medievalrosalie

Sandgate Author Talk

Shhh! it's a secret!
Shhh! it's a secret!

The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women Sandgate Library Author Talk was delightful!

First of all I was surprised to find myself in the tourist booklet of What's On In Sandgate with one of my favourite photos and a great write up! Once again, the headline focusing on the sex lives and not the medieval women made me feel a little uncomfortable, but it clearly did the job because we had a completely full house!

The library staff and my hostess, Amanda, were welcoming and kind and wasted no time in offering refreshments and giving me a tour of the library. I found the best spot in the library was in one of their gorgeous red, brocade-covered armchairs looking outside through huge, arched windows while sipping coffee and chilling with a magazine. I heartily recommend it!

The library itself was not big enough to hold everyone who hoped to attend my talk, so it was relocated into the beautiful town hall right next door.

Sandgate Town Hall.
Sandgate Town Hall.

The hall had an abundance of natural light and the room retained echoes of its former use as a performing arts venue with a now-disused balcony and tiered seats overlooking the main hall, seen above.

My favourite features of the Town Hall and the Library itself were the pressed tin ceiling panels and lighting rosettes which came in a number of designs.

pressed tin ceiling panels
pressed tin ceiling panels

I've always really loved this feature in a lot of old, heritage buildings and private residences and many old theatres and cinemas still have these in their foyers and above the footpaths outside the buildings proper. It's a little sad that our modern houses don't take this kind of attention to their ceilings, although restorations often include the lighting rosette features and fancy cornicework. 

The ceiling patterns, though, were lovely!

Looking upwards
Looking upwards

Before the hall was ready, I took half an hour to sit under some enormous fig trees in the park across the road and have lunch. The weather was sunny and even though Spring has just arrived, the warm weather was making itself known.

The event itself was Covid-appropriate with spaced out chairs which limited the numbers attending. A curious crowd made their teas and coffees before finding their places and joining me for our afternoon, and I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all.

Masks were permitted off once seated as we were spaced out, so that was nice!

What a lovely crowd they were, too. Several men attended, which was quite lovely to see, including one of the librarians from The Braille House who chatted about making a braille edition for their lending library. 

I'm so thankful that at the moment I have these small opportunities to get out and spread the medieval history love into the broader community. Our Brisbane Libraries are the best!

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