Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Time for a break...

This picture is of Gwithian, as in a few weeks (on Saturday) we will be there for a mini break, and I can't wait. This year's been busy with lots of ups and recently, downs, and apart from a week in February, I haven't had a holiday this year.

Having said that, I'm having a few nights away with my dear friend Av this weekend. We're going to stay at Crafthole and walk along the cliffs - and the beaches now they are dog friendly once more - and have a good catch up. We try and get away every few months but it's been much longer than that this time so we are owed a good girls weekend.

It struck me that however much you love where you live and what you do (or hate it for that matter!), it's very important to have a change of scene. I'm just re-reading A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi which has given me an incredible yearning to go to Venice. Before that I read the brilliant The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, set in Amsterdam (though that didn't make me long to go there - though I would, of course) and Prague is on the list, too.

The list is actually very long but curtailed as all my current dog sitters are away at the moment. One's in Norfolk, one's in Crete and another in Portugal (as of Monday). So for now I'm not venturing any further afield than Torpoint....

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


This was taken several weeks ago when out with Sally, playing around with our cameras. Well, she was giving me a lesson! Falmouth Bay on a sunny August afternoon...

Life has been a bit stressful recently, but the other night, eight of us went to see Kneehigh's Version of Rebecca at the Hall for Cornwall. It was amazing - I'm a huge fan of the book but the characters were just how I imagined, the sets were amazing and there was the right balance of humour, drama and pathos. I hate to say it but frequently when seeing plays I get the fidgets.

This time I was transfixed, glued to my seat, couldn't take my eyes off the stage. It was really one of the best pieces of theatre I;ve ever seen - and we all agreed on that.

So if it comes to a theatre anywhere near you - do go and see it. I can promise a truly wonderful evening.

An event like that takes you out of yourself - you forget about your worries and are transported to another place and time.

It really was theatre at its best. And life is that much easier afterwards, when granted a few hours escapism, in the hands of professionals.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Public speaking...

This has nothing to do with this post, but was taken walking from Hell's Mouth to Gwithian a few weeks ago showing Cornwall at its best.

Apologies for silence - life has, as ever, been more than busy recently. We have been investigating buying a Cornish Shrimper (19’ sailing boat) - haven’t got one yet, but are still looking - and on Monday my interview with BBC Radio Cornwall was broadcast - you can listen to it here. For some reason it won't let me add the link, so please go to my Facebook page -

Tonight I am taking part in Favourite Things - an evening of readings of prose and poetry by several people - Radio Cornwall, BBC broadcaster and various others, and I will be reading one of my walks and a few poems. It’s in aid of End Polio Now and it’s held at Mawnan Memorial Hall at 7.30pm and tickets are £10 which include a finger buffet.

Next Tuesday we are singing at Telltales, Dolly’s Wine Bar at 7.30pm in Falmouth, so do come along to listen to people reading out various stories and poems - entry is free for this one.

I’m also giving a talk at Flushing Sailing Club but that;s not till the beginning of October. And hopefully I will sell a few books too!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Outside broadcasting...

A few weeks ago Tiffany Truscott, from BBC Radio Cornwall, got in touch about doing an interview about my new book, Walks in the Footsteps of Cornish Writers.

The plan was go meet at Perranporth, walk along the beach a bit and talk about Winston Graham, the author associated with the Perranporth walk in my book, and also some of the other walks and writers - Patrick Gale and Penzance, and Philip Marsden and St Mawes.

At the time, we were having that monsoon weather, so we agreed on a date (this morning) on the basis that if the weather was bad, we would re-arrange it. Well last night the forecast looked like yesterday - breezy but dry and sunny spells.

This morning I woke to grey clouds, heavy skies and thundery showers. Never mind, I thought, they'll pass. And I didn't have Tiffany's number anyway. I left home and alf way there the heavens opened and another monsoon landed. It was raining so hard I had the wipers on double time and couldn't see the road. I finally arrived in Perranporth in ordinary rain - the usual wet stuff - found Tiff and we decided to wait a few minutes. Eventually she got in the van, when Moll jumped straight on her lap - luckily she likes dogs - and had a chat; decided we'd walk along the beach to the bench in memory of Winston Graham up on the cliffs.

We managed that, and to find the bench, well hidden, on the spot of the bungalow he lived in while writing the first Poldark novels - and then the heavens opened again. We hurried down the steps back onto the beach while I said - "look, some caves here!" so we legged it into the furthest cave, and did the first part of the interview there, with Mollie Dog digging holes at our feet.

Of course by the time we'd walked back along the beach, having finished the interview, the skies had cleared and the rain had stopped. But it was done, and I enjoyed it very much.

The actual broadcast will be next week - she will let me know when and I will pass it on. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Don't waste time!

For some reason I can't upload any pictures today, so you will have to bear with me!

I saw this on a friend's Facebook page and thought it great advice.....

None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought.

Eat the delicious food.

Walk in the sunshine.

Jump in the ocean.

Go travelling.

Run barefoot in the sand.

Dare to love the one who’s right.

Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like a hidden treasure.

Be silly.

Be kind.

Be weird.

There’s no time for anything else.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Getting my nerve back

This was actually taken two years ago, with Moll sitting on Snap, the lovely dragon classic boat we are fortunate enough to crew on.

Last year, as some of you may know, I had a big health scare which resulted in a radical hysterectomy - that’s when they basically take everything out for good measure - and I am left with a large vertical scar down my stomach.

While I am a fit person - I walk a lot, am probably a bit underweight and eat well thanks to a high metabolism, my confidence was really knocked last year. While physically I recovered reasonably quickly, I underestimated just how much the operation affected me psychologically.

The previous year, I had embraced sailing with my customary enthusiasm if not passion. We bought a dinghy and sailed a friend’s dragon (classic boat). I couldn’t wait to get sailing again. But as the months ticked by, I became fearful of sailing. When I did go out, that magic had gone. I felt as if a dear friend had deserted me. I started having panic attacks while driving - something that hadn’t happened for years. I hated becoming a lesser, frightened being, and tried to face up to my dragons, if not slay them.

A year on, I’m driving with much more confidence. And last Sunday we were invited out for a sail with our friend on his lovely dragon, Snap. Having also felt that he had lost the buzz of sailing, Mr B had raced all week (for Falmouth regatta) and was loving sailing once again, but I felt it was too soon for me to race and was apprehensive about my first sail of the year. I so wanted to enjoy it but was worried that the buzz had gone.

You can imagine how nervous I was on Sunday morning. How would I feel? If I hated it, could I hide it from the others? I didn’t want to disappoint them, either - and all that kind of thing.

I took Moll round to Sheila for the day and took a deep breath, looked out onto a calm, benevolent sea. At the sunshine beating down. At a whisper of wind. A perfect day. It was almost as if it was saying, “It’ll be OK. Don’t worry.”

By the time we got on board, having had coffee with friends beforehand, I had rushed to the loo at least 5 times in the last hour. I stood on the pontoon feeling somewhat useless, wishing I could remember what to do.

But we got on board and it started coming back. I remembered how to tack. I remembered to tighten the backstays without being told. And finally, I took the helm and we sailed all the way over to the Helford. With me in charge! And with the two men relaxed and chatting - they were happy with my progress.

We had a lovely time and that evening, after a good meal and a relaxing evening, I lay in bed bubbling with happiness. I’d been so worried that the magic had gone out of sailing. But it hasn’t.

Last week we sold our dinghy and I felt really bereft. Now we’re putting the money towards a bigger boat. So if anyone knows of a Shrimper (preferably) at a reasonable price, please let me know!