it's worked! I no longer look … Continue reading Blades and Banter – in conversation with Ben Kane
Home from another fantastic Roman Festival in York, and huge thanks to everyone who made it possible - organisers, re-enactors, performers, fellow-scribes and of course to the many visitors, without whom we'd all have been very lonely. In previous years I've put up plenty of photos of men on the march, and they do look … Continue reading Eboracum 2019
It’s hard to believe that we used to expect to capture a whole holiday with one roll of film that might hold 36 shots. I've had several trips away this summer and now even my computer is groaning at the prospect of downloading all the photos. (Who knew there were SO MANY Greek statues?) So … Continue reading Back in the Trenches Again
Nobody could accuse us of being stuck in the past here at Downie Towers. Well... not in the very distant past, anyway. Today we're venturing into the daringly modern times of the eighteenth century, where events turn out to have some even more up-to-date parallels. I'm delighted to welcome Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, authors … Continue reading My Dear Hamilton
The season of partying has begun! Io Saturnalia! ...although to be honest I’ve never been terribly confident about social occasions. Nothing illustrates my lack of prowess so well as the time I turned up to a party to find the hostess still in her dressing-gown with a towel around her hair. And that was in … Continue reading Coping with the party season, Roman-style
Just back from travelling in the Scottish borders to find that Jean, Sam and Alice have kindly sent me a link to this story of Roman silver being discovered in Scotland. It's interesting that the experts think the silver is a bribe rather than a stash of plunder. The historian Cassius Dio tells us that … Continue reading Of Scotland and the price of peace
Right. Line up, you lot. And get that hair cut! Half of you look like a bunch of girls!
A visit to the island of Alderney has been on my bucket list ever since we saw our friends' holiday photos, so there was dancing and singing here at Downie Towers when an invitation to the Alderney Literary Festival arrived. Below are a few photos of my own, along with some random thoughts about the … Continue reading Small Island
I've been musing on Parkinson's Law. Not the famous one ("work expands to fill the time available") but another from the same book: Parkinson's Law of Triviality. "The time spent on any item on the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved." (If you're wondering what this has to do with high … Continue reading Of high heels and trivia
The new novel from seven talented members of the H-team is published today - and as ever, they've been weaving old stories together in new ways. I wasn't involved this time (deadlines!) and I can't wait to find out what the team have done with the story we all 'think' we know. Meanwhile, they've been … Continue reading The Trojans are back!