Summer is holding onto her colours as Autumn encroaches….

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There’s no denying it….Summer has slipped by all too fast.

The mornings are darker, the evenings are darker, the sun isn’t quite as hot as it was a couple of weeks ago…there’s an Autumnal feel to the world.

However, my patio garden isn’t letting go of Summer without a fight- a colour fight!

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Even, Sioux,  is still holding onto his Summer “brown rather than black” look.

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Till next year, Lady Summer.

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Today is not for lengthy blogs….

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Today is National Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s not a day for wordy blogs.

It’s a day to pause, check up on those friends you’ve not reached out to in a while.

If there’s a change in a friend’s behaviour or mood, check they’re ok.

Go for a walk with them.

Go for a coffee with them.

Be there for them.

 

Who cares if one more light goes out?…. I do

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm8LGxTLtQk

 

 

Credits to the owner of the image

Credits to the owner of the video- shared via You Tube

Deadline looming……..

typing

Furiously typing…… normal blog service will resume next week.

 

 

Shattered Hearts….. revealed

Well, folks, here it is…..

 

SH 6x9 front cover .jpg

 

Isn’t it pretty?

 

Shattered Hearts will be published via KDP on 6th December 2019. Save the date!

 

 

Pre-order details will be announced soon…promise!

 

For those of you who are more than a little impatient to get a look inside Shattered Hearts, here’s a short extract to keep you going til December.

 

As the sky lit up before him, Jake reflected on the last few months. When he’d left Rehoboth in January, the beach had been covered in eight inches of snow. Now, in the third week in June, it looked as though it was going to be a beautiful summer’s day. This was the longest period of time that he’d spent away from home and, for the past ten weeks of the tour, his heart had been yearning for the sights and sounds of the ocean and the beach house.

Life over the past five years had become more and more demanding as Silver Lake had gone from strength to strength and Weigh Station had enjoyed a successful revival. Juggling musical commitments, recording sessions and tours for two of the planet’s biggest bands had been a logistical nightmare. He’d long since lost count of the number of shows he’d played, finding it harder and harder to remember where he was and who he was with. If it wasn’t for the journal he kept, Jake would have lost track of time and place entirely.

On the flight home, he’d been sitting between Grey and Jethro, having lost the coin toss to see who would take the middle seat. As Grey had slept soundly at the window, Jake had confided in the band’s manager that he didn’t want to even think about music until at least the fall. Understanding completely, the older man had nodded his silent agreement, noting how raw and hoarse Silver Lake’s vocalist’s voice was sounding.

Now, as he sat watching the sun rise, Jake was wondering if he would be able to sing again by fall even if he wanted to. Ghosts of a past duet with Tori from Molton were tormenting him. The last three shows had really put a strain on him and, by the end of Flyin’ High in Los Angeles, his voice was gone. A sign to take a much-needed rest perhaps he thought.

Lost in his thoughts, he sat enjoying the view and the tranquillity of the beach.

 The familiar screech of the patio door to the sun room opening startled him back to the present. He listened closely wondering who was about to approach him.

“Daddy!”

Before he could turn round, he felt sand spray over him as Melody threw her arms around his neck. As he hugged her close, she smothered his face with kisses.

“I’ve missed you, Daddy,” she said as he pulled her into his lap.

“Bet I’ve missed you more, Miss M.”

“You sound funny,” commented the little girl screwing her face into a frown.

“Too many shows. Too many songs,” said Jake quietly.

“You need the icky medicine Mommy gave me when I had strep.”

“Maybe. I think I’ll start with some warm water and honey first though,” he replied. “Now, are you going to make me breakfast?”

Giggling, Melody shook her tousled blonde head.

“Is your Mommy awake?”

Again, Melody shook her head. “She was drawing last night.”

“And I’ll bet she was drawing most of the night,” added Jake, knowing all too well how easily Lori lost track of time when she was working.

 

If you want to know more, you’ll need to be patient until 6th December 😉

 

If you’ve missed the first three books in the series, there is plenty of time to catch up. They are available worldwide via Amazon. Here’s the links:

 

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

 

You can also keep track of all Book Baby related news on my Author Facebook page :

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

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What Happens Next Monday?…….

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I’ll start this week’s blog with an apology….. technically there isn’t one. A blog that is.

My creative focus has been on finishing the first draft of Book Baby 5 and I’m almost but not quite there. Another three or four productive hours should finally see it complete- albeit a few weeks later than  originally planned.

Unusual for this stage in my creative process, it’s more or less all typed as well as written and it’s not naked!  Well, it has a bare bum as I’ve not finished the back cover for the paperback edition but it has a front cover.  🙂

I already revealed it’s title a while back – Shattered Hearts – so what is there left to reveal?

The cover and the release date……..

Watch this space and my author page next week…… all will be revealed.  😉

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

 

Shattered Hearts

 

 

 

What Local History Are You Missing Out On?……… A Medieval Castle Perhaps?

How often do you drive or walk past the history on your own doorstep without so much as a second glance?

I’ll confess …. maybe not quite daily but it’s a regular occurrence and it transpires I’m not the only one in the house who does so.

Less than 10 miles from our house there’s a 15th Century castle. A national tourist attraction. Do you know how many times I’ve visited it? Until today, once! (Hangs her head in shame.)

So, on a dreich Sunday afternoon, Girl Child, the Big Green Gummi Bear and I decided the time had come to visit the castle. (About 15 years ago I had taken both Boy Child and Girl Child there but neither of them remembers it!)

Newark Castle sits on the banks of the River Clyde near Port Glasgow.

It was built circa 1480 by George Maxwell and is one of the finest late-medieval buildings in Scotland. Both the Gatehouse and Towerhouse date back to that era as does the Doocot in the grounds. The rest of the castle was remodelled in 1590 by Patrick Maxwell, transforming the cramped medieval castle into an elegant Renaissance mansion. Both the north wing and east wing were remodelled and the grounds transformed.

Today, the castle stands pretty much as it did back then.

Newark Castle

 

Newark Castle is a veritable labyrinth spread over three levels. It also boasts one of only three surviving anti-clockwise staircases to be found in Scotland’s castles.   You enter via the 15th century Gatehouse which leads through to the cellars, kitchen, bakehouse and the Towerhouse cellar. There are numerous staircases giving access to the upper floors. From the Towerhouse cellar you can climb up to the roof lookout point. It’s quite a twisty climb! From the wine cellar, there is a staircase leading straight up to the great hall. A further staircase leads from the kitchen to the great hall.

The upper level has a long gallery running the length of the north wing and this is where the laird’s private chambers and, including the rooms in the east wing, the family bed chambers and guest rooms would have been. One bedroom features original wood panelling and a rare example of a wall bed.

The windows in the east wing afford a view over the grounds and the Doocot (dovecot) whish has survived from the 1480’s. Doocots were popular in the 15th century as the pigeons (doos/doves) provided a source of fresh meat during the long winter months.

Newark Castle floor plan

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The building is well worth a visit.

Equally intriguing is the history of the owners through the ages.

The land that the castle stands  on belonged originally to the Denniston family but became part of the Maxwell estate in 1402 when Elizabeth Denniston married Sir Robert Maxwell of Calderwood.

At that time, Newark was part of the barony of Finlaystone, an estate some five miles to the east. ( http://www.finlaystone.co.uk/ ) If the Denniston family had a castle it is highly likely that it formed part of the Finlaystone estate.

In 1478 George Maxwell inherited the barony of Finlaystone and within a few years was being styled as “George Maxwell of Newark and Finlaystone”. This all ties in nicely with the construction dates for the original castle buildings. It is also documented that in 1495 James IV visited Newark Castle whilst on a mission to quash disturbances in the Western Isles. (It’s likely that the laird would have had to surrender his sumptuous bed chamber in the Towerhouse to the king during his stay.)

Over time the Maxwell family became a powerful and influential family in the area. Historically, the most notable member of the family was Sir Patrick Maxwell, who was the laird of Newark Castle circa 1580. Initially, he was held up as a pillar of society, well-educated and a justice of the peace as well as being the architect behind the extensive remodelling of Newark Castle in 1590. He enjoyed the patronage of James VI. However, there were two sides to Sir Patrick. He was a wife beater, a child abuser and a murderer. He reportedly murdered two members of the Montgomerie family from Skelmorlie some twelve miles to the west of the castle. Sir Patrick also quarrelled with his son, Patrick, and was implicated in his untimely death. Undoubtedly his wife, Lady Margaret Crawford, suffered worst at his hand. She was married to him for 44 years and bore him 16 children! After years of abuse and ill-treatment she finally escaped from his clutches in 1632 and fled across the River Clyde to Dumbarton. Sir Patrick never answered to the charges raised against him as by that time he was too ill to travel to Edinburgh to face trial and it’s assumed he died shortly thereafter.

New-port Glasgow (modern day Port Glasgow) became a bustling trading post during the 1600’s. The castle’s laird, George Maxwell soon became involved in this merchant trade.

When the last Maxwell laird died in 1694, Newark Castle and its grounds were sold to another influential businessman, William Cochrane of Kilmarnock.

The 1700’s saw trade in the area continue to flourish but sadly the castle began to decline and it changed hands several times. The Cochrane’s sold it to the Hamilton family who in turn sold it in the 1820’s to a London banker, Robert Farquar. In 1825, Robert Farquar’s daughter married Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart, another well known local family from Ardgowan estate in Inverkip some eight miles west ( http://www.ardgowan.co.uk/ ) Newark Castle remained under the care of the Shaw-Stewart family until 1909 when it was entrusted to the State. Today it is curated by Historic Scotland.

During the 18th and 19th centuries the castle was leased to various tenants. The grounds too were leased out to local market gardeners. One tenant was John Orr, a ropemaker with a rather unusual side-line business. He traded in wild animals (panthers, leopards, bears etc) purchased from passing ships that arrived into the port. It is presumed that until he found a buyer for the creatures that they were kept in the castle’s cellars, giving rise to rumours that the castle was haunted as the locals reported strange howling during the night.

Newark Castle is a historical gem that in more recent times has been hidden, literally, by the Clyde’s shipbuilding industry. For much of the 20th Century it was surrounded to the west, east and south by Ferguson’s and Lamont’s Shipbuilders. As the shipbuilding industry fell into decline in the 1980’s Lamont’s closed its doors and was subsequently demolished, revealing the castle’s southern and eastern exposures to the world once more.

Today, but for how much longer, Ferguson’s still remains to the west of Newark Castle, a modern-day industrial neighbour to this discrete medieval gem.

castle and yard

 

 

If you want to discover more about Newark Castle check out the site below:

https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/newark-castle/

(some images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

 

 

What to do with An Evening Hour?

I was sitting out in the sun the other day on the bench in the garden looking round. I’d been contemplating this week’s blog topic and already decided on a photo blog inspired by the flowers around me.

I began to think about what words should accompany the photos I had taken. As is my want, I turned to Google and searched “summer poem garden bees butterfly” .

Google came up trumps .

 

An Evening Hour

© Pearlyn

Published: April 2011

It was a sunny bright evening, an evening so calm,
The kind of evening that was inviting me with an outstretched arm.
So I decided to spend an hour doing almost nothing,
Sitting and enjoying the best of what nature could bring.
Getting up from my chair, I thought I’d take a stride
Then there was a bumble bee that suddenly came by my side.
There was a kind of music as the bee flapped its wing,
Music so perfect that no one could ever sing.
Walking little further, I spotted a butterfly
Which was hovering over the flowers and then soaring high
And I came to the conclusion as I was on my knees,
Not the richest of queens was dressed like one of these.
My evening hour in the garden was very well spent
And now I know what beauty and music really meant!!

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/beauty-of-nature-poems

 

Many An Evening Hour has been spent appreciating the world around me.

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