The Author, The Gardener and The Woman What does – a humorous excerpt

I think we can all relate to the feeling of nervousness around someone we’re attracted to but Rokki, Tess’ niece, is overcome by attacks of clumsiness, usually inflicting some injury on the object of her desires. Here’s her first meeting with Lee.

The Author new poster

The garden gate opened and in walked Rokki, Tess’s niece and she cast her eyes round the garden before opening the back door, then Kacey heard the sound of voices but they were too far away for her to hear what was said.
“Wow he’s fit!” Rokki was saying to Tess. “Who is he?” She gazed lustfully through the kitchen window as Tess washed the potatoes to bake for lunch.
“I take it you mean the younger one. It’s Lee, Billy’s son, helping his dad out.” Lee was the image of Billy, showing what Billy must have looked like in his youth and she could appreciate Rokki’s interest, she’d be interested herself if she were ten years younger, in Billy that was.
“Has he been here before?”
“Sometimes, it depends on his college timetable. He usually comes in the holidays.”
“Why haven’t I seen him then?”
“You just mustn’t have been here when he was. Anyway, never mind Lee, how did it go with Mike? Oh, before you tell me, are you staying for lunch? I’ll put you a potato in if you are.”
Rokki looked at the four potatoes in the glass ovenproof dish, rapidly assessing the situation and decided yes please, she would, she’d be able to see more of the gorgeous Lee if she had lunch with him.
“Are you off today?” asked Tess.
Rokki shook her head. “No but it’s one of those stupid days when I have a lesson from nine to ten in the morning and don’t have another til three so I’ve got all this time to kill. I’d thought I’d come over and give you an update.”
“I’m looking forward to hearing it. When you’ve told me I’ll make us all a coffee and you can go and take the men theirs.”
“Woo hoo, what a good idea!”
“So go on then, what happened with Mike? Is he speaking to you or did he blow you out?”
“Well,” Rokki warmed to her tale, “I didn’t see him til yesterday, I wondered if he was avoiding me, and we came face to face as I was going out of the refectory and he was going in. I went hot all over – my face must have been crimson – and I just muttered ‘Hi.’ He answered me and looked a little wary – bet he was glad we were well away from the stairs! I sort of stuttered and stammered something like, ‘I’m really sorry about your lip. How is it?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s OK. ‘Was it really bad?’ I asked. ‘Did you have to have stitches?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, a couple, but it was OK.’ It was still bruised but the swelling had gone down. Don’t think he’ll be kissing anyone for a while though, least of all me.”
“You never know. What happened then?”
“He just said, ‘Well see you,’ and walked off with his mates. I didn’t get the feeling he wanted to linger round me for long.”
“Oh that’s a shame but never mind, onward and upward. I’ll go and make the coffee and you can take it out to Lee.”
Rokki took a mirror out of her bag and inspected her reflection. She bared her teeth making sure there were no bits of food stuck there; she didn’t want to make a fool of herself when she took the coffees out, she’d done more than enough of that with Mike, she didn’t want a second shot at it with Lee. She added a touch more lipgloss and ran her fingers through her hair to make it look fuller and more bouncy as Tess set the two mugs of coffee and a plate of biscuits on a tray.
“There you are, go and take that to them.”
Rokki took the tray, heart hammering like a blacksmith on an anvil and Tess opened her the door.
Rokki took careful steps across the patio, up the first step to the lawn, then the second. She looked up, lips poised to shout, ‘Coffee boys,’ and that was her fatal mistake, losing her concentration. She tripped on the top step and the word that came out was an involuntary ‘Oh!’ bringing both Billy’s and Lee’s heads up from what they were doing to see Rokki, stumbling at a headlong gallop across the lawn in an effort to steady herself, knees knocking, feet crossing, hands holding up the tray like a trophy, in a balancing act to rival any circus performer with spinning plates, and the coffee a swirling tempest sloshing around in the mugs.
Lee ran across the lawn to rescue the tray just in time before the whole lot descended to the ground, and Rokki managed to regain her balance without scalding either herself or Lee.
“Oh I’m… I’m so sorry,” she stammered. “I was coming to bring you a drink. You must think I’m such a dork. I’m Rokki by the way, Tess’s niece.”
Lee’s amusement lit up his honey coloured eyes, so like his father’s but he kept any hysterical laughter well and truly in its place.
“I’m Lee, Billy’s son, and no I don’t think you’re a dork, anyone can trip. Good thing I was around to catch the tray.” He allowed himself a wry grin.
“Yes um… well, enjoy your drink,” and she turned and headed back to the house with as much dignity as she could muster, cheeks flaming.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3z8dGAWsKY&feature=youtu.be

Will and Ava – Spitfire Love

Wilhelmina Schmidt – or Will as she preferred to be called – had never been a girl’s girl. She’d never liked girl’s toys, boy’s were much more exciting, cars and aeroplanes. The pretty dresses her mother dressed her in were always dirty and torn from playing boy’s games. As she grew she had no burning desire to wear make up and only wore the minimum to conform. Sexually she’d been drawn neither to boys nor girls but had never bothered to wonder why. Then she met Ava.

Forbidden wartime love Spitfire

Ava Greatbach by contrast was a girl’s girl. Had loved her dolls as a child, loved her make up as she grew and especially loved pretty cotton summer dresses. She’d also had boyfriends. Then she met Will.

3D

They were drawn together as if by a magnetic silken thread. It wouldn’t have mattered what gender they were, their souls called to one another. The power that drew them was stronger than they were – but it was wartime. Lives were destroyed. Love was torn apart.

Spitfire II for blog

http://www.sherrielowe.co.uk/over-a-spitfire.php

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Over-Spitfire-Sherrie-Lowe-ebook/dp/B01GCFFR6S/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1532169891&sr=1-2&keywords=sherrie+lowe

 

The Weekend Guest

I’ve got two fur grandsons, Rooney and Ralphy, belonging to my sons and their families and I look after the dogs – separately – when they are away. It was the turn of Ralphy to stay for the weekend this time while his Mum and Dad were at a wedding.

Ralph garden

He usually brings a few toys to add to the ones I’ve got here and one of his favourites is a parrot which has got a look of a window cleaner I had doing my windows many years ago so I named it Doug after him.

Ralph and Doug

Ralphy is a quick learner and soon got used to the new command of ‘bring Doug’ and he’d fetch the parrot for me to throw so that he could catch it, his favourite game. His other toy is a moose which was a goodbye present from his much loved dog walker when they moved house. I named it Milly. It took him a while to get used to ‘bring Milly’ not so easy a sound as Doug but he was learning. Here are his thoughts on the matter.

Ralph and moose

Ralphy: I’z back here at Nana Shuffs house. Not much goes on here and I does a lot of sleeping but it is my meditation retreat – she sits in her recliner chair, I snoozes until somebody rings the bell or walks past the window then I sez ‘I iz here and in charge. Nobody passes unnoticed.’ I need to tell Nana Shuffs of their presence you see. How duz she know else?

When Nana is  playing with those light up boxes that all hoomans play with I know there is no point in me bestowing a toy upon her – doesn’t she understand what an honour that is – but as soon as she takes her glasses off (I hear them click when she folds them) time to stretch, yawn and select a toy. Which to choose? I az a green thing with a big nose, Nana calls it ‘Bring Doug’ so that must be its name like I iz Ralph. As well I az a soft thing with a big nose that az lovely stuff that I can rip out of its innards and make patterns all over the floor – she throws this stuff away, I never knows why. I did az a nasty mishap today and a bit of the stuff got stuck in my throat and I coughed and coughed until my eyes watered but it went in the end. Nana Shuffs calls this soft chewy creature ‘Bring Milly.’

I az to say I iz a mite disappointed. I heard by dog grapevine that she put live entertainment on for my cousin Rooney, a running creature that he chased down the garden.

Ratty in the snow

I’d love to have done that! All I’ve ever chased have been flapping creatures on the fence or a thing with a bushy tail. Not close enough to have a little nip at but quite fun, especially when Bushy Tail had to disentangle himself from the tree, woof woof!

Squirrel feeder

Ah well, it’s tiring jumping round the room after Doug and Milly. Time for bed methinks. Nighty night.

Ralph snoozing

http://www.sherrielowe.co.uk/

 

 

Guests and Visitors

It’s dog sitting time again for my fur grandson Rooney, a golden labradoodle whilst his family are on holiday. His cousin Ralphy the black one is booked in for later in the year, never together, they’d run me ragged.

Roon n Ralph Tittesworth

Rooney and I have had a few encounters with the local wildlife this last couple of days while we’ve sat outside in the sunshine. Rooney has a slender physique, eats everything and anything, human food plus his own food and treats and never gains weight, perhaps more of a poodle build; Ralphy by contrast seems to be more labrador and prone to gaining weight, just like  people, two minutes on the lips, forever on the hips as the saying goes, so his diet is watched carefully by Mum and Dad, only dog food and monitored dog treats, no human food but he does like to lick fallen crumbs.

Well Roon and I sat outside, he with a Bonio biscuit, me with a chocolate muffin. He made short work of the Bonio and sat with his eyes fixed on the chocolate muffin but he was on a hiding to nothing. From under my garden chair a tiny creature crawled and jumped. I thought it was an insect at first but then I noticed the fur and tail – a tiny mouse! Was it a baby? Worse, was it a baby rat?!? I’d seen a huge rat lurking in the snow in the winter when I’d put food out for the birds but no sightings since I’d stopped.

Ratty in the snow

The tiny visitor went right past Rooney, whose eyes never moved from the muffin, then it hopped down the lawn and under the magnolia tree. Both dogs are fascinated by the smells under this tree. What lives there?

Magnolia May 2018

I relayed all of this news to my sister via email and she has this mindset of transferring words to the animals mouths, some may remember reading about her visiting cat in The Black Knight Diaries – the result of our laughing at too many daft cat memes and their language.

“Send me a picture of the tiny visitor,” said she.

Well Tiny Visitor arrived the next day, just missed getting trodden on by Roon and stood frozen whilst I took pictures, which I sent to my sister. Here’s her conversation between Roon and Tiny Visitor.

 

Rooney:    I az been sniffing around the tree to issue a warning. ‘Hear this ye rodents of the local area. This dog allowed all manner of hooman treats so don’t be looking for no crumbs when I’m here. However when the other fella comes do him a favour and remove all temptation from the hopeful bloke!’

Roon 4

Tiny Visitor:   FFS I’ve just moved all my shit in here and she’s now got a great big wolf-like monster staying with big feet who is careless where he puts em! There was I minding my own business when he comes tramping past and I nearly got squished! You can lay off the chocolate muffin crumbs buddy. You stick to your dog biscuits and know your place!

That aside it had been a bit of a nothing day for Rooney. I don’t do much so he sleeps a lot. He’d had a lovely walk on Monday with Ralphy and his mum and dad but now back to life with me, Nana Shuffs. Bedtime came, time for the last wee of the day at dusk.

The boys having fun

I stood on the patio while he was further down the garden sniffing around as dogs do when out from the shrubs pops Ratty, right by my feet! No sightings since the snow! I don’t know who was more shocked it or me. I was just glad I’d closed the back door. It beat a hasty retreat back into the shrubbery then ran out the other side – right in front of Rooney, who immediately shot after it. They raced down the garden, Ratty for his life, Rooney in pursuit of his prey – or the live toy! All thoughts of the last wee had left his mind but I’ll let him have the last word.

Rooney:    Well who’d have thought it! I az ad a boring day sleeping, all she az done is sit writing but she saves the best until bedtime. She puts on LIVE ENTERTAINMENT! How good iz dis? Better than that useless blue ball she’s got me. I can’t even rip that up! I be on the look out for that running creature tomorrow. I catch it before I leave then I feel I iz proper champ! Mum and Dad, I’ve had very little in the way of hooman food since I’ve been here apart form a piece of toast but no morsel of chocolate muffin, Nana Shuffs likes to keep such delicacies to herself. I ain’t had a curry in ages and I can’t wait for one!

http://www.sherrielowe.co.uk/

The Black Knight Diaries

A few months ago I wrote about my sister’s visiting black cat whom we’ve nick named The Black Knight. Here’s another installment.

The Black Knight isn’t her only visitor but he is far and away the favourite. He is a prince among cats. He doesn’t have that standoffish haughty nature common to some cats. He is friendly and affectionate. I have met him a few times and once he’s got used to my presence and returned from his fast exit at the sight of a stranger in his domain, he’s decided I’m OK, sitting in my vacated chair, but I digress, onto the other visitors.

Alan is a black and white cat. So named after Alan Titchmarsh the TV gardener because he comes and digs in my sister’s garden. Unlike his namesake he is not planting pretty flowers but leaving little deposits, often whilst glaring defiantly at her from his position in the flower bed. The Black Knight has often squared up to him but it hasn’t deterred him from using the flower bed as his latrine.

“Of course,” I once pointed out, “Alan might be a girl with a very pretty name like Jessica or Jemima.”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” she answered, but Alan he/she remains.

Then there is Bobby Carrot. Bobby because he kind of bobs when he walks and Carrot because he is tortoiseshell but more orange. I think I have seen him over my side of the modern housing estate where we live occasionally. He is a timid little cat my sister says and Alan bullies him – or her – it could be a her.

There is the resident owl, Hootie who owns the estate, flying from her end to mine and sitting on posts by my sister’s and my neignbour’s houses making his/her presence known.

Although we live on the outskirts of a town we get lots of wildlife, foxes, squirrels, all kinds of birds, I’ve had sparrowhawks in the past and had mixed feelings about them, beautiful birds and lovely to have them in the garden but very sad when they take my little birds.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

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Here’s a conversation my sister had with The Black Knight one lovely sunny summer day. As she pegged out her washing he came running along the fence miaowing.

“Oh I’m glad you’ve come,” she said, “I want you to do some modeling for me.”

“Modeling?” queried B.K.

“Yes. For a blog.”

“Model for a blog? But I’ve come for chicken.”

“I’ll find you a treat.”

“Oh go on then.”

“Make yourself comfy.”

“I’ll sit on the bench.”

 

“Dis my best side.”

lying in the garden

“Enough now, get the chicken.”

******

Many of my novels have animal characters in them. After the Solstice (Willow’s Dip Book 2) has Chula, a beautiful Siamese cat who is a law unto herself.

Free Flight (Willow’s Dip Book 3) is set in a bird sanctuary and has many bird characters including an avian romance between a pair of snowy owls, Casper and Claudia, not to mention a ghost dog called Boris and an African grey parrot called Bramer who has a very colourful vocabulary.

The Author, The Gardener and The Woman What Does has two gorgeous rough collies, Bella and Donna and Song of the Phoenix has a Jack Russell terrier called Tim who is rather partial to toffees.

My two memoirs Shadow Across the Sun and Better or Dead have all of the pets I’ve had, loved and lost.

Animals enrich our lives and although I can’t have a pet now for health reasons I have two fur grandsons, a black and a golden labradoodle who I’m dog hotel to when their families are away. It just gives me a little animal contact.

For more information on my animal friends both real and imaginary visit my website

http://www.sherrielowe.co.uk/

 

 

Animal Friendships

Two very special animals helped my sister and I through one of the most difficult periods of our lives. One was a black miniature poodle called Candy, the other a tortoiseshell cat called Tiger.

We were raw from the death of our mother, me at 13, my sister at 8 so my cousin gave us one of her dogs – she bred poodles. Candy had the sweetest temperament and put up with any amount of mauling when we kept picking her up and fussing her but in the first few weeks my heart went out to her as she flew to the window with the sound of every car, looking to see if they’d come back for her.

Some years passed and the edge left the rawness of our grief but the void left by our mother was still there and we all missed her dreadfully. Dad lost all interest in everything. Our bungalow and its once beautiful garden looked as bereft as we felt, the lawns and borders were overgrown, an ideal place for a little stray cat, not much more than a kitten herself, to make a nest to have her babies. Two large dogs lived across the road and those kittens wouldn’t stand a chance if they got hold of them.

“Can we take her in Dad? Pleeeease?”

“No! I can’t abide cats, they go after the birds.”

“Just until she’s had her kittens?”

He sighed. He was beaten. He didn’t care about anything anymore. “Just until it’s had its kittens, then it’s going.”

We called her Tiger because of her colouring. She and Candy although not getting off to the best of starts became best friends. To read the full story of their friendship, how Candy mothered the kittens and also our family story my memoir Shadow Across the Sun is available from Amazon as an ebook and also paperback with the old cover. For the new cover in paperback go to feedaread.com. The price is about the same when you take P&P into account.

The two beautiful souls wrapped up in that little cat and dog, not forgetting those of the kittens saw my sister and I through very dark days. Here are a few pictures of them. I apologize for the quality, they date from the 1970s.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadow-Across-Sun-Sherrie-Lowe-ebook/dp/B007V42ON4/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1500369383&sr=1-8&keywords=sherrie+lowe

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Shadow-Across-the-Sun-9781781760499.aspx

 

 

 

 

A Bit of Doggy History

I often think of my two rough collies, Sheba and Jodi, my girlies as I used to call them, my beautiful Lassie dogs. They both feature throughout their lives in my memoir Better or Dead although it is many years now since they went over rainbow bridge but I think of them often and have never had another dog since.

Their stories begin on page 45 of the paperback, not sure of the page number in the ebook, when Sheba came to us. I was so excited to go and pick her up but I hadn’t realized what a traumatic experience it would be for her. With a cavalier attitude I’d ignored my husband’s suggestion to take a towel to put on my knee in the car. What a mistake that turned out to be!

Sheba 9 weeks old

My dream had always been to breed and show rough collies but it went wrong in spectacular fashion. When Sheba was 2 years old I was told by another breeder that she should have her first litter before she got any older. After much research we duly booked a suitable stud dog for our little princess and traveled to York from Stoke-on-Trent to have her mated. That didn’t quite go to plan but she seemed to enjoy the experience and her pregnancy progressed well. The birth of the puppies was more or less straightforward once it got going but afterwards….! What a disaster!

Sheba didn’t take well to motherhood and most of the puppies didn’t survive. We were advised by a couple of young and inexperienced vets to just keep two. It was absolutely heartbreaking and not an experience I wanted to repeat, either for myself or for the dog.

The full story begins on page 102 of the paperback, again not sure of the page in the ebook but it follows on from February 1979. As it is a memoir the book covers all aspects of my family life including my struggle with M.E/C.F.S, my sons’ pet rabbits Jazz and Ziggy, also now over rainbow bridge, as well as Sheba and Jodi’s life stories. Our pets play such a big part in our lives and I hope that when it’s my turn to leave this mortal coil that they will all be there to welcome me.

Better or Dead ebook plus paperback old cover available from amazon, paperback updated version from feedaread.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Better-Dead-Sherrie-Lowe-ebook/dp/B00JNS6TRS/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1499512423&sr=1-3&keywords=sherrie+lowe

Funny How Things Turn Out

They say life mirrors art, or is it art mirrors life? I’m never sure, but aspects of my stories have a way of happening, which is why I’m very wary about killing characters off or giving them illnesses or making terrible things happen to them; I don’t want to tempt Fate and bring it on anyone I know or love.

Since writing The Author, The Gardener and The Woman What Does two things have come to pass: I now have a gardener and a cleaner myself. Two wonderful people who both do a fabulous job, much better than I could do even before M.E took its toll on my old body.

They’re nothing like the characters in my book. Both are happily married to other people. Both come to me on different days. I don’t feed them as Tess does in my story other than a drink and maybe a cake that Mr Kipling has made, my energy levels don’t run to cooking. My gardener doesn’t use an electric mower and strimmer but petrol ones, something I’d have known if the gardener had come before the idea for the story.

I found them both by chance. I’d been needing them for a while as I was finding it increasingly difficult to manage both the garden and the housework due to my health condition. My gardener pushed a flyer through my door and my cleaner came from a chat to my cousin who I knew was very particular who she had in her house and I feel very comfortable with both, which I think is so important. In the past I’ve had people do jobs for me who I couldn’t wait to get out of the house. If I don’t feel comfortable with people they don’t set foot in my house again once I’ve got them out. As it is I’ve got a great electrician, plumber, decorator, mechanic, etc, a good network, all found over time.

As for dogs, I gave Tess in the book two rough collies after the two I’d had when I was younger. Mine were Sheba and Jodi, mother and daughter; hers were Bella and Donna, sisters. I’ve always been a rough collie person since reading Enid Blyton’s Shadow the Sheepdog when I was ten but I wouldn’t want another dog, not got the energy to look after one. I’m a dog hotel to my fur grandsons Ralphy and Rooney, my sons’ two labradoodles when they go on holiday. I don’t have them together, tried it once for an afternoon, never again, they go wild, but we usually let them have a visit and a rampage round the garden when I’ve got one of them. Their visits satisfy any yen I may have for a dog, they are nice to have and nice to give back.

Like Tess in the story I’ve published several books. Unlike her they haven’t made me millions. For that I am still waiting! As for the romance – too old, too ill, too worn out. By and large I’m content on my own. I don’t want to be washing someone’s boxers and socks or cooking their meals when I haven’t got enough energy to get through the day. The crime part of the story? I’ll pass on that too thanks!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Author-Gardener-Woman-What-Does-ebook/dp/B008C7NBYU/ref=sr_1_11?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1499334315&sr=1-11&keywords=sherrie+lowe