Wednesday, 20 July 2016


These swans appeared as we got home from a sail a few weeks ago to say hello and, like Moll, ask for food.

Last Thursday we were setting out for a lovely sail - it was a fabulous afternoon and I am learning more and more every time we go out. Only thing was, it took us longer to get back than wed anticipated and I got a bit cold and we ran out of food and you do not want to be around me when my blood sugar drops too low. So - next time we will take a picnic and even more clothes. But our boat is lovely and Moll is getting used to her lifejacket - I think, deep down, she knows she looks rather good in pink. This was when she wasn't wearing it, and got a bit cold so we wrapped her in the sail cover.

The heatwave hit us on Saturday so I had my first swim, then on Sunday Mr B had to sweat back to the Midlands in horrendous temperatures. I was being interviewed by Radio Cornwall yesterday afternoon, which went well, though I didn't like to leave Moll in the van as it was so hot, so she came with me and had to wait in the office outside the studios while I was on air. The interview was interrupted by a scratching at the glass door: Moll was indignant at being left out of the gig and wanted to know what I was doing.

Mr B listened online and rang me straight after, and then later that evening. "What was the feedback like?" he said, all excited. "Er - there wasn't any," I replied. "You are it. Oh, except for a friend who texted to say she'd missed it."

Admittedly it was shorter than last time I was on, but any publicity is good, and I found out yesterday that the second Poldark series starts on 4th September. So we'd better start getting some more Poldark publicity going soon! Any ideas most welcome....

Meanwhile, I am in need of a bit of cheer so we are off to see the film of Absolutely Fabulous tomorrow evening. Nothing like a bit of escapism....

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Writerly events

This is actually the view from where we rehearse, on thursday mornings, as the Suitcase Singers, which has absolutely nothing to do with this post but is one of the many reasons why singing with the choir is so uplifting..

Apologies for the silence, but my life has been full of writerly events, and little time for work (i.e. earning money). At the beginning of this month we had a sort of trial launch for my Poldark book and Celia's paintings which was quieter than we would have liked, but some dear and true friends came along to buy books and afterwards we went, with another friend, to Chapel Porth and then walked along the cliffs, so made the most of the day.

Last week the Penzance Literary Festival was on, so on Thursday night I sang, as part of Jig the Quavers (our smaller group) at Telltales at the Admiral Benbow. A lovely venue and a great evening - and congratulations to Heather for brilliant compering of the event!

The following day I gave a talk in Penzance with Rachel Lambert (forager and writer of two books) and Lisa Woollett, whose two books about the sea are truly awe inspiring. My friend Fi Read acted as interviewer, and it was a privilege to be part of this festival in such lovely settings. I have to say, I have been feeling less than inspired about life over the last few months, so it gave me a real lift to arrive at the Lit Fest with my box of books, be given a badge as Contributor, and to sit on a stage and be interviewed as a proper author. Years ago I used to go to these festivals and look at Proper Writers and wish to be one of them.

Once you are, of course, you realise that it's a very different ball game. You need another job to finance writing books, but I hadn't realised that at the time. And I did feel proud to be an author, and proud of my books. Which was a much needed boost.

Mr B took me down to the pub that evening for a lovely end to the day and then I collapsed in a heap the following day, and on Sunday we did a car boot.

Totting up my takings, I realised I'd made £15 in book sales at the Lit Fest, and £80 at the car boot. "Does this tell you something, do you think?" said Mr gently.

This week has so far been taken up with going backwards and forwards to the garage in Penryn more times than I care to think about - my van failed its MOT yesterday and, as I write, it is being welded in time (I sincerely hope) for me to attend the Holyer An Gof Publishers' Awards at Waterston's in Truro tonight. My second book, Walks in the Footsteps of Cornish Writers, has been nominated by my publishers. Looking at the list of other authors, I haven't got a hope in hell of winning, but it will be interesting to go along and see who else is there.

And the life will get back to normal. Back to pitching ideas (thank you Glynis for your brilliant help so far, I'm not trying to avoid work, promise!) and we hope to get in a sail before the end of the week.

Next week I am going to see the movie of Ab Fab. Good escapist therapy I think.....

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


Phew! The Poldark books have arrived by Fedex just now, from my publishers, in time for the book launch on Saturday 2nd July.

Last year they arrived the day before the launch which was cutting it a bit fine, but at least we've got a few days' grace this time.

"Aren't you excited?" asked Mr B this morning. "The trouble is," I said, "you send it off to the publishers when you're really close to it, and by the time it comes back, you tend to be involved in other things. I looked at it just now and think, Is this mine? Did I really write this? And I just feel - a bit confused, to be honest."

However, come Saturday, and the first book launch, in conjunction with Celia Creeper's lovely posters and paintings of the Poldark walks, I'm sure it will become a lot more real.

So any of you who are around on Saturday, please come along to the Loft Studio, Churchtown, St Agnes from 1030 - 1230.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A Course in Confidence

I did a sailing course last week, which was sort of work as the purpose was for me to write up my experiences, but it turned out to be useful in more ways than the obvious, which was brushing up my sailing skills.

The course was attended by a group of Seniors, mostly with no sailing abilities at all, and one who had bought a boat and needed to learn how to sail.

It was interesting to see that some started the week pumped full of over confidence, and it took a week on a boat to realise that there is a lot more to sailing than they might have imagined. These people ended up, if not contrite, more aware of themselves and how much they had to learn. The others, lacking in confidence (and I include myself in this category), were nervous and only too aware of what they had to learn. We ended the week renewed and full of vigour, confidence in place and eager to continue learning and sailing. So everyone's abilities - and confidence - levelled out by the end of the week.

It's done me a lot of good and having got over the mid week slump (not dissimilar to mid-book slump or mid-article slump), things got a lot better, to my relief. We had our first long sail yesterday in Serenity and both loved it.

So the motto of this preamble is - when things get tough, hang on in here. If you hang in long enough, it will get better. And then you feel so much better.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Live, Laugh, love

This is a mirror image along the river Dart, where I was walking Moll at the weekend when up to see my dear Mum, who is in considerable pain, although she doesn't complain. The saying 'getting old isn't for cissies' is certainly true, oh so true...

I went to see the film of Me Before You last night. I loved the book, Jo Jo Moyes' best, I think, about a young quadriplegic and his decision to end his life at Dignities, despite falling in love with his carer. It was based on a rugby player who also became paralysed and feeling constantly in pain and with no quality of life, decided to end his at Dignities. It sparked a furore with people saying why hadn't his parents stopped him?

This is something I feel very strongly about: that we have the right to do what we want with our lives. We should try and make the most of them (though there are times when that's a struggle) but if things get too much, I believe we are entitled to put an end to it. After all, we wouldn't expect our animals to suffer.

Someone very dear to me took his own life - first of all when I was 18, and then 18 months ago someone else I cared for very much did the same thing. He didn't tell me what he was planning, but I understood why he did it and I wouldn't have tried to stop him had I known. I miss him very dearly, but it was his life and I respect that decision.

I know the argument for euthanasia rattles on, and I also believe each case should be judged individually, but life is to be enjoyed. What's the point if we're not?

IN the meantime, let's live, laugh, create, adventure - and love. For love is the greatest gift of all.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The book, the boat and the wobbles

This was me last Friday when we had a wonderful morning's sail. Moll also was allowed on deck as it wasn't windy and she loved it too.
Actually it doesn't look as if she is there, but once she'd settled, either on Mr B's lap or found her own little sunbathing spot, she was very happy to be in the sunshine with us.

I have a huge amount to learn, so told Mr B that he must be patient. Being shouted at can result in a paralysed panic which makes matters far worse, but on a boat everything needs to be done quickly, so it's a matter of keeping calm. When you don't know what you should be doing, that's tricky. But I'm hoping the course I'm going to do will help.

Yesterday I went to meet Celia Creeper, the artist who's done paintings of each of the Poldark walks, and is making posters of those. We are to share a book launch/exhibition and I've just finished proofing the book back from the publishers so that's going to the printers today or tomorrow. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm pleased. Or excited. Actually, I've been having such a confidence crisis that I'm filled with anxiety. Is it good enough? Will it make any money? Will people be disappointed? And so on.

The confidence crisis stems from having a lull in work. As anyone who's self employed knows, this is something that happens from time to time. I'm fortunate that I;ve usually had regular work but at the moment I haven't and that fills me with terror. I'm not usually a worrier, but at the moment I lie there at 3am thinking about never having any work again (you know what it's like at 3am), whether I'll have to work in Asda at the checkouts for who else would employ someone of my age and experience?

I keep telling myself that it will pass. And I'm extremely busy - preparing the launch party invitations, organising the venue, working on a talk for the Penzance Literary Festival - all stuff that is time consuming and interesting, but doesn't bring any money in. And this anxiety and lack of confidence seeps into every area of my life. It's like sitting in a pub watching a pint of beer that's spilt on the table, how it soon covers the surface, then slides down the sides, before dripping persistently onto the floor, where it spreads still further. Before you mop it up.

So I guess the motto of this post is to mop up any wobbles before they get any bigger. So here's to happy mopping.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


We had our first proper sail yesterday which, despite not being as confident as I would like, was great. We've had a few problems with the outboard - C had to strip it as it wasn't working properly, and even then wasn't happy with it - but it worked beautifully, the wind was enough for us to get a really good sail, and the sun shone so everything looked fabulous.

Even Moll came with us, though we had to keep her down below as it was a bit busy. Her dear little face kept poking up to see if she could join us, but she was very good. We've got her a lifejacket - a pink one (that was the only colour they had in a small, I wouldn't have dared get a pink one otherwise) - and she is not impressed. I'm getting her used to it by wearing it round the house (her not me) and she gets a biscuit afterwards, but you can see from her face what she's thinking. "My god what does she think I LOOK like?"

Serenity is a dear boat and although taking off and landing is tricky on a pontoon, we've managed it both times and it can only get easier once we know more of what we're doing. Ever hasty, I wish I could re-learn everything I've forgotten instantly (such is my nature) and that my confidence would come pinging back in a flash. It will come back, I know, and we're both really pleased with the boat, and a fabulous sail yesterday.

So here's to more good times and making the most of what we've got. Whatever it is. For as long as it lasts.