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Jobev
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Karin, it can be complicated, but a lot of the detail isn't necessary unless it's a plot point. It's like today. We'd say someone traveled by car without specifying if it was a sports car, a wagon etc (and people in different countries use different terms!) Jo
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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That book does sound fascinating, Mary Jane. Travelers' accounts give us a whole new angle on things.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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It's a good question! Sea travel up the east coast through the North Sea can be pretty rough. That way of getting to Scotland became more popular once there were steam ships. The whole coast of Britain is pretty chancy. Think of the Armada! Travelers arriving at the tip of England, the Lizard, often left their ships at places like Plymouth and carried on by road if the winds in the Channel seemed at all disorderly. Not infrequently sailing ships came to grief trying to get up the Channel to Portsmouth. The roads might be slow, but most of the time they were safer than the sea.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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All true, David. I've never written any frontier travel. Well, I did in The Rogue's Return, when they had to get from York down the St. Lawrence to Montreal, but they did have a river, even if it required portages in places.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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I've been to Arlington Court, Quantum. It's a grand collection.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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London to York was certainly a trek even when the Great North Road was at its best. For writers who don't want to fuss too much about traveling distances, it's best to keep the action close to one point. If the characters are in London, don't give them estates in Devon or Cumberland! There was a reason that a lot of the richest people had their country houses near London, even if their ancestral estates were in Scotland.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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Good point, Victoria.I neglected water travel. When I was writing Too Dangerous for a Lady I realized that people could travel down the Mersey to the Wirral as an alternative to the roads. There were canals -- and a couple that went back to Roman times. It was slow travel, but a possibility.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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Oh yes, Kathy, roads before the 19th century were pretty bad, and the further back, the worse they were. Plus Cornwall was so remote. I think hardly anyone tried to use wheels. Is that what you've found? Sea travel was always chancy. It could take weeks to sail up the Channel if the winds were against them, and a day if all went well. I think the Bristol Channel is also known to be tricky with the winds. The nice thing about fictional sea travel is thatwe can choose that it go well, if that suits, or goes badly, if that works for the story.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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I'm not sure why the posting inns are a problem, Pat, especially on the main roads. Sort of like gas stations, but needing to be closer. If there's a business, people will build them. At the end of the posting era the fields around the main toll roads held thousands of horses. There was serious concern about the amount of agricultural land they took up. All saved by the railways. As for minor roads, I assume as today people raced along the main roads as far as possible, then turned off onto minor toll roads -- and there were quite a lot kept in decent condition by local companies through the tolls -- and then were prepared for the problems of the last bit of going over the tracks to Grandma's house, or whatever. Not that different today in the UK!
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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Yes, Sonya, a short distance was flittable. They probably considered anything that horses could do without stopping as "near by" and a similar distance could well be walkable by many.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Getting around at Word Wenches
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People in the past didn't travel as much as we do today, because travel was difficult and/or expensive, but they didn't always stay at home, either. It was no big deal to walk, even hundreds of miles. I read an autobiography of a soldier in the Napoleonic Wars and when he went home, he walked. When he and his wife moved, they walked. It was completely normal for them. People regularly walked from village to village. Street hawkers in London walked out into the country to get flowers, herbs and such, then walked back into the city to sell them on the streets. All in a day's work. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Word Wenches
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Kendra, you're the randomly picked winner of a copy of Too Dangerous For a Lady. If you see this, please e-mail me at jo @ jobev. com Your comment isn't linked to an e-mail address, but I'll try to track you down in some other way.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2016 on When is a bonnet not a bonnet? at Word Wenches
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" I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today" So true, and would have been true less than a century ago. Often for men as well as women. That pas de deux sounds hilarious! Good for you for managing it.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2016 on When is a bonnet not a bonnet? at Word Wenches
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It's interesting how we're sometimes drawn to a cover, Sonya.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2016 on When is a bonnet not a bonnet? at Word Wenches
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Also, bonnets back then was sometimes used to mean a helmet, so completely steel. And cloth bonnets were like berets. If only people would stick to one meaning!
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2016 on When is a bonnet not a bonnet? at Word Wenches
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Well, there's that saying about a pig in a poke, which I think was a type of basket. It might have had something to do with that. There have been many attempts to define a brimmed bonnet, but I'm not sure anyone has nailed it.Fun, isn't it?
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2016 on When is a bonnet not a bonnet? at Word Wenches
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When is a bonnet not a bonnet? The answer seems to be, when it's a hat. But it could be, "it's a mystery." Hi, Jo Beverley here. As Pat said, we got talking about headwear, and I began to wonder when bonnets, in the way we usually think about them -- which I assume is as in the picture at the left -- came into being. Was the brimmed bonnet a 19th century invention? My experience is that in the mid 18th century at least, people spoke of hats, and they didn't have anything that tied beneath the chin. As in the picture at the right. I know we have some costume experts here, so perhaps someone can expand on what I found out. Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2016 at Word Wenches
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That's interesting, Karin. I suppose a book set in the Russian summer just wouldn't cut it. But also, I used to think snow was romantic until we moved to Canada and spent many years in winters that lasted months, and snow ceased to be at all romantic, no matter where it is!
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2016 on Ask A Wench—an Exotic Question! at Word Wenches
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There are a lot of hotels like that in London, Julie, and they're worth trying out. The rooms will be small, and probably the bathrooms as well, but it can give a feel for living in them.
Toggle Commented Jan 9, 2016 on Revisiting Lord Derby at Word Wenches
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Most of the London houses in the Regency were quite small. We tend to give a more expansive impression in the novels! I've just written a scene in a very overcrowded typical house.
Toggle Commented Jan 9, 2016 on Revisiting Lord Derby at Word Wenches
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Thanks! I use that site a lot, but I hadn't found that link to specific buildings. Lovely. :)
Toggle Commented Jan 9, 2016 on Revisiting Lord Derby at Word Wenches
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That's a good point, Lillian, about privacy. The wealthy adopted the bell system pretty speedily because before then they had servants hovering nearby all the time in case they were needed.
Toggle Commented Jan 8, 2016 on Revisiting Lord Derby at Word Wenches
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Research is such fun, isn't it, Mary! I love floor plans. They give me a feel for how people would live.
Toggle Commented Jan 8, 2016 on Revisiting Lord Derby at Word Wenches
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Hi, Jo here, confessing that she forgot today was her blog day. Clearly I'm still not in sync with 2016! So I've pulled out an old post that's still of interest, where we can enjoy an imaginary visit to a London town house. I just picked up a book called The Classic English Town House, by Rachel Stewart. It has Adam's plan for Lord Derby's house at 26, Grosvenor Square. I've seen it before, but this time I decided to simplify it to make the layout easier to follow, so we could imagine visiting it. It's a plan for the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2016 at Word Wenches
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Those Tolkein quotes are lovely, Susan. Thanks.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2016 on A Birthday for Tolkien at Word Wenches
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