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Moving forward

Here in the United Kingdom, we put our clocks forward an hour on the last Sunday in March, and then back again on the last Sunday in October. This means that from tomorrow we will have slightly darker mornings (boo, hiss) but longer, lighter evenings (yay!)


It’s Saturday now, and forecast to be dry after days of rain so I’ll be able to get out for a walk down to Poole Harbour and along the Quay even though it may well be busier than I’d like it to be. I’ve made French bread rolls to have for breakfast, hot from the oven and with local butter and apricot conserve and at lunchtime we’ll have them with beef burgers from an amazing farm shop over Dorchester way that delivers out to what I’ve heard them call ‘the wilds of Poole’ once a week. I found out on my last walk that they also deliver to our very best pubs and restaurants. They pride themselves on serving the finest local food, which brought it home to me again that being able to cook is a seriously good thing because it saves you a small fortune.I’ve had to do it for various health reasons in my family for years but it became one of my passions during lockdown when many of our local wholesalers started to deliver to ordinary consumers.


The demand must have been there because they’ve carried on doing it so I get to enjoy delights like Mortimers hot chocolate (sold in local cafes and restaurants at £3.50 a cup. Sold to me at £15-00 for a kilogram tin which makes 50 cups. Yes, I add milk, but it’s just as lovely drunk at home, especially if I use the catering squirty cream that’s so much less sweet than the stuff you get from the supermarket and a little sprinkle of grated chocolate on top from the chocolate oranges I bought half price after Christmas and processed in the food processor.


.I use some of the lovely bone china mugs my friends and family have found me in charity shops at a pound a time and a pretty white saucer with some posh biscuits or home made cake on it and I couldn’t do better if I went to those posh places. I still look at their menus though, and far from missing them, they give me ideas and a naughty sense of smugness that I can cook well enough to make almost everything on the list. I’m currently working out where to put my overflow herb and spice rack, but they’re all used and I enjoy doing it, so yet again I am blessed.


Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, which is rebirth in its classic form. The garden is bursting into bloom with wallflowers and bluebells to replace the daffodils and forsythia that have now gone over. I got to the ferns just in time to trim back the old dying leaves to let the new fronds unfurl so I can see them growing and pause to gloat over them when I’m on the way down to the bin, thus turning a ‘must do’ into a ‘want to’.


Soon, and please, please let it be soon, I shall be able to go and sit out there, but for now there have been good things about the awful wet and windy weather we’ve had. We even had a tornado warning for only the second time in my lifetime, but thankfully, we got 55mph winds rather than a tornado and even more thankfully, nothing was damaged.


Which brings me rather smoothly round to the next book out on Thursday, which is under my Eleanor Neville brand and is very special to me because it’s part of a series that I wrote almost thirty years ago now when I was just starting out. It’s called ‘Be Thankful You’re Living’ and it goes back to before World War Two when former diplomat Miles Kinsella is smuggling people on Hitler’s wanted list out of Germany having infiltrated the Nazi movement. Only his luck runs out and he needs to be rescued by innocent Jenny Stannard who… well, you’ll have to read it to find out, but if you like Amy and Esther then you’ll love this historic Shadows series. So here’s a picture of the cover to tempt you…






The book I’ve been drastically rewriting during the enforced indoors time is the very first one I ever tried to write and boy, did it show! But the characters were still there, and I enjoyed writing it so much that my always flexible schedule got reworked so that I could look at the sequel as well.


That reminded me that even the miserable weather was a blessing if I looked at it in the right way. I was blessed with time to cook, and cut fabric and pin it (don’t ask. I’ve been married 38 years and my husband still doesn’t understand my urge to cut up perfectly good fabric and sew it back together again to make different patterns. It’s a good job that he loves me anyway, isn’t it? And I love him with my heart and soul.)


I’ve had time to cook, too, and sort out my clothes and write and so today I shall go for a walk and enjoy Easter with a clear conscience and then enjoy the Simnel cake I made tomorrow. I hope it signals the start of a good season for you, and you’ll let me know if you’ve got any good recipes to share.


Today’s picture is of my garden. It’s only a small place, but oh how I love it, and someone bought me a sign that reads ‘Welcome to Tia’s garden. A little piece of Paradise you can reach in your slippers.’ May we all find that, and, on this Easter weekend, may we all pray for peace on earth. The Lord alone knows how much we need it.




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