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As you know, I was bitterly disappointed when Satalyte shut up shop as it might have meant the end of my admittedly short career as a publi...

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

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Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
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Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
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Thursday, 24 May 2007

Fast Forward

The last ten days have been so full that I suspect I've ceased to take in details. Those I have assimilated have already run into each other like water colours on porous paper but I'll try to remember as much as I can so that the precious memories don't vanish altogether.

On Wednesday, 16 May, Clare saw me and my very overweight suitcase off on the coach to London from Exeter. We were sad in our goodbyes, for it seems unlikely that we will ever meet again - but who knows? Back in the Land of Oz, I shall resume my regular purchase of Lotto tickets. They've never brought me more than about $20 and that very rarely, but I remain the eternal optimist.

On arrival in London I reported to Diana's place and the pair of us caught up on gossip as I repacked my bags in readiness for a few days' meandering. It was 10.00pm before I arrived at my first destination, St Neots in Cambridgeshire, where I was met by e-cousins Dennis and Sheila, who provided me with a cosy room and a welcoming bed. Sheila had to go out the next day but at her suggestion, Dennis drove me to the neighbouring village of St Ives - the real one, of seven wives and multitudinous sacks, cats and rats fame. A very pretty place it is too, with a tiny medieval chapel on a bridge and an excellent local museum. Dennis and I talked family history non-stop, for we have two names in common - FLAVELL in Staffordshire and HINCHCLIFFE in Yorkshire, although the latter has so far failed to provide a link between our two branches. Mid-afternoon soon rolled around and it was time for me to catch the first of three buses that would stage me to Canterbury.

What can I say about Canterbury that hasn't been said already? Nothing, I suspect, since Chaucer's characters are all alive and well there, albeit in modern guise. Today's "pilgrims" come from much further afield than Bath and northern France: visitors of many shapes, sizes and colours stroll the streets. Even veiled Islamic ladies can be seen touring the famous cathedral alongside parties of students from mainland Europe and eager tourists from America, Asia and the Antipodes. No doubt each one would have a tale to tell if time permitted them all to be collected.

Touring Canterbury Cathedral is no mean undertaking. Like its sister in Winchester, it is enormous, and like all British cathedrals it is full-laden with history. I paid my respects at the tombs of a dozen or more direct and indirect ancestors, several of whom were of the priestly persuasion. (They were among the indirect ones, of course - or so one hopes!) On the tomb of Edward, the Black Prince, his effigy reclines in gilded armour and a nearby wall cabinet houses his orginal "funerary achievements", comprising an enormous helm, a tunic, a shield and sword. On the other side of the quire repose his nephew Henry IV and his second wife, Joan of Navarre. The tomb of Henry's daughter-in-law, Margaret HOLLAND, dominates the side chapel of St Michael, which Margaret herself had founded. She lies buried with her two husbands, John BEAUFORT (half-brother to Edward, the Black Prince) and Thomas PLANTAGENET (son of Henry IV and his first wife, Mary de BOHUN). I wonder if medieval tomb effigies were good likenesses? Certainly the ones in Canterbury Cathedral all look like real individuals, not just idealised role-representatives.

In any case, the ancestral images were just the icing on the Canterbury cake. The cathedral is, of course, the site of Thomas Becket's martyrdom and a chapel now graces the vestry where he was slaughtered. I winced to see several people sitting on side benches, chatting on their mobile phones. However, I should imagine Thomas is big enough to encompass C21 behavioural peculiarities.

The brevity of my visit meant that I couldn't attend any services; however, it was a bonus that the marvellous choir was practising for part of the time (three hours!) I was there. Footsore, I wound up in a nearby Starbuck's to recover before waddling down to the ancient chapel of St Mildred and the very impressive ruins of the town's Norman castle, by which time I'd had enough of journeying and headed back to the Youth Hostel and the closing chapters of George RR Martin's Steel and Snow part one. (I have only recently started reading Martin and I'm already a born-again devotee. His characters are clearly delineated and his stories superb.)

On Saturday I humped my bluey down to the bus station in the hope that they had a left luggage facility. They didn't ("because of security", a booking clerk explained) but a further query at the Tourist Information Office resulted in my grateful dumping of a large bag (I don't do small ones) at the nearby Kings Inn B&B.
They kept it for several hours for only 1GBP, which freed me to wander unencumbered to the C12 Eastgate Pilgrims' Hospice, a picturesque and atmospheric place with a vaulted roof and Norman arches which even today provides accommodation for several elderly people. An early C12 tempera mural of Christ in Majesty still graces a wall in the old refectory.

Then I hied me down to the delightful Greyfriars Gardens where I consumed my packed lunch beside a stream bordered with lupins, ivy, periwinkles and peonies before making for Canterbury's wonderful Roman Museum.

What a treat! A partially excavated Roman villa with a hypercaust that would have heated the bath-house and its hot pool. There are remnants of a mosaic tiled floor; not as complete as the one in Luxembourg, but lovely, nonetheless. Numerous items excavated from this and other local sites demonstrated some of the minutiae of Romano-British life in a very realistic "shop window" type of display. Armour, hairpins, pottery, jewelery and tradesmen's tools all help build a picture of an era that ended less than a century before the Saxons began moving in.

There are many other sites worth visiting in Canterbury: had I had cash enough and time I would have stayed longer. St Augustine's Abbey and the nearby church of St Martin, which has stood for over 1600 years and is the oldest parish church still in use in the UK, would have been a fitting finale to my visit to Cantebury. However, London was calling, for I had never seen Buckingham Palace and Diana had promised to take me there on the Sunday.

Sunday was a lovely day. We had plenty of sunlight for our photos outside the palace gates, after which a number eleven bus carried us to St Pauls. Nearby, we found a handy pizzaria wherein we fortified ourselves for evensong.

Evensong at St Pauls is
an experience not to be missed if you're in London on a Sunday. The sound of those exquisite voices reverberating around the dome is passing indescribable.

Monday dawned gloomy, reflecting my mood as Diana and I set off for Heathrow, where the kind check-in clerk made no comment on my overweight luggage. (How did I acquire nine kilos of books and souvenirs?) A long chat over coffee then I bade Diana a teary farewell before heading up to the departure lounge to board my flight to Dubai.

At Dubai airport, inspectors deprived me of a tube of toothpaste as it was over the acceptable weight. The Aussie immigration authorities are very thorough, which is consoling in regard to terrorism, but not toothpaste. After no fewer than four baggage inspections, a dreary flight home to Perth, and here I am, two days later, very jetlagged but looking forward to seeing my many friends here as I housesit for the next two weeks before returning to Mount Gambier.

7 comments:

Imagine me said...

Pleased to see you back again, Satima. When, where and how do we meet?

Billy Jo said...

By the time you get here, you will have told your adventures a hundred times! I hope you still have one telling of them left for me - I'm looking forward to it
xxx Billy

Satima Flavell said...

Yes, lots to tell everyone as I catch up with them. Helen, give me ring if you'd like to get together 1:1 - sorry, I don't have your number with me.

Anonymous said...

Hallo Satima,
I am glad to read that you reached Perth tired but in good condition.
So, relax for some days and get slowly back to your life in OZ.
Now with your head full of thousands of memories of good old Europe. Give my regards to your rellies and friends in Perth.
Love
Elfriede

Satima Flavell said...

Good to know you're still following my blog, Elfriede! Love to you all. I have such wonderful memories to think about and share.

Wulfweard said...

Nice to see you enjoyed yourself in Blighty. My Great Great Grandmother was Emily Flavell (born Ely, Cambridgeshire, I myself live on the South coast of England.
Gary

Satima Flavell said...

Gary, if you're at all interested in family history you should be on the FLAVEL mailing list. We have other researchers hunting in that area. Go to www.rootweb.com and follow the links to mailing lists if you're not already a member.

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