lyndarenham

Lynda Renham's Blog

Big News!

big news

 

The biggest news of all is the new book. Another reason I have been quiet of late. I’ve been slogging over the new novel. Of course I can’t tell you much yet except to say the heroine is named Poppy. I think we have a title but we’re still throwing ideas around. But I’ve been told I’m not allowed to reveal it until the book is ready to go to print. I’m bursting though. The good news is it won’t be long before you will see the cover which I know is going to be brilliant and I can’t wait to share it. We’re going to have an online launch party which will be a blast. I’m thinking of ideas already J

I’ll share a little something with you. Do you remember the three Jacks who were in ‘The Dog’s Bollocks?’ I hope you do. Well, they make reappearance in the new novel and are as clumsy and funny as ever J

As usual I can’t have a new book out without a competition or two. So read on, dear readers to see how to enter.

Back to the novel. I got to The End today so I am very thrilled. I love it and I hope you do too. Keep your eyes on my author page on Facebook because there will be regular announcements about the new release.

If you want even more news on the novels sign up to my newsletter by emailing me at lynda@renham.co.uk

 

Meanwhile you can download ‘It Had to be You’ for 99p!!! Special offer for Christmas. Hurry, it’s soon to end. Get it here9780957137288 - Copy

 

car-breakdown2

We’ve never been conventional in our house. Although I expect you’ve gathered that already. So, you won’t be surprised to read that we both drive old bangers. Peugeot 206 bangers to be exact and the exact same colour bangers come to that. That wasn’t intentional, it just kind of happened, you know, like things do. We have talked about buying a new car and we have glanced at some. But that’s as far as we’ve got. Cars are just not important to us somehow. But it was only recently that I realised just how unimportant material things are to us and how eccentric we are. Of course, if the doctor’s AKA as my husband Andrew) son hadn’t come to live with us I wonder if we would ever have realised. But he has come to live with us and I’m not sure how he is finding it but he and his wife and four year old son seem to laugh a lot which frankly if you’re around us you have to and they are getting adjusted to our odd way of living. So, when stepson (James) asked about going onto our car insurance we thought nothing of it. So imagine James when he first used Andrew’s car to find he couldn’t push the driver’s seat forward to get his son in the back.

‘Ah yes,’ we say. ‘That seat is broken. You need to watch that. You may also notice the seat moves forward slightly when you’re driving,’ adds Andrew, ‘It’s quite safe though.’

James gives him an odd look.

‘So we have to use the passenger side to get into the back do we?’ he asks.

We nod.

Off they go to return a few hours later looking a little strained. We’d totally forgotten to mention that the indicator has a mind of its own too and when you indicate one way and take the turn, instead of clicking itself off it clicks to indicate the opposite way. If you don’t hear it you could be indicating for miles. God knows we have done this many a time on a motorway only to be flashed numerous times. Then, of course, there is the door that swings wide open. So when you park and open it you have to be careful else it smashes into the parked car next to it. We also forgot to mention that it struggles a bit when going up hills.

‘The seat is a bit low too,’ says James.

‘Oh is it,’ says Andrew. ‘I like it that way.’

‘Hard to see the mirror,’ says James tactfully.

‘You can use mine if you like.’ I say.

His face lights up.

‘If that’s okay?’

If he thought Andrew’s car was bad …But of course, I don’t think to tell him because I’m not aware there is anything to tell him. But on reflection I suppose I should have mentioned that the clock is always an hour fast. I’m not sure why but I’ve got used to it now and always work backwards when telling the time. A light tends to come on and flashes the words ‘air bag’ too. Andrew jokingly says it is referring to me. Then of course there is the radio which doesn’t work anymore after I had a battery change. However I worked out if you press the on button and programme number 6 button it will play … for all of 5 minutes and then you push the buttons again and so on. I’ve been known to do a three hour journey playing the radio like that. The CD player doesn’t work at all. Then there is the passenger seat in my car which is broken. So to get a child seat in the back you have to do it via the driver’s side. Not to mention the state of the boot which houses Andrew’s tool box, his flying suits (bearing in mind we no longer fly as we don’t have a microlight anymore) plus his helmets and other boxes of stuff. I have to be honest and say I have no idea what the stuff is. The car is full of sweet wrappers which are proof of my guilty chocolate feasts. I do vaguely mention the radio before they go.

‘Just keep pushing the buttons,’ I say.

Off they go and off we go to visit my mum in Essex. We return to a white faced James.

‘Everything okay,’ I ask.

‘Your car flashes an airbag sign all the time. I didn’t know what to do at first but then thought maybe it always does it. That seems to be the way with your cars.’

He’s getting the hang of it.

‘I did try pushing all the buttons for the radio but nothing happened.’

Ah yes, I probably should have said which buttons.

‘I did think about doing some shopping but there was no room in the boot.’

‘Yes, sorry about that,’ I say.

‘I think it may be best if I stick to Dad’s car.’

Famous last words. For two days later he broke down with a flat tyre and was late picking up his wife from work. Oh well, at least we were there to babysit Matthew.

‘Are you sure you don’t want mine?’ I offer.

‘No, Dad’s will be fine.’

Second lot of famous last words if you can have a second lot of last words.

For as I write James has just text me to say he has broken down in the doctor’s car. It seems the clutch gave up. Poor James was convinced it was something he’d done and he asked the breakdown man for reassurance.

‘Wear and tear mate, this car has had it.’

Well, we always said we would drive them into the ground. The cars that is, not the sons.

James walks in ashen faced and exhausted.

‘What a nightmare. How do you cope?’ he asks.

‘With what?’ I reply.

I’m greeted by my daughter in law who is also ashen.

‘Oh Lynda,’ she says nervously. ‘I’ve broken something.’

I quickly look for Bendy and relax when I see him sleeping happily on the couch.

She holds out my BITCH mug.

‘James said it was expensive,’ she says tearfully.

I look at the other mugs hanging on the rack and shrug.

‘It’s just a mug. When you kill Bendy you need to think about leaving.’

I think they’re laying down in a darkened room now. I suppose this means I’ll have to collect Matthew from school. Good job the school is next door. Not sure what we’ll do about the Christmas shopping, or my appointment for my holiday vaccinations or my daughter in law’s journey to work. Oh well, we’ll think about that tomorrow.

Oh yes, and a Merry Christmas from us.

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xx

lyndachristmas

Our first Christmas cards arrived yesterday and I suddenly realised Christmas is upon us. So, I thought a gentle reminder to the doctor AKA Andrew (my husband) about my presents.  I seriously think I would have achieved more by writing to Santa.

‘There’s plenty of time,’ he says.

He’s no idea. Do all men live in a different world or is it just my man?

I’d already tried the Christmas list which I’d given him and my stepson over two weeks ago after stepson had asked what I would like. I’d also emailed husband the link to the camera I wanted.

Two weeks on and the Christmas list is nowhere to be seen. I’d like to think he has it in his jacket pocket but I’m no fool.  So last night I casually mentioned how close Christmas was.

‘There’s only a few weekends left to do Christmas shopping,’ I say.

‘Oh no’ he gasps and then with a relieved sigh adds, ‘But we have everything don’t we?’

Well I do, I can’t speak for him. I’ve been preparing for the past two months. One thing I hate is last minute Christmas shopping. And as I have ten people on Boxing day I don’t want to leave anything to chance.

‘Have you bought anything for me?’ I ask.

Might as well be up front is my motto. Now, I should mention at this point that my period is not far off. A week to be exact and the week before my period is not my best time. I’m highly emotional and feel quite sure that doctor and the whole world are against me. So when doctor replies to the question with,

‘Ah, that reminds me, where is that Christmas list that you wrote?’  Obviously I see red.

‘If you don’t get them soon, there won’t be time,’ I say emotionally.

What is it with men? Or is it just the doctor? I swear it would be easier to buy the presents myself. Ask him for the money and off I pop. It’s the same with flowers isn’t it? Doctor claims the Sainsbury he goes to doesn’t sell them. This seems to be the case with camomile tea too and popcorn. When I go, the store is abounding with them. Strange that. The other annoying thing doctor does is query my list.

‘Do you really need more books? Don’t you think you should read the ones you’ve got first?’

Or.

‘Do you really want that DVD? That was rubbish if I remember.’

Oh was it? I never realised. I can’t imagine why I put it on the list.

Or.

‘This camera looks ok but do you really want one that takes AA batteries?’

Why ask me what I want for Christmas if you’re going to question everything I ask for. Oh, that’s a point. He never asked me what I wanted for Christmas now I come to think about it. Also when I come to think about it, the one year I didn’t give a list or ask if he had bought me presents was the first year we went to Cambodia. We were leaving on Boxing Day and I had so much to do before we flew that I totally forgot about my presents and I got a beautiful bracelet and an internet radio and some perfume. Am I at fault? Should I just sit it out and hope for something fantastic? Or should I rummage around and try to find that elusive list?

Answers on a postcard to Lynda.

Merry Christmas and I hope you get everything you want.

choc

 

My friend called me on my mobile to see how I was feeling. I had the phone on silent so I missed the call. An hour later I noticed it flashing and listened to her message.

‘Hope you’re feeling better. I did come round to see you but there was no reply when I rang the bell.’

It seems when I’m writing I turn stone deaf.  Near the end of the message she breaks up but I feel sure I hear her say ‘I’ve left (breaks up) outside your door.’

It can only be chocolate right? She knows what an addict I am. I dash downstairs, turn the front door handle only to find the door is locked. I then remember I had asked my stepson when leaving the house if he could lock it after him as I don’t like being in the house with the door unlocked. I go to dash upstairs to fetch my keys. I’m so desperate for this chocolate now that I am shaking. I didn’t feel the need for a sugar rush until I knew the sugar was there, now I can’t stop thinking about it. I reach the top step and freeze. I don’t have keys. I gave them to my stepson so he could drive my car. I can’t get out. I’m a prisoner in my home. I’m under house arrest and what’s worse right outside that locked door is chocolate.  This has to be my worst nightmare.

Chocolate so close but so far away. I actually start thinking of other ways I can escape my home. Can I squeeze through a window? Can I wave crazily from the window and attract the attention of a passing parent on their way to the school? I should have trained Bendy to fetch, damn it. I even consider making a makeshift net and hanging from the bedroom window with it in the hope of retrieving said chocolate. It then occurs to me I can climb over the back wall. The problem is at 3 in the afternoon all the parents will be lined up along that very wall. Maybe not such a good idea. You’ll be pleased to know that I pulled myself together and didn’t phone the fire brigade. You can laugh but it did enter my head.  Twenty minutes later I rush down again when I hear my stepson return.  My chocolate fest is near. I open the door and come face to face with a huge bouquet.

‘Someone left these for you,’ he says.

‘Where’s the chocolate?’ I ask.

Stepson and wife look at me like I’ve gone crazier than normal.

‘Should we have bought some?’ they ask.

I trundle back upstairs for a quiet weep.

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What the hell has happened to Lynda, I hear you say? Then again, maybe you’re not saying that at all.
I’ve not blogged much or tweeted much and my Facebook appearance has been pretty minimal. So where the hell have I been? Not on holiday, that much I can assure you.
It’s been a mad few months. It’s been a crazy year in fact and it isn’t improving. I’ve been worrying my arse off mainly and trying to write a book. And the madness doesn’t look like ending either. But at the end of January I am off to Laos to sit in the sun. I’m going to get a holiday if it kills me and I’m determined to fit into my life things I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m also going back to Cambodia in the summer. Hopefully with the Doctor (otherwise known as Andrew) or on my own if necessary but go I will.
So, what’s been happening for Ms Renham Cook to be so quiet?
I’ve been working really hard on the new novel. Which I feel certain is a load of bollocks but I have been assured by those in the know that it isn’t and I should stop having minor panic attacks especially while studying kangaroo in Lidl. Kangaroo meat that is, not kangaroo as a whole, you understand. Although, I have been known to have mild panic attacks over the novels while studying the lamb too, just in case you thought it was only kangaroo that sent me over the edge. Anyway, let’s move away from Lidl, shall we, before I give you a mild panic attack. So, with the novel almost finished, I can now relax. At least until I get my edits.
Basically, I’ve not been around because I’m wrecked. Several health scares, a small op, and a family of three moving in with us has left me completely and totally wrecked. Not to mention a cat having a mini breakdown, Christmas looming and my house turned upside down. I’ve lost a room, gained a son and grandson, lost a car (only temporarily) given up my summer house and half my kitchen. This is playing havoc with my OCD. Worse of all, I’ve had to buy a nightie. Gone are the days of strolling into the loo while naked. Mind you, I’m lucky if I can actually stroll into the loo. It’s normally engaged these days. This is playing havoc with my irritable bowel. I’m always the last in the shower these days and that means that the water is tepid by the time it hits me. This is not my idea of fun. I tell myself if I can get through having the builders in, then I can get through this.
More worrying is the amount of money I’ve spent online. I know it’s Christmas but I think I’ve got carried away. At least my bank balance hints I got carried away. So if I carry on like this I may have to take a temporary job in Lidl until the new novel comes out.
I’ve also been eating far too much. Sugar is essential to a writer, especially if the creative juices are to flow. I’ve over indulged on fig rolls and Galaxy, my two very favourite things. We’ve also eaten out more the past six weeks than we have in fourteen years together. And the amount of fish and chips we’ve had is shameful. So, what is looming? The big WW. Weight Watchers to be exact just in case you thought I was referring to a world war. Things are desperate but they’re not that desperate.
Now to top it all I have the monster of all colds. Annoyingly, no one else in the house seems to have it. How bloody unfair is that?
Still let’s look on the bright side shall we? Can you see one? Oh good. Christmas is coming. My Christmas newsletter will be coming and hopefully Christmas in the village photos are coming. With that I’ll close. Lynda is back. Slightly skew wiff, but she’s back.
Love you all xxxx

level-crossing-sat-nav

Only I can drive out to a Women’s institute meeting and have it resemble an expedition to the Antarctic. While the whole time being armed with an AA road map and a Sat Nav. You weren’t properly prepared? I hear you ask.

That’s where you’re wrong. I’m well prepared. This is the first time I’ve given a talk so I was over the top prepared. All my notes are neatly stacked in a nice clean blue folder. Books are piled on the table ready to be packed into the car. I’d asked my husband Andrew to charge the Sat Nav the night before so it would be ready. I’d printed out an AA map for back up.  I seriously couldn’t have been better prepared. I allowed forty minutes for Andrew to arrive home and have dinner with me before heading off.

It should be born in mind that I have never been to this particular village in Oxfordshire before. But the map said it would only take 30 minutes. Of course, it is also November and the nights get dark earlier so I figured I should give myself a little longer. Andrew arrives home on time. We eat dinner on time and I have my car packed in time. I’m all ready to set off. Andrew fits the sat nav into my car and we see the battery is low. I feel the first stirrings of panic but quickly get them under control.

‘It’s fine,’ says Andrew. ‘As long as you keep it plugged in here it will work.’

He’s quite right of course and we set the postcode and wait for the GPS to pick up signal. Before long Sebastian the Sat Nav is telling me to take a sharp left. Off I go.

‘Hope it goes well,’ says Andrew.

I start the car and turn the headlights on full, for it is very dark in the village. We don’t have street lights.

‘Sharp left,’ says Sebastian, lighting up the interior of the car.

I travel through the lanes of my village with Sebastian as my guiding angel, although so far I know where I am going. I round the bend and Sebastian tells me to keep left. I reach the end of the village and go to take the bend.

‘Turn left, and then …’

Suddenly Sebastian loses his voice and the car is plunged into darkness. My heart almost stops and I feel myself come over all hot. I glance at the tom tom to see it has died. Oh no, this can’t be happening. ‘We’ve only just began’ comes onto the car radio. Talk about a psychic car. I pull into a layby where there are plenty of street lamps and fiddle with the lead to the Sat Nav. A minute later and it lights up again and I sigh with relief, only to find it has now lost its destination. I fiddle with the settings, find the set destination bit and type in the postcode except for some annoying reason the O keeps getting stuck. My heart is beating faster now and with shaking fingers I struggle to punch in the postcode. A few seconds later I am off again, perspiring a bit more but off never the less. But you know how it is. I have doubts that I have punched in the right postcode. I see a pub ahead and pull in sharply, sending my neat folder and all its papers flying. I’m beginning to get a bad feeling about this talk. A man lounges outside the pub and keeps giving me odd looks. I don’t believe this is happening. I fumble for my papers and attempt to discreetly lock the doors before studying the road map and punching in the postcode again. Now, my neck is tense and there is a mild thumping in my head. The Sat Nav set, I reverse out and continue my journey, careful to avoid any bumps that may disturb the Sat Nav connection. I get onto another country road without street lights and strain to see ahead as bright headlights blind me. I then hear a pitter patter on the roof of the car and then it begins to hail stone.  This surely can’t be happening. I turn the windscreen wipers on full but I can’t see anything for the spray. My neck is getting tenser and my head is now banging away. I’m going to die on the way to a Women’s institute meeting. All for fifty quid plus travelling expenses. I’m not Lady Gaga am I? Why am I doing this? No one will care if I turn up or not.

‘Exit ahead,’ shouts Sebastian and I panic. I’m in the wrong lane. Oh no, what if I miss the exit? It could be miles before I can get off and then I will most certainly be late. I strain to see through my rear view mirror and indicate. I make it into the inside lane but can’t see through the mist. I indicate to take the exit and zoom dramatically into it when Sebastian shouts, ‘Take the exit.’

I zoom into a small country lane and find myself chugging through a flooded road while in fifth gear.  Can it get any worse? This must be the road to the hall. Please God, let this be the road to the hall. It’s beginning to feel like the road to hell. I think I shall kill myself if it isn’t the road to the village. Ten minutes later and I’m still travelling down the country road. Sebastian is silent and I’m getting very nervous. I pass through a village, past a hall and a church and a pub and finally Sebastian says, ‘Take the motorway.’

What. I don’t want a motorway do I? But before I know it, that’s where I am. I’ve gone round in a circle and I’m back where I was fifteen minutes before. Perhaps it is the next exit.

‘Exit ahead,’ shouts Sebastian.

Please let this be the right one. I take the exit and breathe a sigh of relief.

‘Continue for …’

The car is thrown into darkness and Sebastian dies. Oh no, I’m in the middle of nowhere. No street lights, no people and now no Sat Nav. It’s pouring with rain and the wind is howling around me. I’m beginning to wish I’d bought a little panic alarm. I fiddle with the lead of the Sat Nav and thank fully it lights up. I take a chance it is still set to the destination and continue on. I then realise I am passing the same hall, the same church and the same pub. Oh what! Right that’s it. I turn around sharply and turn back to the village hall. This must be it. On entering I see several ladies doing Zumba. Unless this is the kind of thing they do at The Women’s Institute these days, which I very much doubt, then this is the wrong hall. My heart sinks and my head thumps even more. I won’t be able to talk if things get much worse.

‘Hello, can we help?’ asks a lady.

‘A Valium and a darkened room would be nice,’ I want to say, but instead show her my little map.

‘Where is this?’ I ask.

‘Do you know the pub?’ she asks.

Oh, very well. In fact I’m seriously thinking of spending the evening there.

‘Go back past the pub and onto the main road.’

Oh no, not again.

‘The second exit is the one you need. You can’t miss it.’

Want to bet?

I climb miserably back into my car and see I have five minutes if I am going to make it in time. I drive back to the main road and the pouring rain and take the second exit. And there is the village. I could cry. I make it dead on the dot of eight o’clock. I did consider asking for damage money but I couldn’t bear telling them why.

 wi

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There are a number of reasons why I am an atheist. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I did believe in a loving God but I don’t. After seeing what is happening to my granddaughter I feel even more strongly that a loving God does not exist. That is not to say I don’t have a strong spiritual feeling.

This is the story of my Granddaughter Hana and of other children in the same situation. It is cruel and unfair.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/hope-a-united-states-surgeon-can-help-the-sydney-girl-hana-tarraf-6-who-cant-stop-eating/story-fni0cx12-1227094720145

There will be comments on this post of that I have no doubt but I’m not intending to respond to anything that criticises my right to not believe. As a non believer the burden of proof is not on me.

I would love to have faith and I envy those who have that comfort. I’m not criticising it or those who have it. It is as much your right as to not believe is mine.

Please share Hana’s story. We would appreciate any help we can get. You can read Hana’s story on my stepdaughter’s blog here

http://nursenaomi.com/2014/10/15/can-anyone-save-our-daughter-why-we-have-gone-to-the-media-to-find-help-for-hana-links/

 

 

cat han
I want to talk bags. Well, actually I don’t. Personally I can’t stand the things. I just want to know if you suffer the same or whether it is just me. Why can’t I be like my friend who has a gorgeous Radley bag with everything neatly placed inside it? A place for everything and everything in its place. Even her receipts are in a nice tidy wallet. If I want to return something to a shop it usually means the whole house being turned upside down and me finally ending up in a darkened room with a Valium.
Handbags are the bane of my life. Come to think of it they are the bane of my husband’s too. He tries hard not to tut while I am cursing and throwing everything out of the bag to find my keys. I have regular clear outs (of the bag that is, just in case you thought I was talking about my bowels) but by the end of the week the contents are back. I’ve bought new bags with those lovely compartments, convinced that this time everything will be just great. So why is it a week or so later I’m in Body Shop with the contents of my bag strung across the counter as I try to find my Body Shop loyalty card? I pull out everything from a Blockbuster video rental card (Blockbuster in our village closed down yonks ago, so God knows why I still have that) to a Cambodian taxi driver’s card (that’s really useful isn’t it?) There is everything of course, but the Body Shop card, which is lying at the bottom of another handbag no doubt.

sherpa
I want to go out without looking like a Sherpa. Not much to ask. But I’m somehow stupidly convinced that everything that is in my handbag I seriously need. I’ll be carrying a camper loo soon.
I’ve made big efforts, I really have. I’ve bought bags to go in the bag. A bag for pills and let me tell you I’ve got more pills than a chemist. Except what happens? I forget to zip up the bag within the bag and the bottom of my bag is littered with foils of pills. I don’t think a junkie carries as many drugs as me. I buy a bag to house all those odds and sods. You know, handbag mirror, lipsticks with no tops, hair grips, scrunch, MP3 player, which usually has no battery so it’s useless, headphones, glasses cleaner and the odd tampon. But of course I rummage in it to get a scrunch and forget to zip it up. So, what happens? I buy new purses thinking that this will magically help me get organised and it does for a while until I feel harassed in Sainsbury and throw everything straight into the bag. Weeks later I’m overcome with receipts and loose credit cards. Not to mention a hairy hairbrush, car keys, glasses that have fallen out of their cases, a book that I plan to read in the hairdressers but I never do because they have such great mags. Then, of course, there is the odd notebook, leaky pen, mobile which had a lovely case until it got covered in ink. Recipe cards, I mean why? I don’t bloody cook, at least not fancy cakes like these. I carry a cheque book but never use it. A spare pair of knickers, I can’t imagine when I think I’ll need those and a tube of moisturiser which nearly always leaks and eventually everything is covered in Rodial day cream. Another thing why are there all these chocolate wrappers in my bag. I don’t eat that much chocolate … or do I? Are there no rubbish bins? Why are all the wrappers in my bag? Then there are the used and unused tissues. Why do I have both and how does one tell the difference after a while? A week in my handbag and they all look the same. I’ve bought smaller bags in the hope that this will stop me but no. The small bag just bulges more and more until it finally splits under the weight. I just want to leave the house without becoming round shouldered by the time I return. My bags are getting bigger and bigger so they can accommodate my needs. I’ll have room for the bloody cat soon. My husband tells me I don’t need to take every single pill I possess but I’m convinced that the one pill I leave behind will be the one I need. It’s true isn’t it? I get more comments on my bag than I do on my appearance. That’s not normal is it? Mostly the comments are about the size. It’s not just bags either. Library books are the other problem. Why is it I can never get them back on time? Seriously the money I’ve spent on fines could have bought me a small bungalow. I wouldn’t mind but I never read the things. I just don’t have time. Why? Why? Why?

bag

hocosHalloween is coming.  And that means lot’s of spooky happenings. Pumpkins galore and a great deal of dressing up. There are also books being released.  I was thrilled to be asked by Debbie Flint of QVC fame if I would like to contribute to a Halloween compilation of horror stories. So, I shut myself in the cellar and played scary music for a few days and came up with the story ‘Camilla’ which you can read in this fab book along with contributions by other authors including Adrienne Vaughan, Carolyn Mahony, Alison May, Jane O’Reilly, Jules Wake, Lizzie Lamb, Lynda Renham, Debbie Flint, Litty Williams, Mary Jane Hallowell, Tina K Burton and Stef Edward.
More exciting is that we have a Facebook page that you can like and which will help you find out more about us, the authors. All links are below and the Kindle download will be free to begin with, so make sure you get yours.
So, prepare your pumpkin, buy the sweets and sit down with this scary book and be prepared to be frightened, after all that’s what Halloween is all about isn’t it?
In our cottage there will be lots of noise, laughter and screams. The screams are usually from me when Andrew (my husband) plants a rubber spider in the bed. Any excuse for him to play practical jokes.
Have you had anything strange happen on Halloween? My mother in law was telling me how paintings used to move in their house. I’d love to hear your stories.
‘Hocus Pokus 2014’ will launch on the 10th October and we’re having a fab online launch party. Don’t miss it. We already have a lot of people.
It’s going to be fun, scary and very exciting.
Go here for the Facebook event
Go here to like our ‘Hocus Pocus’ page

See you on Halloween. Have fun.

Coming out about having OCD is not easy. In fact I’m in denial. I just insist I’m a very clean person. The trouble is, this being a very clean person is killing me! Fortunately I am only OCD when it comes to housework.

So, here we go. My name is Lynda and I am an obsessive. It’s been 10 minutes since I last had a duster and Pledge in my hand. I’m serious too. I have a cleaner who tells me the house is spotless and that is before she starts cleaning.

It’s Bank Holiday and my husband is home although I am sure he wishes he was at work because the poor bugger can’t move.

cleaning lady

So how does this OCD manifest itself? I can only talk about me, of course. My biggest problem is House and Home magazine or 25 Beautiful Houses or any other such magazine that publish photos of immaculate beautiful houses. I’m extremely gullible and actually believe people do have starched white pillow cases on their bed and lovely folded blankets across their couch. Not to mention the coffee tables with huge coffee table books and pretty ornaments. So, what happens when you try to create this look in your own home when you have other people living in it? Tensions and mayhem is what.

It’s just beginning to occur to me that tidying the bed when my husband is lying in it is maybe just a touch insane. Seriously, I have been known to pretty the bed when he is in it and yell at him for having clothes on the floor. If the bedroom doesn’t still resemble ‘Beautiful Homes’ when we’re lying in it I feel myself get anxious and edgy. All the drawers must be closed. No doors open. All books straight and neat on the bedside cabinet and if he so much as moved a clock out of place, I would go mad. Normal behaviour? I don’t think so.  When we go to bed he enjoys throwing the cushions off the bed and trying to get them in the gap next to the wardrobe. I think it is his way of rebelling. When we make the bed it can take ages and he sometimes storms off in frustration. Mostly because I keep insisting he piles the pillows again and again until they are just right and match mine. I’m surprised he hasn’t put his hands around my throat.  But, there’s still time.

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Another problem for me is that I am also trying to write novels. This is my full-time job. At least it is supposed to be. But I can’t write in my writing room unless everything is just so. A speck on the floor can distract me.

Poor Andrew has been known to return from work to find the house rearranged. Thankfully I’ve stopped doing that now because furniture is heavy isn’t it? But that doesn’t stop me rearranging the kitchen until it resembles a perfect kitchen like one in the magazines. Then of course Andrew can’t pour a drink or get a snack unless everything goes back where it was. I’ve been known to clean the sides and draining board while he is still washing up. One kitchen counter I don’t allow him to use because it means moving a vase of flowers. We cannot have anything on the coffee table because it will spoil the display. Andrew tells me good humouredly that we need one house for show and one house to live in. It really doesn’t help that the minute he gets up from the couch, I start plumping the cushions. I grumble if he drips on the bathroom floor after having a shower. It spoils the look of my ‘House Beautiful’ bathroom. I’m amazed I allow us to pee in the loo.

I make this sound funny because that’s what I do. But it really is tiring to have a house looking just so. Or attempting to have it looking like a page from ‘Home and Gardens’ And it is not conducive thing is, my car looks like a Steptoe and Son house. I mean, go figure. Passengers have to clear the passenger seat to sit down. But somehow that doesn’t bother me. If you know the reason for this, let me know.

But I have decided to give up being house proud and to fight this overwhelming desire to have everything just so and to relax because frankly I’m exhausted.

Wish me luck. The question is do I throw out all the ‘House Beautiful’ mags?

Oh and if you’re wondering what the mad woman writes. You can download one of my books.  In fact ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’ is on special at the moment. Only 99p! Read about the penis bucket. Yes, penis bucket. Have fun.

Go here for yours
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Thrilled to have this fab article written about me by the very talented Gabriella De Feo

 

WHY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD READ A LYNDA RENHAM NOVEL

by Gabriella De Feo

Smiley Sport Journalism Graduate who writes about anything from weddings to work outs!

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I was first introduced to Lynda Renham’s books by my Mum three years ago. She said ‘Croissants and Jam’ was a bit rude, a bit sweary and very funny (not far off how I’d describe myself!) So I had to give it a read.

Perhaps a bit cliche but I honestly couldn’t put the book down. Renham’s writing style is simple yet nothing is predictable, making it only too easy to read on and find out which relatable incident has happened to her female lead.

Somewhat Bridget Jones-esque,the romantic comedies this extremely talented author creates have a lot more depth and will doubtlessly keep you guessing more than your average love story.

At present I am fortunate enough to be reviewing her latest release ‘Rory’s Proposal’ which, in a welcome change from previous romance-dominated titles, centres around a woman who faces the challenge of running her own business.

Whether you have recently taken up reading as a hobby, want a reason to laugh or are a fan of authors such as Helen Fielding, I can assure you a book (or a few!) by Lynda Renham will do more than put a smile on your face.

Lynda’s books are available to buy in either Paperback or Kindle Edition on Amazon.

RPUB1005_KindleCoverTo celebrate the launch of ‘Rory’s Proposal’ we are having a fab online party. To get you in the mood here is a short extract from the novel.

CHAPTER ONE

Don’t you just hate exercise? Well, maybe you don’t, you’re probably one of those women who run 10k before breakfast and do three Zumba classes a week. Good for you. I’m one of those women who think scooting around Tesco Express is exercise. After all, I’m usually panting by the time I’ve lugged the bags up the stairs to our flat, so I figure that is exercise enough. Unfortunately, my boyfriend Luke, who is a keep-fit fanatic, disagrees and thanks to him I have spent the past two years trying to get fit. Don’t get me wrong I’ve nothing against getting fit, as long as someone else is doing it. In fact, I met Luke at this very sports centre. It was his physique, good looks and charm that won me over. Of course then, he only worked out once a week and was still a carnivore. As time has gone on his addiction to fitness has gone totally overboard and he isn’t happy with just himself being fit, he wants me to be too, which is easier said than done as I’ve something of an aversion to exercise. In the past two years I’ve gone through every fitness regime known to man and have, frankly, failed at all of them. The latest fad I’ve taken up is kettle bell classes. Now, as far as I’m concerned, the only thing a kettle should be used for is to make tea but here I am throwing it around for all I’m worth, and by the time the class is over I assure you I’m not worth much. Since starting kettle classes, kettles have taken on a whole new meaning. I can’t even make a cup of coffee without thinking of hip thrusts and squats.
‘Let’s tone those glutes, butt and bootie ladies,’ calls Martine, our instructor. ‘That’s it, get a good hip thrust going there.’
‘Ooh thrusting away,’ shouts Veronica from behind me, practically thrusting herself up my arse. Don’t you hate women who go into exercise frenzy? Those pink cheeks always look far from healthy to me.
‘Shouldn’t you be on a heavier kettle by now?’ she says between breaths.
‘I want to get fit, not have a hernia,’ I pant.
Mind you, at least a hernia would get me a break from hip thrusts and kettle chucking.
‘You’re fine with that weight,’ says Devon, supportively.
‘Keep going ladies. It’s bikini weather in a few months. You want to show these toned bodies, no sarongs for my girls,’ says Martine.
I quite like sarongs. In fact I would be quite happy to cover up the bulges and indulge in the chocolate. I wouldn’t feel in the least ashamed.
‘Get speed on your kettle bell Flora, come on thrust those hips.’
Yes, you heard her right, my name is Flora. I’ve never really forgiven Mum for that. If we’d lived in Surrey or St John’s Wood it may have been decadent, but I was born in Islington and there aren’t many Floras there I can assure you. The only Flora my friends knew was the margarine. They were not happy school days. Fortunately we moved to Chelsea when I was fourteen but even now I cannot look at margarine without shuddering. I much prefer to be called Flo.
‘Now lock those knees and swing.’
‘You’re not swinging right,’ says Veronica.
I’ll swing for her in a minute if she doesn’t shut up.
‘And your knees aren’t locked.’
She’ll get hers kneecapped if she carries on like this.
‘That’s it, swing. Don’t lose that kettle,’ calls Martine.
Oh, what I wouldn’t do to lose this bloody kettle, preferably in Veronica’s direction.
‘Don’t forget to breathe.’
Now I forget a lot of things but breathing isn’t one of them.
‘I’ve got some news,’ says Devon excitedly, swinging to the right as I swing to the left and almost colliding bells.
‘You are swinging wrong,’ says Martine.
‘Sorry,’ I pant.
‘You’ll never guess,’ says Devon.
Oh please don’t let it be what I think it is. Because if anything will make me forget to breathe, it’s that. I don’t believe it. Why
does everyone have good news except me? I tell myself she’s most likely been given a new Prada handbag by some grateful model and wants to know if I would like her old Marc Jacob. It will be nothing more than that, and I’m all poised to say yes as there is no way I could afford a designer handbag, and seeing as my Primark ten-pound one has seen better days the offer couldn’t come at a more perfect time. Not to mention the fact that my exhaust is blowing something awful. Every time I start my little Clio I sound like a boy racer.
‘Mark asked me to marry him last night.’
Oh no. She may as well have clouted me over the head with her kettle bell. In fact, it would have been better if she had. At least I wouldn’t have to hear all the sickening details.
‘What?’ I gasp, feeling myself reel. ‘What about the handbag?’
‘Congratulations,’ says Veronica. ‘Welcome to the engaged club.’
I’ll clout her over the head with the kettle bell in a minute and welcome her to the concussion club.
‘What handbag?’ Devon asks.
‘Breathe Flora, don’t forget to breathe.’
I would breathe if I could. I need chocolate, I so need chocolate. Bugger therapy, just give me a Crunchie bar and I’m sorted. I’m a closet chocoholic with a particular weakness for Crunchie bars. You’d be amazed at where I hide them. I have three in a Tampax box in the bathroom. I know Luke would never look in there. Apart from having sex, Luke considers a woman’s vagina to be a mystery. Mind you, even during sex it seems to be a mystery to him as he has no idea what to do with it apart from the obvious, and even then he’s so quick that even if I wanted to plan a shopping list there isn’t time. I know, I shouldn’t; eat chocolate that is, not plan a shopping list. I know I would be at least a stone lighter if I stopped my Crunchie eating but my life is one hurdle after another which can only be climbed with chocolate as fuel. My head spins and my breath comes in short sharp gasps. Mind you, this is how I normally am after thirty minutes of hip thrusting. God, I hate exercise. I only suffer it because Luke insists he can’t be with an unfit woman, not that I am unfit as such. Chance would be a fine thing. A woman who lets herself go is a weak woman, is his favourite quote. Personally I think a woman who lets herself go is a happy, relaxed and contented woman.
‘But how?’ I say, between gasps.
‘He just took my hand and slid this on my finger.’ she says, pulling off her glove and flashing a huge solitaire in my face. ‘It was so romantic.’
‘Oh no,’ I pant.
‘Don’t flag Flora,’ says Martine, while swinging for sodding England.
I’m not flagging, I’m bloody dying. Oh God, I’m going to have a heart attack. I yank an inhaler from Devon’s pocket and pump madly at it.
‘What are you doing, you don’t have asthma?’ Devon says, worriedly.
‘I do now,’ I gasp.
‘Are you okay Flora?’ she asks anxiously.
No, I’m not and what’s worse I’m not even getting a Marc Jacob handbag out of it. Let’s face it, that would have lessened the pain a bit.
‘Oh what a beautiful ring,’ says Veronica gleefully. ‘When is it going to be your turn?’ she asks. ‘You can’t leave it much longer.’
I make a concerted effort to take a breath. If this is being fit then you can stuff it. I need an oxygen canister, not a sodding asthma inhaler. Why is it that everyone is getting engaged, married or pushing out babies, except me? I mean, Devon’s only twenty-seven for God’s sake. I’m hitting the big ‘0’ in a few weeks. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. Oh God, how can I not think about it?
‘Just breathe,’ says Devon. ‘Are you having a panic attack?’
Why does everyone keep telling me to breathe like I have no idea how to do it without instruction? I’ve been doing it for thirty years for goodness sake, no, correction: twenty-nine. I’m not thirty yet.
‘Take a break Flora,’ instructs Martine.
I pant and stumble to the seating area at the back with Devon following me. I don’t believe it. Devon has only been going out with Mark for ten months. Luke and I introduced them to each other for heaven’s sake. I stop, rest my hands on my knees and pant in shock. I’ve been with Luke for two years. I’ll be thirty soon. My ovaries will wither up and if I don’t marry this year I’ll have to pop out a baby every year just to catch up with everyone else. Why doesn’t he ask me? What’s wrong with me that I can’t get a man to propose? I mean, two years, that’s long enough isn’t it?
‘I was hoping you’d be my maid of honour,’ Devon says.
This will be my third time as bridesmaid. Isn’t there a saying three times a bridesmaid never a bride? This is unbelievable. I’m becoming everything except a wife. I’m to be Rosalind’s birth partner. I’ve been practising the panting and everything, and at the rate I’m going that will be the only panting I do, apart from my faking orgasm pants. I know, one shouldn’t fake it, but Luke is like streaked lightning. I’ve not even reached the thunder rumble stage by the time he’s finished. I’m sure he is a wonderful lover. I’m just not very responsive. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t fake it every time. That would be awful. It’s just that Luke is so nice and polite in bed as well as quick. Everyone tells me how lucky I am to have Luke for a boyfriend and I can’t disagree. But it’s very hard to get sexually excited by a man wearing Marks and Sparks pyjamas and who says things like ‘fancy a cuddle?’ when what he really means is ‘fancy sex?’ Not to mention his bedside ritual of cutting his toenails. Writhing in passion with the odd nail clipping sticking in your arse is not the greatest turn on. As you can imagine, all these things have had a detrimental effect on my libido. I did try to spice things up with a sexy film once but Luke was so horrified that you’d think I had suggested a foursome. In fact Luke is the only man I know who has tea and biscuits after sex, Rich Tea biscuits to be exact. I can’t stand the things myself. But apart from that he’s everything a woman could want. At least that’s what my friends tell me. Good-looking, successful and enterprising, and most importantly he’s dependable, smart and reliable. Sometimes I think we could be talking about a car. He’s also a top golf player, not that I’m into golf, but he is good at everything he does, well, apart from sex. I really feel that could be improved upon. Sometimes I wonder if I’m good enough for him. After all, what is a good-looking successful solicitor doing with a simple hairdresser like me? No, don’t think about it, don’t think about it but how can I not think about it? The truth is my whole adult life I have dated nothing but total cock bags and now here I am with a man who is as far from a fuckwit as any man could be.
I pull a Crunchie from my bag and Devon gasps.
‘Is that allowed? I thought you and Luke were doing that colonic clean out diet?’
Ah yes, well that was before the colonic clean out diet totally cleared me out. I’ve had to take shares in Windeze. I’ve been swallowing the things like no tomorrow. Three days in to the colonic clean out and I have more air in me than a hot air balloon. It’s embarrassing. I’m glad I escaped the squat or the whole place would have been evacuated. I swear in the past three days I have popped out more air than I have in my entire life. I’ve used up most of my Womanity perfume covering the so-called colonic clean out. Of course, Luke doesn’t release wind at all does he? He says it is rude. I often wonder where the hell it must go. If I held it in like him I’d explode. But he seriously doesn’t do it, he really doesn’t. I’m going out with superman, this is becoming very clear. It’s also becoming very evident that I am far from being his superwoman.
Devon looks at me longingly. How can I not be her maid of honour? The truth is all I want is to be someone’s bride, obviously not just anyone’s; I prefer to be Luke’s bride if that is at all possible and preferably before I’m thirty-one. I’m starting to feel that Luke doesn’t think I’m good enough to be his wife. He’s not said that of course but I sometimes think I’m not good enough for him. No that’s not true; I’m always thinking I’m not good enough for him.
‘Will you?’ asks Devon, wiping the perspiration from her forehead. She pulls her blonde bob into a bun at the nape of her neck and looks at me pleadingly. I nod. Well, how can I not be Devon’s maid of honour? Devon is my closest friend. We’ve known each other since college where she studied fashion and I did hairdressing. I always imagined she’d be my maid of honour first, not the other way around.
I blow a puff of air up to my sweaty fringe and say,
‘I’d love to.’
‘Oh great,’ she cries gleefully, throwing her arms around me. ‘I’m having the dress specially made. Well, I’m a buyer for a top fashion house so if I can’t get a designer dress, no one can,’ she laughs.
I’ll probably end up with an off-the-peg dress from Pronuptia, that’s if I ever buy a dress of course. Don’t think about it, don’t think about it but how can I not think about it? I don’t work for a top fashion house. In fact, the closest I’ve come to a top fashion house is Devon. I’m a hairdresser. I have my own little hairdressing salon, it’s not much but at least it is mine, well the mortgage is mine which is the same thing I suppose. I only wish I could get my own wiry mop into some kind of shape. It won’t even stay in a bun like Devon’s. I can feel bits of hair sticking to my neck. I’d love to be a natural blonde, but I am a brunette with a small snub nose and wide brown eyes. No matter how much I watch what I eat, not counting my Crunchies, of course, I always seem to be curvy. Mind you, I don’t watch what I eat very often; I tend to leave that to Luke these days, whereas Devon has an enviable figure and lovely shiny hair. She does two kettle bell classes each week, which I suppose is why she got engaged and I didn’t, not because she throws a kettle around, obviously, but because she is slim and appealing. Well, there has to be a reason doesn’t there? How did I get to be thirty and unmarried? How did I get to be bloody thirty is what I want to know. What happened to my twenties?
My stomach gurgles and I hurriedly pop another Windeze as Martine calls,
‘Rest over ladies, let’s do squats.’
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.

Join us at the launch party on Facebook here and purchase the book here

 

 

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I’m so excited about the release of my new novel Rory’s Proposal that I’ve decided to have a huge online launch for it. Mostly because I just couldn’t get all my friends and readers in my garden. The online launch started small but is getting bigger and bigger with each day that I am thinking I may need to extend the time to get all the prizes in. So, the more the merrier. You’re all very welcome to join us on August 16th. I would be thrilled to see you. Here is the link

Rory’s Proposal is a lovely, and hilarious love story. I don’t want to tell you any more than that but if you’ve read my other novels you’ll know what to expect. Here is the fab jacket, designed by the very talented Katie Glumpp.

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So, you’re asking, what are the prizes at this book launch and what do we have to do to take part?

Firstly pop over to Facebook and click the join button and you will see everything.

Who’s taking part? Well… The brilliant Rowan Coleman for a start who is giving away a signed copy of ‘Dearest Rose’ her bestselling novel.

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Then we have Sue Watson who is offering a signed copy of her new novel ‘Love Lies and Lemon Cake’love

Plus we have a beautiful bouquet of flowers for you to win image (2) Courtesy of Melanie Bush of Petite Fleur Florists

I’m also excited that my favourite Soap Dodger is giving away some fab bath goodies. I just adore Soap Dodger. I only wish I could enter my own competitions.

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Not content with giving away my own novel  I’ve also asked Collete Caddle if she would join us and she is offering her latest novel, ‘First We Take Manhattan’ which I’ve just pre-ordered and is a fab prize indeed.

collete

Other signed novels you can win are by Mandy Baggot, Jo Lambert, and the delightful Emily Harvale who is giving a signed copy of her new novel (not yet released) titled ‘Ninety Days Of Summer’

It’s going to be a very exciting day and I haven’t mentioned the other prizes yet.

An e copy of Matches by Carlie Petit and Chapters of life by Tina K Burton as well as a sizzling read by Debbie Flint.

debbi tina carlie

 

You can also win a copy of Kerry Frith’s new novel … kerryAs well as  a little something from Sarah England.

So… What are you waiting for. Pop over now and Join us.facetink Facebook Launch here

See you there. Lynda x

 

 

 

 

facetink

I thought I would give you a little insight into the glamorous life of a writer. Because it is all glamour as you know … But mostly it is because I have a new novel out soon and I need to sell it. Someone has to do this, sadly it has to be me.

Of course, I don’t really consider myself a writer. I think of myself more of a mad woman who tells lies about other people. I didn’t even realise I was getting rich making up these lies. Of course, there may be some lies in this blog posting. I imagine the getting rich is perhaps a little untruthful. I’m disgustingly rich, in fact. Well, I’m a writer and apparently we’re all rich aren’t we? If you’re a writer and you’re not rich then you must be doing something wrong.

Right, that’s got the money thing out of the way. But seriously I have yet to meet a rich author. It may be that there are many but I’ve never met them. That brings me to the price of books. Strange that, wouldn’t you say?

I see books on Amazon for 99p. I see books on special offer. I envy writers who can afford to do that. I write for a living and have so far avoided going down the road of 99p books. That is until this week. I have a book on Amazon for 99p. ‘Croissants and Jam’ is available at this price for a limited time only and is a summer offer to celebrate my new novel ‘Rory’s Proposal’ which is out on Kindle on 16th August. The paperback is being released on Sept 18th.

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Many writers who have publishers do not have the luxury of releasing their novels on Kindle for such a low price. I feel concern for many of these writers. I’ve spoken to a few recently who have told me that they are considering giving up writing as they just can’t sell books. Their publishers won’t lower the price to match those of many self-published authors and they feel it is a waste of their time. Many cannot write full time because writing isn’t making them any money. I have tried very hard not to fall into the trap of lowering prices. But I can see why it happens. It is a way to attract new readers. It sells more books, for a time at least. I won’t have books on Amazon for 99p. If it happens it will be a one off and normally it is a summer special or to celebrate a new book being released and talking of which …

Back quickly then to the glamour, and it’s all glamour here, down to my Primark silk wrap. Well, it looks like silk that’s good enough for me.

On the question of money, can I just say I have a cat to feed. So, if you don’t care about me, spare a thought for Bendy. I can survive on fig rolls, but him …

So, this plea is to ask you to consider perusing and even buying my new offering, titled ‘Rory’s Proposal’ and I’ll be whetting your appetite soon with a short extract here on my blog.  But before that if you haven’t read my books and shame on you if that is the case, you can download my all-time popular novel and bestseller ‘Croissants and Jam’ for 99p on Kindle.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy the books, do sign up for my Newsletter and join me on Facebook and Twitter. All links are below. I love writing romantic comedies and I also love hearing from my readers so please make contact.

Meanwhile enjoy the books. You can join me on Facebook here and Twitter here. Croissants and Jam is available here and Rory’s Proposal here.

Love Lynda  X

 

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I never thought I’d be blessed with grandchildren. I never had children. I wasn’t able to. Not going to do a downer about it. After all who wants to read that, right? Suffice it to say, I came through it and am out the other end. No bitterness. The odd sad day but nothing I can’t cope with. I won’t be a victim when there are plenty of victims already who deserve that title more than I do.

 

I have been blessed, however with stepchildren. I know it isn’t the same and one’s expectations of them are very different. My aim was just to be accepted and most of all to make their father happy. I like to think I have done that. He tells me often how happy he is with me. I admire and like my stepchildren. I see their father in them and that makes me happy. I also have the added bonus of grandchildren. This was something I never anticipated. So, I am devastated at what is happening to my beautiful granddaughter Hana who is now suffering from  ‘Hypothalamic Obesity’

Hana was diagnosed with a brain tumour, a Craniopharyngioma over the Christmas holidays.  Hana is now a different child. Her mother, my stepdaughter, Naomi has showed herself to be remarkable in a way I could never have been. Her positive attitude is a lesson to us all.

Her blog postings bring tears to my eyes. They are so far away in Australia with no family close by to support them. I imagine how I would be in this situation and it doesn’t bear thinking about.

 

We saw Hana in September when we spent a week with them. We had spent several days together in London before this and Hana had seemed fine. Bouncy, happy and full of fun. We could never have envisioned her as she is today. Dependent on drugs, getting bigger every day and finally confined to a wheelchair when she goes out. Sadly her weight is too much for her feet to take.

There is no rhyme or reason for why such a thing should happen.

Naomi blogs regularly about her struggle. It is not a depressing blog, in fact quite the opposite. Please take some time to read. It would be wonderful to highlight Hana’s plight.

You can read it here Naomi’s blog

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Naomi with her daughter

 

 

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Holidays, those lovely restful days when you come back recharged and happy or in my case, most likely divorced.  I’m the world’s worst back seat driver and probably the world’s worst passenger when in a car driven on the wrong side of the road. Okay, I know it’s the right side of the road in Italy but it’s the wrong side as far as I’m concerned. Our arrival in Italy was fine until we went to collect the car. I nearly fainted when the woman in her broken English told us the car was new. Great, that was all I needed to hear. She then proceeded to conduct a long conversation with my husband about a deposit. No matter how much we told her we had insurance she still persisted. We finally handed over the credit card. Or should I say, my credit card.

 ‘I don’t do credit,’ says Andrew, proudly.

I’m thinking it’s a good thing I do.

We find the car, not with any help from the staff, I hasten to add. They dismissed us like we were flies they would swat out of their way. As soon as Andrew started the engine, I started to tremble.

‘Will you be okay driving?’ I ask, in a shaky voice.

I get a cold look. I’m not saying I don’t trust him am I? Not much!

Off we go. Andrew driving and me hitting an imaginary brake every few seconds.

‘There’s a car,’ I say gently and then a bit louder until I’m finally screaming,

‘There’s a car, brake, brake…’ in a slightly hysterical voice.

The sat nav is in my lap and as we begin climbing a steep hill my feet are convulsing so much you’d think I suffered from restless legs syndrome.

‘Bend, bend,’ I yell. ‘Slow down. What gear are you in?’

How Andrew coped I do not know. We climb higher and I can barely look. I get confused and think cars are going to come out of a slip road and grab Andrew’s arm for all I’m worth.

‘Car, car, brake,’ I shout.

Andrew stops the car and instructs me to sit in the back. I refuse. We continue on not speaking. The lovely sat nav voice tells us we are going the wrong way and I groan. Andrew attempts to turn around but we are on a hill. He begins to roll back. I scream. I’m convinced I’m going to die in Italy and not in a romantic Princess Diana way either. I go to grab the handbrake and grab Andrew’s knee instead.  The climb continues with me constantly telling him there is a bend coming up. Just in case he doesn’t hear I say it a bit louder to be sure and emphasis the sharpness.

‘Sharp bend coming up, sharp very sharp.’

‘I can see them you know,’ he snaps.

It didn’t help that the Italians drive like lunatics and spend their time with their car practically nudging yours. It’s pretty terrifying when you’re on a hill. I found myself leaning forward in some strange attempt to help the car move forward. I’m not sure how heavy I think I am if I can move the car with my body weight.

We arrived at the villa and my heart was filled with dread when I saw it was on yet another hill. What’s wrong with Italy? Doesn’t it have flat roads like everywhere else? We climb the hill and then get stuck. I scream yet again. Honestly I’ll be screaming for England the whole two weeks at this rate. Three dogs come racing to meet us. Later, of course we came to know them as Jack and Jill and Ugo. I begin telling Andrew there are three dogs. I obviously think my husband is blind as well as deaf. I’m now stating the obvious and yelling it at the same time. By the time we were due to leave, my lovely husband had become very confident with driving the car and would zoom up the hill to the villa pushing the remote button to open the gate so he could glide through without stopping. I, of course, would be screaming,

‘Wait, wait, Andrew wait. Oh God, we’re not going to do it.’

Of course, we always did. We didn’t kill a dog, or drive the car over a cliff. Mind you, through my eyes I felt sure we came very close quite often. Next year a holiday in England I think.

A Poem

 I have a little Satnav, It sits there in my car

A Satnav is a driver’s friend, it tells you where you are.
I have a little Satnav, I’ve had it all my life
It’s better than the normal ones, my Satnav is my wife.
It gives me full instructions, especially how to drive
“It’s sixty k’s an hour”, it says, “You’re doing sixty five”.
It tells me when to stop and start, and when to use the brake
And tells me that it’s never ever, safe to overtake.
It tells me when a light is red, and when it goes to green
It seems to know instinctively, just when to intervene.
It lists the vehicles just in front, and all those to the rear
And taking this into account, it specifies my gear.
I’m sure no other driver, has so helpful a device
For when we leave and lock the car, it still gives its advice.
It fills me up with counselling, each journey’s pretty fraught
So why don’t I exchange it, and get a quieter sort?
Ah well, you see, it cleans the house, makes sure I’m properly fed
It washes all my shirts and things, and keeps me warm in bed!
Despite all these advantages, and my tendency to scoff,
I only wish that now and then, I could turn the bugger off.

Pam Ayres

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It’s not the first time I have considered coming off Facebook because I feel my self-esteem waning and my confidence at an all-time low. Some months ago I came off for a short time. I set my settings so my author page would stay active and removed myself from Facebook. The truth is, I felt much better. There was no one to compare myself with. I wasn’t looking at photographs and considering my self-image. I wasn’t reading about other people’s lives and how much better they seemed to be faring. I didn’t read about other authors who it seemed were doing infinitely better than me. I spent several weeks feeling, that as a person, I was okay. That my work was good and that I was, to all intents and purposes, successful, at least as successful as I could hope to be. I’ve never been a terribly confident person but I find my confidence drops to an all-time low after being on Facebook. If I had self-doubts, these would be reinforced when reading how well others seem to be doing, reaffirming my belief that I was a failure because I wasn’t reaching their standards. It took me a long time to realise that what I was seeing was very much smoke and mirrors and that most likely the people who seemed to be spectacular successes, were in fact doing no better than me. However, they maybe had a better way of making it seem that they were. And those who seemed to be living amazing lives are, in fact, living a life no better than mine. I would often come away feeling like the world’s worst failure. I don’t recall feeling this way for a long time. It then occurred to me that Facebook made me feel very much like the mousy, plain Jane that I had always dreaded being. It was like being out with a bunch of women who were more successful and prettier than me.

According to psychotherapist  Sherrie Campbell, social media gives us a false sense of belonging. This means we give our cyberspace connections more weight than they deserve. We ultimately compare ourselves to others. But only as others portray themselves, not necessarily as they really are. Everyone’s life looks perfect. But in reality it is just a quick snapshot of someone’s life. If we take everything we read literally then it most certainly seems like we are lacking. When I begin feeling negative about myself after looking at my Facebook home page I know it is time for a break. Hence my use has been less over the past few months. I’m sure I’m not alone.

I enjoy my interaction with friends and many of my friends on Facebook are my friends. Like everyone, I have friends on Facebook that I have never met and I also have friends that I have made through Facebook and they have become close friends. I’ve had some unpleasant connections too. But most of the time my interactions on Facebook have been pleasurable.  Am I alone in torturing myself? Do others look at their home page and come away feeling dejected? I’d love to know.

Meanwhile, I’m rationing myself to limited time on social networking and putting my self-esteem first. I’m learning not to take things literally and to realise that things aren’t always what they seem. I’m seeing a snapshot of someone’s life. What is really happening behind closed doors I’m sure I’m not privy to. I know I don’t share my personal hell. The truth is we only want people to know the extreme things that are happening to us. One for praise and the other for sympathy and I’m sure I’m as guilty as the next person of this. But if you see me missing for a while, you’ll know why.

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Originally posted on Nurse Naomi:

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Happy colouring in her pretty new shoes

I wrote this a few weeks ago…thought it was time I shared it:

It’s blessed that Hana is still so young and blissfully unaware of her increased body size. The ‘weight’ of her possible future lies solely on the backs of the adults who love her so ferociously.

I wonder what people think when they see me pushing her around the shops in a stroller, (thank god she still fits in).** Oh, she does walk too, but she tires very quickly. They look down at her then up at me, probably wondering what the hell I’m doing, letting such a big girl be so ‘lazy’. Try lugging an extra 20-30 kgs around everyday all of a sudden and see how tired you quickly get – I feel like wearing this on a T-Shirt. Or, ‘Yeah, so she got tired, you would be…

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lyndarenham:

My six year old granddaughter Hana was diagnosed earlier this year with a brain tumour. Her mother Naomi, my stepdaughter has been amazing and her determination to find a cure forHana’s brain tumour related heath conditions is admirable. I hope you will read her blog below.
Lynda x

Originally posted on Nurse Naomi:

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My beautiful Hana, I WILL find a way to heal you xx

If you’re reading this, is there any chance you can help me with a campaign? I want to ask scientists worldwide to consider researching a new potential cure for my little girl’s brain tumour related health conditions.  All you’ll need to do is press “share” on your Facebook or share through whatever social medium you use so that this blog post is seen  by as many people as possible. This way, someone, somewhere may go

“YEAH! Cool idea for a study! Let’s do it!’

And that way, you may be instrumental in pushing science forward in a direction that could help my daughter and thousands like her have a better quality of life.

If you are short of time just read these five short paragraphs:

In a Nutshell My six year old daughter had a brain…

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Welcome Author Amanda James

 

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Thrilled to have the very talented author Amanda James guesting on my blog today. Her new novel ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea’ is now available and not one to be missed. It is set in beautiful Cornwall where Amanda herself has moved to. How idyllic is that? I asked Mandy if she would like to guest post and tell us all about life in lovely Cornwall.
SBTS_thumbnail copyIf you haven’t read any of Mandy’s books I cannot recommend them highly enough. ‘A Stitch in Time’ is just fab.

Over to you Mandy…

A Long Journey to Cornwall

by

Amanda James

I’d like to share with you a journey, a very long journey to Cornwall …

My first memory of the place was when I first came here on holiday. I was four years old, about forty years ago (okay and the rest) and we stayed in Looe. I have vivid memories of running down a very steep hill from our little chalet on the cliff to the beach every day with my older brother. When it was time for breakfast, Mum would hang a red towel out of the window and we would go back up. I also remember walking along a quayside, not sure which one, now, and seeing rows of sharks hanging on hooks. There was a big chalked sign saying words to the effect of ‘Do Not Touch The Sharks – Skin is Abrasive’, so guess what I did? Yup…I had a plaster on my finger for a while.

Since then, I have always longed to be close to the ocean and find it so inspirational, calming, and peaceful. I grew up in Sheffield and then moved to Bristol, ever inching southwards. Over the years I have returned to Cornwall on numerous occasions. There’s just something about the county which makes you breathe a sigh of relief as soon as you cross the border. I have always felt so at home here and adore the beautiful countryside, the costal walks and the Atlantic north coast in particular. It is rugged, wild and breathtakingly stunning of course. I do love Falmouth too, especially pootling around the great shops on the high street. But then of course at the end of the holiday I always had to leave and it was such a wrench every time because I felt I had such strong bonds tying me there.

I remember I often used to say that I’d love to live in Cornwall, and folk would nod and say things like, ‘Ah yes, that would be nice, or yeah, we can all dream, eh?’ But people didn’t really think I meant it, neither did I come to think of it…but here I am! Yes, I moved here in August 2013 and boy, I’m glad I did!

And of course I didn’t come alone. I brought a large section of my family! In total there are four generations that have moved from Bristol. There’s my husband Brian and I, daughter Tanya, her husband Manus and their two children, Ronan and Esmé and last, but not least, my parents who are both in their mid-eighties. Tanya and family were the first to settle here in July 2013 and then as I said, we moved in August, my parents came last in mid-December. The whole plan has been a logistical nightmare; well it would wouldn’t it, selling three houses in Bristol and trying to buy others in another county, fairly close together and more or less at the same time? But after a few hiccups, amazingly it happened.

Why did the wider family move? Tanya and I have a very close relationship and being apart from each other especially now we have the grandchildren would have been unbearable. And of course, she wanted a better life for her children. Bristol has many good points, but lots of fresh air, and being close to the beach and countryside is a great environment in which to being up kids.  Mum and Dad never settled in Bristol, being from Sheffield originally and they too would miss us if we lived apart permanently. They are already looking forward to fresh air and crab sandwiches – a favourite of my dad’s.

And apart from feeling a great affinity with the ocean and Cornwall, I feel that I will be much more inspired to write looking out over the fields here instead of at a cul-de-sac! The very thought of moving here inspired my novel Somewhere Beyond the Sea. Published by Choc Lit on the 7th of April and is set in the fictional Cornish village of Kelerston. It tells the story of a young married couple, the husband is a doctor and the wife is at home with a young family and though they have a few problems, they seem like the ideal couple. One of them has a dark secret however, and if this secret is exposed, their whole life could be shattered. This story is very different to my first novel published with Choc Lit – A Stitch in Time, is a romantic comedy about a time travelling history teacher.

I got my ideas for this book whilst travelling back and forth looking for houses, staying by the sea and feeling more at home on the north coast where the book is set than any other area. And strangely, from the TV programme, Doc Martin! Tristan in my book is nothing like Doc Martin you’ll be pleased to know, but I liked the idea of a GP working in a close-knit community.

I do realise that I am so lucky to be living in this great area, but my recent experience of trying to get published has taught me some valuable lessons. If you believe in yourself and really want something – be prepared to work very hard for it, be determined to succeed and never give up. I am looking forward to living the dream now, the journey to Cornwall has been a long time coming, but so worth the effort!

You can purchase ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea’ on Amazon here and ‘A Stitch in Time’  here

 

 

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