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.

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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

 

Read the First Chapter of ‘Perfect Weddings’ by Lynda Renham

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Hi guys, I thought I’d give you a preview of ‘Perfect Weddings’

Here is Chapter One.

Enjoy

Chapter One

 

Don’t you just hate wedding jitters? Maybe you don’t. Perhaps your big day hasn’t come yet but trust me, it will. If I, Amy Fisher, can get married then anyone can. I’ve waited one year, three months and twelve days for my big day; that’s one year, three months and twelve days from the moment Greg proposed to me in the Little Chef. Yes I know, it isn’t the most romantic of places, but it was Valentine’s Day, so that makes everything all right. Although, to be strictly honest, it was me that proposed to him, but I am sure Greg would have done if I hadn’t got in first. You know what men are like, they just need a little push sometimes don’t they? We’d been on our way back from a Tottenham Hotspur match and stopped at the Little Chef. Did I mention that Greg likes football? Does the pope pray? Well, that’s how obsessed Greg is with football. It’s not just a game for him, it’s a religion. I think if Greg could marry Tottenham Hotspur instead of me, he would.  So, there we were, tucking into our All Day Breakfast when Greg looked over his grilled tomato, gazed into my eyes, and said,

‘You’re the perfect girl for me.’

His words had sent a tingle down my spine. We’d been together for nine months and I just knew Greg was my Mr Right. I loved everything about him from his receding hairline to his bouncy walk.  So, while still buzzing from our Tottenham Hotspur win, I asked him, right there, right then, in the Little Chef, to marry me. He looked so handsome in his Tottenham shirt that I just couldn’t help myself. There was a heart stopping moment when he hesitated, but then he said yes. That was one year, three months and twelve days ago. The time has flown by in a flurry of wedding magazines, dress fittings, reception venues, guest lists, seating plans, wedding cakes and of course football. And now the day is here. My stomach gurgles with excitement and mum fumbles in her bag for the Windeze.

‘Maybe pop a couple.’ she suggests. ‘Better safe than sorry, after all, we want a packed church don’t we?’

I glance at a box of Thorntons chocolates that sit on the dressing table. One white chocolate truffle won’t do any harm will it?

‘I’m hungry,’ I say. ‘I didn’t have breakfast.’

‘How can you think about food today of all days?’ scolds mum.

I’m not thinking about food, I’m just thinking about chocolate. I’ve never been so nervous in my life and chocolate is the answer to all ills isn’t it?

‘Just one,’ I say. ‘One won’t hurt, will it?’

She sighs and opens the box. I devour the white chocolate truffle and then feel myself drawn to the Hazelnut Heaven, but mum slams the lid down and puts the box back on the dressing table.

‘I’ll straighten your veil,’ she says nervously.

I look at my reflection in the wardrobe mirror. I can’t believe I’m standing in my wedding dress. My hair hangs in a perfect short bob with a pretty slide clipping back one side so my diamante earrings can be seen. I’d gone for the natural look. There is nothing worse than an over made up bride is there? I’d applied a small amount of blusher to my cheeks and a pink tint onto my lips with just a light brush of mascara to my lashes. I’m blessed with a clear, fair complexion and natural brown wavy hair. I’m not beautiful or anything but I think I’m reasonably attractive.

‘You look stunning,’ says mum.

‘You don’t think I look a bit chubby?’ I ask, swallowing the white chocolate truffle.

‘Chubby?’ says mum, just a little too loudly. ‘Of course not, you’ve lost loads of weight.’

That’s true. I did lose a lot of weight. The only problem is I put it on again at the food tasting for the reception. At least that was the start, the diet went pear shaped after that. Still, I can lose it again after the honeymoon can’t I? After all, Greg loves me for who I am.  Mum adjusts the veil while I fiddle with the pearls around my neck. The dress looks terrific. It had cost a fortune but it was worth every penny. I’d been dreaming of this since I was a child. It is the happiest day of my life and I want to savour every moment. I embrace a bouquet of lilies and sigh contentedly.

‘You look like a princess,’ says mum.

‘Not like Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids?’ I ask worriedly.

‘Don’t be silly. Anyway she was the bridesmaid, not the bride, so you can’t look like her.’

‘You know what I mean.’

I reach for the Hazelnut Heaven before she can stop me. The chocolate hits my blood stream sending a wave of temporary euphoria through me. I tick off an imaginary list in my head. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe. The slide in my hair is the something old, borrowed from my grandmother. That’s if borrowing something from someone dead actually counts, but I’m sure it does. She would have lent it to me had she been alive. The something new is the wedding dress. No way was I having a second-hand dress.  I’ve got a garter which belongs to my mother, just in case borrowing from my grandmother doesn’t count, and the something blue is the ribbon tied around my bouquet. The silver sixpence is pressed tightly against my little toe. I had forgotten nothing. There will be no bad luck on my special day. I’m marrying my Prince Charming, Greg Martin. Just the thought of him makes me quiver inside. Life is going to be magical from this day forth.

I walk carefully into the living room where dad is waiting.

‘Aw, you look a picture,’ he says proudly.

‘I’ll see you at the church. Don’t be on time,’ laughs mum. ‘And don’t get too nervous, you don’t want to stutter through your vows.’

I’m going to be exactly three minutes late, no longer. I read in Bride magazine that it is unfair to make the groom stand at the altar for too long.  I fidget as the garter cuts into my thigh. Those extra three minutes may be the difference between life and death the way this garter is constricting my blood flow.

‘Ready?’  asks dad.

I nod. I’d better go before my leg turns purple. The neighbours stand at their gates and ‘ooh and ah’ at me.

‘Doesn’t she look lovely,’ says one as I climb into the Rolls Royce.

There’s nothing like a wedding is there, to cheer everyone up?’

‘Bring us back some cake,’ shouts another.

We’ve got a three tier wedding cake in blue and white icing. Blue and white are Tottenham’s colours and Greg was insistent they should be the colours of the cake. Not my choice but you’ve got to have a bit of give and take haven’t you? The photographer flashes pictures of me in the car making me feel like a celebrity, and then we’re off. I wave in manner of Kate Middleton, and feel very regal, aside from my numb leg. It takes ten minutes to reach the church. I glance at my wedding finger and tremble with excitement. Soon I will be travelling back as Mrs Greg Martin. It’s better than winning the lottery.

‘We should go in,’ dad says anxiously.

‘Once more around the block,’ I say, ‘it’s not time yet.’

I seriously can’t feel my foot. After one more drive around the block we finally stop at the church and I can’t say I’m not relieved. This garter is worse than a tourniquet. I’ll have deep vein thrombosis if we wait any longer. So, here we are, or at least here I am, about to get married and I couldn’t be happier. I limp from the car and dad fiddles with the dress while managing to stand on my veil.

‘Oh damn, I’m sorry love.’

‘Not to worry, it could be worse.’

I’m more concerned about the pins and needles in my leg. At this rate I will be limping down the aisle like a zombie bride.  It’s then I see Rosie wiping tears from her eyes. At first I presume them to be tears of happiness but then I see my mother crying too and my stomach tenses. Then Jack, the best man, begins talking earnestly to my dad who this time steps on my wedding train. My stomach churns the half box of Thornton’s chocolates that I had eaten this morning and for one awful moment I think I’m going to be sick down my three thousand pound dress. That would be the pits wouldn’t it? First my dad’s foot and then my vomit. Not the best start to marital bliss. But something tells me that this wedding isn’t going to start at all, that something had happened, something awful. Oh God, Greg has been fatally injured in a pile up or at the very least broken both legs.

‘Greg isn’t coming. I’m so sorry,’ says Jack.

‘Is he sick?’ I ask stupidly.

‘He said he can’t go through with it. I’m so sorry.’

It takes me a few seconds to understand what he’s saying. Obviously, I’m relieved that they haven’t dragged Greg’s battered body from a mangled car or amputated both his legs, but my relief turns to disappointment and then anger, and then I want to stab him to death myself.

‘He’s not coming?’ I stutter, knowing I’m stating the bloody obvious.

Jack doesn’t speak. My world reels around me. I try to cling onto dad but I can’t see him through my tears.

‘Oh don’t cry Amy, please don’t cry.’

Everyone looks at me, watching my humiliation.  The man I love is not coming. I suddenly feel fat, vulnerable and stupid.

‘What a sod,’ says mum.

I couldn’t have put it better myself, although I can think of more appropriate words for him. I, Amy Fisher, have been jilted by Greg Martin, and if there is anything worse than your dad standing on your veil, this has to be it.

To read more go here  £1.99 on Amazon.

much love

Lynda

xx

 

You’re Invited to Perfect Weddings

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Hi everyone,

I thought I would never get over here. Things were manic on my Facebook and Twitter page yesterday because … hurrah it was the launch day for my new novel ‘Perfect Weddings’

I’m so excited about this book as everyone is saying they think it is my best one yet.

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I love the cover thanks to Katie Grace Klumpp, who is so talented, you have to agree. Click her name to check out her work.

 

I hope you enjoy ‘Perfect Weddings’ If you like weddings then you are bound to.

Do you remember Amy Perfect who wrote ‘A Christmas Romance?’ Well, my bit of fun was to name the main character in ‘Perfect Weddings’ Amy Perfect too:-)

A Christmas Romance Design!

 

And by the way, while we are talking about ‘A Christmas Romance’ it is now 99p. It is the first in the Little Perran series and it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy it. So why not treat yourself to both. That’s only £2.98 for two books. What can you buy for that these days? Go here for ‘A Christmas Romance’

So what is ‘Perfect Weddings’ about?

‘Every bride wants a perfect wedding and that includes Georgina Winters. Amy Perfect is the crème de la crème of wedding planners so who best to plan Georgina s wedding… except the man Georgina plans to marry is the same man who jilted Amy three years ago. Will her plan to give Georgina the most imperfect wedding backfire on her? Is this the chance for Amy to win back the love of her life, or will insufferable Ben Garret put a spanner in the works? Arab princes, spoilt brides and wedding catastrophes make Perfect Weddings a page-turning romantic comedy that will keep you guessing until the very last page.’

I do hope you enjoy it. You can get yours here

http://goo.gl/Vp78vS

Much love as always

Lynda

x

Back From the Dead

 

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Thirteen years ago one cold foggy evening I held a knife to my husband’s throat. We weren’t married then and after that I’m very surprised we ever did get married.

Those were bleak days. I would pack a suitcase every weekend and leave him. It may have been for something as stupid as him making a comment on my washing up. I cried all the time. I felt like some other being had possessed my body when I wasn’t looking and was now determined to destroy all I held dear to me.

The knife incident was the final straw. It was one month before Christmas.  Andrew didn’t want to be murdered before the festivities. You can’t really blame him and frankly I didn’t want to spend my life behind bars for killing him. Although I feel sure I would have got off due to hormonal imbalance and me not being of sound mind, although it can be argued I’m not of sound mind most of the time anyway. But that’s a whole other blog. I was also suffering severely from Bartholin cysts. If you’ve never heard of them they are little cysts that develop on the inside of the vulva, on, of course, the Bartholin gland. They make it hard to sit down. They throb and sometimes bleed. Taking a pee is nightmarish. The many years I had them no doctor seemed to know how to treat them. By the time I got an appointment to see a doctor they would have gone down. I was given creams, antibiotics and told to shower rather than bath. The antibiotics helped but the cysts would always return.

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So, I went to the GP. Of course, some may have said I needed a psychiatrist but I felt the GP was good to begin with. He was.  I was told I was peri menopausal and put on hormone replacement therapy. My life changed. The terrible tension I had suffered stopped. The cysts went away and never came back. The migraines I had been suffering with for many years stopped. My eyes, which were always dry and gritty suddenly felt normal. It was like a miracle had happened. I continued taking Femoston 2/10 my HRT tablet for the next thirteen years. But then my periods got heavier and more painful. I began having brown staining before a bleed. I went back to the doctor and asked if I could change to something else that would perhaps stop my periods. I felt sure they must have stopped and I was simply having a break-through bleed on the cyclical HRT. This was the beginning of a whole new nightmare for me. They began telling me I had been on the HRT for a long time and it was time to come off. You know what they say about opening Pandora’s box or poking a hornet’s nest? Don’t do it. I changed doctors for a completely different reason and went to request my HRT medication and was told I needed to see the doctor first. I made an appointment and saw a male doctor who banged angrily on the table when I told him what I wanted and declared ‘I would not get that poison from them’ My blood pressure had been slightly raised on a previous visit and he told me I could have a heart attack or stroke any day. I did not leave feeling reassured.

I like to be in charge of my own body. After all it belongs to me. My quality of life matters only to me and those closest to me. A GP who doesn’t really know me has no idea the kind of nightmare I am living. To refuse me a drug I had been on for 13 years was both distressing and worrying for me. I was fully aware of the risks and took as much care as possible to check on them. The buck was passed to the menopause clinic at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxfordshire. I met my consultant and after a long chat she agreed that if my quality of life was severely affected then I was a candidate to stay on HRT for as long as needed, but it is always a good idea to wean off if at all possible.

Let me tell you weaning yourself off something that not only helps you feel like a normal functioning adult and also does wonders for your skin and the aging process is not an easy thing to do. However I agreed to go on a patch which I was assured would stop me bleeding. However, three months and I was still staining badly a week or more before my bleed. The stomach cramps were now worse and continued past my break through bleed. An ultra sound was arranged. It showed a thickened womb lining. I was given a different medication to encourage bleeding in the hope this would eventually thin the lining. It didn’t. A second US showed the lining was still thick. It was decided a hysteroscopy should be performed so they could look inside and if anything needed removing they would remove it. So, under I went and they discovered multiple polyps which were removed. My womb lining was scraped and home I came. Weeks later I went back on my old HRT and felt fine. Then after a few months we tried the patches again and I attempted to reduce my dosage by cutting a small piece off each time.

 

Then the nightmare began. I suddenly went from being a happy fun-loving woman to a grumpy, exhausted wreck. My joints began to ache. Tiredness overwhelmed me. It would take me twenty minutes to make the bed. I would stop to lie on it several times in between changing the sheets. I was tense, irritable, and no fun to be around. My eyes were dry and gritty again. I couldn’t work. I kept crying. I couldn’t pull my aching tired limbs from the bed in the morning. My sex life was non-existent. I didn’t care if I never had sex again. My back ached. I moaned. Cooking dinner was a chore that wore me out. I was a shadow of my former self and no one seemed to care aside from Andrew. I googled joint pain and tiredness. I came to the conclusion that I was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome again along with fibromyalgia. Some people even suggested this may just be my age. At a certain age you stop wanting sex apparently. But I also noticed that the day before I was due to change my patch I suddenly felt increasingly worse but would feel marginally better the following day after the new patch had been put on. This encouraged me to contact my consultant at the menopause clinic and to also do some more research myself on HRT, the risks, the preparations, the delivery and so on.  I also researched Tibilone. I was also tired of being tired and of not feeling sexy anymore. I pushed my case as hard as I could and requested Tibolone, fully expecting to be refused. However, my eyes were so red and sore that she was convinced I was tearful. ‘We can’t have you like this,’ she said understandingly. My blood pressure was taken, the risks of stroke were laid out to me. I said I understood and wanted to try it. My blood pressure unfortunately was 140/80 and considered far too high. I explained that I had been anxious about attending, had a difficult time parking, eventually sliding my Seat into a disabled space. She agreed to me having my blood pressure taken at my GP surgery and arranged a blood test to check my oestrogen level.

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That evening she emailed me. Hurrah, I was extremely low in oestrogen. I had not been absorbing the patch very well. That night on her advice I went back to taking HRT in pill form. The next day I felt brighter, more energetic but still with joint pains. I collected my Tibolone later that day and started it that night. I woke up the next morning and felt so much better. We went out with my stepson and grandson and larked around Waddesdon Manor. I returned with my husband and met friends for lunch. We came home and then I went shopping. I felt more alive than I have in months. Today was my second day on Tibolone and let’s just say there has been a little more action in this cottage than there has been for some time.

Yes, it could all be in my mind. Maybe I expect to feel better but I can’t explain why my eyes are back to normal. Why I feel happier, why things feel and seem so much better. It’s like being brought back from the dead and that really isn’t an exaggeration.

I’m not advocating HRT for everyone but I would certainly recommend it if you are suffering terribly from menopausal symptoms. Do check out the risks yourself and if someone tells you ‘It’s just your age, don’t accept it’ You can get older and still have a life.

I shall be monitoring my symptoms over the next few months and I am very much hoping that things stay as they are today.

 

Don’t Kill the Husband

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I’m going to see my consultant tomorrow to discuss HRT yet again. I’m not feeling very hopeful.

I’ve spent the weekend researching as much as I can about hormone replacement therapy.

I’m suffering. I know other women are suffering too. I’m afraid. Afraid of the side effects of HRT because the side effects are all they drum into me whenever I have a consultation about it.

I’ve gone from pills to patches. I’ve gone from high oestrogen levels to low oestrogen levels.

I’ve bled consistently and then not bled at all. I’ve been manic enough to put a knife to my husband’s throat.

Two days ago I felt so ill that I wouldn’t have cared if I died. I was totally exhausted. It was an effort to climb the stairs. Every joint ached. My knees hurt, my head ached. My eyes felt sunken. The pain in my shoulders was unbearable. I was tired and yet I couldn’t sleep. I felt weak, unable to focus and my skin was drier than it has ever been. It took me twenty minutes to make the bed and even longer to get out of it. Last night I changed my patch and felt somewhat better. Not a coincidence. Hormonal imbalance is debilitating and any doctor who disagrees needs to train themselves better in women’s health.

My sex life is non-existent.  I’ve gone from being a sexual woman to one who couldn’t care less in a matter of months.

My oestrogen intake was vastly decreased when I changed to patches. I only wish I had researched this earlier but I stupidly believed and trusted the doctors. It is only now after my own vast research, do I understand what is happening to me.

My eyes are always dry. Some days the grittiness makes it impossible for me to focus on my work.

Tomorrow I am going to demand more oestrogen. I’m going to request a preparation that will give me back my sex drive. After all, I’m not over the hill yet.

Wish me luck. I don’t imagine it will be easy and I only hope I come home victorious.

 

 

Christmas Cheer to you all

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So, I haven’t been on my blog too much these past six months or more. In fact I haven’t been on social networking much at all, aside from Twitter. Twitter, of course, is easy, quick and doesn’t take much effort and energy and effort seems to be seriously lacking in me lately. BUT … I’ve decided the New Year will see a more relaxed and hopefully more energetic me. I hate to complain. I feel it is important to be positive no matter what the situation. I’m looking into ways to ease my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I really don’t want to be giving in to it or being negative about it.
The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I mentioned in a previous blog. It has not improved as much as I had hoped but hey, there are people worse off than me. I’ve also had a fair bit of pain which apparently can be part of it. But I have refused to slow down or change my lifestyle, so inevitably the pain and tiredness has increased some days. Where I use to get buoyed up when social networking, I now find I don’t so much, BUT that is about to change.
I’m writing more. It’s what I love but I’m also being kinder to myself. I intend to interact more on social network sites in the New Year. After looking into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and thyroid problems I am starting to think there is a connection. By the evening I feel quite exhausted and stress of any kind just aggravates the condition. I’m aware I need to reduce my stress levels and I’m working on that. I find I need to limit what I do, which is frustrating for me. I read much on Facebook of people who have joint pain and tiredness and only now do I realise just what they go through. My thoughts and sympathies go out to you. However, after all this research, I have decided not to slow down in any way. I have a lot of books I want to write. A lot of books I want to read and a lot of living that I want to do. CFS is not going to stop me doing any of that.
Christmas is upon us and as usual we have been busy celebrating in our village. We have our street advent calendar and this year we are number 18. All year we have our little stone animals in the garden which we move around on a regular basis. The school children like looking for them. So we decided what better than to give the animals their own nativity scene. It’s been very popular.
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There have been many Christmas parties and dinners and we still have more before the Christmas season is over.

A Christmas Romance Design!
My Christmas novella ‘A Christmas Romance’ is doing fabulously well and I am thrilled. The village of Little Perran where the novel is set has become a real favourite of mine and I can’t wait to start a new story there and hope to produce one for the summer. Meanwhile I am finishing off my new romantic comedy which should be out in the spring of 2016. I have wonderful readers and want to thank all of you for buying the books and also for reviewing them. I hope I continue to give you as much pleasure next year as I have this year.
I have made some lovely friends, many who visited me for the book signing at my house. To all my lovely readers, thank you so much for your support this past year. You make it all worthwhile.
Merry Christmas to you and thank you to all those that have sent us cards and I look forward to interacting more with you in the New Year.
To all those who have bought my books, thank you so much. I appreciate it more than you can ever know and your reviews have really made my year.
Much love
Lynda
xx

Woo Hoo, Christmas Is Coming

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Christmas is not far away. I love this time of year. Lot’s of great things happen don’t they?

So, what better way to celebrate than this!

Today for one day only my new Christmas novella ‘A Christmas Romance’ is only **99p**

I couldn’t let Black Friday and Cyber Monday come and go without doing something special could I?

So hurry over to Amazon here and get yours.

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Coming soon is my Christmas newsletter. So if you haven’t signed up for that then please do. Just go to the right hand side and scroll down to the newsletter subscription and simply click.

Meanwhile here is a little extract from the Christmas novella … Enjoy.

 A Christmas Romance

Lynda Renham writing as Amy Perfect

Chapter One

Frankie opened the oven door and gently prodded the fruit cake, the rich aroma making her mouth water. Fruit cake was her favourite. She wiped her hands on her apron and began cracking eggs into a bowl. There were just the fairy cakes to make now; the mince pies to go into the oven and the filling into the sponge, and she would be finished. She turned from the bowl and stopped to drink in the view from her kitchen window, the smell of a freshly baked Victoria sponge wafting past her. The tree in the garden twinkled under the dusting of snow that had been falling gently all morning, and she reminded herself to get some Christmas tree lights to go around it. This was going to be one of the coldest winters in years. The weather forecast predicted a white Christmas and Frankie was looking forward to cosy evenings by the fire with a hot chocolate and a good novel. The kitchen was lovely and warm with the heat from the oven but she still shivered at the sight of the falling snow. Then, not for the first time, she wondered what Paul was doing right now. Of course Christmas in Australia would be very different from Little Perran. Frankie couldn’t imagine Christmas on the beach. It seemed unnatural. She shook her head, irritated with herself for thinking about Paul, and turned back to the bowl of eggs. She didn’t need a man in her life. She was coping very well, thank you very much. Her eyes fell on the small Christmas tree in the corner of her living room. Buster slept happily underneath it. It was no good telling a dog that only presents go under the tree. I wonder if they have a Christmas tree in Australia, she thought idly. Of course they do, she reprimanded herself. After all, it wasn’t the back of beyond was it? She beat the eggs angrily. She must stop thinking about Paul. He was most likely sunning himself on the beach with …

Her thoughts were halted by a tapping on the back door. Birdie popped her rosy cheeks around it and sniffed appreciatively.

‘Primrose Cottage always smells good,’ she said, quickly closing the door. ‘It’s bitter outside. I went to the library but you weren’t there.’

‘I took the day off to bake cakes for the Christmas fete.’ Frankie felt the cold air brushing against her bare feet.

‘And fabulous they look too,’ said Birdie, pulling off her wellies and throwing them outside the back door.

Birdie’s thick brown hair had been wound into a tight plait which she had secured at the nape of her neck with a hair pin. Her cheeks were rosy from the cold and her lips pink where she had applied some lip salve.

‘I’m knackered. I’ve been cleaning out. That’s the trouble with having the animals inside. And the tractor is knackered too. Ben has asked Joe to come and look at it for us. Aren’t you glad you’re not a farmer? I wish I worked in a library. Mind you I’d be reading all day.’

Frankie laughed.

‘You’d be bored to death. You know how you love the outdoors.’

Birdie spotted the Christmas cake on the kitchen counter and gasped.

‘You’ve made it?’ she said, looking at the cake admiringly.

‘That was the easy bit. I’ve got to ice it now. I’m nervous about being too experimental though.’

‘Don’t be silly. It will be great. I so want you to win. I heard Cynthia is hiding hers.’

Frankie felt her heart sink.

‘I bet it’s lovely. That’s why she wins every year.’

‘A bit of cheating helps,’ scoffed Birdie.

‘Birdie, I’m sure that’s not true.’

Birdie nodded.

‘As sure as eggs is eggs, it’s true,’ she laughed.

Frankie carefully pulled a sketch pad from the kitchen drawer and opened it.

‘This is a rough plan of my theme, Santa falling down the chimney. What do you think?’

Birdie’s eyes widened.

‘Oh Frankie, that’s amazing.’

‘It will be if I can recreate it with icing,’ Frankie said worriedly.

‘You can do it, I know you can. Any chance of a cuppa and a piece of that sponge?’ she smiled licking her lips. ‘We should celebrate.’

‘No.’ Frankie wagged her finger. ‘That’s for tomorrow’s fete. But I have some chocolate cake?’

She opened a Quality Street tin. Birdie peeked inside and sighed.

‘I love your chocolate cake. Now, I have some exciting news. But I think you already know don’t you?’

Frankie’s heart skipped a beat. Was this something to do with Paul? Of course it wasn’t. When would she stop thinking about him? It had been almost a year now since he broke off their engagement. When would she accept that he wasn’t going to come back to Little Perran? More to the point did she even want him back?

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about Birdie.’

‘Really? I had a feeling you didn’t know. Otherwise I’m sure you would have told me. That’s why I popped round really. Make a cuppa and sit down. I’m not telling you until you do. I don’ want you going into a dead faint.’

‘Ooh heavens, what is it?’ asked Frankie, her hand poised to whip the eggs. Maybe it was to do with Paul after all. Her heart fluttered in her chest.

‘Sit down. Leave those eggs for a minute, they won’t go off.’

Frankie did as she was told and sat down. It was a relief to get off her legs. She pulled the scrunch out of her curly auburn hair and twisted it neatly into a bun before securing it again.

‘Okay,’ said Birdie, tapping a drum-roll with her hands. ‘The Biggest heart-throb ever is only coming to live at Little Perran. He’s moving into Briar Lodge in a few days’ time.’

She looked at Frankie with wide eyes.

‘Briar Lodge, are you certain?’ asked Frankie.

If anyone was coming to live at Briar Lodge then surely she of all people would know.

‘Isn’t it exciting? He’ll be here for Christmas. Every single woman in the village will be after him, except me of course, as I’ve got Ben, but I’ll be tempted.’

Frankie stared at her.

‘Well, what do you think?’ asked Birdie, pouring water into the teapot.

‘You haven’t told me who it is?’

‘Oh, I thought I did. I’m so excited that’s why. Roux Lockhart, can you believe it?’ said Birdie slicing into the chocolate cake.

‘Roux Lockhart, the film star do you mean?’

‘In the flesh,’ Birdie swooned.

‘But why is he coming here?’

‘They’re making a movie. He’ll be staying here for the filming. I’m not supposed to be telling anyone this yet. It’s top secret. The parish council will be delivering letters today. I’ve brought yours. We’re not to talk to the press, or anyone outside the village who asks about him. Only a few of us have been told he’s staying at Briar Lodge. I thought you of all people would have known.’

Frankie felt her blood boil.

‘But Aunty Rose never mentioned renting out Briar Lodge while she was in the States.’

‘Oh dear,’ said Birdie, her face flushing.

‘I can’t believe it,’ exclaimed Frankie, jumping up to beat the eggs.

‘Were you planning on using the Lodge over Christmas?’ asked Birdie worriedly.

Frankie grimaced.

‘Don’t be silly Birdie. You know I’ve got no one coming for Christmas.’

‘You can come to us, you know that? We’d love to have you.’

Frankie forced a smile.

‘I know, but I don’t want to leave Buster.’

‘He’ll be okay for one evening.’

‘I’ll see. I just can’t believe Aunty Rose didn’t tell me about Roux Lockhart. I’m supposed to be watering her plants. How could she forget to tell me a famous film star was coming to stay?’

‘Ooh you’ve got a good excuse to go over there then,’ Birdie grinned.

‘All the same she might have told me.’

‘I think it was all done very suddenly. Your Aunty Rose told the parish council. You know what she’s like. She probably thought she had told you. Can you imagine though? He’s got pots of money. I bet Stella will be round there before he’s even got the kettle on.’

Frankie laughed.

‘I bet he’s got pots of ego too,’ she said, rescuing the fruit cake from the oven.

‘I wonder if he’ll go to the Christmas ball?’ said Birdie thoughtfully. ‘Hey, he can be your date.’

‘Very funny.’ Frankie hurriedly dropped the hot cake onto a place mat. ‘Anyway, I’ve decided I’m not going to the ball this year.’

Birdie’s mouth dropped open.

‘But you always go.’

‘I’ve always had a partner,’ Frankie tried to keep her voice upbeat but felt sure she was failing miserably.

‘You can still go without a partner,’ insisted Birdie.

‘I’ll see.’

‘I’m going to put that on your tombstone,’ laughed Birdie, getting up. ‘Right I’d better get back. Ben will want to fix the tractor. You’re still coming to The Hand and Shears tonight aren’t you for pre-fete drinks.’

Frankie nodded, although the truth was she didn’t really want to go. She’d got into the habit of staying home these days with Buster for company. In fact she quite liked cosy nights in Primrose Cottage, doing her cross stitch while watching some rubbish on the tele. Honestly, she couldn’t get more boring if she tried. She’d be drinking Horlicks next and going to bed at nine o’clock.

‘Great see you later,’ waved Birdie, stepping into her wellies.

Frankie cleared away the dishes. It occurred to her that she ought to check Briar Lodge. Maybe leave a couple of mince pies there. At least someone famous in the village would stop her thinking about Paul. With that in mind, she placed the mince pies in the oven, switched on the radio and forced herself to sing along with the Christmas carols.

To read more, get your copy here.