Snowed in, under and all about…

I’m being slowly snowed under…

No – it is not winter here. It is only just autumn, the leaves are only just colouring and the early mornings and late evenings are only just cooling off.


No, you see, I am being snowed in by research.

Firstly I discovered Byzantium 1200 and it delights my every day of writing as I plot my characters in and around the city of Constantinople in the mid 1190’s.

Byzantium 1200

Then I realise I want them to drink but they are with Muslim friends so perhaps its unlikely they would be offered wine. But no, the internet research – learned papers I have printed off – show me that some Muslims did indeed drink alcohol in medieval times but just kept it quiet. Essentially however, they would drink water or what we call cordials and what they called syrups.


So I then trotted off to Arabic drinks, then Byzantine cooking, then Byzantine furniture, then Arab clothing, Byzantine clothing and Arab medicine.



Then Byzantine embroidery and fabrics. (spent too long there, I can tell you), Orthodox icons, the iconclasms and so on. My head was fair spinning and I wondered where my story was going.


Come back Tobias, come back! Don’t leave me.


So he sang me a song and that required investigation of lyrics from troubadours from the 1100’s, and then I got lost in cansos, motets, sirventes and so on.


And an email arrived in the middle of this from my go-to port-in-a-storm when writing about little people and I find after reading the information on the physicality of achondroplasia that I might have to go back and re-write certain parts of the novel so that Tobias and Tomas remain ‘real’ little people.


…the sun is shining through the window and my exceptionally fine tuned lack of self-discipline reasserts itself and I drift off to the garden where the border looks in need of love and care. I wonder idly what I am supposed to do about the dwarf cyclamens I want to plant under the trees…


Where’s that book I had on woodland plants?