Monday, 23 December 2013


I’ve had quite an eventful time since I last blogged. I was offered a 2 book contract by Severn House and decided to commit myself to just one book, having already the idea for LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND. I had to write a short synopsis which is something I hate doing but I managed it and now I'm glad I did because when I really get going after Christmas with it, I'll know pretty well the main events on the journey to the end of the book. Having come to an agreement with agent and publisher, I decided it was time for a break before Christmas.  

  Despite the dire weather forecast - rain, hail, gale force winds - John and I decided to nip up to the Lakes for a couple of days. This would be our Christmas present to each other. I’d recommend it. Especially as despite the weather we did manage to get a couple of walks in lovely Cumbria. Rydal Water was looking calm and beautiful with the reflection of the hills shining on the surface of the lake when we dumped our luggage at Highfield B&B in Ambleside. We visited the cave which must be known to thousands if not millions of walkers and mused with a couple of strangers over what must have been mined there. I presumed it was slate, only to be greeted with a shake of the head. I determined to google when I arrived home to find out the truth. As a writer I know just how important it is to get one’s facts right. If you get them wrong, there’s bound to be an eagle-eyed reader who will point out your mistake. I’ve never forgotten giving Runcorn a road bridge in 1952 when at the time cars were lifted over the River Mersey by transporter.

I’m pleased to say that I was right about what was mined at the cave. According to  Google, Loughrigg Quarry, to give the cave its proper name, was quarried for good quality roofing slate and building stone for Ambleside and the surrounding area. We also got a bit wet the following day when John went for a fell run into Little Langdale from Elterwater and I did the walk to Skelwith waterfall. The rain was relentless but I kept hoping it would go off but it didn’t until after we were both back at the car. 

                       Taken from the interior of Loughrigg Quarry by John Francis
Whilst away we made time to see the new Hobbit film - ‘The Desolation of Smaug’. I’d read THE HOBBIT to each of my three sons, as well as the sequel THE LORD OF THE RINGS. I’d also seen the three films several times. As well as the first of The Hobbit films, so naturally I was looking forward to seeing the latest one. I should have known not to take for granted it would be exactly true to the book. The special effects were fantastic and the two hours, forty-one minutes flew by. It’s true, though, that I whispered several times to my husband, ‘I don’t remember this happening in the book but I don’t mind a bit of budding romance really, but I’ll say no more. about that I hate spoilers! Besides I am aware that films and books require different treatments, otherwise there would be no need for screenwriters.

 On our return home, I visited Formby Books  to pick up a book by Jacqueline Winspear. It was one of the Maisie Dobbs detective crime series called A LESSON IN SECRETS. This one is set in Cambridge in 1932 and I’m really looking forward to reading it, once I’ve finished an ex-library book by Ann Grainger, who used to write historical romance for Masquerade at the same time I did. This book is a detective one, too, A MORTAL CURIOSITY but set in Victorian times and is the second in the Lizzy Martin series.

Whilst in Formby I met Sean Connelly promoting his latest book. Ex-army naturally he writes about his experiences as a soldier. At least I’m taking for granted that’s his subject matter. Apparently he’s also a rapper and was raising funds for Help For Heroes in Formby.  
I got things wrong in my last blog called FAMILY TIES when writing about the Gregory family. Due to misreading about about my Great-great Aunt Lavinia Gregory in the censuses, on Ancestry. I presumed that she had married the master of the house where she was a cook. The man she really wed was Thomas Williams, a widower with children. Her story wasn’t one that some might call a Rags to Riches, a bit like a Mills & Boon romance where the heroine marries her boss. Instead Thomas was a plumber, lodging in a large house on the Wirral. After their marriage, they lived in a two up, two down. Lavinia gave birth to seven children while living there, but then William went on to become an acetylene engineer and made enough money for them to afford to move to that large house, near Bebington in the photograph. It was there Lavinia gave birth to another four children. I think she belongs to my list of women in the family who were tough cookies. One of the children born in that two up, two down, was the mother of Laura (Pat) Holt, who emailed me the photos and she is the lovely bride,Hilda Mary Magdeline Williams and her handsome bridegroom was James Francis Edward Murphy. My apologies to that branch of my extended family.

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