Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A boating blog

Well this is our boat that we officially took possession of last Friday. She's a Leisure 17, for those that are interested - and is moored down at the pontoon below the Greenbank for the moment while we work on her. She hasn't had any TLC for quite a while, but we started work on her this weekend, and will soon have her looking ship shape.

It's exciting and very good experience for me, to start from scratch, and learn as we go along. We're hoping there's a boat jumble this weekend - there usually is on the bank holiday weekend - as we need to get a few bits and pieces to get her going. But we're both really pleased, and Moll came on board yesterday as well to give it the once over.

ON another boating theme, I had an interesting meeting with Hetty Wildblood, from Koru Kayaking yesterday in St Agnes. They run guided kayaking tours from Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes, and also from the Budock Vean hotel near Frenchmans Creek - on the Helford river. if you're ever down here and fancy a trip, do give them a visit. On the north coast they give Poldark flavoured tours (so to speak!) and Hetty offered to organise book signings for the new book at Trevaunance Cove and also the Budock Vean this summer which would be perfect.

She has also offered us a trip out on their kayaks, when the weather's warmer, which would be wonderful. So hurry up, winter - we want some boating weather!

And after all that, I'd better get back to work....

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Book cover!

I'm glad I had that break to get over flu, as life has resumed its normal speed. Last week I interviewed one of the coastguards here in Falmouth which was fascinating. In fact, the coastguard disappeared for the first five minutes, as someone had turned up with some old flares from his boat - Falmouth will take old pyrotechnics, as they're known in the trade, and dispose of them for anyone. But the interview was a fascinating insight into what goes on up there.

Then on Monday I went down to meet the Cox of the RNLI in Falmouth and also had a guided tour round both lifeboats - the inshore and all weather one. If you're in Falmouth, do call down and see them - the tours are free and really interesting.

Yesterday I received the mock up of the Poldark walks book which is very exciting. Having handed over the manuscript, I put it to one side in my head, and have been focusing on other work, so it was quite a surprise to see it! Only about two months till publication, but a lot of work to be done before that.

As I write, there is an easterly gale howling round Falmouth - it manages to blow into every cranny somehow, so I can hear it shrieking down the chimney, howling round the back yard, and assaulting me when I go out of the front door. This morning I nipped down to make sure our new boat is all right - we officially take possession on Friday, when we pick up the outboard and receipt, so that will be very exciting. Typically, the forecast for the weekend isn't good, but never mind. We can start to clean her up and get to know her. She's called Serenity, which is something we could all do with in life.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


This was taken at Godolphin where I nipped down there to take pictures of Godolphin House for the book, only to find that the National Trust don't allow you to take photos for publication purposes - only your own use. However, they have their own image bank so not all was lost, though it was along way to go for a walk. Still, we enjoyed it, and a lazy spring afternoon.

Despite still having wobbly legs and somewhat fuzzy brain, I took Moll to have her summer hair cut on Friday which cost distinctly more than mine does, and took three times as long. Still, she does look lovely, if much spottier, and she evidently feels much better for it - you can tell she's showing off when we're out.

Then on Saturday I did a book signing in Waterstone's in Truro - many thanks to those of you for moral support, and those that bought copies. It's always a really nerve racking business, being terrified that no one will buy any copies, but they did, and I was also asked to sign about 30 copies which are being taken to the Fowey Literary Festival, so that was encouraging. The staff were also very excited at the idea of my Poldarks Walk book and are keen to do another book signing in the autumn.

I'm doing a talk this Wednesday and you would not believe how much has gone wrong in the planning of this. However, with the help of some fabulous friends, (thank you Heather and Lawson and Andy), I might actually be able to show my slide presentation. Talk about pulling teeth...

Workwise, things have been a real uphill struggle but I'm hoping to turn the corner soon. Spring is here, and I just love the primroses and bluebells. My favourite time of year....

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


Apologies for silence recently, but having rushed round like a lunatic over Easter weekend redoing walks that I wasn't happy with and driving miles to get extra photos for the book, I went down with a horrible flu bug last week that, once I'd sent the book off to the publishers, had me in bed for most of the week.

I'm over the worst, but have as much energy as a new born kitten and feel about as feeble. Very frustrating for someone whose energy levels are usually pretty high. Still, I haven't been ill for a very long time so am fortunate in that respect, and as my friends keep telling me, it's undoubtedly due to the pressure of getting the book done. But I met my deadline, and although I had another deadline for the end of this week, the interviewees aren't able to meet till next week which is just as well as my brain isn't functioning at its best either.

The above picture was taken at Caerhays on Easter Sunday - note the wonderful magnolias and rhododendrons, combining to explain why the garden has won best garden of the year - and well deserved too!

Now excuse me, I must go and have another lie down...

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Deadline looming

My brain is frazzled. It's known as Deadline Looming Frazzle. I've got all the material together, but the photographs aren't as good as I would have liked, given the fact that we've had 4 months of the wettest winter known for 100 years.

I'm not entirely happy with the directions on one of the walks, so several of us are going to do that again on Friday, when there should be a break in the weather, and I'd like to get better pictures of Caerhays Castle, if possible, which might happen on Sunday or Monday depending on the weather.

Apart from that, the text is all written, collated, edited and proofed and checked. The maps are done, ready for sending. I'm still collating the pictures in Dropbox ready for sending. And I've written the Introduction and the blurb on the back.

As it's Easter, various friends are arriving, and ringing up wanting to meet which is lovely but doesn't fit in with getting this book out. So if I sound fraught - I am, but it's nothing personal!

In amongst all this is the feeling of impending loss looming. I've packed a year's worth of work into six months which has been very rewarding, but leaving it - and sending it off, out of my hands - is terrifying. Think empty nest syndrome.

I tried to explain this to a friend last night who isn't a writer and he looked at me as if I was made. Well, I am, but it's very common for writers. It's just how it is, and one of the difficulties you have to live with. I have to get back to journalism when this is over and earn some much needed money - and that is something I love doing as well - but books are something special. They snuggle into your heart and linger there, and this one is particularly special. Partly because it's Poldark and partly because all the material is new, rather than walks I may have used before.

So think of me on April 1st. My deadline will be over - and met - and I will feel bereft. Ready for new projects.

On a lighter note, last Sunday, we did a flashmob in Lidls in Penzance and the singing really lifted my heart and my spirits. I listen to it when I'm feeling fraught.....

Sorry I have been trying to insert the link but it won't oblige! If you look on my Facebook timeline it's on there....!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dartmoor and first walk of spring

Last weekend saw an overdue visit to my mum, and some Dartmoor walks with my dear mate Av. After months of really horrible weather, it was a joy to wake up, several mornings running, to a sun drenched garden with birds singing their heads off.

We explored Ashburton, had some lovely grub and walked miles. All in all, a lovely weekend, so I daresay we will return...

In the meantime, I've got steam coming out of my ears trying to finish the book before the end of the month so excuse me, must dash...

Part of the amazing mural at Buckfast Abbey, where we had a coffee to revive drooping energy levels.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Vole hunting and teeth out

This was taken on Sunday when we went down to Gunwalloe and walked along the cliffs to Church Cove and Dollar Cove, on the Lizard. As you can see, Moll was busy vole hunting and enjoyed her last day of teeth before having to go to the vet on Monday to have some removed - they weren't quite sure how many till they got her there, as she doesn't like having her mouth looked at.

For anyone who doesn't know, gum disease is just as prevalent in dogs as humans, particularly with increasing age, and tooth brushing is ideal. However, if you have a dog like Moll who hates having her teeth brushed, you have a problem, which turns into gum disease, which means having teeth out.

We picked her up on Monday afternoon, all groggy from the anaesthetic. Poor love was really confused and couldn't settle, spent all evening and that night whimpering (that was a long night) but by the morning she'd settled a bit. This afternoon she'll be able to go for walks again and her appetite doesn't seem to have been affected (mind you, nothing affects her stomach).

As from tomorrow it's all change again. I'm off to Devon to see my mum and my dear mate Av for a few days, then I have another trip to Penzance next weekend, while Mr B departs to Lanzarote for his annual trip for two weeks.

The book is nearly finished. I'm going through final edits, we're trying out ideas for the cover, and I have this horrible sense of impending loss. You know when you get really stuck into a book, and feel really bereft when it finishes? Well, magnify that feeling about a hundred times and you get some sense of what it's like when you finish writing a book. So I shall be quietly (or loudly) bawling my eyes out and working on my next project - which is finding more journalism to pay some bills.

There is an idea in the pipeline for another book but I don't know what my publishers will think. They will probably want to see how this one goes. But we will see.....
Sunset at Burton Bradstock a few weeks ago.... seems like yesterday...