Wednesday, 3 February 2016

A talk and Robin Ellis's book

Not much to do with this post, but I haven't been able to download recent photos due to lack of technology. My good friend Fiona gave me her old Sony phone to use to take pictures (an excellent phone and much lighter than lugging my Nikon round with me on long walks). The pictures look great but I'm not able to download them at the moment, so waiting for my lovely computer guy to rescue them next time he's in Falmouth.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm giving a talk at Hayle WEA on my walks. I felt it was time the talk had a revamp as I;ve give it enough times to get bored of what i'm saying, and suddenly realised this is another excuse to talk about Poldark....

I am just hoping that it will stop raining enough for me to do my last two walks for the book which are on Bodmin Moor. The ground everywhere is saturated, but on moorland, it tends to be even worse, so it either means wading through bogs (not advisable for safety reasons, let alone enjoyment), or keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will improve enough to walk there in the next month. My deadline is the end of March, so time is ticking on....

On the back of that, i was sent a press release last week about Robin Ellis's new cookery book for diabetics (he played Ross Poldark in the 1970s TV series and is a Type 2 diabetic himself). I was commissioned to write a 500 word piece about this and I have to say the book looks very good - really great recipes for everyone wanting to eat healthily. He will be in Waterstones Truro on March 12th so go along and get a copy!

Many thanks for all the kind comments about losing Echo. it hasn't hit me yet. C suggested going down to see how she was, but I don't think I can bear that yet. At least the weather isn't conducive to boating at the moment, and I am busy enough with the book to keep my mind off Echo.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

End of an Era

Yesterday we sold Echo - well, it's strictly Mr B's boat so he sold it, but it's felt like ours given the hours I've spent bailing her out over the years, and enjoying good times on the water.

It all happened incredibly quickly - I put an ad on a local For Sale site via Facebook and was inundated with replies. This, in January, on a morning of tempestuous winds and rain, with people desperate to come and see her. To cut a long story short, C sold her to the first guy who offered a good price, and he was so keen he took his wife down immediately to see Echo. We're just dashing off now to collect our belongings and hand the keys over.

Gulp. Still, it's for financial reasons, so needs must.

I don't like to think of life without a boat. Despite the fact that the weather was so bad last year we hardly went out, she was there if we wanted to. Now she won't be and I feel this is really the end of an era.

We will sail with Al, of course, on his Dragon, and I may race with Flushing Sailing Club, and hope to sail with Tony, but it won't be the same. There's the possibility of buying another boat but I think we may need to win the lottery - or for my book to pull in loads of money, both of which are slightly unlikely.

But you know what they say - when one door shuts, if you work at it, another one opens. It will be interesting to see what that one is.

Meanwhile, here's to our lovely Echo. With thanks for all the brilliant times afloat.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


This was taken on the latest walk for the book, at Crowns Engine Houses at Botallack - some of the most photographed mines in Cornwall, for obvious reasons. But not many with our Moll in the foreground.

I had a very productive meeting with Celia - - and she would like to paint each of the walks and sell the paintings separately from my book, but in conjunction with it. We've also talked about a joint book launch/exhibition and other events, which would be exciting. She's full of ideas - even on the second week in January - which is brilliant.

Then we had a lovely few days in Penzance courtesy of a very generous friend who lent us her cottage along the sea front. It was incredibly relaxing and warm, with the most wonderful window onto the outside world - you wouldn't believe how many people walk, run, skate or hobble along there - and was a real tonic. We also did a couple of long walks and explored Penzance a bit - the only regret was that we couldn't stay longer.

Now it's full steam ahead and on with the book!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The world of Poldark

This was taken last week when I did a walk for the new book with Fiona at Lerryn, and round to St Winnow. I've visited Lerryn on various occasions, but never done a long walk there - and what a fabulous walk this is, through Ethy Woods, round to St Winnow church and back through parkland by the lovely manor house of Ethy. We went this time last week, on a quiet, still day, where the reflections were perfect.

I am so enjoying writing this book - I only wish there was more money in doing so. But hey, when did authors ever earn any money?! But the journey is a joy, and if any readers enjoy it even half as much as I am, then I will be delighted.

Today there is even a patch of blue sky and we're off to St Agnes to meet a painter who is interested in possibly collaborating over Poldark - it will be interesting to meet and see what ideas we may be able to come up with. The other bonus is a lovely coffee shop there, a good butcher, and hopefully a Not Too Wet walk at St Agnes Beacon.

Here's the cat that greeted us when we returned from our walk - looking down in disgust at Moll.....

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A new year....

I'm viewing the start of this year with a certain amount of - not trepidation, exactly, but uncertainty. Of course none of us know what this year will bring, but I am finding it hard to view beyond finishing writing this book.

That's no bad thing perhaps, for I am loving the work. It's turning out to be completely different from anything else I've written and I put in an extra spurt over Christmas and got a lot more done. Given the vile weather, it's also been a bonus having something positive to focus on.

Today the sun is shining, even if only for an hour or so, and I'm heading off to the North Coast to walk Moll and try and sell the current book in a few outlets up there. I've planned the next walk for the book and so am feeling pleased with progress.

Mr B arrives back on Sunday which will be a joyous reunion, and I'm hoping that we may have a few days in Penzance courtesy of a very kind friend. It would be lovely to have a break in February - I have certainly earned it - so we will plan that as well. I'm looking forward to seeing my dear friend Av, and having a weekend away with her, too. And hopefully seeing something of my brothers. I'm also looking forward to more of this kind of work, if possible. To really enjoy writing books - and journalism - is a real bonus and makes all the difference.

Here's wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy and productive 2016.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015


This was taken on Sunday at Kelsey Head. I like to think it is pointing me in perhaps a new direction for 2016?

I am normally a glass half full person, but there are times when I struggle to be cheerful, and I am, like many of us, badly affected by wet, grey winter days. Especially if you have to write a walks book to a deadline. Normally we get days of autumn brilliance when the sky glows and the leaves are a tapestry of red and gold. But this year I struggle to remember any.

Trying to use a tape recorder when it’s windy is very tricky as the recorder picks up the wind and transforms it into a special effects wind tunnel, so when I’m trying to transcribe the walk, all I can hear is a shrieking noise.

Still, I have managed to do half the walks, and despite being a pressure to get it done in time, it has proved a good positive focus while Mr B’s been ill which is even more important while he’s absent. It has been suggested I could call it Fifty Shades of More Grey...

I listened to a piece on Radio 4 about loneliness and being alone (not the same thing) at Christmas just now and it was interesting hearing how other people deal with it. Being self employed, I’m used to spending time on my own - I have to or I’d never get any work done - but Christmas opens up a real Pandora's box.

For anyone on their own, this can be a really difficult time, particularly if you are missing someone. Loneliness - a gaunt old man, and his young, hollow cheeked daughter, Vulnerability, hobble along the streets looking for warm places to stay. Not far away is their cousin, Insecurity, who grows more round cheeked as the days go by (there are SO many people to see).

They say you should face your fears, but in this case, if you invite them in, they are apt to stay. And while Vulnerability looks so appealing, she's really hard to get rid of - as they all are. You give them a cup of tea and a sarnie, a mince pie, maybe, and as you try and shut the door on them - firmly - just as firmly, one of them - usually Vulnerability - jams her little foot in the door to stop it shutting.

Sometimes it's possible to move them on relatively quickly. Love, fhe fairy godmother, is still capable of waving her magic wand and one of her children, Cuddle, is the biggest deterrent to the above. They are frightened of him because he's strong and always smiling, confident and happy. But the Love family are sadly overworked at this time of year, so it's not possible to attend to everyone in need.

Not sure where that allegorical fairy tale came from, but here's hoping everyone has a good festive season.

Remember those you love, but also remember those of us who are on our own.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Christmas Star

There’s a saying, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”.

Now, I’m not religious but I am amazed at how swiftly life can turn around sometimes. I know I should be used to it, but this time it took even me by surprise.

We’d been offered four days in a cottage in Mousehole this week which we were both really looking forward to - see the famous Mousehole lights and generally have a bit of a break before Christmas. Another friend had offered us her cottage in Penzance the following week or for Christmas itself. For someone who has always found Christmas really difficult, life was glistening with opportunities.

But over the weekend Mr B felt really poorly. After several emotional days he decided he really wasn’t well enough to go away, and the best thing would be to go north wards to try and get some more medical advice.

So all plans were swiftly unmade, I looked up train times and despatched him yesterday, with our heads reeling. I feel like one of those snowstorm things you pick up and shake, and after a little while, they settle. Right now, Mr B and I are still at the shaken stage.

The most important thing is for him to feel better. After all, you can’t be happy without your health. But it’s incredibly hard to leave the people you love - particularly at this emotional time of year.

I have no idea, at the moment, what this Christmas will bring. Other than several emotional phone calls. But yesterday my dear friends who live upstairs gave me a Christmas star that lights up.

And as I found out, 5 years ago when my Pip was so poorly, even when everything is really dire, there are always stars that light up. You just have to look for them.