Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Starting Again

Well, so much for all that early January strength and positivity. Last Monday I got up, walked Moll feeling a bit jaded but sat down to work. By 11am I could hardly keep my eyes open and had to go to bed. Where I slept for TWO HOURS... And it went downhill from there, so I ended up staying in bed for most of the week, getting up to drag myself round the block with poor Moll a couple of times a day, then taking her to the churchyard in the afternoon, where I could stagger round like an old lady, and Moll could let off steam chasing squirrels round the gravestones. Cheerful companions, dead people, especially when you feel hideous.

I couldn't concentrate, couldn't run two words together, let alone string an article together, and after staring at various books without being able to take anything in, I finally started re-reading some Jo Jo Moyes novels which I devoured like one starved. One a day for the last few days: words pouring into my feverish brain, making little sense but carrying me along as I rushed, headlong, into other worlds where flu and loneliness did not exist. For being ill when on your own is lonely. Moll does her best, of course, but no one wanted flu so my mates steered clear - you can't blame them.

Thankfully I am now much recovered. Energy levels are still decidedly low, and I'd forgotten how dispiriting post-flu can make you feel, but at least I can string a few sentences together which is a great relief. So, slowly, life resumes to normal. Which, being January (or February by the time you read this), consists of grey, damp sludgy days where the first crocuses have already burst forth, and daffodil shoots are now six inches high.

Spring isn't too far away. I've got a review to do in a few weeks (I hope) and met some interesting people on a dog walk last Sunday. Daphne du Maurier beckons, as does my novel. So hope is in the air....

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Fond Memories

Last weekend I took my van over to Flushing where my mate Paul very kindly said he would service my van while his partner and I went off for the day to walk and take pictures for one of my books.

On the way there we were deluged with rain - never a good start - but thankfully by the time we got to Daymer Bay it was dry so we set forth over the golf course, taking in St Enodoc Church - which is well worth a visit if ever you're in the area. The last time I did this walk was for Cornwall Today, and must have been about 7 or 8 years ago as I remember Pip dropping me off at Daymer Bay - he was relatively well, then, as I remember. Half way over the golf course, I got lost, but some kind golfers pointed me in the right direction and before too long I found myself in Rock, where I'd arranged to meet Pip at the Rock Inn. Wandering up and down Rock like a lost soul, I kept asking people where the pub was, but no one knew (it was winter). I rang husband continually but no reply, so you can imagine the kind of mood I was in when I finally found the pub and burst in, swear words dancing round me like a juke box.

This time, Viv and I set forth over the golf course and - well, we seemed to go in a different direction. We followed the white stones, as instructed by myself, but found ourselves on a tarmac track. Then we discovered Jesus Well (inland, so way off course). So we headed back over towards the sea, wandering round the edge of the golf course, dodging low flying golf balls, until I discovered a gap in the hedge. We dived through there - and found ourselves in someone's garden. Having tried the path ahead of us, that just led to the dustbins, so we crept round the side of the house and eventually had to tiptoe round the front, and run at full tilt down the drive, dogs in hot pursuit, while we giggled like teenagers.

We then had the same trouble finding the elusive pub (we were nowhere near where we should be),and found it was no longer the comfy sailing club type place but a smart bar with a huge window overlooking Padstow. The prices matched the upgrade, and having said I'd buy the coffee, was a little nervous as I only had £6 on me. "We might have to do a runner," I whispered to Viv as we sat in the sun, and I had bittersweet memories thinking of Pip also sitting by the window waiting patiently for his wife.

Seven years ago, we headed back home where I took Pip to see Mamma Mia which was on in Falmouth, and we met some friends for supper later. As we walked out of the cinema, Pip was very quiet and I thought, Oh No. "What did you think of it?" I asked, tentatively. He turned and looked at me with a huge grin. "Pop, it was like the best party ever," he breathed.

I would like to believe that the dead can see what you're doing, but I don't. Having said that, Pip was very much with us on Saturday: every step of the way. Including getting lost, several times, when I could almost hear him laugh. However, this time Viv and I made it back to Rock with relatively few mishaps, and dear Paul delivered the van, fully serviced, and wouldn't take any money other than for parts. I insisted on buying him a good bottle of New Zealand wine, but he thanked me for taking Viv out on these excursions, though she enjoys them as much as I do.

I drove home that night thinking how incredibly lucky I am to have the bestest of friends. Who also loved Pip - for who could not?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Antidote to wobbly moments

I'm heading over to the north coast soon, to go walking, and hope the rain can hold off for a few hours. The wind is howling round the house and snow is forecast for tomorrow - the Icy Blast is on its way.

It's strange what a new year can do, isn't it? Time for reflection, start of a new chapter, and all that... I've just been talking to my dear friend Paul who is off on a Cities of Peace tour of the UK when he gets back from New Zealand.

I'm not able to attempt anything similar due to work, Moll and lack of funds, but I am still aiming to make some changes to my life. For the good, of course. But I also don't think it's advisable to raise sights unrealistically high - that way you're doomed to failure.

But I saw a lovely quote on a friend's Facebook page today - "People who wonder whether the glass is half full or empty are missing the point. The glass is REFILLABLE."

Also, I've just received a lovely note in the post from one of my nieces. She finished by saying, "Dad has your Poldarks walk book at home and I LOVED reading it over Christmas, Sue. I think it's brilliant!"

As you can imagine, that made my day, and the card is now up on my noticeboard above my desk. For, you know, those wobbly moments.

Friday, 6 January 2017

The new year ....

This is my mum's garden on the one sunny day we had - which of course was the day I was driving home....

Happy New Year to everyone and let’s hope it’s a good one, despite all the political disquiet.

I had some lovely walks over Christmas which included mulled wine in the woods near Treslothan, an interesting conversation at the cafe at Chapel Porth, and the discovery of Inkie’s cafe at Golitha Falls - even if it was shut, being a bank holiday. Though most days recently seem to have been bank holidays of one kind.

I’ve got a few possible reviews coming up, plus I hope meeting someone whose close relative was a great friend of Daphne du Maurier, so that would be great for the book. The search for more work goes on - constantly - but I’ve started re-reading my last novel and will send that out again as well.

I have a policy that if you open all doors and windows - on every front - something will eventually happen. Of course, it happens when you’ve given up on whatever you’re hoping for and are trundling along doing something else, but that’s life.

So I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative new year. With a lot of fun as well, for what is life without love, laughter and fun?

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Old ghosts

This was sunset at Gylly beach last weekend...

Apologies for silence - time seems to go faster and faster at the moment, and suddenly here it is nearly at the end of 2017, which hasn’t been the easiest of years, but at least has (so far) been devoid of any health scares, losing anyone close to me, or other disasters. Though listening to the news, it’s happening to plenty of other people. And, being Victor Meldrew about it, there are still another 10 days or so to go before the end of the year…!

I am writing this with a slight fuzzy head. A dear friend who has been working in the Med on a superyacht is back and treated me to a drink last night. Then Al came along and bought us another one which was a mistake. I was all right till that last one.… Being small and light, despite eating a lot, I can’t take a lot of booze, but it was a lovely evening. And I slept very well. So that was my Christmas party….

On the plus side, while work has been slow, it has picked up a bit for the end of the year, and my Walks in the Footsteps of Poldark books has been selling well, as have the other books. Moll is snoring on the bed behind me, and she is such a joy in my life. I am fortunate in loving and being loved, albeit in an unconventional fashion. I have wonderful friends who I treasure. I have a roof over my head and I have enough to eat.

And while I have all of this, I still find this a tricky time of year. Last week we had our bring and share Singing lunch, which was great. I then decided to walk Moll along the creek at Mylor, as she’d been sitting in the van waiting for me. This was the walk I did six years ago when the hospital had told me that Pip had two days to live.

Curiously, it was a joyful walk. The sun shone, the air was clear and crisp, and while I couldn’t comprehend a life without my husband, I was glad that at least his suffering was coming to an end. Watching someone go through what he went through was like wandering into someone else’s nightmare, and being unable to get out. So it also meant an end to watching him decline. And I felt so grateful for having had 15 years with this lovely, very special man.

So I set off along the creek with Moll last Thursday all set to enjoy my walk. And it felt all wrong. The sky was grey and mild. It was incredibly muddy so my boots got lagged and it was difficult to walk. Then we came to a field of very unfriendly looking cattle plus bull. I retraced my steps, thought I would then climb up the fields and take the higher path back. Having struggle over more mud lagged fields, the path was nowhere to be seen, but I could hear a farmer shooting in the distance, and rather be his target, we scuttled back down the hill.

And all around me were the ghosts of Christmas past, clamouring for attention. I felt exhausted by the time I got home, from dealing with all these old memories, most of which are difficult ones, dealing with loss. But I met up with a dear friend who cheered me up no end.

A lot of people don’t do what they would choose at Christmas, but that is also part of this time of year. I hope that this time next year things will be different. But in the meantime my mum will be happy that I’m coming up, and that counts for a lot.

So here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, creative and profitable 2017. And to making friends with old ghosts.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

We've had some amazing skies over the last week - well, until the weekend storms which nearly saw the boat in pieces. Very frightening, standing on the pontoon on Saturday night, while it bucked like a broncho, and I was convinced the boat would break its lines and land on top of me. Thankfully it is still there, untouched, so all is well.

On Saturday night I drove through torrential gales to Mylor to our Mix, where various people gather to share food and drink, and perform various numbers. Paul Haines first started this and it's a great way to get confidence performing in front of others - the first time I sang I was so nervous I thought I would either lose my voice or fall over, my legs were shaking so much. Now, once the obligatory nerves are over, I love it!

On Saturday I had a lovely walk near the St Day area - we ended up in Unity Woods (what a terrific name) which were still carpeted with yellow, orange and red leaves, and made our way up to Wheal Busy. I just love the names in Cornwall, and to explore a relatively unknown part of this area is a real treat. Even if it's not going in a book or magazine!

Tomorrow i have an interview with CHBN radio which is broadcast from Treliske Hospital in Truro - almost a year since my last one with them. But hopefully it will spread the Poldark word! Then the following Friday, 16th December, I'm doing a walk with Walk Kernow, from the Poldark book, at Charlestown - at 10.30 am so do come along if you can.

This Sunday, weather permitting, I'm doing another walk for the book at Tywardreath - or maybe Lanlivery, we'll see. Wherever we go, it's always a pleasure to share the day with friends - and Moll gets an extra long walk as well of course, so we're all happy.....

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Review and The Red Shoes

Last week I was fortunate enough to review a gorgeous chalet near Godrevy - it looked right out on the lighthouse, for a company called Forever Cornwall. Well, if you want to stay in a chalet this was perfect - sleeping six, central heating, lovely big rooms, lots of books stuffed and overflowing with all kinds of books, a well designed fitted kitchen, a large wooden table that could easily seat six or eight, a large sitting area and adjustable TV, and surf boards hung from the ceiling. It was just wonderful, cosy, and you could walk outside, and onto the beach in minutes. Bliss!

Then on Saturday (why do excitements always happen at once?) I went to Plymouth to meet my dear friend Av and we saw the world premiere of Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes. For those who haven't seen any of his productions, they are superb. Not just for the dancing (usually contemporary but more classical for this one) which was superb - the female lead was on stage, dancing constantly, for nearly two hours, and the ballet master had the cleanest footwork and springiest elevation I've ever seen - but the sets were incredible. The designer is a sheer genius, and the lighting was a masterpiece in magic. Every time I see a Bourne ballet I think, this is just amazing. Better even than last time - and each time they get better.

Of course it's not exactly an uplifting story, but the message behind it is the importance of art. The Red Shoes have a mind of their own, and when the dancer puts them on she is unable to take them off, and has to dance until she drops. She is forced to make the choice between her art and the man she loves. The old triangle but with a twist.

Having said that, it wasn't a depressing ballet, albeit full of dark moments and some surreal dancing. As soon as the music started, we were transported into a different world, and one that was so powerful it stayed with us - and still does now.

So if you get the chance to see The Red Shoes - it goes to Sadler's Wells in the next week or so and then starts touring - grab it. You won't regret it. This is theatre at its best.