A Date With A Photograph

The morning post came from the ME/CFS/FM Singles Facebook group.
“This is your Fairy Admin Mother. Today you will be granted one day to spend with a person of your choice as they appear in a past photograph, only that particular image. You must not tell anyone who it is, even the person themselves. You can spend the day wherever you choose. You will be free of pain, fatigue, allergies, intolerances. Go ahead, enjoy your day.”
Nathaniel knew who he’d choose. She wasn’t the prettiest but she had an honest face and he felt drawn to her.
Krystina knew who she’d choose. Not the most handsome man but the kindest; he always had a comforting word for people in the group.
They both clicked on the image and found themselves together in the basket of a hot air balloon. The air was crystal clear, the sky blue, their bodies light and healthy, free from pain and the weight of fatigue. Beneath them fields of emerald and gold stretched like an old fashioned quilt, a river a ribbon of shot silk sparkled in the sunlight as it meandered on its way. The gases burned, flaring, keeping the balloon aloft on its journey and they watched the shadow it cast over the land below.
The balloon set them down at the edge of a field, a short walk from a stretch of golden sandy beach. They walked easily onto the beach, their legs strong, their energy limitless. They took off their shoes and walked hand in hand in the breaking waves listening to their gentle wash as they met the shore. They walked and walked, not speaking, no need for words, there was no past, no future, just those moments and the waves.
As they approached the cliffs there was a blanket laid out with a picnic. Dainty sandwiches, chicken legs, sausage rolls, and a light rose wine to wash it down. They talked of the sea, the countryside, summer. Illness was another world, a world away from where they were. After they’d eaten they just lay on the sand, feeling the sun warm on their skin.
Presently dusk began to gather and fold around them like a duvet. They didn’t want to move but they knew they must. Nathaniel got to his feet and held out his hand, pulling Krystina to hers. As the sun set and the first star appeared in the lavender evening sky they kissed. Not a passionate kiss but a tender kiss, the coming together of two souls.
When they opened their eyes they were back in their beds, he in Cumbria, she in Norfolk. The familiar pain was there, the heaviness of fatigue in their limbs but the dream of that day would carry them through their existence forever. But had it been a dream…?



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


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!