Tomorrow the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, England recognises “Plague Sunday”.
The day remembers the decision of the village’s reverend and his wife – in 1665 – to convince the plague-stricken residents to barricade themselves in so that the disease wouldn’t spread to other villages in the area.
Hundreds of people died, but other communities survived.
Below is a picture from last year, when we visited the old well on a hilltop outside the village, which is where others would come to leave the people of Eyam food.
Italian anarchist Gennaro Rubino tried – and failed to assassinate Belgian King Leopold II in Brussels on the 15th of November, 1902.
The would-be assassin in 1894.
The King, who was returning from a service to honour his wife Marie Henriette, who had died two months earlier, was not hit by any of the three bullets Rubino fired. However, Grand Marshall, Count Charles John d’Oultremont was nearly killed.
Rubino, who had fled Italy to avoid a lengthy prison sentence there, died in prison in 1918. Prior to the failed assassination, he had been working in Britain as a spy on Italian anarchists – a position he lost when it was discovered he sympathised with them.
At the time of the attempt on his life, the King – in his late sixties – had been estranged from his wife for some time, and had taken a teenage girl as his mistress. He died in December, 1909.
After a few years and several thousand followers, I’ve decided to close my Tumblr blog and open a new, more book-focused one. It will still be heavy on the history (and pretty images!), but my other account was being hijacked by pro-Russian trolls, and after six years of it that’s something this Ukrainian doesn’t have the patience (or stamina) to deal with anymore – especially if it’s going to have an effect on my writing career.
It’s killing me to lose all those followers – all that publicity for my books! – but I have to do it for my own peace of mind.
The Coronation of Edward VII took place in London on Saturday the 9th of August, 1902, more than a year and a half after the death of the King’s mother and predecessor, Queen Victoria. The event had been postponed due to the King’s ill health.
I’m sure everyone has seen the footage of Notre Dame in Paris on fire.
I have spent a lot of time in Paris – much of that time on my own. I used to walk to Notre Dame on many days, and simply sit in the cathedral for a while, occasionally attending a service, even though I’m not religious.
I thought it was terrible when far-right “activists” would go in there and shoot themselves at the altar to protest abortion or whatever. I thought that was as bad as it would get.
There was scaffolding on the part of the building that caught fire. Restoration work is so, so dangerous for historic buildings. Something very similar happened in Belfast when I was there last year.
This is what has been happening in my personal life over the past few months. It turns out there are a few people in the world who think my writing isn’t awful – in the space of a few days I received two offers from two publishers to write historical romance, but only a crazy person turns down Harlequin!
It was really stupid to wait so long before submitting anything. I finally got around to it at the end of last year, and by the end of February/beginning of March it was all happening, and now contracts have been signed, cover design information has been submitted etc. I know how lucky I am that it happened so fast.
This is why I am many, many, MANY months behind with my book reviews. I’ve been trying to get my own books written behind the scenes! I’ve hardly had any time to read.