Category Archives: Uncategorized

Proof in witchcraft cases

The courts in Scotland in the 17th century recognised four ‘proofs’ of witchcraft. Having a bad reputation, being a ‘quarrelsome dame’ or having a history of bad behaviour was the first proof. This proof was the weakest the courts recognised … Continue reading

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An Edinburgh ‘witch’

I am currently writing the story of an Edinburgh woman who was put on trial in 1645 as a witch. An ordinary woman she was trying to survive in a world of famine, plague and civil war with an absent … Continue reading

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Florian Poels the Printer

Meet Florian Poels, a printer from my book Beside The Annexe ‘I’m sorry Mr Poels but Mr Frank is not here and left no word about any order with you.’ Florian glared at Miep as she sat calmly behind her … Continue reading

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Borders Witch Hunt

My talk at the National Library of Scotland about the 17th century witchcraft trials in the Scottish Borders.

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Leo Smit – Grocer, collaborator

One if the characters from my latest book ‘Beside the Annexe’ Leo took a final look round the shop. Everything was in order. He smoothed down his white apron and positioned himself behind the counter.             ‘Open the door, Dirk.’ … Continue reading

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The tale of the lonesome pine cone

I went for a walk this morning and found a pine cone. How exciting! How thrilling! What a way to start a story. But when I found the pine cone I was in the middle of one of two roads … Continue reading

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I love stories

I love stories. I have been entranced listening to a story teller who made me laugh and cry. I have curled up with a book on a wet Sunday afternoon and lost track of time. I have sat in the … Continue reading

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Mata Hari: the enduring fantasy

Mata Hari is a name that still resonates 100 years after her execution for espionage. But why do we find female spies in general and Mata Hari in particular so fascinating? Why should we remember a woman who betrayed her … Continue reading

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Books I have loved

I have loved books all my life. They have made me laugh and cry. They have had me screaming in anger and frustration and one – I may name it later- got chucked out the window. A friend recently challenged … Continue reading

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How Belgium ‘lost’ the Great War.

In August 1914 German troops crossed the Belgian border and the Great War started. In 1919 Peace Conference in Paris decided on the German reparations, the borders between Romania and Hungary. The worked on the issues of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Austria, … Continue reading

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