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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Writing Resolutions

I love this time of year. The space between Christmas and New Year when you can assess the last twelve months and take stock. My New Year's resolution list is usually pretty long as I can always think of plenty of areas where I need to improve. Number one on my list is always the same:-

1. Get organised!

am getting better so it's not as if I completely fail each year but there is still room for improvement so becoming more organised will definitely be on my list again this year. It applies to all areas of my life including my writing. There will be no more scrappy bits of paper with important sentences jotted down on them which risk getting lost. In fact I have quite a few writing resolutions for 2013. In no particular order, they are as follows:-

2.  e-publish. I would like to e-publish Witch Wendy, Cats and Hats which was originally published by Macmillan but is now out of print. At the beginning of December I went on an e-book publishing course organised by Writing East Midlands. It was really useful and now all I need is the time to sit down and put what I learnt into practise. Watch this space!

3.  Fill the Well. This is a phrase borrowed from the fabulous Julia Cameron. I found her book 'The Artist's Way' hugely motivating when I was struggling with rejections and I still dip into it from time to time. It is one of those rare and precious things - a book for life.

Julia talks about the importance for a writer of taking time to do the things you love, the things which inspire you. For me one of those things is going to art galleries and last year I missed out on both the Leonardo and the David Hockney exhibitions because I left it too late to get tickets. I also didn't get out and 'fill the well' as often as I would have liked so in 2013 I plan to change that. Two of the places I would particularly like to visit are Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire and the Rene Mackintosh house in Northampton.

4.  Listen. To listen to my intuition so when that little voice in my head says 'this character isn't right' or 'why don't you take this diversion with your plot'. If I actually listen first time around instead of ploughing on and then discovering later that I should have taken more notice of my initial instincts it might save a lot of time and stress!

5. Relax. On the days when, for one reason or another, I can't write at all or don't have as much time as I would like, I'm not going to beat myself up. Sometimes an enforced break from writing or taking time out to smell the flowers is a valuable thing.

6. Improve.  I want to improve. I want to make progress and that is not always to be measured by acceptance from publishers. Sometimes just getting out old manuscripts and seeing how I could re-work them shows me how far I have come and that in itself is satisfying - if I allow it to be.

7.  Picture Books. Having said that I would love to have a picture book published! I've had a few near misses over the years and I'll keep on studying the best ones, endeavouring to capture that magic ingredient. Maybe 2013 will be my year but if not I'll have fun trying.

8.  Enjoy. This will be my last resolution and even if I fail at all of the others I shall try to stick to this one. I shall try to enjoy my writing, the difficult days, the boring days as well as  the days when the words flow. I shall rememer to be thankful that I have been given the opportunity and the education to write at all. And when my book, Last Chance Angel, comes out in June, despite the inevitable nerves, I shall try to enjoy every moment.

Resolutions are all about hopefulness and in the words of Christopher Reeve:-

'Once you choose hope, anything's possible.'

I hope you enjoy your writing in 2013 and that all your resolutions come to pass.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Absent Friends

I love Christmas when family and friends are all gathered together. But there are gaps in the midst of all the happiness and the gaps are caused by precious people who are no longer with us. Of course I miss these people throughout the year but at Christmas their loss is heightened. When the doorbell goes on Christmas Day I want it to be my mother standing outside with brandy butter in a silver grapefruit dish. She bought that dish from a house clearance sale. It was in a box of other things and was black. She lovingly cleaned it and from then on it was used, not for grapefruit, but for her homemade butter to go with the Christmas pudding. It is mine now and I follow that tradition.

From my mother and her side of the family I get my love of cooking, flower gardening, chickens and art. The Wilton Diptych is one of my favourite paintings and if you get the chance to visit the National Gallery in London it is well worth a look. For something that is over 600 years old it is wonderfully well preserved and the colours are stunning. This is one of the panels.

From my father I have been given a love of books, the countryside, walking, dogs and growing vegetables. He read a great deal but always returned to Charles Dickens. I love Dickens too, especially Great Expectations but my father's favourite was Bleak House.

I miss my father-in-law too. He was always the life and soul of any party. He was a good sportsman excelling at most things he turned his hand to. He passed on his love of cricket to my husband and sons. He would have loved England's recent victory over India in the Test series. This photo isn't the England team - it's even better! It's the members of Stoneygate Cricket Club, including my husband and sons and was taken on tour at Castle Rising in Norfolk.

I miss my grandparents who gave me so much love and time and my wonderful godmother for her gentleness and wisdom. She was brilliant with words too and I treasured the chatty letters she sent when I was at boarding school. I miss my beautiful friend, Charlotte, who was killed in a car accident when we were only eighteen. I often wonder what sort of life she would be leading now and if we would still be friends.

We make new traditions. We make new families. In the New Year a baby will add to our number and the family will shift and grow again. But it is those who have gone before who make us who and what we are now. So at Christmas I will pour myself a glass of champagne and make a toast to absent friends. I hope that all of these people and others I haven't mentioned are up there amongst the stars looking down on me and my family.

Thank-you for reading my blog over the past few months and I send you special wishes for happiness and peace at Christmas and in the year to come.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Last Chance Angel

This week I am writing a little about my latest book, Last Chance Angel, which is due out in June 2013 with the wonderful Templar Publishing,

The roots of this book stretch back a long way.  I was 17 and living in Oxford whilst I took my A'levels.

One afternoon, cycling along the Banbury Road into the centre of town a car pulled out from a side road, right in front of me. I applied the brakes but it was raining, the road surface was greasy and I couldn't stop in time. Thwack! I hit the side of the car, somersaulted over the bonnet and landed in the road. By some miracle I was unhurt although the driver didn't bother to stop and find that out. Over the years I have looked back at that incident and thought how extremely lucky I was. My guardian angel must have been with me that day.

So that is where Last Chance Angel starts, with fourteen year old Jess cycling home in the dusk and drizzle, without lights. Jess is not as lucky as I was. When she collides with a car she ends up in hospital, in a coma. Hovering between life and death Jess is called to Heaven where she meets Darren, an Angel of Death. But Jess has been called on the wrong day and Darren is afraid of his mistake being found out so they strike a bargain. Jess can return to her earthly body and, in invisible form, she is given the chance to visit her friends in order to say goodbye. But when she does, nothing is quite as she expects it to be. I suppose if I had to write a one page synopsis of my book it would be that - 'things never turn out quite as you expect them to.' Or to paraphrase Heraclitus -

'Expect the Unexpected'

Certainly, when I started this book I never anticipated that it would take me quite so long to write or the turmoil that would overtake my life during those few years of on/off writing. I stuck with this book through the deaths of both of my parents, health issues, legal problems, family rifts and difficulties within my husband's business. At the same time I was dropped by my previous publishers, Macmillan, spent 6 months working on a series for another publisher which came to nothing and received rejection after rejection for other pieces of work. I considered giving up writing for publication and took a year off to re-train as a reflexologist. But I loved my tenacious heroine, Jess and she would not let go of me. So, little by little I was drawn back to this story and to writing in all its forms. I was forced to acknowledge and accept a simple fact:-

'I need to write'

To see that written large on the page looks a little meldramatic but writing is a large part of what makes me who I am. My mother used to tell me that I thought too much and she was right. But I believe that getting those thoughts down on paper is good for me. My family would confirm that it certainly makes me easier to live with!

Last Chance Angel was not an easy book to write and I am incredibly grateful to those friends and family who supported me throughout the project and showed faith in my ability when I was lacking faith in myself. I'm also grateful to my editors at Templar who have been so enthusiastic about the book and helpful in refining it. I love Jess despite the fact that it was at times exhausting putting myself in her position and I hope readers will love her too. If I was ever lucky enough for this book to be made into a film I would want it to be set in the U.K. and I'd definitely want a British actress to play Jess, preferably someone completely unknown.

I'd like to give a big thanks to Debbie White for asking me to write this blog as part of The Next Big Thing where authors nominate other authors to blog about their latest work or work in progress. You can read about Debbie's latest novel, Deceit, at

And finally to everyone out there who is struggling with a piece of writing or getting those rejection letters dropping on to the doormat, just keep on going, have faith in yourself and in your work. It will pay off in the end.

Thank- you for taking the time to read this blog.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Christmas Tree Spree

I love Christmas! I don't like the decorations going up too early and I hate to see Christmas paraphernalia for sale in September but on the first weekend in December a nearby village holds a Christmas tree festival and we've been going for about the last seven or eight years. This is when I begin to absorb the spirit of Christmas.

This year we navigated the country roads on a bitterly cold and foggy Friday evening but it was worth the effort. The church of St. Andrews was warm and welcoming and as for the Christmas trees - well they were magnificent, better than ever. Here is a small sample of what we saw:-

This one was covered in little felt decorations and was called 'A Heartfelt Christmas' My photo doesn't do it justice. It was very pretty and loads of work had gone into making it.

I loved the simplicity of these pieces of driftwood with just some lights wound around.
This next one was actually called 'Simplici-tree'
This one below was beautifully made of pine cones and was called 'WARNING - This tree may contain nuts'.
There was a 'Christmas Carol' tree with this tombstone to the side.
 And in the junior section ' A Shoe Tree'.
 One of my favourites was  'Come in and have a nice CUP OF TREE'.
The winner in the adult section (which the Dearly Beloved voted for) was 'Wild Floristree'.
It had silver twigs
Furry bees and baubles containing photographs of flowers
As well as an owl!
There were 55 entries in all so this is only a taster.All proceeds will go to leukemia and lymphoma research, St. Andrew's Church and Burton Overy village hall.
 There is one more tree I have to include -
the tree for Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young Adults
One of the messages on this tree particularly caught my eye.
It was written by a nurse called Lisa who said.:-
"At Rainbows we laugh, we play but above all we can make every single moment count."
So when I'm getting stressed over Christmas about whether everyone has the presents they want or if the turkey is going to be dry, I shall try to remember the children at Rainbows Hospice and Lisa's words. They put everything into perspective.
Thank-you for looking at my blog. Next week I'll be writing about my latest book, Last Chance Angel which is to be published by Templar Books in June 2013. This is a book which I was writing through some of the most difficult times in my life. It was a book I vowed to finish, a book I was so committed to that I promised myself that if it didn't find a publisher I would publish it myself. It is a book which has really challenged me as a writer and I hope you'll return to hear a little more about it and where the idea came from.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Next Big Thing - Pippa Goodhart

This week I'm delighted to welcome Pippa Goodhart as a guest on my blog as part of The Next Big Thing, where authors answer questions about their latest work or work in progress.
So, over to Pippa:

What is the title of your next book?

 ‘Finding Fortune’

Where did the idea for the book come from?

My mother had a family ring that always intrigued me.  It was a Victorian golden ring set with a bit of quartz stone through which ran a streak of natural gold.  It had, I was told, been given to my great great grandmother by her brother who had brought it back from the Klondike. 
So I started reading about the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush …..

What genre does your book fit into?

Historical adventure for readers of about eight to twelve.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, I’d certainly want Maggie Smith to play Grandmama, even though I had written that character before Downton Abbey hit our television screens!  Fa and Ida I would like played by brilliant actors I’d never seen in anything before so that I could truly believe that they were those characters.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Escaping stuffy family expectations, Ida runs away with Fa to travel many thousands of dangerous miles in a search for gold, but also a search for a life for their little family now that Mama has died.

How long did it take you to write the first draft?

Gosh, I’m not sure!  I did so much research and note-making, then wrote with false starts before even getting to writing the first draft, but it certainly took (enjoyable) months and months.

Will your book be self-published or are you represented by an agency/publishers?

It is to be published by Catnip in March 2013.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I suppose my own ‘Raven Boy’ was similarly an adventure based on real history, although that book is set in 1666 London, with plague and the Great Fire, and the ravens at The Tower. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The ‘what’ would be that golden ring.  The ‘who’ would be the important people in my life who believe that my writing is worthwhile.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I discovered so much of interest when researching the Klondike Gold Rush that I was in danger of over-stuffing the story with facts.  My way around that problem was to have Ida writing occasional letters to Grandmama back home, telling odd and interesting  and funny details that she thinks will amuse or impress the old lady.  She doesn’t tell Grandmama that she gets chased by a bear!

Over a hundred thousand people set off to find Klondike gold, most travelling many thousands of miles, going into completely wild, almost Arctic, terrain.  Each had to carry a ton of goods on which to live once they got into the Klondike.  They scaled mountains, made their own boats, then sailed and rowed and poled those boats down rapids and rivers for thousands of miles as the ice broke in the spring …. Giving them just a short sub-Arctic summer in which to pan and dig and sift for gold before winter closed in again.  Crooks and heroes, innocents and hardened adventurers all went, and so did women and some children. 
A big thank-you to Pippa for telling us all of this and roll on March 2013, the publication date of Finding Fortune. I can't wait to read it from cover to cover. If you want to know more about Pippa's books check out her website at

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Delightful task! To rear the tender thought, to teach the young idea how to shoot.
James Thomson 1700-1748

People often ask me where I get my ideas from so I thought I'd give an example.

Hmm, interesting! Was what I thought when I saw this  half-sheared sheep.

So much so that I stopped the car to take a photo.

And then the questions started to flow:-

1.  Why is it only half sheared?

2.  Did the farmer get fed up?

3.  Was he taken ill half-way through?

4.  Is he going to come back and finish the job tomorrow?

5.  Did his harridan of a wife ring and say 'your tea's on the table'?

6.  Was the sheep so badly behaved that the farmer gave up?

7.  Or has the farmer just got a brilliant sense of humour?

Then I considered this from another angle:-

8.  What does the sheep think?

9.  Does it feel special?

10. Or does it feel stupid?

11. Does it feel jeaous of the other sheep?

12. If it misbehaved is it full of remorse?

13. What do the other sheep think? Are they sniggering into their nice short fleeces? (If sheep do indeed snigger and I'm sure they must have a sense of humour in their own unique way).

14. Is my sheep (and in my head I have claimed this sheep, it is definitely mine!) in danger of being bullied or ostracised? I feel quite upset at this thought.


I'm sure you could come up with other questions too. So that's a brief example of where I get my ideas from.To be honest ideas are everywhere as long as we keep our ears and eyes open and remain present to the moment.

Next week, as part of The Next Big Thing I am very excited to have a guest children's author on my blog :-

 It's the amazing Pippa Goodhart
Pippa has had over 80 children's books published including the phenomenally successful You Choose. Her books are loved by parents, teachers, librarians and, most importantly of all, by the children who read them. So please log on next week and see what Pippa has to say about her latest work.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Every Foot Tells A Story

                                                     Leonardo Da Vinci

Each foot has 26 bones, more than 100 ligaments, 3000 nerve endings and 19 muscles, so Leonardo was right the human foot truly is a masterpiece.

You can tell a lot by looking at someone's feet. From the size, lines, temperature and colour of the skin to the spacing and shape of the toes, every foot tells a story.

A lot of people don't like their feet but they are making a big mistake. Our feet should be treasured. After all we wouldn't get far without them, metaphorically and literally.

Foot reading (also known as podomancy, pedomancy or solistry) was a popular form of divination in China and Persia. The foot is reputed to represent the symbol of a person's soul and, like palmistry, can reveal aspects of their personality, their strengths and weaknesses as well as their past history and as a result of a reading from those who are skilled, their future prospects too. But you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like and you can certainly learn a lot from your own feet.

In foot reading each toe relates to a different aspect of ourselves. Apologies for the rough diagram!

The big toes, which represents the head area in reflexology, relate to our thoughts.

The second toe which contains the reflex points for the eye, relates to our feelings. This toe can be longer than the big toe and in such cases is called Morton's Toe after an orthopaedic surgeon called Dudley Joy Morton who believed it originated from our pre-human grasping toes. This longer second toe was idealised in Greek sculpture and became the aesthetic standard throughout the Renaissance and beyond. The Statue of Liberty has toes of this proportion.

The third toe relates to what we are doing (or have done) with our lives and also to our creativity so if you are struggling with a creative block this is the toe to give some attention to as well as massaging the area just beneath the ball of the foot. This area is the diaghragm reflex point in reflexology and by massaging this it helps you to relax, to breathe more deeply and to take in all that life has to offer.

The fourth toe relates to communication. If you are having problems speaking up or communicating with someone work on this toe which can often be 'crowded out' or hemmed in by the others.

And the little toe relates to family and security. This toe is also known as the 'confidence' toe so if you're feeling a bit wobbly in that area, just give this toe a bit of tlc and feel your confidence levels rise!

The foot can also be divided horizontally these sections. So the base of the foot, the heel area,
relates to family and security, the area just above the heel is communication, the area just below the ball of the foot is creativity/doing, the ball of the foot (where the heart reflex lies) is feelings and the toes fall into the thoughts section.

Massaging your feet, or even someone else's can have amazingly beneficial effects in all areas of our lives. So if you do one nice thing for yourself today, treat your feet either with some nice moisturiser or a few drops of essential oil in a couple of tablespoons of a carrier oil such as almond. I find geranium, peppermint or lavender work well or even a combination of all three.

Give your feet some tender loving care and I guarantee they will reward you in ways you never imagined.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Beauty of Batsford

Lasat week The Dearly Beloved needed cheering up and he's very keen on trees so we went to Batsford Arboretum. We love Batsford and to get there we drive along the lovely Fosse Way. The Fosse Way is the 230 mile long Roman road which links Exeter (Dumnoniorum) to Lincoln (Lindum Colonia) and Fosse comes from the Latin word Fossa which means ditch. The road may have run alongside the ditch or ultimately been built over the ditch. No-one is sure but for the first few decades after the Roman invasion in AD43 this marked the Western frontier of Roman rule in Iron Age Britain.

Batsford is situated one and a half miles outside Moreton in the Marsh. Moreton is a pretty Cotswold town awash with honey-coloured buildings, antique shops and tea rooms. On Tuesdays there is a traditional market. But we were there to see the trees. And they didn't disappoint. I wish that I was a better photographer but this is a taste of what we saw.



It was all so peaceful and beautiful.

We walked and we talked and we sat on this bench and drank coffee laced with Frangelico and ate chocolate. (If you've never tried Frangelico I highly recommend it. It's a hazelnut liqueur produced in Italy and comes in a great bottle too - modelled in the form of a Franciscan friar).

Sometimes all you need is a day out, doing something different, maybe on your own or with people you love. Sometimes that's all it takes to cheer you up, to get back on track.

We came home feeling re-invigorated and happy, just from one short day. How brilliant is that?

So I'll finish with this song which was first written and recorded in 1944. Johhny Mercer's lyrics may go back a long way but to 'Ac-Cen-Tchu-Ate the Positive' is still a pretty good thing to try and do.

Next week I plan to write about what you can learn from looking at your feet!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Candle Magic

So last weekend in the U.K. we put the clocks back one hour and now it is dark by 5 o'clock. The nights are long but one of the things that cheers me is candlelight.

There's something magical about candlelight. It reminds you of days when people used to sit around telling stories. I remember the Miners' Strike of 1972 when we were without light and heat for hours on end. I was at boarding school at the time and we used to huddle around a very small coal fire, in the candlelight, trying to keep warm. But there was a sense of camaraderie.

Candles represent the triumph of light over dark and historically were also used to keep time.

Probably our first memory of candles is blowing them out on top of a birthday cake and as soon as we are old enough, making a wish. This custom is all to do with the principles of concentration, willpower and visualisation. All three of these are needed if you are a writer, plus a bit of luck too!

I often light this candle when I am writing, just a small tea-light in a little glass container which was hand-painted by a very dear friend. As I strike the match and light the wick I try to focus on my intention for the piece of work I am about to tackle. It is both the briefest of meditations and a prayer. I hope that today will be a good writing day, the words will flow with ease and my plot and characters will behave.

I light a candle too when I am giving a reflexology treatment, fixing my focus on the person in the chair and asking for the treatment to be for their highest good.

Candles remind me of childhood. When I was small and living in a village we often had power cuts so it was essential for my mother to keep a couple of torches and a stock of candles under the kitchen sink. It always seemed so exciting when all the lights went out and a little scary too.

But there is something about that flickering flame which makes you feel that you are not alone. I have lit many candles in many churches for those I love and have loved.

This is a photograph of one of the stained glass windows in the cathedral of Santa Maria in Palma, Mallorca. I lit a candle there too.

Meditate whilst staring into the flickering flame and you can see past, present and future merge.

The centuries old custom of placing a candle in the window at Halloween was not to ward off evil spirits but to honour those who had died during the previous year. A candle in the window to guide a traveller home is a bit of a cliche but there is no escaping that candles are symbols of hope.

So in winter I often light a candle at supper time. It seems to turn every meal into a small celebration, a giving of thanks for being together as a family, however simple the food.

Relaxing in a scented bath, surrounded by candles is another treat.

Different coloured candles represent different things.
Green is reputed to bring balance, harmony, hope, healing and to increase abundance.
Blue is soothing and calming, especially good for meditation and when you are feeling stressed.
Pink is for love and conception.
Yellow is for joy and friendship. It is also for good luck and can increase concentration.
Red is for extra energy and passion.
And if you don't have any of those colours it doesn't matter because white works for everything!

But much as I love my candles I am so grateful to live in a place and a time when electricity is available at the flick of a switch, especially on these dark, wintery nights.

So I'll finish with my school motto:-

                                                       May she grow in heavenly light

Candlelight may not be quite the same as heavenly light but, for me, it seems to be pretty close.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Power of Purple

Success is meant to be the result of 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. But without that spark of inspiration there wouldn't even be the opportunity to sweat copiously, I'm lucky. I get inspired by all sorts of random things and not all of them lead to success but that doesn't mean I don't still love them. I particularly love colour! A splash of colour on a dull day can give me a real boost. And recently I seem to have been following a purple theme which is interesting because symbolically it is an inspiring colour and is meant to foster creativity as well as being uplifting and calming. This is exactly what I need as we hunker down for winter.

This purple scarf isn't new but it comes out every winter. It's lovely and soft to wear but just looking at it, touching it, makes me feel happy.

I saw these aubergines outside the greengrocers. They look like a work of art.

I bought some beetroot which I never used to like but it's amazing how your tastes change as you get older..

I eat it raw, grated with some carrot and maybe a bit of dressing. I love the earthiness of it. Sometimes I juice it too. This is a combination of beetroot, carrot, pear and root ginger.

In Russia and Eastern Europe beetroot is used to build up resistance and as a tonic for convalescents. Recently it has been found to be useful in helping to lower blood pressure so I feel that it's doing me good too which is always a bonus.

This piece of amethyst sits on the radiator shelf inside my front door. It is reputed to be a protective stone so is good to have in the home.

Amethyst is also meant to be good for the mind, calming it or stimulating it, whichever you need at that particular time. If you can't sleep a small piece of amethyst placed under the pillow can help and it can help you to remember dreams which is brilliant for writers. In fact one of the most vivid dreams I ever had (the colour was so bright it was like a Bollywood film) was when I had some amethyst under my pillow. It is also good for motivation and decision making so when I'm torn between different writing projects a small piece of amethyst is good to have on hand.

I still have some purple flowers in my garden - Michaelmas daisies.

And delicate verbena bonariensis. When the wind blows I'm amazed that it doesn't snap.

But even though it has gone over now my favourite purple flower has got to be lavender. This next picture doesn't look very exciting but it is really important. It's the lavender bag which I heat up in the microwave and use on my shoulders when they are tight after too long at the computer or painful as the result of a migraine. (More about migraines in another blog).

Lavender reminds me of my grandmother, it attracts the bees, it smells divine and it tastes pretty good too. In the summer I make lavender biscuits to serve with ice cream. The word itself comes from the Latin lavare (to wash) and who could resist a bath brimming with lavender scented bubbles. The Norfolk Lavender Centre at Heacham is a fabulous place to visit in the Summer and sells gorgeous high quality products too. They make brilliant Christmas and birthday presents.

Then a friend popped round who is about to bring out her first book and guess what? The cover is predominantly purple! Here it is Lizzie Lamb's Tall, Dark and Kilted, out soon as an e-book too.

There are so many different variations on the purple theme; indigo, wine, mulberry, mauve, violet, plum to name a few - all beautiful colours and all potentially inspiring too!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Autumn Inspiration

Recently I've been busy editing a book which is due out with Templar next June. Suddenly I've looked up from my laptop and it's autumn! Actually I love autumn. For me it's much better than the New Year and all of those wretched resolutions. Autumn has always seemed full of much more promise which I'm sure stems from childhood. I remember going back to school at the start of a new school year armed with new pencils and crayons and possibly some new uniform if I'd grown out of things from the previous autumn. Above all though I remember the feeling of beginning afresh, the feeling that this might be the year I actually got to grips with algebraic equations or was picked for the hockey team. So, now I am a grown up but the feeling that autumn is ripe with possibilities still remains.

So, here are a few of the things I love about autumn:-

I love leaves! The colours, the sound they make when they're still on the trees and the way you can catch them as they fall and make a wish or swish through them when they're on the ground. Brilliant!

Isn't this just the most amazing thing? It came in my organic box last week and to me autumn means the end of the cricket season and the chance to cook a proper Sunday roast again instead of providing brunch as husband and sons have to dash off for a one o'clock start to a match. We had this beautiful cauliflower with roast lamb.

Despite the fact that there was very nearly a frost here last night my dahlias are still going strong and filling the garden with colour. This Bishop of Llandaff has been full of flowers for months now.

But the holly is full of berries which makes me realise that Christmas isn't far away.

One of my absolute favourite things about autumn though is the chance to light a fire and curl up next to it with a good book.

And maybe toast a teacake or two.
So to quote George Eliot:-
'Delicious autumn! My very sould is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.'
Do you feel the same about autumn too?