How much would fictional houses cost in real life?

(CNN)From Great Gatsby’s luxury estate to Count Dracula’s Transylvanian lair and Amelie Poulain’s tiny Parisian pad, the houses in which our favorite fictional characters reside are often inspired by real-life properties.

CNN tracked down some of literary and cinematographic history’s most famous post codes and calculated their value in today’s property markets. Use the slider tool to reveal their prices.

The Great Gatsby (1925), F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Great Gatsby’s home in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novelis a symbol of1920s wealth in America.
    “In his blue garden men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars,” the narrator says of Gatsby’s buzzing property.
    One of the properties thought to have inspired Fitzgerald — and director Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film adaptation, the source of the image above — is the Beacon Towers in Great Neck, Long Island, near where the author lived between 1922 and 1924, and wrote the first three chapters of the novel.
    Demolished in 1945, the Gothic building had belonged to suffragette and architectural designer Alva Belmont, who threw opulent parties for the city’s elite.
    All this history combined with literary fame, would have further upped the mansion’s price today, says associate broker Maggie Keats of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

    Master and Margarita (1967), Mikhail Bulgakov

    The famous, morbid ball scene in Bulgakov’s novel was partly inspired by wild parties held at the Spaso House, the US ambassador to Russia’s residence since 1933.
    Bulgakov and his wife attended one such revelry in 1935, where live pheasants, baby bears, goats and roosters mingled with guests in smoking jackets and ball dresses.
    According to Savills global real-estate agent, the value of the Spaso House today puts it in the top 5% of Moscow’s real estate.
    Despite this, the US government paid $3 per year between 1990 and 2004 to rent the building — this fixed price was set by a Soviet-era contract, which devalued after the collapse of the USSR. The rent has since changed but is a secret.

    Sherlock Holmes,Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    When Conan Doyle wrote his detective series, the real Baker Street in London stopped in the 100s — 221B didn’t exist.
    When the street was renumbered in the 1930s, the Abbey National Building Society bank was assigned the notorious number 221.
    The bank received so many letters addressing the famous detective that it hired a secretary to respond to the queries.
    A dispute over whether the Sherlock Holmes Museum — located at 239 Baker Street, and opened in 1990 — or the bank should receive such letters was resolved in 2002, when the bank left the building.
    The Holmes Museum, which emulates the detective’s home, is technically located between 237 and 241 Baker Streetalthough special permission from the City of Westminster allowed it to list its addressas 221b.
    The property’s current exorbitant price tag may have proved challenging even for the celebrity detective, due to the explosion of London’s property market over the past 20 years.

    Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren

    The nine-year-old Swedish children’s book heroine Pippi lives in Villa Villekulla with a monkey, Mr Nilsson, and a horse who is usually found on the porch. One of the house’s main treasures is the tree that grows Swedish soda water.
    The house pictured above, built for the 1969 Swedish TV series based on Lindgren’s books, is now the Pippi Longstocking Museum located at the heart of an attraction parkin the small town of Kneippbyn on Sweden’s Gotland Island.

    In the Mood For Love (2000), Wong Kar-wai

    The two small flats where this movie plays out shape the plot and atmosphere of this classic romance, as neighbors Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen learn that their spouses are having an affair.
    The typically cramped Hong Kong properties reflect the characters’ lack of privacy — they are constantly spied upon by other neighbors and their landlords — and are a catalyst for them falling in love.
    But there is also a political context. By the early 1960s — the era depicted in the film — thousands of Shanghai exiles had moved to Hong Kong, especially to the North Point neighborhood.
    Many of them were wealthy business people (like Su’s husband) and intellectuals (such as Chow), and expecting their move to be temporary they led a separate life to locals, which explains the characters’ sense of alienation.
    Engel & Vlkers estimated the value based on the cost of an average 861-square-foot (80sqm)flat in a traditional walk-up in North Point, Hong Kong.

    One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Gabriel Garca Mrquez

    The house in which generations of the Buenda family live, love and die in the fictional village of Macondo was inspired by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s grandparents’ home in Aracataca, Colombia, where the author grew up.
    “Neither my mother nor I, of course, could even have imagined that this simple two-day trip (to sell my grandparents’ house) would be so decisive that the longest and most diligent of lives would not be enough for me to finish recounting it,” Marquez wrote about his trip to the house as a young man in his autobiography “Living to Tell the Tale”.
    Based on Marquez’s writings, Colombia’s Ministry of Culture in 2010 spent $350,000 reconstructing the house — which had been demolished — and opened it as a museum in the author’s name.

    Dracula (1897), Bram Stoker

    The Bran Castle in Brasov, which is now owned by the Romanian royal family, is generally associated with the famous vampire Dracula, and consequently receives 800,000 visitors a year.
    But there isn’t any historical evidence to support the myth around Bran. Built in the early 13th century by the Teutonic knights, the castle has no concrete link to Vlad Tepes — the Wallachian medieval king who inspired Stoker’s vampire. While Tepes ordered the killing of many Saxons in Brasov, it is not known if he ever stepped foot in the castle.
    Nevertheless, Forbes magazine deemed the property to be the most expensive European home in 2007.
    Romanian real estate agents Transylvanian Properties used that figure to make their estimate, taking into account subsequent renovations and extensions.

    Amlie, (2001), Jean-Pierre Jeunet

    This film’s whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life revolves around Amlie Poulain, a shy waitress who lives in a tiny Montmartre flat.
    With its crimson walls, replica Renaissance paintings, and pig-shaped bedside table lamp, the flat reflects Amlie’s cheekiness and charm.
    The neighborhood is part of the 18th arrondissement, in north Paris, near the Sacre-Coeur basilica, the Moulin Rouge cabaret and a Dali museum. Montmartre became famous as an artists’ hub, where the likes of Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh lived, attracted by the cheap rents.
    But this is not the case anymore — the general increase in property prices across Paris, as well as tourism and the municipal renovations in the area, led to a 260% increase in property prices from 2000 to 2016, according to MeilleursAgents.
    Amlie set locations are part ofthe tourists’ route, and the film might have played a role in the neighborhood’s property price rise.

    Out of Africa (1937), Karen Blixen

    In her memoir, Danish author Blixen described in detail the Nairobi farmhouse in which she lived from 1917 until 1931 — a description which later informed the 1985 film of the same name starring Meryl Streep.
    After Blixen’s return to Europe, the house had multiple owners until in 1964 the Danish government bought it and gave it to the Kenyan government as an independence gift.
    Initially, the government used the building as a college principal’s home, but it opened it as a museum in 1986, after the success of “Out of Africa” the movie.
    The film, however, was shot in a different house in Kenya, which had previously belonged to Ngina Kenyatta, the widow of the east African country’s first President Jomo Kenyatta.

    And one that really is fictional…

    Hogwarts is the center of the Harry Potter world. Built in the Scottish Highlands in 993 AD, according to JK Rowling’s texts, this old ruined castle features 142 staircases, ample towers, turrets and forests, as well as a quidditch field and lake.
    The Harry Potter films usedseveral locations in England to recreate the magic of Hogwarts, including the banquet hall at Christ Collegeand the Bodleian Library in Oxford, Gloucester Cathedral and Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
    Because of this, CNN asked a real estate expert to estimate the approximate value of thefictional building only, excluding fields and forests, and assuming it were located in the Scottish Highlands.

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    How to photograph Hanoi like the city’s Instagram stars

    (CNN)From food-fueled itineraries to quiet cultural corners, Hanoi is a photographer’s dream destination.

    With a penchant for side streets and quiet lakes, these Instagram stars explore the city’s rooftops, coffee shops and the French colonial Old Quarter.

    The night owl

      March 22, 2015. Hanoi, Vietnam. A couple poses for pre wedding photos at sunset on the side of Hoan Kiem lake. #couple #pose #photoshoot #hoankiem #lake #sunset #preweeding #wedding #groom #bride #kiss #intimacy #cinematic #fun #travel #documentary #hanoi #vietnam #ReportageSpotlight #everydayvietnam #everydayasia #everydayeverywhere

      A post shared by Linh Pham (@phamhaduylinh) on

      With more than 70,000 followers on Instagram and a career as a photojournalist and documentarian, Linh Pham is among Vietnam’s most talented photographers.
      After studying graphic design in college, Pham spent two years traveling the world as a freelance photographer.
      But he felt a lack of connection to these places and soon returned to find his roots in Hanoi.
      In 2015, he began photographing the city, capturing its energy, people and social issues — re-exploring his hometown through oft-overlooked details.
      “I want to tell the world about contemporary Vietnam through my photos,” says Pham.

      Test post here. The cool folks at @instagram just allow us to post landscape photos along with the same old square starting from today. Instagram created a new shooting habit for me as I'm shooting 1:1 with the phone exclusively these days. Let see what people come up with this new (to Instagram) tweak! March 22, 2015. Hanoi, Vietnam. Police officers watch over the crowd attending Earth Hour in front of Hanoi Opera House. #landscape #police #officer #policeman #crowd #flare #night #opera #theater #earthhour #travel #documentary #hanoi #vietnam #everydayvietnam #everydayasia #everydayeverywhere

      A post shared by Linh Pham (@phamhaduylinh) on

      “It’s not just the kind of postcard landscape you would expect from the guidebook. As a developing country, Vietnam has a lot more stories to offer.”
      As a local, Pham says he knows many “backstage” shots and alternative angles to show Hanoi from a fresh perspective.
      “I love photos with layers — the kind of photos that make you stop and look more closely to really figure out what’s going on in the scene,” he adds.
      He gravitates to the Long Bien Market at midnight to capture night-shift workers in action, walks around at 5 a.m. before sunrise to enjoy the silent streets and climbs to rooftop apartments to see the city from above.
      But even if you’re not quite so committed to roaming the streets from dusk to dawn, Pham suggests a few more accessible photography opportunities.

        #MyHanoi: Photojournalist Linh Pham


      “In Vietnam, life happens on the streets — just walking around provides you with glimpses about how people are and have always been living,” he says.
      “It’s heaven for street photography because of the vibrant activities outside.”
      He suggests stopping to try the local sweet soup — a glass of crushed ice with tapioca balls and grass jelly — while watching the city come to life.
      “To some people it’s a noisy and congested city, but there are secret quiet corners right at the heart of Hanoi,” he says.
      “On the surface it looks old, chaotic or plain dirty, but with patience and empathy, one can surely find beauty and order in every frame.”

      The peace-seeker

      Lm sao thi bay thnh ph nhu nt c k Nhng ngy bt nhp ph khn Thng 2, c iu chi i ti

      A post shared by Lan Chi (@caracat) on

      A Hanoi native, 30-year-old Lan Chi Tran has a deep connection with her hometown — evident on her vibrant Instagram feed, where she has 9,000-plus followers.
      “Hanoi is a dreamy city,” says Tran. “Some people say that my images are simple and touching. It makes them miss Hanoi, or makes them really want to go to Hanoi.”
      The graphic designer doubles as a street photographer, chronicling her favorite teashops, streets and moments in Hanoi.
      Tran pursues photography as way to relax — even in busy Hanoi, she finds peace through her practice.

      Ch khu nh rn rng nng lung linh

      A post shared by Lan Chi (@caracat) on

      “I often go around by myself, and when I observe slowly and feel it with all of my senses, I see beauty everywhere,” she explains. “It’s a way of meditation for me — a way of mindfulness.”
      Tran says every corner of Hanoi is inspiring — from coffee shops to trees, people, architecture and old-world charm.
      For colorful and calming surrounds, she suggests Phan Dinh Phung Street, a tree-lined avenue dotted with French villas and Chinese mansions.
      She also recommends Ly Dao Thanh Street, in the old quarter behind Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and, of course West Lake, the city’s largest freshwater lake.

        #MyHanoi: Street photographer Lan Chi Tran


      “I always feel calm when being at these places,” she says. “The streets are always crowded but when you are there, it’s somehow very quiet and peaceful.”
      When showing friends around town, Tran skips the big-name restaurants and heads instead to her favorite local coffee shops and cafes.
      She likes to tuck into lunch at Crab Noodle along Nha Tho Alley or sip on soup at Sweet Soup on Hang Bo Street.
      “When I am taking pictures, I want something colorful,” she says. “I like to play with the colors — and I want happy photos.”

      The culture hound

      Ao Dai in the traffic. #vietnam #vietnamese #ig_vietnam #everydayeverywhere #everydayvietnam #everydaysoutheastasia #usa #ig_worldclub #wanderlust #aodai #hanoi #picoftheday #lensculture #lensculturestreets #streetphotography #streetphoto #viagem #viaje #travelgram #natgeotravel #asia #streetstyle #ig_respect #igturko #us #nightshot #igglobalclub #photooftheday #condenast #ig_spain

      A post shared by Javier Puig Saura (@javierpuigsaura) on

      Originally from Minorca, in Spain, 42-year-old Javier Puig Saura moved to Hanoi in 2014, when he was posted at the Spanish Embassy in Hanoi.
      A career diplomat, Javier says he was immediately blown away by the energy and color in Hanoi — so much so, that it inspired him to resume his long-neglected hobby of photography.
      “I was so surprised by everything I saw — the traffic, the buildings, the people, the food — that I wanted to share it with family and friends back in Spain,” Javier tells CNN Travel.
      “After a year in Hanoi, one of my best friends came to visit us and talked to me about Instagram, encouraging me to post my pictures there.”
      The more he shot, the more Javier wanted to see and discover — all the while posting on his dynamic Instagram feed.
      “Life, from birth to death, happens on the streets,” says Javier. “And there is also this fabulous mix of tradition and modernity, European influence and Asian character.”

      Chc mng nm mi Once again thousands of kumquat trees are being delivered all around Hanoi by fast and somewhat rash motorbikes. Kumquat is a symbol of luck, wealth and hapiness. Tt, the new lunar year, is getting close! Get ready for the year of the Rooster!!! #vietnam #vietnamese #hanoi #hanoianstotravel #everydayvietnam #everydaysoutheastasia #everydayeverywhere #ig_vietnam #ig_spain #picoftheday #photooftheday #travel #travelgram #travelphotography #wanderlust #tet #buddhism #natgeo #natgeotravel #asia #photojournalism #nikon #streetlife #viajar #streephotography #visitvietnam #bike #newyear #travelasia #lensculturestreets

      A post shared by Javier Puig Saura (@javierpuigsaura) on

      When Javier sets out to shoot, he typically avoids landscapes and food, gravitating instead towards people.
      But street photography is tough. He says it’s akin to going fishing or hunting — luck must be on your side.
      Instead of simply snapping away, Javier usually begins with a conversation.
      “Basically, taking pictures is an excuse to meet people so I use the camera as a pretext,” says Javier, who regularly sits down to share a beer with his subjects and even delivers printed photos later as a gift.
      “For me to trigger the camera is the last act on a long series of actions. I like to find a true little story, something unimportant but real as life.”
      A few of his best fishing expeditions have occurred in the Old Quarter, which Javier says is endlessly photogenic with its yellow facades, French colonial architecture, and bustling motor traffic.

        #MyHanoi: Javier Puig Saura


      He often visits Hoan Kiem Lake, where he finds Hanoians of all ages exercising, performing Aikido — a Japanese martial art — or just taking a stroll, ice cream in hand.
      On the first and 15th day of each month, Javier visits major pagodas and temples — like the Tran Quoc pagoda or Phu Tay Ho temple — to take portraits of the calligraphers who work there during the busy holidays.
      “Their job is to write in old Vietnamese characters the wishes and prayers of the worshippers in papers that they will then burn in the fire of the pagoda,” explains Javier.
      “The smoke is supposed to convey the wishes to the heavenly gods. They wear long beards and are dressed in colorful robes — it’s a beautiful sight.”

      The coffee connoisseur

      I used to love all the ghost stories in this book! Classic! #lieutrai #ghoststories #cafe #reading books #coffeebreak #vietnamesecoffee #lieutraichidi #nhanam #iphonography

      A post shared by Bien Nguyen (@bienontheroad) on

      Although he grew up in a small village, just outside of Hanoi, Bien Thuy Nguyen didn’t feel any connection to the city until he moved there as an adult.
      The Instagrammer — who shoots under the moniker Bien on the Road — relocated to Hanoi eight years ago to attend university.
      “I am not a city boy, but Hanoi is always my city, and my favorite city,” says Nguyen.
      “I got my first camera in 2008. I was shooting in my free time with friends … I fell in love with Hanoi and all its charms. All the historical and cultural layers inspire me.”
      Now a full-time liaison officer at the UN International School in Hanoi, Nguyen says photography is a hobby — not a profession.
      He snaps photos while traveling or wandering around Hanoi, focusing on people and street scenes.

      T tm #playingcards #hanoi #vietnam #instatravel #travelgram #instadaily #wanderlust #instagram #ig_travel #ig_hanoi #ig_street #ig_myshot #ig_vietnam #travel360 #travellife #travelphotography #traveladdict #travelling #tourists #oldmen #hanoistreetlife #hanoipavements #littleplasticchairs #hiddencharm

      A post shared by Bien Nguyen (@bienontheroad) on

      “The people and their daily life in the city are like watching a film — lively and interesting,” he says.
      “I take photos of whatever happens on the streets, or at secret corners, quiet alleys, beautiful architecture such as temples, churches, castles… of course coffee shops too.”
      Nguyen captures cafes for his side project Hanoi Hideaway — a site and app dedicated to finding Hanoi’s rich coffee culture.
      “You can also find many interesting stories about the city and its history in coffee shops.”
      Nguyen recommends Loading T, located in a French villa featuring exposed brick walls and mosaic tiled floors, the coffee shop is known for serving one of Hanoi’s best “egg coffees.”
      The thick coffee drink is a local staple, made with egg yolk in lieu of milk, coffee powder, condensed milk and butter.

        #MyHanoi: Bien Thuy Nguyen


      Then there’s Nhac Xua Cafe, a historic music spot, which began as an amplifier and speaker repair shop.
      “When he first opened (the repair shop), the owner would serve customers green tea and play old music — mostly Vietnamese pre-war songs — while they waited,” explains Nguyen.
      “People loved it and asked the owner to turn that shop into a coffee shop. Sitting on the tiny bamboo chairs by Westlake in the evening and listening to old music will bring you back to the old days of Vietnam.”

      The storyteller

      Hng nc tr huyn thoi #teashop #hanoi #hometown #vietnam #travel #dailylife #nov2016 #ricohgr

      A post shared by Hai Thanh (@haithanhptw) on

      A Hanoi-born documentary photographer, Hai Thanh keeps a “visual diary” of day-to-day life in Vietnam on his popular Instagram account.
      Formerly a photojournalist, working at local newspapers and magazines, Thanh has been photographing the city since 2004.
      “In the early years, I used street photography as a tool to develop my own voice,” says Thanh.
      “The city is an eternal inspiration of mine — it’s kind of like my big house. I have everything here: family, job, friends, foods and love.”

      #streetvendors #flowers #oldquarter #hanoi #hometown #vietnam #dailylife #travel #streetphotography #nov2016 #instagram #ricohgr

      A post shared by Hai Thanh (@haithanhptw) on

      The self-taught photographer turns a lens on the city’s social issues, including living conditions and the evolution of the city.
      “I try to capture the emotions inside the pictures,” he says. “When I’m on the street and taking photos, it keeps me motivated.”
      “I never expect the perfect picture — I just enjoy photography and finding one moment at a time.”
      For Thanh, the most interesting aspect of photographing Hanoi is its people — around Hoan Kiem Lake, in the Old Quarter or around the markets to see everyday life in the city.

        #MyHanoi: Maika Elan and Hai Thanh


      “I love taking photographs of crowds — it’s a lot of fun,” Thanh says. “For travelers, I would send them to the narrow alleys, where residents live and share a public space together. It is so Hanoi!”
      Of course, a trip to Hanoi isn’t complete without sampling the city’s diverse street eats — think ph b (beef noodle soup), bn ch (grilled pork with rice noodle), and bnh m pate (goose pate sandwiches).
      “You must taste the local food in every corner of the Old Quarter,” he says. “You don’t know anything about Hanoi if you never try the street foods.”

      The activist

      #cafe #tit #17months #kycon #saigon #family #travel #stair #apartment #oldhouse #maikaelan

      A post shared by Maika Elan (@maikaelan) on

      Married to Hai Thanh, Maika Elan is a documentary photographer who tells intimate stories through her lens.
      She picked up a family camera in 2006 and started experimenting while studying sociology in university.
      At the time, Elan focused on the villages and farmers in the countryside. But as she advanced, she took interest in city life and issues closer to home.
      “For me Hanoi is always full of positive energy and almost everything is on the street so you really can see the real life here,” she tells CNN Travel.
      “I love to take picture in the small alleys. They look very small and dark from outside, but when you walk in, its very long and often open up to stairways or kitchen, with lots of sunshine. It always takes me by surprise.”

      A ceramic seller stand in front of her shop. #portrait #hanoi #vietnam #market #maikaelan #photography #viiphoto #viimentorprogram #ceramic #woman #vietnamese

      A post shared by Maika Elan (@maikaelan) on

      Sporting a shock of blue hair, the Hanoi-born photographer says the city’s positive energy never ceases to inspire her.
      “With photography you will see the small details,” she says. “I live more in the moment with photography. You see more, talk to more with people. It changes you day by day.”
      But her real passion lies in documenting the everyday struggles facing Vietnamese people.
      In 2012, she won a World Press Photo award for an image depicting an LGBT couple in bed.
      The photo was part of Elan’s “The Pink Choice” documentary project, where she spent two years traveling across Vietnam to explore the lives of same-sex couples.
      By the end of the journey, she had taken hundreds of intimate photos in the homes of more than 70 gay couples.
      “People showed me their love and how they survived, how they stand together,” she says.
      Love the music from CNN’s #MyHanoi videos? Here’s a full list of featured tracks:

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      Arthur Blythe, acclaimed jazz musician, dies aged 76

      Blythe was at the vanguard of jazz in the 1970s, when his Lenox Avenue Breakdown album from 1979 described as a masterpiece

      Arthur Blythe, the jazz musician and composer who was a key part of the genres experimentation in the 70s alongside the likes of Don Cherry, has died at the age of 76.

      A short post left on his Facebook page said he died in the early hours of Monday morning and mentioned his Parkinsons disease, which he had since 2005.

      Early this morning the great Arthur Blythe passed, it read. As many of you know he was a gentle soul and a musical genius. He had been fighting Parkinsons disease for several years. His spirit will live on in his unique music, which he humbly gave to our universe.

      Blythe was at the vanguard of jazz in the 1970s, with his Lenox Avenue Breakdown album from 1979 considered to be a key release of that period and was described as a masterpiece in the Penguin Modern Guide to Jazz.

      He continued to release music until relatively recently, and his performances on his 2003 album Exhale, which would be his last, were described as absolutely devastating by the Guardians jazz critic John Fordham.

      Born in Los Angeles, Blythe made his name playing with Don Cherry alongside blacklisted musician Horace Tapscott before becoming part of the second wave of avant garde jazz players of the 70s in New York, where he was known as Black Arthur Blythe.

      Read more:

      Morse’s Oxford: The city that inspired Colin Dexter – BBC News

      Of the main players in the Inspector Morse stories by Colin Dexter, one remains – the city of Oxford. The character died in The Remorseful Day, published in 1999. John Thaw, the actor synonymous with the role of the curmudgeonly detective, died in 2002. And Dexter himself died earlier this week.

      As the Lord Mayor of Oxford once said: “In his novels Colin Dexter has shown our city as having a distinct and separate identity from its famous university.”

      The “dreaming spires” and attendant well-to-do academics and eccentrics were important factors in the books, but so were the lanes round the city centre, the arterial Iffley and Cowley roads, the north Oxford suburbs of Jericho and Summertown, and the railway station.

      Dexter himself was well aware of the city’s allure for readers and viewers. When the first episode of the television series was broadcast in 1987, he said: “The huge value for me as a writer is that, even if people haven’t been to Oxford, they would love to be in the city.

      “I think if the story had been set in Rotherham or Rochdale no-one would be particularly interested to see the streets and side streets, but so many people outside Oxford are delighted to see the High Street, St Giles and the colleges.”

      Image copyright PA
      Image caption John Thaw, who played Inspector Morse in the television adaptation, pictured with Colin Dexter in 1999

      The Randolph Hotel featured prominently in both Dexter’s and Morse’s lives. Morse was often to be found pondering cases while enjoying a real ale or red wine there, while Dexter’s favoured drink in later life – he gave up alcohol for medical reasons – was tonic water.

      Staff at the hotel said the writer would often visit various rooms around the hotel to help him get details for a storyline.

      “He continued to be a regular at the hotel bar and was so loved by staff, that we renamed the bar after his most famous character – Morse. He was very much part of this hotel and we will miss seeing him perched at the end of the bar or reading a book by the fireside, sipping his drink.”

      Image copyright Randolph Hotel
      Image caption Colin Dexter poses with some of the staff at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, where a bar is named after Inspector Morse

      Famous haunts from the books and television series, such as the Ashmolean museum and the Bodleian library, have expressed sorrow at his death. But, perhaps more significantly, so have lesser-known Oxford institutions, demonstrating Dexter was very much a man of the people – and a man of the real city.

      The writer shared his hero’s affection for good beer, classical music and cryptic crossword puzzles, but by all accounts lacked his spiky nature.

      Alcock’s Butcher and Fishmonger in the Summertown area has a blackboard outside saying “Mr Dexter, you will be sadly missed”.

      Paul England from the shop said: “He was a lovely guy. Always used to see him early in the morning.

      “He used to walk down and get his paper and then he always used to come in for a pork pie and a chat. He used to tell us some good stories and jokes, which I think we’ll always remember. We just knew him as Mr Dexter who bought his pork pie from the butcher.”

      Christiane Fagan fondly remembers him “sitting quietly in the The Dew Drop Inn in Summertown. Such a lovely man”, while Carol Maling remembers chatting to him on a bench outside the old Radcliffe infirmary when he was waiting for his wife Dorothy to finish work.

      “We used to share biscuits and chocolate,” Ms Maling said.

      Although he claimed to know very little about actual police procedure, Dexter was a welcome visitor at Oxford CID. Former police officer Dermot Norridge was a detective in the city between 1986 and 2003.

      He said whenever he and his colleagues were investigating any incident related to one of the university colleges, they would say they were “having a Morse moment”.

      Mr Norridge claims the irascible character even had an influence on the sounds heard floating through the corridors of the police station: “There were certain offices where the radio was retuned to Radio 3 or Classic FM. The officers involved may well have been aware of classical music before Morse, but I’m completely convinced this listening to it was down to the influence of the programme.

      “I met Colin a few times – he used to come with the crew to the station, and once he was invited to our annual dinner to give a talk. If I had to sum up my memory of him, it would be ‘a complete gentleman'”.

      Image copyright PA

      Sue Howlett remembers the author hopping on the bus from Summertown, and always saying hello, while Sue Parsons said she “used to know him years ago when he would to come in to order stationery from Colegroves in Turl Street. Such a lovely man always having a laugh and a joke”.

      Bob Price, the leader of Oxford Council, says the city will always feel the impact of Dexter’s work: “The television programmes, and the way they were filmed, made a huge difference. They really drew people to Oxford.”

      In his 13th – and final – book Dexter says:

      “Morse had never enrolled in the itchy-footed regiment of adventurous souls, feeling little temptation to explore the remoter corners even of his native land; and this principally because he could imagine few if any places closer to his heart than Oxford – the city which, though not his natural mother, had for so many years performed the duties of a loving foster-parent.”

      He said of that paragraph: “For ‘Morse,’ read me”.

      Image copyright Getty Images

      Colin Dexter is not the only author to have a strong link with a specific city. Here are a few more literary locations and their fictional dwellers

      Ian Rankin: Edinburgh

      The The Inspector Rebus novels are mostly based in and around Edinburgh and take in such landmarks as Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Palace, as well as Rebus’ flat.

      The novels are characterised by the stark and dark depiction of a city characterised by corruption, poverty, and organised crime. Rebus bends the rules and ignores his superiors while battling his own personal issues. But he does solve the mysteries.

      You can explore the key locations online.

      James Joyce: Dublin

      Joyce once claimed of his book Ulysses that if Dublin “suddenly disappeared from the Earth, it could be reconstructed from my book”.

      Published in 1922, Ulysses focuses on the stream-of-consciousness wanderings through Dublin of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom. Ulysses has been summarised as: “Man goes for a walk around Dublin. Nothing happens.” The novel is seen by many as one of the most influential works of the 20th Century.

      Jane Austen: Bath

      The Assembly Rooms are the setting for many of the evening balls depicted in social satire Northanger Abbey and melancholic love story Persuasion, while the Pump Rooms were the place to mingle with during the day to give off a fashionable air of importance.

      Milsom Street, Bond Street (now New Bond Street), George Street and Edgar Buildings are all mentioned in the books.

      Related Topics

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      Texas Police Ask The State Not To Crack Down On Sanctuary Cities

      A parade of Texas law enforcement officials once again registered their opposition Wednesday to a Republican-backed effort to crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with immigration authorities.

      But conservative lawmakers seem poised to ignore them.

      SB 4, which would fine local officials that refuse to comply with detainer requests to hold undocumented immigrants on behalf of the federal government, has already passed the full state Senate. The House State Affairs hearing Wednesday marked the bills first step on its way through the legislatures lower house. Most of the states Republican lawmakers view it as a commonsensical effort to enforce the immigration laws already on the books.

      But several police officials from the states largest cities have cautioned that the law would make their jobs more difficult by alienating immigrants and making law enforcement vulnerable to liability for increased racial profiling that they say will likely accompany the bills implementation criticisms widely shared by legal experts and immigrant families.

      Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said pressing his officers to help enforce immigration law would distract them from their core responsibilities. Its going to pull my officers away from their more important duties of combating crime, Manley said.

      Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said passing the bill would alienate immigrants, as the police would begin taking on a greater role in federal immigration enforcement.

      Its imperative that we maintain trust with the communities we serve, Salazar told the committee. We risk driving this segment of the population into the shadows. I have seen examples where victims of domestic violence are told by their abuser, Go ahead and call the cops. You know where youre going.

      Ed Gonzalez, the sheriff of Harris County, which includes Houston, said he suspected the bill would make the state less safe by making unauthorized immigrants fearful of calling the police if they see a crime.

      I think that inherently when someone witnesses something traumatic, theres already going to be fear, Gonzalez said, let alone when they fear they themselves will be deported.

      One woman described suffering precisely that experience. She told the committee that it took three years for her to find the courage to call the police to report an abusive partner even after he held a gun toward her, threatening to shoot her and then himself if she left him.

      I was worried that if I called the police, I would be asked about my immigration status and then deported, she said. You will be empowering the abusers and giving them another tool to carry out their abuse [if you pass SB 4].

      Legal experts also cautioned that letting police play a greater role in federal immigration enforcement would open the state up to lawsuits.

      Lets be clear, Celina Moreno, an attorney with the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said. Racial profiling is a foreseeable consequence of SB 4.

      Kali Cohn, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, added that jurisdictions that honor all requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants can be sued for violating the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees protection from unlawful searches and detention.

      An ICE detainer asks a local law enforcement agency to hold someone for 48 hours, Cohn said. But when those additional 48 hours begin, local law enforcement still need probable cause to make that detention. The problem is they cant point to probable cause because ICE detainers are not supported by probable cause.

      Several Texans who either have undocumented family members or were undocumented themselves said the bill would threaten their safety. My dad isnt an alien, one young girl said through tears. Hes a human being and he should be treated like one.

      The vast majority of those who testified asked the legislature to abandon the bill. Of 638 who registered, only 11 urged lawmakers to pass the bill, according to Texas state Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas). The hearing continued well into the evening.

      Opposition from law enforcement notwithstanding, Texas lawmakers are likely to pass the measure against sanctuary cities.

      Republicans have tried to ban sanctuary cities for years, despite the fact that the vast majority of local officials honor virtually all federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants in local jails on behalf of ICE. But conservative efforts to pass such legislation have failed in the past because Democrats had enough votes to block floor debate in the state Senate.

      Last year, Republicans loosened the century-long tradition of requiring the votes of two-thirds of the state Senate to make it easier to pass a conservative agenda, in a state where they control all three branches of government.

      Despite conservative emphasis on ridding the state of cities with liberal immigration policies, currently the only jurisdiction to limit its cooperation with ICE is Travis County, where Austin is. In January, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez adopted a policy of declining to hold immigrants for ICE if they qualify for release or bond, unless they are convicted or charged with one of a short list of crimes including murder, sexual assault and human trafficking.

      Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) responded by stripping the county of $1.5 million in state grants and threatening to find a way to remove Hernandez from office.

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      What Is Catfishing? Scary Signs Youre The Target Of An Online Scam

      Dating has changed alot in the past few decades, for better and for worse. It’s great that meeting someone new is so easy now, but the rise of online dating has also opened the door for a peculiar new scam called ‘catfishing.’

      Catfishing is an online con where someone assumes a new identity in order to seduce a stranger on the internet. Some people do this for companionship, because they feel like their own identity isn’t good enough. Others do it in order to trap people into handing over money or services.

      Like the “Can you hear me?” phone scam, there are lots of telltale signs that you can use to spot a scammer early on.

      These con artists love to operate in shady corners of the internet, but might also approach you on totally trustworthy sites, like online dating platformsor social media.

      The only way you can really protect yourself from these tricksters is to know the signs and catch the catfish at his or her own game.

      Photo Credit: Flickr / See-ming Lee

      What Is Catfishing?


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      “Catfishing” is theterm used for a particularly cruel kind of online scam.

      In a catfishing scam, a person on the internet will create a fake identity and try to romance or seduce their target.

      The term firstfell into common usage after a documentary called Catfish, which follows the story of a lovelorn young man trying to find a girl he met online.

      Dr. Phil’s website explains it like this: “A ‘catfish’ is a person who creates a false online identity in the hopes of luring people into romantic relationships.”

      Sometimes the perpetrator is just a lonely person hoping to find happinessina new identity. More often, they are online criminals using proclamations of love to part innocent people from their money.

      But how do you know if a person you met online is the real deal or a sleazy scammer?

      Scroll through to learn the red flags you should never ignore.

      Sign #1: No Friends Or Followers


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      If you meet someone on a dating website or on social media, scroll to their Facebook profile right away.

      Most scam artists have fake profiles that are doctored to look real. It can be hard to spot a fake, unless you know what you’re looking for.

      Check their friends list first. If they have fewer than 10 friends, that’s a major red flag that might indicate it’s just facade.

      Also check when they created their profile. If their internet presence began just days before you met, you should probably be seriously suspicious of their motives.

      In this day and age, most real people have established social media accounts with more than a few followers or friends.

      Sign #2: Avoids Meetings And Skype Sessions


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      If you’ve been chatting with an online flame for a while, it’s natural that you would eventually want to get together in person for drinks or coffee. At the very least, you might want to plan an online video chat to see each other in real time!

      However, if your beau seems to be dodging you at every turn, you should start to consider the possibility that they aren’t who they seemto be.

      A catfish will do everything they can to avoid a face-t0-face encounter, because it might expose their lies.

      A signature move is to agree to a face-to-face meeting or video call, and then bail out at the last minute, claiming a work emergency or an internet connection issue.

      Sign #3: Their Picture Is Too Good To Be True


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      You could hardly believe your luck when you logged onto your dating app and saw this super-hottie pursuingyou, but now you’re getting suspicious.

      After all, there is definitely such a thing as “too good to be true.”

      If your online friend is exceptionally beautiful or handsome, it’s possible that the real person behind the account is stealing photos from a modeling or body-building website.

      Also, be cautious about extremely professional photos or images that look like glamor shots; a real person will usually use a profile photo snapped by a friend on their smartphone, not a professional portrait complete with airbrushing.

      Sign #4: They Claim Youre Neighbors


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      Another common ploy catfish love to use? Pretending that the two of you are neighbors.

      You might get a pop-up chat or email saying, “so-and-so lives 5 miles away,” or a more specific, targeted message saying something like “I think we went to high school together in [town!] What’s up?

      It’s not unusual to respond, thinking you’re catching up with an old classmate or neighbor.

      But when you get to talking, you quickly discover they seem to have no idea what the neighborhood is like, and that you have no friends or acquaintances in common.

      This is a classic sign that they are faking the shared geographical connection to make you feel more comfortable with them.

      Sign #5: They Get Serious Way Too Fast


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      Maybe you meet someone on an online dating site and think that the two of you have hit it off, except, within a few days or weeks, your casual flirtation has gotten way too serious, way too quickly.

      You haven’t even gone out to dinner yet, but your new online friend is sending you undying declarations of love, passionate love letters or yikes proposals of marriage.

      Be very, very cautious here. The over-the-topattention might feel good, but people who say “I love you” after two weeks of chatting should not be trusted.

      They may be trying to create a romantic bond as quickly as possible to manipulate you into giving them money or some other advantage.

      Sign #6: They Always Seem To Need Help


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      If you establish a back-and-forth with someone online, be very cautious of requests for money.

      It’s one thing to lend cash to a trusted friend, but it’s entirely another to send it to someone you have just met, especially if they just keep asking and trying to convince you.

      A catfish will always have excellent excuses lined up: “My car broke down.” “I can’t afford my internet bill to talk to you.” “I have a life-threatening illness.”

      They will try to manipulate and guilt-trip you into wiring them money or buying them expensive gifts.

      They may also ask you to send them money in strange formats, like Visa gift cards, money orders, or cashier’s checks.

      Sign #7: Their Stories Seem Far-Fetched Or Too Vague


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      If you’re talking to someone online or via the phone, listen hard to what they say or write.

      A catfish will often try to get their target to do most of the talking to avoid too much attention, so ask specific questions.

      Watch out for answers that seem extremely outlandish “I’m a fighter pilot and doctor who rescues puppies and is also fabulously wealthy” or unusually vague “I just like to party and have fun and have a good time with friends.”

      If your online fling seems to be living an extremely unusual life, you may want to grill them a bit and see whether they switch their answers or get evasive.

      What To Do?


      Laura Caseley for LittleThings

      If you suspect that someone you have met online is actually a catfish, do a little background checking to confirm your suspicions.

      You can also use an online service to verify the identity of the person you are chatting with.

      Once you have determined you are dealing with a catfish, immediately cut off communication. Don’t give the catfishthe chance to try to charm you back or convince you; simply stop responding.

      Next, save any incriminating messages they may have sent you, andblock their account.Report their bad behavior to the dating site or social media service that you are using, and do your best to prevent future targets from the same cruel scam.

      You can alsoSHAREthis list far and wide to make sure that everyone knows the red flags to watch out for!

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      How music is being used to treat autism

      Clinicians in Detroit have seen that for people with autism, music speaks louder than words and improvised music can help them express emotion effectively

      On a Wednesday afternoon at Beaumont hospital in Royal Oak, on the outskirts of Detroit, a blind 25-year-old man with autism plays piano near the hospital entrance. Doctors, patients, nurses and families crowd around Lance Vardon, who is seated at a grand piano playing Bachs Prelude in C Major.

      Three days a week, the same group gathers around the grand piano during their lunch hour. Vardon launches into Journeys Dont Stop Believing with his music therapist Lisa Barnett, who has worked with the young man for 16 years. Seated together at the grand piano, Vardon plays one hand of keys and Barnett, who sings, plays the other. The small crowd soon doubles in size.

      For Vardon, who was born to deaf parents, music speaks louder than words. Diagnosed with autism at age seven, he has a severe case with limited verbal communication. He can answer yes or no, but he cant verbalize his feelings. Barnett has worked with him to increase his ability to socialize and be more independent. Thats the aim of music therapy: to reach goals, which can be physical, emotional or cognitive, for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which leads to difficulty communicating and forming relationships.

      Clinicians have observed that people with autism can use improvised music to express emotion effectively. According to preliminary research not yet published, Edward Roth, director and professor of music therapy at Western Michigan University, says children who were put into a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner while improvising or listening to someone improvise music showed activity in the parts of the brain involved with communication.

      If you were to look at those brains, you couldnt tell the difference between people who were interacting through music and people who were interacting verbally, he says. Theyre having a nonverbal discussion through music and these arent musicians, these are musically naive children.

      Another test involved taking blood from college students before and after singing both improvised and composed music. Results for composed music showed a decrease in stress hormones, and results for improvised music showed a decrease in stress hormones and an increase in oxytocin, which is thought to be a marker of bonding and trust. According to the study, which was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the results indicate that group singing reduces stress and arousal and induces social flow in participants.

      The social aspect of creative arts therapies such as music are highly beneficial for disabled children and young adults. At Michigan State University, 4th Wall Theatre Company which has classes all over the state puts on theater programs that include singing, dancing and acting.

      One participant, 21-year-old Christopher Hibbs, has pervasive developmental disorder on the autism spectrum and wants to be a professional actor. His mother Martha says the class has helped him come out of his shell. It brings kids joy and shows them what they can do, she says. It gives them a sense of accomplishment. Now several programs in, Hibbs has become more aware of other people and their disabilities, which has helped him learn empathy. (Areas of the brain associated with empathy showed activity in the fMRI tests, too.)

      Katie Mann, co-founder of 4th Wall, leads a theater class at Michigan State University. Photograph: David Quang Pham

      Like Hibbs, Vardon has come a long way. The teaching process is long and laborious, according to Barnett: she sings into a cassette tape recorder, which Vardon then plays back, learning through imitation. Songs can take months to learn. He wont respond to MP3s, either: only cassette tapes recorded via an old-fashioned karaoke machine. His favorite music to play is new age, baroque and Disney. Recently, he learned City of Stars from La La Land, but his go-to is Leonard Cohens Hallelujah. The strongest suit for children with autism is visual, so Vardon learns with braille books that have instructions; step-by-step structure is essential for those with autism.

      Hes a role model for other kids, says Barnett, who received a degree in music therapy from Michigan State University and has a company called Songs to Grow On that works with clients from the age of seven through their late 50s, both disabled and able-bodied. Hes one of the reasons I keep doing this every day, because hes a remarkable human being. In high school, Vardon played with his school orchestra before playing the prestigious Carnegie Hall.

      Vardon communicates with his parents through finger spelling, which is signing letters into the palms of hands. Judy and Larry cant hear the music their son plays, but they can see it and feel it. I see people who love music and theyre my ear and my sound, says Judy Vardon, who speaks in sign language translated by her 27-year-old son, Stefan. People used to walk away and now they come up to us. Were different, but were not going to bite you.

      In 2005, a year after the family appeared on ABCs Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Stevie Wonder came knocking on their door. Wonder had a unique connection with Vardon: he gave him a guitar and they hung out for hours. I know Lance isnt a world-famous musician, but I feel proud, Judy says. Stevie is Motown.

      It was clear early on that Vardon loved music. At eight months old, Vardon played with a toy piano in the bathtub. He then became fascinated with wind chimes. He was so drawn to the sound that he began to wander outside looking for them. One day, at the age of six, he got extremely upset and his parents couldnt figure out why. It turns out one of the wind chimes was missing and he could sense its absence.

      I remember we were in a restaurant when we were little everyone was looking at us: Lance was copying Bing Cosbys voice and singing along to White Christmas, recalls Stefan Vardon. I realized he had some sort of talent with music, and we encouraged him. Vardon also knows three languages English, sign language and Spanish and is an avid reader. He understands so much, Barnett says. He just cant verbalize it.

      Vardon is considered to be in an adult transition program, which helps prepare young adults for independent lives. His volunteer work at Beaumont is part of that program. But when he turns 26, hell no longer qualify for special needs services provided by the state of Michigan, which is the only state in the country to provide services up to that age. With cuts and constant changes in funding for music therapy, Barnett isnt sure what will happen because shell no longer be funded through the school district to be at the hospital. Vardons musical future will rest in the hands of his parents and outside organizations.

      This should be his theme song, jokes Barnett, nearing the end of Dont Stop Believing. You guys like Journey? she asks the crowd, urging them to sing along. Were gonna rock out now!

      Vardon, face scrunched up in concentration, brings the song to a close except for the very last note. Finish the song, Lance! Barnett exclaims. His fingers hover over the keys for a brief moment before dropping them down in a grand conclusion. Vardon smiles, leans back and gets ready to shake hands with the line of admirers waiting to tell him: Thank you.

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      11 Royal Family Scandals That Rocked Great Britain Back In The Day

      It’s no surprise to find members of the British royal family in the gossip magazines stacked along grocery store checkout aisles. However, the modern royals are hardly the first to shock the world with their “scandalous” actions.

      In fact, some of theBritish royal scandals from way back in the day would likely make the princes and princesses of today blush harder than any of their own stories. Sure, we think of Prince Charles and Princess Diana off the bat, but the examples below are so much more surprising, especially considering the time periods involved.

      Despite their lofty titles andshiny crowns, they are still humans after all. It can be difficult to imagine those carefully posed portraits from history being anything but personifications of perfection, but hey we all have our flaws.

      Unfortunately for the names listed below, their flaws happen to have been broadcast out to thewhole wide world and then stuck in the history books for good.

      Take a look to see what shocking scandals the royals cooked up for themselves decades (and even centuries) in the past.

      Let us know in the comments if we missed any particularly juicy tales from way back in the day, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

      [H/T: BBC America, Mental Floss]

      1. King Edward VIII’s Brief Time On The Throne


      Following the death of his father, George V, Edward reigned as king for less than a year (just 326 days) beforegivingupthe throne to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American woman.

      He was named Duke of Windsor while his younger brother Albert took over as King George VI. Edwardand Wallis remained together until his death, retiring to France after World War II.

      2. Princess Margaret’s Eyes For A Married Man


      Captain Peter Townsend was a member of the British Royal Navy who acted as an attendant for the royal family, known as an equerry. That’s how he met and fell in love with Margaret, daughter of George VI and sister of the future Queen Elizabeth II.

      Peter divorced his wife and the two went as far as getting engaged, thoughfamily pressure ultimately convinced Margaret to call the whole thing off.

      3. Queen Victoria’s Boudoir Painting


      The “shocking” painting was unheard of for someone of her stature and deemed so indecent that it waskept hidden in Prince Albert’s office.

      Of course by modern standards, the Prince’s favorite photo of his wife is actually quite modest.

      4. Princess Margaret’s Historical Divorce


      After suffering the heartbreak with Peter, Margaret married a photographer named Antony Armstrong-Jones, shownabove with President Lyndon B. Johnson and wife. However, the couple had a notoriously rocky marriage.

      In 1978, Margaretbecame the first royal to geta divorce since Henry VIII in the 1500s.

      5. Prince George’s Wild Lifestyle


      The Duke of Kent hadmany affairs behind his wife’s back,Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. The “forgotten son” of British monarchy also reportedly had a problem with drug abuse, particularlymorphine and cocaine.

      His death also sparked controversy, with many speculating whether the plane crash that killed him was orchestrated by his embarrassed family.

      6. Queen Victoria’s Scottish Affection


      After she was widowed, the Queensecluded herself in a Scottish country estate where she grew close to one of the servants, John Brown.

      A priest admitted on his death bed that he performed a secret marriage ceremony for the two. Supposedly, Victoria was so devastated when John passed away that she erected a statue in his image. Upon her own death, she allegedly requested to be buried with a lock of his hair, his photograph, and a ring he had given her.

      7. Princess Anne Following In Her Aunt’s Footsteps


      She was married to an Olympic athlete, Mark Phillips, but they were apparently never really that fond of each other. Like her aunt Margaret, she also fell for a member of the royalequerry,Timothy Laurence.

      However, Anne had much better luck and was able to divorce her husband and marry Timothy. The pair remain happily together today.

      8. King Henry VIII’s Many, Many Wives


      Henry infamously went through six different wives throughout his reign. First, there was Catherine of Aragon, whom he cheated on with his soon-to-be second wifes sister, Mary Boleyn, and likely had two sons from the affair. After breaking from the Catholic church in order to obtain an annulment and marry Anne Boleyn, he had Anne executed after she miscarried three potential male heirs and was accused of several affairs.

      Jane Seymour, one of Anne’s ladies in waiting, was next and died after a difficult childbirth that finally supplied him a male heir. His fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was executed after he accused her of affairs with two men.

      His last wife, Catherine Parr, luckily outlived him.

      9. King George IV’s Indecent Proposals


      Though many think of his father, George III, as the tyrant of the family, it was his son who not only had a notorious gambling habit but also attempted to woo women by offering them copious amounts of money, only to deny them the cash after they relented.

      George IV was apparentlyvery lacking in the looks department. He also threatened to kill himself in a 42-page suicide note whenhis main mistress,Maria Fitzherbert, refused him. She eventually agreed to be with him, but only if they were married.

      Because she was Catholic and a commoner, the pair were married in secret until he was forced to abandon her (and their children)for a political marriage. However, his reputation remained forever tarnished.

      10. King Edward VII’s Sneaky Military Escapades


      As the son of the famously prudish Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Edward VII made up for their modesty by reportedly bedding thousands of women in his time.

      It was his first foray into the frisky lifestyle, however, that causedhis parents to be taken aback. At 19, they had sent him to a military camp where he was happy to be introduced to the “camp prostitute.”

      Though he had many chaperones watching his every move, Edward managed to make his way to the woman three times before being caught. Victoria and Albert were so shocked and ashamed that when Albert became sick and died shortly after, Victoria blamed her son for her loss.

      11. King Charles II’s Feuding Mistresses


      Apparently, restoring the monarchy after ousting Oliver Cromwell didn’t keep the king too busy, as he was known to have dozens ofmistresses and to have fathered several illegitimate children.

      It was the women themselves, though, who caused a ruckus when they warred for Charles’ affection. Actress Nell Gwynn and the Duchess of Portsmouth, Louise de Krouaille, were known to get especially snippy with each other.

      Did we miss any not-so-modern royal scandals from back in the day that you’ve heard about? Let us know below, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

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      City Book Review Shows You Why You Should Get Your Book Reviewed (cool video)

      The folks at City Book Review have been doing book reviews since 2008, more than 20,000 reviews over the years. If you’re an author and need a review, give them a try.

      Now that your wrote and published your book, next up is how to get your book reviewed by a professional organization. Many bookstores won’t carry a book that hasn’t been reviewed by someone, and there are fewer and fewer local newspapers that review books any more. So your chances to get reviewed are harder each year. Luckily places like San Francisco Book Review and their sister publications have stepped up to help authors with book reviews, marketing, cover design and SEO.

      Anchor Pays Favorite Childhood Teacher Surprise Visit, Then Finds Books With Her Handwriting

      For most of us, our childhoods were abit of a blur. But there are a few moments and people who stand out. For many of us, there’s at least one teacher who made a difference in our lives, and whom we remember well. I certainly remember mine!

      Anchor Lisa Wilkinson of TODAY also remembers hers: her teacher,Ms. West. Although it’d been years, perhaps decades since they’d last seenone another, Lisa decided to pay the teacher a visit.

      The two women were happily reunited, and Lisa was glad to see that some things had not changed: Ms.West, unmarried and childless, has always considered her students to be her children, and kept their exercise books, including a few of Lisa’s.

      That was a few months ago. Unfortunately, since then, Ms.West passed away after a brave battle with cancer. Lisa posted on Facebook about how glad she was to be able to reconnect with Ms.West and thank her for changing her life, despite her sudden departure.


      Lisa Wilkinson wrote:

      We all have a school teacher we’ll never forget – one whose dedication to their students and the wider school community goes well beyond anything ever written in the job description.


      For me, that was Miss West, my teacher in 4th & 5th class at Campbelltown Primary School. She was all about the three R’s…and so much more beyond, from getting us to learn all the classic Australian poems (I can still recite them all now), good handwriting, choir, impeccable manners.


      Miss West never married because as she told me years later, “How would I find the time? My students keep me so busy.” Late last year I went to visit her at home, at 81, still living a few blocks from the school she taught at for more than four decades (even teaching three generations in some families), and still in possession of some of my old exercise books, which, she reminded me she had kept.


      But that day she gave those exercise books back to me, and for some reason we both got quite emotional.


      Well I’m so glad I made that trip, because Miss West died on Friday after a short but courageous battle with cancer.


      I will treasure these pics you see above. That’s me as one of her happy, smiling charges in 4th class (bottom left), the proud woman I remember (top left), and our recent reunion on the right.

      Vale Miss West. And thank you. You shaped countless lives – well beyond our school years – and you will be missed.

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