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A Summer Full of Memories

The last of our summer visitors depart and the house falls still. I can wake up gradually, slowly sipping my tea in bed rather than being on call the split-second I open my eyes and I no longer have to grab a nightie and cover up before one of the little grandchildren bursts into the bedroom. When I go for a run, glistening veils of dew spangle the fields and the tall spikes of fireweed are cloaked with clouds of feathery seed. There’s a melancholic sense of autumn in the cool morning air, but my head and heart are too full of all the memories we’ve made this summer to feel sad.

We started early with a long-overdue visit to Canada to spend time with my elder stepson, his wife and their son, (our one and only - so far - grandson) who made their home in Alberta five years ago. We began with some sightseeing, flying out to Vancouver and driving through the Rockies before meeting up with Gill, Dan and Harry. It was precious time and we’re so grateful to them for their generous hospitality.




Recent posts

Guest Blogger: Margaret James

This week, I'm delighted to welcome fellow writer, Margaret James to my blog to talk about her work. Over to you, Margaret...


Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your lovely blog, fellow novelist and journalist Christine! I’m delighted to be able to share some home thoughts of my own today.

I’ve been writing novels since my children were very little, and I’m a grandmother now. But, as well as writing fiction, I’m a journalist working for Writing Magazine, the UK’s bestselling title for writers of all kinds and at all stages of their careers. I write the Fiction Focus pages for every issue and some of the author profiles too. It’s been my privilege to interview many of today’s bestselling novelists and learn the secrets of their success.

I’m also one third of the team that runs CreativeWritingMatters. The other team members are Sophie Duffy and Cathie Hartigan. We organise literary competitions, offer mentoring, and provide a whole range of other services to writers. C…

Cover Stories

One of the most exciting moments for me, as an author, is that first glimpse of a new cover. All the hope, the dreams and the hours of hard work brought together and epitomised in a single image. I loved the cover of my first published novel, Turning the Tide, so much that I framed it and put it on my study wall. I have to admit, though, the the girl on the cover, cast away on a pile of rocks, looks nothing like the Harry Watling of my imagination. My heroine, Harry, is a fierce, angry, scared woman with a chip on both shoulders who’s prepared to take on the world to save the business her father started and wouldn’t be seen dead in anything except a pair of oily dungarees. When Turning the Tide went to Norway, Harry transformed again; her hair’s grown, so have her legs, and she’s wearing a teeny-tiny pair of shorts my Harry would never have had in her wardrobe.


Eloise Blake, the heroine of my novella, Only True in Fairy Tales, is a reclusive woman who’s been badly hurt and certainly…

Roads to Recovery

Red
It’s my longest solo drive in a couple of years; I’ve dropped Tom off at St David’s for the start of his 55 mile bike ride, a training session for his RideLondon 100 charity ride to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK. Now all I have to do is drive home. I still feel very anxious about driving but a couple of weeks ago I drove 45 miles by myself to collect Tom from Neyland so I know I can do it. I’m okayish, but still quite nervous… especially when the satnav lady tries to send me in an unexpected direction. I’m still wondering if I’ve done the right thing ignoring her when I notice - to my horror - that a policeman at the side of the road is pointing a speed gun at me. Even worse, it looks as if I’m just over the 30 mile speed limit. I think about turning round at the next roundabout and going back to beg for forgiveness, but manage to talk myself out of it. I’m so cross with myself I forget to be nervous so the rest of the drive is easy! I get home, ring my daughters and Tom, h…

Only Connect

Sunday morning and I’m out running. No music, no company (more about that later), just the rhythm of my footsteps to ground me and the rise and fall of my breath to rebalance during what’s proving to be a very busy time. I love this time of year when the lanes foam with white blossom and cow parsley and jewel-like studs of pinks, purples and blues glow in their green setting. There’s something new to look at every day. I’ve written in ‘Running Kind’ about how this reconnection to the natural world always creates a sense of well-being and especially so on day when I’ve been processing news about friends who are going through a tough time.

The changing seasons are a reminder that nothing stays the same. Tom and I have had the great privilege of looking after one of our little granddaughters and tomorrow I’m off to Cardiff to spend some time with two more little girls who are growing up fast. I love listening to the funny things they say as they learn to express themselves and it’s an abs…

From the River Valley to the Sea

‘Fancy a pint?’ Helen asks, naughtily, making me laugh. For a moment I’m almost tempted, even though it’s only a little after 10.30 a.m. We’re sitting near the bar at Lampeter Rugby Club waiting for the start of the Teifi 10 Mile Road Race, organised by Clwb Sarn Helen running club and the nerves are beginning to kick in. I’m one of the few non-affiliated runners and, for all my race experience, I’m a little daunted by all the serious runners and club vests. It’s also clear that almost everyone else is younger than us. There are only 13 runners my age or older in a field of 129!

At 11 a.m. we set off on what turns out to be a day of record Easter temperatures in West Wales, but I quickly realise that I won’t be breaking any records in the boiling sunshine. The course takes a very beautiful, scenic route climbing up along the Teifi river valley before winding back down to Lampeter. I decide to take my own advice and be kind to myself. Today’s not the day to go crazy! I run when I can, …

Running Kind

My goodness, it’s been a while! There have been birthdays to celebrate; Baby Iris has just turned one and her cousin, Joy, is now two. Where did that time go? There’s been illness and worry, but there have been lovely occasions and places to visit too.

But in the gaps, I squirrelled away some time to write a book. 
It’s no secret that I’ve been in the doldrums when it comes to writing fiction, but a conversation with my son-in-law, Si, got me thinking. And suddenly, I had the idea of writing a book about running. Anything I’ve put into twenty years of running has repaid me a hundred times over in terms of physical and mental well-being, but I know some people are very put off by the idea that every run has to be a tough challenge.

Yes, there are times when I push myself way outside my comfort zone, but only to explore what I can do. Running really doesn’t have to be painful. It’s entirely up to you to decide how far or how fast, or how frequently you want to run, so don’t measure yo…