the birthday present



What did I do in the evenings in a camper van in Spain? Hmm…I knit a cardigan for my sister’s birthday. She likes those sort of purply shades. Unfortunately it turned out rather large and equally unfortunately my sister is small and dainty. However, think how many layers of clothing and thermal vests she can fit underneath it.


writer’s block… another chapter in ‘how not to be a writer…’

Usually Sam could lose herself in the characters of her novels. In fact if she’d ever thought about, it she‘d have realised that was precisely why she wrote.

Her characters were young, sexy and adventurous. She liked them – she liked being among them. She joined in with their adventures as she wrote- she laughed with them, loved them, slept with them and worried about them all.

Lately she had started to feel more like their mother watching them get into scrapes and unable to do anything about it. That depressed her. What had changed she kept asking herself

 This time something was wrong, seriously wrong, she just couldn’t seem to get inside the skin of her leading lady and the young devilishly handsome rake in the computer section of the office.

 It wasn’t that she hadn’t done her research – a while ago she had temped for a big firm of marketing specialists for three months. It had been fine, as well as earning some much needed money – she had gone clubbing with the young ones on Saturday nights; had after work drinks to the Campari Bar with the designers from the second floor – gone to the Races with the MDs  secretary and her crowd of friends; and had slept with a salesman.

  It wasn’t that she didn’t have any ideas, actually she didn’t know how the story would end, but that was usual – the characters developed as the story went along and the ending would often come about half through or even three quarters and then she would know in a flash what was going to happen.

 Writers block!

After cleaning the flat from top to bottom, even going so far as to wipe the dreadful blinds, emailing her mother and a few ex boyfriends, half a bottle of chardonnay, fish, chips and mushy peas, Sam decided that was it –  she couldn’t write another word.

such excitement….

Today the letter book arrived. Yipee!

In the olden days; long before mobile phones and skype, facetime and texts, and even when a long distance telephone call meant standing in a draughty telephone box and was too expensive to do unless it was an emergency, my sister and I wrote to each other.

And we still do – more than 40 years on, but recently we have changed the format and they are now called ‘letterbooks.’

Imagethis is the front cover of letterbook number two – my sister chose this notebook -and isn’t it a good one?



and this is an example of what’s inside – quotations and photos and things we like – plus lots of writing about what’s happening in our lives – maybe our grandchildren will read them and laugh…


this is letterbook number three and the most recent. I chose it – its very smart and a little too heavy so it costs a lot to post but its lovely paper! Its been travelling from France to Ireland and back since October 2013.

And it came today! Here is an example from my sister -It’s part of a poem about her teeth



and oh yes it arrived this morning….! Now this has to be savoured – I don’t read it all at once – the pleasure would be over far too quickly. A little at a time with a cup of tea sitting by the fire. I know there will be some poems, some photos old or new, a quotation or two and lots about her family and life on a lake shore in the West of Ireland.

We have the same foundations, they bind us together, but from our teenage years our lives have been  different – as we are different – but we both like making lists and writing. In fact my sister is the champion list maker – I run a close second! making a list is like eating ice cream or chocolate – it is just so comforting!


winter stayed too long…a poem

Winter stayed too long

 Winter stayed too long

rain and wind would not abate,

chilled air seeped through cracks

into March and April’s lengthening days


At last, amongst buttercups chasing

cowslips from the meadows,

cattle roamed and ruminated,

and the cold wind changed direction.


A feeble warmth upon the stones

enticed a lizard from his crevice; he

waited for the warmth within his blood

but spring seemed a long time coming.

a poem

back in the bosom of La Belle France and with all this technology I should surely be able to write something of interest for anyone who might be reading it. Instead here’s a poem – written last year 

Never Return

Autumn mist

       crept slowly from the valley

       a slithering grey dampness swirled

       as it weaved its way among trees and tiles

       enveloping all like a shroud,

       sliding round rooftops and chimneys

       sucking out colour, leaving

       the grey mask

       like death’s own face;


       and when the wind followed

       shuddering, it sighed

       ‘never return

       never return.’


And now for something completely different….




the blue skies of Benidorm

and some creatures around our cottage



such a pretty moth!

‘and in the dew of little things…

the heart finds its morning, and is refreshed.’ Kahil Gibrain

I have always loved the book that this quote comes from – The Prophet.

How can you refresh a heart? I was thinking along those lines – plenty of time to think in a camper van in Spain -especially as the sun has gone in…

I thought about

… an unexpected hug…

and an unasked for arm around  around your shoulders,

a kind smile – not the patronising ‘here we go again’ sort of smile,

When you are younger maybe its the undemanding kiss of a lover, or later maybe just the comfort of the sun on creaky joints,

a kiss from a grandchild and a warm sticky hand  placed trustingly in yours.

How easily is the heart refreshed in the dew of little things.

have you refreshed a heart today?