Jilly: Finding Inspiration in Eyam

Derbyshire Well Dressing  (copyright Dennis Thorley via Wikimedia Commons)

Derbyshire Well Dressing
(copyright Dennis Thorley via Wikimedia Commons)

I didn’t write a word this week, but I did top up my creative well with a powerful mixture of present beauty and past heroism.

I spent an exhausting but productive few days in darkest Derbyshire, sorting out family stuff with my brother and mother. In a fit of optimism I took my laptop and all my notebooks, but brought them back with me unopened. I had plenty of time to think about story, though, as I sat in traffic jam after traffic jam, because late June is Well Dressing time in the Peak District, and people were out in their droves to visit and take photographs.

In rural Derbyshire, the tradition of decorating wells, springs and other water sources using designs created from flower petals and plant material dates back to the 1300s. It began as a pagan practice to give thanks for clean water during the period of the Black Death. Now the wells are a beautiful tourist-friendly photo-opportunity, but five hundred years ago, one of them played a critical part in ensuring the survival of the region.

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Justine: How Far Will I Go For My Book? About 5,200 Miles.

I just returned from eight days in Bath and London doing research for my Regency WIP. I’ve read a lot of Regencies; I think I have a pretty good handle on a lot of the social conventions, dress, forms of address, etc. of the time, but there’s nothing like walking in the shoes of your literary forebears (á la Jane Austen) to get a feel for what life looked like to people who lived 200 years ago. Continue reading