I was going to post today about ten things I learned in last year's American Title final that I was going to apply to this year's, but I could only think of one.
So I'm going to talk about flowers and ancient buildings instead.
I snuck off to London for the day last week, to go to a Royal Horticultural Society flower show. This one was a bit special, as it was held in the Inner Temple Garden.
The Chelsea Flower Show is probably the biggest and most famous horticultural show in the world, but before it got celebrity status and moved along the river, it was held for almost 100 years at the Inner Temple.
The Temple is part of the Inns of Court, which is where barristers and judges have their offices, or chambers. It is a wonderful complex of old buildings, courtyards and gardens with fountains, statues and very old trees. King James 1st made over the land for the construction in 1608. At the centre of the complex is the Temple Church, which dates back to the 12th century.
The show was interesting, if a bit soggy underfoot, but the highlight for me was visiting the church, and one of the other garden courts that was not used in the show.
The Temple Church was the venue for a display of spectacular flower arranging, as you can see, but it appealed to me for more literary reasons as well, that I plan to talk about in my next blog. Some of the detailing of the stone work of the church is visible in the background to the pictures.
The other place I wanted to see, for sentimental reasons, was the Middle Temple garden. This is the place in Shakespeare’s Henry VI where the leaders of the houses of Lancaster and York pick the roses that become their emblems in the Wars of the Roses.
This event has no historical basis whatsoever. Like all writers, when they need something interesting to happen, and history hasn't obliged, Shakespeare made it up. But the garden itself is lovely and the sort of place where something like that might have happened.
This blog does have some sort of connection to American Title V, because the heroine of my book is a garden designer, who has twice won gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Oh - and what was the thing that I learned from last year's contest? To have a shorter title, so it's easier for people to type in the e-mail when they want to vote for me. And I have. Never Coming Home.