July 2013

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16th July

Wow! On Sunday, I had one of the most awesome days of my life... we went to see Shakespeare's Globe Theatre perform the Henry VI trilogy (Harry the Sixth, The Houses of York & Lancaster and The True Tragedy of the Duke of York) at Towton. Towton had the honour of being the first date on The Globe's first open-air battlefield tour; they're also performing at Tewkesbury, St Albans and Barnet in August. So we arrived, very excited, at 9.30 am, while the stage and dressing-room were still being prepared, (see above right) to put up the TBS merchandise tent and Frei Compagnie awning (which proved an absolute Godsend on such a hot, sunny day). Then we pitched our seats in the shade of the solitary tree on that part of the field, and at 12.30, our 'Shakespear-athon' began... the picture below right shows the crowd enjoying Part 2.

Unsurprisingly, the first performance of these plays on one of the fields where the Wars of the Roses actually took place attracted a lot of media attention, locally, nationally and even internationally - so before and between the plays, the TBS Telly Tarts were out in force! Chairman Mark and I were both interviewed for a German radio station (alas, I didn't find out which!); and we both got our faces on BBC 1 Breakfast News this morning: a lovely item by Colin Paterson, featuring some great shots of the action on stage. If you watch it by clicking here, you might spot Alex and Tony Harrison, Fran Perry, Alma Traska and me in my posh gown lurking in the background as Mark's interviewed; Pete Lawton, Howard Atkin and I also got 'vox pops' of our own, and there's a sweet shot of Alex looking very winsome (albeit in a non-speaking part).

But the real stars of the show, of course, were the cast. Even though the plays had been edited down, they still had more than 6 hours of dialogue to deliver...

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not to mention some singing, dancing and fight scenes. And they did it flawlessly - a truly remarkable achievement, especially considering that they were broiling in costumes under the hot sun throughout their performances, whereas the audience had sun-hats and a modicum of shade to repair to. So it was well worth every penny of £45 for a ticket (although TBS members like us got a £5 discount, which made it even better value!) - and if you get chance, do go and see it at one of the other battlefield venues. The locations add an extra dimension of meaning and poignancy to the plays, and I promise, it's an experience you'll never forget.

So we had a great day of culture-vulturing and media-whoring in glorious summer weather - with the added bonus that the TBS tent did a roaring trade. Yes, we sold nearly £180's worth of stock, including 20-odd maps for people to go and walk the Battlefield Trail... we certainly owe The Globe a BIG thank-you for letting Towton share their spotlight!

2nd July

LAY OF ANGOR SERIES: 'Fifty shades of Rae: fast-moving, stylish and sexy. Move over, Game of Thrones!'

So says author and broadcaster Julian Humphrys of my naughty little books... and the good news is, until 31st August you can 'Buy One, Get One Free' thanks to a special offer I'm running in conjunction with Fantastic Literature Ltd! Yes, get Gondarlan and Breath of Gaia both for the bargain price of £7.99 plus p+p from www.YPD-books.com by quoting the order code OOTWGOND.

Even better, you can win free signed copies if you enter the competition in the July issue of Fantastic Literature's monthly magazine, Out of the Woodwork. So if you'd like to read the Lay - or indeed any rare, hard-to-get-hold-of fantasy, sci-fi or horror books, check out FanLit Ltd - they're the UK's leading supplier of classic publications in these genres.

Meanwhile here's a pic of me posing as my favourite character... Lay fans should be able to guess who she is!