One of the things I am grateful for is that my day-job gives me opportunities, from time to time, to travel abroad, and over the last couple of years I've enjoyed visits to Paris, Cologne, the Somme, Brittany and Normandy among other places. On a daily basis, though, I am also blessed with a really beautiful commute to work. After yesterday's downpour (the farmers I'm sure are happy, even if many others aren't!) it was so lovely this morning to see the handkerchief tree coming into bud, along with the bright new green shoots, blossom and leaves bursting out along the hedgerows and trees all around, the birds singing in the sunshine ... gorgeous! I've loaded some pics on my Travel page - the High Weald in Spring is truly glorious.
What kind of things do we dream of doing when we’re small? I guess travelling through the Wardrobe and meeting Aslan was high on my list. I also loved reading and writing and learning about new things. I won a prize at my primary school for writing an adventure story about being marooned on a desert island (nod to Daniel Defoe), and my headmistress told me she confidently expected to read my books one day. For the next couple of decades I spent time as a theatrical agent, mum, reflexologist and alumni officer, and was generally busy in other ways, always thinking about writing, but not yet ready to get down to it, apart from the odd article at work.
A workshop offered at my work-place with Lynne Rees got me started on writing poetry again (discontinued in my teenage years) and I have kept this up ever since. Joining the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society has been a fantastic resource, with their monthly readings and peer-led workshops, and I have also been really grateful for the mentoring help I’ve received from Cornwall-based poet Caroline Carver.
My husband and I have arrived at a similar point now in our lives, where writing has flowered into a fully formed and active passion. We have supported each other in researching, editing and completing our own separate first books – mine a local history non-fiction book, Southborough War Memorial, his a novel, Niedermayer & Hart. We worked together to set up Odd Dog Press, our own independent publishing enterprise, and put together our own websites. Our son Tom has generously given us beautiful artwork, and recently a fantastic comic animation to promote N&H. Good friends have also supported us in this endeavour, making helpful suggestions, proofreading, offering their expertise and generally encouraging us with their enthusiasm.
We have given a lot of time and savings to our joint venture, and there are days when it can seem a bit scary to go out on this limb, but hey – I always loved climbing trees! Maybe one of these days I’ll achieve another long-standing ambition, and get to climb the Californian Redwoods! In the meantime, there’s nothing quite as exciting as getting an order, and despatching a book to an eager new reader.
And when someone genuinely loves your work and takes the time and trouble to tell you so … wow! It’s like Christmas in Narnia!
As a child I much enjoyed rides in my Dad's bubble car, and I have spent my entire adult driving career poodling around in modest small cars. Whenever my own Micra is in for repairs, our local mechanic usually lends me an even older edition to run round in. A few weeks back, with the Micra due to be out of use for 3 or 4 days, I'd been promised the usual 'courtesy car'. However, home from work at the end of the day, my husband greeted me with the exciting news that as the Stinky Car (don't ask) had run out of tax, the garage was very kindly lending me an old Alfa Romeo 156.
Oooooooooh! I rushed out of the house with beating heart to look upon it! Once behind the wheel, I was almost immediately transformed into Toad of Toad Hall, beaming with joy as I roared along the little lanes of the High Weald (within the speed limit of course!). On the long straight stretches, I had to vigorously resist the temptation to put my foot down. I wondered how I might find an excuse to take it round the M25 for a little detour. Many a time and oft have I glowered at the owner of a silver Porsche that has hurtled past me most mornings for the past four years. Now I was getting an insight into what it felt like to be behind the wheel of a powerful motor. I began to think alien thoughts like "I wonder how much the Beast can do?" and "Perhaps I'll start watching Top Gear?" and I noticed with a certain guilty satisfaction how other drivers, normally quite contemptuous of my small car, were drawing in to the side of the road as they saw my approaching Big Red One.
Ah well, luckily for my dark side, it was back to the garage by the weekend!
Lifelong bookworm, love writing too. Have been a theatrical agent and reflexologist among other things, attitude to life summed up by Walt Whitman's MIRACLES.