Back from a lovely break down in the West Country!

After a productive morning sending emails and catching up with people, I thought I’d just write a quick post before I head off for lunch and some errands/chores this afternoon.

You may have noticed I was a little quiet last week. Luckily for me, we were away down in Dorset for a few days to recharge the batteries. Having not had a holiday since last year, it was well needed. It was still busy and rife with challenge – with a toddler and a puppy – but with copious amounts of fresh air and exercise it was stress-free and wonderful. We went on lots of dog-friendly and buggy-friendly walks, with the exception of a National Trust walk at Langdon Hill, where we chose to go off the beaten (and buggy-friendly) track to try and find a ‘magical’ copse complete with streams, but as our little one slept in the buggy and Charlie began to flag, we decided to follow our noses and head back through a very craggy field teeming with cowpats to find our way back to the car.

Stonebarrow Hill seaview

With a five-and-a-half-months-pregnant me being pulled up the hill by an impatient puppy and my soldier of a husband climbing the steep rugged field while towing the buggy behind him, I think we used muscles we never knew we had. It was hard work but exhilarating (although I wouldn’t recommend rambling with a pushchair to anyone) and we rewarded ourselves later that afternoon with an amazing lunch at a pub in Bridport (the Crown Inn) where my husband had a 1lb home-made burger and I devoured a home-made steak and ale pie with chips and veg. We ate the lot, which was a large lot as you can see!

The Crown Inn lunch

A change of scene is just what’s needed to quiet your mind and take a break from the day-to-day stuff, even if only for a few days. I didn’t do any writing while we were away (it was an impossible feat) but did return feeling ready to take on the world. Business ventures are fermenting in my mind (which may or may not be feasible – given the fact we have a baby due to join our brood in September) and I feel full of enthusiasm for everything on my to do list. (Prior to the break I would merely look at it and run and hide. It’s not just the writing, that’s the pleasurable bit. It’s the spring-cleaning, good-old closet-sorting-out, the house-hold admin and the stacks of filing which keep staring me in the face and mocking my inability to tackle them).

So just remember, it doesn’t matter what you do, whatever your vocation or how you choose to live your life; it’s imperative to make time for a break away – even if it’s a last-minute camping trip (make sure the weather is nice before you book) for a couple of days. Seize the opportunity to collect your thoughts and be inspired by a new place.

With our expired passports gathering dust in the ever-increasing admin drawer, I’m always grateful for our green and pleasant land and all it has to offer for its native holiday-maker. Whether you’re seeking sun or just looking for some down-time, what holiday plans are you looking forward to this year, or have you already been?

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Progress update and news

I’ve been steadily working on editing The Gateway these past few days, now that things have calmed down on the home front. I’ve even been able to work a little on my studies, slotting in a bit here and a bit there. Although it’s quite possible I’ve overdone it slightly, trying to squeeze daily tasks and puppy walks and writing in, on top of everything else, including being pregnant. A few people have commented that I’ve been a bit quiet lately, and that is my reason. I’m now 20 weeks gone, and just starting to feel “normal” again (although slightly anaemic; but some iron tablets have rectified that). Since January I’ve been rather fatigued and was knocked sideways by a virus in February which my daughter and I both had, her bouncing back like Tigger on a summer’s day and me taking three weeks to recover from it. As I started to regain my energy, we welcomed another bundle into our home in the form of Charlie, who has certainly not been without his challenges. Patience is a virtue, they say, and I can’t say I’ve ever been the most patient of people. But when you become a mother something happens to you and you become instinctively able to cope with whatever stresses life throws at you, because you simply get on and deal with it.

We’ve had Charlie for five weeks today and I’m pleased to say that he’s settled in well. He’s nowhere near as calm as I’d like (of course not, he’s a puppy) but he’s happier to entertain himself now and with the aid of a baby gate and a puppy crate, we have a little more order in the house.

Anyway, as my father used to say, I digress.

A few more of you have been asking questions about where Chapter Four of The Gateway is. I won’t be posting any more chapters on here, as I haven’t decided whether to self-publish or try the traditional publishing route yet. However I did promise to deliver some snippets and deliver I will.

If you’ve read the first three chapters, you’ll be wondering what happens next with Emmeline and her ticket officer from the train station.

So here’s a little teaser for you…

Emmeline leaned back against the red padded leather of the booth they had chosen at the back of the club, and observed the setting before her. Round tables circled by bistro chairs were strategically placed around a modest stage, which was currently in the process of being set up for a function. Each table was covered in stark white table cloths with candelabras standing centrepiece. The club was empty of customers except for Jack and Emmeline.

‘So, you’re from the future,’ he sat back with one leg crossed over his knee, his arm resting across the back of the booth.

‘Or,’ she looked at him over her cup and saucer, searching for that glint of amusement on his features. It wasn’t there. ‘You’re from the past,’ she decided.

‘Well, Emmeline, I don’t think I am in your future right now,’ he gestured with his arm to demonstrate the very real establishment they were sat in, jazz music playing softly in the background in the absence of a live performance.

She drummed her fingers on the table thoughtfully. ‘Perhaps this is all part of your master plan to continue to mock my plight and this is actually a retro-bar, frequented ordinarily by the locals, who appear to be lacking at present.’ said Emmeline.

‘Please, excuse me for a moment,’ Jack stood and adjusted his waistcoat and jacket and disappeared to the Gentleman’s lounge. When he returned, he sidled into the booth and rested his arm behind Emmeline’s head on the back of the seat. His face was level with hers and she could hear the steady rhythm of his gentle breathing. Jack’s gaze rested on her features for what seemed like an age, until she tore her eyes away and focused on her coffee, desperate to break the intimacy. 

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask, I always love to hear from readers. 🙂

Read the first three chapters of The Gateway here.