Yesterday at dawn, I was woken by my cat purring in my ear. There are worst ways of being woken up. Throwing back the curtains, I was greeted by a spectacular sunrise bursting across the horizon and the inspirational light, together with the birdsong, quite took my breath away. A vast, glowing sphere of hot …
Travel Undaunted? Well, the last time I did it was this time last year – (February 2020). One year ago today, I was in Amsterdam, smooching with my holiday love, Ted, in Dam Square.
As the others took in Body Worlds and the Van Gough Museum, I sauntered through the streets of Amsterdam at my own pace, taking in its sights and sounds. Dam Square, home to the Royal Palace, where I fell in love with Ted. We both have the same hair, which I think is rather sweet, but I am philosophical. Holiday romances never last.
Keeping my itchy feet happy during these eternal Lockdown Days is an ongoing problem. I’ve tried binge watching twenty years worth of travel videos, with my feet propped up on a stool, so they can relive those heady sun soaked, beach filled days, but they are not happy. In fact, one of them is particularly grumpy this morning, and is refusing to get out of bed.
At the end of last year, an edit of my ‘finished’ novel, Just Say It, highlighted I had a problem with multiple point of views, I largely ignored it, until I received the latest critique, which not only highlighted the multiple POV’s issue, but it also pointed out that I was also guilty of another writer’s crime, authorial intrusion. So I need to back off, and let my characters do the talking!
There is always a great deal going on inside my head at the same time as I bounce ideas off each other. Too many, on occasions. I flit and float from one thought to the next, so perhaps that is one reason why I have allowed something similar to creep into my fiction writing. Unwittingly, I have been …
With My Magical Christmas StoryQuest Collection completed, I started work on my newest StoryQuest book, The Pirates of Monkey Island. The story features two characters who quickly become the reader’s trusty crewmates: One-Eyed Brenda and Jimmy Smallhands. Brenda has one eye and Jimmy has very small hands – do you see what I did there?
My fascination for archaeology kicked in when I was five, after I found a fossilised gastropod in our Gloucestershire garden. Had I not mucked around during my school years, I can only dream about what my life might have been like as a female Indiana Jones.
Fast forward to 1981, when I moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands, UK, and found myself surrounded by archaeological treasures. From dolmens to menhirs, and La Cotte de St Brelade, which is now viewed as one of the most important Ice Age sites in Europe.
My mother and I were never close. There has never been an unshakable emotional bond between us. No invisible strand that binds a mother to her child, post umbilical tie. Even as a child, I felt more of an accessory than a daughter. She never tried to cultivate a rapport between us, so I never felt that ache. That overwhelming sense of dread that engulfs you when you think about losing someone you love.
I like Beryl too, she is always upbeat, and we go way back. She teaches PE at Didsbrook’s secondary school, including me for seven years. I thought she was a bit long in the tooth for the job then, but she was probably only fifty-something. She would send us out for a five-mile run up the A59 and follow us in her topless MG shouting words of encouragement. Beryl is due to retire at the end of the next term and has been working on a novel. From the rather steamy pieces she has been reading to us, she could well be Didsbrook’s answer to E. L. James. She captures everybody’s attention when she reads, especially Basil and Tom, who are as animated as we ever see them. I can’t help wondering if Beryl is drawing from her own experiences. If she is, I really do need to get a life.
A chick, in my book, is a baby chicken covered in downy, yellow feathers up until the age of 6-weeks. I’ve always bristled when the term is applied to young women, and I have always subconsciously disassociated myself from Chick lit, believing the genre to be driven by scantily clad, sex-driven female main characters. I couldn’t have been more wrong and, although I’m not a fan of categories, it’s time to reassess the genre I think I’ve been writing in.
Following the joyful inauguration of the 46th U.S. President, Joe Biden, hundreds and thousands of overlayed images of Bernie Sanders started appearing everywhere, ridiculing the mittens he was wearing at the ceremony. It touched a nerve with me. For goodness sake, he is seventy-nine, it was 4C and blowing a howling bloody gale, but I’m guessing his hands were warmer than anybody else’s. So, to whoever started circulating these memes, back off! You’re not so funny!
As we live in surreal times, I decided to call today Tired Tuesday. It is the day after Blue Monday, the official name for the third Monday of each New Year, which apparently, has been noted as the most depressing day of any year – not just one plagued by a pandemic. Surprisingly, I felt quite upbeat, as for the first time in 2021, I felt like I had a wasp up my arse, for the whole day, until I ran out of steam…
Dear Diary, as 2020 was so goddam bleak, I intend to record only positive thoughts and affirmations this year.
Well, hello, 2021! I took down the tree and the Christmas decorations today because now that you’re here, there no point in hanging around, I want to get on with it. You’ve been a long time coming. It’s been the longest 365 days of my life and, as I’m sure you’ve heard, your predecessor was a nightmare.
Around 6.p.m. I kicked off my jog pants, showered, washed my hair and dolled myself up. Then, proudly wearing an outfit I had been given for Christmas, I took a stroll along the landing from the bedroom, looking longingly at the photos and prints, framed and hanging on the walls. The hibiscus. A watercolour from Barbados, prints from St. Lucia and a photo of us all embossed on to canvas splashing around in the sea in The Maldives. Treasured memories.
I dare to dream about spending time with the people I care about, without being 2 meters apart.
I dare to dream about going out for a meal, or to the theatre – how I’ve missed the smell of the greasepaint – and listening to Little Black Dress cook up a storm in the Blue Note Bar with other live music lovers.
I dare to dream about a change of scene – I used to write poetry, just as well I gave it up.
I dare to dream about soaking up the sunshine somewhere with the gentle lapping of the sea in my ears, free to inhale the exhilarating, briny COVID-19-free air. Joy.
I imagine walking down the usually buzzing main shopping street, with the theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly ringing in my ears. The only other sound is my boots connecting with the pavement as I walk. It is only me and tumbleweed. It’s a sad fact, and I don’t mean to be flippant, although the reference to tumbleweed is artistic licence. I never thought I would live through a global pandemic. Let’s hope I do; it’s not over yet. The threat of succumbing to COVID-19 is constant, especially now three different variants of the virus have been identified, but I am reliably informed that viruses always mutate. I wish this one wouldn’t!
I started off December 2020 in a bah humbug state of mind. Now, here were are on Christmas Eve and my mental state hasn’t improved. Two days ago, I rearranged the sitting room and forgot that I’m not in my prime anymore, when I swung a heavy, high-backed chair from one side of the room to another and, my back gave way—what a time to self-incapacitate.