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.

Monday 7 December 2015

She's a Winner!

Several weeks ago, Mr B noticed a sign advertising a dog show in Redruth: one of the classes was Fastest Sausage Eater, and as Moll is known for inhaling her food rather than eating it, thought we must take her.

So on Sunday morning Moll was bathed and shampooed (by me), had her hair cut (by him) and finally we set forth for Redruth Community Centre.

lasrtchancehotel.org take in animals of any kind that other rescue centres cannot take, including ex-bait and ex-fight dogs, the sick, the aged and the terminally ill. They are always looking to rehab these animals and find them a new home or stay with them for life. No animal is ever destroyed because they cannot be homed. However, they are looking for fosterers, as well as loving permanent homes, so if you think you could help, please get in touch.

We got to the centre to find it packed with a Christmas fair on one side, full of some wonderful presents as well as home made cakes, leather work, bric a brac - all sorts. And in the other side of the building was the dog show which took place in a small room where dogs and their owners of all shapes, sizes and ages, piled in to take part in over 20 classes.

The first one we entered - by default - was Best Sporting Dog - just as we were standing there - and Moll won third prize! After that, she got 2nd prize for Most Appealing Eyes and Dog the Judges would Most Like to Take Home.

As Mr B said, “she would have won them all, but they had to give the other dogs a chance.”

The atmosphere there was wonderful - so kind and loving and friendly, it was just magic. So if anyone has any time or money to spare, please help this fantastic charity.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Another rollercoaster

Once again, life has entered another rollercoaster phase.

We went to a lovely party on Friday, then another on Saturday evening. We left early, both being tired, and were walking past Mr B’s house when the students next door came out and said, “is this your dog? We’ve left lots of messages on your phone!”

Moll scampered out of the strange house, delighted to see us and we went back, shattered buy the close shave - how had she got out? She could have been run over. Back home, I realised that the back gate had been left open and she'd escaped through there - four of us went off to the party together and she obviously decided to join the party and got as far as Mr B’s house. Thank god someone saw her and took her in.

While Mr B’s health has improved dramatically over the last three weeks, it took a bit of a dip recently, so we are having to readjust a bit until things improve - which I am sure they will. It’s incredibly dispiriting when this happens, but we are trying to stay positive and cheerful till he gets more help.

On a more positive note, I am ahead of schedule for the new book, and loving the work. Sometimes I think I would just like a breather for a few days - or a week - but however challenging life is, it’s never boring. And we learn different things every day.

Excuse me while I go and have a quick kip…..