Follow on Bloglovin

Welcome to my place in the blogosphere!
feel free to explore the Flight Deck and check out my books and website.
Then fasten your seatbelts, sip a glass of something sparkling and let's chat awhile!
I hope you'll stop by again for guest authors and spotlights from time to time.

Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.

Friday 1 March 2024

Happy Saint David's Day!

Daffs for Taffs! (Taff is a nickname for a Welsh person!)

I make no apologies for being unashamedly patriotic today

MARCH THE FIRST IS ST DAVID'S DAY!

I have put my Welsh flag up in the garden and am wearing my daffodil.  I always hope one or two daffoldils will be out in the garden by St David's Day - but this year I've had a few coming out each day since the middle of February. (Thanks to Global Warming I suppose. It has a few 'ups' amid all the concerns it brings.)

(The leek is also a traditional Welsh symbol worn on this day, because St David is said to have ordered his Welsh soldiers to wear leeks in their helmets when they went into battle against the Saxons, but the daffodil is prettier and doesn't smell so strongly! :) )

ST DAVID'S DAY TRADITIONS
Many people outside Wales don't realise that St David's Day is as important to the Welsh as St Patrick's Day is to the Irish. Each year, the annual St David’s Day parade takes place on 1st March,  in Cardiff. A colourful parade takes place in the city centre. There will be parades across the whole of Wales including in Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire) my hometown, and in Caernarfon,  Llandudno and Wrexham, plus a variety of St David's Day Celebrations in Bargoed, Blackwood, Caerphilly And Risca Town Centre.

The day is also commemorated with children taking part in concerts called 'Eisteddfods'  in schools or village halls.

FOOD
Cawl
A variety of traditional Welsh food is eaten, in particular, cawl, a clear soup,made of course,with leeks as a prime ingredient, eaten with bread and cheese. Its meat content varies with the region. Where I come from, which is mountainous sheep country, it  is always  lamb or mutton, but it can also be fish, bacon or sometimes beef. The broth or soup also includes potatoes, carrots, and other seasonal vegetables.

Welsh cakes
Then there are Welsh cakes, a kind of scone,  rolled out as a dough with currents, and baked on a griddle or 'bakestone'and  absolutely delicious served hot with butter, and just as good cold, sprinkled with a little sugar, then there is bara brith, a malty fruit cake made with tea, cut like bread and spread with butter,  and Welsh rarebit, toast covered with rich cheese sauce made with beer and seasoned with Worcester sauce, then poured onto the toast and grilled until bubbling.

Traditional Welsh costume

ST DAVID
So who was St David. and why March the 1st?                              

Well he died on that day in 589AD.

Dewi (the Welsh form of David) was born to Welsh nobility in the late fifth or possibly early sixth century.  The Anglo-Saxons had invaded Britain by that point and had driven most of the inhabitants into what was known as the Celtic Fringe: Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany.

He was educated in Cardiganshire and then went on pilgrimages, founding religious centres across Wales and England, including one at Glastonbury. He even travelled as far as Jerusalem, where he was made an archbishop.

He eventually settled at Glyn Rhosyn (now St Davids), in south west Wales, where he established a religious community. Many miracles have been attributed to him.including causing the ground to rise beneath him when preaching so that everyone could see and hear him.

When David died he told his devoted followers to: "Be cheerful and keep your faith and belief, and do the little things that you have heard and seen through me."

His remains were buried at the Cathedral of St Davids in Pembrokeshire. It became a popular place of pilgrimage and  two pigramages to St Davids were said to equal one to Rome and three equalled one to Jerusalem.

THE RED DRAGON
To end with I thought I'd tell you why the red dragon (Ddraig Goch) appears on the flag of Wales.  You might be surprised that it relates to the Arthurian legends.

King Vortigern came to the mountains of Eryri, in Gwynedd. On the summit of one of these, which was then called Dinas Ffaraon, he decided to build a fortress.

Then the king sent for artificers, carpenters, and stonemasons, and collected all the materials for building. In the night, however,they all disappeared. Materials were procured from all parts a second time, but a second time they disappeared in the night. A third time everything was brought together for building, but by morning again not a trace of them remained.

Vortigern called his wise men together and they told him he must find a child born without a father, put him to death, and sprinkle with his blood the ground on which the citadel was to be built.

The king thought the advice of his wise men was good and sent messengers throughout Britain in search of a child born without a father.When they eventually found one, they took him to Vortigern the king.

The boy asked why he had been brought before the king and when they told him he was to be sacrificed to enable Vortigern to build a fortress, he told the king his wise men were wrong and that there was a pool beneath the ground where they were trying to build. In the pool were two vases and in the vases a tent. In the tent were two sleeping dragons, one white and one red.

The dragons fought each other, and eventually the red one won the battle and drove the white one away.

The boy told the king and his wise men that the pool was the emblem of this world, and the tent that of Vortigern's kingdom. The red dragon was the king's, but the white serpent was the dragon of the Saxons,  At length, however, his people would rise and drive the Saxon race beyond the sea. But he must seek another place to build his citadel.

The boy's life was spared. He became famous as the great magician Myrddin Emrys , or Myrddin ab Morfryn (Merlin, as he is called in English), and the mountain on which he proved his mighty power was called  Dinas Emrys instead of Dinas Ffaraon.  Thereafter the red dragon became the symbol of Wales and is portrayed on the Welsh flag.


For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share!
I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.
 http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Monday 26 February 2024

Welsh Legends - Devil's Bridge







This week I thought I 'd turn to a rather more light hearted tale - the legend of Devil's Bridge. I have featured this before but if you haven't heard it before, I think you'll enjoy it - and if you have, I hope you don't mind me repeating it. It's one of my favourite Welsh legends.

I used to live near a well known beauty spot called Pontarfynach, or Devils Bridge. It is really three bridges, built over a spectacular and beautiful waterfall, which rages down into a deep pool known as the Devils Punchbowl. The first bridge was built by the Monks of Strata Florida, (where the Holy Grail is reputed to have been hidden for a while) in 1075. In the 18th Century it was deemed to be unsafe, and a second bridge was built, over the first. The third bridge being built over that in 1901. I thought it would be nice to share the legend of how the first bridge was built:
 

An old woman had a cow of which she was very fond, and which provided her with all the milk she needed. Early one morning she was distraught to find that the cow had somehow managed to cross the river and was now grazing on the bank the other side. The old lady looked at the swirling river and wondered how she would be able to get her cow back. “What the Devil can I do now?” she asked aloud.

At once there was a smell of sulphur and a cloud of thick smoke, out of the middle of which appeared Old Nick himself! “You called?” he smirked. The old lady was made of stern stuff, and after a moment’s hesitation, she explained her predicament. Satan grinned wickedly. “That’s easily sorted,” he said craftily, “I can build you a bridge – but it will cost you.”

“How much?” the old lady asked uneasily. “Oh nothing much, just the soul of the first living thing to cross the bridge,” the Devil stated cunningly, knowing full well that she would have to cross the bridge herself to get her cow.

 “Done!” said the old woman. The Devil waved his arms and there, spanning the falls, was a beautiful new stone bridge. The Devil laughed nastily, “Now for my payment he said smugly. The old lady was not as na├»ve as she appeared. She put her hand into her apron pocket and drew out a crust of bread which she had put there for her breakfast, and threw it across to the other side of the bridge. Immediately her little dog ran across the bridge and gobbled it up.

Satan knew he had been outwitted, the soul of a dog was of no use to him; he scowled furiously and disappeared in an even bigger cloud of foul smelling black smoke than the first, and was never seen in those parts again. The old woman crossed the lovely new bridge, and having retrieved both her cow and her dog, made her way home, humming softly to herself. The bridge still remains, to this very day. (Although two later bridges have been built above it, and today it has the usual tourist trappings.)

You'll rarely see the Devil in Wales these days, local folk say he's too embarrassed to show his face!



For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/joi

Monday 19 February 2024

The Welsh Atlantis


Hello dear readers! I have another Welsh legend for you today - did you know that Wales has its own Atlantis?

The town of Aberystwyth, where I grew up, and lived most of my life, overlooks the beautiful Cardigan Bay, where dolphins and porpoises play with canoeists and surfers.

Aberystwyth
 According to legend, there was once a prosperous, low lying kingdom, known as Cantre'r Gwaelod, which stretched along the coast where now the waves lap against the sandy shores.The kingdom was a community of merchants and princes and comprised sixteen thriving cities.

In order to protect the kingdom from the sea, a number of steep embankments were built, with gates, or sluices which were only opened if water was needed to irrigate the fields, and kept closed at high tide.

The Prince Gwyddno Garanhir ruled over the land, and he  delegated the working of the sluices to the control of a man called Seithennin,  described as a notorious drunkard. (Probably not the best choice for the job, one thinks.) One night he became so inebriated he forgot to close the sluice gates and the sea poured through, drowning the kingdom which vanished forever beneath the waves of Cardigan Bay.  At times of danger it is said the bells ring out from the ocean's depths. A famous folk song 'The Bells Of Aberdovey' supposedly refers to the legend. 

About seven miles along the coast from Aberystwyth, between the town and Aberdovey, lie the old fishing villages of Borth and Ynyslas, Every winter, after storms have scoured away the surface of the sand, at low tide large areas of peat appear, littered with tree stumps and fallen tree trunks. Radiocarbon dating suggests these trees died about 1500 BC. The remains of the ancient forest were especially evidenta few years ago, when fierce storms swept along the coast, causing much damage and uncovering fresh areas of peat. And in 1770, Welsh antiquarian scholar William Owen Pughe reported seeing sunken human habitations about four miles off the Cardiganshire coast, between the rivers Ystwyth and Teifi.

So perhaps the idea of a submerged kingdom may be more than just a legend, after all.


I often incorporate snippets of Welsh legends into my writing, and I mention the legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod in my  fantasy novella Dancing With Fate, only I use the more ancient name of 'Maes Gwyddno.'

"He’d never known anyone to dance as she did. The way she swiveled her hips had him mesmerized. Her voice was soft and clear, with a haunting quality. It reminded him of the musical bells of Maes Gwyddno, the civilization that now lay drowned beneath the sea. At times of danger, if one listened hard enough, one could hear the bells ringing from beneath the waves."


I  hope you've enjoyed hearing about today's legend.  Do you know any other legends which bear a similarity to 'Atlantis'?





For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Wednesday 14 February 2024

The Welsh Valentine

                        

Happy 'Valentines' Day! 


However, did  you know that the Welsh Valentine's Day is actually 25th January - St Dwynwen's Day? (Although not too many people celebrate it these days.)

There are several legends about St Dwynwen, this is one of the most popular: Dwynwen was the beautiful daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog. She fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill, but unfortunately her father had already arranged that she should marry someone else.
St Dwynwen - Patron Sain of 
Lovers

Dwynwen was so upset that she could not marry Maelon that she begged God to make her forget him. After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice. He then gave three wishes to Dwynwen. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; her second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers; and third, that she should never marry. Dwynwen became a nun, fulfilling her wish to never marry, and left for the island of Anglesey to build a Church. This is referred to as Llanddwynwen, literally meaning 'Church of Dwynwen'.

Isn't that a romantic (if rather sad) story?

The lighthouse and cross at Llanddwynwen
(Picture courtesy of Wikipaedia)
St Dwynwen's Church, Llanddwyn
The remains of St Dwynwen's Church today








For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share!
I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.
 http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Monday 12 February 2024

The Mouse and the Golden Bowl - a Welsh legend

It's been a while since I posted some of the legends of my home country, Wales, so I thought I'd revisit some of them, for those of you who may  be unfamiliar with these legends.








Dyfed is a county in Wales that used to be called Cardiganshire or Ceredigion and has now reverted back to Ceredigion again! It is the county where I lived most of my life, and is famous for the Welsh ponies and Cobs that are bred there, as well as the Cardiganshire Corgi.

An old legend about Dyfed, goes as follows:

A magical mist descended  Dyfed, and all animals and people perished, apart from Pryderi, Manawydan, Pryderi's wife, Cigfa, and Rhiannon, Manawydan's new wife who was also Pryderi's mother.  They supported themselves by hunting at first, then moved to England where they made a living making saddles shoes, and leather shields, the quality of which was so high the local craftsmen were unable to complete, and threatened to kill them out of jealousy.  Eventually they fled back to Dyfed and became hunters again.

While  hunting a white boar  Pryderi and Manawydan came to a mysterious castle. Pryderi, against Manawydan's advice, ventured inside and did not return. Rhiannon went to find him and eventually came upon Pryderi clinging to a beautiful golden bowl, transfixed and unable to speak. When she tried to help him get free, the same fate overcame her. Another mist descended and the castle disappeared, taking them with it. Manawydan and Cigfa returned to England  but once again were driven away and forced to return to Dyfed and take up farming to grow food for themselves.

They sowed three fields of wheat but the each crop in the first two fields disappeared before it could be harvested. Manawydan kept watch over the third field and realised that mice were responsible for the disappearance of the grain. He caught one and prepared a mouse sized gallows, intending to hang it the next day as punishment.

A scholar, a priest and a bishop in turn offered him gifts if he would spare the mouse but he refused. The bishop said he was willing to pay any price he wanted in return for the mouse's life and at length Manawydan relented and demanded  the release of Pryderi and Rhiannon and the lifting of the curse over Dyfed in return for releasing the mouse. The bishop agreed,  because the mouse was, in fact, his wife. He revealed that his name was Llwyd, son of Cil Coed, the other mice were actually lords and ladies of the court and that he caused the enchantment on Dyfed in revenge for the insult against his friend Gwawl, whom Pwyll, Pryderi's father had humiliated,by tricking him out of a marriage with  Rhiannon. Manawydan handed over the mouse and as agreed, Rhiannon and Pryderi were released from their enchantment and returned, and  Dyfed was restored.





For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share!
I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.
 http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Sunday 31 December 2023

The Watchers Series by Deirdra Eden

The Watchers is an epic fairytale about finding hope and light during dark times. The story introduces you to a cast of engaging, down-to-earth, yet supernatural characters. There is someone for everyone to identify with and come to love, hate, and recognize in our own modern-day life. The story line leads the audience through epic adventures, young love, challenges, heartache, and very human experiences by otherworldly and apocryphal beings of legend. The mythology of the story is deep, yet easy to understand as it incorporates real historical events, places you can find on Google maps, and documented paranormal encounters from cultures and religions from all over the world. 

Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3SNOqKt 
Deirdra's Website: https://www.deirdraeden.com

 The Watchers is published by Rogue Matter. 
Pst. You can get the first book for free on the publisher’s website. https://roguematter.com/project/the-watchers/ 
Book 7 released 1st December 2023

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 Deirdra Eden is an award winning artist and international bestselling author of The Watchers Series. Captivating audiences of all ages with her novels and fairy tales, her specialty is inspirational epic fantasy. Including documented historical phenomena, natural disasters of biblical proportions, and
eyewitness accounts of the supernatural, she creates a relatable world for the modern reader with inspiring messages of hope. Deirdra enjoys horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, cuddling her kitties, and going on adventures with her family and friends. She is passionate about empowering people and helping them to reach their goals and overcome trials. She believes that we are all meant to be the hero of our own stories.






For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share!
I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join