Wednesday 24 April 2019

A visit to the flower show and a touch of nostalgia

The week before last I went to the RHS Flower Show in Cardiff - it's the one that kicks off the flower show season and I've been to almost every one. It was a sunny day, but with a chilly wind. I had a good time, but it was bitter/sweet too, as many of my happy memories are of having my Mum's company looking at the exhibits and the gardens. When I lived in London we used to go to the Chelsea Flower Show, which is much bigger and more glamorous and expensive - a habit started when I used to get free tickets from work. The Cardiff show is on a different scale and fun in  a different way. Getting Mum there took a bit of organising. Taxi to the car park and then one of their buggies to take us into the show, but it was worth it. I missed her, as I always do. I particularly remember the time we had two ice creams instead of lunch. That's two ice creams each. Mum loved ice cream and it must have been  a warm day.

I took some pictures. The gardens are nothing like those at Chelsea, but the flowers are lovely and I bought a few plants and some lily bulbs. Now I have to plant them and keep the slugs from eating them, and they will be a reminder of a day in spring.

One of the gardens. Not sure what the theme was. 
This one was a kind of den for a young girl to hide away and read.
Peonies. Such a brilliant colour
Bougainvillea. I was very tempted to buy one, but decided on the bulbs instead.
 Maybe next year. 

These are some of the bulbs I chose. Will they look as good as these?
Depends on the slugs!


Saturday 20 April 2019

Barry Island Book Fest - TODAY

Just a quick post to say I will be at the Book Fest at the Museum at Barry Island (next to the railway station) TODAY. Drop in between 11am and 3pm and talk to local authors and publishers and buy signed books! Free entry. The cafe will be open and there will be steam trains!

Wednesday 17 April 2019

An Easter Competition

To celebrate Easter, and hopefully the arrival of some warm weather, I'm running a little competition to win a mug that features the lovely cover of my sunshine romance Summer in San Remo and a bag of mini chocolate Easter eggs.

My publishers, Choc-lit, are taking care of all the organising and arranging to draw the lucky name. To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is tell them the titles of two of my other books. It's that easy.

Answers have to be in by 18th -that's tomorrow - answers can be registered on facebook or twitter. You'll have to scroll down a bit to find it. While you are there there is a Choc-lit contest too - more chocs and books, so you might have a try at that as well.



 And here is the prize.  Mug and chocs, but minus the daffodils.


Wednesday 10 April 2019

It's not just the writing

At the moment, with my head stuck in the PhD, it feels like that's all there is. It can get like that when you're stuck in a book too, especially in the editing phase, if you are on deadline. It's nice to remember sometimes that you can do other things. And those other things make you the writer you are, even if you don't always realise it.

I'm chuffed at the moment because I took some time out to re-visit my Allen key skills to put together a new desk chair from a certain Swedish retailer. When I opened the box and saw all the bits I had serious doubts about whether I still had what it took to put the thing together, even though the house is full of other stuff that I have assembled, including some scary cupboards with glass doors that are bigger than I am. I still had my plumber's mate then, so it wasn't a solo effort.

Anyway, dear reader, I did it. Here is Reggie, enjoying the result.

In fact the hardest part was taking the chair it replaced upstairs for my office in the smallest bedroom.

And when I was brushing up the floor in the dining room/other office yesterday I remembered how I had laid the floor tiles for almost the whole of the ground floor. Not sure I'd be able to do that again, but that's down to the arthritic knees.

It's not always easy to remember the other things that you can do, or might be able to do - it's not just in the past. And all those things feed into the writing. I have a book in the 'to be written pile' that involves the renovation of a house, and I know that the floor tiling and things will get into that, may even have prompted it, for all I know. And doing things that are a bit testing, or scary probably feed into writing strong heroines who can look after themselves at least some of the time. Well, at least ones who are not scared of a Swedish chair. It's useful to draw on that.

And we all need strong heroines.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Armchair travel

Regular readers will know I have a thing about holiday brochures. I have a fine collection, much thumbed, and the holiday companies add to it on a regular basis, which is fine by me.

Lately all my travelling has had to be the arm chair kind, for various reasons, but I'm hoping that might change later this year. When the thesis is finally done, and I may have stopped paying for Christmas, I might be able to actually go somewhere.

I have a list. All research, of course. And I am having a great deal of fun auditioning  the brochures on what they have to offer. Top of the list are the French and Italian Rivieras, because I have a second Riviera Rouges drafted and two more in the planning, and it's one of my all time favourite holiday destinations. I have three different escorted tours in the running, all going to slightly different places, all gorgeous.

Then there's Amsterdam and Antwerp, for another rom/com, and then Italy - the Amalfi Coast, but also Montecassino, which was a battle site in the Second World War which I want to use in a romantic suspense. Last year I managed a trip to York, which almost completed the locations for another romantic suspense that is partially written. I really need a trip to the Isle of Man to finish that one.

And I want to make a trip to Scotland, for family reasons, which I'll tell you about one day. I expect it will make it into a book too. And I've never been to Cornwall. And I want to go back to Greece and see some of the islands I haven't managed to get to yet, and the historical sites. I've done Crete and Knossos, but I've always wanted to see the theatre at Epidaurus, and Delphi, and Olympus. And I'm sure I could set a book in the Italian Lakes, another favourite place, and re-visit Florence. I love visiting gardens too, and I've found there's a tour based in Rome ...

It's a long list, and getting longer. Now all I need is for a Premium Bond to come up, big time.