Thursday, 12 June 2014

Richard III and Fancy Headstones

A blog post of two halves:

Richard III

The other day I went along with Lynn, my publisher, to the printers, Soar Valley Press to do a final, final check of The Children’s Book of Richard III. I found myself discussing gutter marks and bleed lines. I’m learning so much! Here is a preparatory version of the complete outside cover; back, spine and front.



Everything was good with the proofs so now the printers are printing and binding while I sit back and sip tea… I wish! We have two launches to arrange; a media launch and a private launch. We have promotion to do; schools, retail outlets, anyone who will listen and I’m proposing to do school visits next term.

The school visits are going to be fascinating. The contents of the book are relevant to a number of areas of the curriculum, not only history, and we hope that this element proves to be an additional selling point. It’ll be strange standing up in front of children again, a bit like being a grandma. I can have lots of fun, drawing on skills that I honed when I was younger, and then I can hand them back at the end of the session.

Fancy Headstones

For those of you who are getting fed up of me rabbiting on about Richard III, I thought I’d tell you a bit more about the cemetery project. This week I’ve been working on an article about headstone embellishments. It was researched and written up by one of my team and I’m sorting out photos to illustrate it and preparing it for uploading onto the project website.

In modern Jewish cemeteries it’s customary to have plain headstones, usually with just a Star of David embellishment on them but in the early 1900s the designs in our cemetery were quite elaborate and very similar to the headstones in the non-Jewish part of the cemetery. A recurring theme among the earlier headstones is ivy adornments, ivy being a symbol of immortality. One of the most fascinating headstones has a cut down tree, representing a life cut short and probably a reference to the ‘tree of life’ mentioned in Genesis.


I seem to be learning something new every day at the moment. Steep learning curves are exciting but just a little tiring. Maybe I will sit back and sip tea after all.


Have you experienced any kind of learning curve recently?

21 comments:

  1. Don't worry about me getting bored I just love all the Richard lll news, your book and the cemetery project- I just don't get time to stop by often and comment.
    Did the person whose headstone you showed died at a young age? It's an interesting idea. As you said most Jewish headstones are simple but in recent years here in Israel you can see many headstones of Russian immigrants which have a 3D image of the deceased embedded somehow in the headstone.

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    1. A 3D image sounds a bit unpleasant. I'd feel uncomfortable looking at something like that in a cemetery but I suppose it's what different people have been brought up with.

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  2. Well done Ros for staying sane with all of that attention to detail and re-checking. After the hard work the exciting bit lies ahead.
    Headstones are so interesting and I've always been drawn to graveyards, even when I was quite small. I love reading the names and looking at the designs and thinking of lives lived. The Welford Road cemetery is full of beautiful stone angels.

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    1. You think that I'm sane, Alex?! Can't you hear my howls from your front garden? I've seen those angels. We don't have that type of thing in our cemetery.

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  3. Not to fear, I will never get tired of Richard. And I love the cover, it is so colorful and covers so many different things, I know it will make a child, I mean many children, want to buy the book. What I'm trying to say, it will draw them in. I know the cemetery project must be very interesting. Good for you keeping all these things going. It will keep you young, of that I'm sure.

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    1. Yes, it is a colourful and exciting front cover design, isn't it. As for keeping me young! If only!

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  4. I learn by reading your blog. Both the Richard III book adventure, and the cemetery headstones, etc are fascinating. I'm excited for you. I'm still on a learning curve in writing and publishing. I think it's all uphill like a slow rollercoaster. Gutters, formats, arggghhhh. I'm still trying to get the formula right. You do deserve a cup of tea and a sitdown before tackling the next thing. Enjoy the weekend.

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    1. I suppose the whole of life is a learning curve... it's that or vegetate! I'm going to rest up for the Saturday. It's a good time for doing nothing and thinking.

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  5. A cut down tree is very apt. As you say, the gravestones are usually unadorned. However the grave next to my parents' belongs to a tailor and he has a silver model of a treddle sewing machine.

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    1. I've never seen a model like that in a cemetery. It must be fascinating to look at and what a lovely tribute.

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  6. Love the cover!!!! It's going to be awesome! :)
    Cemeteries are really fascinating places!

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    1. Thanks, Jemi. Cemeteries used to scare me when I was a kid but now I can appreciate the history.

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  7. What a fab cover! And what learning fun you've had!! (As for my learning - well, finding my way round Berlin, for a start!!)

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    1. Thanks, Jo. You take care in Berlin... although with all your exciting travels under your belt, Berlin must be a breeze! Enjoy.

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  8. I hope many children will learn the true Richard III through this book. Thank you, Rosalind. Keep up the good work.

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    1. I hope so too. It took a long time for me to tease out the real story and set it down clearly.

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  9. Gutters and bleeds? They sound positively frightening!
    As for learning curves - I'm with my grandsons for a week and they're already showing me how to use my tablet.

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  10. Hi Ros .. I could use grandchildren! But I'll draw on your experiences here and ask when I need help ... seems to be my way of coping. Learning curve - rather large at the moment .. technicalities of this unknown universe we seem to inhabit ... I wonder if they'll have blogging cemeteries with interesting avatars, dates and names .. who on earth will decipher them in millennia to come?!

    You're doing so well and what a wonderful learning curve ... I learn lots in the blogosphere and from the notes I write up ..

    It's fun - cheers and enjoy a cup of tea occasionally .... Hilary

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  11. I seem to be missing a lot of blog posts these days…sigh…too much work. But enough of that, your book looks and sounds wonderful, Ros, and good luck with all the school visits and promo activities. What a great time to be bringing out this book too! Well done you! There's so much to learn about print books; I think I'll never learn it all. Your headstone research is also fascinating. It must be wonderful to be learning so much about things that interest you too. Great post, Ros and enjoy that tea!

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  12. Both projects are fascinating. Sorry I'm late; I'm also finding it hard to keep up with everything. ~Miriam

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  13. You must be so busy with these projects. The book cover is lovely,so bright and eye catching. I'm fascinated by the headstones and all you find out is so interesting. You'll love the school visits, you're an expert.

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