New Year’s Eve

Another year at an end already. Kind of feel like I lost 3 months of it (thanks Covid) but other than that it’s been good.

Read lots, reviewed most, wrote very little, edited some cracking books. Published two books with Diamond Crime (Breaking Free and Play The Game). Went to CrimeFest, Harrogate, and Stirling for Bloody Scotland. Went loads of places in the camper which was great. Made some new friends, got on with my life.

Still working on getting an agent, but that will happen when it happens. Going to keep chasing the dream. Gotta have a dream to have a dream come true, after all.

Lots of good books to read in 2023, some to write (assuming I get time) and lots of work do on on organising a festival. Should be a fun year.

May 2023 bring you all that you would wish for.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Running on Empty

As I’ve mentioned here before, I had covid in September. Totally knocked me for six, and my hubby too. In fact hubby is still suffering.

We were talking last night and he said how quickly I got back on my feet from it. And after about three days of being out of it, I was doing things around the house and generally managing things. But that’s not to say I was well. I wasn’t. But things needed doing, he couldn’t do them, so someone had to. And I can also say I was a bit resentful at the time because really all I wanted to do was sleep.

But heres the thing. I was able to do the keep going thing because, like a lot of women, I am used to running on empty.

Just because I don’t want to do things, don’t feel like doing them, don’t feel well, I know I still have to get things done. So I do.

This isn’t a superwoman thing, it’s an everywoman thing. It’s kind of the opposite of man-flu.

Am by the way, still not entirely up to full strength, I get tired very easily and don’t want to get up in the morning. But it’ll pass. And if it doesn’t, then I’ll just carry on functioning anyway.

Leave a comment

Filed under Natural Health, Uncategorized

20 centimetres

I had a call from my doctor this morning, the results of an ultrasound I had last week. I’ve known for a while that I have a condition called fibroids. These are fibrous growths in the womb. Theses are not cancerous, and they are not in themselves dangerous. However, they can cause problems.

For me, those problems include a lot of menstrual pain and very, very heavy periods. Those periods are so heavy, they also have a negative effect on my ability to remain iron in my blood. I’ve been anemic, with low iron for many years now, and it doesn’t easily improve. And when I say pain, I mean that even prescribed painkillers do little more than take the edge of, they certainly don’t kill the pain. It’s extremely unpleasant for me, curtailing my ability to so much as stand upright, let alone actually do anything. It’s that bad it actually impinges on my family too.

The last time I had a scan, in 2016, I was told there were a few small fibroids, the largest was 5cm long. Because they aren’t dangerous, I was told I could have a hysterectomy or id I could put up with the pain and bleeding, it would all be fine once I got through menopause. Only it’s now 2022 and I’m not getting any of the obvious signs of menopause. The call from the doctor today told me I now have multiple fibroids that are so large they have merged. My womb is now about 20 cm. That’s roughly equivalent to being 4 to 5 months pregnant. Which would explain my rounded figure.

The nature and size of these growths now mean that my only options are full hysterectomy or put up. I have to say, for many years, I have not been in the right frame of mind to have a hysterectomy, but now, the pain and trouble of menstruating have changed my mind. I still don’t want to go through such an operation. I realise it’s a routine operation, but it’s still a major operation. I have however, reached a stage where I accept that there simply isn’t another option for me.

So here’s hoping that I get to speak to a consultant soon, and that I can get the operation I need soon-ish, the doctor did say she was trying to get me seen as a priority, but after covid the waiting lists have grown longer. I don’t know what the true situation is now, but I did hear that the waiting lists are 2 to 3 years. I hope it won’t take that long. I do feel for the people that are on that waiting list, because there is nothing worse for a woman than gynecological problems that aren’t being seen too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Natural Health, Uncategorized

Over 66 Books

My daughter and I are bibliophiles. We may even be verging on Tsundoku, collecting reading materials and not reading them.

Though in truth we do both read constantly too.

So when we heard about 66 Books, it was a no brainer. We had to go. A bit of a girls weekend.

We drove across the country and stayed overnight.Yes, it’s costly with fuel prices, but the train took more than twice as long. And we stayed overnight, but I got a very good budget hotel price.

On the way down, we listened to “An Argumentation of Historians” by Jodi Taylor, a great romp through time and illogic. That night before bed, I read a little of my current reading book, “Hard Time” by Jodi Taylor. The first is from the St Mary’s Chronicles series, the second is The Time Police series, but characters crossover between the two series, so as I settled down to read, I was a tad confused as to who was doing what. Note to self – if listening to one book, don’t be reading another by the same author.

Anyway, the trip to the book warehouse took us three hours. We bagged 81 books in total. The ones in the bag are gifts for others, hence hidden. Savings were way more than we spent – including petrol and the overnight.

The problem now of course is shelf space. But I’m comfortable with that problem.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Absence Explained

Sorry that I’ve not been around much lately, but I caught Covid while I was on holiday. I got so bad my husband had to bring me home early, so we missed 5 days away.

It was just as well though, because we were in the campervan, which only he can drive and the day after we got home, he succumbed to Covid too. I’ve heard some people say that Covid is just a bad cold. It is not.

I’ve had proper influenza before. You know the kind where you literally can’t get out of bed, can’t eat, sweat even when you’re cold and basically become delirious. Covid was closer to that. After eight days, I started testing negative, but I’m now 19 days in, and not feeling a whole heap better.

While I am improving, I’m still struggling, particularly to breathe. My chest is so tight. I do something for a few minutes and then I’ve got to rest for an hour. I’ve never been so exhausted, and I’ve worked full time while having two kids under 5 and doing a part-time degree.

The worse however, is the Covid Brain Fog. This is a real thing. I can’t concentrate for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I can’t hold a thought for long either. As someone who writes for a living this is a major issue. It’s also why I haven’t been blogging or doing much on social media, I just can’t keep up. Then there’s reading, well, there’s the not reading. I’m doing a blog tour due up on the 10th, so I have had to power through and read the the book, write the review etc, but it all took a lot longer than it should have.

As I said, I’m getting better, just not there yet. But what this does mean, is that when I get back to blogging, I’ll be blogging about our trip and visiting various cities and attending Bloody Scotland, even if I will be several weeks late for it all. Just wanted to let you know.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shrewsbury Steampunk Spooky Spectacular

On a recent visit to Shrewsbury I picked up a leaflet for the Shrewsbury Steampunk Spooky Spectacular. It will be held in Saturday 15th October 2022 in St Mary’s, st Mary’s Street Shrewsbury. Entry is free.

see for more info.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Chancing My Arm

You roll the dice, you take your chance

I’m learning to take risks, or am I?

Being part of a team organising a crime writing festival means I need to approach and talk with some very successful authors. These are people that I would never have the courage to walk up to in real life.

I wouldn’t for two reasons. There is, of course, the “I’m not worthy” feeling, the imposter syndrome. There’s also the whole introvert nature of who I am.

But I don’t have the luxury to be shy when I have to invite these authors to the festival. So I’ve come up with a reasonably professional form of works to invite without being demanding.

Recently I have been asked to invite an individual who is a total best seller, not just the kind of best seller that a lot of writers claim, this is a at the top of all proper listings, earnings in the millions kind of best seller. My first thought was ‘that person’ll never agree’, but I had a responsibility to extend the invite. So I have done.

The thought that moved me to action was, what’s the worse that can happen?

Oddly and simply, the answer to that is the worse they could do say no.

So what happens if they say no?

Well, I say thank you, wish them luck in whatever they do. And that’s it.

I chance my arm. If I fail, I fail, but I’ll still have my arm.

Of course, there is the alternative, and it has already happened; the person might say yes, and then I’ll have pulled off a bit of a coup.

So yes, I’m learning to be less risk averse, risking nothing tangible.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Grey Water

As large parts of the country are under a hosepipe ban, are household started thinking about saving water. Although we are not subject to a ban where we live, the more all of us can reduce water usage, the better.

On the radio heard some woman saying that she keeps her garden alive and green by using grey water. Since my garden is something I’ve put a lot of effort into the last few years, I thought this was a good idea.

So we’ve started looking at ways to save water. These are what we’ve come up with so far. Many of these have been picked up from years of working in the water industry and listening to other people’s suggestions.

Steam the veg. Been doing this for years because it saves waters, keeps more micronutrients in the food, and saves energy.

Save the cooking water. If we boil or steam anything, we drain it into a bowl not down the sink.

Keep a water butt fed by rain runoff. We have a 100L one from our small greenhouse, but today we’ve brought a new 210L one that we’re siting out the front behind a trellis of passion flowers. We’ve got to get a longer hose to feed the barrel from the downpipe, but that shouldn’t be too hard.

We use a bucket to collect the run off from the shower as we wait for it to warm up.

We keep a bowl and let water from hand washing collect in it.

We have fewer baths, but when we do, we drain most by bucket.

All that water then goes into storage butts, and is then used via a watering can to take care of the pots and lawns.

Simple things, but if it saves the garden, I’m happy. And if it helps save any more, great.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bath Time

Am now back after three days away in the campervan. Have to say that the campervan is a real boon to our life. Being able to take these short breaks in the middle of the week when my hubby has some time of work is just wonderful.

Though only a short break it was one of the most relaxing breaks we’ve had in a while. Very chilled, even though it was was of course, in a heatwave.

We took a quick break down in Bath, a city we haven’t been to in well over a decade. And this time we actually did a lot of the tourist things that we wouldn’t normally do and it was fab!

Knowing we had the time away, I pre-booked tickets to get into the Roman baths, somewhere that I have never actually visited before.  They are very well curated, though I wouldn’t want to jump in that water, though I believe it wouldn’t have been green in Roman times. I vaguely remember hearing that that colour is down to something we’re doing that the Romans didn’t, though I can’t remember what. We did of course have a drink of the waters, there’s a special fountain point at the end of the tour where you can. I was surprised how warm the water comes up from the ground, and no as bad tasting as some I’ve drunk from other spas.

With the cathedral being a step away from the baths, we or course went in, and lovely it is too. Some wonderful stained glasses, and it always amazes me how memorial masons manage to get such fine and lifelike detail from marble. We also wandered along the river and got a lovely view of the unusual v-shaped weir, where, of course we did a geocache.

We also visited the Jane Austen Centre, which was something of a surprise, and hugely interesting. I knew Jane had many siblings, though I didn’t know there were eight of them in total or that they were all encouraged to learn ‘finger speech’, what we would call sign language, as the second of the eight children was deaf. I hadn’t really thought about the idea that sign language had been around that long, and that’s something I want to learn more about.

We also got in a trip to No 1 Royal Crescent, where you can walk through the house and the lives of a great Georgian family on the way up. On the way down, you get to see the servants point and view. Have to say I wouldn’t have wanted to be going up and down those stairs day in, day out. But it was interesting to see how the kitchen was set out, in many ways it had a modern feel to it. Though there were obviously none of what we would call modern conveniences such as fridges, they did store things in the cold, and given that we were there on a hot day, it was a refreshing point of the visit. 

That of course took us into the Royal Crescent itself, which is beautiful, and reminded me of the episode of MacDonalds & Dobbs in which Martin Kemp, amongst other 80s stars, crash landed a balloon there, after Rob Brydon’s character had sabotaged it.  Which made later walking past the city police station interesting – a new nice modern building by the way.

In the evenings, I did a lot of reading, a bit of cross stitch, played scrabble (got my first ever 7 letter word), played cards, enjoyed the evenings and just generally relaxed a lot more than I usually do.

Yes, Bath is a lovely city and if you get the chance to go there, it’s well worth the time. All the times you get to see there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Good Health

I realised the other day that I’ve not blogged for a while discussing mental health. There are two reasons for this. The first is simply that I have been busy, as my last post says. The second thing is that, honestly, my mental health has been really good. I’ve had to work at it, and it’s taking time. But I’m in a good place.

It’s odd how when our mental health is good, we don’t notice it. But after the Harrogate festival I’ve seen a fair number of attendees say they have, unfortunately, contracted covid. These people have my sympathy, because my understanding is that covid’s not nice.

Oddly, no one in my household has contracted covid at any point since its first arrival in the country. We have gone through the usual testing processes, especially as my husband and daughter worked throughout the pandemic. I did too, but was working from home.

We tend to put this good health down to good luck.

I’m also aware that poor mental health can have a serious and negative effect on the immune system. I’m not suggesting that those who picked up covid are suffering poor mental health, some might be, some might not, I have no evidence either way. I’m saying that my physical health is currently good. I’m a woman of a certain age, so there are issues, but nothing major. Given what I have been through the last few years, I am glad to say that for the last few months, probably a year now, my mental health has been good. I’m very grateful for this.

I love doing what I do now.

I love writing. I love editing. I’m grateful for the opportunity to read books I might not otherwise see, and I hope that I help other authors. And even though it’s a lot of work, I love helping organise the Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU Festival.

This blog is really to say that we should all celebrate the small stuff and acknowledge the good. Cheering the good is much better than bemoaning the bad. It’s good to have good mental health, and I appreciate being in that fortunate position.

Leave a comment

Filed under Natural Health, Uncategorized