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Showing posts from 2010

Best Wishes and a Blog Break

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Thanks to everyone who visited my blog and left so many messages of support for Ma. I’m relieved to say that she had her stitches removed yesterday (eventually – but that’s another story and it’s Christmas and I’m weary).

The last three weeks have been a painful and difficult time, especially for my mum. Time has passed like a storm; a watchful silence in Ma’s small flat in Surrey, the cyclone of Christmas swirling around without a single card being written or gift wrapped. My apologies to everyone I should have visited or written to.

Ma’s sheer bravery, her capacity to draw on deep reserves of true grit and determination as she slowly reclaims her life, has really impressed me so I’m taking a leaf out of her book. Despite ending on a distinctly bum note, 2010 has been a fabulous year for me with the realisation of a long-cherished dream and the publication of my debut novel, Turning the Tide. Huge thanks to all of you who got behind it. But now, I have promises to keep and a nove…

A Winter's Tale

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Thursday 2 December
Feeling confined in her snow-muffled flat, Ma takes a walk up her front path to take the morning air. As she returns a cat jumps over the wall and startles her. She slips on the icy path and lands heavily on her shoulder. When her injury doesn’t spontaneously heal, she eventually gives in and calls her local GP surgery. In the evening a GP visits and summons an ambulance ‘sooner rather than later’. Around 10.30 pm Ma is admitted to her local hospital. X-rays suggest she has a fractured scapula which will require emergency surgery. She is put on a nil by mouth regime that night and transferred to a larger hospital for an emergency operation. However, she’s picked a busy period for her accident so the operation doesn’t take place.

Saturday 4 December
The operation is rescheduled for this morning, so Ma’s had a second night of nil by mouth. A CT scan shows that Ma’s humerus is broken in four places. Despite her obviously smashed-up arm, which is in a sling and …

Home and Away

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Today I'm over at Choc Lit Authors with a blog about how we read.

I'm also off on another journey; Ma's in hospital awaiting surgery after a slipping on her path so she needs some tlc. Here's one of Tom's recent paintings inspired by our trip to Ireland - I'm so glad we had that holiday.



Painting is 'Ring of Kerry from Slea Head' by Tom Tomos

Final Snapshots: The Sea, The Sea

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A stormy end to our stay in Ireland...

Waves as high as the cliffs












Turning to the texture of whipped cream in the bay












Ebbing and recharging










And just to give you the flavour of how it felt...

A Craic-ing Good Time

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Saturday 6 November
A lovely sunshine and showers morning. The view from the house is stunning. To Lidl to buy provisions for weekend. At the till the cashier confiscates all alcohol. None to be sold before 10.30 or 12 noon on Sundays and St Patrick’s Day. Drive up Connor Pass to see the view on a clear day – breathtaking. Then back down to Supervalu for papers and now legal alcohol.

Ma is filled with the urge to visit the hairy jumper shop again to find one for herself. She is assisted by a prim and rather fierce-looking woman of about her age. They bond over widowhood. ‘Why are Irish people so happy?’ Ma says, a bit in love with all things Irish. ‘Well, mainly, it’s the drugs,’ says the assistant without blinking. ‘But what about the luck of the Irish?’ presses Ma. ‘Well, I don’t know about that,’ says the assistant. ‘This week I’ve already blowed up me hoover and me food processor.’ Ma suggests she needs a win on the lotto. ‘Ah,’ says the assistant. ‘I’ve thought about…

Waterstone's Carmarthen: Round Two!

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‘And you’ve got Matthew Rhys in today too, haven’t you?’ I observe. ‘Er. No,’ says Lovely Tim, ‘that was a mistake on the website. But we do have a lady from The Coal House.’ Introduce myself to Lady From The Coal House who asks me how long I’ve worked in Waterstone’s. Wander back to my table and get asked (1) where the dictionaries are (2) if I would like to buy a CD (3) did I really write my book?

Despite stiff competition from Sleb biogs which seem to be high on customer Christmas lists, I do manage to sell some copies of Turning the Tide. In addition I meet some lovely people and one very cute dog (looking for a copy of ‘Scents and Sensibility’, no doubt. Or ‘The House at Poo Corner'.)

Thanks very much to the staff at Waterstone’s and everyone who stopped to chat.

Ireland Snapshots: A Spot of Tea (but no Craic)

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The view from the Connor Pass was worth waiting for!

Thursday 4 November
Heavy rain thickens the mist so we drive to Tralee, but find no roses just an everyday working town. Just to add a little extra excitement we decide to take the Connor Pass home. Several large signs in different languages advise lorry drivers to turn back NOW! The high, narrow mountain pass links Dingle Town in the south to Kilcummin on the North coast and as we climb it feels as if someone has definitely taken the road in. There are steep rocky slopes one side, sheer drops on the other and the visibility is almost nil due to dense low cloud. Ma enjoys it.

In the evening Tom and I go for a walk along the breakwater. It’s still raining but the mist has cleared and the sea is a beautiful turquoise grey.

Out and about in Dingle


Friday 5 November
Great excitement! Although it’s still raining, we can actually see The Three Sisters range opposite the house! We head for Killarney, this time driving along the corniche.…

Ireland Snapshots: Fishguard to Dingle

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Tuesday 2 November
It’s a little before 2.45 am when the ferry sets off from Fishguard on a cold, gusty night with the winds set to touch gale force 8. With Ma sandwiched between Tom and me as we climb up from the car decks, I watch her gamely tackle the steep stairs. Her fragile back is even more delicate these days, but she never falters, never holds anyone up and never complains. And whilst I’m fretting to myself about the after-effects of such a long journey for her, Ma’s as excited as a six-year-old. Despite the terrible forecast, I’m surprised that I barely notice the motion of the ferry, or maybe I’ve been hardened by years of being thrown around in a small boat. The crossing is uneventful and we spill out into a wet, Irish dawn and take breakfast in the coldest cafe in the world. Ma laughs when I invite her to sit by the radiator which, we find is turned off. Then it’s a race to eat our full Irish breakfast as it chills on freezing cold plates.


view from the holiday ho…

Back Home

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Look at this view! I was standing on the hill just above this little bay watching thirty foot waves smash against the cliffs. Ireland was so beautiful - more to report in due course, but today I'm over at Choc Lit's Author Corner writing about how to get those writing ideas flowing.

West to Far West

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We're taking Ma for a much-needed break. None of us have visited the far west of Ireland before, but here's the current forecast for tonight's crossing...

'Lundy Fastnet Irish Sea:
South or southwest veering west or southwest 5 to 7, occasionally 4 at first, increasing gale 8 at times in Irish Sea. Moderate or rough, occasionally very rough in Fastnet. Rain or showers. Good, occasionally poor.'

Gulp!

Painting is 'November Sea' by Tom Tomos

West to East: Every Picture

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I don’t spend very much time looking back; the past is foreign country. Yet on the rare occasions I return to UEA, my impressions, initially, are always clouded by my teen-aged self and the shock of the new. Raw concrete under a leaden sky. Ladsun’s ziggurats slicing into sloping green. It all looks much softer today; climbers and tall trees blur the cutting edges, but the architectural puritan in me disapproves.

We’re visiting the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, taking the opportunity to catch up with some favourite pieces in the Sainsbury Collection whilst we’re in this part of the world. The best paintings, for me, are the ones that evoke an almost visceral response; a resonance like the hum of a tuning fork. Francis Bacon does it for me every time and there are some truly stunning examples here. Henry Moore’s touching images of sleeping shelterers move me too. Antonio Saura’s, Hiroshima, Mon Amour. It’s wonderful to see them again.

From Norwich it’s off to Cromer in searc…

West to East: Girls' Night In at Waterstone's

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After a seven hour car journey and a near-death experience in the Cambrian mountains where an oncoming driver is trying to create a dual carriageway in the narrow pass, we arrive at our hotel in Bury St Edmunds.
‘You’re in the chalet with the four poster,’ the receptionist tells us cheerfully. I’m less thrilled, ‘chalet’ being something I associate with Butlins not the lovely old building on the hotel’s website. Making our way across the courtyard I hear what sounds like an orchestra warming up from the other chalets; that’s because an orchestra is warming up in the other chalets. Once inside though the chalet is quiet, clean and cosy - if a little reminiscent of eighties suburbia. Still we’re not here to admire the decor, it’s a quick wash and brush up before heading into town for the Choc Lit authors (well, four of us) ‘Girls’ Night In’ at Waterstone’s Bury St Edmunds.
Stand by your Books! Sue, Christina, me and Margaret
It’s not true that all my nerves evaporate when Jen, the manag…

Reflections on the Cardiff Half Marathon 2010

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Sunday morning dawned with near perfect running conditions for my third Cardiff half marathon; dry, cold and still. And if the glorious sunshine was a little blinding at times, it was a price worth paying to see the city bathed in light.

Over eleven thousand runners took part this year, but I struck very lucky when the start was moved to just outside my daughter’s flat meaning I could avoid those loo queues! In theory this should also have made me calm and rested, but I was my usual gibbering heap before the race and still had a pre-race cry.

The new course was extremely congested in places, making it very difficult to get past walkers and groups of three and four running together, and I was glad to get to mile six when we were through the parks and had space to take off. However, the atmosphere was brilliant with lots of people encouraging each other along the way and great support from a fantastic Cardiff crowd.

What I really noticed this year was how many of us carry our loved o…

Summer's Lease

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We’ve been gleaning this late sunshine, taking some time out after work to sit down by the estuary to soak up some summer warmth before the winter. This week has been something of an interlude for me. I was invited to write a short story for a monthly magazine and found it really refreshing to take a break from the work in progress to write something different. I’m pleased to say the editor liked what I sent her, giving me a boost to return to my current novel with renewed enthusiasm.

With the Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday, this has been the week when the training tapers off with a few days rest before race day. I don’t run for a particular charity as I’m too afraid of not finishing or letting them down, but if anyone feels like dropping a pound in the nearest collection box afterwards, that would be brilliant. As always, I’ll be thinking of my dad on Sunday and organisations like The Royal Marsden,The Princess Alice Hospice, Cancer Research UK and Pancreatic Cancer UK, who help…

My First Book Signing!

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It’s a fine, dry day and there’s an Italian market in the square outside Waterstone’s. Good for a book signing? ‘Bad,’ says Tim. The stalls are blocking the view of the shop and the fine weather’s keeping everyone outdoors. Hmm, that must be why they’ve only put one small poster up for my event, I mean why waste the Blu Tack?
Tim demonstrates handing off the marauding hordes

After much refolding of a black tablecloth and a rummage around for some books, I’m invited to take up my position at the author table somewhere between ‘fantasy and horror’, children’s books and a poster of the next author, Bobby ‘Iron Duke’ Windsor who’s signing on Monday. Once Tom, Lily, my lovely daughter, and her partner, Russ, are all sure I’m not going to run away, they leave me to it, taking it in turns to make sure I’m all right and bring me tea.

Very soon, I notice a small boy watching me. When he returns with his family I learn that he would like to be a writer. His method, he tells me, is to rewrite…

All Sorts, Out of Sorts

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Friday 24 September
With just over a week to go before my first book signing, I phone Lovely Tim at Waterstone’s to make sure everything’s in place. ‘Er,’ says Lovely Tim, ‘remind me, what book is it again?’. After a pause, whilst I listen to some electronic pips with sinking heart, LT returns to tell me that everything to do with my book signing appears to have fallen down a black hole. Reeling, I contact Lyn at Choc Lit and in the blink of an eye everything is back on track. What a woman!

It’s a chilly evening so we break out the heating. We’ve been trying to make our oil last (1) because it’s fiendishly expensive and (2) because we were hoping to move and didn’t especially feel like donating a lavish gift of a full tank of oil to someone who was messing about. Anyway, now prospective buyer has pulled out, we treat ourselves to some heat. Except that some gremlin has got into the system. And we don’t notice until 2 a.m. when we both wake up boiling alive. Three attempts to thwa…

Cats, Dogs and Hounds at Home

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Although we have four children between us, Tom and I will never have our very own bundle of joy. Pets (what else?) are not us. Specifically, they are not Tom. Whilst I’m fine with cats, heck I even gave the kiss of life to one of mine after she was hit by a motorbike (sadly her internal injuries were too severe to save her), it’s dogs I really love.

My favourite family dog was Zorba (Ma’s Greek Island period), an absolutely adorable miniature dachshund who could melt the stoniest human heart. We also had Rima, a dazzling red setter, who liked nothing better than to sneak up on unsuspecting visitors and goose them and, briefly, Sam a naughty standard dachshund. Sam came to us for a trial run when his old lady owner was finding him a bit too energetic. He shot through the house, eating soap, drinking from the toilet and jumping up the curtains before racing outside to gobble some bread left on the lawn and crunch a few snails. Then he got a bit above himself and tried to stop Dad …

Wardrobe Malfunctions

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With clothing prices set to increase by between 5 and 8 per cent next year, it looks as if the age of ‘throwaway’ fashion is at an end. We’re all going to have to be a bit more frugal about our buying - although you don’t need to be Gok Wan to look at my shrunken T-shirts and tired jumpers to realise that I’ve never had enough disposable income to bin anything for being ‘last year’. Nevertheless there are some items lurking in the back of my wardrobe that, even in west Wales, will never see the light of day...

For many years I wanted to be a Rock Chick when I grew up. Even when I was grown up. Little did I know, as I strutted around in these leather bad boys channelling the spirit of Jim Morrison, that my daughters were cringing behind my back and suffering excruciating embarrassment every time I left the house in them. I tried them on this morning, wondering what the fuss was about, then looked in the mirror and found a short woman in waders looking back at me. Please accept my …

Counting Down to the Cardiff Half Marathon

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Saturday 4 September.
With six weeks to go until the Cardiff Half Marathon, my running shoes have had enough. At £50 - £60 a pop, I do have to take a deep breath when the time comes to renew them, but, hey, they do a pretty good job of pounding the roads round here. The internet, once again, seems to have run out of Asics 1150s in my size so we head for the wilds of Sports Direct at Haverfordwest. Inside it’s complete havoc; mountains of shoeboxes, zillions of mum and small daughter combos, forlorn single shoes abandoned by their other halves. I am not hopeful. With sinking heart I nab the nearest assistant, who happens to be up a ladder. To my immense surprise there is some sort of order and efficiency behind the chaos and two minutes later I’m standing at the till with my new shoes. Well done Sports Direct and a big thank you to a very helpful assistant.

When I get home I’m slightly freaked out to find that the route for the Cardiff Half Marathon is a new one this year. I twe…

High Heels and Book Deals

I'm delighted to be over at High Heels and Book Deals today, because:

1. I get to chat to Mel which is always a pleasure and
2. I've been allowed - encouraged even - to talk about my favourite shiny red shoes. Yay!

Moving, Not Moving

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Only a month ago, my sister was thrilled to have an offer accepted on her dream home. When I saw the details I could see exactly why she’d fallen in love with the property, a beautiful Edwardian gem, treasured not trashed by the couple who’d lived there for many happy years. Last week, my sister and her family went on holiday for a much-needed break as my youngest niece has been quite poorly. They could relax knowing that a moving date – 14th not 13th September, as her buyers were superstitious - had been set and they were about to exchange contracts. And then, the day before exchange, the buyers had second thoughts and pulled out. Just to make things even worse, it rained all week and my sister discovered that something was moving – they’d taken a family of nits on holiday with them. Where did the good luck fairy go?

Our own attempt to move has been thwarted at every turn by the most bizarre and unexpected twists; a house with a private water supply... but, it appeared, no legal …

Absence note

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Please excuse me this week... lots to be getting on with.

Sign Here

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A large crowd is gathered outside Waterstone’s Carmarthen store. The last time I saw huge numbers of people outside a book store, John Barrowman was being mobbed in Borders whilst, a couple of doors down, there were queues round the block and bouncers keeping an eye on the hungry hordes waiting to meet Katie Price. Since I’m about to wander in to ask for my first book signing, the sight of all those people is a tad daunting. If only I’d remembered to get a Day-Glo makeover first.

Getting closer we see that it’s not Captain Jack Harkness or Jordan pulling in the punters, but Michael Jackson or rather a Michael Jackson lookie-likie, who isn’t actually in the store, but on a stage outside. Something to do with the Carmarthen Merlin Festival celebrating ‘the legend and lore of Carmarthen’s ancient links with Merlin.’ Eh?

I take a few deep breaths, get a pat on the back from Tom and, clutching a business card and a copy of Turning the Tide in my shaking hands, brace myself to do battle. …

Sailing Against the Tide

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One of many factors that made sailing on Veryan, our wooden boat, so interesting was that she was a very heavy boat with a very feeble engine. If the tide turned against us we simply didn’t get anywhere. This happened on one occasion just as we were trying to get into Bembridge Harbour on the Isle of Wight. It’s a harbour that the guide books say requires ‘close attention to detail’, but running out of horse power adds a touch of additional excitement. As the wind and a ferocious current tethered Veryan to one spot, Tom and I stood in the cockpit gritting our teeth against what felt like a full gale willing her to inch forwards. On the beach, just a few feet away, a little old lady and her dog, untroubled by the tide, stood in the sunshine watching us and wondering what the fuss was all about.

Life’s felt a bit like sailing against the tide, despite last week’s fleeting visit from the Good Luck Fairy. This morning we woke to the news that archaeologists have uncovered Britain’s ol…

A Good Day!

Today...

1. My daughter, Rose, was offered the job she really, really wanted.

2. My sister had an offer accepted on the house she really, really wanted.

3. I was awarded a Distinction for my OU Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing.

With 55 mins of the day left to run, I'm quitting whilst I'm ahead!

A Near Miss and a Surprise Hit

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Poor DiL’s been in the wars since leaving us last week. He was pootling around on his allotment on Monday when he decided to lift a piece of old carpet, inadvertently disturbing a wasp nest. In the mayhem that ensued DiL was stung repeatedly on the head and face. No one else was about, but somehow DiL managed to grab a garden hose and turn it on himself until the wasps had had enough. He then drove himself the short distance home where a horrified MiL, who doesn’t drive, summoned a friend and got him off to hospital. Fortunately DiL’s not allergic to wasp stings and various pills and potions have patched him up, but it’s one of those incidents that has shaken us up too and made us appreciate – even when their undercrackers turn up in unexpected places – how very precious our loved ones are.

Ma’s been having an exciting time too, although her experiences have been rather more positive than DiL’s. My brother-in-law whisked my sister off to Venice for a long weekend to celebrate the…

Cool Running

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After a night of heavy rain, the west Wales coast was at its most beautiful this morning when I went out for a run. Blue sky, fluffy white clouds and hedgerows bejewelled with harebells, cornflowers and diamond-chipped feathery grasses shimmering in the watery sunlight. Not so great sights included a poor little dead mole lying on its back, forlorn starfish hands reaching for the sky, and a banana skin. (Note: always avoid the banana skins.)

Hotel H has been heaving. I’ve finally got round to unpacking my bag from our recent trip to the south (don’t worry – I did unpack the manky bits on our return). We’ve had MiL and DiL here (on the ‘go-to-south-to-catch-up-with-one-set-of-rellies-bring-another-lot-home’ basis) and they like to spread out a bit. Surprise entertainment this week has included DiL suddenly being afflicted with an inability to walk – his slippers were on the wrong feet – and a mystery object falling out the washing machine with my tea towels – DiL’s undercrackers, l…

Why I love writing...

'As the last chapter came to a close, I got off at my station, sat on a bench in the sun and postponed my walk home by ten minutes or so to enjoy the last few pages uninterrupted, a little oasis of sublime romance in my rushed day.'

A lovely, lovely comment from a review of Turning the Tide by Miss Write. Check out her blog for sharp, clever writing.

No-one Died

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I worked for several years in the research department of a large trades union. It was my first job after my daughters started school and I shared it with Maureen who also had children, unlike most of our colleagues within the department. Maureen was one of those incredibly serene, unflappable people who was wonderful to work with. Just as well, really, since we were the jugglers of Research, trying to cram full time work into part-time hours to prove our worth, whilst fielding the inevitable calls from school. The one that particularly sticks in my mind was an office lady ringing me up to say, ‘Could you please collect your daughter? She’s fallen off a log.’

Maureen and I built our joint career together, starting as research assistants and fighting our way to become trades union officials. Along the way we had to put up with a lot of rubbish, such as other officials sticking their heads round the door of the department, seeing me or Maureen and saying, ‘Oh, no one in!’. I alway…

My Guy

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Excuse me if I FREAK OUT just a little, won’t you? My keyboard should be smoking with activity, but today I’m having a bit of a moment. We’re off to the south east on Friday which is good because I’ll catch up with Ma. My sister and I are both trying to sell our houses at the moment so Ma’s been something of a Freak Control Red Centre, fielding calls from both of us and handling all the ‘It’s on/off/pile-of -cr*p/best-thing-I’ve-ever-seen/b*stards/heroes’ calls with appropriate pigeon noises. A very diplomatic approach, actually, since neither of us can throw her words back at her.

But what’s really creeping up on me is Saturday, Day Two of the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference 2010, because I’m joining the Choc Lit panel where we’ll be talking about our heroes. ‘But, mummy!’ said Rose. ‘The expert on your hero is you! What are you worrying about?’ And the answer is that I don’t know really, after all I’ve got up on my hind legs in a previous life and talked about such…

Champagne, Chocolates and Crazy Horses

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Well, this is it; it's Turning the Tide's official publication day today – yes, I know it first appeared at the beginning of June, on the fifth anniversary of my dad’s death, in fact, but this is its official birthday.

I began the morning with an early training run keeping my eyes open for escaped wildlife after a truly exciting run on Sunday morning when I could see a blockade in the road ahead of me. ‘Are you moving cows?’ I asked, as a born-again country girl in tune with the rhythm of nature. ‘No,’ said one of the fielders in a very strong Welsh accent. ‘Ment-al 'orses.’ After checking further down the line I got the all clear to ‘go, if you’re quick.’ At which point I shot off like a woman possessed.

I was just congratulating myself on getting out of trouble when there was a huge commotion just in front of me and two horses charged out of a gap in the hedge! Fortunately, they galloped away from me rather than towards me, all I had to worry about then was the ca…

Sed Non Culpa Mea Est

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It’s typical that after weeks of inactivity on the house front, there’s a rush*of viewings the very week that Stepson Two and Gorgeous Girlf are staying with us. Given that I’m fretting about how one book baby is faring in the big wide world whilst frantically gestating the other (actually that sounds a bit yucky, let’s not go there) there’s a fair bit on my mind.

On Monday afternoon the estate agent rings to make an appointment for the following evening. Or so I think. ‘6.30 tomorrow !’ I announce. On Tuesday afternoon we clear the house of clutter and people and I sit and wait for our viewers. I wait for half an hour and nothing happens so I summon the family home. Stepson Two and GG shrug it off, but Tom and I are both grumpy about the wasted time. I want to have a big rant at the person who stood us up but can’t because of a slight suspicion that I got the message wrong. After a night of wondering if I’m starting to crack, I ring the estate agents and get the happy news that…

Wistful Thinking

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Part of my daughter’s poorliness has meant a trip to hospital. When everything is done and dusted, Lily and I retreat to where the lovely WVS ladies are serving refreshments whilst we wait for Tom to collect us. The teas are 80p each and we ask for two. ‘£1.80!’ says the dear lady. We give her a surprised look and she has another bash, except I then throw everything into chaos by asking for a bag of Jelly Tots as well.

A young Asian man wanders in looking punch drunk, clutching a shiny, black and white image which is drying in his hand. The image is of what looks like a satellite picture of the weather forecast, all swirls and mists. It is, of course, an ultrasound image of his child and looking at the father-to-be's face as he gazes as it makes me feel both privileged and unintentionally intrusive. I tell Lily about the moment I heard her heartbeat for the first time, when I barely believed I was pregnant, now here she is, a grown woman.

For many months now a huge stack of paper ha…

And the winner is...

Thank you to all of you who entered the draw to win a copy of Turning the Tide. All the names were placed in a hat (one of my berets, in fact. I wasn't wearing it at the time 'though) and the one Tom picked out at random was... Elizabethd! I hope you enjoy it, Elizabeth.

Threading and Drawing

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It’s all right, you can look – I’m not even going to mention You Know What ... well not until the end, anyway. Lily is poorly so we’re off to Cardiff today to give her some TLC. Looking after Lily means I won’t be a danger to myself in Cardiff, which is what happened a couple of weeks ago.

I had a few minutes before I was due to meet Tom so thought I’d wander round the new John Lewis store to look at all the things I can’t afford. But before I got there, I noticed a bevy of gorgeous women offering some sort of beauty treatment. For someone who’s resisted all that stuff all their life (and it shows, dear reader), I’ve been slightly seduced by my ten pound manicure in New York so I decided to take a closer look.

‘You want eyebrows threaded?’ said one lovely lady. Did I? I’m pale-skinned with fine hair, not exactly a rain forest among women, yet when I took a close look at the rest of them with their perfectly-arched eyebrows, I had a real desire to be in the Beautiful Eyebrow Gang.
'I …

Turning the Tide

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Look what the postman just delivered! For someone who’s supposed to be able to tell you about these things in words, I’m really struggling to describe the feeling of seeing everything I’ve worked and hoped for come together. Choc Lit produce the most beautiful covers; I’m utterly thrilled with mine and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to hold a copy of Turning the Tide in my hands at last.

Bar to Car

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My sense of direction, never wonderful, fails completely when I’m in London so, despite detailed instructions from Tom, I still end up walking in the wrong direction and have to phone to be reoriented. Still, at least I’ve got as far as St James’s Park without falling down the gap boarding the train at Epsom, laddering my tights or snapping the heel off my shoes – all fears which have been haunting me. Reaching the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the venue for the RNA summer party, my next fear is that no one will talk to me and I’ll be left standing on the side like the girl nobody wants to dance with. Fortunately this too becomes a needless worry. The problem isn’t about having no one to talk to, but rather the opposite; there just isn’t enough time to catch up with everyone.

It’s a great delight to meet my fellow Choc Lit authors Sue, Christina and Margaret for the first time (Jane and Juliet, we missed you!) and to catch up with Lyn, Publisher Extraordinaire. We share a few co…

Party On

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So there we were, fish and chips from the Hake Inn at, er, Hakin, balanced on our laps watching the fondant colours in the sky and an unusually flat, calm quicksilver sea. ‘We’ll always remember this evening, won’t we?’ we said, pausing only to blow on piping hot chips.

A romantic tryst at Milford Haven? Not as unlikely as it sound, I’ll have you know. We’ve spent many happy hours on or around the Haven. In fact, we’ve come to some of our best decisions bobbing around in a little wooden boat there. But this time we were looking across the Haven pleasantly passing the time whilst the country made a decision. Well, we will remember Election Night 2010, not because we sat up through the night (all right, I did grab a couple of hours kip at 3.am, but Tom was a real trouper) to watch the dawning of a new government, but for reasons that everyone’s all too familiar with by now.

Ah well, what Laura Kuenssberg (what a star!) has been referring to all day as the ‘fluid situation’ is playing out …