How To Build a Wonderful Story

The video below talks about a quite well-known piece of history.

My fave author (right now) took this and wrote an incredible tale called Night After Night.

Yup. Talked about it before but somethings never get old.

KP was 36 when she died. After giving birth to a daughter by her 4th (?) husband Thomas Seymour.

KP was the “survived” of the divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived wives of Henry VIII.

Her body was said to have been – urm – interfered with after it was disinterred.

Princess Diana, the late Princess of Wales and NOT our Queen Consort now, died at 36.

Trinity Ansell (fictional) died at 36.

Trinity was haunted by the ghost of KP.

One of the Big Other contestants was haunted by the ghost of Diana.

Another of the Big Other contestants had just turned 36.

Read the book.


Mean Spirit

This is the follow up to Cold Calling which I finished about 2 weeks ago. Third time listening.

Who is stalking Seffi Callard, the world’s most fashionable celebrity medium, now a paranoid recluse at her father’s home in the Costwolds? Her old mentor, Marcus Bacton, editor of an ailing journal of the paranormal, sends his assistant, Grayle Underhill to find out – unaware that he’s thrusting them both into a nightmare… and the attentions of a vicious career-criminal for whom getting rich is less important than never getting dead.

I’m two weeks into listening to this at night. Yup. It takes me forever because I’m so knackered at the end of the day. And next night have to go back at least 10 chapters.

Mine own humble review of Mean Spirit :

The team from Cold Calling (minus Glaswegian Gobby Nursing Sister Andy Anderson – middle aged woman) is back together.

Grayle Underhill, the New York journalist, has decided to stay in St. Mary’s. Close to Marcus Bacton whose magazine The Phenomenologist is sinking fast and Grayle is helping to revive it as The Voice.

The gorgeous and cool Persephone Callard, of a black, late mother and a living upper-class white Sirship father, is a famous medium who has known Marcus since she was a child, attending the school where he once taught.

Cindy Mars-Lewis, South Wales Shaman and Cross-Dresser with his totem bird/puppet Kelvin Kite, is now on TV twice a week hosting The National Lottery.

The late, but revived by Sister Anderson policeman, Bobby Maiden is in line for promotion to Detective Chief Constable. Bobby had a very negative NDE (me too) and is still very wary of anything beyond the 3D.

Bring all these together with a famous TV hypnotist, a bloke who makes the Kray Brothers look like Nuns, an extremely bent high-ranking policeman forced (!) into retirement by Bobby and a huge “haunted house” once owned by a seriously deranged Victorian Spiritualist and things go somewhat awry.

Cindy is slammed by the public for taking the piss out of lottery winners who buy Barrett homes and BMW’s and “suddenly” all die. Marcus has a heart-attack. Grayle takes on a pseudonym after thinking that she’s killed a man and Seffi (Persephone) is haunted by a stinking, scarred, dead gangster who was once the best friend of reformed and now TV famous London Gangster.

I’m NOT a fan of Seffi. For me, she stands out as a cold and calculating madam who uses Marcus, Cindy, Grayle and Bobby without conscience or regret. All of whom then find themselves facing death by trying to help her.

Even the ending, and what happens to Seffi does not warm her one little bit.

We have no video for this post. All I can come up with is the one below.


Marcus Bacton is a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, but strangely loveable character who calls EVERYONE – apart from Persephone – by their last name.

Underhill. Maiden. Lewis. Anderson. Everyone else is just BASTARD :o)

The Cult of Mithras

I’m an Historian. I learned about the MSHist of this decades ago.
Recent stuff has interfered with my sleep ( makes me antsy?!) and this is about the 3rd week listening to Phil Rickman’s Merrily book The Secrets of Pain.


Because it’s slightly painful and NOT relaxing.

He goes deep, deep, deep into Mithraism as practised by the “Romans” and connects the whole myth with the SAS. Mithras was the SOLDIER’S GOD. And blood was his everything

The murderee is called Mansell BULL who is slaughtered in his own farmyard and the murderer is seen running away, covered in blood

He has a brother called Solus Bull who is tupping D.I Frannie Bliss’s estranged wife and is a popular media hero.

I call BULL shit on this Blood CULT :o)

Secrets of Pain vs Richard Dawkins

I’ve done my best to promote Phil Rickman’s Merrily books.

They are long and convoluted and revolve around a mother who is an Anglican Vicar and a daughter who is Pagan and their lives together in a village called Ledwardine.

Sounds boring? Nah. Rickman is one of the best “character” writers I’ve ever come across.

So many stand outs. Lucy Devenish dies very early in the series but she’s always there.

Gomer Parry – Plant Hire. Gomer is over 80 years old and will do all and anything to protect young Jane.

Lol )Laurence Robinson( one of Jane’s best friends, a shy and haunted folk singer/song writer who becomes Merrily’s lover and greatest love. And who now lives in the late Lucy Devenish’s cottage.

Barry – ex-SAS who is Landlord of the Swan pub and key player in this story about retired SAS soldiers.

And the wonderful DI Franny Bliss. Liverpudlian, lapsed Catholic incomer to the West Mercia Police Force.

I’m on my third go around with Secrets of Pain. Shit. How did I miss so much on the other two reads? ? ?

Merrily is having nightmares about Richard Dawkins. Even she thinks that she’s wasting her time propping up an archaic institution that is now more political than Christian.

BTW – Merrily is a Deliverance Minister aka Exorcist for the Diocese of Hereford. She KNOWS that there are more things in Heaven and on Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy, Horatio.

I may not be a Churchian or a Bible-tarian. But I have a deep and unmoving faith in the knowledge that WE are not the be all and end all of everything.

I don’t do “science” either. As my exams results say :o)

P.S. The audiobook has music. Lol singing the songs he’s written………!

Love Is a Stranger & Kelvin Kyte

Annie and Dave are fabby famous. So this song is Known by many.

Kelvin Kyte? And why bring him into it?

PAY ATTENTION to the music video. Read the below. And work IT OUT yo’self. FFS.


Nah :o)

Just words.

T characters are real people with real issues and the mysteries are dissected and solved in ways that make sense for a crime fiction story. However, the books are also heavily steeped in the supernatural.

Rickman, the author, understands religions and lore and folktales, and whatever he doesn’t know he researches thoroughly. This shows in The Cold Calling.

The series revolves around the experiences of Bobby Maiden, Marcus Bacton, Sister Anderson, and Cindy.

Cindy is a cross-dressing Shaman. When readers encounter him in the first novel (The Cold Calling), Cindy is certain that a landlady’s daughter was killed by the same person who took the life of William Rufus a long time ago.

Because of a lack of concrete evidence, no one gives Cindy’s ramblings any consideration and that, in turn, drives Cindy to undertake his own investigation.

Bobby Maiden is one of the police officers that choose to ignore Cindy’s claims, and for good reason. Bobby’s life is unraveling. Not only did his marriage implode but he discovered evidence pinning his boss to a corruption case.

When the boss in question retaliates, Bobby actually dies, only to revive a little while later. For Sister Anderson, death is nothing new. And as far as she knows, most people that return to the world of the living typically report visions of a bright light.

But for Bobby, the afterlife was a nightmare, and even after he revives, he cannot find peace. Terrible dreams torment him. If that wasn’t enough, Bobby knows that his boss will orchestrate another accident the first chance he gets.

So when Sister Anderson, a nurse that was miraculously healed and whose own healing powers brought him back to life, offers him sanctuary, Bobby accepts.

It is through Anderson that Bobby meets Marcus, a student of the supernatural, and Grayle Underhill, an American journalist who writes a New Age column in the New Yorker.

Grayle, Cindy, Bobby, Anderson, and Marcus must band together to overcome the mystical source of their respective challenges.

The Cold Calling series tells their story. Each novel follows the distinct journeys of the individual characters as they pull away from one another and then snap back together, forced to reconnect by unexpected circumstances.


These novels are most commonly commended for their magnetic characters and grounded exploration of incredible paranormal occurrences, with some of the best books in the series including:

The Cold Calling: Marcus lives in the ruin of an ancient castle. His life is hardly ordinary. After all, his housekeeper saw the Virgin Mary at a prehistoric burial mound.

When a television archaeologist buys the burial mound and then attempts to acquire the ancient castle, Marcus wants to fight back.

However, distractions keep pushing their way into his life. Chief amongst them is Bobby Maiden. The DI was killed by his corrupt boss. But then sister Anderson, a nurse, and alternative healer brought him back.

Now he is plagued by frightening dreams. Anderson brings Bobby to Marcus because she thinks he can help the police officer.

Meanwhile, Cindy, a ventriloquist, is certain that a serial killer is on the loose. However, he has no proof and no one will listen to him.



I have not counted the number of times that Phil/Will has had a pop at Richard Dawkins in his many novels.

But enough to tell us what he thinks of this #famous person/darwinian/atheist.

Back to Annie and Dave AND Stranger Danger. Gotta love past insults :o)

Mixed Up History

I blame myself :o(

Last night I listening to Phil Rickman’s latest and Pagan Jane (daughter of Anglican Deliverance Minister, Merrily) had talked Gomer Parry into taking her to the Queen Stone in Goodrich.

Jane and Gomer (a brilliant character) talk a lot about The Wicker Man Film and Druids and Alfred Watkins of Ley Line fame and Pagans and Blood Sacrifice and…..I had to connect the dots.

OK. I’ve looked into Druids. They have a get-out-clause in history. As in – they kept NO WRITTEN RECORDS. Everything was oral. Like Bards. Mmmmn!

The Wicker Man was made of wood so NO examples survive in archaeology. Convenient.

Blood Sacrifice – Just look into Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory and understand how we’ve ALL been led to believe that we’d wilfully do this. I think not. Talk to any sane War Vet and ask him if he “got off” on killing or bleeding half to death.

Much of what we are spoon-fed via media today is (IMHO) a 19th century invention.

I’ve NEVER liked the Victorians. Pious Creeps.

Before you call me out – Yes. We Scots have a blood soaked history but think about this strange thing….

Somerled was Lord of the Isles.

Christopher Lee is on record as saying that this was his favourite role – playing LORD SUMMERISLE.

Shrug. My mind works in mysterious ways. But then I’m of Clan Gregor and Clan DONALD!

Goodrich – Border Marches

Years back, when the purchase of our first ever home (in Hereford) fell through, we found another one in Goodrich.

It looked amazing. Within sight of the castle and close to Hereford and Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. We went for a viewing and found out that the garden with orchard was shared by three houses/families and the ceilings inside were so low as to be uncomfortable, even for me.


Fever Of the World has brought all of this back, along with something that I had absolutely no idea about.

The castle is famous but there also used to a mock medieval “court” manor beside it which was demolished around 1949.

Goodrich Court, GoodrichHerefordshireEngland was a 19th-century, neo-gothic castle built by the antiquarian Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick in 1828. Designed by the architect Edward Blore, the court is described by Pevsner as a “fantastic and enormous tower-bedecked house.” The court’s situation, on a hilltop facing Goodrich Castle, so offended the poet William Wordsworth that he wished “to blow away Sir Samuel Meyrick’s impertinent structure and all the possessions it contained.”

Meyrick built the Court to house his very significant collection of armour and antiquities, much of which subsequently passed to the British Museum and to the Wallace Collection. In the years following its construction, Meyrick’s house and its collections became a notable element of the Wye Tour.

Meyrick’s son predeceased him and after Meyrick’s death, the Court passed through a number of hands, housing pupils from Felsted School during the Second World War. When the school left, the building was stripped of its contents, furnishings and fixtures, and completely demolished in 1949–50. Today, apart from a small lodge and the stables, the only significant remainder is the Monmouth Gatehouse, which stands on the Monmouth to Ross-on-Wye Road.


Meyrick (allegedly) plundered half the ancient sites in Wales looking for antiquities to decorate this new house old his.

A 19th century grave-robber! And much despised by William Wordsworth the poet.

Goodrich and surrounding areas are bea- oooo- ti- ful.

For The Hell of IT or Fever of the World

There are around 11 days until the next Merrily Watkins book is released for sale.

I’m hoping that the audio comes out the same day. Fingers crossed.

It’s kind of strange that all of last year the reviews for this book mentioned “the fever of the world” aka panicdemic.

Today – 22 May 2022 – not a single review says a single world about the past two years of stupidity.

Go figure.

Rickman does real and legend and fact and myth and fiction so bloody well.

This next book – FEVER OF THE WORLD has the poet William Wordsworth as a sinew that holds and connects.

I wandered lonely as a cloud…..

I learned that poem at school aged 10. Something about daffodils? Long time passing.

‘I called on darkness … midnight darkness …’ At the end of the 18th century, the poet William Wordsworth rambled, in a strange visionary haze, from Salisbury Plain up into the Wye Valley. The epic walk changed his life. More than 200 years later, Oxford student David Vaynor followed the same secluded route and still can’t explain what happened to him there. Now he’s back, as a police detective investigating a suspicious death, and finds that, in this place of cliffs and chasms, it’s far from easy to escape the past. Meanwhile, Merrily Watkins, diocesan exorcist for Hereford, is being warned that in-depth investigation is not part of her job – a job she may not be holding down for very long. She’ll be risking her future to help Vaynor uncover the secrets carried through a haunted landscape by Britain’s most revered river. For behind the scenic beauty are elements that, as Wordsworth wrote, ‘promote ill purposes and flatter foul desires.’

When Fiction & Reality Collide


I googled Lol Robinson – Heavy Medication Day.

If you don’t know the books – this is Laurence Robinson’s Redemption song in the Merrily Watkins books.

Lol spent time in a psych ward after being falsely accused of raping an underage girl. His (fictional) song Heavy Medication Day tells of the torment that Dr. Gascoigne put him through with drugs to shut him up.

As the series progresses, bit by bit, we see Lol redeem himself through music and his Boswell (Lute of the Frome) guitar.

With the help of Merrily and Jane and the dead Lucy Devenish – who introduced Jane to Lol and was a mentor to both of them.


Laurence Robinson (fictional) via Phil Rickman (real) sings.

P.S. Hazey Jane was…oh, read or listen to the books. I recommend the Merrily books read by Emma Powell.

Lute of the Frome

Poor Lol.

That’s Laurence Robinson, Merrily Watkins lover. He’s a musician with issues and in Fabric of Sin his biggest issue is the unholy destruction of his prized Boswell guitar by paid thugs.

The “Boswell” is a lovingly created guitar from the hands of Al Boswell who treats each instrument as a child of his loins.

The guitar cost Lol £4,000. (The book was written in the late ’90’s, early 2000’s if I remember correctly)

Boswell’s guitar making business is called – The Lute of the Frome.

Frome pronounced FROOM.

Can’t make this shit up. Catch me if you can :o)

9 is THE Controller of the Universe!

For the longest time I’ve been fascinated by the 3, 6, 9 thing-a-me-bobby.

Tesla too. He was one good-looking man with a brilliant mind. IMHumbleO

Many ages ago – I was taught how to do the 9 times table on my fingers. I still use it. Maths has never given me that elusive “finest moment.”

Back in 2019 I posted about Tesla and his 3,6,9 Theory. It has come back again via Phil Rickman and the Fabric of Sin. Merrily is an ordained Christian Vicar and widow. Her teenage daughter is….Pagan. With a deep distrust of the Church of England. Natural tension just on this point.

In The Fabric of Sin, Jane is trying to tell her Mum the significance of the number 9 as it relates to the Templars. The first “Knights TEMPLAR” were just 9 men guarding the Pilgrim routes from Western Europe to the Holy Land. So they’d’ve had only 5 horses between them because (as we all know) they rode two to a horse…but maybe the Big Boss had his own steed (?)

Yeah. Even I can work out that 5 horses and 9 men could NEVER cover the thousands of pilgrim routes over thousands of miles all at once. IT DOES NOT ADD UP!

So. WHY was Tesla so CERTAIN that 3, 6, 9 were the numbers of the all & everything?


3×1 = 3

3+3 = 6

6+6+6 = 9

9+9 = 9

F1RST Rule of Deliverance : Never Leave Without a BLESSING

We now have an East Coast of America Exorcist called Amanda.

Way to go, pet.

Do you have Huw Owen – “her exorcist mentor, is wonderfully irascible and ambivalent.”

Born in Wales. Raised in Yorkshire. Living in a tumbledown rectory in the Brecon Beacons?

I’ve asked too much. I’m too suspicious of ytoooooobers who can backdate their profile 8 years. It’s such a common number.

BTW : Wine of Angels is the F1RST Merrily book. Apples. Orchards. Lucy Devenish. Thomas Trahearne.

ScritchScratch – Love ya :o)

Garway Church & The 666 Dovecote

I won’t tell you again how much I admire Phil Rickman. Oooops. Just did.


Garway Church and the 666 Dovecote which play such a huge role in FABRIC of SIN are real.

The Master’s House and it’s haunting are probably fictional.

As are the myths of The Poor Knights of the Temple of King Soloman.


Too Complicated To Talk about in One Post.

42 – or Thoughty2 has just released a video about the Knight’s Templar. And as I’m currently listening to Fabric of Sin by Phil Rickman, which deals with the Templar Church at Garway, Herefordshire – I’m being taken back 3/4 years to previous posts on a previous blog that Greta Brookes began in 2018.

For a long time AMP has been a guiding hand in my research.

BTW : the last time I mentioned him here I got a like from a person PRETENDING to be AMP. TRUE TRUTH & #Disgusting.

AMP article quote which touches on the Templars but this bit is relevant to ME.

Playing with myth and fiction, the past has been built and in turn dressed and partially erased from history, its link to real events. But the real story is written parabolically, in a very long chronology. The main axes can be deciphered and, in part, demonstrated, for three reasons. One, because there has never been an intention to hide it. Two, because there is evidence of its manipulation. And three, because it has been transcribed, despite censorship, the way to rewrite it. The New Chronology of Fomenko and Nosovskiy lay the foundation for this reconstruction, while its variant, known as the X-185 Chronology, has just shaped it. As their names point, there is another chronological map on which to understand another story, very different from the official one.

According to both works, the construction of the story in a long time context begins in the sixteenth century, accelerates in the seventeenth and has its peak in the eighteenth, being the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when it is completed with “monumental” contents for its quantity, detail and extension. And everything that happened until the nineteenth century should be called into question, in the same way as all dating methods, including Carbon-14, which is considered infallible but is not. All its methodology is based on calibration tables that consider valid the existence of samples that fit a chronological map that is not questioned. And this leads to numerous errors.


See? Complications that require too much research and brain-work. Unless y’all just skim the surface and make a video.

Year of the TIGER. Meow. Slash. Claw.

‘Promote ill purposes and Flatter foul desires.’

POETS Day – of a sort.

As in Pee Off Early, Tuesday Soon :o)

My brain had convinced me that the latest Merrily book would be available on the 2nd of April.

Stupid Brain!

Phil Rickman

Next book in the MW exorcism series, out on June 2, 2022.

’I called on darkness… midnight darkness…’

At the end of the 18th century, the poet William

Wordsworth rambled, in a strange visionary 

haze, from Salisbury Plain up into the Wye 

Valley. The epic walk changed his life.

More than 200 years later, Oxford student David

Vaynor followed the same secluded route and 

still can’t explain what happened to him there.

Now he’s back, as a police detective investigating

a suspicious death and finding that, in this place of

awesome cliffs and chasms, there are crimes the 

police can’t deal with.

Meanwhile, Merrily Watkins, diocesan exorcist for 

Hereford, is being warned that in-depth investigation 

is not part of her job – a job she may not be holding 

down for much longer. At the start of the national

lockdown caused by the threatening pandemic, she’ll be 

risking her future to help Vaynor uncover the secrets of 

England and Wales’ s most revered river.

For behind the scenic beauty are elements that, as 

Wordsworth put it, ‘promote ill purposes and flatter 

foul desires.’

Regan, Regan, Merrily

When real life and the supernatural (?) collide.

Yesterday was a bit disturbing to me for several reasons. I thought I’d laughed the dark away but apparently not.

It came back to haunt my dreams.

I have no memory of the dream but – as I was told this morning – I spent half the night talking in my sleep.

What did I say? I asked, warily.

No, bloody idea. It was like listening to Regan, speaking in tongues!

Oooh. Kay.

Regan |

My kind of Regan |

Merrily? Anna Maxwell Martin, Regan in King Lear also played Merrily Watkins in Midwinter of the Spirit.

I’m hecking good at this. The quote above is by Ashley Jensen, best known now for playing Agatha Raisin in the M.C. Beaton TV adaptations :o)

The Fabric of Sin

I’ve read/listened to every single Merrily Watkins book at least twice. And I still can’t remember the stories.

I’m not listening in order at the moment. Too straight line and confining.

Tonight I will start The Fabric of Sin – It’s not even a decade since the last time and …HOW DID I FORGET?

Oh. I got caught up in a BSFlood. Tut. Shame on me.

Prince Charles’s interests antagonize Masons, former hippies and an ultra-secret cadre devoted to Knights Templar history.

The Duchy of Cornwall has purchased the Garway Master House and environs for Prince Charles and plans to turn it into a major craft center snuggled on the border between England and Wales. Then, strange happenings bring Merrily Watkins, Deliverance Coordinator for the Church of England. When two people die, Merrily is advised to resolve matters before the upcoming Friday the 13th anniversary of Jacques de Molay’s 1307 torture and demise. The antagonistic history of the church and the Knights Templar is echoed by the warring Gwilym and Newton families and the current English bishop and archdeacon’s ties to the Masonic order. In addition, Welsh nationalists may be plotting to reseat one of their own as Prince of Wales. A local vicar, a squire and a peer of the realm, formerly hippies in residence at the Master House, will mislead Merrily, her musician lover Lol and her daughter Jane before there’s a discovery and a fog-shrouded collision near an herbalist’s cottage. Rickman (The Remains of an Altar, 2007, etc.), a historian of the first order, neatly segues between church policies of today and seven centuries ago. Be prepared to read slowly, maybe even take notes.

I’ve known about Rosslyn for decades. Way before that “beast” Dan Brown totally totalled history and made it fantasy. That everyone now believes without doubt because they saw the film!

Ooooh. Snarky me :o)

Let’s go to Rosslyn. NO. I’ve never actually, literally, really set foot in the place. Sue me!

P.S. I’m bloody good at this, yeah?



Sigh. Never mind.

Departure Lounge

I’ve had to pause in my night-time listens with this book!

Rap twice if you believe in ghosts.

Saddled with Siân Callaghan-Clarke and Nigel Saltash, an ambitious cleric and a publicity-hound psychiatrist recently appointed advisors to her office, Anglican vicar Merrily Watkins is wary of helping out retired copper Andy Mumford, who comes to her in despair when his nephew Robbie plunges from a tower of Ludlow Castle and Robbie’s grandmother insists she sees her grandson’s ghost. When another youngster catapults from the castle and granny winds up face down in the river, Merrily and Mumford must decide whether young Robbie committed suicide to unite with his 12th-century love Marian de La Bruyère or was murdered. Mumford focuses on a gang of Robbie’s druggie tormentors while Merrily and her musician lover Lol watch eccentric Belladonna, a rock star turned town benefactor, who often wanders the Ludlow cobblestones in the company of Robbie and Jonathan Scole, founder of the local Ghost Walk. The cryptic Belladonna is the bane of fusty mayor George Lackland, whose son wants to marry Belladonna’s stepdaughter. A paean to Welsh border history and its spirits that will undoubtedly put Ludlow Castle on many to-see lists. Nor is Rickman (The Prayer of the Night Shepherd, 2004, etc.) any slouch when it comes to contemporary church politics, Internet chat rooms or village rumor mills.

WHY? I hear y’all not cry. I’ll tell you anyways.

At a certain point in the story Jane, Merrily’s 17 year old daughter, gets involved in the investigation. She spends time on the internet trying to find out why kids keep throwing themselves off Ludlow Castle.

Enter the “Departure Lounge.” An internet chat room aimed at effed up teenagers with shitty lives. The MODERATORS encourage these teenagers to seek the sanctity of “eternal rest.”

Self-euthanasia. In dramatic ways. Just to piss off every person who ever pissed them off in life.

Too creepy and close to truth?

Phil wove the all too real and still extant MYTH of the 12th century Marian de La Bruyère into the book. Along with a fictional punk singer and total weirdo called BellaDonna.

I’m loving Lol (Laurence) Robinson. Merrily’s lover. He’s a musician with a dark past and old connections to BellaDonna.

I believe it was Sir John Betjeman who once said that Ludlow was prettiest town in England. Maybe.

Mr Phoebus : Elgar

The Remains of an Altar.

I learn so much from Phil Rickman.

I’m listening to Remains right now.

In 1934, the dying composer Sir Edward Elgar feebly whistled to a friend the theme from his Cello Concerto and said, “If you’re walking on the Malvern Hills and hear that, don’t be frightened. It’s only me.” Seventy years later, Merrily Watkins—parish priest and Deliverance Consultant to the Diocese of Hereford—is called in to investigate an alleged paranormal dimension in a spate of road accidents in the Malvern village of Wychehill. There, Merrily discovers new tensions in Elgar’s countryside. The proposed takeover of a local pub by a nightclub owner with a criminal reputation has become the battleground between the defenders of Olde Englande and the hard men of the drug world—with extreme and sinister elements on both sides. And as the choral society prepares to stage an open-air performance of Elgar’s Caractacus at a prehistoric hill fort, the deaths begin…Another spellbinding thriller in Phil Rickman’s lauded occult mystery series.

Who the fluff is Mr. Phoebus?

He’s more down-to-earth than you’d imagine.

As for Caractacus Hill – been there done that. Caradog…betrayed by Cartimandua to the Romans. His son, Linus, was supposedly the Very First Bishop of Rome.

Let’s get Hysterically Historical here with a magical, musical, mystery tour :o)

Oh. And sorry for the vernacular but – when a pig-shit-ignorant ytber stands on an altar stone smoking a spliff and pontificating about how wonderful he is……I exit stage left.

To Dream of the Dead

I’m onto another listen of this Phil Rickman book.

Maybe my third listen/read.

That’s why I love this writer soooo bloody much. You miss 99% first time and 59% next time.

BTW : I get stretches of time to do this stuff here that last from seconds to maybe 20 minutes. I’ve been watching BB since about 8 am and we are now almost 4pm. He’s triggered me again.

WHO T F is Richard Hawkins?

Phil Rickman hates him….via his characters.


TO DREAM OF THE DEAD is the latest instalment in this series set in Ledwardine, a fictional Herefordshire village in the Welsh borders featuring female vicar and local exorcist Merrily Watkins and her pagan teenage daughter Jane.

As the book opens in the run up to Christmas, the river is starting to burst its banks, and Ledwardine is in danger of flooding. Village tension is also mounting, as the excavation of historic standing stones is putting a spanner in the works of local bigwigs’ plans to redevelop Coleman’s meadow for executive housing. Bumptious TV architect Blore plus camera crew are in charge of the excavation, and Jane and the local council are shut out. In the meantime, a local politician is found dead in a particularly gruesome manner in a deserted Hereford monastery, with traces left on the body related to another historical find, the Dinedor serpent. As this local politician approved the building of a new road on the site of the serpent, the local environmentalist and pagan community come under suspicion. Merrily’s old friend, DI Franny Bliss however suspects rather more prosaic motives are behind the murder, and despite his superior officer, “Ice Maiden” Annie Howe’s disapproval, starts to cast around the political fraternity for further information. Despite herself, Merrily becomes involved in the investigation as the victim’s widow is a friend of her colleague, diocese secretary Sophie, and because the police see her daughter Jane as a vital source of information regarding the pagan community under suspicion. Merrily also feels under professional pressure when she finds out that an aggressively atheist author in the mould of Richard Dawkins has moved into the area under a false name.

TO DREAM OF THE DEAD has a slightly different feel to earlier books in the series as the emphasis is more upon the police investigation than upon Merrily’s unusual work as the local exorcist. But in other respects it is business as usual. Phil Rickman manages to neatly reconcile the various strands of plot to provide a satisfying, dramatic conclusion, and characterisation and dialogue are sharp and witty; the author provides a neat satire on village life in the “new Cotswolds” and the relationships between local inhabitants and the newcomers who attempt to gentrify the area. I look forward to further books in this series, but do hope that the next book has more of a focus on Merrily and the spiritual and potentially supernatural elements behind crime and traumatic events.

Laura Root, England
January 2009


Personal Disclaimer : I have utter faith in FAITH. I don’t do RELIGION.

Whoooa. Rick Daw has hit a bit of a wobbly point in so many today?

The Magus Hay & The King of Hay

Of course I had to check it out!

Phil Rickman’s book The Magus of Hay (current book I’m invested in) features Richard Booth, the Self-Proclaimed “King” of Hay.

Hay-on Wye is a place that I’ve long longed to visit. Soo effing close to Hereford and Ross-on-Wye and Goodrich that I missed it. OK, I was lead AWAY from it by others because it’s the Book Capital of the UK.

I’ve heard too many insults about the amount of books I own from family members :o(


The King of Hay is/was REALLY REAL.

This is another reason why I love Phil’s books. He actually lives his work.

I used ALL “real” (?) Historical Peeps in my novel. Which can be quite confining. Ravens of Dinefwr is a mix of “real” and purely fictional.

THRILLER & The Magus of Hay

WTF is this OBSESSION with dead people still being alive? ? ?

I honestly don’t understand the vibe.

This week’s nocturnal audiobook is Magus of Hay by Phil Rickman.

Merrily, the Diocesan Deliverance Minister aka Exorcist, is called in to counsel and help a recently bereaved ex-head mistress whose secretary, companion, best friend (& lover?) has recently died. They shared the same bedroom, twin beds, and Merrily does her blessing thing.

But the ex-headmistress complains to the Bishop because she can now no longer see and talk to her late friend.


Once upon a time I lived in the Burj Khalifa for about 10 days. We were a few seconds walk from the fountains and the most amazing Lebanese restaurant. All public restaurants there are “dry.” No alcohol. But a few steps away are several bars.

I might’ve wandered out of the bar, leaving himself and his sister. They found me a bit later watching, listening to this and dancing with a bunch of total strangers. Shrug.

MJ – Wanted. Dead or Alive :o)

“In Crybbe, Night Did Not Fall. Night Rose” : I Have Writer Envy :o(

I’ve been such a fan of the Merrily Watkins books for so long that I’d neglected all of Phil Rickman’s stand-alone books.

Until last year.

Having finished the Trilogy about Grayle and Marcus and Cyndi, I’ve started Curfew…again. For the 3rd time!

What an opening sentence. Wow.

We often indulge in Food Envy here. You know that moment when you see what someone else is eating and think Dang&Blast That looks better than my meal ?

I have writer’s envy :o(

On the border between England and Wales lies the tiny town of Crybbe, not picturesque enough for the tourist trade, quietly sliding into decay. Max Goff means to change all that. Goff has made millions in the record business, but his heart is in New Age philosophy. He has learned that Crybbe was once a spiritual centre of sorts, surrounded by ancient standing stones that were emblems of power. He means to replace the stones that have fallen – or been destroyed, as many of them were – and establish a thriving New Age community that will draw tourists and students from all over the world. What Max Goff doesn’t know is that the standing stones of Crybbe were destroyed in the sixteenth century for a very good reason. Some of the endearing customs of the town – such as tolling the church bell for curfew each night – are actually deadly serious rituals. The people of Crybbe know that evil has been kept at bay here by the old ways, and that there’s nothing quaint about them. And the power about to be unleashed by Max Goff is nothing like the soothing music and herbal remedies he associates with the New Age. This is the power of the old age, pent up for centuries and about to be released with deadly fury!

In my head – there is such a wonderful feeling about sitting in front of a proper fire, all snuggled up, with just a reading light on and indulging in a good, old-fashioned scary story.

The next Merrily book is released in June 2022. I can’t complain. Mr Rickman suffered a stroke so (I’m guessing) was unable to go through the proofs and rewrite and re-edit etc.

Wishing him well x

Preview of Night of The Lingering Ghosts/The Fever of the World (???)…….Starring the lingering ghost of the poet William Wordsworth!

‘I called on Darkness-but before the word
Was uttered, midnight darkness seemed to take
All objects from my sight…’
William Wordsworth

England’s most famous poet once thought of himself as a modern druid and found his deepest inspiration on the banks of the River Wye, where Celtic magic can still be found and an old darkness lingers.

Now, as the world is at the mercy of the coronavirus pandemic, diocesan exorcist Merrily Watkins learns that the ghosts of the lower Wye Valley still need some attention…

The Winchcombe Grotesques

Yes. I’m back with Phil Rickman/Will Kingdom and Night After Night.

To me – he is a perfect example of how to use local folk-lore and legend inside a work of fiction.

Right at the heart of Night After Night is a Nightmare experienced by one of the characters. She has a recurring dream about the many grotesques on her local church, St. Peter’s, Winchcombe.

I’ve never been there. Part of my extended family live in Tetbury but we parted ways over a decade ago through lies and deceptions that were nothing to do with us and everything to do with our money…and their greed.

There is a huge difference between gargoyles and grotesques if you take the time to research. (?)

OK,SO…Winchcombe is on my list (very long list) of places to visit.

Oh. P.S. Phil also uses the local Long Barrow as a character !!!

Dwarfie Stane

I could go so deeply into this but I’m all organised out, right now.

Maybe tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Dorothy Dunnett : King Hereafter.

Ken Bran being Gorgeous (why did I NOT meet him?)

Phil Rickman’s obsession with healing barrows and stone thingamebobbies.



Dry Stane Walling – I grew up with this phrase and will forever use it.


……OK. I can’t help myself and my yearnings. Ken first….and always :o)

Side Note : Is there not another story of a rock chamber and a boulder somewhere in history?

Noli Me Tangere.

Big Brother vs Big Other

I’ve gone back to the beginning…which was actually the end of the trilogy. But I read this one first.

Night After Night.

KP. Trinity. Marcus Bacton. Holy Grayle Underhill. Andy Anderson and the glorious Cindy Mars-Lewis return.

Amazon Blurb followed by Phil Rickman’s Truth.

“Contains scenes some viewers may find disturbing…Leo Defford doesn’t believe in ghosts. But, as the head of an independent production company, he does believe in high-impact TV. Defford hires journalist Grayle Underhill to research the history of Knap Hall, a one-time Tudor farmhouse that became the ultimate luxury guest house…until tragedy put it back on the market. Its recent history isn’t conducive to a quick sale, but Defford isn’t interested in keeping Knap Hall for longer than it takes to make a reality TV show that will run night after night…A house isolated by its rural situation and its dark reputation. Seven people, nationally known, but strangers to one another, locked inside. But this time, Big Brother may not be in control.”

The publishers wanted a stand-alone ghost story. Which it is. It totally stands alone, just like the earliest novels. 

Except they didn’t, quite, did they? Characters from previous novels floated in, although it didn’t really matter if you hadn’t read those previous novels. I became a bit superstitious about this. There always had to be someone from an earlier novel, even if it was little more than a walk-on.

Anyway… Night After Night… I had the idea of a ghost story that would also be a crime story and also a novel about reality television. 

Essentially, I wondered what Celebrity Big Brother would be like in a supposedly haunted house. Celebrity Big Brother compressed into a week and with celebs who had either an interest in the paranormal or a profound disdain for anything unscientific. Conflict is at the core of CBB, although this would have to be slightly more cerebral, looking to take psychic research a bit further… or maybe kick it into history.

So I started wondering which of those earlier characters might finish up in this house, and it wasn’t long before Cindy shimmered into a view, a memorable character from a couple of books I wrote under the name Will Kingdom. If you know about Cindy already, enough said. If you don’t… never mind. Although it isn’t that important. This novel really does stand alone.)

My own TV experience is limited to news, so I had a lot of help from Gavin Henderson, who’s devised and produced some Big Brother. Hadn’t realised how many working people would be around that haunted house… like over a hundred? Or how much the celebs could get paid for this (a lot) or how they were chosen… or how you made sure you didn’t wind up with serious chaos and a police raid. 

It was big and complicated, and so it needed to be seen mainly through one pair of eyes. It looked like a job for Cindy’s friend, Grayle Underhill, American-born New Age journalist. Someone who knew how to handle slightly strange people.

For some reason, I felt it needed to be told in the present tense. I’d never done this before, not for a whole book. It was interesting. It puts you right there, in the house. It makes you examine things in a more intense way. Where am I? What can I see? What do I feel? What do some people feel that others don’t? Grayle’s never entirely sure.

If you’ve met Grayle before, you should know that she’s a few years older and she’s changed quite a lot. Become more British, more cynical, more objective. More interesting, I think.

Right, then…  a ghost story and also a crime novel, both of which kind of creep up on you.

It’s about how people react to ghosts and how some people try to use them. The ghosts out there and the ghosts in your mind. How not everyone has the same experience – bit like my old website. It’s not a horror novel. Yeah, yeah, I know Amazon’s going to keep telling you it’s horror; Amazon computers don’t deal in subtleties, don’t easily handle – here comes one of my favourite words – periphery. 

I’ll leave you with Marcus Bacton’s view. Marcus is a grumpy old sod and no friend of Richard Dawkins.

Ghosts,’ Marcus says, ‘exist as momentary reminders. Accept them. Don’t challenge them, never try to befriend them. Don’t run towards them waving your crucifix… back away. I’ve heard sceptics and atheists say “I don’t believe in ghosts but I’m afraid of them.” Well exactly. Trust terror… little else is safe.’

Is he right? Dunno, really.



I never have been a fan of the Big Brother TV show. I watched one and saw a bunch of retards doing retarded stuff all in the pursuit of fame and money.

Channel 4 used to be the Edgy UK channel. Then they became a bit more conservative and Channel 5 bought the franchise for BB.

A backwards sliding scale?

Anyhoo. It’s all coming back to me as I listen. The working title for Leo’s new show is Big Other. 7 celebs will spend a week in the late Trinity Ansell’s home, talk about spiritualism and ghosts and religion and revenants and try to summon up two women who both died aged 36.

Trinity and Katherine Parr – the end one of Divorced, Beheaded, Died. Divorced. Beheaded. SURVIVED….but not for long.

Phil thinks so far out of every box ever constructed. That’s why I love his work. Apparently he had a stroke recently (2019) that has put the latest Merrily Watkins book back a couple of years.

Sublime to………Big Brother.