June 2012

June 25th: R.I.P George Peter Algar, 1956 - 2012

The saddest entry I've ever made on this site: on Thursday, June 21st, our good friend and staunch supporter of Towton Battlefield Society, the author George Peter Algar, died in hospital at the tragically young age of 55.

We met Peter when he joined the Society in 2009, shortly after the publication of his first historical novel, The Shepherd Lord. Already a great champion of local heritage and activist for the Richard III Foundation and Bolling Family Association, Peter soon made an indelible mark on TBS. Forever generous with his time, energy, wide-ranging talents, raffle prizes and financial support, he was always in the thick of things - leading guided walks, helping with the Palm Sunday event, developing the spanking new Society website, promoting the Society through the media and 'Welcome to Yorkshire', searching for the fabled 'Towton Rose'... the list goes on and on. (There he is on the right of the picture top right, entertaining us at the last TBS Christmas party; and below right in the middle, larking about as we gathered firewood for Palm Sunday 2011).

At least Peter lived to see the publication of Dead Man's Hill, his sequel to Shepherd Lord... if not to see the success it will undoubtedly become. A truly great man who will leave a massive hole in our lives - and in the historical organisations he worked so tirelessly to support. We'll miss you terribly, Peter.

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chainsaw massacre
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Me trying to shoot 'Captain Cabbage', our vegetable target

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Admiring Pete Lawton's display of medieval arrow types - all made (apart from the heads) by his own fair hands.

18th June

If you're reading this - thank you! Statistics show that visitor figures to this site are creeping up to around 3000 per month - small beer by some people's standards, but an increase of around 1000 hits per month compared with this time last year, so I'm absolutely delighted. And an even bigger thank you to those of you buying the books... sales for all the Herstory titles are encouraging - the best possible news for a writer! I'm very grateful to you all, and hope you enjoy what you read.

My next task is to get Gondarlan out as an e-book - using Smashwords, a company which specialises in e-publications - and hope to have it out in this format by the end of the summer. (Their huge catalogue is well worth a browse - many Smashwords authors offer their books on special free promotions or at rock-bottom prices, so it's a very economical way to build up your e-library).

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    The Doctor is In - Neil Wilson with his ever-popular    Frei Co 'newbie' Pete Lawton,   Hubcap and our other newbie, Rob Atkin, preside over the
   medical show   resplendent in new livery     armoury and weapon-master Dave Moss's impressive array of
  crossbows

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Then on Tuesday we made the most of our extra day off with something we've both been promising ourselves for years: a visit to Temple Newsam House near Whitkirk, on the south-east edge of Leeds (see left). Of the original house (built c. 1500 - 1520 by Lord Darcy, who was beheaded by Henry VIII for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace), only the central wing remains; the rest of the present structure was added in the early 17th century by the wealthy financier and courtier Sir Arthur Ingram. And now Temple Newsam has something to offer whatever your taste: the huge mansion with collections of period furniture, fine and decorative art; a working home-farm with traditional animal breeds; and what we'd gone specifically to see - the superb gardens featuring seven national plant collections, a walled garden, river and bog gardens, and a truly spectacular Rhododendron Walk.

These images don't do it justice (especially because it was rather a dull day) - it really is a feast for the eyes, and a great tribute to all Temple Newsam's grounds staff. We're hoping to go back later in the summer to catch the Rose Garden in bloom - and to see the herb garden and Italianate garden near the house, which we were too footsore to take in. So I can heartily recommend Temple Newsam for a visit - and also recommend the very tasty burgers made from their home-farm beef, which we enjoyed after our hike!