Hello and welcome to my September newsletter.
I seem to be having a very busy summer this year. We have quite a big garden, laid mostly with lawns and flower beds, and keeping it tidy sometimes feels like painting the Forth Bridge. I work my way through each flower bed, weeding, and pruning, and, by the time I have done them all, it is time to go back and start again. I’m not complaining because I love gardening, but sometimes it is difficult to fit it all in. We also have an allotment a couple of miles away, and my husband, Bryan, does most of the work there, but I help out occasionally. The next job will be to pull the onions and bring them home to dry out in the greenhouse. Hopefully, they will last all winter.
Another job that has been taking up a lot of my time is clearing out the flat of an elderly aunt, who sadly passed away at the end of July. My Aunty Betty was 91 and had been poorly for some time, so in many ways, it was a happy release, but we will all miss her. She didn’t have any children, but lots of nieces and nephews, and certainly for the last few weeks of her life, not a day went by that she did not have visitors.
Her “chattels” (I love this word!) were left to myself and two cousins, and we have been clearing out her belongings; always a sad task. We helped her to move from a bungalow to a flat five years ago and thought there wouldn’t be much to sort out. How wrong we were, for we soon discovered she was quite a hoarder. However, I love researching family history, so much of what most people may regard as rubbish, for me is a treasure trove. We found diaries of my grandfather, birth and death certificates, newspaper cuttings of family christenings, weddings, and funerals, and many photos of ancestors. The list goes on. As you can imagine, this task has taken quite a while, as there were many trips down memory lane, and the result is a huge box of family memorabilia for me to peruse during the winter.
My Writing News
The draft copy of “The Rabbit’s Foot” arrived back from the printers recently and I’m pleased with it. The book is now almost ready to publish, but I have to upload it as an ebook and paperback to Amazon, and also Ingram Spark. This all takes time, and, for the reasons mentioned above, I’m not ready to release it yet. However, it will be out in the next month or two.
I recently visited my eldest sister, Gill, who lives in Surrey. Owing to the Coronavirus lockdowns I had not seen her for nearly two years, so it was lovely to see her again. She is no longer able to keep her garden looking quite as she would like, and I usually give it a tidy-up whilst I’m there. You may be wondering why I’m talking about this under a heading about my writing. Well, I was in her front garden weeding, and her neighbour was cutting his lawn. We stopped to chat, and Gill introduced me, as her sister. He then said, “Are you the one who is an author?” I confirmed I have written two books and he promptly went to get his wife. She was so pleased to meet me, as she has enjoyed both of my books, and says she is my biggest fan. I found it quite amusing when she shook my hand and said she had never met a real author before. It was really nice talking to her, and hearing what she thought of my books, and it didn’t do my ego any harm either!
Walk of the Month
This month’s walk is from the Town Hall in Lynton to the Valley of the Rocks and back via a different route. It contains some photos of breathtaking scenery, and can be found here:
Circular Walk to The Valley of the Rocks in Lynton
My Book of the Month
Blood and Silver by Vali Benson
Blood and Silver is set in the boomtown of Tombstone, Arizona in the late 19th century. Twelve-year-old Carissa travels there from San Francisco with her drug addict, prostitute mother and their futures look bleak. However, Carissa is befriended by China Mary, who is a colourful character, and this is a turning point in the lives of Carissa and her mother. I thought the book was well written and it kept me interested all the way through. The books I write are set in Victorian England, and so this was an interesting read set around the same time, but in a different part of the world. In 2016, I was fortunate to visit San Francisco and a small town called Calico, also famous for silver mining and probably similar to Tombstone. This made the story even more interesting for me, as I was easily able to picture the town, which was well described. The book was short and I read it easily in a day, but I enjoyed it and recommend it.
Thank you for reading my September Newsletter; I hope you found something to interest you. Until next time, enjoy the rest of the Summer.