Hilary Mantel

I was blown away by Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lecture this morning. So much insight, wisdom and humour, especially about the intertwining of history and fiction  Please listen if you can. I had goose pimples at the end.


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Another bostin day out at the Black Country Museum with the usual picnic and chips.


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Here goes…

I now have an editor…the next exciting stage in the publishing process for ‘Love in La La Land.’

La La Land Banner

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Voyage Round My Island

…(obviously not my island, but couldn’t resist the title).

Amazingly lucky with the weather throughout the trip. The gloriously clear blue skies gave stunning views and it was an odyssey of songs as we saw ‘the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’, the ‘Mull of Kintyre’ and gazed ‘over the seas to Skye’.

Fascinating ‘doing’ Britain like a tourist and seeing it with fresh eyes. Brief high points were-

Guernsey in the sun, strolling around the castle in St Peter Port. Then in Cobh, very moving intimate Titanic museum where the last ever passengers embarked and we were given random individual tickets as if we were one of those passengers. At the end, we found out their stories and whether they survived or not. As a First Class woman I did, as a third class male, Dave didn’t.
Dublin bathed in hot sun, explored the city again.

Belfast, spent all morning in the amazing Titanic museum, so impressive and absorbing, with even a cable car ride down amongst the heat and din of the riveters as they welded the hull together. This was the highlight of the whole trip.WP_20170505_12_18_44_Pro







Sunny, busy Glasgow. Great atmosphere, been before, so just revisited places and ended up in Rennie Macintosh’s Willow Tea Rooms for a cuppa and cake.






Wonderful sail away down the Clyde and round the Mull of Kintyre in the beautiful apricot skies of a spectacular sunset.WP_20170506_20_47_09_Pro

Kirkwall sadly cancelled because of strong winds.

Edinburgh, great walking trip with a local guide around the castle and environs, then drive round the city and Arthur’s Seat.WP_20170510_14_20_29_Pro







And yet another silver sunset overlooking the Forth Bridge.




Finally Le Havre and a surprisingly impressive concrete cathedral.WP_20170512_09_45_44_Pro








As always on board ship, the people watching is fascinating. Brits in definite minority, lots of different nationalities. Great conversations both engaged in and overheard. You could write a book!

We’ve walked miles, in the vain hope the mileage will get rid of the foodage. Hmmmn.

Had previously read Bill Bryson’s two British books ‘Notes from a Small Island’ and ‘Road to Little Dribbling’ as precursors to the trip. Thought of him as we sailed passed the looming Cape Wrath and agree, it’s a great little island


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Bluebell time again.

Wonderful walk in the woods to see the carpet of bluebells again.



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Great headline.

I love this headline on reporter Sue Smith’s  article in the Express and Star.  Yes, it really does feel like a new  chapter for me. And yes, I am celebrating. Article Big (1) - Copy

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Book review catch up

With all the excitement of my book contract with Crooked Cat, I have been rather remiss on the book blogging front.

So here’s a brief roundup of some of my recent reading.

The Japanese Lover by Isabelle Allende

WP_20170403_19_35_09_ProA beautifully written love story that spans the decades from WWII to the present. Set in California it looks back on the life and loves of Alma Belasco as she nears the end of her life and the effect her story has on the present generation.





 The Elegance of Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry

It was the captivating title that drew me to this mind-stretching read by a French Professor of Philosophy which at times went way over my head. But it is funny and quirky as well, so I stuck with it and really got into the lives of the characters. A definitely different book.

The Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell

A good gripping story showing in graphic detail the prisons and hangings in 1820’s England and the general unrest in the country after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.  As always with Cornwell, he mixes accurate historical research with engaging characters and an exciting plot.


The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin.

It begins with an intriguing opening of a mother whose small son desperately wants to WP_20170403_19_35_28_Proreturn to his other mother and his other life. A fascinating book which explores the idea of some children who seem to have been reincarnated and remember vividly events from their past lives. The story is interspersed with real examples of incidents that are impossible to explain in any other way. An original and fascinating read.

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