Wednesday 15 August 2018

My god, August?

I realise, with a jolt, that I haven't taken any pictures for about a month now. It's about time I did.

But life has been - well, eventful, as ever, and not all of it enjoyable. The work continues on sorting out my top flat, but all I have to do now is get lino, hardboard, door mats and fablon. Though as I realised this on a morning when I was feeling particularly wobbly, this was enough to reduce me to tears. Still, I will do it.

Breakups of any relationship are always hard, and I don't think they get any easier with age. This one certainly isn't, and seven years is a long enough time to feel particularly raw everywhere. Time, I'm sure, will heal, as they say, but right now I want to press the fast forward button and skip the really painful times. Don't we all? Unfortunately we can't, and I am reminded of when I gave up smoking 22 years ago. The feelings, the withdrawal symptoms, the incredible pain, are all the same. But I hope that at the end we will emerge healthier, happier people and with better things at the end of it. So everyone tells me though there are days, like today, when I struggle to hold on to that.

But aren't we all vulnerable, scared of being alone, and lonely? That's what being human is all about. And I have no regrets. What is the point in regretting someone who gave me so much?

A bit of joy was had on Monday when we were invited to the dress rehearsal of SCRAWW, an opera being performed at Trebah Gardens.This was the most joyous occasion - we had been recorded doing the backing tracks for the opera - and it was amazing to be part of this unique performance. The garden was lit with late afternoon sun, and as we meandered down to Trebah beach, the sun caught the decks of the boats moored up there, bathing them in a golden glow, before disappearing for the evening. It was truly magical, and my only wish was to have had someone there to share it with.

On Thursday we are to sing at Lostwithiel for their Sing by the River session, and I'm really looking forward to that. IN the meantime, like everyone else going through difficult times, we must put one foot in front of the other. And keep on putting one foot in front of the other. And as a dear singing friend quoted, "Lean on me, when you're not strong..."

A bit thanks to all my friends supporting me as I try and navigate these tricky waters. I will, of course, do the same for you when you need it.

Wednesday 25 July 2018


This was a scene from Wildwork's wonderful production of 100: Unearth, which I was fortunate enough to see at Heligan Gardens last week.
It celebrated 100 years since the end of the First World War, and those from the parishes around Heligan returning from fighting (those that did) but also encompassed the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice to emphasise the loss and tragedy of war. Having said that, there were some incredibly funny parts, such as the part above, where all the 'nurses' from the Underworld were helping to prepare for a heart operation.

What was unusual was that it was a walk around show - we walked from one set to another all round the gardens which, for me, added to the enjoyment, though not everyone thought the same. There was also a tremendous band that accompanied the performers, the sets were incredible, and all in all, it was a unique experience that I shall never forget.

In complete contrast, last night I went to see Mamma Mia 2 with a group of friends from singing. Having enjoyed the first film so much, and seen it I don't know how many times, I was pretty sure I'd enjoy it, despite some rather lukewarm reviews. And it didn't disappoint. From the first scene, we were off - there wasn't really much plot but it didn't matter - we were swept along by the terrific numbers, the choreography and the sheer joy of it all. We sat with our drinks and snacks, wept (in my case), sang loudly and laughed and suddenly two hours had gone. I was very much in need of being cheered up, and it certainly did that.

But it made me think about enjoyment of things - plays, films, music, whatever. I tend to go along and get absorbed into a performance, rather than analysing them. I suppose the downside could be that I might miss things - the deeper meanings or whatever - but the upside is that I am rarely disappointed. I have been raving about both productions, whereas not everyone I know thought the same.

A friend of mine said recently, "Keep your hopes high and your expectations low." A hard balance to find - but in this instance, I used another friend's motto which is, "Go with the flow". And that certainly worked.

Wednesday 27 June 2018


Thanks to my dear friend Heather, I had the most wonderful week in Spain, arriving back last Wednesday at crack of dawn. Where has the week gone?!

It's 35 years since I last went to Spain and I've never been up in the mountains - the last one I climbed was Carder Idris when I was 11. So I was utterly stunned by the majesty of the landscape. The picture above is the view from their terrace as the sun went down. And the weather was HOT!

Even so, we managed some stunning walks - up various mountains, through vineyards and orange trees, we swam every day, attended a Moors v Christians procession one night, and had some relaxed reading time and enjoyed eating and drinking outside every day.
I'm quite in love with the place and it did me a lot of good to get right away from everything. I missed my darling Moll terribly (and vice versa), but it was worth it to have a week in such a stunning place, and with such good company.

Just as well as life has been very stressful since I got back, but hopefully things will resolve soon!

Tuesday 5 June 2018


This was taken at Penberth Cove, last Sunday, where I did another walk for the current book. I'd had a busy few days doing Meet the Author sessions at the Great Estate festival at Scorrier - which is a great one to be at, by the way. And the weather was good, too.

Anyway, I had two slots and luckily my friend Heather came along for moral support, which I was very glad of, as you never know if anyone will turn up to meet authors unless they have publishers who are prepared to spend a lot on publicity. Which let's face it, few are. And certainly not those of walks books.

So we arrived at the venue - the Whispering Garden - and it was all set out with a little covered stage, a microphone and plenty of seating. So far so good. A big board outside announced the programme of events, but it transpired later that none of these had been put n the website, so most people didn't know I was there.

I stood on the stage feeling like real Billy No Mates while Heather tried to hijack passers by and eventually we had a few - literally - and I started talking. But by the end of it we had a few more, and one of the ladies who'd actually turned up to have a rest, ended up buying two of my books, so I was delighted. What had started off looking like an unqualified disaster was saved and my confidence restored.

The next day we had several people and though I sold no books, I could tell people were interested and several stayed behind afterwards to talk about my books, writing, and to ask if I'd do workshops of any kind. It was such a lovely gathering I felt really glowing afterwards - especially when dear Heather introduced me and said such glowing things about my writing. I stood there, feeling quite overwhelmed thinking - does she really think that about my books? Wow!

Afterwards we were talking about confidence, and how important it is in all walks of life - whatever we're doing. Many writers suffer from chronic self-about - myself included - and I find the only way to conquer it is to keep writing. Grab any opportunities that come up - well, any that sound different - for you never know what can lead to all kinds of things - and keep submitting. Rejections are part of a writer's life. Don't take them too personally.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Book launch part II

One of the pictures from the book launch which was great fun - and I'm so grateful to everyone who turned up on such a beautiful evening when we could all have been sitting on the beach or having a barbecue.

Anyway, a good time was had by all and also thanks to all those who bought books!

The next event was the book signing at Waterstones which also went well courtesy of some lovely friends and people wandering through Waterstones. Afterwards we went for lunch at the Arts Cafe in River Street which was lovely and a good end to the morning.

And this Friday and Saturday I'm at the Great Estate Festival at Scorrier doing Meet the Author sessions. I don't honestly expect anyone to turn up but I may be pleasantly surprised - and you have to have a go, as they say.

Then on Sunday evening we have a singing boat trip, going up to Mylor Yacht harbour where we will sing, then go and share some food and have a glass or two. And by then I will want to go and sleep for a long time...!

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Book launch and other book stuff

Apologies for leave of absence. I've been stricken with a horrible flu/cough/cold lurgy and it's taking me ages to shake it off so that's why I've been so quiet for so long.

But I'm now gearing up for .... drum roll... the book launch of WALKS IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DAPHNE DU MAURIER. For anyone that doesn't know, it will be next Wednesday, 23rd May at Falmouth Art Gallery from 6-8pm so do call in - and enjoy the exhibitions there as well - and have a glass of wine and buy a book or two even!

I'm also going to be signing copies of my books at Waterstones in Truro on 26th May from 11-1 and will be at the Great Estate festival at Scorrier on Fri 1st June at 16.10 and Sat 2nd June at 11.15 to talk about the book, give some readings etc.

I quite enjoy book publicity - it's nerve racking when people don't turn up, but usually the prospect of a free glass of wine lures some along, while it's a mark of good friends who turn up to other events. But as a dear friend said once, "keep hopes high and expectations low" and that way you're not disappointed. I agree, that's quite a difficult balance, but sage words.

This book is also special because of a singing friend who died earlier this year. As he was a keen walker as well as a fantastic singer - and also an amazing writer - I wanted to do a walk in his honour, but couldn't decide which was right for him. So as time was short, I added him to the dedications in the front of the book. It was such an emotional time that it wasn't right to ask his daughter and the family, and afterwards, I panicked, in case they were upset. Thankfully they took it in the spirit that it was offered - a special tribute to a very special man. And a way of keeping his love of walking in Cornwall very much alive.

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Book Number Four - from The Depths

As usual, life has overtaken me somewhat. Having been plunged into the depths of gloom over various matters in my personal life, and not having much luck with journalism, the weekend before last I was weeping into my cornflakes, deciding I must change career, find another way of earning some money.

Heather was great, pointed out that journalism is SO hard. Another friend looked at me and smiled slightly. “You said exactly that this time last year,” she said.
Had I really?

Then another, wise journalist came up with the great saying, “You are not defined by your pitching success.” Love it!

And then suddenly, during the week, things changed. My publishers emailed to say my books would be back from the printers at the end of the week and they’d send a box down.

Then a new book shop I’d been in touch with replied saying they loved the idea of my books, would I be able to call in with some and also could I do a talk and a walk sometime?

I was over the moon. To go from the depths of gloom to sudden wild excitement. Though as Tony said, “You should know by now that life consists of ups and downs, so next time you’re down, realise that an up is on its way.”

He’s right of course, but sometimes when you’re at the bottom of that pit, climbing out seems nigh on impossible.

But my fourth book is out! I will be having a book launch on Wed 23rd May from 6-8 at Falmouth Art Gallery, and doing a book signing from 11-1 on Sat 26th May at Waterstone’s in Truro. So please come along and give me some moral support! Nothing worse than sitting in a busy bookshop being ignored by everyone…!

Wednesday 11 April 2018


Life rather overtook me last week. Easter was crowned by singing in the Man Engine choir which was an amazing experience - although somewhat marred by rain and freezing cold. But it was still an incredible experience and so touched by how many people turned out, despite the weather.

On the Monday I returned from a walk and found one of my teeth very wobbly. Uh oh, I thought, and summoning courage, rang the dentist on Tuesday morning. I had a feeling it would have to come out and sure enough, on my second visit of the day, it was removed. Chewing is now somewhat of a challenge but I have to wait a few months for the gums to settle before we can decide what next to do. Talking to Tony yesterday, he has an implant and thoroughly recommends them, though the cost is high.

That evening (of The Tooth) I began my first Yoga For Lower Backs class, which is brilliant, particularly as I've been having more problems with my back of late. Just as well, as the following day we had a funeral for a singing friend who died from bowel cancer far too young. He was such a talented, funny, clever man who will be sorely missed. Not that I'm religious but you do wonder about life sometimes. Why him and not some murder or rapist? That was a rhetorical question, by the way.

So this week I am struggling with another bad back spasm which thanks to yoga exercises has lasted a much shorter time than last. It doesn't have make you miserable though - which was probably what caused it in the first place.

But last night I was lucky enough to be taken out for a fabulous meal by a friend who has my undying gratitude for being such a rare, kind and understanding man. I'm struggling to write pitches, rewrite a piece on Peace Walkers and finish my last walk. Then there's singing tomorrow and a Folk evening coming up.

Here's to spring - whenever it chooses to arrive - and seeing the first swallow last week...

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Sing, write, walk

I found this sign last Tuesday, when walking from St Uny church to Carbis Bay and back, and while it didn't fit in with the walk I was writing for the new book, it does fit in nicely with an article I'm writing about walkers who walk in aid of peace.

This has been a fascinating topic as my three case studies have so much to say, in differing aspects. The worst part about this is that I only have 1,000 words and really the piece needs at least 2 or 3,000 words to do it justice.

We all go through difficult times, don't we, and recently has been one of those times that I will be glad to see the back of. Not helped by bloody awful weather. As my friend Mel said recently, "Thank god you've got your singing, Flowerpot." And that has kept me sane. Last Saturday I went to a fabulous all day workshop and learned some African, American and all kinds of singing. ON Sunday our lovely musical director Claire Ingleheart gave a short workshop which was incredibly uplifting. And last night I went to a rehearsal for the Man Engine choir which made me incredibly proud to be Cornish. Standing outside at Heartlands, 100 of us, singing Jim Carey's Chamber to the Grave was something I will never forget. And we will be performing that this weekend at Geevor on Saturday and Heartlands on Sunday - so if you haven't got your tickets, get them now!

Lastly, I've just sent the proofs for my du Maurier book back to my publishers. Four days of intensive proof reading (which can only be done in short bursts, I find, or I lose the right level of concentration) has left me shattered but with a sense of achievement. And in three or four weeks, we will have the actual book...

So wishing you all a happy Easter. I will be spending Easter Sunday singing at Heartlands for the Man Engine Tour so please come along. You won't regret it!

Wednesday 21 March 2018


Once again the Beast from the East disrupted all our lives - in my case, meaning a postponement of an overdue visit to see my mum, which was a shame but just as well I didn't go, as Devon was far worse hit than Cornwall, and I wouldn't have wanted to be stuck in my van in the snow.

Sunday morning dawned sunny and calm - the thermometer in my yard registered ten degrees, and I thought no snow would be possible. But at 2pm the first flakes fell and soon after that all was whited out, though a friend and I walked through town with Moll, along the seafront and then sat in the Falmouth Hotel watching the huge, fat flakes coat everything in white.

While it's lovely to look at, I find it makes everything seem unnervingly unreal. A few weeks ago it was fun, my birthday, and it makes a difference if a) you don't have to go anywhere and b) you have someone to share the snow with. This time, I ended up feeling really disconnected, not helped by reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. This book is a brilliant but agonising study in loneliness. The heroine is a 30 year old woman who has never known love, compassion or even friendship but has not a trace of self pity about her. The book is her journey to discovering that she is worth loving, and how her unlikely saviour shows her how to make friends. But the journey is tough and I felt increasingly vulnerable as I read it.

Admittedly I'd had some bad news - a friend died last week and another friend suffered several strokes and is in hospital, so I was perhaps more aware than usual of the fragility of life - but this book really touched so many nerves and made me realise how quickly people can unravel.

Thankfully the snow has now all gone and life is back to normal. Tuesday dawned bright and sunny and I was able to go down to Lelant to do the next walk for the Rosamunde Pilcher book. Hayle and St Ives Bay looked at their very best, and I felt very blessed to live in such a beautiful place.

But underneath my appreciation of where i live is a definite wobble - a real current of unease and self doubt. No matter how strong we might feel, we are all vulnerable, and it pays perhaps to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. It doesn't take much for any of us to unravel, to be one of the less fortunate. So let's all help each other however we can. It doesn't have to be much - an email, a phone call, a text. A hug or a song. Little things are often the ones that make the difference.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Man Engine

Last night was the first rehearsal for the Man Engine Choir - see the website for tour details.
And if my link doesn't work, just type in Man Engine 2018!

We all met at Heartlands, in Pool near Redruth and having registered, about 100 of us packed into the Main Hall where Hilary Coleman started teaching us the songs we will be singing. And what a joyous rehearsal it was! A big room full of singers, all singing their hearts out with Cornish pride.

In a week where two friends of mine are very poorly, it was great to have such a gathering of like minded people and learn new songs. As I do every Thursday, with the Suitcase Singers. And tonight I will be singing at the Folk Evening at Penryn, singing with my small group, The Semi Quavers.

So here's to singing to banish the winter blues. Or any blues, come to think of it....

Friday 9 March 2018

Belated birthday

I'm sure you're all sick of snow pictures, but I couldn't resist this one...

My birthday plans were completely changed because of the snow, but in fact I had a wonderful time. Had breakfast in Falmouth and walked through town in a blizzard, taking pictures before going for a drink at Custom House Quay. I took Moll for a walk later and it was lovely walking along snowy roads and watching kids tobogganing.. Then later that night three of us met for a drink in the pub round the corner - a small, select party but one that I enjoyed very much, nonetheless...

And then of course, we had the most incredible storm and half my garage roof blew off which was alarming. So were the winds - I could hardly stand up at one point. Anyway, thankfully my garage roof is now fixed, thanks to a very good mate, and the weather is back to being warm and wet again. And I had two belated celebrations this week instead...

Some time ago I was interviewed (for a change) for a feature on loving where we live - 8 of use took part - and the result is in Woman and Home April issue which is in the shops now. Hopefully in time to give my book a plug, as WALKS IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DAPHNE DU MAURIER is due out this Easter - or maybe just after.

Looks the rain has stopped for a minute so I'm going to dash out with Moll while the going's good....

Wednesday 28 February 2018


As I write, Falmouth is in the midst of a complete white out - the snow started an hour ago - and it seems amazing to think that I took this picture from my window in the B&B on Sunday morning.

So my birthday this year will be memorable for the weather, for we rarely get snow in Cornwall. I'd planned a party tonight in Penryn, but that is now postponed till next Wednesday when the forecast looks to be milder and wetter (like the rest of the winter!) so we might go to the pub tonight, if we can get there......

However, I have been inundated with cards, phone calls and texts and we're about to head out in this weather for a birthday breakfast in Falmouth. Wearing snow boots, hat, scarf and lots of layers!

As this weather is so unusual here I feel just like a child, awaiting Christmas snow! Here we are -

Wednesday 21 February 2018


Well, we all know what rubbish weather we've had recently, but at least here's a rainbow!

Life has been busy as ever, waiting for the proofs of my new book to arrive - Walks in the Footsteps of Daphne du Maurier is to be published at Easter, a court case and interviews to be done, as well as walks for the new book.

I've also been asked to do some reviews of restaurants in Cornwall over the next few months, and this weekend I am actually going away for the weekend - hooray! I've been watching the forecast anxiously, as part of the plan is to do another walk for the new book and while it seems cold, at least it should be dry.... nothing like trying to get a wet and muddy dog dry in a B&B!

My dear friend Av had to have a hip operation last week but she's doing really well and we're planning a long overdue girls weekend in May.

Also, next week I have a Significant birthday next week, and I am wondering how the hell so many years have passed - and so quickly. I'm having a small(isn) gathering of close friends, all bringing food to share and of course, some singing. The only possible fly in the ointment is that Really Cold Weather is forecast, so if it snows we won't be able to get to the venue. But at least we can get to the pub down the road....

So here's to any other Pisceans out there - happy birthday soon!

Wednesday 14 February 2018

New website

This was taken last week, doing a walk for the new book - this was round the Great Flat Lode, in the heart of the mining area around Camborne/Redruth. This was Wheal Grenville, the Fortescue Shaft. And for the first time in weeks we had a whole afternoon with no sunshine - what a treat!

But the main purpose of this post was that my dear friend Andy has finished my new website so here it is:-
If that link doesn't work try this - Sue Kittow
And if all fails, please type in Sue Kittow Author and it's sue

Any comments would be much appreciated!

The Man Engine Tour 2018 begins at Easter and I am so excited as I'm going to be part of the Man Engine Choir. To read all about the biggest mechanical puppet in the world, read here - or if that fails, put in Man Engine! I was so sorry to miss it two years ago but will sing my Cornish heart out proudly and thoroughly enjoy it!

And now - note the hidden teddy, found in a hedge on Bodmin Moor on Sunday!

Thursday 1 February 2018

Organ donation - my piece in the Daily Mail

This is the link to a piece I wrote about organ donation. You may not agree with it, but please read it if - it could save someone's life.
Thank you.
Try this one if the other one doesn't work!

Friday 26 January 2018

Fascinating people, places and things

Recently Viv and I did a lovely walk at Restormel Castle near Lostwithiel, and walked past this wonderful manor house - Restormel Manor - which is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, and at the bottom of the hill near the woods leading to the Duchy's Nursery and cafe, which are well worth a visit, even if you don't like gardens. A fabulous array of plants, shrubs, a wonderful cafe (and a dog friendly area too) and a well stocked shop with lots of Cornish goodies. And no, they're not paying me to write that!

I also had the good fortune to meet Nikki Markham, who runs the charity Battling On. You can read a bit more about her on the website The Overtake:-
- I hope that link works, if not, google The Overtake and mine is one of the most recent pieces. Nikki has had cancer and said she feels almost obliged to help others - and the work she does is truly amazing.

On a completely different subject, I met the most talented botanical artist, Sarah Humphreys, recently. People travel from all over the country to attend Sarah Humphrey’s workshops in Cornwall, and seeing her illustrations, you can understand why. For the last twenty years, her work has been commissioned by The Body Shop, McGraw Hill and the RHS, to name but a few clients, and she has become one of the most exciting botanical illustrators of her generation. The link to her website is here -

And lastly, a piece I wrote on Organ Donation will, I hope, be out next Tuesday but I will post that when I have the link - just in case it isn't run!

Meeting such inspiring people goes a little way towards balancing the gloom and doom of January Mud, of which there has been, still is, and will be a lot of...

I do hope everyone is managing to get through this horrible of months. Spring is nearly here though - I have a few narcissi out in the tubs up my steps, and even a little crocus bud....and this is to prove that the sun did shine in Cornwall in January. Though I can't remember when!

Tuesday 16 January 2018

The Barklife Way

The above portrait of Moll was done by my very talented friend, Carol, nearly a year ago now and made me think of this book I was sent recently, entitled The Barklife Way - Life Lessons from a dog

This is such a lovely book about what we can learn from our dogs based based on the author's observations of her own dog called Cooper.

It's a fantastic read for anyone who loves dogs, with wonderful illustrations that are worth framing in their own right.

Each chapter, or section, has a bit about what Cooper does - i.e. his delight in a new day, all the wonderful new smells he encounters, so each trip is unique, exciting and packed full of novelty and fun, bursting with opportunities.

The next section asks what we can learn from, in this instance, our daily trips to work, or to the park, to the beach, wherever we walk our dogs, with the idea of not taking things for granted. Open our eyes and look and see who's around us, what the birds and trees are doing; what flowers are out. The pink balloons by someone's gate, the peeling paint on an old house. All the little things that we take for granted, or don't even recognise. We should, for we miss so much otherwise, and miss everything that's strange and special, all the delights and enjoyment that our dogs use every day, every moment.

This is a lovely study for anyone who loves their dogs but it also carries some very good life advice with the most fabulous illustrations. There's also a section about how the author wrote this book and information about the illustrator.

I can't honestly think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this book, but if you have a dog, and you enjoy illustrations, this is a must.

So instead of New Year resolutions, I would just get this book, take the advice - and see how much more enjoyable your life becomes. Just like your four legged friend!

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Keep It Small

I'm sorry but if I receive one more press release or see another "inspirational" post on Facebook about new year's resolutions, I might scream.

I'm not quite sure why the end of this year was so dire, but in large part is due to huge volumes of water cascading from the sky accompanied by gale force winds that have been hitting the south west since Christmas Day. I've given up listening to the weather forecast as it's more of the same.

Then there's that awful feeling of having to drag ourselves out of bed for work, having been idly cocooned in duvets with no special get up time at all for what seems like months but is only a week. It's amazing how quickly the brain can atrophy, isn't it? One minute, if not sparking on all cylinders, at least it was working - then - bang - complete shut down.

So no, as I said to a friend suffering similarly yesterday, I am not making any new year resolutions. Getting out of bed was quite an achievement. To actually get some work done after that was nothing short of a miracle.

So my motto for January is to Keep It Small. Getting out of bed is a good start. Eating breakfast - excellent. Walking Moll first thing - part of my wake up routine. Though bless her, she has something wrong with her left back leg so have to take her to the vet later. Enough of that - think positive.

Next step - turn on computer. Brilliant! Transcribing a walk - brilliant. Making a call about an interview - my god! I think a few brain cells have woken up from hibernation. And frankly, whatever works is good. And if it doesn't, well, it will again soon.

I remember reading a piece when I was once having a really tough time and it advised to get out of bed. And breathe.

Sometimes that's all we can do. And you know what? Sometimes that is a hell of an achievement. So whatever you aim to do in January - Keep It Small. And achievable. And celebrate just putting one foot in front of the other. That's one hell of a good start.