Thursday Thought: Porcelain Connection

As I work on the sequel to my historical novel I am delighted that more and more connections crop up. I will feature Boconnoc (one of the three great houses in The Miner & the Viscount), the Cornish seat of the Pitt family.

William Cookworthy Inventor and Quaker

William Cookworthy
Inventor and Quaker

It is Thomas Pitt, “the artistic one”, who inherits the estate, his cousin William Pitt the Younger who goes into politics and becomes one of the most brilliant first ministers in British history. Thomas Pitt meets William Cookworthy, who lives just over the border in Devon. He is an amazing man—a Quaker, a businessman, a pharmacist, and an inventor.

When John Smeaton (the brilliant engineer we met in “The Miner & the Viscount”) needed a cement that would work under sea water to construct the famous Eddystone Lighthouse, he turned to Cookworthy to develop it.

A visitor from America interested Cookworthy in porcelain and in penetrating the secrets that the Chinese manufacturers had guarded for hundreds of years. He had to obtain the special clays. Where did he find them? On Boconnoc land! And Thomas Pitt financed obtaining the patent and assisted in the early development.

There is more. Another early helper was Richard Champion, also a Quaker, who went on to form the Bristol porcelain company, and eventually moved to America. What an amazing character! And I have just received a beautiful new book about him from an old school friend (and my daughter Sarah’s goddaughter) who collected his ware.

Much more to come soon!




Thursday Thought: Rabbiting

Questions that always come up when I talk to book groups are where did you get your stories and why did you put them in?

Before I started writing historical fiction I wrote stories about my own life in Cornwall. I called them Memoirs While Memory Lasts. This stimulated remembering so many experiences and these stories have been a rich source of material for my novel writing.

I don’t want to give away too much if you are still looking forward to reading The Miner & the Viscount, but anyway you would quickly learn that the Honorable James Trenance is a bit of a rotter. In my early drafts the feedback from my writing group was that I needed to set up the psychological cause of his nasty nature and to explain his conflict with the miner. So I used a story of my own childhood.

In Our Gang and other Warfare I told about life as a boy in World War II. 15e169There were food shortages and stringent rationing. Proteins were in short supply. Each week we were allowed 4 ozs. of bacon or ham, about 8ozs. of other meat, one fresh egg and one packet of dried eggs. In Cornwall we were fortunate to get fresh fish and could also hunt wild game. I went into the fields to catch a rabbit or two to feed my family. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a successful hunter.

However, I had a story to tell that I used in my book in Chapter 9, entitled VillainyGo to The Story Behind the Story to read it. And here is an extract from my memoir  that tells of the real life experience that I drew on for the story that enriches the character of James Trenance. (If you would like to read the whole story, read more here.

Our Gang and Other Warfare

I did have quite an adventure with Raymond Hocking. He was allowed to go even beyond the fourth field, and he had a pet ferret that he had trained and carried in a burlap sack. He could ride a bicycle, and he knew lots of swear words. He took me rabbiting. We used to eat quite a lot of wild rabbit, because with all the rationing there were only about eight ounces of meat a week, and that didn’t go very far. Rabbit pie with parsley and pastry was my favorite. Once I made a pair of mittens with fur I had skinned off two rabbits, nailing them stretched out on a board and rubbing alum on them to cure them and olive oil to make them soft. I had meant to make fur gloves, but they were too difficult, and actually my mother had to help me finish making the mittens.

Anyway, I went off rabbiting with Raymond Hocking. He said that you had to find a rabbit burrow and put a snare or a net at all the holes except one. The snares were like a lasso made of thin flexible wire with a noose. The nets had pegs to fasten them around the openings to the burrows. Then you put the ferret into the remaining hole, and it would chase the rabbits into the snares or nets. Raymond tied a piece of string around the ferret’s muzzle in case it decided to eat the rabbit itself. Pretty soon we would have rabbit pie! Or several!

When most of the holes had snares or nets over them, he put the ferret into the remaining open hole. It quickly disappeared and we waited. We waited, and we waited. No rabbit. Actually, no ferret. Raymond Hocking began to look a bit anxious. He said he had spent a lot of time training that ferret and it was the only one he had. He didn’t know if his father would buy him another.

We went on waiting. Still no rabbit. Still no ferret. At least it meant we didn’t have to kill the rabbits that we caught. After a long while, probably at least five or six minutes, we gave up and walked home rather dejected. Raymond Hocking never took me rabbiting again.



Thursday Thought: Did the American Constitution Get It Wrong?

Montesquieu Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Is it possible that the French philosophers upon whom the Founders relied for guidance in creating the American Constitution got some things wrong?  Montesquieu in “The Spirit of the Laws” advocated the separation of powers, with the executive, the legislative and the juduciary maintaining a check on each other.

In my historical novel “The Minor & the Viscount” Edward Eliot disagrees. Historically he actually visited Montesquieu in France and talked with him. I create a scene in my story where Eliot concludes that the great philosopher was wrong in his interpretation of how the British constitution worked in practice.

In Chapter 57 Eliot describes how he and his friends went on the traditional Grand Tour of Europe, visiting European culture and influential people. His wife seems to have been a little improper.

“We went to Bordeaux and stayed at the Château de Brède with the Baron de Montesquieu the year before he died. Brilliant fellow. Thought himself an expert on our British constitution after spending a mere eighteen months living among us. Talked some sort of claptrap about the separation of powers. Couldn’t have noticed that half the members of the government are related to each other and the other half spend much of their time in and out of each other’s wives’ bedrooms!”

“Oh Edward, really!” said Catherine, not amused. Edward looked rather crestfallen.


Thursday Thought: Bad Roads

Communications were primitive and slow in the late 18th century. Roads across much of England were poor, especially when one got far from London.

Mule train

Mule train

In Cornwall the roads were not good enough for stage coaches, and there were few wagons. Much land travel was on horse back. It took John Wesley 5 days to ride from London to Altarnun in Cornwall.  Goods of all kinds were carried by trains of pack horses or mules, from vegetables to fish to the markets, from ore from the mines to the smelters, and coal to the steam engines.

The wealthy would avoid the roads and sail around the coast. There is a quay at the riverside in the Port Eliot estate for the convenience of the Eliot family.

Turnpikes were being introduced. In Chapter 7 of The Miner & the Viscount Edward Eliot is seeking the support of William Pitt the Elder, the first minister, for an Act of Parliament to build a turnpike near Liskeard. It was actually passed in 1761.

“On our journey here we passed over roads that were not only poor but also unsafe. We came across a stage wagon that had been forced off the road by highwaymen and into a huge rut, thus losing its wheel. The Town Clerk of Liskeard, one of my boroughs, was a victim. The prosperity of Port Eliot and, indeed, all of Cornwall depends on better and safer roads for the travel of our people and, as important, to get our goods to market. If Parliament would add a turnpike trust for Liskeard, I am sure my neighbors as well as myself would provide support and indeed be grateful.”

“I understand perfectly,” said Pitt. “That would be an appropriate expenditure of parliamentary time. We all remember the horse and rider drowning in a pothole on the Great North Road!”

In Chapter 52 young Jemmy Penwarden is on an errand with John Smeaton, the great inventor. They see a typical mule train. Jemmy, as ever, is inquisitive.

As they drove along the crooked track towards St. Just, they came across a large number of heavily laden mules in a train traveling towards them. They were carrying panniers strapped to their backs. The drovers gave them a cheerful wave.

“Look at all them mules, scores of them. What are they carrying?” asked Jemmy.

“Mining coals,” said Smeaton. “Won’t be long before we get more steam engines installed, and there’ll be hundreds of them bringing coal from the Cornish ports, shipped by sea from south Wales. 



Thursday Thought: Historical Fiction

Every time I give a book talk people come up to me afterwards and describe how much they enjoy reading historical fiction. Of course, some readers simply enjoy a jolly romp in four-poster beds where the heroine is divested of her elegant eighteenth century gown.

Others say that they find an historical novel an enjoyable way of learning about history and the way people lived in the past. This view is very much in tune with the current search by educators for ways to teach history in a more engaging way, including notions of “big history” where students are challenged to think about the fundamental issues of human existence by learning about the distant past. After all, as the cliché tells us, those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

It gives me endless pleasure to talk to readers of The Miner & the Viscount and hear about their fascination with the amazing progress accomplished by their ancestors with tools that we consider primitive and systems that to us are cumbersome.

Just think of the ingenuity of Thomas Newcomen, the inventor of the steam engine, and the imagination of John Smeaton, the engineer who linked water wheels to steam engines to ensure plentiful power whether it was raining or the sun was shining. Then there is John Williams, the powerful mine captain who designed and built the Great County Adit, the ambitious drainage system that linked 60 mines across Cornwall. Imagine the strength and energy of the

Dangerous work

Dangerous work

miners who dug deep shafts through hard rock and under the ocean with hand tools to extract the tin and copper they had the skill to find. And picture the sheer brilliance in mathematics it took to make the essential scientific calculations by hand with standards that varied from place to place.

Here is an example and the story behind the story. To make my story authentic I dug up fascinating information, including a contemporary textbook on arithmetic for mining captains and engineers.

The following passage shows Edward Eliot’s determination to understand the numbers. He is attending his first cost book meeting after becoming an “adventurer” (an investor) in the Wheal Hykka mine.

The cost book system was characteristic of the management of Cornish mines before the limited liability company. The adventurers would meet every quarter and the Purser would present the accounts and share out any profit or loss. The disadvantage was that typically no reserves were maintained.

Eliot is a man after my own heart. He wants to dig into the details and understand how things work so that he can make intelligent management decisions. He quickly learns how much he has to learn, and is impressed by how much his underlings understand. Eliot is different from his partner Viscount Dunbargan whose only interest is the money coming to him.

How do you arrive at the correct weights and measures?” He dipped his quill into the ink and prepared to resume making notes.

John Williams gathered up the thread. “For one thing, the smelter won’t pay for wet tin stuff. So we accurately weigh out a sample of one pound of ore, then dry it over a fire and weigh it again. This gives us the neat weight, the percentage of reduction. Then we weigh the whole parcel wet in pounds and calculate the neat weight of the total by taking the percentage reduction.”

“What would be the weight of the whole parcel of tin stuff that you send off?” asked Eliot.

“It varies. We’ll give you a recent example. Look in your Assay Book, Penwarden, that’ll tell you,” said Williams.

“The last sample came from several kibbles, sir,” Addis said, reaching into his desk, pulling out the leather bound ledger and thumbing through the pages covered with his assistant clerk’s neat copperplate penmanship. He was not very quick at reading words yet but he could readily discern figures. “’Yes, ’ere ’tis. This last lot was one ton, five ’undredweight, three quarters, seven pounds and eleven ounces.”

“I see,” said Eliot, raising his eyebrows.

John Williams warmed to his subject. “The rule of thumb is that every pennyweight of black tin produced from a sample of one gill of ore, wine measure, will give a hundred pounds avoirdupois in one hundred sacks. Of course, that would be eighteen-gallon sacks, beer measure. Did I say avoirdupois? That’s tin. Copper produce is weighed in troy.”

“I see,” said Eliot again, scratching his chin. “At least I think I do. Wine measure, beer measure?”

“Oh yes, sir,” said Williams. “There’s thirty-two gills in a gallon, but a wine gill holds twenty-two percent more than a beer gill. Course, if you were asking about noggins, I’d say there are sixteen in a pint.” Eliot put down his quill and stared at Williams.

Willy Bunt’s jaw dropped. He was about to ask a question when Polkinghorne caught his eye and put a finger to his lips. Bunt kept his counsel but wondered whether someone clever enough could devise a simpler system. Bunt realized he must be educated, learn reading, arithmetic; he needed education to earn more responsibility in his job, get better wages. But how would he ever understand all the different standards and customs for different materials, even different parishes?


Read the Chapters

To read more about the challenges overcome by the mine managers every day, go to LINK and see Chapter 49 “Management” and Chapter 50 “Inventor”.


Book Talk

If you would like a talk for your group about the book or life in 18th century Cornwall, email me at cornishchronicle@gmail.com.





Thursday Thought: From Quill Pen to iPhone!

I have been immersed in the 18th Century and now as a New Year dawns in the 21st Century one reflects on the immense changes that mankind (“personkind”?) has invented over the decades. I tell my grandchildren that I welcome the challenge of mastering, or at least becoming capable of tinkering with, word processing through a computer, since the technology of keeping a quill sharpened with a penknife sufficient to write legibly was beyond me.

Today I can use my iPhone in my own library and give a talk to a book club in Alaska over their smart TV. Awesome!

Meanwhile, older media have much to offer. I enjoy radio. Listen this Saturday, January 3, 2016,  at 7:00 a.m. to Book Club on NPR’s Cincinnati area affiliate WVXU, when Mark Perzel interviews me about “The Miner & the Viscount”. Mark is an avid reader and an insightful interviewer.

Go to the second part of my BBC interview with the delightful Tiffany Truscott during my book tour in Cornwall.

And, as the Cornish say, “Bledhen Nowyth Da!” Happy New Year!


Thursday Thought: Fire!

18th Century Infantryman

18th Century Infantryman

This is the story behind the story of Chapter 6o, “Order”. There is trouble at the mine. There is an accident. People are killed. The miners are angry and riot. Captain Addis Penwarden has lost control. The viscount takes matters into his own hands and calls in the militia with disastrous results. The young officer does his best to calm the situation.

“I have my orders sir,” said the officer. “Restore order whatever it takes. There’s destruction here, arson, civil disobedience; this is a riot. I came fully prepared.” He handed the bridle of his horse to the drummer boy who walked it to the rear of the platoon. He turned towards his men. “Serjeant, you know what to do.”

The serjeant turned to face the men. “Platoon, forming rank of fours, march!” The soldiers performed the complicated maneuver flawlessly. The serjeant barked out more orders. “Fix bayonets. Load!”

The crowd quieted, watched in awe as they carried out the order with speed and dexterity. Each man took a paper cartridge from the pouch at his belt, bit off the end, sprinkled a little powder into the pan of his musket, pushed the steel back to cover the pan, poured the rest of the powder down the barrel, then inserted the paper cartridge and a ball into the muzzle. Then each man removed his ramrod from its position under the barrel, rammed the charge and ball down the barrel, returned the ramrod to its stowage position, and finally pulled the cock back to the “full cock” position.

“Phew!” muttered Addis Penwarden. “No more than fifteen seconds!”

The soldiers were ready for another order. The serjeant shouted again. “Front rank, kneel!”

The ensign signaled the boy, who beat a tattoo on his side drum, silencing the crowd. The young officer addressed Eliot. “Sir, I advise you and your companions to stand aside in case there is trouble.” Then he took a document from the pocket of his tunic, unfolded it, and said in a loud clear voice: “Under the authority duly given to me by the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall I hereby give notice as follows.” He read, “Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!”

He looked round the faces in front of him to see what effect he was having. Some appeared cowed. Others, like Tom Kegwyn, were defiant.

The officer continued to speak. “The Riot Act makes it a felony punishable by death without benefit of clergy for any persons unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled together to cause, or begin to cause, serious damage to places of religious worship, houses, barns, and stables.” He looked up and added in his own words, “That undoubtedly includes buildings such as this mine or places of manufactory.”

“Go home, for God’s sake, go home!” shouted Penwarden, turning towards the mob.

Some of the crowd moved back, including all the men who had worked on repairing the damage of the past days. Reverend Perry and his group urged those around them to move back and leave.

Tom Kegwyn didn’t move, but stood his ground, his chin lifted. He picked up pieces of wood, threw one on the fire, and kept another as a cudgel. “I’d rather swing than starve!” he yelled. “Come on, arm yourselves, there’s more of we than they.” He started towards the soldiers.

Lizzie tugged at his arm to stop him charging. Tom broke into a run. He ignored an order to halt. The young ensign nodded to the serjeant.

“Platoon, present, fire!” A volley of shots cracked out and echoed from the walls of the engine house. The crowd groaned. Three bodies slumped to the ground. Two were tinners who had been at the side of Tom Kegwyn. One was the woman who had been trying to save him from himself.

To my mind it is vital to ensure that descriptions like this are authentic. I was proud of my first draft. I sent it to the regimental museum of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in Bodmin, Cornwall, and asked the historian his opinion. His comments yielded many corrections. Here is part of what Major Hugo White wrote.

“The ‘slope arms’ was not used till the late 19 th century. The musket was normally carried when marching to attention in a position known as the ‘shoulder’. Troops marched in file (twos) or columns of fours until about 1935. Sergeant was always spelt ‘serjeant’ at this time (and still is in many regiments).  Sashes are silk or woollen material.  These were of heavy buff leather known simply as belts. The term should be coat.  Tunics were first introduced in 1855. Trousers were not part of male attire till much later.  They would have worn white breeches with long black gaiters reaching above the knee. Soldiers wore tricorn cocked hats.  Shakos were not introduced till 1806. An officer is never addressed as Ensign or Lieutenant.  If Eliot knew the officer’s name, and he would doubtless have asked, he would have addressed him as ‘Mr Maitland’. Kettle drums were carried by cavalry mounted bandsmen, slung in pairs either side of a horse’s withers. The drummer would have had a Side Drum.”   

All this led to correcting multiple details, not least the type of drum used in an infantry regiment to signal orders and the terms that describe them such as “tattoo”. I was so relieved to have found such a knowledgeable source. On top of all this came Major White’s description of the 18th century drill for loading and firing a musket.

“On the command load, the soldiers would have taken a cartridge, bitten off the end, sprinkled a small quantity of powder into the pan, pushed the ‘steel’ back to cover the ‘pan’, poured the rest of the powder down the barrel, followed by the ball and the paper cartridge (to act as a wad), remove the ‘ram rod’ from its position under the barrel, ram the charge and ball down the barrel, return the ramrod to its stowage position, and, finally, pull back the cock to the ‘full cock’ position. The order would be ‘Present, fire!’ A well trained soldier could accomplish this highly complicated evolution in 15 seconds.”

And I often wondered about the origin of the idiom “reading the riot act”. It was fascinating to find out the form of words that was actually used under the law at the time.

It was rewriting this chapter that made me realize that my lofty goal of dashing off an historical novel in a year or two was totally unrealistic. But it was, of course, all so very worth while. Rewriting and rewriting made the book better.

I visited the museum during my 2012 visit to Cornwall and met Major White in person, a delightful and enthusiastic man. It was absorbing to learn more of the history of the D.C.L.I. It was my father’s regiment. He volunteered in World War I and served in India, Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq), Palestine and Egypt. I cherish his stories and souvenirs.

I am enchanted with all the connections I have enjoyed as a result of writing my book.

Read more…





Thursday Thought: The Road to Hell

Welcome to the first edition of The Cornish Chronicle newsletter!

At the back of the top shelf in the supplies cabinet in my office is a box that once held letter size stationery. These days it holds mementos that should be thrown away when I get organized. Specifically, they are newsletters telling the stories of past enthusiasms.

Look closely and you will see that they have a feature in common. At the top left hand corner of each one there is a notation: “Volume I, No. 1.”

Christmas Goose

Christmas Goose

My mother told me that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. That box is the tomb of several of mine. This time will be different. Today I announce with pride the launch of a long cherished project, my new newsletter The Cornish Chronicle.
It will tell stories of my native Cornwall . . .  its history, mystery, people, culture, beauty, and about the making of my historical novel The Miner & the Viscount and its sequels.
This first edition tells of quaint Christmas customs of bygone days. It includes the delightful conversation in Chapter 26 “Christmas Goose” where inquisitive little Jemmy pesters his mother with questions.

Listen to a snippet.


Thursday Thought: How 45 Minutes Took 5 Years

I was asked to contribute a guest blog for the prestigious Historical Novel Society. It is about how my novel came to be written.

Click here: http://awriterofhistory.com/2015/08/18/the-miner-the-viscount-by-richard-hoskin/

Although I did not realize it at the time, the birth of The Miner & The Viscount began when a professor friend asked me to contribute a Cornwall segment to his lecture series on aspects of the history and culture of Great Britain. I was recently retired and glad to embark on a new career as a lecturer, holding engrossed audiences in thrall.

“How many lectures would you like?” I asked. “Eight? Six?”

“Actually, one,” he replied, “and no more than 45 minutes including Q & A.”

Not quite what I had in mind but at least it would not take much effort, since I knew all about Cornwall having been born and bred there. I did some research to flesh out details, realising that stories from my childhood only skimmed the surface. The result was Cornwall: History, Mystery, Mansions and Mines. It proved a lot of effort for 45 minutes but at least I got them singing a rousing “Trelawney” at the end.

It seemed a pity to leave it at that. My New England wife suggested that since I loved Cornwall and enjoyed history, I should use the material to write an historical novel. She would help with editing. I was convinced. It would be a big project, imagined it would take at least a year. Moreover, I was passionate about telling the story of my Cornwall to a wider world.

The timeframe I settled on was the late 18th century. Widespread change was emerging: the agricultural and industrial revolutions and the invention of the steam engine, social unrest and the rise of Methodism, popular education and the influence of women, political corruption at home and expansion of empire overseas, the beginnings of the Enlightenment.

I assembled sources. Steven Watson, my tutor at Oxford, published The Reign of George III. My brother-in-law, Dr. J.R. Ravensdale had written the volume onCornwall for the National Trust. Lewis Namier devoted an entire chapter to the machination of the 44 Cornish MPs in his breakthrough work The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III. There were biographies of William Pitt the Elder (whose grandfather bought Boconnoc), the journals of John Wesley, books on mining, scores of articles to be woven into a coherent pattern. And then there was John Allen’s History of the Borough of Liskeard published in 1856 by John Philp, founder of The Cornish Times.

But above all were my personal experiences of growing up in Liskeard, living in those beautiful places, knowing those sturdily independent people, absorbing their legends and their story. This is what got my imagination surging.

Following expert advice, I planned to begin with an outline. I decided to build my story around Cornish gentry in great houses and miners and farm labourers in tiny cottages. I picked famous historical figures to mingle with my fictitious characters. I thought up a title, The Miner & the Viscount. I picked a start date, 1760. I typed the title and “Outline” on a fresh document. Then I got stuck.

The only outline I ever created was one summarising what I had already written, to keep things straight. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, my good man.” “But my lord, you already had me flogged in Chapter Six.”

I just started writing drafts. Fortunately, as I got into it the characters magically took over. Their loves, their hates, partnerships, rivalries, joys, sufferings, doings: their story became my story. I would finish a chapter and stare at my computer. What ever would happen next? And Willy Bunt would come into my mind. “Us just ’as to get on with it, zir, Oi’ll tell ’e what Oi’d do if Oi were ye.”

Location Research

Location Research

After three years and six rewrites I had a finished manuscript. A research trip to Cornwall would enable me to fill in a few details, add a little local colour. We visited Liskeard, Port Eliot, Boconnoc, Lanhydrock, Bodmin Moor, the tin and copper mines down west, absorbed the countryside, heard more stories about the people who lived there in the 18th century. We met Maureen Fuller, Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh and she agreed to translate some dialogue into the ancient Cornish language, adding so much authenticity.

Back in Kentucky an experienced member of my writers’ group offered to burnish the final version, a little tweak here and there. After three more rewrites, 25,000 more words, and two more years we sent the manuscript to the publisher.

The story of Cornwall was finally mine to tell. Well, perhaps with a little help from Willy Bunt.


Thursday Thoughts: A Cornwall Adventure

16876298531_9e85a3edd9_oSaturday, July 4th, Richard starts a month long journey of travels around his hometown, Cornwall, Britain. With a schedule full of book signings, appearances and activities, he will be sharing his novel with those that live in the heart of it all.

Traveling with him will be his daughter, Sarah, his partner in navigating his wild July calendar.

Not all of Richard’s trip will be business, in fact, he’d argue none of it is. His passion for the history of Cornwall and the stories within the town have propelled his novel to places just dreamed of. The activities following its publish has resulted in furthering an amazing hobby that has led to wonderful experiences that just keep getting greater.

Richard will be visiting many friends and family who still reside in his native hometown.

Lately, Richard has been finding more and more connections that have led him to meeting many spectacular people. He will continue to explore those connections during his travels, a story that is worth an enormous web of people, and places that have all made the publishing of Richard’s novel so much more than a book.

In the most unlikely places, Richard continues to find relationships between either his book or himself with another person or place. He has embraced these now common coincidences as a sign to keep uncovering the history and mystery of Cornwall and beyond!