Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

Little Libraries across Canada

Happy July, this summer is flying by really fast!

I spent most of July on the road, traveling across the western part of Canada, the trip was about 10,000 kms by the time we got back home to our slice of heaven in the central western part of Ontario. It was just the DH and I this time, our kids stayed home with one of their aunts and our dog.

Since COVID, I have been amassing a lot of author copies and I was running out of room. I don’t plan on doing any signings this year, so I had to do something and I thought about the Free Little Libraries that were scattered all over the old city I used to live. I knew they were in other places, so I found a free app called Little Free Library.

I got the brilliant idea to drop off author copies as I make my way across across to Alberta and then do a reading of A Reunion, A Wedding, A Family in Jasper where it’s set. My videos and reading are on Tik Tok under Amy Ruttan (I refer to myself as a reluctant farmer!).

I signed the books ahead of time and marked them with a Canadian author sticker. I took my debut book from 2013 Safe in His Hands and dropped it by the closest Little Library to our farm in Seaforth, Ontario.


The next Little Library came at 8 in the morning after an eight hour drive. Yep, an eight hour drive, we left shortly after midnight, to get around Lake Superior from our house, it takes about 17 hours.

The Little Library I stopped in was in Bruce Mines, Ontario and after my visit there I woke up the next day in Thunder Bay to discover I had made their news! They were thankful for the book and encouraging others to donate to their Little Library.


The next day, we left Thunder Bay and were heading for Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Another 17 hour day. It takes two days to drive out of my province! First I stopped in Kenora, Ontario and dropped a book at Little Library outside a woman’s shelter. It was packed full and well used!

We had to cross Manitoba and most of Saskatchewan to get to Saskatoon. I had never been to Saskatoon, but it’s very bizarre to be watching for a city on a flat prairie horizon and not see it until you go down into a river valley. Saskatoon is beautiful and I found a gorgeous little library in a tree lined neighborhood know as Caswell Hill.



It’s not far to Alberta and we had a couple days to ourselves and headed to Drumheller, which is the badlands in southern, Alberta. Drumheller had an amazing Little Library with Moby Dick and Lord of the Rings quotes painted on it. After Drumheller we made our way to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump and I left a couple more books in towns like High River (where they film the TV show Heartland) and an author friend Taryn Leigh Taylor left copies in her home town and a town near her.

After some days with my other sister in law at her ranch. We went into Jasper, Alberta the setting for A Reunion, A Wedding, A Family and I did a reading at Medicine Lake. Forest Fires have devastated the area. The last time I was there, Medicine Lake was lush with trees…now, just the ghostly remnants of them remain. It is a natural cycle to a forest though. And even though it had changed, I was still privileged to see elk, big horn sheep, wolf, black bear and my first time seeing a Grizzly Mama and her 3 cubs!


Medicine Lake!

The nearest little library to Jasper, is Hinton, Alberta. And the caretaker there originally is from the town where I currently live. So that was a small world experience. I left a copy of A Reunion, A Wedding, A Family there.

After our time in Alberta, we made our way to Winnipeg on a day that Canada had a nation wide cell phone outage on the network I used. It also knocked out all Interac purchases. I was very glad we had our credit cards and cash. I was also glad our GPS in our Jeep was still functioning or we would’ve never made our way from Alberta, through Saskatchewan to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

I got to meet an author friend Elle Rush for lunch and visit the monument of Louis Riel. My ancestors were Metis, which is a mix of European settlers and Indigenous. Metis people are an Indigenous nation and have their own culture. Louis Riel is a founding father who fought for the rights of Metis, he was an elected politician and led resistance movements before he was hanged for treason.



As someone of Metis background, this has been a life long dream to visit his monument. My father, had to hide who he was for many years, to avoid residential school. For him and me, it’s been hard to try and process our loss of identity. Also to find ancestors, but I have been finding more and more names. Women, who were indigenous, often lost their identity when they married a white man.

I left a book in Winnipeg and we made our way back to Ontario and stopped in Thunder Bay. I am really getting to know Thunder Bay. My daughter goes to school there, so I make the drive often.

Thunder Bay is the lake head of Lake Superior. The last place Terry Fox stopped after his Miracle Run for Cancer because his cancer had returned and he collapsed, but one of the Little Libraries surprised me! It was on Ruttan street. Ruttan is my maiden name, so I looked up the history and discovered that Ruttan’s helped with the development of Port Arthur and Thunder Bay.

So of course I had to leave a book there!



And that was just a part of our trip. I dropped books off in Sault and Sudbury on the way home. I have way more pictures and a lot more special memories, but it was so good to get back to the kids.

I took a whole box of books and left them all on my journey.

If you happen to stumble on a Little Library I encourage you to donate or even just take a book too. Spread Literacy and help communities. I learned so much from this experience and fell in love with my country all over again.

It’s why I continue to write books set in the place I love the most. Canada.

Here’s a slideshow of some more pics along the way!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Galapagos dreams and a new house…

Hi Readers,

Wow, what a summer! A lot has changed since I last blogged, not least the cold and rainy Dutch summer that used to be the norm. Lots of us are sweating it out in hot high rises wishing we hadn’t prayed for the heat all those drizzly days over winter!

Anyway, sorry for being so British, starting out my post by complaining about the weather… honestly.

In other news I have another book coming out in August. The Vet’s Escape to Paradise might be my fave yet – it’s set in the Galapagos and follows a headstrong female vet who falls for a local mysterious scuba diver, who happens to be a wonder with the animals too… but uh oh, they’re from totally different worlds – how could they ever be together? (wink)

I got to revisit my Galapagos trip from 2013, which was probably a highlight of my life. The way the lizards lounge around on the rocks like dinosaurs that forgot to go extinct. The way the sea lions swim up to you and ask you to play like puppy dogs. The way you can see every star in the sky at night as the hemispheres combine in one cosmic swirl… it’s all just unreal. I hope I captured some of the magic in my story, you tell me!

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Me, making new friends in the Galapagos, 2013

In other news, I moved house. I bought an apartment for the first time in my life (in beautiful Utrecht) and let me tell you, I had no idea how stressful and time consuming it would be, finding contractors to fit a bathroom, getting new carpet laid, tracking a sofa that was meant to be delivered in July, that is somehow now scheduled for December… if I wasn’t going a bit grey already before this, well, I am now, but home will be one sweet home when it’s done and I’ll forget I ever complained.

Probably.

Ok maybe not.

Anyway readers, I hope you’re all keeping your cool in multiple creative ways out there, and until next time, may a thousand peaceful Galápagos sea lions soothe your soul as you dream of wondrous things.

Becky

Cover reveal, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Home is…

For most people the question, “Where is home?” is simple to answer. Maybe they’d tell you their address, city of residence, or the country they’re a citizen of. Or, perhaps, they’ll tell you a special place of the heart, like a grandparent’s house, or the area their family came from.

An overcast afternoon in Kingston, Jamaica

If you ask me that question, I’d have a hard time replying.

Where I live now in Florida is home, but so is London, Ontario, Canada, and Kingston, Jamaica. I miss them both when I’m not there, although I’ll be the first to say I’m ecstatically happy where I am now too.

It’s tug-of-heart-and-soul, to be honest.

Hibiscus, Runaway Bay, Jamaica

The pandemic really put pay to any plans I had to go to either Canada or Jamaica, and I can’t tell you how excited I was to go to visit my kids in Canada last year. Then, just this month, I finally made it back to Jamaica—and I suddenly felt complete again.

Beautiful day at the beach, Discovery Bay, Jamaica

Renewed.

Invigorated.

Although I’m still trying to recover physically from the trip!

Sunset over the airplane wing- Jamaica, goodbye. Until next time…

It really made me think, though, about that question of home. Is it really a physical place at all? Or, like love, is it where the heart lies? And, like love, is it okay to have many focuses of your attention? If we can love parents, spouses, children, and friends, can’t we love all the places we have unbreakable bonds to—call them all “home?”

I rather think we can.

And I know I always will.

Donkey cart along the Mandela Highway, Spanish Town, Jamaica. Both donkey and mule carts used to be common on the streets and highways, but this was the only one I saw on this trip.

I’m excited to share with you the cover for my July/August release, One Night Fling in Positano. I love it!

Walk underneath the Mediterranean moonlight as you fall in love with Ann McIntosh’s latest Harlequin Medical Romance!

Can one night of passion… …change her whole life? Nurse Kendra lives a jet-set life. Who needs a home and family when they only let you down? So when meeting gorgeous Massimo in Positano results in one unforgettable night, Kendra has no regrets—until he turns out to be her new boss! Continuing their fling is risky, but also irresistible… Under the red-hot Mediterranean sun, will Kendra realize it’s not her fling that’s at risk but her no-strings-attached relationship rule?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

How to Have a Never-Ending Holiday!

Hello! It’s Hannah here. I’m the Assistant Editor for the Mills and Boon Medical Romance team. I’m so excited to be back on Love is the Best Medicine and to talk all things Medical Romance.

First things first! How was your summer? It’s been a busy – but exciting! – time at True Love Towers. From the Love to Write competition in search of romance writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds (the deadline is Monday 4th October so, aspiring authors , you still have time to submit!) to the Mills and Boon team’s return to the office, we were hit (as we always are!) by just how lucky we are to work in the world of romance.

So, as we soak-up the last of the late-September sun (after the soggiest summer ever in the UK!), we thought now was the perfect time to show that just because Autumn in fast approaching, it doesn’t mean that the chance to travel the world (through Mills and Boon Medical Romance’s latest books!) – has. Here’s your ticket to unlimited armchair travel!

Island Fling with the Surgeon by Ann McIntosh

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From fake to forever?

When Dr Genevieve convinces nurse Zach to enter a fake relationship to help keep her meddling mum at bay, she’s confident there’s no danger of it turning into more. But is their ‘fake affair’ at risk of becoming all too real?

Hawaiian Medic to Rescue His Heart by Annie O’Neil

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Tempting the single dad!

Firefighter and paramedic Zach is looking forward to a quieter life in Hawaii and building a brighter future for himself and his son. But his beautiful, kind, vibrant new colleague, Lulu, has the potential to derail all of his plans…

 

Reawakened at the South Pole by Juliette Hyland

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A reunion of a lifetime!

ER Nurse Helena wants to break free from her parent’s perception of the fragile premature baby she once was. Her new, South Pole-based job is the perfect solution. But, Dr Carter’s arrival proves you can’t erase the past. He once disappeared from her life, leaving no trace, but he never left her heart…

 

Costa Rican Fling with the Doc by Traci Douglass

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Temptation in paradise!

For single mum Sara, life has been all about raising her now adult son. But, volunteering for a medical charity in Costa Rica, it’s finally the nurse’s chance to focus on her passions. Only her guarded new boss, Gabe, sends all her senses into overdrive, for once, sensible Sara can’t help wondering – what if they didn’t resist temptation?

 

What destination is #1 on your bucket list? We’d love to know!

With love,

Hannah

Travels Around the World, Women's Business

Outback Adventures by Fiona Lowe

As you know, (or if you didn’t, you will now) it’s winter down here in Australia. While our Northern Hemisphere friends are enjoying summer and the warm weather that gives COVID-19 some of its marching orders, we are back battling the virus that loves winter. Snap lockdowns are playing hovoc with plans…still…but we were fortunate to be able to take a 12-day break. We called it the ‘By the Skin of our Teeth holiday’. We just managed to take it after one lockdown and return before the next.

Being out in the desert in winter with blue skies that go on forever is a gift I accepted with much gratitude. We thought COVID-19 might derail out plans but in the end it was rain that rendered outback roads closed. We had one day where we had to travel an extra 475 km and rejig our trip. Fortunately we had a car full of licensed drivers– an advantage of adult children still wishing to holiday with their parents!

Are you able to take a holiday/vacation away or at home? Fill me in! I’d love to hear your plans.

Meanwhile, I’ll let my holiday plans do the talking…

BOOK NEWS! The world-wide edition of A HOME LIKE OURS is out now EVERYWHERE in print, ebook and audio! YAY!! It’s the perfect summer read on a beach, in a hammock, under a tree in the woods–anywhere you want to kick back and lose yourself in a page-turning read.

Take a small town on the Murray River, an influx of new residents, a crime wave and four women whose lives have been displaced in different ways. Under normal circumstances they would never have met, let alone become friends, but nothing is normal in Boolanga. When the community garden is under threat, they find themselves not only pulling together to save it and at the same time uncovering some worrying information. To read the blurb, find the buy links and other information head to fionalowe.com

What do you think of the world-wide edition cover?

Have you caught up with my other women’s fiction books yet? Here are the covers so you can check.

The world wide covers
The Aussie and Kiwi covers

Whether it is summer or winter for you, I hope you can find some time for reading. Please stay safe.

Fiona xx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

The Write Way to Travel

How globe-trotting influenced my Harlequin Medical Romances

 

Ten years ago, before my Harlequin days, I planned to write a young adult novel set in Nashville, Tennessee. Being a British citizen whod never even been to Music City, it seemed the logical thing to do, to book an Airbnb, start chatting with cowboys on dating sites, get on a plane, and move there for three months. 

 

Somehow, amongst the boot-scooting, whisky-shooting and country music, I wrote the book. Not only were my descriptions of Nashville that much much more realistic and colourful, I wound up moving in with a guitar-playing Icelandic/American man whom I almost married.

 

I said almost. I quickly realised that sometimes you need to know when to end a chapter – so to speak – and move on. Were still great friends, the books still on Amazon, but more importantly, I had a real romantic adventure in the name of research. And it spurred me on to base more novels in the far-and-wide and wonderful places Ive already been. Well, they do say, write what you know.

 

Canal-side inspiration in Amsterdam

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Writing on my Amsterdam balcony

These days Im pretty settled with my man in The Netherlands, even though sadly he doesnt wear a Stetson to the supermarket like my ex. (You cant have everything you want in one man, unless youre a Harlequin heroine, I suppose). I moved to Amsterdam in 2016, which was also the year I became a Harlequin author. I always meant to base a Harlequin Medical Romance here, but I guess it took being stuck in a pandemic to make me do it… er, thanks, COVID? 

 

June 2021s new release, FLING WITH THE CHILDRENS HEART DOCTOR is a reflection of the city I now call home, plus a rich surgeon with a luxury houseboat and windmill. Get ready for passionate Dutch lovinoutside – and maybe a little inside – of the childrens hospital!

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Getting ditched by a dive guy in Bali

It was a summer romance that went awry, the time I got involved with my scuba diving instructor on Gili Trawangan, just off the coast of Bali. In reality, it wasnt exactly a torrid above-water affair, but it was enough to get the imagination going – how could I set a romance novel on a small island renowned for big gossip, preferably one with a happier ending?

 

Look for the scuba diving hero who also happens to be a celebrity plastic surgeon, plus palm trees, coral reefs and HOT disasters based on island reality in my Harlequin Medical Romance, ENTICED BY HER ISLAND BILLIONAIRE

 

Canoes, caimans and kisses in South America

Mating tarantulas, harrowing thunderstorms and sandflies dont sound like the sexiest base for a romance novel, but back when I spent nine months travelling South America, I fell in love with the Amazon rainforest itself. I spent hours romanticising situations and mentally embellishing relations with a hot jungle guide. When it came to writing my very first Harlequin Romance – TEMPTED BY HER HOT-SHOT DOC, there were plenty of elements of truth scattered amongst the medical madness. Expect snakes (of all kinds?), hot and heavy adventures in tents, and a reality TV star wary of fame in the face of a journalist/ex-nurse who wont stop questioning him about his mysterious past.

 

Hopefully there will be more adventures to come, both in person and in the pages of my Harlequin Medical Romance stories! I really hope youll come with me. Meanwhile, dont forget to visit me in Amsterdam via Junes new release – FLING WITH THE CHILDRENS HEART DOCTOR! 

 

Thanks for travelling with me,

Becky Wicks x

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

Refilling the well – aka Tut!

Kate HardyI’ve had the most wonderful weekend in London. The tickets had been booked for months and months – and on Saturday I went to the Tutankhamun exhibition with my best friend. I went with her (and my husband and kids) when it was at the O2 about 10 years ago, and I went to the British Museum one in 1972 (I was very small and don’t remember that much of it, but it’s definitely where my fascination with Egypt started).

This one was spectacular. And fascinating. And we got to see things that hadn’t been out of Egypt until this particular ‘world tour’.

Bits I loved most? (Apologies; this will be a bit pic-heavy!)

The reed stylus case, a linen glove (3500 years old and in wonderful condition), and a vessel used in the ‘opening of the Mouth’ ceremony that was apparently shaped like its hieroglyph.

Statues, large and small. (The middle one is the guardian statue and it had obsidian eyes.)

Details – the drawing and lion on a bow case, and look at the toes on this statue!

It was absolutely fascinating. I learned that the Egyptians used boomerangs for hunting (waves to my Aussie mates – I couldn’t believe it, either, but there were 3500-year-old boomerangs in front of me). I learned that the Egyptian week had 10 days instead of 7. I learned how canopic jars worked, and how mummies were put together – not just the wrapped mummy, but all the layers on top of that.

Obviously *the* mummy case wasn’t there (too fragile), but the rest of that layer was exhibited. The gold etc was impressive, but I found the art around it much more interesting. (I would’ve liked more on the medical stuff, but sadly…)

DB09A4C6-2824-4CA6-BB5F-AD2B02389951It’s also very topical for me, because my latest book features an archaeologist — and although it’s not a medical, it kind of is because it’s an amnesia book. (And because it’s my first amnesia story, and because I’m interested in the medicine behind it… you can guess where this is going! Anyway, One Night to Remember is out now. (If you’re interested in Egypt, Regency England, the Roman baths, or cello music, this is totally up your street.)

So my question for you is – what’s the most memorable exhibition you’ve ever seen?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

Sometimes you just need butterflies by Kate Hardy

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster summer in our house. The high points are our son graduating (definitely tears of joy, that day) and a ballet workshop where we did a bit of Swan Lake (adult ballet classes for beginners are utterly fabulous). The low point was my husband’s mum passing away (although it was a happy release, it’s still very sad and the funeral is later this week). And the weird bit in the middle is waiting for our daughter’s exam results, which will hopefully let her go off to her chosen university and spread her wings. There are also job applications, driving lessons, deadlines, and…

… Yeah. Sometimes you just need to take a few moments out to breathe.

So this weekend we went in search of butterflies. Apparently this summer is the summer of the Painted Lady butterfly in the UK (this happens about every 10 years), so we went to Wheatfen Nature Reserve on Saturday (home of the rare swallowtail butterfly, except we went between broods so missed the swallowtails completely!) and to the best-preserved Iron Age hillfort in my part of the world. Both places were gorgeous, and this is what we found: (LTR a peacock, a red admiral, a speckled wood and a chalk hill blue)

 

 

The hillfort itself? Actually it was really impressive – a little bit smaller than Maiden Castle in Dorset, but still amazing. It was full of wild flowers, and I’ve never seen so many butterflies. Walking round a place that has barely changed in centuries was wonderful.

 

So where’s your favourite place to escape? And do you have a favourite butterfly?

imageKate Hardy’s latest release, A Nurse and a Pup to Heal Him, is set in Norfolk and stars a gorgeous therapy dog 🙂

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Quirky Stories, Travels Around the World

The Ten Monsters of Christmas

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I would love to bring you good tidings of Christmas this year but instead, I’m bringing you a fun little background of The Ten Monsters of Christmas. Yes, even the nicest of all holidays, the one where we wish everyone peace and joy, has its dark side. Talk about a way to ruin a jolly holiday.

krampus-1085000__340So first, there’s KRAMPUS. Yes, we’ve all heard about him in recent years. He is the evil anti-Santa who walks around carrying a stick, looking for people to beat, especially children who haven’t been obedient. He’s a predominantly European Christmas monster, originating in Austria, but popular celebrations centered around this demon are popping up everywhere, and celebrated on December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day.

Next comes the merry old JÓLAKÖTTURINN, an evil Icelandic Yule Cat who lurks about the countryside at Christmastime, ready to eat people who haven’t received new Christmas clothes to wear. Apparently, this cat monster is tied to an Icelandic tradition where those who finish all their work on time receive new Christmas clothes, thus making them immune from getting eaten. Like Krampus, the Yule cat is used as a threat to motivate children to work and keep them in line. “You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry…”or you’ll be eaten by the Yule Cat, kiddies.

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  Then there is FRAU PERCHTA an ugly Christmas witch who hangs out around Austria and Germany during the 12 days of Christmas with the express the-witch-641232__340purpose of punishing the sinful by ripping out their internal organs and replacing them with garbage. Now, that’s a lovely Christmas tradition if ever I’ve heard one. 

Not to be outdone by all the other Christmas child punishers, BELSNICKEL, who made it from Germany to live amongst the Pennsylvania Dutch in the U.S. carries a switch to punish the bad children at Christmas. But he does have a good side, as he carries candy to reward the good ones. Knecht Ruprecht and Ru Klaas are also monsters from German folklore who get their holiday jollies by beating children.

Another in the line of the traditional Christmastime children haters is HANS TRAPP from France, who, disguised as a scarecrow, punishes bad children by eating them. Even though he was reportedly killed, it’s said he still visits young children before Christmas to scare them into good behavior.creepy-1217174__340

And, to make matters worse, there’s the evil French butcher PERE FOUETTARD, who, with his wife, lured children into his butcher shop, where he killed, carved, salted and ate them. St. Nicholas did come to the rescue in this story, by taking Pere Fouettard captive and turning him into a servant whose job it was to dole out punishment to bad children on St. Nicholas Day.

Not to be left out, the JÓLASNENIR, or Yule Lads, 13 Icelandic trolls, stole things and caused trouble around Christmastime, so as one might expect, their purpose in life was to scare children into behaving. Somewhere along the way, they met the benevolent Norwegian Julenisse (Santa Claus) and decided to try a little kindness like he showed, by leaving gifts in the shoes of good children. But if you were a bad kid, your shoes were left empty which was a much kinder fate than eaten by the Icelandic Yule Cat.norwegian-troll-210334__340

However, if you get by the Yule Lads, there’s another Icelandic monster to deal with at Christmas –  GRYLA, their mother, and let’s just say, she’s not in line for a Mother of the Year award because she encounters bad children at Christmas, especially the ones who don’t obey their parents, then kidnaps, cooks, and eats them. And, to make matter worse, her precious pet is the dreaded Yule Cat. Talk about the traditions of a family at Christmas.

So, in my family, Christmas has always been about the children. We even have a brand new one, Westin, to welcome into our tradition. He’s going to grow up in a family where Christmas is about love and peace on earth and all the good things associated with the holiday. My wish for him is that there will never be any monsters in his world. And this is my Christmas wish for you…

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

Taking the Waters by Kate Hardy

 

Kate HardyBack in the nineteenth century, people used to go to a spa town and ‘take the waters’ to cure themselves of anything from skin complaints to leprosy…

And this weekend I fulfilled a long-time wish to go and see the Roman spa and baths at Bath. (If you’ve read Unlocking the Italian Doc’s Heart, my last Medical, you might have noticed the reference to the Roman Baths in London  – this is a continuation!)

The hot springs in Bath bubble up into three springs at the rate of 1.17 million litres a day, at a temperature of 46 degrees C.

In Celtic times the goddess Sulis was worshipped there (hence the town’s Roman name, Aquae Sulis) and then in Roman times the bath complex was built in about 60AD and Minerva was worshipped. There are remnants of a temple here as well as the bath house, changing rooms and saunas; and a really stunning survival is the lead curse tablets. Citizens who were unhappy about something would write it down on a lead tablet, roll it up or fold it into an ‘envelope’, and throw it into the spring to let the goddess deal with it. One of the curse tablets is written in Celtic – it’s the ONLY known piece of Celtic writing. Anywhere. In the world. (It’s untranslatable, but I was very excited about it.)

Piccies: the Great Bath.

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The head of Minerva.

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Curse tablets (one Roman, one folded over, one Celtic – you might be able to make out the diagonal downstroke of the letter L). Plus Roman remains and a middle-aged medical author…

 

Originally people bathed in the waters for a cure (anything from skin ailments to leprosy), and from the 17th century people drank it. You can actually try the waters here in a little paper cone. As a Medical author, I knew my duty was clear. As an English graduate, I knew Dickens had mentioned the waters in The Pickwick Papers – Sam says, ‘I thought they’d a wery [sic] strong flavour of warm flat irons.’

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I was expecting it to be vile (because the biggest component of the 43 minerals is sulphate), but I wasn’t expecting it to be warm (despite what I said about the temperature above!). And, actually, it wasn’t that bad. ‘Interesting’ is probably the right word. It didn’t restore me on a very hot day (that was the iced coffee I had later!). But it was interesting…

imageKate’s latest book, Carrying the Single Dad’s Baby, is out later in August. If you like Notting Hill, astronomy and cute children, this one’s for you 🙂