Thursday, April 6, 2023

April 2023 Update #1

 I finished chapter 21 last Friday, and all but finished chapter 22 on Monday. However, I then had to turn my attention to Oak Leaves, ADF's quarterly magazine. By working frantically, I got a lot done on the layout for that on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. It doesn't go to the printers until after ADF's annual election finishes on the 15th, so after I find one more column, it will be just a matter of waiting for contributions from 3 other people and either writing an additional article myself or possibly inserting something from my past writing. Either way, I should be able to turn my attention back to Gwernin & company soon. 

I also had to decide where they're going next. In this manuscript so far, I had mentioned King Arthur as holding court at Caerleon in south Wales about five times. That was supposed to be Gwernin's next stop, where he first stands in bardic competition. However, it occurred to me that in the very first chapter of Storyteller, he describes visiting Caerleon and seeing it in utter ruins. His visit is less than 20 years after Camlann, so I had a problem. I could do one of the following: 1) assume that my readers will have forgot that first story by the time they get to this book (#5 in the series); 2) assume that Gwernin's memory is faulty, and that Caerleon was not in utter ruins, or at least not all of it; 3) find an alternate location. If #3, I had a couple more possibilities: 3a) Caerwent, which is nearby, and a reasonable alternative although a bit on the small side; 3b) Caerdydd, also nearby, which Gwernin visited after Caerleon and found in good shape. But I was planning to use Caerdydd for the second of three competitions he'll be standing in, so I needed somewhere else for the first one. 

In the end, after watching a couple more Time Team episodes and doing some reading, I settled on Caerwent -- a smaller Roman town, but at least one I hadn't already described as being an utter ruin <grin>. According to Time Team, it's the best preserved Roman town in Britain, because it never grew into a medieval city. I visited it once long ago myself, and can testify that most of the town walls are still standing and over ten feet high in places. Caerwent probably wasn't in good shape then either, but at least I haven't already described it as derelict! I changed Caerleon to Caerwent in the manuscript. Now on we go!

Selected references: 

The towns of Roman Britain by John Wacher

Time Team Season 19, Episode 9 Rome's Wild West Caerleon, Newport 

Britain's Best Preserved Roman Town In Caerwent, South Wales | Time Team





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