Cornwall, Devon, Happy New Year, Holidays, Writing

Another year over…

When this time of year comes around I’m reminded of the lyrics of John Lennon’s 1972 hit ‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’ and the line ‘And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?’  It’s that moment when I begin to think back over the previous twelve months and ask myself ‘yes what have I done?’

To be honest 2019 has been a pretty quiet year, although there have been a few unforgettable moments. Thankfully it has been nothing like the chaos last year brought with my broken ankle. That happened in May and took a huge chunk out of 2018. I was in plaster for six weeks, swapped it for an orthopaedic boot for two weeks followed by six sessions of physio. During that time I got used to a walking stick and then progressed to walking without any aids.  Happily by January I was walking normally, although it appears my days of wearing high heels are over –  and being only five feet tall, heels have very much been an essential part of my wardrobe since my teens. The op I had left my right ankle slightly larger than my left which means any high heeled shoes tend to rub under the ankle bone. However, it’s not all bad. I haven’t found myself checking out all those sensible flat shoe styles available in shops . Far from it.  I can still wear heels, maybe not as high but still smart and feminine, which my three inch heels aren’t missed. It seems every cloud has a silver lining.

So back to 2019 and those memorable moments.

a) Stratford on Avon in April to celebrate OH’s birthday with friends and a boys’ visit to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.  We stayed at a great pub with rooms called The Bell at Alderminster – highly recommended not only for its accommodation but for it’s restaurant as well. There’s a bus stop outside just in case you don’t feel like trying to locate a car park in Stratford, which can be pretty busy even in April.

b) Suffolk in early June. A whole week at Aldeburgh where we caught up with friends who’ve retired just over the border in Norfolk. A lovely relaxing holiday. Loved the fresh fish cabins set up along the beach front…

c) Mid-June also saw the publication of my first novel for Choc Lit/Ruby Fiction A Cornish Affair.  The end of a long journey, but well worth all the hard work to get there…

d) Early July for three days in North Wales just outside Dolgellau in an amazing B & B called Pandy Isaf.  Tucked into a sheltered valley and reached by a narrow single track road, it was an ideal base for touring.

My previous experience of North Wales had been in 2001 when we spent a very wet week in a cottage in Maentwrog not far from Blaenau.  I remember catching the train at Blaenau down to Porthmadog. It wasn’t just raining that day, it was pouring. I had a glimpse of Portmeirion towers in the distance as the train approached Porthmadog station. This year, in complete contrast, we had three days of hot sunshine and cloudless skies and we made that visit.

e) Portmeirion. A magical place and with blue skies above it felt just like the Med.  This was probably one of the most special moments of 2019 for me.  It’s not only quirky it’s beautiful in it’s own special way.  The flowers were amazing, especially the hydrangeas which lined the road on the way in.  If you’re in the area and planning to visit it’s best to arrive early as by noon it’s packed. Back in the 1960s the series The Prisoner was filmed her and there’s a bust of Patrick McGoohan, the lead actor in the series (see picture below).

f) September. Dartmouth. Our annual trip to South Devon. This time we took the ferry up to Greenway House and Gardens – Agatha Christie’s house now managed by the National Trust. Her husband was an archaeologist and the house is full of  items brought back from countries he visited. It’s an unusual house and although empty now it still feels like home – as if Agatha and her family might walk through the door at any time.  To see her first editions and some TV scripts plus her typewriter and the place she used to write gave an interesting insight into her life.  All in all a great afternoon.

g) October. Falmouth.  Although I grew up fifty miles from the sea, I’ve always loved everything about the coastal towns of Devon and Cornwall. Unlike Dartmouth, Falmouth has a working dockyard so it has a slightly more commercial feel. But the views across the estuary to Flushing are still as atmospheric. The Greenbank Hotel where we stayed has great views, an excellent restaurant and relaxing atmosphere. We had misty mornings and pleasant calm sunny days and made the most of the weather by taking the ferry across to St Mawes as well as the train to St Ives and Truro.

So that just about wraps up 2019.  There have been some great times this year, although there was one sad event.

We had two cats, Max and Mollie.  Sadly Max disappeared and despite extensive publicity and searches he was never found. Mollie had problems with our new neighbour’s two cats which saw her taking refuge with another neighbour three doors away.  We weren’t able to entice her back so settled into an agreement that we would pay her insurance and vet’s bills and our neighbour would pay for her keep and holiday boarding in the cattery.  This was supposed to be short term, everyone thinking she would eventually return to us. She didn’t and this summer my neighbour suggested after all this time, if we were agreeable, she would take full responsibility for Mollie.

In truth Mollie was no longer our cat. True she would come into the garden and stop for a while, roll over to have her tummy tickled and then wander off. But anytime she returned she never made any attempt to come into the house.  So we made the decision to sign her chip registration over to my neighbour and transfer ownership.  It was something of an emotional moment but as I mentioned above, she’d stopped being our cat some time ago. And at least I know she’s happy where she is now.

We’d put a hold on having another cat because there was always the chance Mollie might come back and she really is a loner who doesn’t have feline friends.  Now we know that’s not going to happen who knows what 2020 will bring. Another cat? Or maybe a dog? The jury is out at the moment.

So that’s it, a year of travel, writing and animals. It only remains for me to wish everyone reading this health and happiness for the coming new decade.

See  you next year

Jo

Christmas Offer, Contemporary Romance, Devon

Countdown to Christmas…. A Special Festive Reading Offer 10th to 16th December

I’ve taken a break from writing to post a Christmas Offer for readers.  Back in 2015 I wrote Summer Moved On, followed a year later by Watercolours in the Rain. They are linked contemporary romantic sagas set in rural Devon.  From 10th to 16th December you can join the community of Lynbrook and follow the lives of those who live there for 99p/99c each (e.book download only)

 

South Devon Duo Book 1

After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle.   Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with.  Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met.  Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities.  Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him.  For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.

But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

On the surface, the heroine Jess has everything she could desire in her boyfriend Zac. Yet she is drawn to moody, brooding ‘Heathcliffe’-esque Talún. And who wouldn’t be, at that age? Is he just what Jess needs in the long summer before going up to university. Or is he the worst thing that could happen to her at this stage in her life? Jess has everything that money can provide but lacks a father’s love and relies on her lovely uncle Rufus to fill in the gaps. Small wonder then that she appears ‘ripe for the picking.’ The reader’s heart is in her mouth as Jess and Talùn’s relationship develops and we worry that it’s all going to end in tears. There’s plenty to keep the reader on side – a warm village community, complete with characters who wouldn’t be out of place in a Miss Read novel, or Cider with Rosie; a best friend, a scheming womaniser, a cold father and a mystery to be solved regarding Talùn’s parentage.  Lady Rochford, Amazon Reviewer

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON.COM http://a.co/iamXhV5

AMAZON UK  http://amzn.eu/fWGrxb8

South Devon Duo Book 2

What happens to the future when past and present collide?

JESS:  Six years ago Jess’s relationship with Talún Hansen was torn apart by one night of deception. He disappeared from Lynbrook village and she headed for university vowing never to let anyone break her heart again. Currently teaching in Oxford, Jess returns from holiday to an unexpected phone call and life changing news which eventually sees her returning home.

Talún: Six years on Talún Hawkeswood, as he is now known, is heir to his grandfather’s Norfolk farming empire. When he hears of trouble in the village due to Lynbrook Hall being put up for sale, going back is the last thing on his mind. But staying away is not an option either, not when someone he owes so much to is about to lose their home and their livelihood.

LILY: Splitting with her husband after her son Josh’s birth, Lily now works as part of an estate agency sales team.  She has always held onto her dream of finding a wealthy husband and a life of self-indulgence. When the sale of an important property brings her face to face with Talún, she realises despite the risks involved, the night they spent together six years ago could be the key to making those dreams come true.

As Jess, Talún and Lily return to Lynbrook and the truth about what happened that summer is gradually revealed, Talún finds himself in an impossible situation. Still in love with Jess he is tied into a trade off with Lily: his name and the lifestyle she craves in exchange for his son. And when a child is involved there is only one choice he can make…

I very much enjoyed Summer Moved On, but Watercolours in the Rain is even better.
Finding out what happened to Jess, Talún and Lily – and all the other minor characters – was like hearing about friends and what happened to them.
I was fascinated to see how Jo Lambert managed to get the “right” ending – very cleverly written, I thought.  Tina J Amazon Reviewer

 PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON.CO.UK Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4GRE5

 AMAZON.COM   Link: http://a.co/fjQMEo6