Time to Raise the Curtain…

So excited to hear The Muppets are back! A new film is being released in the UK in February 2012. And NBC have commissioned a script for a new series.

Just thinking of Kermit and Miss Piggy takes me back to childhood, essential family viewing, along with The Generation Game, Morecambe and WiseDoctor Who

OK, so the 70s weren’t all fun and games – I remember the power cuts, the strikes, The Winter of Discontent and the ascent of Margaret Thatcher. But, despite just three channels, there was some classic telly. Maybe a case of less is more.


And they did the best ever version of Bohemian Rhapsody. Sorry Freddie…


Love Writing

I had a very lovely time last night at the Romantic Novelists Association Winter party in the very grand library of the IMechE on Birdcage Walk. Such glamour! Such shoes!

I was invited along by writer and teacher Cathie Hartigan of Creative Writing Matters and wasn’t sure what to expect. Accompanied by Margaret James and a crowd of other amazingly successful writers, we had a fun evening. So nice to be in an environment that is so female – just the odd brave man scattered here and there. Writers, publishers, agents, friends, the room was buzzing and crackling with energy, the highlight being the unveiling of the new look RNA… watch this space – I am so joining!

Can’t wait for the summer party… And a huge thank you to all you wonderful women who looked after this ‘Romantic Virgin’ yesterday.

Old Girl

Had my first school Q and A today as a visiting writer. It was at Trinity School in Teignmouth (the old Convent of Notre Dame) which was highly appropriate as that was where I learnt to write. It was so weird to go back as an old girl, to chat in the library (chat!) where I used to borrow books, and to talk with such awesome young people who were so enthusiastic about writing. Made me want to go back in time to be that age again, with the whole world out there, waiting to be discovered.

And how fitting to be talking about my novel The Generation Game, sitting in the school where both my son and I were students. And now it’s in the library for the next generation to borrow…

Oh yes, and if The Generation Game ever gets adapted for TV, one of the students has brilliantly cast Miranda Hart as the narrator, Philippa. And he hasn’t even read it!

For the Fallen

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Gone, and a cloud in my heart. ~Alfred Tennyson

I lost my father in 1978, when I was ten years old and not a day has gone by when I don’t think of him. The view in this photo is from the doorway of All Saints Church in Selworthy, Somerset. It overlooks the graveyard where my dad’s ashes lie amongst relatives and ancestors dating back to the 17th century.

So why am I blogging about this now? You know how you get those days when you feel the weight of all those who have gone before you, all those people that once loved you and who are no longer here…? If you do, then you’ll know where I’m coming from. I’m having a few of those days.

Earlier this week, I took my cousin, over from Canada, to visit the grave of my step-father, his uncle. My cousin brought a Canadian flag to place in the earth near the headstone, a poignant gesture as my step-father was born in Saskatchewan. It was a moving moment.  We felt the presence of those once-loved and still-cherished family members hovering closely around us.

So I began to wonder where I would like my final resting place to be. Would it be my body buried here in Teignmouth, returned to the earth of my hometown? Would it my ashes scattered at sea or on the moors? Would it be up in Selworthy, near my dad to keep him company. Does it matter?

I think it does. Not for me, the departed, but for those left behind who need a place to go, to feel a connection to their past to help make sense of their present. Hopefully it will be a while before someone has to act on my behalf in this way, but it does us no harm to dwell on these matters from time to time.  To appreciate what we have, who we love, the precious life given to us.

As I sit inside on a cold November night, listening to the bang of fireworks, it reminds me of the passing of the seasons, of the passing of time, and of the need to make the most of today, of now, as we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.  And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.  ~Irish Blessing