Seeing the future?


It all happened because the magic lantern’s bulb exploded. Angry at the darkening screen, the father ordered his disappointed children to bed. There would be no pictures from the slide projector tonight.

Next day, he walked from his panelled office several blocks to a less prosperous part of town. There he mounted the bare stairs to enter a shop marked ‘Thomas Wills & Sons, Lantern and Cine Equipment’.  A man in a brown dust-coat appeared from behind the shelves: “Can I help you, Sir?”

The businessman rhymed off the make and model of his magic lantern.

“Of course, Sir, I won’t be a moment”, said the shopkeeper as bobbed once more behind cardboard boxes.

Shortly, he reappeared bearing two corrugated paper packets.

“Now would it be the standard bulb or the deluxe model?” The customer thought he should purchase the more expensive lamp.

“That will be ten shillings and six pence, please.” The trader wrote out a paper receipt to complete the transaction.

That night, once more the wood and brass lantern sat on its table and the slides assembled for viewing. However, to the father’s annoyance and his children’s delight, the projector didn’t show them. Instead, it persisted in showing moving images. At first, it showed journeys across the continents before plunging into the ocean and whizzing into outer space. The screen then filled with a full-scale orchestra. Next came actors in a Shakespearean play. The lantern culminated its performance with a football match.

‘This would not do, not do at all,’ thought the father. So, having indulged his family long enough, he switched the contraption off and removed the bulb.

Next day, he returns to Thomas Wills or his son and made plain his dissatisfaction to the salesman.

“Oh, I’m very sorry, Sir – most of our customers enjoy seeing the world with the deluxe bulb. I’ll exchange it immediately”

Handing over the standard lamp, the shopkeeper remarked “I am told that, one day, people will see a man walking on the moon with magic lanterns”

The businessman scuttled for the stair forgetting both his change and dignity. Since he was convinced that the man staring after him was mad – quite mad – quite, quite mad.




Traitor’s Love – Rude Awakening


Hardly had first light hit the Malvern Hills than crashing came to the great oak door. It did not hold long. In rushed the King’s men as servants scurried out. Only the master stood firm. And the sight of his tall still figure momentarily slowed the invasion. Time enough for the Jesuit to slide lithely into the ‘priest’s hole’. There, two storeys down, he would hide until safe or discovered.
The son of the house also took a stealth leave. In fact, expecting this moment for months, he had prepared an escape route through a scullery window and into open country. Luck favoured him. For, keen to eye the house’s treasures, the watchmen had not left a cordon.
The leadsman of the unruly search squad shouted for calm. “Sir John, have we given you enough time to hide your priest?”
“You’ll find no such man here” Sir John Thornton, Squire of Alcester, replied. Although it sounded more a challenge than a bald statement.
The mob parted for the High Sherriff of Worchester. Nearly the same height as Thornton, this commanding figure was soon barking instructions. He ordered the rounding up of all within Coaton Hall. Hustling family and servants into the wood panelled gallery, Sir Richard Walsh, the King’s high representative demanded of the owner, “Where is your son?”
“Dead these long 10 years, as you well know Roger.”
“I mean, as well as you know, James who has been rabble-rousing at Oxford University.”
“I believe he is abroad serving his King.”
“Indeed, but which king, John, which king?”
The question was entirely rhetorical. For the Sherriff turned on his heel intent on starting his interrogations elsewhere. His militiamen too scoured the floor boards and panelling for any concealed entrances.
“Now,” thought Sir John, “the Thornton’s fortunes depend on a loyal carpenter’s skills and a clergyman’s stillness”.
Trials indeed of faith and loyalty in Jacobean England.

Read on at Wattpad….


Traitor’s Love – Prologue

NPG D21072,Robert Catesby,probably by; after Adam; Unknown engraver

Just released from prison, Robert Catesby looked for the last time at his beloved Chastleton. He had to sell his house to pay his fine. But he had admitted to plotting so that Queen Elizabeth I’s successor would be a Catholic. He was lucky only to lose his estate. They could have hanged, disembowelled and then cut him into quarters.

Yet he vowed revenge, he’d get the sovereign he wanted and his faith would be triumphant.

The outcome led to a plan to kill the whole of the English government. It almost succeeded and was ever after infamous as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’.

But even when you are conspiring to kill, love creeps in….

Read the book published in parts at Wattpad


Traitor’s Love – New Book




The young and handsome, James Thornton joins a venture to put a Catholic Queen on the English throne. He is also deeply loved Cathy Cordiner. However, She is a merchant’s daughter betrothed to a noble advisor to the King. The outcome is the Gunpowder plot to blow up the King and Parliament including Cathy.

How can escape a gruesome death? Could he kill the one he loves for his faith? How will he find happiness with Cathy together?


Read this new book in parts at Wattpad