Monday, 31 March 2008


A rare ( even rarer than an honest Stagonian ) visitor to the Duchy was sighted upon the Palace roof today. According to the Book of Sightings , which the Master of the Aviary has kept for centuries, no Hoopoe has been ever observed in the Duchy of Tradgardland.
It is hoped that the birds will remain for the present, in spite members of the Ducal Society being present with rifled muskets and pistols....

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


The house spirit continues to sense a tension in the Ducal Palace. Over the centuries he has seen much and felt the joys and sorrows of myriad people who have worked,lived and loved within these walls.
Tonight the house spirit hears two women deep in conversation and senses their concern over one who has departed with the tide some time ago .
Duchess Liv has been charged, by her husband the Duke , to rule the Duchy in his absence whilst he is in the Shetland Isles attempting to bring Concord once more. In this task she will be aided by Alisona their daughter. The Inner council is due to meet soon and the women will do their best for the Duchy then too.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Easter Eve

It was Easter Eve in the Duchy of Tradgardland. The Ducal Family attended the Vigil at the Cathedral. From outside, the newly kindled Easter Fire was brought into a darkened Cathedral. By the time the Cardinal came to the Altar the light of hundreds of candles illuminated the ancient building. Christ has Risen!He has Risen indeed! The ancient cry and response was heard once more!A Happy Easter to all of you from the Duchy of Tradgardland and Alan,Jan,Zoe ,Anna and Freya !

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Grand Opera

Alisona and the Ducal family are attending the Opera in the company of the Duc de Padirac this evening.
A coach awaits and whisks them off through the streets of the Ducal Capital to see the Ducal Composer's new masterpiece ( hastily penned one might add..) called " The Adventures of the North." It is a topical piece pertaining to the Tradgardland occupation of the Shetland Isles. He has transposed the action to the days of ancient Greece however...

Three hours later and the Ducal family and guests are still sitting through the second act with another two to go! A mounting sense of horror has overtaken them and had it not been for the convenient fainting of Duchess Liv their ordeal might have continued.......

Twenty minutes later they have returned to the palace where hot ,mulled, herring flavoured , ale awaits to console the exhausted party....

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


Minutes of the Inner Council which met at the Seventh Seal upon the 11th Day of March 1758

In attendance: Their Graces The Duke and Duchess of Tradgardland , Duc de Padirac, the Herren of …… and…….., The Archbishop of Tradgardland , Representatives of the Ducal Guilds, President of the Ducal Society and Major Mackay for the Army and Navy.

The meeting commenced with prayer and afterwards pipe weed and ale was made available to one and all.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and agreed upon by a show of hands.

The meeting continued with the Duke‘s account of the grave situation prevailing within the Shetland Isles. An account written by Alisona, the Duke’s daughter, was read to the company who listened in silence. Major Mackay confirmed that the situation had led to much dissolution within the Army as well as issues of regimental pride, integrity and future usage. Greater details will be presented at the next council meeting

Petitions were heard regarding the forthcoming sowing of seeds and the land dispute which rumbled ever onwards. The ensuing discussion came no nearer to a solution.
The meeting ended due to the Storm that had gripped the Duchy and the necessity of exiting the stricken Inn

Monday, 10 March 2008


The recent storms over Tradgardland brought some late snow to the Ducal orchards. The Duke and Duchess walk through the trees sensing their promise for the year ahead. The Duke thinks of the Council meeting scheduled for later this week and the Duchess thinks of her role as mother to Alisona. How will suitors be sought and intentions scrutinised ? The trees speak of their blossoming and that of the Duchy too....


The day following my own birthday was that of my wife.On Saturday, as a joint present to us both , my brother -in -law gave to us ( and skilfully planted with great expertise) three bare root apple trees . The are about 5 foot tall and look wonderful in our front garden.They are the first fruit trees we have planted. We all were out helping in the pouring rain and enjoyed every minute of the experience- even though we were soaked to the skin! I gain already great pleasure just looking out at them from the window. They may produce fruit this year.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Star gazing...

It is late in the evening of the day after the return of Alisona. The black, diamond encrusted , velvet cope of the sky extends across the Duchy. Karl Frederick and his daughter Alisona pour over the star charts laid out upon the observatory table. Liv has long made her excuses and retired for the night. The remaining pair talk long into the night. Alisona talks of the discord upon Shetland, of the ensuing carnage and the vessels that appeared off the coast there. She has recovered well from her ordeal ,making light of those matters which would normally vex others.

Karl Frederick listens to his daughter with care and attention. Conversations roam across the heavens and back to the earth. It is clear Alisona feels isolated and alone . She expresses a desire that she will not always stay alone - that she is open to suitors and wishes her father to guide her in this delicate matter. The moment passes and father and daughter once more gaze upon the handiwork of God displayed for all to see.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Some thoughts......

Today I have reached my 48th year. It is World Book Day and I have spent the day enthusing my class with regard to reading. I have tried to convey the joy that books have brought me over the years and continue to bring. My wife ,amongst super gifts , has given me the Cambridge history of medicine. My daughters made superb cards and gifts bought and made. I am truely fortunate. I have sent off ( thru Amazon as ever!) for David Jones's Anathemata and Anne Rice's new novel about Christ- the first was superb and well worth a read!

I am fortunate with good friends, fab family and home and a community of worth and importance in this band of 18th century brothers - EvE ! So thank you one and all for adding another dimension to the hobby for me. My painting schedules may flag (and often do) but your blogs continue to be inventive and excellent fun!

I had a superb week at the museum , being able to help produce some useful activities and material for secondary and primary pupils. Highlights included getting to handle medieval books, meeting top surgeons and being involved in a very worthwhile project.

The paintings of the wounded of Waterloo along with some amputated limbs replete with musket balls made me ponder upon the suffering of conflicts and the sacrifice of those who Serve. My mind came back to the fact that we who enjoy the world of little wars , know by our reading the cost of those who follow the flag. It is something we forget at our peril....

p.s photograph is five years old now - I can't believe it!!!!!

Monday, 3 March 2008

A visitor

A visitor comes into the knot garden and sneaks up upon the Duchess. His presence is announced by a particular aroma and a rather unpleasant one at that.

He is none other than the newly arrived contender to the position of Ducal Surgeon from France . Although he only been in the Duchy a few days he has already caused alarm . There are few people Liv takes a dislike to but he has become one very quickly. The Duchess makes an excuse and exits speedily for her parlour.

fine weather

The Duchess is taking the advantage of fine weather to spend time in her knot garden at the Palace. It distracts her thoughts from the continuing absence of Alisona. No word has been heard from Shetland for many,many days. The last word had the isles riven asunder by civil war and Alisona's whereabouts being totally uncertain. As Liv checks for herbs and looks for signs of this season's growth she awaits a word of consolation.