Goodbye 2017 (fun, mishaps, books and some sadness)

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a brilliant Christmas and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year and I hope it is everything you wish for.

I’m hoping 2018 will see fewer mishaps on my part as I well and truly overdosed on those in 2017. There were far too many faux paus to mention.  The time I fell into the river during a boating trip for example and how my first trip to the new shopping centre in Oxford resulted in John Lewis being evacuated. They are two that I remember but I assure you there have been plenty more. Bringing in Bendy when he was outside fighting, only to discover the cat I brought in wasn’t Bendy at all, was another. Bendy was happily in the kitchen eating his food. He wasn’t quite so content when he realised I had brought in another cat, of course.

Of course, I feel sure that your year was just as eventful.

It was also the year that I lost my lovely mum. So the end of 2017 has been a bit tough.

I released two psychological thrillers in 2017 and the first one ‘Remember Me’ surpassed my expectations and I would like to thank all those who purchased and reviewed it but more on those later.

2017 was also the year I discovered the fabulous craft of Crochet.  There will most certainly be more on that.

 

BOATING

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Now, you might love boating. Me? I’ve gone right off it. In fact I didn’t even want to go boating on this particular sunny day in October. I’m not an experimental person and boating is for the summer. That way, should you fall in the water, which apparently is very rare according to the boat owner, (huh, is all I can say) then you’re not likely to freeze to death if you don’t drown first.

The Doctor (aka my husband and if you want to know why he’s known as The Doctor you may have to refer back to older posts) and my grandson who is aged 7 decided they wanted to go boating. Obviously not wishing to be the killjoy I agreed to go too.

The Doctor hired a canoe for three. We trotted behind the owner who threw it over a wall and beckoned us to get in. Now, I don’t know about you but I prefer to get in and out of a boat when the boat and wall are on the same level as opposed to the wall being two feet higher. But, all was well, as the boat owner held onto the boat for us. It did vaguely cross my mind whether he would be there to hold it when we returned but hey, live in the moment right? So off we went. Now, I hate to admit this, but I can’t swim. At least I can swim but I don’t believe I can swim. That makes perfect sense to me. So, when out boating I’m just a touch anxious. After about forty minutes our grandson had had enough. We headed back. I began looking around for the jetty. You know, that safe place to climb out of a boat where you don’t have to reach up to a wall? There wasn’t one. I casually mentioned it to The Doctor, struggling to keep the anxiety from my voice. He looked around too but not with the same anxious look that I had.  Finally he said ‘We obviously have to get out the same way we got in.’

This did not cheer me.

We made our way to the wall with several OAP’s watching us from the benches on the green.

I suggested grandson get out first (anything to put off getting out myself). We held the boat tight against the wall and he slid out easily. The Doctor looked at me and my stomach lurched. How was I to get myself out of the boat, onto the wall, without the boat rocking? There was no one to hold the boat against the wall. All The Doctor could do was steady the boat. He did his best, I’ll give him that but the minute I shifted my weight to lift myself up onto the wall, the boat tipped over and in I went. Into the icy, dirty river. The Doctor said he tried to reach out to me but the boat toppled and he had to keep it steady. He watched the river calmly (he only does things calmly) and then saw a hand rise out of the water like something from a horror movie. This followed a gasping me who could barely breathe. He grabbed my hand promising never to let go. It did feel like that romantic moment from Titanic (huh, who am I kidding).  Convinced this was the end, I clung onto his hand like it was a life raft. Then, came help in the shape of the OAP’s. Yes, only I could be saved from drowning by OAP’s. I’m not proud of it. I could have given anyone of them a cardiac arrest. I’m no light weight. But they got me out, offered me tea and blankets and were so kind. The owner then came (a bit late you have to agree) and said ‘You’re not the first to go in.’ (huh, he’s changed his tune) We skipped the tea and cake we’d planned for after the boat trip and headed home. The Doctor and grandson were very quiet but I knew they were fighting back their laughter (the rotters). We stopped at the supermarket for chocolate cake and then home where I showered and the boys made tea. I came down from the shower and my grandson said earnestly ‘You know I couldn’t have saved you. I’m only seven and have my whole life to live.’

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I think this was his sweet way of telling me I’m now old. This didn’t help. The chocolate cake soothed things a bit and a few days later I felt much better about it and then grandson came to tell me that I had been his show and tell at school. It was titled ‘When Lynda fell into the river’

It has to rate as my most embarrassing moment so far.

BOOKS

2017 saw the release of ‘REMEMBER ME’ my debut thriller. It did exceptionally well, better than I could have dreamed. It went to number 9 in the US Kindle thriller chart and 99 in overall Kindle in the UK. Thank you so much to all who bought and reviewed it. We got an audio publishing deal for it and you can now buy it as an audio book on Amazon. It’s narrated by the fabulous Rosie Akermen Apparently if you already have it on Kindle you get the audio for a much lower price. The kindle price is now £1.99 You can purchase it here 

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Following on from ‘Remember Me’ I released ‘Hunters Moon’ which has since been re-released as ‘Secrets and Lies.’ and also been given a new cover. This has also been signed up by the audio publishers and will be released in the New Year.  If you loved ‘Remember Me’ then you will certainly enjoy this. It has been described as a flawless thriller but judge for yourself. It is currently 99p/99c You can purchase here

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‘Perfect Weddings’ was also released as an audio book. Purchase here

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‘Wedding Bels’ was re-released yesterday. Originally ‘Croissant and Jam’ It now has a fresh new cover.

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2018 I will release two new novels. One is a comedy romance (a surprising romance) and other a thriller. I can’t say much about them as they are still in progress but I’m sure you will love them. I’m very excited about them and can’t wait to share.

Crochet

Crochet became my big love during 2017 and whenever there was some spare time, then that’s what I did. But this isn’t the blog for that. If you’re interested in crochet and want to join me on my crochet blog then pop over to www.countrycrochet.me  I’ve only written one post but another is due to go up soon. Please join me and share your crochet projects. I’d love to see them.

I lost my mum at the end of the year so the end of the year was certainly tinged with much sadness.

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May you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR .

Please join me on my new Facebook page

https://goo.gl/81zMGt

Much love Lynda xx

 

 

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Ooh, I think that is Miranda calling. Now where did I put the phone?

Okay I know I am scatty but even I am beginning to feel it is getting out of hand. After getting locked in the loo during my book signing I actually began to wonder about all this. I mean, seriously, who manages that? As much as I admire Miranda Hart, I really do not want to be a real life Miranda but I actually fear I am. Oh, that can’t be possible, you shout. Oh really. Let us take today for example.
Breakfast was fine, no real catastrophes there and even the journey to work was okay. Oh, yes, we writers actually go to work. One day I will be rich and famous enough to not have to but at the moment it is for the best as I am far too weary to fight off paparazzi and collect numerous awards. Dream on Lynda! So I drive to work without mishaps and even find a parking space in the health centre car park. I then climb out of the car and meet my colleague who arrives at the same time. It is here it all seems to go downhill. I feel sure, no absolutely certain in fact that something dropped from my lap and crashed to the ground. I gasp and stare in horror. Was it my glasses? Oh, god, no, it was my Blackberry. I look to my colleague, who looks perplexed. I explain something crashed to the ground. Of course, this is bearing in mind that nothing can be seen.
‘What was it?’ she asks.
Precisely. What was it? Now, tell me, how many people drop things and then do not actually know what they dropped?
‘I think it must have been my Blackberry, or perhaps my glasses.’ I say uncertainly to which she gives me one of those ‘You are nuts’ look.
We both look around us and under the car. It is as I stand up that I see my glasses are tucked into the top of my blouse. Ah, yes, of course I put them there for safety which means it was the Blackberry. Oh, wonderful. It has been bucketing down with rain and neither of us want to actually get down onto the floor and look under the car. My friend comes up with the ideal solution.
‘Reverse your car slowly and in a straight line and you shouldn’t go over it and I will shout when I see it.’
Oh no, this is the kind of thing I am not good at. I am the kind of person that will run over the Blackberry even if driving in a straight line. I can’t tell her that, so I do it. No Blackberry. If fact there is nothing under the car. My friend suggests checking my handbag and lo and behold there is my Blackberry. Red faces all around. Of course this isn’t the first time and what is worse I repeat these things often.
Once or twice having parked much too far from Marks and Spencer I have made the fantabulous decision of asking the assistant if I could collect by car and they make this exceptionally easy and foolproof. Even total idiots can’t possibly get this wrong. Lynda, of course, can. I dutifully take my little number with the velcro sticky back and make my way to the car. The pick up point is literally just around the corner. What does Lynda do? Yes, you’ve got it. She drives the whole ten miles home with the little number tab grasped tightly in her grubby little hands. Bear in mind, that the whole idea of collecting by car was to save her the time it takes to walk with the trolley to the car and back. I mean, come on…
This is the woman who buys earrings in Sainsbury’s and throws them into her carrier bag. Yes, I know, most people would place them carefully into their handbags. She then, empties the bags, missing the earrings and later uses the bag as a bin liner. Andrew often asks why earrings are in the bin. I have also been known to smother my hair in cream cleanser rather than mousse because the containers look similar. I manage to lock myself in loos. The most recent time being when I was literally in the middle of a book signing at Waterstones. The nice assistant took me upstairs, showed me the loo and then politely left me. The lock seemed a bit stiff but I didn’t want anyone barging in on me so I pushed the bolt across It took me close on five minutes to yank the bolt back. I broke two nails as well as breaking into a sweat. I must have looked quite flush when I returned downstairs. I can’t imagine what they thought I had been doing in their loo.
I have left my lap top adapters at people’s houses. A pair of very expensive trainers at a holiday home and didn’t realise until weeks later. I have left my handbag in a supermarket trolley and driven home and have been known to drag a howling cat into the house only to realise it wasn’t my cat! I have put vegetables in the steamer and then plugged in the electric kettle only to moan to Andrew when he returns home, that the steamer has broken. I have attempted to get into other people’s cars because they look like mine. I throw keys into my handbag, and by that I mean anyone’s keys.
I leave the house and lock the front door while leaving the back door wide open. I walk into the house and leave the keys in the door where they have been known to stay all night. I also have this terrible habit of throwing the house cordless phone into my handbag after using it and then taking it out with me. I seem to repeatedly shut the cat’s tail in a drawer or step on it. If he could talk I am sure Bendy would ask to be put up for adoption or seriously consider buying a gun…
Oh, had better go. I do believe that is Miranda Hart on the phone requesting to do a series on my life. Now where is the phone?

The day the cat overshadowed the bride!

I cannot remember a time when I have not had a cat. So I thought it was time to blog about my pets and Bendy in particular. As a child there was always a cat running around the house and they became my friends. Better than having an invisible friend I guess, although I think I had them too. Yes, I know, you are not surprised. One cat actually became a replacement dolly for me. We seemed to always have a cat that was in kitten when I was a child and sooner or later those kittens would run around the house too only to slowly disappear as people took them home. Kitty (not the most original name I know) was my favourite cat as a child and I remember dressing her up in bonnets and baby clothes.

 

Yes, you heard me correctly. How the cat put up with it I shall never know. One day I actually took her for a walk in my dolly pram and she just laid there. Another time I put her on the floor with a pillow for her head and covered her with a baby blanket and told her not to move until I came home from school for my lunch. Believe or not, she was still there on my return. Kitty would even lift the knocker on the front door when she wanted to come in. Of course even though cats were a big part of my life then and still are now, I never for one moment thought a cat would upstage me at my wedding… But as usual I digress. Of course, the worst part about owning a cat is when they depart. I have lost several cats and each time I have said I would never get another one but life without a cat is a very lonely one indeed. As an adult I have owned many cats. There was Kelly whom I had for fifteen years and what an adorable cat she was. Of course, I always believed that cats would stay with me for a long time and so after Kelly died I brought home two kittens and named them Saoirse and Roisen and thought they would be with me for fifteen years too. As you can imagine their names caused quite a problem and most people could not pronounce them and that included by then husband. I would phone the vets and say ‘Can I book Saoirse and Roisen in for their jabs’ and the receptionist would put always put them down as Mrs Lynda’s cats. Everywhere I took them they became known as Lynda’s cats. The fact that they were identical confused everyone. Sadly Roisen was knocked down by a car when she was two and Saoirse died six months later from a stroke aged almost three. The vet told us that there had obviously been some kind of interbreeding which had been the reason for the stroke. Both cats were highly strung and it does make me cross that owners do not take more responsibility for their pet’s reproduction habits. When I met my second husband and we bought our dream cottage in the country we decided to buy a dog but somehow this didn’t happen. Instead we heard through a friend that they knew someone whose cat had just had kittens and were we interested. Andrew insisted we only get one and of course I agreed. However as soon as we saw the kittens we just knew we had to have two. Six weeks after choosing them we brought Iris and Bendrix home. Iris named after my favourite author Iris Murdoch. I met Iris Murdoch’s husband just before getting our cats and was thrilled to be shown around her home. The cat we named Iris was so intelligent and human that I felt naming her after Iris Murdoch was the only thing I could do. Bendrix was immediately named after the main character in our favourite book and film ‘The end of the affair’ By Graham Green.

Bendrix and Iris as kittens

Bendrix, of course came to be known as ‘Bendy’ It was Iris, however who became the hit of the village. She would visit the local school in the morning and sit in on the lessons for a short time. The teacher allowed the children to stroke her and she stayed for part of the morning before being thrown out. She would then travel on to the allotment next to the school where everyone came to know her. Whenever we went for a walk in the village we would whistle her and like a dog she toddled along ahead of us and as soon as we whistled again she would turn around and come back.

Two little rascals

Iris was a wonderful hunter while Bendrix just sat in a box in Andrew’s office getting fatter and fatter. We figured he was depressed and though about taking him to the vet. We would watch as Bendrix tried to hunt but Iris always got there first and would drop her cast offs for him to play with and then growl at him.

Iris on the line. One of her favourite places

Bendy would eventually retreat to his box. We finally took him to the vet who said to give him time. Then we realised Iris was in kitten. I have yet to see a cat as happy as Iris was when she was carrying her kittens and even happier when they arrived. She would spend nearly an hour trying to get them outside so they could hunt with her and when we prevented it she would bring in a huge bird and teach them how to eat it…
Iris with her kittens

Meanwhile, Bendy got more depressed. Iris sadly died shortly after having her litter. A fly landed on her and hatched his eggs. We had no option but to have her put down when the vet explained the damage the maggots would do to her. We buried her at the allotment and were very touched at the number of people who knocked to say how sorry they were that we had lost her. Amazingly while we were sad and missing her dreadfully, Bendy’s spirits lifted. He started hunting and very much came into his own. He became such a great hunter that Andrew grew tired of getting up in the mornings only to step on dead corpses as he walked into the living room. Bendy had birds, mice, rats and has been known to catch Bats. One day tried to get a pigeon through the flap. It was when he started bringing home bunnies that Andrew put his foot down. At night he was to stay in the kitchen. At least that way the carnage didn’t enter the lounge. Sometimes our garden looks like a war zone. Okay a slight exaggeration. He has been the source of many problems since finding his personality. He gets into numerous fights and lost the tip of his ear in one. Another day we came home from the shops to find him nice and snug on Andrew’s computer while all around him there was blood. It was all over the floor, splattered up the wall and all over Andrew’s desk. I screamed and fled from the room not wanting to see the carnage when Andrew found it. After not finding any carnage, we checked Bendy over only to find a cyst on his neck had burst and we had not even noticed it was there.

A bandaged neck until the collar was put on.

One other thing that Bendy likes is the camera. As soon as we point it at him he begins to pose. It was with this thought in mind that the day before our wedding we bought a bow tie with the intention of putting it on him. Of course, on the morning he disappeared. He however reappeared as all the guests were settling and I was about to make my entrance into our garden where I was to walk to Andrew. At that moment Bendy jumped onto the garden wall and Andrew quickly popped on the tie. Bendy loved it and when people started photographing him he began to pose. He was the centre of attention with all the paparazzi around him. I had to wait until his photo call was over.

The best cat
He then disappeared, only to return later that night with bow tie all askew, like a cat who had been on the tiles. He later won a competition with the photos we took of him. For a cat who was once lived in the shadow of Iris he had now proved himself. Everyone who meets him, loves him and I very much hope he is with us for a long time.