Cover Story

Those of you who have been with us for a while will know that every year we like to rip out Valentine’s Day’s heart with our anti-Valentine’s trilogies. When we wrote Gunning Down Romance, it was going to be a stand-alone book. But then we discovered a macabre love of butchering this romantic day and decided to write a trilogy of trilogies. So many people asked if it was in print that this year we haven’t written a new one, but have instead combined the three trilogies into one print book, with a bonus story featuring the only returning character, Trey. Trey was a returning character by accident. When we wrote Still Life in Bad Romance, it was going to feature a character called The Artist. But after we’d finished it, we realised The Artist was Trey. He’d sneaked in without us noticing. And we haven’t been able to get rid of him.

So without further ado, here is the stunning cover *opens curtains with a flourish. Gets tangled.* Bollocks.

Romance Is Dead C L Raven

It was designed by Mark Stone. You can follow him on Twitter here, like his Facebook page here and check out his website here. We only asked him to do the cover on Thursday and he’d finished it the next day so we’d have plenty of time to promote it. You can’t ask for better service than that. We love how he’s incorporated the style of the other covers into a new look. We can’t wait to see it in print. It will be released on Valentine’s Day, so if like us, you enjoy seeing Valentine’s covered in blood, you don’t have long to wait.

Real love is worth killing for.

Dark Moon Rises

We finally have somedark moon digest issue 17 good news to share – our plague doctor short story, City of the Dead is out now in Dark Moon Digest Issue 17. You can get it here – Amazon UK  Amazon US. Many thanks to the talented Anya Breton for beta reading this version and the novella version. Your expertise is invaluable, especially pointing out when you can’t see the scene because we haven’t described it. We forget not everyone can see into our minds 😀

Synopsis: City of the Dead is a gothic horror set during Edinburgh’s 1645 plague outbreak. The plague doctor dies from the disease after a week, so the Council hires student doctor Alex McCrae, promising him one hundred pounds to cure the wretched pest. However, they can’t afford to pay McCrae and hope he’ll succumb to the disease. Unknown to them, McCrae’s friend, James created an immortality elixir. When McCrae fights for the money he’s owed, the Council decide the plague isn’t the only way to kill a man. But in the city of the dead, it’s not just ghosts who return.

Word of warning though – after writing this story, we extended it into a novella, which is currently unpublished, so if you don’t want to know how the novella ends, don’t read the short story, because the ending is the same.

In other news, October is meant to be the month for all things scary and on October 19th, Cardiff is having a horror con – Scardiff. We’re very excited about it, but we’re also terrified because they have Dragon’s Pen, a pitching panel for writers to pitch their novels to four people in the publishing industry: Adam Nevill, horror author and commissioning editor; Scott Harrison, writer, editor and screenwriter; Dan Coxon, editor of literary magazine Litro; and Christopher Teague, owner of Pendragon Press. The idea is you read a 50 word pitch and the first page of your novel. That’s not the scary part. The scary part is you have to do it in front of an audience, with the potential of having your book torn apart by these guys. In front of everyone. That’s the bit that’s terrifying us. It’s much easier to write a 50,000 word novella than it is to write a 50 word pitch. Ever since we put our names forward, we’ve regretted that moment of boldness and what came over us. It was probably anger. Most of our bravery and productivity is achieved when in a fit of rage.

We’ve been trying to choose between Bleeding Empire, our urban fantasy about the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and The Malignant Dead, the novella version of City of the Dead *points* (we changed the title because there are way too many books called City of the Dead.) The synopsis above is actually the 100 word version of the pitch, because we were originally told it was 100 words, but now the website says 50, so we’ve done both. Bleeding Empire went down well at the Salem literary festival in May, but we’re not sure it’s horror enough for the panel. Yes people die brutally, but the comedy outweighs the horror. We’d written a pitch for our latest novella, Silent Dawn, which is about three teenagers addicted to a computer game, Silent Dawn: Asylum but the more they play it, the more Silent Dawn erodes their sanity, until they can’t tell reality from illusion. We loved writing the story and it’s straight horror, but we’ve only just finished the first draft, so if they liked it and asked to see the rest of it, we’d be buggered.

Or we can disguise ourselves, give ourselves fake names and read all three and see which one they prefer. If it was just a case of doing a reading, like we did at the festival, it wouldn’t be so bad. But this could potentially land us a publishing deal. And if we pick the wrong book, we could completely jeopardise our chances. This is a massive decision. We can’t make that kind of decision! We struggle to decide which chocolate bar to eat for a snack! Perhaps we should consult the Magic 8 ball, although its advice is often harsh.

“Magic 8 ball, will the pitching panel like Bleeding Empire?”

Magic 8 ball “you may rely on it.”

“Will the pitching panel like The Malignant Dead?”

“YES”

“Should we risk Silent Dawn?”

“Better not tell you now.”

Glares. “Should we risk Silent Dawn?”

“Without a doubt.”

You’re not helping Magic 8 ball!

 

Salem literary festival

Yesterday we combined two things we love – the world of writing and ghost hunting, in a small village called East Budleigh, Devon. And we went alone. Yes, you read that right. We travelled to Devon completely unsupervised. We know. Can’t help thinking emergency services should have been informed. And maybe NASA, should we get lost and need to be tracked via satellite. Neen was set to come with us but with the arrival of her new baby, Alexis last weekend, was understandably busy. And our mum was looking after the animal army. This time last year there is NO WAY we would’ve done a reading at a literary festival on our own. It appears we have finally slain the social phobia demon and now stand victorious over its crumpled remains, capes billowing. We arrived without getting lost once. This automatically makes us suspicious. Things never run smoothly unless fate is planning a nasty surprise. We parked in a car park opposite the Sir Walter Raleigh pub. We had the prime parking space – next to the public toilets. Weirdly, even though General Pinkinton was about five feet from the toilets, we had no mobile service when in him. But we did if we stood by the toilets. When we mentioned that we only got service at the toilets, we have to stress it was phone service and we were not part of some celebrity-style toilet scandal. We had about two hours to spare before we had to set up for the festival, so we decided to find Sir Walter Raleigh’s house. In case there is someone who doesn’t know who he is, he was the guy who was a favourite of Elizabeth I, sailed to the New World (America), founded Virginia and brought back tobacco and potatoes. So he is the grandfather of chips and lung cancer.

Vicar's Mead, East Budleigh

Vicar’s Mead

The sign said his house was a mile up the road. As it was sunny, we decided to walk. We stopped en route to film by Vicar’s Mead, where the reverends of Salem Chapel lived. And stored smuggled goods. It was also once a schoolhouse and Raleigh was educated there. Whether he was taught smuggling is unknown. Then we set off on our trek. It wasn’t long before we were wading through boggy mud and thinking it suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea. The road was just about wide enough for a car, so when cars came, we had to squish ourselves into the hedge for them to pass. People stared. They obviously weren’t used to seeing twins dressed in their Gothic finery, brandishing cameras and a look of hope. The mile was starting to feel very long and there wasn’t a house in sight. Eventually we stopped at the top of an incline and scanned the area. Nothing but fields. We’d passed a junction on the way so figured perhaps we should have turned off. We retraced our steps and headed down the junction. There were houses here. It looked promising. Until the houses ran out. Defeated, we turned back. Then the heavens opened. And we’d left our brollies in the car.

Sir Walter Raleigh

honouring the man who made chips possible

And we were about half a mile away. Wet hair we could cope with. But our dye washes out. We did not want to show up to the festival with green dye down our faces. People would’ve thought the Incredible Hulk had shown up. Granted, a much smaller, better dressed version but still. Appearing as a Marvel comic hero was not how we wanted our first festival to go. Cue a mad dash back to the car. We stopped to ask some cows and their babies where the house was but they were reluctant to speak to us. Naturally, by the time we reached Pinky, the rain stopped. But we were now sweating, soaking, covered in mud and smelling of farm animals. And the festival was in an hour. The best we could do was get pocket tissues, go into the toilets and wash our boots. And to think we’d actually taken the time to get the cat hair off us that morning. This was worse. We consoled ourselves with crisps and Red Bull then went to have our photos taken with Sir Walter’s statue. We asked him where his house was, but he was unforthcoming. Perhaps he doesn’t like conversing with peasants who smell of cow dung. We’ve always said Calamityville is a disaster. But it’s not Calamityville, it’s us. We’d planned to visit the brick cross, where a witch was burned, but we weren’t sure if we had time to walk there and we didn’t want to drive, because we might lose our space in the car park, so we practised our reading and drank Red Bull until it was time to head for the chapel.

Salem Chapel

Salem Chapel

Salem Chapel was built in 1719. It has a unique concave roof, with a recessed well and a trapdoor that is only accessible from the outside. The loft space is where smuggled goods were hidden. A locked door inside the chapel has been seen opening and a grey lady sits in the pews upstairs, where the servants used to sit. We did a brief talking piece outside the chapel, whilst trying not to get run over by the cars turning in. Never mind showing up filthy, getting squashed outside would put a real dampener on the day. We met local poet John Payne outside as well as Rosemary Smith’s (who organised it) husband, Mike. We met up with Margaret James, who we met at the Exeter novel prize and she took us upstairs to where the grey lady is seen. We conducted a brief EVP session amongst the pews then were joined by Su Bristow, who won the Exeter novel prize. We didn’t get a chance to speak to her at the prize-giving (it was her son who we told about our snails’ mating habits) so it was nice to finally talk to her. While we were up there, we suddenly realised we had 2 mins to get set up as the festival was about to start. Even when we’re early, we always manage to be late.

Graham Hurley

Graham Hurley

First up was international thriller writer and crime writer Graham Hurley. We were fascinated about his talk of the publishing world, the TV world (he had a successful career in TV) and learned to avoid long lunches with publishers. He also talked about the research he did for his books, which included spending 6 weeks with police officers and joining them on a dawn raid.

John Payne

John Payne

Next up was local farmer turned poet, John Payne. He read from his poetry collection Waves of Life. He was followed by Mal Peet, who was very entertaining. His research involved buying a book from a charity shop then making everything up. That sounded like our kind of research. Apparently he is seen a goal keeping guru in America, despite not knowing anything about the subject, having again, made it up for his book. Then a woman called Audrey read a passage from Rosemary’s book. She ended by saying “there’s never anything horrible in Rosemary’s books.”

Mal Peet

Mal Peet

Audrey reading from Rosemary Smith's book

Audrey reading from Rosemary Smith’s book

We started by saying “we wish we could say there’s nothing horrible in our books, but we’d be lying.” As Graham and Mal had talked about their research, we decided to do the same. Except ours included setting fire to heather and trespassing an abandoned summer camp. The joy of horror writing is we get away with making stuff up. If we did research, we’d end up in jail. We talked about our love for all things horror and humorous, our animal army and the disaster that is Calamityville Horror. We read an extract from Bleeding Empire, our Horsemen of the Apocalypse novel. Luckily people laughed throughout our introduction and reading and we got a big round of applause afterwards. Graham even said we upstaged him 😀 Everyone at the festival was so nice. Loads of people came up to talk to us and we even sold some books, which was a bonus. We didn’t expect to sell any. Disenchanted was the most popular as people wanted something that matched the humour of Bleeding Empire, which isn’t published yet. We’ve been invited back next year and have even been invited to two more festivals next year! Two different people came up and said our writing reminded them of Terry Pratchett, which is a huge compliment!

C L Raven

festival goers

Sir Walter Raleigh's house

Sir Walter Raleigh’s house

After the festival ended, we headed back to the car, stopping by All Saints church to film a piece about the smugglers. Then we drove to Sir Walter Raleigh’s house. Turned out, we were about 3 minutes walk away when we turned around! We curled our fists and cursed the skies. Unfortunately the house isn’t open to the public so we had to contend with a photo outside. Then we drove to the brick cross, parked in a layby and scampered across the road to stand by the cross. It’s in the middle of very busy crossroads. A witch was burned to death on this spot in 1580 and possibly buried there. Which would make sense – witches and suicides were buried at crossroads to stop their spirits being at rest. This is also the spot where criminals were suspended in chains and left to die. We did a session with the crystal, getting strange looks from passing motorists who have probably never seen someone standing on the cross before. Maybe they thought we were trying to summon a crossroads demon. Each time we asked questions to the witch, the wind became really strong. We’d stop and the wind would die. We’d try again, the wind picked up. We concluded maybe she was an air witch and was trying to communicate through the wind. Unfortunately, weather responses are beyond the power of Google translate.

brick cross, East Budleigh

brick cross

As we drove back, the M49 was luckily open. We wished it wasn’t. The stench of sulphur was nauseating. Then we encountered a sulphuric smell on the Severn bridge. There was only one plausible conclusion – a demon had manifested. Demons are always accompanied by foul stenches. Then we had the proof we needed that this was indeed a demon manifestation – at the toll booths on the bridge, we were behind a lorry transporting HELL energy drink. Now to get this demon to do our bidding. Does anyone have a copy of Controlling Demons for Dummies lying around?

Watch our reading here

Romance Isn’t Dead

Romance is Dead C L RavenWhether you’re going to celebrate Valentine’s the traditional way by beheading a saint, or the modern way by buying roses, we’re going to celebrate  by releasing Romance Is Dead! Buy it here – Amazon US  Amazon UK  Smashwords

Blurb:

Three dark stories that won’t give your lover butterflies, but nightmares. A fallen goddess enacts gruesome revenge on anyone who wrongs her; an artist turns a romance play into a horror story; and a hopeless romantic ensures his lovers live forever. They all share one belief: real love is worth killing for.

Finally, the last book in the anti-Valentine’s trilogy is out. It’s a sad moment. We’re going to miss our bloody attack on this romantic day. But like all monsters, this might not be the end. We’re thinking of releasing a print version next year with the three books combined, plus a bonus story. Perhaps a Trey prequel.

Siren's CallBut that’s not all. We have another gift for you. No, it’s not someone’s ripped out heart. Strangely, we couldn’t find any willing sacrifices. Our mermaid story, A Mermaid’s Kiss, has been published in Siren’s Call’s Women In Horror issue and it’s FREE to download! Download it here  We love their Miss Voorhees cover.

Love Kills

Today we have TWO treats for you. And people think the run up to Valentine’s Day brings out our…unpleasant sides 😀 First up, the cover reveal for Romance is Dead. We’re very excited about it. Ryan from Love Your Covers has done an incredible job as always. We told him exactly what we wanted and he delivered 🙂 So feast your eyes! *claps for the spotlight to come on. Glares. Claps harder. Stomps over and switches the damn thing on ourselves.*

Romance is Dead C L Raven

And now for your second treat 🙂

Bad Romance C L RavenTo continue our Bloody Valentine’s celebration in the run up to Romance Is Dead’s release on Feb 14th, the second book in the trilogy, Bad Romance will be FREE from today until Friday. You can get it here:

Amazon US Amazon UK

When we first started writing the second story, Still Life, the main character was originally an unnamed character called The Artist. But as we redrafted it, we found the narration very similar to Trey’s from ‘Til Us do Part in Gunning Down Romance. Then we realised it was Trey, trying to force his way into the second book. The more we thought about it, the more we realised it made sense – the models were Trey’s evolution. We surrendered and rewrote parts of the story to accommodate Trey and Sol. We’re glad we did. It seemed we couldn’t let go of Trey any more than he could let go of his former lovers.

Watch the trailer here 

Here’s the blurb:

Three disturbing stories about the dangers of falling in love – an incompetent Cupid prepares for Valentine’s Day, but his arrows melt faces, not hearts; a man’s art exhibition conceals a macabre secret; and a betrayed bride makes unfaithful lovers regret their vow of ’til death us do part’. All their victims are bound by an unsettling truth – too much love can kill you.

Bloody Valentine

Gunning Down RomanceTo celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day on January 25th, Gunning Down Romance is free all week! We started writing anti Valentine’s stories a few years ago, after being sick to death of hearts and teddies and gushing soppy Valentine’s crap that gets shoved in your face every February. Then in 2012 we decided to take the plunge and start self-publishing. We thought what better way to do it than put together our anti-Valentine’s stories and release them as a collection to help those who are sick of the holiday as we are. We only had 2 stories  – The Black Kiss and Til Death Us Do Part, both of which had been previously published. We just needed one more. And so Kiss of Death was written.

St Dwynwen’s Day is the Welsh Valentine’s Day. Dwynwen was the daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog in the 5th century. She fell in love with Maelon but her father had already arranged for her to marry someone else. Maelon raped her then left her. She prayed to God for help to forget Maelon. An angel appeared and gave her a potion that would help her forget him and turn him to ice. God then granted her three wishes. She prayed that Maelon be thawed, that true lovers find happiness together and that she never falls in love again. So we’re not exactly far out when we decided to turn Valentine’s Day into a horror celebration. After all, St Valentine was beaten with clubs and then beheaded.

Also in celebration, GDR’s sequel, Bad Romance will be free Feb 3-7th and the final in the trilogy, Romance is Dead will be released Feb 14th. Because real love is worth killing for.

Watch GDR’s trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8BYiu3PRTE

Master of Puppets

On Friday, we finished editing one of our older novels, Legion of the Damned. We wrote it in 2008 (we think) but after writing Bleeding Empire, thought it would be a good idea to release it as Bleeding Empire’s sequel. Legion features demons that have escaped from Hell and have cool powers. Think evil superheroes but without the capes and their own action figures. The problem was, it was 162,000 words. It needed to go on a major diet. So we starved it, forced it into a gym and cracked the whip until it broke into sweat and begged for mercy. When we were close to the end, we realised the document was missing 6 chapters. The novel was in fact 185,000 words. After a brief swearing fit, we carried on hacking through it with our machete. Also known as the delete button. In the end we managed to cut 63,000 words. So it’s still too long and still needs a lot of work. Probably a major rewrite in some parts. We used to like this book.

Most people, after finishing a novel edit would probably take a few days off. On Saturday, we were at a loss of what to do. So we wrote the final story for Romance Is Dead, the final part of the anti-Valentine’s trilogy. This story (unnamed) will conclude the Trey and Sol story. If you haven’t read Gunning Down Romance and Bad Romance, you have until February 14th. They’re only 77p/99c. The title Master of Puppets would’ve been perfect but that’s a story in Disenchanted, so like most of our stuff, it will probably remain title-less until near publication. They are our nemesis.

We were discussing Trey’s progression from mannequins to paralysed models and wanted to continue the trend. We both said “puppets” at the same time. When the Twin Power is switched on, it really is useful. Today we read through ‘Til Death us do Part and Still Life, which feature Trey and Sol, to make sure we had Trey’s narrative voice right. Turns out, puppets are mentioned in both stories. It’s like past us planted Easter Eggs to hint at things to come. It would’ve been nice if past us had told future us about this. We’ve been trying to think up a plot since August. But still, it makes us look clever. Even if it was by accident.

Halloweentown

Sorry for all the posts lately, it’s been a busy time with the release of Deadly Reflections and taking part in the treasure hunt. But today we’re giving you THREE Halloween treats. No trickery involved.

The first treat is a Halloween flash fiction we wrote for Eve Jacob’s blog. We had the idea after visiting the Edinburgh Dungeons, but didn’t have a chance to write it. So when Eve asked for Halloween flash fiction, we knew this was our chance. It’s called House of Wolves and follows Ripley and Tristan as they visit a haunted house attraction on Halloween and find that some monsters are real. Read it here.

Our second treat is a crazy/awkward interview we did with Anya Breton. Find out what we think of robots, which of our characters we’d like to bring to life and that wouldn’t be such a good idea. Check it out here.

And our third and final treat is from L K Jay, our fellow ghost hunter. Her ghost story, The Listening Post is FREE today and tomorrow. Who doesn’t love a ghost story on Halloween? Download it here UK    USA

And here’s a random picture of our pumpkins.051

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

Halloween Treats

As Halloween is galloping towards us like the headless horsemen, it’s time to go trick or treating. Except the only trick you have to do is find the answers to the following questions then protect your sweet bucket from any ghouls who may try to steal it and run down the long, dark path to Ravens Retreat (here) to leave your answers at the door. As it’s Halloweek, we’ll also be giving away a copy of our ghost story collection, Deadly Reflections. So you get to win four books!

First, go knock on Reece’s door and search his crypt for these answers:

Reece’s blog

  1. What is the final book in the Buan trilogy called?
  2. What is Reece’s secondary career outside of writing?
  3. How old was Reece when he started writing?

Now creep over to Jeremy’s and rummage around in his creepy basement to find these answers:

Jeremy’s blog

  1. What are Razorbacks?
  2. What does Jeremy have in common with Orion?
  3. What is the name of the board game in The Orion Chronicles?

Time to brave the dank corridors of Ravens Retreat (don’t mind the patients; they’re already dead) and search for these answers:

C L Raven’s blog

  1. Which company did C L Raven threaten to invade with glitter guns and make them sparkle like a Twilight vampire?
  2. In Soul Asylum, in what year did the East Wing burn down?
  3. What did Calamityville Horror do when they were meant to be doing a vigil in the Skirrid Inn?

Did you survive? Post the answers in the comments and the first 3 correct answers will win. Happy hunting!

Ghost Punting

CambridgeIt’s been a while since we went ghost hunting with fellow writer L K Jay and Cambridge had been planned since last year so this weekend we finally managed to meet up and travel to Huntingdon. It’s three and a half hours from Cardiff, which meant waking at an ungodly hour – 5:45 a.m. It should be illegal to be up at that hour. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad, if we hadn’t still been awake at 2:00 a.m. The week before any trip will always be a bad week for sleeping, due to pre-trip/packing anxiety. We’re pretty sure it was Red Bull driving General Pinkinton. Either that or we’re great at driving whilst asleep 😀 When we stopped at the Services, some guy shouted “I like your suspenders!” at Cat – she was wearing bright orange and black stripy tights. We refused to acknowledge him, so he kept shouting it then he and his mate stood way too close behind us on the escalator. One centimetre closer and we would’ve kicked them back down the escalator. We try to avoid human contact and being space invaded by strangers is the fastest way to having our fists lodged in your oesophagus. Listen dickwads – if you are too stupid to realise that suspenders are a belt worn around the waist to hold up stockings and are not in fact tights, then we are not even going to waste the energy it would take to flip you the bird. These guys are the reason the Eugenics debate still rages.

Then the junction we wanted to get to Huntingdon was closed because of an accident. The entire stretch of road was blocked off, leading to us being diverted. Somehow we still managed to get there. After arriving in Huntingdon, we dumped our stuff, grabbed our cameras then caught the bus to Cambridge. We were fascinated by the weird bus road – it was a specialised bus route with strips of road separated by large rectangular gaps filled with weeds and grass. We thought perhaps the council couldn’t afford to fill in the road properly, but it turns out they were car traps to prevent cars from using the road. On our journey we passed fields owned by Ministry of Defence. One of the fields had cows in it. So we concluded that a herd of cattle is actually protecting our country. They must be some kind of super soldier. We have to congratulate them – it’s a great disguise. It will totally fool any enemies.

016As we got to King’s College in Cambridge, we saw students in their mortar boards and gowns. It was graduation day, which meant we couldn’t get into any of the colleges to do some ghost hunting. L K Jay’s an ex Cambridge graduate so her Cam card is like a key to the city, but today they’d changed the locks. We always manage to visit a place on the same day that some big event is on that we didn’t know about it. It’s a gift. There was also a scavenger hunt, so there were runners clutching maps trying to fight their way through the crowds. We were tempted to tackle one of them and steal their map so we could navigate through the crowded streets, but we didn’t fancy our chances of outrunning them.

Then as we reached a section of shops, we heard a fire alarm blaring. Everyone was being evacuated. A little while later when we returned, the road was closed off and there was a fire engine parked up. It turned out to be a bomb scare.

We definitely picked a fine day to visit.

008We visited a haunted bookshop, which is haunted by a little girl whose presence is always detected with the scent of violets. The bookshop is tiny and smells of old books. We would have liked to stay there for a while, but you could only really get three people in there comfortably, so we didn’t have the room to explore properly. We went to see a haunted photography shop, where people have seen a ghost standing on the stairs. We made our way to Peterhall, the oldest college in Cambridge. There used to be a shadowy figure that lurked above the gate. Anyone who saw it supposedly committed suicide. Priests performed an exorcism in the 1960s and there haven’t been any sightings or suicides since. Right by Peterhall was a hidden graveyard. Naturally we explored it.

021As we were in Cambridge, we had to have the full experience, so booked to go on a punt ride. You can hire the punts and control them yourself, but that sounded like a recipe for disaster, so we decided the safest thing for everyone would be to have a guide. We didn’t bring a change of clothes, so didn’t particularly want to end up in the Cam, delighting the other tourists. Our guide, Max, was great and told us lots of interesting facts about the bridges and the colleges. The whole time we were there, we were desperate to see someone fall into the Cam (don’t judge, we know we’re bad people) and on the way back, we got our wish. Well, Cat did. She was lucky enough to witness a man falling off the punt into the river 😀 We’re hoping the camcorder captured the momentous occasion, but if it didn’t, there’s plenty of footage of ducks and geese for you to enjoy.

CambridgeIn the evening we went on a ghost walk around the city. Cambridge has a lot of ghosts so we didn’t get to hear about all of them. During the Black Death, Cambridge’s priests were dying and the townspeople were terrified that without a priest, the dead’s souls would be at unrest. So they built a college to train more priests. It was a spooky building and is apparently haunted by Reverend Butts (no laughing at the back). He hanged himself and was found by one of the choir boys, with his dog lying beneath him, apparently waiting for help to arrive, rather than fetching help. There’s now a statue of the dog. Though to be fair, our boys also would have sat there, rather than gone for help. The cats would eat us. It’s also haunted by a man and woman. He was a student, she was the daughter of someone important (it’s been a tiring time, so forgive our bad memories). They’d met for a clandestine tryst in her room. When her father came home, she stashed her lover in the linen press. Her father told her they were going on holiday to their country home, her bags had been packed and the carriage was waiting. The college was then locked over the holidays. Three weeks later, she returned home and when she opened the linen press, her rotting boyfriend fell into her arms. There wasn’t a handle on the other side. She died not long later and her father went against her wishes and buried her away from her lover. But their ghosts now meet up at night and walk hand in hand until dawn when they go to their different churchyards. The guide thought it a romantic story. Yes, we also find the idea of your decomposing boyfriend falling into your arms highly romantic. Mills and Boon is filled with that sort of stuff.

075Turned out, near where that college stands, used to be a ditch to protect the city. It soon got filled with rubbish, rotten food and you guessed it, bodies. Then they filled it in. We were basically standing on a giant grave. And some of the houses are now sinking into the ditch. Can’t help thinking someone should’ve drawn the ditch on a map years ago. Then just to add to the random things that seemed to stalk us in Cambridge, our bus out got held up by someone being put in the back of an ambulance. It seems we might have jinxed this historic city.

On our way home we seemed to drive right into the storm that is heading for the UK tonight. Pinky is not good in high winds. He was like a pink pinball being buffeted along the motorways. Crossing motorway bridges or passing lorries turned a normal drive into a fairground ride. A weekend of accidents, ghost hunting, people falling into rivers and a bomb scare. Cambridge will definitely not be forgotten!050