Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)


June 2015


My dear friend Karen has gone on a mini cruise off the coast of Brisbane. It is just for a week, with her hubby and kids, and she has left me in charge of her house, dogs, spa, veggie garden and of a little budgie name Bubbles, that now resides in my home.

My ever so lively terrier Billy (who’s still in the dog house after bitegate last week. has not noticed the extra addition to the family…yet. He has sniffed at the budgie’s food, and then growled at it, which has made me ever so glad that I have put Bubbles onto my side board and not on the floor as my friend suggested.

It has been an animal inspired weekend so far, as we discussed MY Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell in my book club, and now Bubbles arrival. We also went to see Jurassic World (the dinosaurs were out of this world, and are animals, if not technically alive at this moment in time!) We were blown away by the effects which were a lot better than the original film. I overheard a little girl behind us ask for a pet dinosaur, so that’s how good they were! Unbelievable. Which got me thinking about what us humans would treat dinosaurs if they existed today. I suppose they could be caught and caged just like every single animal on this planet of ours, which is due to our need for survival. It is an immense thought though, if a theme park such as the one in the film, existed today…I would be wary of going to it, and even more wary of our capacity to control such huge creatures for the long term. Phew.

So, as the middle of the weekend is upon me, I am going to finish my gorgeous book, entitled ‘People of the Book,’ and chill.

PS I have just discovered Geraldine Brooks (the author of my book) but am now a fan…it’s wonderful 🙂

My weekend

It has been a strange weekend. On Friday I went to my local library to find some books to research my next book. I am in the ‘ideas’ stage at the moment, as I have the setting and time frame in places, but have still to work on my characters. I have a lot to do and read as it is to be set in the midst of WW1.

After my library visit, I came home to a light lunch of sushi, laden with books, to find that my hubby had been over to the local bottle shop, and there was a special on white wine. Mmmmm….one glass led to another, and bang! I had a huge hangover the next morning.

So, instead of hitting my bed for the afternoon, I hit the shops. There’s a new home wares shop just opened at my lovely, and huge shopping mall, and I was first in there, buying goodies. I am a flower type of gal, in that I would happily fill my house with all kinds of artificial flowers in all shapes and sizes, and in any vase that they suit. So, its a blissful afternoon, for me, hangover headache or not.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny…beautiful Queensland winter weather. We planned to go to the markets in the afternoon, but there was a domestic drama at home first, in the form of my little fox terrier, Billy. Billy decided that with all the excitement of getting ready by us humans, that he would join in and take some underwear from my daughter’s bedroom. This led to much running around the house by him, with us chasing him. Having caught him, my hubby tried to prise the underwear from his mouth, with the help of moi. Did it work? No, and I got bit on the hand by my doggy baby!! Not good at all.

Now, I have taken Billy in hand, and I am in charge of his behaviour, not anyone else in my household.

Billy is well and truly in the dog house 😦 😦Jess and Billy

Short Story: Elizabeth’s House

July 1980

Elizabeth pulled back the net curtains and looked out of the window; it was raining again. She tutted to herself, and moved to the back door of her small terraced house to get the sheets off the line. ‘Bloody weather,’ she muttered to herself, as she made her way to her washing, grabbing the washing basket in her arms. The news had promised a fine day in south Wales, and they had lied again. She looked across to her next door neighbour’s house as she worked, and noticed that Mrs Davis had her smalls out too.

‘Hey, Renee!’ she called out over the fence that separated the two properties. ‘The weatherman’s told us a load of bull, as per usual. It’s going to lash down any moment!’

Renee Davies came scuttling out, an appreciative look on her face. ‘Thanks, Elizabeth, I was watching Countdown and dozing off in my chair. I didn’t notice the weather! How’s that little granddaughter of yours? Is she pleased with having a new brother? They can get proper jealous at that age you know!’

Elizabeth nodded in agreement. ‘They can do, but not my Rhian. She has been good as gold, helping her mother change the nappies, and fetching and carrying for her. Fran says that she’s a god send; what with Jim having to go back to work so soon after the baby’s born. I’d like to help more, but you know what my arthritis is like; I would be too afraid to pick him up! They’ll be over later this afternoon, come in for a cup of tea and a cuddle.’

Elizabeth went back into her kitchen and put the kettle on. She went into her living/dining room, and looked out of the window which gave a view of the road outside her street. Just then, a pale green Morris Minor car pulled up into the driveway. It was her daughter Fran and the children. As she opened the front door, she was nearly knocked over by her eldest granddaughter, Rhian, who was excitedly clinging onto Elizabeth’s apron. She was clutching her Tiny Tears doll and giggling.

‘Hey, young lady, you nearly winded me good and proper then! Sit yourself down on my settee. I have those nice biscuits in tin, but only if your good mind!’

Rhian rushed into the living area, and Elizabeth pulled open the door for her daughter and her new baby, Michael who was fast asleep in her arms. Her daughter looked pale and tired, but it was to be expected, with a new baby and an exuberant youngster at home. Rhian was a handful at the best of times, but since the baby had come along, she had becoming more and more demanding.

‘Hello mum,’ said Fran, kissing her mother on the cheek. ‘Sorry we’re late, but this little monkey would not settle. How are you, and how’s the arthritis? Are you able to get to the chemist for pain relief?’

‘Don’t worry about me, I’m fine. You have enough to do looking after yourself and the kids. Come, let’s sit down and have a cuppa.’

They had just sipped their tea, when the back door knocked and opened to Elizabeth’s neighbour, Renee standing there holding a sponge cake.

‘Freshly made, now tuck in you lot.’ Renee sat the cake down onto the kitchen table. ‘Where is he then? Let’s grab a cuddle while I can.’


Elizabeth had lived in the village of Llanberis all of her life. Her father had worked in the coal pit at Newport, and so had her dear late husband Will. She had brought her family up in the small rural existence that she loved, and both of her children lived nearby. Her daughter Fran was a five minute drive away by car, and her son John lived in Newport itself with his wife and two young daughters. John didn’t go into the pit like his dad, but had got himself a couple of ‘O’ levels and had worked in the Post Office as a sorting officer for the last twenty years, while his wife Marge worked part time in a dress shop. They lad a comfortable life with their girls and managed a package holiday to Spain most years, unless John wanted to update his car to a newer model. The family came over most weekends, and stayed for lunch. If it was a fine day, John was happy to cook some bbq food outside, and this suited Elizabeth as she could just rest and watch him cook.

Fran spent most days at her mother’s house. She enjoyed chatting to the neighbours when she was over, as she had grown up with them all. Everyone had made a fuss when Michael was born. There was a gap of ten years between the baby and Rhian, and unspoken whispers of ‘Are you going to have another baby? A brother or sister will keep Rhian company.’ Until now though, there had been no sign of a baby. Elizabeth watched her daughter tenderly feed her new son his bottle; he was a much wanted later addition to their family, and she sensed how pleased her daughter was.

There was a knock at the door; her son in law Joseph appeared in the doorway.

‘I did knock, and let myself in. How’s things Elizabeth?’



Today I put on my cooking hat, and baked a corned beef pie. I am currently inspired to cook by watching Masterchef Australia which is currently running for the next few weeks on Channel 10. I do not hope to come anywhere near the professional looking sumptuous dishes that are prepared as part of the show ( and by ordinary cooks) by I can hold my own in the kitchen, especially when it comes to your home cooked meals-like-your-mother-used-to-make type of dish.

It is the Winter in Oz, so just perfect for baking. The cold weather has seeped into my bones, and reminds me of living back in Wales, although our temperatures are the same as home, and it is the summer there; perish the thought of a British winter again. Last weekend it was a pie special, with apple pies and cinnamon, steak pies and kidneys, and this week corned beef and mash. My family love the meals, but groan at their expanding waistlines. I reassure them with my favourite quote. ‘Eat it up, your a growing boy (or girl).’ This covers all the guilt sins of eating, even though my son is nearly nineteen (and has grown enough).

It has been a weird week at my house. Both of my offspring are in the midst of exams. Jessica is stressed out over her Japanese tests, whilst Liam is NOT stressed over his Music tests. He is so laid back, that I am concerned that he has missed something in his studies and he is going to realise this pretty soon, and will then FREAK OUT! Let’s hope not.

I have sent my book, Elen off to the publishers this week. The publishers (HarperCollins) have informed all the budding and hopeful aspiring writers that they will get back to them in four weeks. I have crossed this off in my calendar, and am praying every night. Getting some work published would be a dream come true, and if I could earn a reasonable living from selling my work, then I have found my dream job after years of searching. Wow, even writing down my thoughts, dreams and aspirations gives me Goosebumps!

I have also looked at other publisher’s and am going to send a draft of Elen to a competition that is running in July.

Fingers crossed.

I have already started the sequel to Elen, a book called Alice. Alice is Elen’s daughter, and this will be a trilogy of stories, leading up to WW1. I am researching this period as we speak – watch this space.

Whatever happens tho, I know that writing is what I what from life, and will continue it forever and ever. 🙂simple-mini-apple-pie-recip.

PS Tomorrow I am making Apple and Rhubarb Pie. I haven’t cooked with rhubarb in such a long time, I hope that I do it justice….

Checkout Chickz

Having spend a good half an hour of my day queuing in my local supermarket, I am ready to rant. As a new fledgling writer of recent months (having returned to writing after kids, jobs, other distractions) I am now an avid observer of people and social interactions. More importantly (to me anyway, my observations of people have given me lots of food for thought when it comes down to getting my characters as succinct as possible.

For example, I can now get my new book into shape and my new characters in place, all by observing people chattering/arguing/stamping about impatiently in a line. I certainly did not realise that as a writer, you can observe most walks of life in a checkout queue! (and let’s not get started on the checkout girl).

This morning, the checkout girl had a very stern demeanour. The expression on her face was stern to say the least (a face like a bag of wasps, as my hubby calls it, and who am I to argue?). Faced with a line of people that went past the end of aisle bargains, and down into the biscuit section, the checkout girl was not happy. With her frown lines noticeable from the back of the aisle, she tried to send people to another checkout further along (which had a flustered young school age boy on it who was out of till roll). But no, none of us in the line was falling for that  ‘ole chestnut!’

‘If I walk over to the queue, you can place money on the fact that I will be standing there like a lemon as this queue gets smaller. It’s happened to me so many times,’ observed the woman in front of me to anyone that would listen.

The man in front of her turned around, and nodded in agreement. ‘I’m only after paying for a few groceries, myself. Why don’t they put another checkout person on? Look, that young boy is still fiddling around with the till roll! He has my sympathies, he’s obviously still training, so the manager should put on enough staff!’ the man puffed and moaned.

I have to agree. Supermarkets it seems, never get it right when it comes to serving customers. They have now put into place self service tills which would seem to ease the problem, but they’re not much good if they all decide to break down. aye?

It seems the days of the irate supermarket  checkout chick, and the even more irate customer are far from over!2aa8a7c42c75e4e238a49a78e6abb4a0

Book Club

untitledI have just joined a book club in my local area. That’s not quite true…I actually joined a few years back, but decided at the time that it was not for me. This is a surprising statement in itself, as I am TOTALLY in to reading books, so I must explain.

The book club consisted of between 6-8 regular members, and some members that appeared occasionally. The ‘core’ member of the club, and the one that actually runs the website, is a friend of mine. She ‘persuaded’ moi to join as I was feeling a bit mumsy at the time (all housework and kids and pets!). So, I joined.

At this time, I was not a book addict. I had always loved reading but had been ‘out of the loop’ and had not read a book for a few years. Needless to say, the book club consisted of hardened dedicated reading buffs who daily digested reams of reading material from every genre imaginable! I was overwhelmed.

Then I discovered audio books. One member ‘listened’ to at least 4 books per week alone, whilst driving to work and back everyday. I was flabbergasted….could you class audio books as reading?

Anyway, having discovered this fact all those years ago, I left the book club, disillusioned and disheartened.

Back to the present time, and I have re-joined the book club. There are the same ‘core’ members (including my friend, who has kept pestering me over the years to come back….sigh).

The club seems just as competitive as ever, but now I have an added weapon – I know that they LISTEN to books as well!

Nevertheless. I am carrying on with my own reading (of books) and ‘Won’t be Fooled Again’  just like the rock band The Who.

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