Page 3. " The great Marsh lies on the Essex Coast "

Public Domainmarsh
A marsh may also be referred to as a "wetland." The coastal marsh on which Rayader lives is brackish, combining fresh water from rivers and salt water from the North Sea. The water levels in the Essex estuaries rise and fall with the tide. This semi-aquatic habitat is the perfect environment for many aquatic plants.


Page 8. " For he was a hunchback "

Hunchback of Santa Anastasia
Creative Commons AttributionHunchback of Santa Anastasia - Credit: Kent, Flickr
The scientific name for the hunchback condition is Kyphosis: a curving of the spine that causes a bowing of the back or slouching posture.  Kyphosis can occur at any age, but is rare at birth.  The adolescent onset of the disease is called Adolescent Kyphosis, or Scheuerman’s disease. It is caused by the fusing together of several vertebrae. Other causes of kyphosis include osteoporosis, spondylolisthesis, endocrine diseases, disk degeneration, tumors, polio, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida.

Page 10. " He owned a sixteen footer "
scow is a flat bottomed sailing boat capable of maneuvering in shallow waters.


A modern scow:

Page 11. " the geese that come winging down the coast from Iceland and Spitsbergen each October "

Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMigration - Credit: Jill O. Miles
Many species of birds leave northern breeding grounds used in the spring and summer and migrate south for better weather and more abundant food.


Page 15. " She was pure Saxon, large-boned, fair, with a head to which her body was yet to grow, and deep-set, violet colored eyes. "

Saxon Blonde
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSaxon Blonde - Credit: TheeErin, Flickr
 Saxon people are of Germanic origin. From the 5th century, great numbers of Saxons settled in Britain. 

Page 16. " The thing she carried in her arms was a large white bird "


Snow Geese
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSnow Geese - Credit: Cephas, Wikimedia



Snow Goose
Creative Commons AttributionSnow Goose - Credit: pbonenfant, Flickr

The variety of snow goose that Frith brings to Rayander is a white-morph. They are white with black on the tips of their wings. They measure 19" in length, with a wingspan of 58-59". Their feet and legs are pink, as is their bill. Black patches along the edge of the bill give the appearance of a grin.

They breed in the Arctic and then migrate to lower parts of North America. They are very vocal and can often be heard from more than a mile away.