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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Doing the things that you love

It seems appropriate that I finished my second book for Templar on Valentine's Day. For whilst I adore writing there are other things I love to do too and, over the last few months, whilst my head has been partly in another world and my time has been largely devoted to the book I feel that everything else in my life has been a little rushed. Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining! I know how lucky I am to have a two book contract and I also know how lucky I am that Templar have not put me under any pressure, despite the fact that I have gone well past my deadline. But next week, for the first time in months, I can take a bit of a break from writing and devote some proper time to some of my other loves.

So these are a few of the things I intend to do:

I'm going to read without feeling guilty. I've just started Karen Saunders book Me, Suzy P and it is such fun, the perfect book for a relaxing week. Great cover too! If you were in your early teens could you resist picking this up? I couldn't.

I'm going to go for a lovely, long walk. Hopefully the sun will shine but even if it doesn't I'll enjoy the energy in the air and the chance to notice the changing colours, the buds forming on the trees and plants beginning to flower. Despite the snow and the cold I have a beautiful, brave little primula by my pond.
The birds are really sensing that Spring is on the way too. They are singing so loudly as I write this and already this morning I have seen bullfinches, blue tits, goldfinches, a chaffinch, a long tailed tit, blackbirds, dunnocks, a robin and of course our resident pigeons. As National Nest Box Week started on February 14th in the U.K. I bought my husband a nesting box as a small Valentine's Day token. Hopefully this week we will find the perfect place in the garden to put it.

Something else I'm really looking forward to is spending time in our greenhouse. We have wanted a greenhouse for ages and ages and finally just after Christmas we ordered one. It arrived about ten days ago and that afternoon I gazed at it from the warmth of my kitchen through a blizzard of snow! It is an Alton and it is a thing of great beauty to me. Not only does it look good but it's made of red cedar so it smells absolutely wonderful.
It reminds me of my father as he loved his Alton greenhouse and taught me to love gardening and plants too. I'm planning to put a nice comfy chair in there so I can occasionally take a break from sowing seeds and sit down with a nice cup of tea and a book.
Talking of tea I fancy making a cake to share with friends and family, a recipe I haven't tried before would be good. I think it will probably be the divine Mary Berry's Cornish Sticky Cake.

The recipe is available at Mail online if you would like to try it too.

For a bit of culture it would be perfect to visit the Richard III exhibition at Leicester's Guildhall.
I have tried once already but the queues were too long so maybe next week I'll be lucky. Having lived in Leicester off and on for all of my life this has been a hugely exciting time and the story isn't over yet. There are still more forensic tests to be undertaken which will reveal even more information, as well as the design and placing of the tomb in Leicester Cathedral to be decided upon and the internment itself. Flushed with the success of finding Richard there is also talk of looking for Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor, who is reputedly buried in Abbey Park which is on the outskirts of Leicester.

So suddenly Leicester is in the news and apparently the Richard III story was on the front page of the New York Times. Amazing!

And you know what? I probably won't be able to resist doing a little writing too! Maybe I'll tinker around with a couple of picture book texts, maybe I'll send something out to publishers or maybe I'll return to my romantic adult novel which is begging to be edited. I shall just listen to my instincts and follow my mood.

Finally, here is a picture of the man himself, St. Valentine, the patron saint of engaged couples, bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, plague, travellers, young people, lovers and of course most importantly of all LOVE.

As always thank-you for reading. I hope you all have a lovely week and manage to do some of the things that you love.


  1. What a blissful list of things to do - enjoy them all, Alex!

  2. So glad you've finally got the editing completed. Excellent greenhouse. Your Other Half must be very pleased with it too. What really caught my eye though was that St Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy, plague, happy marriage... Strange.

    1. Completing the book is a huge relief. The Other Half is thrilled with the greenhouse but not with the weather as it's been sooo cold. But hopefully the sun will shine on us all soon. It's an interesting list of patronage for St. Valentine isn't it. I thought it a little strange too.

  3. Wow! I love that greenhouse. I bet you can't wait to get in there, and get stuck in, we'll be expecting to see the pictures of what you grow now...

    Your list is right up my street - enjoy after your hard slof to reach the finsih line, you deserve it!

  4. Thank-you. I keep looking out of the window to check that the greenhouse is really there and it's not all a dream! As for growing things well that's up to the idiosynchratic British climate and it's not looking too hopeful at the moment is it. I can't believe that it tried to snow again yesterday! But hopefully even if we have another Summer like last one we'll be able to grow something. I'll keep you posted!