Wednesday, 15 August 2018

My god, August?

I realise, with a jolt, that I haven't taken any pictures for about a month now. It's about time I did.

But life has been - well, eventful, as ever, and not all of it enjoyable. The work continues on sorting out my top flat, but all I have to do now is get lino, hardboard, door mats and fablon. Though as I realised this on a morning when I was feeling particularly wobbly, this was enough to reduce me to tears. Still, I will do it.

Breakups of any relationship are always hard, and I don't think they get any easier with age. This one certainly isn't, and seven years is a long enough time to feel particularly raw everywhere. Time, I'm sure, will heal, as they say, but right now I want to press the fast forward button and skip the really painful times. Don't we all? Unfortunately we can't, and I am reminded of when I gave up smoking 22 years ago. The feelings, the withdrawal symptoms, the incredible pain, are all the same. But I hope that at the end we will emerge healthier, happier people and with better things at the end of it. So everyone tells me though there are days, like today, when I struggle to hold on to that.

But aren't we all vulnerable, scared of being alone, and lonely? That's what being human is all about. And I have no regrets. What is the point in regretting someone who gave me so much?

A bit of joy was had on Monday when we were invited to the dress rehearsal of SCRAWW, an opera being performed at Trebah Gardens.This was the most joyous occasion - we had been recorded doing the backing tracks for the opera - and it was amazing to be part of this unique performance. The garden was lit with late afternoon sun, and as we meandered down to Trebah beach, the sun caught the decks of the boats moored up there, bathing them in a golden glow, before disappearing for the evening. It was truly magical, and my only wish was to have had someone there to share it with.

On Thursday we are to sing at Lostwithiel for their Sing by the River session, and I'm really looking forward to that. IN the meantime, like everyone else going through difficult times, we must put one foot in front of the other. And keep on putting one foot in front of the other. And as a dear singing friend quoted, "Lean on me, when you're not strong..."

A bit thanks to all my friends supporting me as I try and navigate these tricky waters. I will, of course, do the same for you when you need it.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018


This was a scene from Wildwork's wonderful production of 100: Unearth, which I was fortunate enough to see at Heligan Gardens last week.
It celebrated 100 years since the end of the First World War, and those from the parishes around Heligan returning from fighting (those that did) but also encompassed the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice to emphasise the loss and tragedy of war. Having said that, there were some incredibly funny parts, such as the part above, where all the 'nurses' from the Underworld were helping to prepare for a heart operation.

What was unusual was that it was a walk around show - we walked from one set to another all round the gardens which, for me, added to the enjoyment, though not everyone thought the same. There was also a tremendous band that accompanied the performers, the sets were incredible, and all in all, it was a unique experience that I shall never forget.

In complete contrast, last night I went to see Mamma Mia 2 with a group of friends from singing. Having enjoyed the first film so much, and seen it I don't know how many times, I was pretty sure I'd enjoy it, despite some rather lukewarm reviews. And it didn't disappoint. From the first scene, we were off - there wasn't really much plot but it didn't matter - we were swept along by the terrific numbers, the choreography and the sheer joy of it all. We sat with our drinks and snacks, wept (in my case), sang loudly and laughed and suddenly two hours had gone. I was very much in need of being cheered up, and it certainly did that.

But it made me think about enjoyment of things - plays, films, music, whatever. I tend to go along and get absorbed into a performance, rather than analysing them. I suppose the downside could be that I might miss things - the deeper meanings or whatever - but the upside is that I am rarely disappointed. I have been raving about both productions, whereas not everyone I know thought the same.

A friend of mine said recently, "Keep your hopes high and your expectations low." A hard balance to find - but in this instance, I used another friend's motto which is, "Go with the flow". And that certainly worked.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018


Thanks to my dear friend Heather, I had the most wonderful week in Spain, arriving back last Wednesday at crack of dawn. Where has the week gone?!

It's 35 years since I last went to Spain and I've never been up in the mountains - the last one I climbed was Carder Idris when I was 11. So I was utterly stunned by the majesty of the landscape. The picture above is the view from their terrace as the sun went down. And the weather was HOT!

Even so, we managed some stunning walks - up various mountains, through vineyards and orange trees, we swam every day, attended a Moors v Christians procession one night, and had some relaxed reading time and enjoyed eating and drinking outside every day.
I'm quite in love with the place and it did me a lot of good to get right away from everything. I missed my darling Moll terribly (and vice versa), but it was worth it to have a week in such a stunning place, and with such good company.

Just as well as life has been very stressful since I got back, but hopefully things will resolve soon!

Tuesday, 5 June 2018


This was taken at Penberth Cove, last Sunday, where I did another walk for the current book. I'd had a busy few days doing Meet the Author sessions at the Great Estate festival at Scorrier - which is a great one to be at, by the way. And the weather was good, too.

Anyway, I had two slots and luckily my friend Heather came along for moral support, which I was very glad of, as you never know if anyone will turn up to meet authors unless they have publishers who are prepared to spend a lot on publicity. Which let's face it, few are. And certainly not those of walks books.

So we arrived at the venue - the Whispering Garden - and it was all set out with a little covered stage, a microphone and plenty of seating. So far so good. A big board outside announced the programme of events, but it transpired later that none of these had been put n the website, so most people didn't know I was there.

I stood on the stage feeling like real Billy No Mates while Heather tried to hijack passers by and eventually we had a few - literally - and I started talking. But by the end of it we had a few more, and one of the ladies who'd actually turned up to have a rest, ended up buying two of my books, so I was delighted. What had started off looking like an unqualified disaster was saved and my confidence restored.

The next day we had several people and though I sold no books, I could tell people were interested and several stayed behind afterwards to talk about my books, writing, and to ask if I'd do workshops of any kind. It was such a lovely gathering I felt really glowing afterwards - especially when dear Heather introduced me and said such glowing things about my writing. I stood there, feeling quite overwhelmed thinking - does she really think that about my books? Wow!

Afterwards we were talking about confidence, and how important it is in all walks of life - whatever we're doing. Many writers suffer from chronic self-about - myself included - and I find the only way to conquer it is to keep writing. Grab any opportunities that come up - well, any that sound different - for you never know what can lead to all kinds of things - and keep submitting. Rejections are part of a writer's life. Don't take them too personally.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Book launch part II

One of the pictures from the book launch which was great fun - and I'm so grateful to everyone who turned up on such a beautiful evening when we could all have been sitting on the beach or having a barbecue.

Anyway, a good time was had by all and also thanks to all those who bought books!

The next event was the book signing at Waterstones which also went well courtesy of some lovely friends and people wandering through Waterstones. Afterwards we went for lunch at the Arts Cafe in River Street which was lovely and a good end to the morning.

And this Friday and Saturday I'm at the Great Estate Festival at Scorrier doing Meet the Author sessions. I don't honestly expect anyone to turn up but I may be pleasantly surprised - and you have to have a go, as they say.

Then on Sunday evening we have a singing boat trip, going up to Mylor Yacht harbour where we will sing, then go and share some food and have a glass or two. And by then I will want to go and sleep for a long time...!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Book launch and other book stuff

Apologies for leave of absence. I've been stricken with a horrible flu/cough/cold lurgy and it's taking me ages to shake it off so that's why I've been so quiet for so long.

But I'm now gearing up for .... drum roll... the book launch of WALKS IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DAPHNE DU MAURIER. For anyone that doesn't know, it will be next Wednesday, 23rd May at Falmouth Art Gallery from 6-8pm so do call in - and enjoy the exhibitions there as well - and have a glass of wine and buy a book or two even!

I'm also going to be signing copies of my books at Waterstones in Truro on 26th May from 11-1 and will be at the Great Estate festival at Scorrier on Fri 1st June at 16.10 and Sat 2nd June at 11.15 to talk about the book, give some readings etc.

I quite enjoy book publicity - it's nerve racking when people don't turn up, but usually the prospect of a free glass of wine lures some along, while it's a mark of good friends who turn up to other events. But as a dear friend said once, "keep hopes high and expectations low" and that way you're not disappointed. I agree, that's quite a difficult balance, but sage words.

This book is also special because of a singing friend who died earlier this year. As he was a keen walker as well as a fantastic singer - and also an amazing writer - I wanted to do a walk in his honour, but couldn't decide which was right for him. So as time was short, I added him to the dedications in the front of the book. It was such an emotional time that it wasn't right to ask his daughter and the family, and afterwards, I panicked, in case they were upset. Thankfully they took it in the spirit that it was offered - a special tribute to a very special man. And a way of keeping his love of walking in Cornwall very much alive.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Book Number Four - from The Depths

As usual, life has overtaken me somewhat. Having been plunged into the depths of gloom over various matters in my personal life, and not having much luck with journalism, the weekend before last I was weeping into my cornflakes, deciding I must change career, find another way of earning some money.

Heather was great, pointed out that journalism is SO hard. Another friend looked at me and smiled slightly. “You said exactly that this time last year,” she said.
Had I really?

Then another, wise journalist came up with the great saying, “You are not defined by your pitching success.” Love it!

And then suddenly, during the week, things changed. My publishers emailed to say my books would be back from the printers at the end of the week and they’d send a box down.

Then a new book shop I’d been in touch with replied saying they loved the idea of my books, would I be able to call in with some and also could I do a talk and a walk sometime?

I was over the moon. To go from the depths of gloom to sudden wild excitement. Though as Tony said, “You should know by now that life consists of ups and downs, so next time you’re down, realise that an up is on its way.”

He’s right of course, but sometimes when you’re at the bottom of that pit, climbing out seems nigh on impossible.

But my fourth book is out! I will be having a book launch on Wed 23rd May from 6-8 at Falmouth Art Gallery, and doing a book signing from 11-1 on Sat 26th May at Waterstone’s in Truro. So please come along and give me some moral support! Nothing worse than sitting in a busy bookshop being ignored by everyone…!