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Researching the Nipigon River by Sarah Maine

Posted on: 19/04/2017 with tags: 19th Century, Canada, Nipigon river, research, Scotland, 19th Century

I have two prints on my wall. One is a hand-coloured wood engraving by T. Weber dated 1890 Vue Prise sur la Rivière Nipigon  which shows the lower reaches of  a mighty river flowing past pine-clad cliffs and down to the north shore of Lake Superior in Canada. The other is a black and white photograph of one of the islands in these lower reaches and is dated 1893 – spot on for the year in which Charles Ballantyre, a wealthy Scottish landowner brings his party to fish on the Nipigon. The photograp…

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Rebecca Mascull, author of THE VISITORS, on the inspiration behind her debut novel

Posted on: 11/09/2013 with tags: farming, historical fiction, hop farmers, hops, Kent, oast houses, Rebecca Mascull, research, The Visitors

In my novel THE VISITORS, the main character’s father is a Victorian hop farmer. He owns hop fields in Kent, where his men place hop poles in the ground, then walking on stilts they string up the coir twine between each pole. Beautiful rows of bright green hop bines. You can clearly see how the hops grow up the wires which were strung up by the farm workers, often walking on stilts. The men train the hop plants to grow clockwise around the strings and spray them with soft soap to kill pests. In…

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