Keep Breathing. It’ll All Be Fine.

So, the Ho Ho Ho’s have subsided for another year. Food, that is hard to place into any worthwhile food group, has been noshed, digested, and forgotten about. The decorations have been banished to the attic (they don’t usually survive Boxing Day but this year I was ‘more in the spirit’ and they remained until New Year’s Eve). Christmas, and 2016, is now firmly behind me.

I’ve heard so many people say that 2016 was their worst year . . . ever and, yes, I also had a few downers.

Richard took redundancy this time last year and is still cluttering up my day and my life. I fear he will never go back to work. Though, to be honest, he is now running a little internet thingy selling playing cards and it is meeting with some small success. Then, I had those awful retinal migraines start-up this time last year. I won’t pretend that I’m not terrified that they will recur but, other than chopping off my head, I am at a loss of what to do to prevent it happening? I also lost the chucks. I have resisted having more. I would love to restock but I dare not. I miss them dreadfully. So, yes, shit happened but you know what, that’s life. Shit does happen. We just have to put it behind us and move on . . . and that’s what I’m doing/have done . . .

I’ve welcomed this year with open arms. It doesn’t have to be spectacular, or mind-blowing. I don’t have to find gold hidden beneath the compost heap, or sell a million books on Amazon – though, let’s be truthful here, a few would be nice.  All I truly ask is that this year is a little kind to me. If loved ones are kept safe. If I can go on appreciating the simple things in life (I don’t necessarily mean Richard). Then this coming year won’t disappoint and I dare not ask for more.

I will have my fists raised in times of anguish, times when life deals a nasty blow, and I will do my best to battle through. I might win the fight. I might not. But I will attempt to – always.

So, what have I done so far this year? Well, I’ve tidied and rearranged my kitchen cupboards. I have, with the help of my darlin’ grandson, Jake, moved and pulled out all the twiggy stuff from the two compost heaps. I have scattered compost on the newly sorted flower area. Now that the chucks are no more I have every scrap of garden back and can grow anything, anywhere. I have baked small cakes for the freezer and 3 large fruit cakes for . . . me.  I have accompanied Richard to buy a new chain saw, risky I know, all things considered but the old one expired and what is the use of a log burner without logs?

Frankly, I’m amazed that the old one (a cheap B and Q version) lasted as long as it did, almost ten years. It had been terribly abused. On one occasion Richard had a leaping up-and-down-in-the-air tantrum and threw the poor thing into the ground, still running. He’s not safe with anything mechanical.

This time I decided that it was time he bought something better – I worked on the principle that if it cost a small fortune he would respect it more. Of course, it would also do the job easier and better. So a new Stihl saw was purchased and Richard, being Richard, had to try it the second we got home.

We had an all-out screaming session because he didn’t have any protective clothing and wanted to do his usual thing and just ‘wing’ it. He isn’t allowed to use a chainsaw without me present. I mean, if the daft bugger chops off his leg how the hell am I going to get that into a freezer bag with ice cubes, and then get him, on one bleeding stump, and a leg in a bag, down the garden? So, I am ALWAYS present. I insist on it, even though I merely stand there until logs are cut and then load them into the barrow. On this, the first attempt with the super-duper saw he shouted, above the noise, ‘where are you?’

‘Here!’ I shouted back, standing up from tickling Chea.

‘Move to the left a bit,’ he shouted, ‘you need to shield the greenhouse from anything that might fly that way.’

See? This is why I’ve purposely run out of ice cubes and binned the large freezer bags.

He has now ordered the whole protective ensemble from eBay. The hat, face shield, pants with braces, gloves etc. They don’t come until Friday so the little wood-cutter is redundant till then. And that’s that – the start of my year.

So . . . having written the first blog of the year and added it to my list of ‘things accomplished’ I’m off to make the fire and eat half a fruit cake! The healthier eating has started but I figure fruit cake is OK. After all, fruit is good for you, right?

Happy New Year All.

It might not be perfect but keep breathing and we will all make it out the other side.

Take Care xximages

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas . . .Really?


Believe it or believe it not – the Christmas cards went into the post yesterday! I know, weird hey? And especially more so from my point of view. I’ve surprised even myself with such pre-Christmas efficiency.

Christmas presents bought, wrapped and hidden away.

Cards scrawled on, sealed and posted. Although, to be honest, I did have a major meltdown over the Christmas cards. You see, I know for a fact that I bought the ‘special’ cards some time ago. You know, the ones for brothers, grandchildren, son etc. and I stored them somewhere safe. So sodding safe that despite turning every drawer and cupboard inside out they remained safe – and hidden/lost. So, I did what anyone would do in this situation – swear and then go out and buy some more. Then, having bought the ‘special’ cards again, I wrote the wrong thing in Jake’s card and had to rip it up. Now I need to buy him another.

Even the house is trimmed.

What next? Santa Claus driving his reindeer across the sky, narrowly avoiding the neighbour’s horrendously high conifers? OK, so now I’m being silly. Rudolph wouldn’t guide the sleigh anywhere near to trees – he’s an expert leader-of-the-reindeer team when all is said and done.

What am I talking about?

OK, I’m going to go all ‘bookish’ on you now. Well, I never do – do I? I told you last time – or the time before – that the man of the house is being made redundant in the New Year? Well, it’s been moved forward to New Year’s Eve now so I figure that it’s time I put my ‘shyness’ and stupidity behind me and attempted to sell some books.

Actually, I have done 3 little craft fairs in the last few weeks. I used to do these before – but not with books – no, I used to make those little imitation baskets of fruits and vegetables, when they were all the rage, so I am well used to craft fairs. This is not always the terminology I used, depending on the footfall and the willingness to buy by the attendees. Often they were termed as Crap Fairs and an accompanying bottle of sherry was required to get through the day.  But I digress.

I did three craft fairs with my books and it was OK. Possibly attempting to sell books in a library was a bit off the scale? Coals to Newcastle and all that. But whatever . . .

So, this is it . . . I have recently had a lovely review for Witch Ever Way You Look At It from Lisl Zlitni at and, because I like the book, well, we like some more than others, don’t we, I am putting it on promo’ this Thursday through to Sunday. It will be available for 99p to download. I’m also offering a signed paperback copy of the book, see below.

If I can squeeze in another promo’ before Christmas I will offer my children’s book, Prince Regal and the Forgotten Friends, for the same download price, 99p. However, you may also buy a signed copy of this, and if you get your skates on I’ll be sure to post it in time for Christmas. So . . .

If you have a PayPal account and would like a signed/unsigned copy of either book please email me; and I’ll pop one in the post – as long as I haven’t lost all copies in the house somewhere.

Witch Ever £8.99 (includes pp to mainland UK)

Prince Regal £6.50 (includes pp to mainland UK)

(Non mainland posting please enquire)

That’s it – my attempts at being bookish. Did I succeed – or do you have to be a toothless parrot to do that?

I know, I’m acting very weird today, aren’t I? Even my left eye has started twitching!

Better go

joint picture

Take care my lovelies x


I Only Ever Wanted To Be A Cowgirl!

Hi All

It’s been a while since I blogged – probably 4 weeks or slightly more. However, I did say back then that I was taking a bit of time off after finishing my latest novel (Witch Ever Way You Look At It) to pursue something else, so that is half of the reason.

The other half of the reason is that I have been so angry and generally peed off by the attitude of certain people over the last fortnight that if I wrote anything it would end up being a pure and evil rant and someone would probably die through sheer ether venom. So, having pulled on my hat of calm, and grown-up-person status, I am here to calmly go where I have calmly gone before. Kind of…

Christmas is just around the corner and the grand children have already been over bearing their ‘Grandma and Granddad’ cards. I, on the other hand, haven’t yet purchased theirs. I also haven’t stuck the marzipan on the cake, but I have fed it regularly with Sherry, so that’s something. At least the dear thing is waiting patiently in the cupboard, swaying happily and humming rude pirate-type ditties. I might dig out the block of almond paste that I spied the other day, at the back of a cupboard, and slap it on. I’m sure it’s out of date – the paste not the cupboard – but then so were the flaked and ground almonds if you remember (previous blog) but only by a year or so…

I think I like Christmas – but I also think that I’ve liked it more than I do today. My parents are no longer here and so that is a massive loss at this time of year. It’s hard not to drift back to ‘family Christmases,’ when we were all young and when the excitement of Santa coming was almost uncontrollable. I’m not sure if I ever quite accepted, in an easy manner, the idea of a strange man entering my bedroom whilst I slept? I might view this differently now?

Back then the man in the red suit never failed to bring to me my heart’s desires. I think I was an easy child to please, in all honestly, and I remember one of my ‘greatest’ gifts was a cowgirl outfit. I opened my eyes one Christmas morning and there it was, hanging on the wardrobe door, beige imitation leather and tassels so long that they touched the floor.

From this point onward I became Calamity Jane, roping and riding my brother, sitting on his back as he struggled round on hands and knees, rearing up and down, trying to shake me off. Like that was ever going to happen! Obviously, the ‘outfit’ didn’t come with ‘tack’ for my horse (brother) so I had to compromise and came up with my dressing gown belt which I made my brother put in his mouth, like a bit, so that I could steer him. It all worked swimmingly, until my stupid brother turned the wrong way and a quick snatch of the belt, to correct him, removed his molar. Mum wasn’t too impressed but I do think my brother over-egged the pudding a bit. The tooth was out in a flash and it didn’t bleed much. I went on from that point to be a tomboy and lived up to the name …having one calamity after the other.

I also remember, back then, having pork pie for breakfast. Is this real? Did, and do, people still do that? And Christmas cake with royal icing, so hard that it could have supported foundations and gave you something to grate your teeth on all the way through the Queen’s speech and beyond. I don’t think many people use royal icing these days? Don’t we all use the softer fondant type? And we always had sherry trifle for tea, which was jolly fun – and seemed like even more jolly fun on the second helping than the first.

And dear Mum – cooking her little socks off for us all. And Dad, working hard to give his children Christmases to remember – and not just because of the gifts, but because of the love and family time we shared. As I say, I miss those Christmases.

But there is still joy. In comes in the form of the grandchildren. Small people loving the excitement and the expectation of Christmas. On their last visit they posed for pics’ in front of the Christmas tree. Jake sang hymns and carols that he had learnt at school and Grace performed her ‘ballerina’ moves that she had learnt at nursery.Her pirouette needs a little more work but she’s getting there  – and she is only 3. I don’t want this to make you think that Grace is a pink girlie-type – though she does rather like pink. No, I think Grace could well be asking for a cowgirl outfit next year. And as luck would have it Jake is at that age where his ‘baby’ teeth are queuing up to be shed. Just as well really.061

Take care my lovelies x


No Boiling Water Or Ripped-Up Petticoats Required …

Hi All

Well the people at the farm certainly weren’t stretching the truth when they said Maran and Flight were point of lay because yesterday afternoon Maran laid her very first egg, just four days after being here. And how proud was she? Lordy. The peaceful, summer afternoon was shattered by her piercing announcement of the event, shouted out in the loudest chicken speak imaginable. And of course, Flight was so massively impressed that she had to join in as well.

I was there at the moment of nesting and egg dropping. Well, I am the proud mum after all and she may have found herself in difficulties and I’d have had to boil water and rip up petticoats  and such like …or is that just for childbirth portrayed in ancient films?

The first egg!
The first egg!

The egg is a perfect first effort, small and perfectly formed. I have to admit to actually being quite fond of Maran already. She may launch the odd sword-like thrust at Flight, now and then, but she is the sweetest chuck and lets me stroke her and feed her by hand …but then, so does Flight. I’m really happy with the way they are settling in. Of course Dust still has them both firmly on her agenda and thinks nothing of running the length of the lawn to attack them. As I said before – baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day and bonds won’t form immediately either.

My brother called in yesterday afternoon and we sat on the lawn next to the pond chatting away. Suddenly Chea appeared and launched herself into the shrubbery and a frog leapt out. She was most interested, never having come across such a slimy creature before and jumped on it. I shrieked and demanded that my brother move the frog before it was murdered by Chea and she took a nibble of it and started manically salivating again. He just looked at me like I’d suggested he catch a sabre toothed tiger with his bare hands and I had to grab Chea from off the top of the frog, with my eyes shut, and go and put her in the house.

This is the same unsupportive brother that I was moaning about yesterday for not downloading my books. The same brother who shares one teabag between two mugs. Well I got my own back on him for that because that’s exactly what I did. Two mugs. One teabag. Ha ha. And I had the first swish and squeezing. His tea looked like dish water. That’ll teach him to mess with his big sister.

Back to the subject of frogs. I noticed, a couple of days ago, that the tadpoles are now baby frog-lets and no bigger than my small finger nail. They hop precariously around the edge of the pond and I fear that one or two may well get taken by the chucks if their paths inadvertently cross. It’s a real battle of life and death in my garden! The balance can tip from heaven to hell in the blinking of an eye.

The garden produce is doing exceptionally well. The blackcurrant are now ripening, so I figure it is sugar buying time. I’m going to make jam this year. Last year it was wine. This year it’s jam – quite a lot of jam – looking at the potential yield that is weighing down the bushes almost to ground level.

The strawberries are also doing well. I saw a lovely strawberry flan thing on my blogging friend’s site, so I’ve bought the flan base and some good old reliable quick gel and I’m going to throw a few ripe strawberries into that – in time for the arrival of the wrecking crew (grandchildren) in the morning. I’m sure it will be met with disappointed faces because it won’t be chocolate. And I’m also sure that Richard – out of the kindness of his heart – will manage to polish it off in a couple of sittings.

Right my little poppets, I must dash, I have a busy day today and you know what they say – time and tide wait for no man (or woman). Have a super-duper weekend and remember – always turn to face the sun and shadow will always fall behind you.

Take care my lovelies x

Flight, looking more confident and settled.
Flight, looking more confident and settled.

To End Your Days As Nothing More Than A Smear!

Hi All

I think I have red spiders nesting in my laptop!! I keep finding a little crimson body scurrying across the keypad. I brush it away and then another appears. There is no sign of anything on the table. Nothing is journeying towards the laptop and yet every now and then a titchy red spider is to be spied running the gauntlet across the keypad. They seem more active after the computer has been left on all day and it’s pretty warm. If there is an entomologist out there would you kindly tell me if this is even possible? The ones who risk the journey across the screen don’t, sadly, make it to the other side alive. It’s impossible to remove them without squishing them and leaving a tell-tale red smear. Imagine ending up as nothing more than a smear …

I had a bit of a rant yesterday. ‘No!’ I hear you shout. ‘Not you!’ Well yes I did. Only a little one. I went to visit my brother in the afternoon, he’s a bit lonely at the moment so I thought I’d play the Good Samaritan. Somehow the topic came around to my books and I had to confess to him that the biggest surprise in all of this self publishing thing was the fact that family were so massively unsupportive. And it’s true. They are. His reply was, ‘I don’t read.’ My reply was, ‘that has nothing to do with it.’

And frankly, in my opinion, it hasn’t. I know for a fact that if a family member produced a book I would buy it even if it was on a topic which held no interest whatsoever. Why? Because I would want to support them. Ebooks, in many cases, are less than a decent cup of coffee so it isn’t likely that family are going to have to apply to for a frigging loan, is it? Honestly! But you know what they say, ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.’

Thinking about it I don’t honestly think I’ve ever had much support from family. I think it stems from appearing to be a strong, independent type person. I appear to have taken on the role of supporting others. Weird. Oh well, too late now to change the dynamics in my family. And as far as my brother is concerned, someone who uses one teabag between two mugs is likely to be as tight as the proverbial ducks butt!

Blimey! That was a good little dig at my family wasn’t it? No worries – they won’t read this! Sometimes you just need to have a pathetic little moan. I’ll probably delete it later …

And especially for Susan E Birch who follows the chucks progress like flies follow pooh I have to report that we are making progress.

Maran attacks Flight (but less now). Dust attacks Maran (seriously) and Dust also has a pop at Flight who, knock me down with a feather, has a pop back.

Chea stalks them all and is being severely reprimanded as and when necessary. She is slowly getting the message and they are becoming less bothered by her presence on a daily basis. I’m hoping that by Sunday, after Dust has finished her wormer, we can remove all partitions and let them run together. Dust will be ‘top chicken,’ and deservedly so, after all she has been through lately.

I shall pop to the pet shop and stock up on blood stopper, just in case. Honestly, they are meaner than family …I think …possibly not.

Take care my lovelies xHPIM2980

Forgive The Hand Down The Pants? …


I may have lost the plot. I have just turned up the radio to listen to Rod Stewart’s new song. I don’t even like Rod Stewart. Weird that. Thinking about it, I don’t mind some of his warbling. Perhaps I like him a bit? No I don’t.

Yesterday I popped out to have a meander around the shopping complex which is just down the motorway from me. I had also arranged to meet my brother, so managing to purchase four blouses (are they still called blouses these days? Tops maybe? ) in forty-five minutes from three different shops was quite some going. I tried on several pairs of trousers but alas drew a big fat no no. Seriously, I was the big fat no no. My weight gain since my inguinal hernia op over a year ago has been well covered here in the past.

For the last year I have had to wear leggings or combats. Anything else is just too tight and applies pressure to my wound, which in turn makes the whole area very sore and painful. Well, it would, wouldn’t it? A piece of gauze sewn into my groin. I’m a bloody hero really, you know. I battle on from day-to-day hardly a whimper or a whine.

Pants are also a problem but a problem which I consider I have solved. I buy them three sizes too big and then the elastic round the leg doesn’t apply pressure. Isn’t this interesting dudes? Take it as a warning. Don’t go levelling ground and throwing rocks around like The Incredible Hulk. Something will give.

Occasionally, like when I’m aimlessly following Richard around B&Q, the old knickers rub and the whole thing hurts so I have to have a quick slide of the hand down the pants and an intense examination of the area just to make sure I haven’t burst the wound. It’s not ideal and at times has drawn the odd look from other shoppers. Obviously this kind of thing is common place with men but not something I guess you would associate with a lady. Lady? Haha. Seriously though, this thing terrifies me in case I rupture it and I end up back on the slab holding another polite conversation about how to sell designer shoes on Ebay with an op room full of green-coated strangers. I jest not. That was exactly the conversation, last time.

Today I am going to attempt to tidy my wardrobes. I have to. There is stuff hanging in them that has never been worn – or likely to be. Skinny jeans are out. The two pairs of stupid white trousers, that Richard said I should buy, are out. White trousers do not fit into my life-style. Thinking about it, everything  I have ever bought when Richard was with me (a rare thing) needs to go. I always say before you take notice from any one who is slagging off your writing take a look at theirs. And consequently before you take fashion advice from someone take a look at what the advisor is wearing. Richard has a style of his own – as do I – and never the two should meet.

The thing is …what do I do with all this stuff? Car boot? Ebay? Charity bag? Close my eyes and bin it? I know that once I have cleared out the stuff I am never going to wear I will feel enlightened but Lordy Lord, what a frigging chore.

I left Richard in charge of the two chucks and Chea yesterday whilst I was off shopping. When I returned I asked him how he had managed. Responsibility weighs very heavily with Richard. He said he had found the hole in the fence where Chea was escaping and had filled the whole thing with a piece of trellis only for Chea to run up it like a ladder and sit grinning at him from the top of the fence. He sounded quite stressed, poor thing. Welcome to my world!

I can warble no longer. I am going to make a cup of tea and then go and clear out all three wardrobes before my energy level and enthusiasm drops to nothing… and those rather annoying baby cabbages start to call …HPIM2818

Take care my lovelies x