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 and Then she suggested that she interviewed me on her blog. You can see the result on 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.