As I sit here writing this it has been just a few hours since we got home from Wales where we have spent the last few days on holiday for my wife's birthday. Now here is some big news, last night whilst still on that holiday I completed the final chapter of my book and therefore finished writing my book! Granted there is still a lot to be done, starting with me proof reading it, but nevertheless it is written much to my own amazement! So given that historic piece of news, naturally this will be a blog about finishing the book right? Perhaps a few tales of the journey I have taken writing it, the ups and downs and such associated things, just to get it off my chest. Makes sense right? Of course it does, which is why this blog is not about any of that! It does however have a theme tied in with the book because, you know, I should give it a mention. What I am blogging about, is a historic site known as Pembroke Castle.
On Wednesday, the aforementioned 25th birthday of my wife (okay it's a lie, but bonus points right?), we had just spent the morning on the beach under grey skies. An impromptu decision was made on what to do next and we found ourselves, via a slight detour courtesy of the Tom Tom, on our way to Pembroke Castle. I had never been before and as someone who loves that kind of history, I was quietly excited. To see a castle, no matter what state of decay it may find itself in, emerge among modern day life is always breathtaking. Living in Rochester I never get bored of seeing Rochester Castle any time it comes into view and I must say, Pembroke Castle not only lived up to my expectations but exceeded them. From my recollection, I am yet to see more intact ruins of a castle as I did that day at Pembroke and for me it was a total delight. Within those once unbreakable walls lay a wealth of history just waiting to be learned and a decent Latte to boot!
It was most certainly an entertaining afternoon well spent. From the moment we entered the castle, having to cut through the tour group as the guide repeatedly shouted 'whoosh' in a most animated fashion, a typical Cuell day out unravelled itself. What do I mean by this? Well between me crapping myself due to any form of height and the wife trying desperately hard not to fall down the narrow winding staircases, let's just say we were a right pair. I could also mention us hiding while a family berated their son who had just cracked his head on a low ceiling, seemingly not for the first time given their moaning; or me having to shout 'whoosh' every time the tour group was in sight. Oh and then there was the little added bonus I had not expected. When they say in such places that you won't always expect everything you find, they are right because I certainly did not expect to find the poo that had been left behind in one of the towers!
But what has this got to do with my book, The Lost King for those who may have forgotten its title? Well, as we worked our way around and I tried to fathom how any knight of my height and frame, in full armour, could ever navigate themselves through the castle at any form of speed without disaster, I also found myself thinking about how my book had been inspired by such places as this. I think if we are all honest with ourselves, there is something kind of special about the medieval era. This is coming from a guy who all his life has been deeply fascinated by the World Wars. As a man, the sight of a tank or a fighter plane or any such item will always grab by attention. But there is some form of romanticism about the medieval days. I am sure film, TV and books are to blame because let's face it, what is romantic about a time when you couldn't wash and you released your bodily functions into the so called street? But when you see the castles in their pomp and grandeur, dominating the landscape over the villages around them, it is hard not to think 'wow'. When you watch two armies just charge into each other, fighting in a free for all that is sheer luck more than anything else, it is hard not to be blown away. We all love Robin Hood and his various tales. The legends of King Arthur and Sir Lancelot have captivated the hearts of many for so many years. Who isn't drawn into the idea of one worthy man being able to draw a sword from a stone? In more recent years, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings have drawn in audiences by the millions. Give us some shiny armour and a decent swordsman and we are happy. This time has inspired me, this genre has inspired me and in my book I hope to give a little something back for that inspiration. I hope to once again bring imaginations alive with my story of Arundel and the kingdom of Galbraxia and share with others just how exciting castles such as Pembroke can still be with the right imagination.
Time will tell on that naturally. Hopefully as my wife's next birthday rolls around I will be typing a blog as a successful author who has captured the minds of many. Or at the very least, maybe I will be back within those walls shouting 'whoosh' to any tour group I find.
So as I wrap this up, let me just say that I highly recommend a visit to Pembroke Castle and if you do pay it a visit, let me share this piece of advice. Be careful where you step, because if the narrow stairs won't get you, the secret poo will! Whoosh!!!