The Divinity School 5

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived.


The young man, who stood next to her father, said, “I should like the honour of the next dance, if I may?”

Amanda blushed, “Yes,” She rose to curtsey to him; her notes lying, unbidden on the table.

Mr Jameson glanced at them; then he reached over and folded them, neatly, and gave them to her, “Don’t forget your work.”

Amanda curtseyed and blushed again, “Thank you,” she took the paper and replaced it in her reticule.

He said, “It looked important.”

“Just some scratchings – a problem from Dr Hutton’s book.”

“His course in mathematics? I’ve been told it’s an excellent work.”

The orchestra reached the end of the 2/3; the final chords echoed through the room and interrupted Amanda’s reply; a pause in the music preceded the introduction of the next set.

Mr Jameson inclined his head, “Would you care to dance?”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

There’s a revolution in transportation that is underway during the time frame of this story. Canals would connect large parts of the UK withing ten-fifteen years.  The Kennett and Avon Canal was finished in 1810. The featured image shows the canal in Bath. Jane Austen would have been familiar with it, although it was a rough place in her time.

This bridge, in the middle of farmland, and almost literally in the middle of nowhere shows Regency decorations. It feels as if it were Mr Darcy’s moonshot, and in some what that’s true.


This lock, in Bradford on Avon, would have been there while Amanda worked on her math problems.

As would this, the Avoncliff Aqueduct. It’s next to the Cross Guns which is an elegant pub – though that doesn’t stop the chavs from decorating the path with technicolour yawns (I know that’s Australian).

The last locks to be finished, in 1810, were the Devizes steps. They make for an exhausting day, even with modern canal boats.

If you’re a yank and want to try a canal trip, the trick is to go directly to the UK sites. The US ones tend to double the price.


I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Divinity School 4

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived.


The carriage’s arrival in front of the hall interrupted Mrs Bentley’s cutting reply; a servant, dressed something like a footman, opened the door; he offered an arm and at her mother’s urging, Amanda descended; not gracefully, as her mother would remind her in a few moments, but nonetheless without tripping.

She waited for her mother and father before entering the hall.

It looked entrancing, an orchestra scratching out a dance, and – far more important – an excess of young men.

That did not last long; a veritable flock of young ladies, chattering among themselves came through the door behind them.

The excess of gentlemen vanished in an instant; Amanda sighed, found a seat at the side of the room, and pulled a small sheet of paper from her reticule –  You can take the book from the mathematician, but not the mathematics – she started writing out a problem in symmetric polynomials, at least what she could remember of it.

Her father interrupted her a few minutes later, “Amanda, dear.”

“What is it, now?” She did not look up.

“May I present Mr Jameson?”

Amanda’s attention snapped away from the paper, and she managed to squeak out, “Delighted.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Coalpit Heath is a real place on the outside of Frampton. Most of it is rather nice, unlike this farmhouse next to the tracks.


It’s literally on the wrong side of the tracks.

I don’t have a good picture of the remains of the coal works from the early 19th century because we were always either in a hurry to get walking or it was too dark by the time we returned. They and numerous pit mines supplied the fuel for the iron works at Iron Acton. The villages remain, but little sign of the industry is visible.

Google maps shows the site, if you happen to be in the area.


The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Divinity School 3

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly.


Amanda greeted her father when he climbed into the carriage to join her and her mother, “You look dressed to the nines father.”

Mr Bentley tugged at his stiff collar and carefully sat in his all too tight trousers, “Thank you, I wish they weren’t so da- uncomfortable; they don’t suit me.”  After he sat, he thumped the carriage and shouted “Drive on.”

Mrs Bentley pointedly added, “You cannot wear your tradesmen’s coat to assemblies, let alone when we take Amanda to Bath or …. London.”

“London?” Mr Bentley paled, “I thought we had agreed to Bath.”

“Bath?” Amanda’s voice quavered, “Bath?”

“You’re such an awkward and shy lass,” Mrs Bentley explained, “It would give you a chance to grow into society, practice your dancing, before,” and here she sent her husband a quelling glance, “before we take you to visit the ton.”

While Amanda sought solace by studying the familiar countryside on the few short miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, her father reached over and patted her shoulder, “It’ll be alright lass.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury are near the port of Bristol – Mr Bentley’s iron would likely have gone by sea from there. The Severn, the river that leads into the Bristol channel is known for its large tidal differences.


At low tide the Severn is non-navigable. It looks like one could walk across it and upstream, nearer Gloucester, one can. I presume that’s why Offa’s dyke is on the far side of the river.


The solution to this, of course, was a canal. The Gloucester and Sharpness canal, seen also at low tide here, was under construction at the time of this story. The canal company that started it went bankrupt so that it spent a few years as a useless big ditch.

Prior to completion, the cargo boats would have had a few hours to make it up or down the Severn. It would have been interesting if not dashed exciting and somewhat dangerous to ride one downstream when the tide was flowing. The RNLI frowns on people doing it today in canoes (kayaks in the US and Canada).

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Divinity School 2.

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda has just asked if she must attend the assembly.


Her mother echoed her, almost mocking her question, “Must we go to the assembly?”
“Yes; It’s only in Chipping Sodbury.”
Her mother took a deep breath and tried, once more, to explain, “Amanda, dearest; dearest Amanda … do you want to be an old maid, a burden on your brothers and an embarrassment for your sister?”
Amanda gazed over her mother’s shoulder, “No, not as such, but the company … In Chipping Sodbury of all places … it is vulgar.”
“Not half as vulgar as the hatters in Frampton,” Her mother paused, “Nor as vulgar as the iron master I married.”
“Don’t you love father?”
“I do, but he can be so … so annoyingly common.”
“Rich, wasn’t that enough?”
“For my father, yes; however, not for us; you should marry a gentleman.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

While she seems strict, Amanda’s mother has her head screwed on the right way. The alternatives to marriage for an unmarried woman, even a mathematically inclined one, were bleak.

To set the scene, this building in Lacock abbey is fairly typical of village buildings.

You’ve seen it – Lacock abbey is the background in many films – ranging from Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter. The Red Lion pub (I don’t have a good picture of it but it’s in the centre in this picture) is a dead giveaway.

Main street Lacock Abbey.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Divinity School

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception.


Amanda looked up from her stitchery at the noise; her parents were arguing; they always were arguing. This time it seemed to be about the assembly tonight; her father did not want to attend it. She thought, “Perhaps they love to argue,” and with them distracted, put down her stitchery. She rose and slipped away to an upstairs room; a room away from the noise, but more important, it was where she hid her books. The ones that were too exciting for a mere female.
Ignoring the distant cries of battle from her parents, she sat in the window. She opened her book, a tattered copy of Hutton’s ‘Course in Mathematics’ and re-read the inscription, “To my darling sister, better you than me, Freddy.” She paged through the book to find the section, on symmetric polynomials; it was hard going, but interesting.
A gentle knock, on the door frame, disturbed her. Mary, her maid, said, “Miss, your mother is asking for you; remember, there is an assembly tonight.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

As a bit of a hint, symmetric polynomials were the basis for Galois’ investigations into polynomial groups. Groups form the basis for much of modern cryptography – including the https you don’t see at this website. Amanda won’t go there, but … well you’ll see. Any road, Dr Hutton’s book was state of the art for 1809, and her brother has done her a great favour by sending it to her. Mind you, he wants to be a poet – a much more suitable occupation for a gentleman.

Chipping Sodbury today

The assembly takes place in Chipping Sodbury, a small town near Coalpit Heath, which is near the villages of Frampton and Cotterell. Not to mention the thriving iron works at Iron Acton. It doesn’t look it today, but the area was a hotbed of coal mining and iron working in the early 19th century. Mind you, Frampton was an industrial centre for making hats. Today they’re all suburban communities on the outskirts of Bristol. The featured image shows how some of the area looks today – the buildings in the foreground would have been there, but those on the hill were built mostly after the second world war.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

England in 1819 #fridayreads #fridaypoem

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,—
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring,—
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,—
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,—
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless—a book sealed;
A Senate,—Time’s worst statute unrepealed,—
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestous day.

Viewed through the rose-tinted spectacles of Regency Romance, we tend to think of the Regency as calm, beautiful, and serene. An island of beautiful people in the midst of historical turbulence. It was nothing of the sort. The world was changing at a rate scarcely equalled. Even though that Corsican monster had finally been sent to bed in Saint Helena.

The Georgian period had been one of stability, where everyone knew their place and stayed in it. No more.

The Prince Regent was the quintessential “frat-boy” to borrow a modern term, and his father, George III was completely insane.

In some ways it was extremely modern, more like 2016 than we’d like to think.