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I have a dream…

Although it may be more accurate to say that I have a plan, because sometimes I disconcert people with the way that I decide that I want my dreams to come true. That’s fine by me, as long as I don’t let on that some of those people annoy me with the way that they bemoan what they haven’t got and how awful the world is while never appreciating what they have or doing anything to make things better.

I know you’ll understand and if you have a laugh at my proud display of my newly organised china cupboard then that’s fine too because laughs are too few to let anyone miss one, but I’m thrilled with it because it’s a cupboard full of memories.

It started when I idly looked on eBay because the thing about being married for 37 years is that some of the crockery you started out with has inevitably got broken. Ouch! Who knew I was using vintage china? Or how much it cost? But I’m not stopping using my memories, and the more I looked, the more old memories resurfaced. Then I researched shabby chic for ‘Vintage Girl Summer’ and thought ‘hey, this is me!’ And I cleared out all the things we’ll never use and didn’t really use in the first place and started having fun collecting memories.

The china I coveted from a Cornish pottery on our honeymoon, but couldn’t afford because base rate back then was 10.875%, which rather puts the 5.25% it was today into proportion. And we’d sunk every penny into the Victorian House that I love even more now than I did then, so I only got a couple of pieces. There’s the cake plates that are the same as the Sunday best plates at my grandmother’s house; only I use them any time I feel like it. There are Star Wars plates, to honour my geek family and all the happy memories of watching those films. There’s a gorgeous Elizabethan Rose set that my daughter found in a charity shop and worked out how much we’d need in another step towards independence. The thermos cups that come with me on long beach and Harbourside walks on cold winter days, filled with the coffee that comes from our gorgeous local speciality shop, which, thankfully, does mail order. The Poole pottery 'Kimmeridge' plates and bowls that reminds me of one of my favourite seaside places and days spent finding fossils and discovering how slippery wet slate is exactly as Amy and her friends will in the next book, which is out in a few weeks time.

So many memories, and every single one of them is a happy one, which matters to me because, daft as this sounds, I like being happy so I’ve chosen to be it as much as possible. Yes, there are things in my life that aren’t ideal but they could and have been so much worse. Yes, there are things I can’t do because I have no immunity to Covid and because people are coughing and sneezing without bothering to cover their mouths or use tissues or stay away from me when they can see I’m masked.

But there is so much I can do, and this is a big step towards my dream of having a kitchen that’s not only semi-professional but as warm and welcoming as any restaurant. A place to sit and relax and chat at a beautifully laid table while soft music plays in the background. Or work at the kitchen table with the tempting smell of baking or freshly made coffee. A place where my cookbooks live (and spill over into the hall bookshelf) and I use them to try new recipes because I can find everything I need and it’s all in good condition. Part of a home where I feel safe and warm and happy, and all that stands between me and this dream is a LOT of clearing out, then identifying what I want to make and actually making it.

I shall get a lot closer to it this winter, but for now, on to the marketing bit…

This week’s new book is an anthology of the first three Oldcastle Cosy Countryside Romances. Sweet, gentle and fun, and an ideal introduction to the series. It’s out on Kindle Unlimited but I know some people don’t have that, and others (Hi, all you wonderful Canadians and thanks for liking me!) live in countries where there aren’t Kindle deals, so here it is at a bargain price of £2-99 for all 3 books.

And that leads me on to the Kindle Deals. Someday soon, they’ll be the same in the US and the UK, but till then, here goes. They run from Wednesday the sixteenth through to Wednesday the twenty-third (and where is the year going and how come it’s almost September?) And are 99p in the UK and 99p in the US. This isn’t a hard sell, but an acknowledgement that are eyes are not only bigger than our tummies, as my Mum used to say, but bigger than our book budgets so every little helps. Sorry to US readers, because all you get this week is Buried Trouble, but I promise you’ll get more than the UK another week so fair play will be done.


Buried Trouble and Where there’s a Will. - Two more in the Oldcastle series. Sweet and sunshiny and a little on the old-fashioned side, just like us!

Daymare and Guardian Angel - These are writing as Eleanor Neville, so a little bit grittier, a little bit sexier, and based round a top secret department of UK intelligence and the agents who go anywhere and everywhere and do just about everything to keep the country safe.

So there it is. Have a good week, and let me know what you think, and if you have any crockery related memories. It’d be nice to know it’s not just me being slightly mad…


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