Accuse me thus…

In my latest novel, Radwinter, accusations fly, but the hero, Thomas, keeps his suspicions to himself, and in many ways from himself. This is another of Shakespeare’s sonnets which i don’t know as well as it deserves… so I am going to spend some little time reading and enjoying it.

Sonnet CXVII

Accuse me thus: that I have scanted all,
Wherein I should your great deserts repay,
Forgot upon your dearest love to call, 
Whereto all bonds do tie me day by day;
That I have frequent been with unknown minds,
And given to time your own dear-purchased right;
That I have hoisted sail to all the winds
Which should transport me farthest from your sight.
Book both my wilfulness and errors down,
And on just proof surmise accumulate;
Bring me within the level of your frown,
But shoot not at me in your wakened hate;
Since my appeal says I did strive to prove
The constancy and virtue of your love.

William Shakespeare

The Watch House

One day, not soon necessarily, but one day I’m going to include this house in one of my stories… I don’t know what the story will be… it may not be for quite a little while… but at some point a house made from wood, which may or may not have been a watch house in its previous life, will feature.

I once stayed in a wooden house, and old wooden house made from pine, and it was totally different from being in a brick house,, it seemed to breathe somehow, I don’t’ mean in a spooky or creepy way, but maybe it was the way timbers give and yield, maybe it was the faint old scent of the wood, maybe it was just my imagination, but it just seemed very different. I have lived in brick-built houses, and I have stayed in stone built houses, but I have never at any other time than this short period of three weeks, lived in a wooden house.

I’m beginning to wonder now who might live in this house… the blue house and the watch tower are two separate buildings in reality… but wait a minute, I don’t think this is the watch tower… I think this is somewhere else, but in my story that wouldn’t matter! I had a sudden memory of the TV programme ‘Through the Keyhole” where viewers were shown the interior of a house owned by a celebrity and had to guess whose it was, the catch-line was ‘Who’d live in a house like this? David, it’s over to you!’ So I’m now wondering who would live in a house like this, a wooden house like this… and where does David figure in the story?


A surprising evening

As a volunteer teacher I have to undergo some training on safe-guarding procedures, as I could be working with people who are vulnerable because of their lack of English… It’s not just me who has to do this, we all do, but I huffed and puffed about it, I’ve been a teacher for thirty years blah blah blah, but then I thought, actually why I should I be singled out as not having to do it, so I unhuffed and unpuffed and went along to do the training this evening.

First of all I had been told the wrong venue, so I turned up early, and then had to drive across town, but luckily because I was early, I arrived in time for coffee. I sat next to a lady who turned out to know my daughter from when she was in the Brownies (my daughter, not the lady!) and a man who was a good friend of a friend of mine… the evening looked a little more promising.

The course was run in a modern church, a very modern church which had a huge, very tall ceiling, I swear I could see clouds floating between the floor and the lights… the walls were covered in some sort of cladding so instead of it being echoey, the sound was deadened, which meant we couldn’t hear the speakers… But then we all shuffled our chairs forward, the speakers moved their flip-charts  nearer to us and raised the voices and all could be heard.

… and surprisingly, the evening was really interesting! The speakers were very good, and at half time we had more coffee and Christmas cake! It just goes to show, you shouldn’t always be reluctant to do anything because sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised!



One of the nice things about good tearooms, is that there are always interesting things to look at while you enjoy your cream tea or coffee and carrot cake or whatever has taken your fancy.

We were in Burnham, a small town further down the coast from us, and we went into a triangular-shaped tearoom which used to be a wok restaurant. We never managed to visit it as a restaurant, but we popped in for a cup of coffee… ok, I know it’s  a teashop and we should have had tea, but we fancied coffee. having said it’s nice to have interesting things to look at this place had gone overboard and there was hardly a scrap of wall visible between pictures and plaques and boards with comical mottoes and sayings. Every window sill had things crammed on it, and it was all a little distracting. Good coffee though!

MINEHEAD (7)Tearoom in Minehead

tearoom 3Tearoom in Axbridge

The cream tea, clotted cream, jam and scones in Cheddar

DSCF2693Tearoom in Glasgow

That funny stage…

I’ve got to that funny stage with my novel Radwinter. It is finished, I have edited it and checked it and read it out loud to myself and now I’m in something like limbo while I ponder on my next move. In the past I would be setting a date to publish it on Kindle and doing the editing such as page breaks, chapters, notes etc….

But… but, this time I really feel as if this book would stand a chance of being published; it has a theme – genealogical research, it has a subsidiary theme, food, it comes to a definite conclusion with what I hope will be a satisfactory and unexpected revelation, plus (thank you, Isabel) a final chapter to wrap it all up and tie up a couple of tiny-weeny loose ends. I could see a potential audience as anyone interested in family history, and as it is set in the present (it concludes in the last few days of 2013) it seems (to me) to have a relevant ‘hit’.

The problem is there is a whole vast world of publishers and agents… and I have had no success in the past with either, I have been let down by both and wasted a lot of time because of promises and assurances. I have been on sites where you post your work and give and accept criticism to and from others, with the assurance that when you get enough positive comments a publisher might look at your work… but again, it seems to me, luck plays an enormous part in this and these sites involve a lot of time, reading others work, commenting, and reviewing… time which could be spent writing. I have no contacts in publishing or media, no connections… no personal links…

So… I think I might spend a while ringing and emailing publishers, just test the responses… and then I think I will publish Radwinter  on Kindle… available to all who have one or have the app!


Pavenham was where my mum and her sisters and brother lived in the early part of their childhood… and it is a place which has an almost mythical quality in  my mind, because  I can’t relate the stories my mum and aunties told of living there, with the little village I visited maybe ten or fifteen years ago.

Pavenham is a tiny place in Bedfordshire, and has traces of human habitation dating back to the earliest times, way before Romans even planned to come to Britain. The name is of Saxon origin, what it was before no-one now knows, but its Saxon name was Papa’s Ham or Paba’s Ham. Pavenham is by the River Ouse, and in distant times rivers were more navigable and it is known that Vikings reached a village only a few miles away… maybe the People of Paba’s Ham saw or hid from or traded with Vikings? Paba’s ham was also on the front line of Saxon defences against the Danes, pretty much on the boundary of the Danelaw, the boundary between the kingdoms of the Danes and the Saxons. The Normans, came, and a different sort of law was established, but maybe life was pretty much the same for ordinary villages who kept their heads down and continued to work the land under whichever lord was holding the manor… or in the case of Pavenham the manors, because there were two in the village.

I don’t know how prosperous the village was, but as well as farming it was known for  mat and basket making, rush plaiting, and pillow lace.The village church is St Peter’s has five bells, and is situated on a slightly higher part of the parish so it looks out over the village. It is a Grade 1 listed building which means itt is of architectural interest and was built about eight hundred years ago.

I wonder if my mum and her sisters were taught the history of the little village where they lived? They had an old cottage, with a pump in the garden, and I think (although I’m not sure, I must check with my cousins) they also had a pump at the sink in the house. After the war, when they were married with children, the sisters would go for picnics at Pavenham, although we went less often than my cousins. pastures leading down to the river… swimming in its soft brown water… happy days…

img085I don’t know when this photo was taken, but it must have looked very similar when my mother was a child

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