Bolton Castle

When I was touring North Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales National Park this summer, researching scenes for the Penn Mysteries, I was lucky enough to discover the medieval gem that is Bolton Castle.

In the heart of Wensleydale Richard II’s Lord Chancellor of England, Sir Richard le Scrope had the castle built between 1379 and 1399. It is in a remarkable state of repair and is still owned by Lord Bolton who is a direct descendant of its founder.

We had a lovely day exploring its battlements, rooms, stores, armoury, dungeon, kitchen and courtyard. Actors provided a medieval play and archers put on a display. Tents surrounded the entrance showing how people lived in medieval England – a joy to the sound, smells and skills of the time.

Before we left the tea rooms provided a truly lovely light meal in ancient surroundings. If you are in the area during the holiday season, I would recommend a visit. The area is absolutely beautiful for hiking or simply touring.

Pantomimes & Fairy Tales

Christmas would not be Christmas in the UK without the onset of the pantomime season.  Theaters up and down the land give way to the colourful, family, slap-stick humour of the pantomime. Celebrities appear in the most surprising roles to join in the seasonal fun. One of the most popular titles is the adaptation of the beloved fairy-tale Cinderella.

Poor Cinderella is a persecuted heroine. She has lost her own mother and father and is left in the ‘care’ of her step-mother and her daughters – the ugly sisters.

The origins of Cinderella can be traced back through different cultures at various times in history from: Greek mythology, Chinese fable, seventeenth century France in Perrault’s verison in 1697 and the Brothers Grimm’s Ashenputtel to name but a few.

It is a universal theme. Beauty is more than skin deep and so is ugliness. Cinderella’s rescuer can be magical, human, a tree – or in my version on this Cinderella theme, a combination of faith, hope and love in human form who seeks justice for my poor Ellie. Of course, the greatest of these is love ­čÖé