Clodpoles and mudbrains

One of the characters in my next novel is a strong and rather fearsome woman; she is married to one of the six Portbraddon cousins, and everyone is a little in awe of her, but no-one suspects that her husband actually fears her, and leads a miserable life. He conceals it from everyone, ashamed as bullied and abused people often are. The rest of the family, know she is eccentric, but she has a kind and generous side to her character, and no-one suspects that her mental health is failing and she’s gradually descending into an extreme episode of psychotic behaviour.

Unfortunately for her, and for her husband who suffers most in this, her extreme insults are a source of amusement to the others; she and her husband have this unspoken collusion to present a ‘normal’ front to the family. It was really interesting to research Shakespearean insults; the patterns of language survive in insults used today, often, perhaps for comic effect. For the characters in my story it is far from amusing; she invents her own insults for her husband, such as ‘monstrous impertinence’ and ‘marauding creature’, but she also uses language she picked up while studying literature at university. I played around with some of these and created my own, such as

  • white-livered horse-drench
  • dog-hearted-miscreant
  • barbarous mudbrain
  • miscreant flap-mouth

Lucky Portbraddon will be published next month…  September 17th is the current ETA. if you haven’t read any of my other novels, here is a link:



  1. David Lewis

    I guess he couldn’t leave her cause he wanted to see what further insults she could dream up tomorrow. Sado-masochism taken to the extreme. Stop it cause I think I’m starting to like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      There is an art to the insult, I guess, but what’s a hilarious comical quip to one person is really hurtful to another… so I try not to insult anyone – just in case they don’t get my sense of humour!


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