On this day…

eyam_church_derbyshire_1890 england victorian britain

The church in Eyam, circa 1890.

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.

cof

The Week: 12th – 18th August

End of Winter Flowers Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 13th August 2019

First signs of spring (however, there’s one last blast of winter on its way over the coming few days!)

I am VERY busy at the moment. VERY. That is all I have to say this week! (Except that if you’re having a bad week, maybe watch this Belarusian man driving his horse-drawn car!)

thumbnail_landownerssecret

It is now less than one month until my book comes out, and you can read the first two chapters HERE or HERE.

Hannibal Brown Burmese Cat and Grey Crazy Cat Sonya Heaney Canberra Australia 13th August 2019

Hannibal Brown Burmese Cat and Grey Crazy Cat Sonya Heaney Canberra Australia 13th August 2019 2

Hannibal from next door now comes to hang out with Crazy Cat.

Crazy Cat (the grey one) is ENORMOUS.

Danger Close

Danger Close Long Tan Movie Vietnam War Travis Fimmel Australian Army 1966

Children’s Book Week

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen cover

Danger Close

Danger Close Long Tan Movie Vietnam War Travis Fimmel Australian Army 1966

I had the opportunity to attend a special screening of Danger Close – The Battle of Long Tan last night with some Vietnam veterans (including my father) and other members of the Australian Defence Force. They actually had a counsellor there just in case, and now I understand why – it was quite the experience.

Long Tan is the best-known battle Australia (and New Zealand) fought in the Vietnam War, but I was still amazed both by the quality of the movie, and the actors in it. The “face” of the movie is Major Harry Smith, played by Travis Fimmel, of Vikings fame.

In the 1960s my father was an armoured personnel carrier driver stationed in Nui Dat, which is the base under attack in the movie. He later fought another major battle only a few kilometres from the base: Binh Ba, which had its fiftieth anniversary this year.

It was amazing to see people my father knows portrayed on the big screen, and to know people who consulted on the film.

I would strongly recommend this movie, as long as you’re prepared for it. It’s very confronting, and that much sadder because none of it is fiction.

The Week: 5th – 11th August

This has been… quite a week. So many good things happened (I’d love to share NOW, but can’t) that I’m worried there’s a disaster on the horizon!

We had t-shirt weather for the first half of the week, and then on Friday night it snowed. I am so mad I didn’t see it, because (and despite nasty stereotypes about Canberra) we NEVER get snow. A little bit settled on the mountains, but by Saturday morning the sun was back. It’s going to be around 17 degrees (about 63 Fahrenheit) by the end of next week, so I guess that’s winter finished.

I spent the second half of the week stalking the Romance Writers of Australia conference (in Melbourne this year) online. I really should go in 2020.

Crazy Cat Canberra Australia Thurday 8th August 2019 Sonya Heaney Cats Cute Grey Cat

Someone broke the cat!

P. L. Travers’ 120th Birthday

australian p. l. travers in the role of titania in a production of a midsummer night's dream, c. 1924 state library of new south wales. mary poppins

Cover Love

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

P. L. Travers’ 120th Birthday

australian p. l. travers in the role of titania in a production of a midsummer night's dream, c. 1924 state library of new south wales. mary poppins

P. L. Travers in the role of Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, circa 1924.

State Library of New South Wales

Today would have been the 120th birthday of the Australian creator of Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers.

Born Helen Lyndon Goff in Maryborough, Queensland on the 9th of August 1899, she moved to Bowral, New South Wales in 1907.

As an adult she travelled Australia and New Zealand, and later England as an actress, changing her name to Pamela Lyndon Travers.

Travers created Mary Poppins while renting a cottage in Sussex, England in 1933, and the first book was published in 1934.

The eighth and final book in the series was published in 1988.

Travers died, aged ninety-six, in April of 1996.

The Dancing Plague of July 1518

Die_Wallfahrt_der_Fallsuechtigen_nach_MeulebeeckEngraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women affected by the dancing plague

An engraving by Hendrik Hondius portrays a similar outbreak in the 1560s.

In July of 1518, dancing mania – a phenomenon that occurred across Europe for several centuries – hit Strasbourg, Alsace (France). Approximately four-hundred people danced themselves to exhaustion, and even to their deaths.

The plague began when a woman named Mrs Troffea began to dance in the street.

At the time, it was decided that the people could be cured with more dancing, and so musicians were hired to encourage them – which resulted in more deaths.

One modern-day theory suggest that consumption of fungi containing psychoactive chemicals (similar to LSD) was to blame. Mass hysteria has also been suggested.

The Week: 24th – 30th June

Foggy Winter Morning Canberra Australia Crazy Cat Sonya Heaney 28th June 2019

The neighbours’ crazy cat, sleeping on my back deck instead of in his house on a very foggy Friday morning! (The day turned out sunny and bright in the end.)

I had some unexpected interruptions this week, which means I haven’t achieved everything on the dot-point list stuck above my computer!

My problem with not meeting my self-imposed writing goals is that I wanted to have two manuscripts completed and strong enough to send to editors before I head off mid-August for two months in Europe. Every day I miss a goal the stress piles on more. Oh dear…

I have many, many things to say about the rampant corruption in Western Europe that led to Russia being reinstated into PACE (the Council of Europe), but at this point I’ve pretty much given up on everyone. The West is being gleefully ignorant as they stumble right into World War Three.

Release Day for Sabrina Jeffries

project duchess (duke dynasty #1) by sabrina jeffries

100 Years Ago