Wednesday, 20 July 2016

My friend Maisie

In December 2013 I posted about someone I called Maisie, an old friend of my late mother's, and a couple of months later posted briefly about her again, because she was and is such an inspiration. I went to see her today, after a phone call during which she told me she had decided to go into a home. This was her decision, made realistically and thinking about the weight of responsibility resting on her only surviving son, who is himself in his seventies and  lives a couple of hours' drive away. Maisie's health has deteriorated from what was already not a great state: her eyesight is worse, her joints more painful, her mobility more restricted, and her dependence on others greater. A few months ago, having to get up to go to the bathroom in the night, she had a disastrous fall. I found her a few days later in hospital, with a very dramatic purple bruise down all one side of her face. She was sitting in an armchair by her bed, as positive and chatty as ever, but I think that episode has set her back, and she has now come to the conclusion that she needs round-the-clock care. It's a big step for her, but she says now the decision is made she  can't wait - not because she wants to leave her home, but because she wants to be less of a worry for her family and friends. Today she said philosophically, 'Wherever I end up, I'll make the best of it.' And I am certain she will.

Last month Maisie celebrated her 98th birthday. We had a tea party in her house and so many people came there was barely room to move! Today I took her some photos of the day - printed on A4 so she had a better chance of seeing them. Here's one of them, catching her  mid-laugh. She was holding a neighbour's baby, and I whispered, 'Maisie, you didn't even tell us you were pregnant!'

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Friends across the pond

Recently an American writer whom I know via the internet kindly read and reviewed my latest novel, An Iron Yoke. You can see her review on www.amazon.com and www.amazon.co.uk. Then she suggested that she interviewed me on her blog. You can see the result on www.juliesaffrin.com. Julie is herself a talented writer and the author of BlessBack.

The interview is charming and full of photos many of which Julie herself sourced. She did her research well - a must for any writer. At the end of the interview she asked people to comment, and offered a free Kindle version of An Iron Yoke to one of the people who left a comment. I trust the winner enjoys the read.

Julie herself, and many of her friends, are great Anglophiles, it seems. I am very thankful to Julie for her generous efforts on my behalf, and I hope they result in a few more American readers for me.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Slaves to two gardens (2)

...on our return to England I found my azaleas and rhododendrons (in pots here because of the chalky natural soil)  out in colourful splendour, and perhaps best of all a wistaria also in flower along the wall of the garage. This plant was taken some years ago as a cutting from an enormous wistaria that adorned the back wall of my late parents' house. There are new owners there now and they may well have chopped the wistaria down - it demanded considerable maintenance. But happily it lives on.



Slaves to two gardens


We left our garden in France neatly mowed (well, neatly-ish), weeded, and strimmed, the second fallen tree chopped up for firewood, and a huge mound of garden stuff burnt on a bonfire. Many of the azaleas and rhododendrons were in flower, as were red hot pokers, the flowering crab, irises and lilac.








We even had one wild orchid, which we carefully avoided when mowing.

But then we had to leave it, knowing that when we get back nature will have made great inroads into our efforts. But on our return to England I had a pleasant surprise...

Domestic harmony?

For those readers who are interested in wildlife, here's an update on the residents of our water-meter pit in France, at the top of our long garden under a concrete slab. I first discovered the fire salamanders some time ago, but since then they have multiplied. It seems that the first called to the second, of the opposite gender, and between them they produced a third. They coexist without apparent discord (or at least without eating each other), with two toads. Here two of the salamanders and the two toads were photographed piled on top of the water meter, and on top of each other.


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

An Iron Yoke is launched

I didn't count heads - too busy!- but I believe 50 or 60 people came to help celebrate the launch of An Iron Yoke. We had a great evening, pink fizzy and other good things were consumed, and I sold all the copies I had, as well as a few of my older books.I felt immensely blessed by the support and loyalty of such good friends.



Wednesday, 9 March 2016

FANFARE, PLEASE!

I'm very pleased to announce the arrival of my novel no. 5, An Iron Yoke. Here's the cover:




It's in a similar genre to my others - realistic British Christian fiction. But this one departs a bit from what I have done before, as it has a murder in it. I say no more.  It's already out there, available on Amazon, and garnering reviews. 
I like to think my work is realistic, contemporary, with recognisable and believable characters and riveting plots. What it doesn't have is on-page sex, violence or swearing. I leave these things to the imagination of my readers. Less is more.