I love people watching and a walk along round the harbour and then onto Poole Quay is a wonderful place to do it. Seeing the wonder on a child’s face when they realise that they’re seeing a seal in the wild. Sharing the frustration of photographers when they duck underwater while you’re lining the shot up, exactly as cormorants do. Honestly, I swear cormorants are the submarines of the bird world.
Seeing the children fishing for crabs off Poole Quay, and getting to the point where you recognise the crabs. There’s one I've christened Barnacle Bill because he has barnacles growing on his shell who seemed to spend a lot of the summer being admired in a bucket and fed bait before being returned to the Quay, so either he’s spectacularly unlucky or he’s spotted a good thing.
And today I was watching the children’s excitement as they waited to go on the Santa Cruise round Poole Harbour and remembering when mine were that age and, if I’m honest, heaving a sigh of relief that’s only lightly tinged with wistfulness. Because, you see, it struck me that Christmas with children is absolutely wonderful, but it's also incredibly full on and high stakes and someone is bound to end up in tears and it was quite likely to be me. Christmas in an adult-only household is the equivalent of the calmer waters inside the Fishermans Harbour.
For me, it’s a guilt free sewing time. It’s a time to put fabric and specialist rulers and pretty tins on my present list and then organise my sewing things into them and play with them so that sewing is a feast for the eyes as well as the fingers. It’s a time for walks along by the harbour and to cook my favourite meals. A time to remember and to give thanks, and I do very sincerely want to thank all of you who’ve read and enjoyed my books and taken the trouble to tell me so or leave reviews. This really is a dream come true for me and it’s absolutely correct to say that I can’t do it without you.
I’d love to reward you with a picture of a seal, but I don’t expect you’d believe me if I showed you a patch of sea where a seal was while I was setting the shot up. So here for now is a robin in the little patch of woodland I walk through at the start of my walk. Sorry there's no holly to make it totally festive but I did manage some ivy.
Someday, I am sure I will stop getting excited when I go up the slope and there, at the top - I can see the sea! Once, when we went on seaside holidays, my sisters and I must have deafened my parents in the front seat with that first ecstatic cry. I’m all grown up on the outside now so I don’t shout it any more, but inside I still do a little happy dance and I never want to lose that sense of wonder or to forget that, despite all the sadness and stupidity and squabbling, we live in an amazing and beautiful world.
Not quite as amazing or beautiful, but here are this week’s new books and special offers…
There are two new books out this week, because it’s Christmas (and definitely not because I put the launch date in wrong on one of them. Perish the very idea!)
SPRING IN THE HEART AT WINDY BAY tells the story of Sandy Allen, whose daughters Gracie, Jess and Mel we’ve already met. You may remember that in Elf n Safety his girls ganged up on him and persuaded him to start dating again. It hasn’t been going well, and the way he meets Sally from the Druett Manor Farm Shop can’t remotely be called romantic. On top of that, neither of their lives are simple enough for there to be a nice straightforward happy ending.
Then there’s KINGS OF THE CASTLE, which is in the Oldcastle series of cosy countryside standalones. Owen and Lauren were passionately in love when they were teenagers, then argued just as passionately. Now they’re both at unpleasant crossroads in their lives so their beloved godfather has decided that they need what he calls ‘a new little project.’ And no one else would call renovating a ruined castle that, but they both always loved the tower on the hill and, as their godfather says, it’s not as if they’ve got anything else to do and surely they’ve got over their little squabble by now?
Then there are the special offers at 99p UK and 99c in the US
End of the beginning
These are three of the later books in the Amy Hammond series and cover the time when Amy and Peter have moved in together and then married. I’d love to say that that stops them finding trouble but we all know that it’s naughty to fib, don’t we?
Devil to Pay
A mostly virtuous vampire. A witch hunting police man. A were cat. An assortment of witches and a beautiful village deep in the Dorset countryside that’s full of paranormal beings who have the power to make people overlook them. Add to that the fact that the village is built on an entrance to multiple dimensions and calls unlikely people to become heroes and guard it and what could possibly go wrong? Oh, and did I mention the Archangel Michael and the witch who runs the local shop which always seems to have everything you could want as long as she likes you? No, it’s probably best if I don’t…
Can you believe that when we meet again it'll be Christmas Eve and almost the end of another year? No, me neither, but till then have a great week and spoil yourself as much as you can because you can't spread happiness and goodwill while you're feeling like a shattered Grinch.