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Just to show that I'm alive and have been working on my RK fic set in Wales, I thought I'd present this list of interesting things I've learned while doing research in recent weeks.  (A few of these will be familiar to some of you...)

Rushlights:  Thanks to hysterical historical romances I'd always known they were akin to the candle, but now I know exactly what they were and how they were made.  I have also learned about the special stands made to hold them, which is important when you have an antique dealer going to Wales.

Rushes:  They aren't what many of us think they are.  Rushes and bulrushes (or cattail in the US) are not, in fact, the same thing.  Neither is a plant called 'sweet flag'.  This is interesting because when you read about 'rushes' being used as a floorcovering (again, historical romances ftw), the text is probably referring to 'sweet flag', with the second most likely meaning being bulrushes.  Also, there's a company in the UK today that makes rush floor mats as an alternative to carpet, and I think that's cool.

Sycamore:  The 'sycamore maple' or 'celtic maple' was (and is) a popular wood for carvings and ornaments in Wales.

Footman:  Although usually used in reference to a male member of the domestic staff, a footman was also once a type of furniture!  It was used to keep dishes hot where they were kept in front of the dining room fire.  I now wonder if I've read the word as the servant when the table was intended.

Royal Mines:  The mining of gold and silver has a very interesting history in Great Britain, as all such ore producing mines were considered to be the property of the crown after a ruling in 1568.

California Gold Rush:  The gold rush was so instrumental in the forming of the western states that it changed the way the US government handles mineral rights.  In some such states, mining companies were even granted powers of eminent domain! 

International Flights:  It doesn't appear to be possible to fly directly from the US to Wales.  If you're lucky, you can get a connecting flight from Dublin.  If you're unlucky, you get to go way out of your way and connect in Amsterdam.  Also, it's ridiculously difficult to find out how much it costs to charter a private flight.  (No, I don't want to provide my info and let you call me.  That would be a waste of your time as I will never, ever, actually charter a private plane.  I just want a ballpark figure of what it would cost my fictional characters, thanks!)

Empty Leg:  This phrase refers to an empty flight generated due to a chartered flight.  For example, if you charter a one-way flight from A to B, then the return flight from B to A would be an empty leg.  Since the charter has to make the flight regardless, passengers can sometimes purchase discounted tickets on an empty leg.  Which would be useful to know if only I could figure out what the rate would be...

Bangor:  There's a Bangor in Wales.  I was disappointed to learn the town of Bangor, Maine was not named for it, because it would be the first such Welsh-named town I'd ever heard of.  Bangor, Maine is instead named for a hymn, which in turn was named for a Latin manuscript, which was named for the abby in which it was written, which was named for the town of Bangor, Ireland.

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September 2015

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