A Touch of Poldark for your pleasure.

village romance

I’m really excited to release the second in my Little Perran country romances. ‘A Village Romance’ This one is slighter racier than ‘A Christmas Romance’ and somewhat funnier. I thought I would give you a free sample of the first chapter. It was such fun and a little departure from my normal comedies and I do love writing romance, especially with a touch of erotica. And this one certainly had me fanning myself. It wasn’t quite Lady Chatterley but more Poldark, so I’m told. I rather think it is a bit Lady Chatterley-ish. Get the book and meet the sexy Rafe Wylde and decide for yourself. It’s only 99p. Get away from the referendum for a while.

You can buy your copy here

And hitting Amazon, Kobo and all other good bookshop on Saturday is ‘A Summer Romance’ the sequel to ‘A Village Romance’ and it goes tits up in that one.  Lot’s of racy stuff in this one. If you love the country and you love romance then you’ll enjoy this.

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I’m now back to writing my next comedy.  Talking of which ‘Perfect Weddings’ is still 99p but not for much longer.  So pop over quickly. Meanwhile below is Chapter One of ‘A Village Romance’ ENJOY!

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Chapter One of a Village Romance

 

‘Move to the country?’ protested Billy Baxter. ‘Why the hell would I want to move to the country? It’s all tractors and cow dung out there. Anyway, I don’t speak the lingo. I’ve got a nice little pad here thank you very much.’

Ian sighed.

‘I thought, a little break, you know, might get the old creative juices going again,’ he said, and gave a false laugh. Old was the operative word, he thought, but didn’t say it. The fact was he had no idea what to do with Billy Baxter these days.

Billy stopped strumming his guitar, shook his shoulder-length hair back and grinned.

‘What are you talking about? The creative juices have never stopped flowing. I tell you, this new one is my best yet.’

Ian took a swig of his lager and said,

‘The trouble is Billy, no one else has heard your new one yet to decide if it’s your best. I can’t get anyone to play it. Radio 1 just doesn’t air your kind of stuff any more, and Radio 2 …’

‘Radio 2,’ scoffed Billy. ‘That’s for old has-beens. I’m not Val bloody Doonican. You won’t get me in a bleeding rocking chair.’

Ian was silent. Billy whipped off his guitar and grabbed a lager.

‘So you want to farm me out to the country?’ he said sulkily. ‘And what does that achieve? Everyone rediscovers me when I’m not around is that it?’

‘The last time the press discovered you, you were on a boat with some bird half your age sitting on your …’

‘Yeah, I remember it well,’ Billy smiled.

‘Not the image you need Billy. Anyway, you could do with a rest. You’re burnt out,’ said Ian with faked sympathy.

‘Everyone else goes to The Priory and I go to the bloody country,’ said Billy sourly.

‘I don’t think you can afford The Priory. You’ve got to be doing really well to enjoy the privilege of having a meltdown there.’

‘But the bloody country, come on Ian. It’s all barn dances and Women’s Institutes. It’s not me,’ Billy said as he picked up his guitar again.

‘I think it will be good for your image. It suits Elton John and that lot,’ said Ian, resting his hands on his beer belly.

‘It suits Elton John to be a poof. I suppose you want me to become one of them too. Anyway, they play Elton John on Radio 1 …’

‘You’re not exactly in Elton John’s league and …’

‘What about Graham whatsisface? I thought you were getting me on his show.’

‘They’ve got a lot of celebs lined up …’

‘I’m a celeb for Christ’s sake.’

‘New celebs Billy, like Finn Morrison and …’

‘Huh,’ scoffed Billy. ‘Have you heard his record, it’s …’

‘No one calls them records any more Billy,’ sighed Ian. ‘Anyway they turned you down for the Graham Norton show.’

Billy shook his head in despair.

‘What about Desert Island Discs?’

‘That’s Radio 4,’ Ian reminded him. ‘You hate Radio 4.’

‘That’s true. I do,’ agreed Billy thoughtfully.

They sat in silence for a few moments and sipped their lagers.

‘How about one of those reality programmes?’ Billy said finally. ‘I can do that. I can cope in the jungle. That will give the record a boost.’

‘Forget about the jungle, Billy. You just said you wouldn’t cope in the country.’

Billy sighed.

‘You’re my manager and the best you can come up with is that I retire to the country. I’m only fifty-six. Surely you can set me up with some gigs.’

‘I’ve tried Billy, I’ve tried. There’s a lot of competition …’

‘Huh, you call this new crap ‘music’? If that’s competition then I’ll eat my arse,’ he scoffed.

‘I’m thinking we could build a new image for you. You know, like Paul O’Grady and Julian Clary. They went to the country and then …’

‘One ended up on Strictly Come Dancing and the other’s doing a bloody animal show. Christ, I hate animals and I can’t dance for toffees. Why do you keep lumping me in with bum bandits?’

‘Gays, Billy. People call them gays these days. It’s image building mate. If you look like a country gent we may have a chance of getting you on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

Billy’s eyes sparkled.

‘Wicked.’

‘I do wish you would stop talking like you’re stuck in the eighties,’ Ian sighed.

‘And you think moving to the country will be good for my image?’ Billy asked doubtfully.

Ian nodded.

‘I’ll put it out to the media. We may even get a story.’

Billy punched the air.

‘We can say I’m going there to meditate and stuff. That I’m into tantric sex like Sting. They like all that. We can do some photo shoots of me in those yoga positions. Isn’t there some charity in Nepal I can support? How about if we give Richard Gere a bell, he’s into all that stuff isn’t he?’

Ian closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

‘Let’s keep it a bit more low key shall we?’ he said patiently. ‘Keep the press guessing for a bit and then we’ll give them a story. I know the break up with Clara was tough but you’ve got to stop knocking off twenty-five-year-olds. It looks a bit, you know …’

‘It looks a bit what?’

‘Immature. You look like you’re going through a midlife crisis. Give yourself a nice break. A good bit of image building is what we need. The press will be crying out to know what’s happened to you.’

Not that they could really give a shit, he thought, but didn’t say that to Billy. There was a lot Ian thought but never said.

‘You know Clara’s asking for dog bloody maintenance?’ scoffed Billy. ‘That bleeding dog is better groomed than I am.’

‘That’s not hard, Billy.’

‘She feeds it caviar. I bloody ask you. It nearly bit my whatsit off once. All I was trying to do was get into my own bed. It was my bed of course. Comes to something when the only threesome you have with your tart is with her bloody poodle.’

‘And you really should stop calling her a tart in interviews, Billy. It doesn’t look good. That’s partly why she’s taking you to the cleaners.’

Billy sighed.

‘So where in the country do you think I should go?’ he asked. He pulled open two more cans and gave one to Ian.

‘Here,’ said Ian, and handed him an estate agent’s leaflet. ‘There’s a nice little place for rent. Higgledy Piggledy Cottage in a Cotswold village, you can’t get more country than that.’

Billy looked at the leaflet and shook his head.

‘Who’d have thought it, me, Billy Baxter in the country. I’ll be herding chickens next.’

‘It looks peaceful. It will do you the world of good,’ smiled Ian.

Billy studied the leaflet and then picked up his guitar.

‘Sounds a real drag but if you think it will improve my image …’

Ian lifted his can in celebration.

‘Here’s to your new life in Little Perran,’ he said, barely able to hide the relief from his voice.

 

 

My lovely mum. I miss you. Happy 90th

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I’ve felt sad the past few days for many reasons. One of them is because I’ve been thinking about my Mum. She will be 90 in a few days and I’m saddened that she won’t even know that she made 90. She was always so proud of how young she looked for her age and I so much wish her brain had travelled along with her but alas it didn’t.

I wish I could take a huge cake and put on a grand party for her as I feel she so very much deserves it. My Mum played a big part in helping me decide my future at a time I was in crisis. She stopped me from making a rash decision that would have ultimately ruined my life. I owe her wisdom and common sense to the happiness I have today. Her non-judgemental views and brave insight gave me the confidence to step into the unknown and take a huge gamble. I was unable to see the importance of her role in this until much later and by then I had lost her to something more powerful. It’s called dementia. It tears your family apart and rips loved ones from you leaving you with a shell of who they once were. Mum will hold my hand and smile at me. We’ll laugh together and hug and I know she knows I am someone she loves but exactly why she loves me, she cannot remember.

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I take comfort in the few photos I have. I remember everything she told me about her and my Dad but it’s never enough. I want more. I now feel an overwhelming desire to know everything about them. Finally and far too late I’ve seen them as people and not just Mum and Dad. The last time I saw her she held my hand and I chatted about books while she spoke incoherently about the past, stopping occasionally to smile at me. I was telling her about my books and reminding her of the books she had read, of which there were hundreds when she said,

‘Pages’

My heart leapt. How much more had she heard and understood? My mother was an avid reader, a great knitter, a calm and wise woman whose gentle temperament calmed my own. I miss her terribly.

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My mother never wanted this for herself. I know she would hate it. I hate that there is nothing I can do to change it. It’s how it is. But I do feel death would be better, not for me but for her. I hate you dementia. You’re cruel and worst of all you’re merciless because you’ll choose anyone, the educated, the uneducated, the rich, the poor, the creative and the uncreative.  Death is kinder than you. Mum never saw herself as anything special. She wouldn’t know what to make of a blog post about her. But she was special. She was my Mum and you can’t get more special than that.

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Happy 90th birthday Mum. I can’t say ‘I hope there will be many more’ because I know you wouldn’t have wanted them like this.

I love you. xxx

I’m a Racist (apparently)

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Yesterday I found myself wondering why I write novels and put them out there for anyone and everyone to scrutinise. I then realised I did it because I can’t not do it and I write to entertain and make people happy. I don’t expect perfect reviews. That would be idealistic. I’m used to getting good reviews and although I’ll never get used to them, I get bad reviews too. I accept my books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and that if someone spends money on my book- although I still think £1.99 and 99p isn’t exactly spending a fortune – then they are entitled to leave a review. I think it’s a bit off when reviewers leave a bad review for a free book, however, but that is something else.

Just what constitutes a review and what constitutes  spiteful? And should companies such as Amazon argue the rights and wrongs about a review that is clearly suspicious?

The definition of a review is ‘A form of literary criticism in which a book is analysed based on content, style, and merit. A book review can be a primary source opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review. Books can be reviewed for printed periodicals, magazines and newspapers, as school work, or for book web sites on the Internet. A book review’s length may vary from a single paragraph to substantial essays. Such a review may evaluate the book on the basis of personal taste. Reviewers may use the occasion of a book review for a display of learning or to promulgate their own ideas on the topic of a fiction or non-fiction work.’

Okay, so I don’t think It didn’t arrive on time constitutes as a review does it? And yet many authors on Amazon have to contend with these stupid, idiotic reviews which pull their rankings down. When you look at a book’s ranking and it has five stars this indicates the book has more 4 and 5 star reviews than any other. If the stars drop to 4 and a half or lower then there are clearly some low marked reviews. Sometimes these can simply be someone saying ‘I didn’t like it’ I mean, seriously, is that a review? Is that justification for dragging that author’s work down?

But worse is what happened to me yesterday. This is where a review is not only slanderous but clearly looks suspicious and the only review that the reviewer has penned. The profile is hidden and the purchase is not Amazon verified which means it wasn’t even bought from the site.

Here it is

2 of 300 people found the following review helpful

Very racist., 30 May 2016

By

Sandra

This review is from: Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown (Comedy Romance) (Kindle Edition)

Amazon are refusing to remove the review which is for ‘Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown’

I write romantic comedy. I write with realism in my stories, yes, but not with racism. There is a Mrs Patel in my book who runs the corner shop but the main character has only good things to say about her. Is that racist? It’s just realistic. The book has 300 unhelpful clicks and ten comments from readers who have read the book and claim it isn’t racist.

This is not the first time I have heard that Amazon have refused to remove a review. But if someone called someone racist on Facebook or Twitter, would it be tolerated? Why is it so easy to call names and bully in a book review? For an author to have to worry that they may get a one star review because of someone’s jealousy or someone with a gripe seems wrong.

So, Sandra, or whatever your real name is, thanks for the review and the publicity. After all, you know what they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity. You certainly highlighted me for the day. Of course, this may not have been your aim but you know there is something called karma. Look it up! You can buy my racist book here

Happy Birthday to Amy Lynch

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I’m thrilled to wish the lovely author Amy Lynch a ‘Happy one year’ birthday.’ It’s been one year since Amy debuted with her novel ‘Bride without A Groom’ and what a fab book it is too. And I’m giving you a taster of it to celebrate this fab occasion. What better way to celebrate than to have a book tour. And today is the day the tour stops here.

The lovely Amy Lynch pictured below is an Irish author of humorous romantic women’s fiction, but not always with fairy tale endings!Amy in garden 2

Amy has been working in the charity sector for many years, is married and has two young children. When she is not writing, she can be found juggling school runs, packing lunch boxes, tackling the laundry mountain and walking two large rescue dogs who stare at her until she walks them. Talk about multi-tasking! I know I couldn’t do it. I moan about stopping writing to cook dinner.

Her debut novel ‘Bride Without a Groom’ is a laugh out loud Bridezilla comedy, was published by Avon, Harper Collins in May 2015.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Single, coupled-up or married, this laugh-out-loud summer read is the perfect anecdote for the wedding season!

Rebecca has chosen the most luscious, five tiered, wedding cake. The engagement ring that she has selected is celebrity inspired. The wedding singer is on speed dial. He doesn’t usually do Michael Bolton, but as it’s for a first dance he’ll make an exception. Father Maguire is checking dates for the parish church as we speak. The deposit on the white sand honeymoon is paid for in full on Barry’s card. She has fallen for an ivory lace couture gown that is to die for. The down payment may require her to sell a left kidney, but it will be worth it. Isn’t that why you have two?

There’s one teeny tiny problem. It’s nothing, really. No need to panic! It’s just that Barry has yet to propose. Says he’s not ready! He can be a bit of a kill joy that way. In fact, he’s gone away on a business trip and says that he needs some space. Meanwhile, Barry’s tie loosens, the Tiger beer is flowing, and his colleague Shelley is providing more than a shoulder to cry on. Back in Dublin, Rebecca worries, putting Operation Win Back Barry into action. But who is the mysterious dark haired woman that is so keen to talk to her, and what is it that Barry wants to get off his chest?

YOU CAN CONNECT WITH AMY by following the links below and scroll even further for your free extract.

www.facebook.com/Amylynchauthor /

 www.twitter.com/Amylynchauthor

www.amylynchauthor.com

BUY LINKS

UK http://amzn.to/1JVC7ls  US http://amzn.to/1RS4OR9 

Thanks for popping by Amy and have a fab tour. Now enjoy the extract from this fabulous novel.

EXTRACT FROM ‘BRIDE WITHOUT A GROOM

‘Anyway,’ Emer lovingly diverts the conversational traffic back in my direction.

‘Did you go to look at engagement rings that time? You said that he was going to take you ring shopping?’

A deep burgundy hue creeps up my neck, and the stomach churn returns. The ever so shameful truth is that, technically, he did not promise anything of the kind. Technically, I led him blindly by the arm to Weir & Sons the last time we went to Dundrum town centre.

I’d accidentally on purpose taken a wrong turn, falsely luring him to the centre with a sneaky suggestion that he take a look in Tommy Hilfiger for a new polo shirt. His old one was decidedly shabby, I had convinced him. I couldn’t give a flying flip about his polo shirts, but the tactic worked. He allowed me to stand and point at the window in the direction of engagement rings. The chocolate cake I’d fed him moments before from Butler’s made him sluggish and docile. He’s easier to manage that way. Sadly, as you may have guessed, it was the tennis bracelet that caught his eye.

‘Absolutely,’ I lie. ‘He can’t say he doesn’t know what kind of ring I want. I mean, I bloody pointed to the exact one. Remember? It’s the two-carat, Edwardian-style, oval-cut solitaire diamond ring with pavé detail? It’s set in platinum and rose gold? Just like the one Tom Cruise gave to Katie Holmes on top of the Eiffel Tower?’

They know. I’ve only mentioned it, like, a bazillion times. I do have exquisite taste.

‘Also, I left him a magazine clipping of it in his lunchbox one day, along with a little love note…’

They laugh, and I don’t correct them. Perhaps it’s best if they think I’m joking.

I decide that I’ve done nothing wrong. Let them snigger. There is absolutely no point in taking a chance and ending up with a hideous article to be worn ‘till death do us part’. The shame would, quite frankly, be too much to bear. Let’s be honest – the

first question you’ll be asked upon announcing your impending wedding is about the bling, and there’s just no getting around it. Research shows that an oh-so-subtle hint dropped here and there in the right places is merely a gentle way of leading a clueless chap towards the right ring. My plan is to feign surprise when he chooses correctly, and then brag to my girlfriends that he knows me so well. Flawless plan, yes?

My ring-size and preference are just information I’ve passed along to Barry a few dozen times. As I said, I picture diamonds, platinum and perhaps a princess cut. Sometimes I worry that Barry doesn’t have these words in his male vocabulary. Besides, returning an ill-fitting or generally revolting ring to the store and thus ruining my engagement buzz hardly seems like what a bride to be dreams of. What’s more, Barry has a distinct lack of creative flair. I’m purely thinking of him – saving him from himself, you might say. This is far too important a job for Barry to mess up!

 

 

Why mad drivers don’t intimidate me

 

Today I was harassed by a driver on the country road leading out of my village. He drove very close to me and was clearly trying to get me to go faster. I know I drive slowly when I leave the village and I’m aware that I brake on the bends. But what the driver behind didn’t know, was that in 2012 it was on just such a country road that I drove that little bit too fast because I was late for work. It ended with me not turning up at work at all and almost being too early into that next world.

It had been a wet morning and although the sun was now shining the roads weren’t dry. I can’t remember why I was late. But it was a long journey from my village to the surgery where I worked. It was all country lanes, sharp bends and nothing but green fields as my view for the entire journey. I remember approaching a bend and even before I reached it I knew I was going too fast. I had to brake. I’ve since learnt that is the worst thing to do on a wet road and on a bend. I immediately lost control of the car. I remember screaming and the world spinning around. Of course, it was the car spinning and not the world at all. But all I knew was that I wanted to get off. There were many bangs and strange feelings vibrated through me as the car things. I later learnt those things were a bollard, several trees, bushes, and more bushes. It had spun around in the middle of the road. Luckily there were no oncoming cars otherwise I would have hit them head on. It eventually crashed through more bushes, crushing barley in its wake and landed with a thud in the mud in the middle of a farmer’s field. I sat for several seconds dazed and looking around for my glasses which had flown off my head. My seat belt dug into me and I was disorientated. I could hear the traffic but couldn’t see it. I then realised it was the other side of the bushes. I stupidly attempted to start my car and then realised with some horror that bits of it were strewn around the field. There was the odd tyre, a piece of bumper, bits of metal. I calmly fumbled in my bag for my phone to see I had no signal. I thank God every day for the fact that my car landed in mud because had it overturned I could have laid there for hours. There would have been no way to reach anyone. I managed to unbuckle my seatbelt and shakily climb from the battered car and make my way to the road where my phone picked up signal and I called the police who then called an ambulance even though I said I was fine and that it was just the car that was damaged. In fact I wasn’t fine at all. I had bruised ribs which I didn’t even feel. I was in shock too but didn’t know it.

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My car was a write off. The police said they think I had a blow out as I took the bend. I believe I was driving too fast and my carelessness caused the accident. The car had to be craned out of the field. They also told me if it hadn’t have been raining and the field muddy then I most likely would have suffered serious injuries as the car would have turned over. As it was it got lodged in the mud.

I now always drive carefully and I never exceed the speed limit. If I’m late, then I’m late. I’m a terrible back street driver and always have my foot on an imaginary brake. I wince as bends approach when I’m in the passenger seat. A serious accident makes you aware. So drivers can drive close to me. They can get in my boot if they like but I won’t drive any faster. I had a lucky escape. I don’t think I’d be lucky a second time so why risk it?

The Day I Met Lady Gaga … Well As Close As.

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So, it was a very exciting day for me Saturday.

First I went to visit my mum. I always look forward to these visits while dreading them at the same time. Seeing your mum with her mind gone is the hardest thing on earth. Each visit I see a decline in her which is always depressing. But the fact that she smiles and sings for a lot of the time I am there, makes all the difference. She will be 90 in two months and I really was amazed at how chatty she was. We held hands, laughed, chatted and I kissed her many times and she seemed to like that. I talked about my books. I tried to tell her how many I had written. She always hoped I would be a published writer. She rambled for a bit longer and then amidst her ramblings was the word ‘pages’ making me wonder how much she really absorbs.

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And suddenly out of the blue she began to talk to somebody and look at them as though they were standing next to me. I looked to the side of me but there was no one there and suddenly she said ‘I love you Billy, I do.’

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My dad was known as Bill or Billy (when he was younger). I left feeling very emotional. I always used to chat to my mum and I so miss that. But we kind of chat and I guess I will have to be grateful for that.

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So we left mum and we were now heading for Putney to meet Katie, the owner of Outlandish Creations.  Katie is a ceramic designer and I had decided that the  main character in the new novel will be a ceramic designer too. So after a few exchanged emails Katie and I agreed to meet.

Now, Katie isn’t just a ceramic designer. She is the most abfab designer I know. Not only do I think so, but so does, Graham Norton, Lady Gaga and Ruby Wax, to mention just a few and here am I about to meet her. Only recently her work was featured in Vogue, so I was slightly nervous. It’s not every day you meet the woman who designed a cup that Lady Gaga drinks her tea from.

Katie was very welcoming, very pleasant and very helpful.  Watching her at work was very inspirational and all kinds of wonderful ideas for my character flowed through my mind. She took me to her workshop and showed me how she made her brilliant pieces. I’d already purchased one piece from her some time ago and still use it regularly and love it.

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So how could I not leave without another?  Here it is. Fab right?

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So when you read the next Little Perran novel, remember this blog. And do check out Katie’s work. It is truly Outlandish, funny, decadent and unique. I’m thrilled to own two pieces by her.

Keep tuned for the next novel but meanwhile don’t miss the special offer on ‘Perfect Weddings’ at the moment. Only 99p. Go here. Don’t miss it.

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To check out Outlandish Creations go here. You can also join her on Facebook here and read about her in Vogue here

Much love until next time

Lynda

x

Going All The Way With A Bus Driver

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So, I’ve got a bus pass. Let’s not go too much into how I got one, okay? I’d rather not go there. Anyway, a free bus I have. It’s been in my purse for months. I live out in the sticks, where buses run hourly (if that) so the thought of standing around waiting for a bus when I could pop into Oxford quite easily in my car seemed a silly choice to make … until. I met my friend Marie in Oxford for a few hours shop and some lunch and the car parking charge was over ten quid. Now, that’s just taking the Michael right? So, when we arranged to have another jolly (as Marie terms it) around Oxford, I thought why not use my bus pass? It’s free after all.

So, Organised I became. And that’s unusual for me. I checked the bus number, G3. It came to my village at a quarter to the hour, every hour. I then checked the times of the returning buses, emailed them to my phone. I prepared a chicken curry in the slow cooker, turned it onto low, after all I would be back by three so it would be safe enough. Armed with everything I needed for my bus trip, I set off to get the 11.45 bus which would get me into Oxford by 12.30 and all free of course. Marie never said a word but I sensed she was uncertain about the whole thing. It was a lovely sunny spring day. Perfect for my first venture on a bus, after all it must have been all of thirty years since I went on a bus. It was lovely. I travelled through several other local villages before heading onto the main road, and then finally towards Oxford Town itself.

‘Let me know when you arrive?’ Marie had texted.

I don’t know why she was so worried. I arrived on time and we had a great shop and several coffees. In fact we had been enjoying it so much that we lost track of time. It was almost four.

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‘Fancy something to eat?’ asked Marie.

My stomach churned at the thought of the chicken curry. It would be okay wouldn’t it? It was on low anyway. But to be on the safe said. I text my stepson who lived nearby to ask if he could pop in and turn it off, after all, better safe than sorry and then off we trotted to Pizza Express. Halfway through my phone bleeped. It was a text from my stepson.

‘Sorry not at home today, won’t be back until after 5.30.’

My stomach flipped over. Oh no. I’d just presumed he’d popped in around four and turned it off. Visions of my cottage on fire now began to haunt me. Oh no, this is a disaster. Even a free pass isn’t worth my house burning down.

We finished up our food and I glanced again at the time on my phone.

‘I’ll be in time for the 5.30 bus,’ I said confidently.

But I won’t be home until well gone six and by then we’ll either have char-grilled chicken curry or a burnt down cottage. I sent Andrew a message saying I should be home before him but to be aware the slow cooker had been on since 9.

‘You worry too much,’ he replied.

‘Where do you get your bus from?’ asked Marie as we hurried along, both of us conscious of my burning cottage.

My brain froze. I had no idea.

‘Presumably outside Debenhams,’ I said.. ‘That’s where I got off.’

‘Probably,’ said Marie, unworried.  ‘My friend used to get that bus and she picked it up around Debenhams.’

We kissed goodbye and she trotted off to her bus stop and me to find mine, except the G3 wasn’t mentioned at the Debenhams bus stop, or at the bus stop further down. I strolled around the corner to the next lot of bus stops. The sun had now gone down and the wind was sharp and cold and I didn’t have a coat. I tried not to panic, after all the G3 had to go back too didn’t it? Finally I found it. G3. I double checked it did go to my village, although I knew G3 was the right one. And then I waited and I waited and I waited. It was getting colder and there seemed to every bus in Oxford but the G3. I checked my phone again. There should have been one at 5.30. Then I saw it, large as life and the most beautiful sight ever, the G3 bus. Except it said it was terminating at Woodstock, which was quite a way from my village. Never the less I jumped on and checked.

‘You want the next one love,’ said the driver. ‘I’m not going the whole way.’

I sighed and clambered off into the cold again. Meanwhile another passenger waiting at the stop asked me about his bus. I simply gave him a blank look. I barely knew which, was my bus, let alone what was his. Plus, I had a lot more on my mind. Like my slow cooker. It seemed my stepson at this point was going to pop in and then he saw my car and presumed I was home. How was he to know I’d taken the stupid bus?

Finally another G3 came along and I jumped on, sighing with relief. Maybe I would be home just in time before the dinner dried up totally. I struggled to relax and focused on the two women chattering away behind me. My ears pricked up when one of them said

‘This is the Enstone bus isn’t it?’

I nearly threw up into my handbag. Enstone, what did she mean Enstone? Enstone is miles from my village. No, she must have it wrong surely. It’s the G3 and it goes to my village via Woodstock. Yes, here we are coming into Woodstock. The bus goes through the village as I hoped and then travels along the road that leads to the turn off for my village. I check the time. It’s now almost six. Andrew will soon be home. Please let him come home to a charred chicken rather than a charred cottage. The turning for my village loomed ahead. I’m ten minutes from home. I may even make it before Andrew. I get my phone out ready to dial 999. Best to be prepared, I always think.slowcook3

But the bus flies pass my turning and continues on into the countryside. Oh no, he is going to Enstone which is miles away. Has he gone insane? I jump from my seat, almost flying into his lap as he brakes sharply.

‘You want this stop?’ he asks.

I stammer out my village and he looks curiously at me.

‘I’m going to Chipping Norton,’ he says.

Oh my God that’s even further away. He may as well have said Dublin.

‘But … I thought …’ I begin.

‘You needed the Charlton G3,’ he said.

How many bloody G3’s are there? Why can’t there one like everyone else has.

‘But …’ I begin, but it’s no good telling him about my charcoal cottage is there

‘You’ll have to go all the way with me now,’ he says, moving off.

I sigh and text Andrew, fighting back my tears.

‘I’m so sorry for burning the house down. I only wanted to save parking fees.’

A quick message back tells me he is home and that home is still there in fact, and that the curry looks great. Meanwhile, I’m travelling through the countryside of Oxfordshire.

bus2

We arrive at Chipping Norton where the driver tells me he has to wait a while before turning back.  We then go all the way back and finally reach the turn off for my village but instead of taking it he stops.

‘This is you,’ he says

‘But aren’t you going to …’

‘You need to cross over, get the next one. It should be five minutes and that will take you to the village.’

Oh for goodness sake.

‘One consolation,’ he says.

Oh really, is there one?

‘You won’t do this again will you?’

He’s quite right of course.   I cross the road, get the oncoming bus and get home at 6.45.

Still it could be argued I got the most out of my free bus pass.

You can buy Lynda’s latest bestselling comedy novel ‘Perfect Weddings’  here