The Feast of the Epiphany, 1182

2014-ChristmasPartyBlogHop Apologies – you need this link! http://nickymoxey.com/2014/12/19/the-feast-of-the-epiphany-1182/

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The Feast of the Epiphany, 1182

2014-ChristmasPartyBlogHopThe Christmas Season (whatever your belief or religion)
is the time for merry-making and parties…
So come and join some wonderful authors (and their characters)

for an Online Virtual Party!

Browse through a variety of Blogs (hopping forward to the next one on the list)
for a veritable feast of entertainment!
(And just as with any good party, you’ll find
a few giveaway prizes along the way!)

The following is a scene from my forthcoming book, Wimer the Chaplain, in which Henry ll dispenses his own brand of Christmas cheer…

Henry drained his mead cup, and leant back in his throne, belching gently. Ah – good stuff! He rubbed his full stomach. How pleasant it is not to be at loggerheads with either my sons, or the Church. I must be slipping. He looked round the crowded hall for those of his children present at this feast – a task made more difficult as many of the diners grew sated, and moved around to chat to old friends seated in different parts of the hall.

Easy to spot was his one legitimate son; John was still eating, hunched over his trencher, clad in a fine lambswool tunic. On closer inspection, there was a dark stain on his sleeve, which was shorter than it should be. Henry shook his head. The boy was going through a period of growth, making him even more morose than usual, and clumsy as a puppy. Please God it be over soon.

Also still seated, a few places further than John, was his acknowledged natural son, Geoffrey, whom Henry had recently elevated to Chancellor. He too had pushed back from the table, and, goblet in hand, was surveying the room. Of all my children, he is the one who can be most trusted, and the only one who consistently uses his intellect to my advantage. What a shame he can’t inherit! But he is a magnificent servant, and will continue to serve his brothers. Henry smiled proudly, and looked again for the least of his sons.

It’s a shame that none of the girls are here – it would have been good to have them, and their children, as playmates for young William. Henry spotted the boy in a corner, teasing a wolfhound pup with a bone. He’s taller than I remembered – he must be, what, five? Perhaps six? Definitely time to take him from his mother and get him some decent tutoring. He was very like Ida in colouring. She was rarely far from him – yes, there she is, leaning against the table, watching the boy. Looking a little careworn. This, too, is in my service – she has been at my side whenever I’ve beckoned for many years now. I should make some better provision for her…

The thought of losing one mistress brought his Rosamund to mind. He was going to make another gift to Godstow Nunnery when he distributed presents shortly. He urgently wanted to arrange the best possible provision for her, body and soul, and to minimise her time in Purgatory with prayers around the clock. There was the Abbess – hah! With young Roger Bigod sandwiched between her and the Abbot of Stratford Abbey, a Godly man indeed, but a crashing bore; and to be another recipient of Henry’s generosity later.

Bigod looked as though he was bearing up well to the double onslaught of piety. No, be fair – he was making himself useful whilst waiting on Henry’s pleasure for his inheritance, witnessing charter after charter. In fact, he could witness the charters to the two religious houses. He is at least easier to spend time around than his father had been, and possibly more honourable too. Not that he was going to get his Earldom back, nor indeed the bulk of his lands, until Henry was a lot surer of him. Perhaps he was owed something on account, though…

Henry slapped his slight but growing paunch, and leapt to his feet. He used the momentum to swing up onto the table and over to the other side. Not bad for a man past the best flush of youth, my lad! The noise level dropped gratifyingly fast, and soon even the servitors were still, having topped up everyone’s drinks.

“My friends! We come to the end of another Christmas, and another year. And what a year it has been! We are at peace; reconciled with our Scottish and Welsh neighbours, and with Philip the new King of France. My son Henry the Young King is even now supporting Philip, and though we miss him greatly, it is an honourable task. My sons Richard and Geoffrey are firmly in control of their realms; my daughters all contributing towards the succession of their husbands.
I am blessed with three sons here with me tonight, and am surrounded by my friends. I would like to share some of these blessings, and distribute some gifts, as is my custom.”

He beckoned over the servitor with his small chest, and put it on the table.
“I start with the Church, as is proper.”
He took two charters from the chest, opened one, and laid the other on the table.
“Would the Abbess of Godstow please come here?”
The elderly nun bumbled up, and curtsied twice in front of the King. Henry bowed low, and handed her the charter with a smile.
“The lands, as promised, good Abbess. “
“We will pray for her, Sire.” she whispered.
Henry nodded formal acknowledgement, then returned to his task, a little subdued.
“The Abbot of Stratford!” The Abbot accepted his charter gratefully.

“And now, my beloved son John.”
John stood, a trifle unsteadily. Henry realised that he’d taken a little too much wine, and moved down the table towards him, rather than embarrass the boy. He turned back to the room.
“I thought long and hard about a gift for John. I rejected clothes; because he’s growing so fast that he’d need a new set next week.”
There was a ripple of amusement, and John blushed.
“I’d give him money; but he’d only ask for more. I’ve raised sons his age before.”
This time there was some outright laughter.
“Instead, I wanted to give him something to connect him to his heritage.”
He stripped off a ring from the middle finger on his right hand, and held it up to the crowd. The large emerald caught the light nicely.
“This ring belonged to my father, and to his father before him. I think John has grown into it now.”
He turned to his son, and slipped it on his finger.
“Wear it in good health!”
John bowed, looking a little underawed. Henry shook his head slightly, and went back to the chest.

“For my beloved Chancellor; a Book of Hours! Having just missed out on the Bishopric of Lincoln, he will need to sharpen his praying skills for his next attempt at the cloth…”
He lifted out a gorgeous book, wrapped in purple silk. Geoffrey took it reverently in both hands, and unwrapped it to reveal a gold and jewelled frontispiece.
“Sire! This is magnificent! My profound thanks!”

“And for my youngest son, William…”
William needed beckoning forward, this being the first time that Henry had singled him out in public. He watched with pride as the boy strode forward, carefully put out a foot, and bowed low.
“How old are you now, boy?”
“I am six, Sire.”
“High time you had one of these, then.”
Henry handed him a short dagger, snug in its own tooled leather sheath and belt. The boy crowed in delight, and strapped it on instantly. He looked round to show his mother. Henry followed his gaze, and bent to whisper to the boy,
“Go and fetch her.”

He ran across, and pulled her over; she arrived in front of Henry laughing and protesting, then dropped into a deep curtsey. He put a finger under her chin, and lifted her up.
“Not forgetting William’s mother, the Lady Ida; a length of that very expensive silk she loves so much.”
She blushed prettily, and curtsied again. Henry looked around for Roger.
“Stay here, my dear; Roger Bigod, step up, please.”

He waited until Roger had bowed and taken a place beside Ida.
“I am not yet ready to pass judgement on your stepbrothers’ claim to your father’s lands and title; but in recognition of your services these last few years, I am returning to you the manors of Acle, Halvergate and South Walsham.”
Roger bowed again, looking suitably grateful.
“And one other gift, greater than you know. The hand of the Lady Ida de Tosny, Royal ward, in marriage.”

There. A neat discharge of my obligations.

“Raise your cups, my friends! To Christmas cheer!”

Thank you for joining our party

now follow on to the next enjoyable entertainment…

  1. Helen Hollick : “You are Cordially Invited to aBall”(plus a giveaway prize) –  http://tinyurl.com/nsodv78
  2. Alison Morton :“Saturnalia surprise – a winter party tale” (plus a giveaway prize) – http://tinyurl.com/op8fz57
  3. Andrea Zuvich : No Christmas For You! The Holiday Under Cromwell – http://tinyurl.com/pb9fh3m
  4. Ann Swinfen : Christmas 1586 – Burbage’s Company of Players Celebrates – http://tinyurl.com/mwaukkx
  5. Anna Belfrage : All I want for Christmas (plus a giveaway prize) – http://tinyurl.com/okycz3o
  6. Carol Cooper : How To Be A Party Animal – http://wp.me/p3uiuG-Mn
  7. Clare Flynn :  A German American Christmas – http://tinyurl.com/mmbxh3r
  8. Debbie Young :  Good Christmas Housekeeping (plus a giveaway prize) http://tinyurl.com/mbnlmy2
  9. Derek Birks :  The Lord of Misrule – A Medieval Christmas Recipe for Trouble – http://wp.me/p3hedh-3f
  10. Edward James : An Accidental Virginand An Uninvited Guest – http://tinyurl.com/o3vowum and – http://tinyurl.com/lwvrxnx 
  11. Fenella J. Miller : Christmas on the Home front(plus a giveaway prize) – http://fenellamiller.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/christmas-on-home-front-and-giveaway.html
  12. J. L. Oakley :  Christmas Time in the Mountains 1907(plus a giveaway prize) –  http://bit.ly/1v3uRYy
  13. Jude Knight : Christmas at Avery Hall in the Year of Our Lord 1804 – http://wp.me/p58yDd-az
  14. Julian Stockwin: Join the Party – http://tinyurl.com/n8xk946
  15. Juliet Greenwood : Christmas 1914 on the Home Front(plus a giveaway) – http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/christmas-1914-on-the-home-front/
  16. Lauren Johnson :  Farewell Advent, Christmas is come” – Early Tudor Festive Feasts – http://wp.me/p1aZWT-ei
  17. Lindsay Downs : O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree - ​http://lindsaydowns-romanceauthor.weebly.com/
  18. Lucienne Boyce : A Victory Celebration – http://tinyurl.com/ovl4sus
  19. Nancy Bilyeau :  Christmas After the Priory(plus a giveaway prize) – http://tinyurl.com/p52q7gl
  20. Nicola Moxey : The Feast of the Epiphany, 1182 – http://tinyurl.com/pewcu6f
  21. Peter St John :  Dummy’s Birthday – http://tinyurl.com/nsqedvv
  22. Regina Jeffers : Celebrating a Regency Christmas (plus a giveaway prize) – http://tinyurl.com/pt2yvzs
  23. Richard Abbott : The Hunt – Feasting at Ugarit – http://bit.ly/1wSK2b5
  24. Saralee Etter : Christmas Pudding — Part of the Christmas Feast – http://tinyurl.com/lyd4d7b
  25. Stephen Oram : Living in your dystopia: you need a festival of enhancement…(plus a giveaway prize) – http://wp.me/p4lRC7-aG
  26. Suzanne Adair :The British Legion Parties Down for Yule 1780 (plus a giveaway prize) -  http://bit.ly/1r9qnUZ


Thank you for joining us 

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Christmas Blog Hop!

2014-ChristmasPartyBlogHop

I’m very excited to be involved in this year’s Christmas Blog Hop, hosted by the magnificent Helen Hollick. A host of writers will share Christmas-themed work with you; come back on Saturday 20th when all will be revealed!

(Sneak hint on my piece; it’s from Wimer, involving King Henry ll…)

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I hope you enjoy my books as much as I loved writing them! Here’s my Amazon page.

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The Making of a Roman Silver Cup

moxeyns:

What a fabulous, fabulous thing! And the artistry involved! Just wow.

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I hope you enjoy my books as much as I loved writing them! Here’s my Amazon page.

If you’d like to know more about my writing, you can sign up for my newsletter.

Originally posted on The Heritage Trust:

The Making of a Roman Silver Cup. Getty Museum

Ancient Roman silversmiths developed their craft to the highest levels of refinement and beauty. Applying fire and basic tools to the shaping of precious metals, many of their sophisticated techniques are still used today. This video illustrates the making of a stunning silver cup that has survived from the first century, A.D.

This cup is on view at the Getty Villa from November 19, 2014 to August 17, 2015 in the exhibition Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville.

Subscribe NOW to the Getty Museum channel.

 

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Viking eye candy!

I have been having a lovely time researching images for the next thing that Henry draws with his magic pencil – it’s going to be a scale model of a Viking ship prow, which gets him into all kinds of trouble!

I’d like to share some of the amazing things I stumbled across today, but I don’t know the copyright owners for any of them – the perils of Google Image-ing! So here are a collection of links; I hope you enjoy the images at the end of them.

A wonderfully engraved axe – I saw this at the British Museum expo, and it was outstanding. Not a prow, though!

Now THIS is a prow! How evil is this! Too creepy, though, it would give Henry nightmares.

These are cool, and so is this and this; but all a bit complicated for my lad to draw.

This is doable – but he’s trying to stay away from things that might bite :)

Now this beastie really, really wants to be chosen – its image kept on popping up. It’s cute, and sad – but maybe too complicated; I might go with this or this instead.

And this is the trouble that will show up :D His name is Snorri Snorrisen.

This is the last story to be completed of the next book, which should be ready to release just after Christmas.

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Reliquaries

I have been researching reliquaries at the moment – well, the current endpoint of the research is reliquaries, which are delightful! Serendipity may still take me elsewhere…
The trail led from a procedural question over the ordination of a deacon – which Wimer became, before becoming a priest – to a realisation that he would have loved the deaconate, because of its association with the Gospels, and the Deacon’s role in reading the Gospels to the people. He would also have hated the requirement to sing part of the sermon, so would have wanted to become a priest as soon as possible!
Then I moved on to his ordination as a priest, and discovered as part of the reading around that, the requirement for every Catholic altar to have within it a relic from a saint – preferably a martyr. This holds to this day, which I am amazed by.
Relics led on to reliquaries – and what lovely things some of them were! The first one I fell in love with was this beauty, made at exactly the right time. I loved its colours and vivacity first, then realised that it was made to hold relics from Thomas a’Beckett – whom Wimer could not stand. Being excommunicated twice by someone does that to you…

So of course the casket, and its relics, had to fall into his hands; and then he had to swap it somehow for a set of relics from someone he’d be comfortable with. I found this nice shape:

http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/reliquary-casket

And then discovered the right saint. Meet St Walstan, the Saxon-born patron saint of crops, healer of animals.

This is beginning to come together… I’ve now stopped trawling the web for images of reliquaries, and am off to write the scene when he discovers the right reliquary for his Priory-to-be!

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Replay of Secklow Sounds radio interview

I can’t remember if I posted this interview or not when it was made – but the very wonderful host, Mick Bannister, has just pointed me to the direct link, so here it is; I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/secklow-sounds/the-nicky-moxey-interview

Nicky.

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Desktops, then and now :)

Erik Kwakkel has a brilliant post on the mediaeval desktop, here:

http://medievalbooks.nl/2014/10/10/medieval-desktops/

If you’re not following Erik, I recommend him – his scholarship is unassailable, and his posts are brilliantly readable!

This post talks about the issue of needing to read two or more books at once. My favourite solution is the book wheel – here’s a picture of my current desktop. What do you think, one book wheel or two? :D The red “book” is my kindle, whose search facilities are one of my favourite attributes of the e-revolution. And what I’m working on is another revision of Wimer the Chaplain, my 12thC historical fiction piece, which is firmly on the PC, in the cloud – now that’s cheating!

Seriously messy desk

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Single lady…

I am apparently now single, and have been since the 7/8/2014, although the court neglected to inform either me or my solicitor.

I am still working out how I feel about this…

 

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Why I get such pleasure from going detecting…

I came across a lovely quote in the week, about why people go fishing. Now, I don’t do fishing – I think I was about 14 last time I caught a fish – but this is pretty well why I go detecting;
Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.
Ted Hughes

I had the most amazing experience on the field tonight. I parked the car, started detecting, and ground to a halt to watch the two adult buzzards and last year’s youngster, riding the wind swooping up the valley side. The female has particularly lovely markings, similar to these:

Photograph courtesy of Aviceda { creative Commons Attribution}

Photograph courtesy of Aviceda { creative Commons Attribution}

It started chucking it down; they went off to sulk in a bush, I retreated to the car. The rain was coming from one side, so the windscreen and one side window were completely rain-obscured. The other side was dry, though.

I noticed some fast movement on that side, and watched enthralled as a stoat and a baby rabbit danced a most elegant pavanne, with fluid grace. Well, that was only going to end one way; the stoat made the killing move almost in touching distance of the car, and stopped to catch its breath for a while, completely unaware of me.

stoat-wallpapers-4Stoat. Photo by Marsch

Soon it trotted off, without eating the rabbit, and I was annoyed at its wastefulness; but it reappeared with two clones – presumably its kits – further down the slope. They sat and waited, apart from a brief bout of twining round each other, whilst the original went back and dragged the rabbit – easily as big as it was – down to them, and out of sight under a bush.

The rain stopped as abruptly as it had started. The buzzards launched themselves again, and flew off. It was too late to do much detecting, but it didn’t matter; I had been immersed in nature’s beauty for long enough, and was completely at peace.

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I hope you enjoy my books as much as I loved writing them! Here’s my Amazon page.

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