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'.

Monday, 27 April 2020

The legend of Merlin's Oak

Happy Monday, my lovelies, I hope today finds you well and safe, and not too frustrated by 'lock-down.'

As promised, I thought I'd tell you about Merlin's Oak, which stood in the centre of Carmarthen town. (I was lucky enough to see the remains of it before it was removed.)

(Not this one, but one very much like it!)
Legend has it that King Arthur’s famous wizard placed a protective curse on the tree. The wizard said Carmarthen would 'drown' if the oak was ever removed. Some folk said a curious, pointed notch in the tree was the face of Merlin himself.

Sadly, in the 1850s, a local vicar, who objected to young people courting beneath it, but its trunk was preserved within iron railings. In the year 1951, a branch was broken off of the tree and it lies now in the Carmarthen Museum. It was  removed from the town when someone set it on fire at the end of the 1970s.

Carmarthen then suffered its worst floods for many years. In 1978, the last remaining fragments  of the tree-stump were  placed in Carmarthen’s Civic Hall.

Google Images

(The name Myrddin is  the second element of the place-name Caerfyrddin, the Welsh name for Carmarthen) and I'm happy to say Carmarthen is still standing, indeed flourishing, despite the floods that caused so much devastation.)

However, in a way,  Merlin’s Oak is back in Carmarthen, the town which he said would fall “when Merlin’s Tree shall tumble down”.

A Cambridge-born sculptor, living in Wales, bought a 500 year old oak which had been felled in Carmarthen to make way for a new superstore. The sculpture is one of the centrepieces of a spectacular  town centre shopping development called Merlin’s Walk.

Before the carving began, Mr Hedger,said: “The townspeople of Carmarthen will breathe easier whenMerlin’s Oak is back in the town centre.“We will have an oak which definitely has Merlin inside it – back where he belongs.”

The statue of Merlin is adorned with the symbols of nature and the Celtic religion that for him was a way of life.

"From his twisted honeysuckle beard that falls from his smiling face which holds his bardic wisdom. On his left shoulder sits the dragon of nature's temptation and in his hand the three sticks and a
rope with thirteen knots; a druids measuring kit, in the other, a bag of healing herbs from the garden of your imagination. The feathered horn of the orax hangs on his shoulder, whilst the La Tène torc is tied to his belt.

Embroidered on his back is the story of Blodeuwedd, for in the day the eye of the owl is the open flower but at night blodeuwedd is the owl. Ortywyllwch Ir goleuni, from the darkness into the light, as meant in Welsh, to be inspired. These are the words that are carved into the trunk of Myrddin. Where the three spirals ripple from the water source, you can run your finger through the journey of life to the labyrinth."




FREE AUDIOBOOKS
 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are so many great books out there to be read, try a new author. If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, You can get my Destiny Trilogy for FREE.



GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=2735
Children of the Mist: freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.p 
Beloved Enemy:https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=3285


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, 20 April 2020

Nanteos Mansion and its ghosts

Hello lovelies -

I hope you're staying well and surviving the enforced 'staying at home' and 'social distancing'.


Nanteos Mansion
Although I've lived in a small village in England since my marriage, my heart is still in my homeland and I cherish the times when I've been able to go back to visit my family and my old haunts, and long for the time when I'll be able to do so again.

One of my favourite places is Nanteos Mansion, set in about thirty acres of land near where I used to live. I used to keep my horses at the beautiful old stables and spent many a happy hour soaking up the atmosphere of this historic house. Nanteos is a Grade I listed, early Georgian country house situated just outside Aberystwyth, on Wales’s west coast. The house was built in 1738 by William Powell, and it remained the Powell family home for over 200 years, until the 1950s, when Lady Powell, the last of the family, died without children and the Mansion fell into the hands of a distant relative.

Horses in front of the mansion
Nanteos Mansion is also reputed to be home to a number of ghosts. These include the spirit of Elizabeth Powell, the late wife of William Powell, who wanders the hallways looking for her lost jewels; a phantom horse and carriage that pulls up to the front entrance in the middle of the night; and the ghost of harpist Gruffydd Evan, who played for the Powell family in the music room every Christmas for 69 years and whose music can still be heard in the woods around the house. My favourite story is a rather sad one. One of the windows on the bottom storey has been boarded up for many, many years. The story goes that the lady of the house was watching her husband ride up the drive towards her, when the horse spooked and threw him, killing him instantly. She could not bear to look out of that window again and ordered it to be boarded over and so it remains to this day. I have to say I never saw a ghost there myself, and always felt the house was a friendly place, rather than a sinister one, but sometimes, late at night the stables would ring with unearthly screeches, like souls in torment. Actually it was nothing more sinister than a colony of screech owls nesting nearby.

The Mansion itself was slowly decaying when I had my horses there, the stables having been sold several years before. Now the stables and Mansion are in the hands of a consortium who have renovated the mansion and use it for functions such as weddings and conferences. At least the house is now restored to its former glory and put to use.
Entrance to the old stable yard

Sadly, last time I visited, I found the elegant, roomy looseboxes changed into holiday apartments. No horses looking over the half doors, no stamping hooves or soft welcoming whinnies.
I closed my eyes and imagined my three horses, now gone over the Rainbow Bridge,
Flikka, Sally and Star, as I often used to see them in the early morning, next to each other with their heads over the doors in that lovely old stable range, overlooking the cobbled yard, reminiscent of days long gone by.




Apologies -  I promised I'd tell you about Merlin's Oak, in Carmarthen. I forgot! I'll tell you next time - It's not exactly a ghost story, but it is interesting - and some of it, at least, is true.

and finally...
FREE AUDIOBOOKS
 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are so many great books out there to be read, try a new author. If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, You can get my Destiny Trilogy for FREE.



GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=2735
Children of the Mist: freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.p 
Beloved Enemy:https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=3285












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, 13 April 2020

Welsh legends and traditions


EASTER GREETINGS
 
 Hi my lovelies. I hope you're keeping safe and have managed to have a good Easter, despite the 'lock down'.

As a change from ghost stories, I thought I'd tell you about some of the Easter traditions of Wales.
Palm Sunday is known as Sul y Blodau (Sunday of Flowers) in Wales, as it is traditional to decorate and clean graves of loved ones with lots of beautiful flowers on this day.

In Tenby it has been well documented that no one works on Good Friday, with no horse or cart (and very few people) to be seen on the streets for the whole day.

On Good Friday, people also walked barefoot to church, so as not to "disturb the earth"

The custom of "making Christ's bed" was also popular in Tenby. Children would gather reeds and weave it into a 'Christ' figure, which was then laid on a wooden cross and left in a quiet part of a field or pasture to rest peacefully.

Llun y Pasg means Easter Monday in Welsh
It is often celebrated by a procession up to the very top of a mountain or a hill before sunrise (we are very proud of these in Wales!) to watch the sun rise.

In Llangollen, in the Vale of Clwyd, villagers used walk to the summit of Dinas Bran (a location famous for its inclusion in many medieval Welsh folk tales) to greet the sun's arrival with three somersaults.

In other areas, a bowl of water was taken to the top of the nearest hill to catch the sun "dancing" in the reflection.

Rogationtide was celebrated on the 5th Sunday after Easter. This was the Pagan spring fertility rites and Roman blessing of crops. Local Church officials should visit local crop farmers on this day to bless his crops

Ascension day is on the 40th day after Easter. This is the Roman Festival honouring streams and fountains.

On Ascension day wells were rededicated to saints in Wales and people would be wary of accidents. For example, you wouldn't wash clothes on this day as it was feared that someone would die as the clothes dried. Miners and farmers would also refuse to work through fear of mishaps!

 With many thanks for this article to Becca Hemmings of The Welsh Book Shop 
(They sell beautiful, traditional Welsh gifts and do Mail Order!)






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, 6 April 2020

More Legends and Ghost stories of Old Wales


PWLL-Y-WRACH - THE WITCHES' POOL

Pwlch-y-Wrach
There is a pool hidden from the road among a copse on the top of Flint Mountain, in Flint North Wales. The pool is so small that travellers would not give it a second glance. But this was not always so. In days gone by Flint Mountain was a bare and desolate place and the pool was known as Pwll-y-Wrach, the Hags' Pool or the Witches' Pool, the place where the ellyllon (as the Welsh call goblins) would congregate, and thus a place where humans would stay well clear of, especially after dark.

In 1852 John Roberts a farm labourer paid an unexpected visit to Pwll-y-Wrach. It was a cold winter's morning and John was setting out to work when he found a youth blocking his path. With a harmless gesture he made to pass the youth but all of a sudden a force propelled him through the air. He landed face down above Pwll-y-Wrach, and the force held him there despite John's best efforts to free himself. He struggled for what seemed a lifetime, but in fact was just a few short minutes, until at the sound of a cock crow he was released. The ellyll, still disguised as a youth, stood astride him and warned. " When the cuckoo sings it's first note on Flint Mountain I shall come again to fetch you".

John got to his feet and stumbled back home, shaken but otherwise unhurt.

The following May John Roberts died. He had been repairing a wall at Pen-y-glyn on Flint Mountain when it collapsed and crushed him. A lady who witnessed the accident said a cuckoo came to land on a nearby tree just as it happened. When the body of John Roberts was being returned to his home the cuckoo followed, singing from tree to tree all the way to the front door.

Cadair Idris
Last week I told you about the Cŵn Annwn whose hunting grounds include the mountan of Cadair Idris.

Several Welsh legends state  that  King Arthur made his kingdom there, hence the name Cadair Idris: or the Seat of Idris. Being Welsh, of course I  myself subscribe to this theory!  Merlin was supposedly born in Carmarthen, West Wales, and his connection with the area forms the background for my fantasy novella Dancing With Fate , which also features not only the Ellylldan, or fire goblins, but a Greek Muse! 
 (I hope I've aroused your curiosity as to how she fits into my take on Welsh folklore, and that  you've enjoyed some of the myths and legends of my beloved homeland.)You can download Dancing With Fate for FREE at Smashwords, until 20th April 2020. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/53249

 Next week I'll tell you about Merlin's Oak, in Carmarthen. It's not exactly a ghost story, but it is interesting - and some of it, at least, is true.

and finally...
FREE AUDIOBOOKS
 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are so many great books out there to be read, try a new author. If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, You can get my Destiny Trilogy for FREE.



GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=2735
Children of the Mist: freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.p 
Beloved Enemy:https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=3285







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, 30 March 2020

More ghosts of old Wales

 Hi folks, hope you're keeping safe and not going too crazy with social distancing!
(You might want to keep your distance from these ghosts though!)


 THE GHOST OF LLANDEGLA
 A small river runs close to the secluded village of Llandegla, and in this mountain stream under a huge stone lies a wicked Ghost. This is how he came to be there:

It  not is not known why Ffrith farm was troubled by a ghost, but when the servants were busily engaged in cheese making the Spirit would suddenly throw earth or sand into the milk, and thus spoil the curds. The dairy was also visited by the ghost, and there he played havoc with the milk and dishes. He sent the pans, one after the other, around the room, and dashed them to pieces. The terrible doings of the ghost was a topic of general conversation in those parts.
The farmer offered a reward of five pounds to anyone who would lay the Spirit. One Sunday afternoon,  an aged priest visited the farm yard, and in the presence of a crowd of spectators exorcised the ghost, but without effect.

The farmer then sent for Griffiths, an Independent minister at Llanarmon, who enticed the ghost to the barn. The ghost then changed its appearance to the form of a lion, but  could not touch Griffiths, because he stood in the centre of a circle, over which the lion could not pass. Griffiths tricked the ghost  into appearing in a less formidable shape, and it changed into a mastiff, but Griffiths demanded that it change to something smaller.

At last, the ghost appeared as a fly, which was captured by Griffiths and secured in his tobacco box.  This box he buried under a large stone in the river, just below the bridge, near the Llandegla Mills, and there the Spirit is forced to remain until a certain tree, which grows by the bridge, reaches the height of the parapet. When this takes place, the Spirit shall have power to regain his liberty.  To prevent this tree from growing, the school children, even to this day, nip the upper branches to limit its upward growth.

THE GHOSTLY GIANT OF PONT-Y-GLYN

There is a picturesque glen between Corwen and Cerrig-y-Drudion, down which rushes a mountain stream, and over this stream is a bridge, called Pont-y-Glyn.  On the left hand side, a few yards from the bridge, on the Corwen side, is a yawning chasm, through which the river bounds.  Here people who have travelled by night affirm that they have seen ghosts—the ghosts of those who have been murdered in this secluded glen. A man who was a servant at Garth Meilio, said that one night, when he was returning home late from Corwen, he saw before him, seated on a heap of stones, a female dressed in Welsh costume.  He wished her good night, but she returned him no answer.  She, got up and grew to gigantic proportions as she continued down the road which she filled, so great were her increased dimensions. Other Spirits are said to have made their homes in the hills not far from Pont-y-Glyn.

and finally...
FREE AUDIOBOOKS
 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are so many great books out there to be read, try a new author. If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, You can get my Destiny Trilogy for FREE.



GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=2735
Children of the Mist: freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.p 
Beloved Enemy:https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=3285https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=3285



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, 22 March 2020

Welsh Legends - Ghosts of old Wales

 Hi everyone - hope you're keeping safe. If you're in enforced social distancing and feeling at a bit of a loss, how about a couple of old Welsh ghost stories to take your mind off the current weird and rather scary situation.

THE GHOST OF TY FELIN
An exciseman, overtaken by night, went to a house called Ty Felin, (Yellow House) in the parish of Llanynys, and asked for lodgings.  Unfortunately the house was a very small one, containing only
two bedrooms, and one of these was haunted; consequently no one dared sleep in it.  After a while, however, the stranger induced the master to allow him to sleep in this haunted room. He had not been there long before a ghost entered the room in the shape of a travelling Jew and walked around the room.  The exciseman tried to catch him and gave chase, but he lost sight of the Jew in the yard.  He had scarcely entered the room, a second time, when he again saw the ghost.  He chased him once more and lost sight of him in the same place.  The third time he followed the ghost, he made a mark on the yard where the ghost vanished and went to rest, and was not disturbed again.

The next day, the exciseman got up early and went away, but, before long, he returned to Ty Felin accompanied by a policeman, whom he requested to dig in the place where his mark was.  This was done and underneath a superficial covering, a deep well was discovered, and in it a corpse.

Under interrogation, the tenant of the house, confessed that a travelling Jew, selling jewelery and such items, once lodged with him, and that he had murdered him and cast his body in the well.


BLACK DOGS AND ARTHUR'S SEAT
In Welsh mythology and folklore, Cŵn Annwn" hounds of Annwn") were the spectral hounds of Annwn, the otherworld of Welsh myth. They were associated with a form of the Wild Hunt, presided over by Gwynn ap Nudd. Christians came to dub these mythical creatures as "The Hounds of Hell" or
"Dogs of Hell" and theorised they were therefore owned by Satan. However, the Annwn of medieval Welsh tradition is an otherworldly paradise and not a hell, or abode of dead souls.

They were associated with migrating geese, supposedly because their honking in the night is reminiscent of barking dogs
Cadair Idris at night

The Cŵn Annwn also came to be regarded as the escorts of souls on their journey to the Otherworld.
The hounds are sometimes accompanied by a fearsome hag called Mallt-y-Nos, "Matilda of the Night". An alternative name in Welsh folklore is Cŵn Mamau ("Hounds of the Mothers").

Hunting grounds for the Cŵn Annwn are said to include the mountain of  Cadair Idris, where it is believed "the howling of these huge dogs foretold death to anyone who heard them.The locals claim that the mountain is haunted, and that anyone who spends the night on top of Cadair Idris will wake up either a madman or a poet. Different legends surround the mountain and one of the earliest claims that the giant Idris lived there. Three large stones rest at the foot of the mountain, and legend says that Idris got angry once and kicked them, sending them rolling down the mountainside.  

Other Welsh legends state, however, that Arthur made his kingdom there, hence the name Cadair Idris: or the Seat of Idris.

Join me next week for some more old Welsh ghost 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