Granny Dalton: Eccentric

One of the many colourful characters I came across during my research for The Aerial Queen was a local Whanganui identity known as Granny Dalton. She doesn’t feature in the novel, but when Leila Adair made a balloon ascent from the Whanganui Racecourse, Granny Dalton was living in a shack nearby. Feisty, independent, and illiterate... Continue Reading →

Historic Petone

One of the best things about my new locale, Petone, is the history associated with the area. Since we are all restricted to short walks in our local area during the Covid-19 pandemic let me invite you to a virtual walk through Discover Historic Petone. Many of the Petone streets are named after the early... Continue Reading →

19th-century Hotels: The Eagle Tavern, Wellington

I’m fascinated by the history of early New Zealand hotels — and there were a lot of them! While researching The Aerial Queen I sometimes found mention of the hotels that Leila Adair stayed in: Albion Hotel, WhanganuiClub Hotel, Palmerston North Digby Andrews’ Coach and Horses Hotel, Nelson European Hotel, Dunedin Burnip’s Criterion Hotel, Christchurch... Continue Reading →

Featherston Booktown Festival

What is a booktown, you may well ask? Alex Johnson in his book Book Towns: Forty-five Paradises of the Printed Word defines it as “simply a small town, usually rural and scenic, full of bookshops and book-related industries.” The most well-known booktowns are Hay-on-Wye in Wales and Wigtown in Scotland (the location of Shaun Bythell’s... Continue Reading →

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