Stop the plane and order me a carriage.

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phone 179 My heroines, from the early nineteenth century, often endured the perils of  travel by land and sea. Today I want to reassure them, 200 years later, long journeys can be just as tedious.

Wedged in the middle seat of the  middle row of a 747 for upwards of twelve hours, my mind dwelt on the fact that bobbing along in a post chaise, or swinging in a hammock below decks, could not be much more agonizing then traveling economy on a long haul flight.

I used to enjoy airplanes. I could happily gaze from the window seat marveling at anything that appeared through a chink in the clouds. But one flight to Australia was a test of both mind and body.

It all starts go wrong at check in. I cannot secure a window seat, the flight is delayed  and when we finally get to board…

Gripe 1.  The trek through business class to get to economy.

I openly salivate over the spacious seating in business class as we are herded down the isle to steerage. The occupants of those designer cubicles tantalizingly stretch their limbs and flex their toes as we pass. I  avoid their apologetic eyes and pitying smiles.

Gripe 2.  Hand baggage 

This appears to have evolved in the last few years from modest shoulder bag to sturdy case complete with wheels. As they are being hoisted, with a great deal of grunting and thrusting into overhead lockers that are clearly not built to accommodate them, the boarding process reduces to snail pace. Why do they need that much hand baggage ? There’s not room to swing a cat let alone unpack and utilize a case full of gear.

Gripe 3.  Invasion of  space.

The passengers sitting either side of me have claimed the hand rests rendering me straitjacketed in seat. Even worse a rogue foot is gradually edging its way into my allotted leg space. I try to stem the steam from my ears and reflect how lucky I was on my last flight when I sat  next to the perfect  passenger. He was totally besotted with his female companion and they seemed to merge together in one seat- thereby leaving me a nice lot of space. Not sure what he was trying to achieve in such a restricted area. But if they were fidgeting (so to speak) they were at least being quiet about it.

Gripe 3. Reclining seats

I have the desire to lop something heavy into the seat in front when it falls back into my already limited personal space. Batman Returns is now being viewed two inches from my face. I can’t focus on the screen so switch it off, put my head back and try to relax.

Gripe 4.  Touch screens attached to back of seats .

I don’t begrudge the small person behind using their touch screen even though they have not quite mastered the art.  The incessant tattooing vibrates on the back of my head. After fifteen minutes it is clear they can find nothing to amuse them on the TV or film menus. The assault stops and I hold my breath willing them to go to sleep – but alas they have become bored and proceed to drum their feet on back of my seat. My unscheduled full body massage is now complete.

Gripe Five.  Food.

I  manipulate the multiple contents of tray carefully, arranging the most promising item in  secure position. However as I unpack the plastic cutlery I decide to take Food off gripe list. Its arrival has caused the person in front to get their seat out of my face and the tattooing on the back of my head to stop.

There is, of course, an upside to this journey.

As the plane transports me to the other side of the world, my fellow passengers  doze off. Ah bliss – I can now switch on my Kindle and in my forced confinement escape to my own private library.

Now, let’s get back to travel in Regency times. There is a particular coach journey that Esmie Elstone has nightmares about, as she  endeavors to escape the repercussions of an unfortunate wager. And if you enjoy indulging in some romantic intrigue, you can download  Captain Rockford’s Reckoning   at Amazon 

Captain Rockford

Esmie Elstone is thrown into panic when she hears of Captain Rockford’s return. But she is determined that the days of him interfering with her life are over. His ruthless meddling during his last visit had resulted in her being foisted on her aunt for a third pointless season in London.

To alleviate the boredom of society life, Esmie helps run a discreet betting enterprise under the guise of a sewing club. But there are some things you just shouldn’t wager on, and Esmie’s integrity is soon put to a dangerous test.

Richard Rockford had known Esmie almost all her life. As neighbours, her father, Admiral Elstone, had depended on Richard to keep an eye on his daughter when he was away at sea – a responsibility he had always taken on willingly. But her cruel and thoughtless actions, from the day he had left four years earlier, had shaken him. Now, he was back, and he wanted answers.

But when Esmie tumbles into a treacherous conspiracy, can he really turn his back on her?

Visit  Susan Lodge’s Amazon page or Website for details of all her novels.

 

Aurora house Party Celebrations and Eight things a Regency Lady needs to know about traveling at sea.

ar logoWelcome to my blog where we are joining in the Aurora House Party  celebrations. As an Aurora author I am …Picture2

Excuse me, Susan.  If I am not mistaken, you did say I could take over your blog for the night – after all I  am the person who experienced the adventures and romance in Only a Hero Will Do.  Therefore I am more suited to entertain at this Regency house party than you are. Go away and arrange the cake; I will look after  the visitors. Oh! Where are my guests precisely?

Okay,  Hetty,  you carry on. Trust me, they are out there listening, just talk – you’re good at that. But don’t give away too much of the plot before I come back.

Good! She has gone. I really do fear for my author. Did you know, dear guests, Susan’s ambition is to travel into space. Ha! What a strange thought. A coach that takes flight into the sky- without horses! I fear she has become quite addled brained.

I  hope she brings back some scones as  I have a weakness for scones. In fact I have a few weaknesses. Gambling is one – luckily I am very good at it. My scheming family do not realize that I am able to gain funds this way. Therefore you might say it is also a strength.

Another weakness is books. I do love books! I can never get enough of the exciting informative kind (if you understand my meaning). The attendant at the library back home always examined my choices, so they were limited to the mundane. However, whilst I was at sea, Dr Withington  lent me some books which were very informative.

But I must return our attentions to the blog where I will share  some useful tips about sea travel. I gained this knowledge when I inadvertently found myself sailing from Portsmouth to Gibraltar on board a Man of War.

Eight things a Regency Lady  needs to know about travelling (uninvited) on a naval ship.

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1. Make sure you know which is the leeward side (the sheltered side) of the ship. It is important to know which way the wind is blowing when you are prone to seasickness. It was a shame about Doctor Withington’s coat-but luckily it was only his second best.

2. Do not stray from the quarterdeck. The stern end is the civilized end of the ship. Although it is a lot more colorful down the pointed end.

3. Prepare for your sleep to be interrupted. The ringing of the ship’s bell and the beating of drums occur at regular and unsociable times.

4. Do not complain of boredom, believe me that is a good sign. If you see a French ship approaching things will get very unpleasant, and you will soon wish to be bored again.

5. If you have a chance to pack for the journey (which I did not) include warm clothing. Also a supply of lemon juice is useful to bathe freckles,which multiply like a plague of insects across your skin once exposed to the sea air.

6. Prepare to be stoic. You will witness the misery and sacrifice of war. Even If you are lucky enough to avoid battle, deaths on board from injury and disease occur frequently.

7  Do remember to knock the weevils from the ships biscuits, and do not try to cut biscuits into delicate pieces; they resist all attempts.

8. If there is a  tall, dark, sombre physician around, whose job it is to keep you out of trouble, and looks at you with eyes …  Oh, no – Susan is coming back with the cake.

There is much more to tell  dear guests, and if you  feel like indulging in a romantic adventure and discovering what happened during and after my unscheduled voyage, please take a look at Only a Hero Will Do. ( I haven’t even begun to tell you about Doctor Withington and you need to know about him.)

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Hetty Avebury’s desperate gamble to avoid an odious match lands her all at sea. Can a stuffy ship’s physician really be the hero she needs to escape her treacherous family?.       

Marriage to a cruel dandy, is not how Hetty Avebury envisons spending the rest of her life.  Determined to avoid the match she raises funds the only way she knows how – gambling .Her plans go astray and she finds herself on board a man-of-war under the care of its high handed physician. But Hetty soon realizes that Doctor Withington is not quite the stuffed shirt she had first imagined.         

If it wasn’t bad enough declaring one of the pressed men as a woman, Robert has been tasked with the tiresome job of returning her safely back to her dysfunctional family. It was ten years ago when his father gambled away his inheritance, home, and any chance of marrying the woman he loved. So when Robert discovers Hetty gambling he takes drastic action to cure her of the habit.

Click here to read  excerpt

  See more at  Susan Lodge’s  Amazon page  or visit my website  susanlodge.com  or Musa Publishing   for full details of my books.

Also by Susan Lodge . The Man in the Buff Breeches (out 8th Nov 2013)  and The Man in the Blue Flowered shorts  (published July 2012) . Two contemporary  romantic novellas,  with characters who have a soft spot for the Regency period.

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