I have been very concerned by, and, yes, afraid, of the war of words between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. They both seem to be wanting a fight. This I can’t understand as it would be a war that cannot be won, and could be the end of humanity. Certainly it would be the end of society as we know it.
It would not end with the cessation of attacks. Such a war would leave a legacy of radiation and sickness for those left behind, and without the resources of medicine, millions more, who survived the blast, would die horribly. Think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those bombs are as children’s toys compared with what is available to the nuclear powers today’
Then there’s the ‘Nuclear Winter’ that would follow. Without the sun, plants would fail and there would be massive starvation. How can world leaders even consider such a dire possibility?
In the 1960s, people were afraid that a nuclear war was a very real possibility. After all, in 1960,it had only been 15 years, since the USA dropped a hydrogen bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was also the era of the ‘cold war’, and everyone was afraid of Russia, or rather the USSR as it was then, a vast empire ruled by Russia. It was in this climate I wrote the following poem.
It is the only poem that exists from that time. It is also the only poem of mine ever to have been published before as a poem and not as part of a novel. It was published in the student magazine of UMIST, in Manchester.
A Plea for Peace
Now we have created something
That threatens to destroy.
One error, one mistake
And what is left for us
I see the ruins of a country
That once was powerful.
Now it is nothing but
Ruins, dust, decay
I hear the cries of suffering people
Many people, old and young
They cry in agony to God
Please give us peace
The only true peace we can have on Earth
Is through remembrance of our Saviour’s birth.
If you liked this poem, and have an opinion on the views it expresses, please add a comment in the comments section.
As you will know if you’ve been reading my pages, I also write under the name of Emily Littler. The novels (well, one to date and another on the way) I write under that name are Historical novels, and the first, Vengeance of a Slave, is set in Roman Britain. I thought it might be interesting to give a little background and so I am posting a few bits that I think you might be interested in. The first is about a woman who most will have heard of. Boudicca, sometimes known as Boadiccea, Queen of the Iceni in Eastern Britain.
The year is 60 AD. Suetonius, the governor of Britannia is off on the island of Mona, putting down a revolt of the Druids there. This island, off the coast of North Wales, is a stronghold of the Druids. The Romans hate them. I suppose it’s because they refuse to worship the Roman gods, and deny that the emperor is a god.
I am of the Iceni tribe, and I have seen what has been happening. Our king, Prasutagus, has died, but, he made his will and has left our lands to his two daughters and the emperor, Nero, to govern together.
I suppose he thought he would secure the safety of the tribe by having the emperor himself a joint ruler. However, things seem to be turning out very differently.
After Prasutagus’s death, Nero decided he was going to be the sole ruler of our lands, and he has sent troops to annex them. Needless to say, this has angered Boudicca, Prasutagus’s queen. Nero has wilfully ignored her husband’s will.
Prasutagus was an ally of Rome, and this is how his last will and testament is being treated. Still, this is the emperor and his greed is notorious. Indeed, the greed of all the Romans for land and other goods is well-known.
Boudicca has made her anger known to the Romans. They are not pleased. I heard the soldiers took her and flogged her, then raped her daughters. I am worried about what will happen now. Queen Boudicca is a strong woman and I don’t think she will readily accept this treatment.
I was right. Boudicca is full of anger. She is planning a revolt. No, a war. She has gained the support of the Trinovantes, and it is said, some other tribes too, as well as the Iceni. They are marching to Camulodunum. The Romans have erected a temple there to their emperor, Claudius. And at our expense. The cheek of it. The Romans say their emperors are gods. Crazy folk, these Romans.
But we Britons have a great history. We saw Julius Caesar off when he came to conquer, so why not these Romans, and why not with Boudicca at our head?. She’s a great leader. She inspired her army with these words.
“It is not as a woman descended from noble ancestry, but as one of the people that I am avenging lost freedom, my scourged body, the outraged chastity of my daughters. This is a woman’s resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves.”
Well, she did it. she managed to conquer Camulodunum. They say she razed it to the ground and slaughtered the inhabitants. Perhaps a bit violent, as many died who were not Romans. But that happens in War.
Boudicca besieged the remaining people in the temple of Claudius for two days. The Romans living there sent for help, but only 200 auxilliaries turned up, so it was easy to fight them off. Very few of them survived.
‘Londinium next,’ they said. ‘The army is going to do the same there as they did in Camulodunum.’ They didn’t expect the rest of the army to come marching down Watling Street from Mona in response. The Romans made for Londinium, but we were too many for the Roman army and so they left.
Londinium was not important enough, evidently, for the Romans to fight for it. In spite of the pleas of the population, mainly traders and merchant vessels. Suetonius, the commander of the army, left the city to Boudicca.
Our army reached Londinium, and finding little or no resistance, they razed that to the ground too, just like Camulodunum. Many of the population had left with Suetonius, but the army put those who had remained to the sword, then burned the buildings.
The same fate awaited Verulamium, a little further north. The slaughter was terrible, they said. Boudicca had no interest in taking prisoners even as slaves, but killed everyone in the most brutal fashions she could think of. They say that in the slaughter, of the three towns, between seventy and eighty thousand people were killed.
Boudicca and her followers made sacrifices of some of these people to the gods. Were the gods pleased? who knows. The following events don’t seem to suggest as much.
While Boudicca and her allies were slaughtering and burning, Suetonius was busy. He regrouped his army and he called on his own force, the Legio XIV Gemina, and some vexillationes from the XX Valeria Victrix. Although the Legio II Augusta di not come to Suetonius’s call, nevertheless he managed to amass around ten thousand men. Then they marched to meet our army.
Suetonius took a stand somewhere along Watling Street, in a small valley with a wood behind him. He was still heavily outnumberd by Boudicca’s forces, though. Our army, I was told, numbered about 230,000.
Boudicca made a speech from her chariot and fired up her army. She pointed out that the gods were with them because they had already routed one legion, She did not, of course, mention that it was not the full legion.
Well, a number of things were against our army that day. The terrain was narrow, being in a valley, and so we could not put any more men forward at a time than the Romans could. Then, in that valley, our chariots proved to be not very manoeverable.
At first, when we attacked, the Romans threw heavy pila at us. These were a kind of javelin, and they killed thousands of our men, rushing forward to engage battle.
Then they formed a wedge and forced our men back. They were highly disciplined, and our troops were not. We fought as every man for himself and all rushed forward as individuals, with no thought for co-operation with each other.
Then the men were forced back against the wagons where the women and children waited. That was another thing. The Romans did not bring their families to battle.
The long and short of it is that we were defeated, and heavily. Boudicca poisoned herself rather than submit to the Romans, no one knows what happened to her daughers. Perhaps they were taken as slaves, perhaps they, too, committed suicide, or perhaps, just perhaps, they might have escaped.
They say that after this battle, Nero was ready to abandon Britannia. Unfortunately, though, he didn’t. After the uprising, Suetonius started to conduct punitive operations, but Nero feared he would trigger a new uprising so replaced him. He replaced Suetonius with our current governor, Publius Petronius Turpilianus.
So that is where we are today. Under the rule of Rome. They, the Romans, say it’s good. We are at peace. they’ve stopped the inter-tribal wars and brought us what they say is culture. But we had culture before. It was just not the same as the Romans.
You can read my book, Vengeance of a Slave, set a little after Boudicca’s revolt.
Yet another volume in the Stairlift to Heaven series. Terry Ravenscroft is still at it, accompanied by his faithful friend Atkins (although Atkins shows distinct signs of being unfaithful on at least one occasion). Similarly aged readers, and those approaching old age, will do well to heed the advice offered in these epistles. They will learn, amongst other things, how to deal with Men from the Orient who constantly plague you on the telephone, people who ring you up tell you there’s something that needs fixing on your computer if you don’t want your bank account to be emptied, General Election canvassers who arrive on your doorstep uninvited and unwanted, how to ensure that tarmac layers carry out their jobs in the manner promised and at the agreed price, and how definitely not to behave at a football match if you are seated amongst the opposition’s supporters. And lots, lots more. And, whilst doing all this, have a bit of FUN.
I have recently finished reading Book 4 of Terry Ravenscroft’s Stairway to Heaven books. He has been writing these autobiographical books about his life and escapades for a while now, and they are very funny.
Terry Ravenscroft was, until he retired, a scriptwriter for many well known TV comedians and sit-coms, including such names as Les Dawson, the Two Ronnies, Morcambe and Wise and Ken Dodd as well as Alas Smith and Jones, Not the 9o’Clock News, The News Hudlines and many others.
This book does begin on a sad note when Terry tells of the sad death of his wife, The Trouble, from the earlier books. It is very clear he misses her immensely, and at first, he said he did not think he would write this book. I’m very glad he did,
Terry relates his escapades with his friend, Atkins, as well as tells of some letters he wrote to various pompous organisations. From trying to get Atkin’s neighbour, who has designs on him, to desist from her advances, to an incident with a letter Atkins wrote to David Beckham and Terry replied in Beckham’s place, we are kept laughing throughout the book.
I do not want to spoil it for anyone wanting to read it by saying too much of the events and escapades this book covers. Just let me say it is very funny and well worth a read.
This book is titled, ‘Still Hanging On.’ Keep on hanging on, Terry, long enough to write the next episode
I give it *****
First of all, may I apologise for not posting this part last month, but I promised to do the cover reveal for D.H. Nevins. thank you for your patience. I hope you enjoy this part.
Kimi rode her own piebald horse as they trotted out of the camp, waved off by Andrid. Kimi felt happy and began to hum a tune. She was going home at last, and her longing to see her family made her excited.
But it was a long way. The Swooping Hawks held a large territory, and it would take nearly a sixday to get back to Kimi’s father’s farm.
Each evening, Davrael came to talk with Kimi in her tent. Mimola sat at the back sewing so the two young people could talk without her presence disturbing them. At first, Kimi asked her to join them, but she declined saying she had sewing to do. She was embroidering a tunic for Andrid. It was a surprise for him and this was an ideal opportunity for her to be able to get on with it without him knowing.
During the journey, the pair got to know each other better. Kimi liked what she saw of the young warrior.
One evening, Davrael said, ‘You remind me of a little mouse, Kimi.’
Kimi frowned. ‘A mouse?’ she said.
‘Yes, a mouse. Not because you’re timid. You are definitely not that, but you are small and brown, and very sweet. Your hair is brown and your eyes are brown, and you are very tiny.’
Kimi was not sure quite how to take this comparison, but she decided to accept it as a compliment. She smiled at the man opposite her. He looked into her eyes with his paler brown ones and she felt as though an electric shock passed through her. He seemed to jerk back slightly himself, as if he, too. had felt something. She saw a slight frown pass across his face, then he was back to normal.
Each evening passed in a similar way until they reached the edge of the lands claimed by Kimi’s family. Then, Davrael gave orders for his men to stay where they were with the horses and he and Kimi rode on towards the homestead.
The sun had just begun to set when they arrived at the farm. They reined in their horses just as Kimi’s mother came out of the house. She carried a bucket towards the well when she noticed them.
Giving a scream of delight and surprise, she dropped the bucket and ran towards the pair. Kimi slid off her horse and ran towards her mother, falling into her arms.
‘Kimi, you’re back, you’re back,’ said her mother, over and over again.
Her father came out of the barn at that moment and saw Kimi. He dropped the bucket he carried and ran to where the girl and her mother stood, still hugging each other.
‘Kimi,’ he said, tearing her away from his wife and hugging her to him. ‘We thought you lost, perhaps even dead, and here you are returned to us. Praise to Kassilla.’
Kimi extricated herself from her father and turned towards where Davrael sat on his horse a little way away. She beckoned him to come forward and he dismounted and led his horse to where the family stood. Before Kimi could say a word, her father’s face darkened.
‘I suppose you’ve come for a reward. Taking our little girl and then bringing her back. Not to mention the horses. Where are they? I expect you’ve kept them.’
Kimi’s face fell. She turned to her father. ‘It wasn’t like that, father. Davrael did not capture me.’
‘Hmm. Then how come you’re with him now?’
‘Father, he rescued me. I was captured by the Prowling Lynx. Davrael’s from the Swooping Hawks. The Lynx were the ones who stole our horses, and me. They wanted fresh blood in the tribe and were going to make me marry the son of their chief. He was horrible. He’s a cruel young man.’
‘They’re all the same, the Tribes. Thieves all. If it hadn’t been the Lynx it would have been the Hawks no doubt.’
Kimi’s eyes filled with tears. ‘Father, the Swooping Hawks are honest and they’ve punished the Lynx, including their chief. They would never have done the things the Lynx did.’
‘Perhaps they didn’t steal the horses, but where are they now? Tell me that.’
Davrael held up his hand and whistled. From out of a stand of trees, three warriors drove the missing horses. Kimi rushed to the gate of the paddock and opened it as the men drove the animals in.
‘But you want a reward, don’t you? Your kind never do anything for nothing. What do you want?’
‘I’m just happy that Kimi is back with her family. and safe. I want nothing more.’
‘Well go, then. You’ve brought our daughter back. There’s nothing more for you here. I won’t pander to the greed of the Tribes. It’d only encourage more theft and kidnapping.’
Davrael leaped onto his horse’s back and, calling to his men, he galloped ioff into the distance.
Kimi rounded on her father, tears in her eyes.
‘How could you, Father? Davrael was so kind to me. You were rude and now he’s gone.’ She burst into tears without quite knowing why.
‘Come in, dear,’ her mother said. ‘You must have something to eat and a nice hot drink,’ and she led her daughter towards the house. Kimi turned to look at her father.
‘I didn’t think you could be so hard, father,’ she said. ‘Davrael is a nice, decent human being,’
‘Of course he is. He wants you to think that, then you’ll be able to get round me to provide a reward. Or so he thinks.’
He turned and went back to his work.
Kimi was glad to be home with her family, of course she was, but she did miss Davrael. This surprised her as they’d not known one another very long. then one day, about a sixday later, as she rode along past some trees, a rider came out, She screamed, but then recognised Davrael.
Riding up to him, with a huge smile on her face, she said, ‘Davrael, what are you doing here?’
‘I came to see you. I needed to see you. Kimi, I missed you.’
‘And I you, Davrael. I’m sorry my father was so horrid.’
‘Kimi, in the time we’ve been apart, I realised I wanted to see you more and more. My tribe had moved near to the border of your land, following the horses and so, if you wish, we can meet a few times each sixday.’
He looked so anxious that Kimi almost laughed, but she smiled and said. ‘Of course I want to see you, Davrael.’
During the next few months, the couple met as often as they could until one day, Davrael said he wanted to marry Kimi. He had told his father, but he had forbidden marriage with one of the Settlers. The Tribes view of the Settlers was not much better than that of the Settlers for the Tribes. Davrael’s father had also arranged for a young woman to visit to see if Davrael liked her, so they could marry. It would be a disgrace and a dishonour if Davrael were to reject her out of hand. The young man told Kimi he would be prepared to give up his place in the Tribe and settle down in one place, if that was what was needed.
Later, Kimi spoke to her mother and told her of Davrael’s promise.
‘Your father will never agree, even if Davrael does settle down, although I can’t see him doing so, The Tribes are wanderers.
‘Mother, once our ancestors were wanderers, too, and they settled. I’m sure Davrael can do it.’
Of course, her mother was right. Her father adamantly put down his foot. No daughter of his would marry a Tribesman. He would find her a nice, steady young man to marry, and give them six of his best horses for a wedding present as well as some land.
The pair met in secret then, hoping against hope something would change.
Will Davrael and Kimi manage to change their parents’ minds to allow them to marry? Read next month’s instalment to find out.
Please leave any comments on this episode in the comments box below.
If you want to know more about Davrael and Kimi, read The Wolf Pack.