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.

 

 

 

 

Christmas with Robert Bryndza

Guess who I have on my blog today? Only the brilliant Robert Bryndza, just in time for Christmas too. What’s more I have an extract from his Christmas novella, Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story. Also at the end of this post is news of Rob’s fab Christmas competition. Wonderful prizes, so don’t miss it.

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I love Robert’s books. They are so funny and this one is no exception.

 So, curl up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate – or something stronger! I know that’s what I’m going to do, and enjoy a slice of hilarious Christmas nostalgia with Coco Pinchard and the must-have toy of Christmas past… 

So, over to Rob…

It’s December 1992, and children are going CRAZY for the Tracy Island Toy – almost as crazy as the parents! Christmas day is fast approaching and Coco is desperately trying to track one down for her four-year-old son Rosencrantz.

Throw into the mix a horrible boss, a lazy husband, and the prospect of her in-laws arriving for the festivities, and Coco wishes she could cancel Christmas and sail off to a desert island somewhere – preferably with the gorgeous-yet-unattainable Tom from work.

But retail therapy is at hand! Coco’s faithful friends Chris and Marika rally round, and even her mother-in-law Ethel tries to help in her own eccentric way.

From dodgy dealings in a motorway lay-by, to extreme shopping in Hamley’s with a Sylvanian Families fanatic, to having a go at the Blue Peter make-your-own Tracy Island, Coco tries everything in the hope that Rosencrantz will open his must-have toy on Christmas morning.

Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story is a hilarious feel-good comedy, which asks the question – how far would you go to get your child this year’s must-have Christmas toy?

If you are new to the best selling Coco Pinchard series, fear not, Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone Christmas treat – and it has zero calories!

 Extract;

Monday 14th December

 I arrived home just after five, exhausted. It was dark and cold, and light was glowing softly against the closed curtains of the living room. When I opened the front door I could hear the end of Newsround. I put my bag down in the hall and poked my head around the living room door. Rosencrantz was sitting atop his favourite beanbag, his tiny legs poking out with his Thunderbirds slippers on.

‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!’ he shouted, leaping up and grabbing at my legs. He’d left a tiny imprint in the beanbag, like the well in a cake mix where you break the egg. I lifted him up and he kissed my cheeks and gave me a hug.

“How was school?” I asked.

“Today I ate all my dinner, even though it was a bit cold… and Melanie Jones was told off for filling up the toilet with loo roll… and we had the rehearsals for the Nativity play. Joseph can’t remember his lines.”

“But you know all yours?”

“Of course I know all my lines, Mummy,” he said seriously.

“And you’ve got your brilliant song. Did you sing it for everyone?”

“No, Mummy. I only made that up to make you and Daddy laugh. I have to stick to the script. Even if I only have to bring the Frankincense,” he said, rolling his little eyes as if his talents were being squandered as a mere Wise Man.

“You are going to be the best, wisest Wise Man,” I said.

“It’s going to be a big production,” he added, like a seasoned pro. “Mrs Masters is lending her four Dulux dogs for the manger scene. They’ve just had their hair cut so they look a bit like camels.”

“It sounds… interesting,” I said.

We looked up as Blue Peter started on the television.

“Mummy! They’re making a Tracy Island on Blue Peter! Am I going to get Tracy Island for Christmas?”

Bugger, bugger, bollocks, I thought.

“You posted your letter to Father Christmas?” I asked.

He nodded furiously. “I licked the stamp and everything!”

“Then of course you’re going to get Tracy Island for Christmas.” You’re a rotten lying mother, said a voice in my head.

Rosencrantz did a little jiggle of happiness then climbed back into his dent in the beanbag. On the TV in the corner of the living room, Anthea Turner was dressed in her fluffy Blue Peter jumper and listing all the bits you needed to make a Tracy Island at home. I stood by the door and watched Rosencrantz’s happy little face for a moment, then went through to the kitchen.

Daniel was sitting at the kitchen table. He looked up and gave me a grin. His mother was standing by the sink in her flowery housecoat.

“Hello Ethel, I didn’t know you were coming over, again?” I said, trying to keep my voice light.

“Didn’t know I ‘ad to make an appointment?” she said. She picked up the teapot, swilled it round and tipped cold tealeaves down the sink.

“Course you don’t, Ethel. You just seem to be in town a lot lately,” I said, kissing Daniel on top of his head.

“Mum came up to town to get her ears syringed,” he explained.

“Was it a success? Has it improved your eavesdropping skills?” I asked.

“Thought I’d pop in see my favourite boys… An’ you, love, of course,” said Ethel.

We gave each other an insincere smile. I pulled the kitchen door shut and fished The Sun out of my bag.

“We need to talk. Have you seen the paper?” I said, smoothing it out on the kitchen table.

“I know. Poor Princess Diane, splitting up with that Charles,” said Ethel, spooning fresh tealeaves into the pot. “She won’t leave the Royal Family and come out alive.”

Why is Ethel the only person in the world who calls her Princess Diane?

“Who’d want to hurt Princess Diana?” I asked.

“She gave the Queen an Anus Horribilis,” explained Ethel.

“It’s Annus Horribilis,” I corrected.

“Well, whatever it is, it sounds painful,” said Ethel. “That Diane should watch ‘er back, tha’s all I’m saying.”

The kettle clicked off and she poured hot water into the pot. I resisted the urge to press the Diana/Diane debate.

“Anyway, I’m not talking about Diana. Look!” I said.

I opened the newspaper and flicked through to the page about Tracy Island. Ethel came over to the table and she and Daniel both peered at the article in silence. Ethel’s lips moved as she read.

“Blimey,” said Daniel, sitting back and reaching for a cigarette.

“Coco, iss only a week or so till Christmas! What ‘ave you bin doing for the past two months?” exclaimed Ethel.

“I’ve been at work! You’ve spent the past two months on the bus up here and back to Catford. You could have jumped off at Hamley’s, Ethel,” I retorted.

“I’ve been up and down to the ‘ospital with all sorts, Coco. I’ve got a bad back, bad hips…”

“And there’s all that earwax,” I said.

“Okay you two,” said Daniel. “Let’s go outside and have a cigarette.”

“The door’s shut, Danny, the smoke won’t reach little Rosencrantz,” said Ethel.

“No. We smoke outside, Ethel,” I said.

We grabbed our coats and reconvened on the terrace. The moon was now up and the lawn had frozen and was glistening in the moonlight.

“Maybe we can persuade Rosencrantz to like another toy. What about Action Man?” suggested Daniel.

“We could make a Tracy Island? They were just on Blue Peter, using toilet rolls and margarine tubs,” I began.

“You can’t give ‘im something made up of all the old shit you’d throw away!’ said Ethel. She had a point.

There was a knock on the door and Rosencrantz pressed his nose against the glass.

“Everybody, I just thought up a funny Thunderbirds joke!” he shrilled.

We stubbed out our cigarettes and came back inside, relishing the warmth from the kitchen.

“Go on, tell us yer joke, love,” said Ethel.

Rosencrantz took a deep breath.

“Why is Parker called Parker?”

“I don’t know, why is Parker called Parker?” I asked.

“Cos he’s a good parker!” Rosencrantz cried, grinning with his little row of milk teeth. Ethel and I laughed.

“Oooh! Tha’s funny!” she said, scooping him up for a cuddle.

Only Daniel remained confused.

“Who’s Parker?” he asked.

“Oh Daddy, you’re a ding-dong dilly noodle,” said Rosencrantz. “Don’t you know anything? Parker is Lady Penelope’s chauffeur in Thunderbirds!”

Rosencrantz jumped down from Ethel’s arms and started to swan round the kitchen, doing a rather brilliant Lady Penelope voice and jigging gently as if he were suspended from strings.

Parker, we appear to have intruders. I think they are going to take my jewels,” he said. “Yes, M’lady, but h’I fink we might be unable to stop ‘em,” he said, switching to an equally good impression of Parker. “EVERYONE! I can’t wait for Christmas Day! Thunderbirds are go, go, GO!” he shouted and ran round the kitchen and back through to the living room.

Ethel looked at me and raised an eyebrow.

“Right I’ve gotta be orf,” she said picking up her bag. She saw my despondent face. “Don’t worry Coco, love, we’ll sort something out.”

“Yeah Cokes, there’s still a few shopping days to go till Christmas,” added Daniel.

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To carry on reading you can download your copy from Amazon here;

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013J05F5M

Amazon USA http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013J05F5M

I’m also running a competition to win some Christmas goodies. The giveaway will be one prize consisting of;

A signed dedicated paperback copy of Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story

A £20/$20 Amazon voucher

 A limited edition A Very Coco Christmas mug, filled with Marks and Spencer’s chocolate Brussel Sprouts

 A signed dedicated paperback copy of A Very Coco Christmas

 Head on over to my Facebook author page to enter! https://www.facebook.com/bryndzarobert/

 

 

 

A Fab book signing x

 

christmasrom2Finally, I am back to blog posting.

I’ve been chained to my lap top for the past few months producing my Christmas novella. I so enjoyed writing it too. It’s titled ‘A Christmas Romance’  I’ve written it under the name of Amy Perfect. Simply because it is a romance.It’s a novel that will pull at your heart-strings. There is lots of romance and Christmas spirit is in abundance. It is most certainly a book to be read while enjoying a mug of hot chocolate and a mince pie and of course sitting in front of a roaring fire.

I enjoyed writing this book so much that I didn’t want it to end. So, I have decided to write more about the village of Little Perran. There will be a Summer novel and later in the year another Christmas novella. I hope you enjoy them.

*Romance is the last thing on Frankie Bell’s mind as she gets ready for Christmas in the English village of Little Perran. It’s going to be a quiet affair once the annual Great Little Perran Christmas Bake Off cake competition is over, with Frankie, and her little dog Buster, tucked up warmly in Primrose Cottage. Fate, however, has other plans and Little Perran is thrown into turmoil when the film star, Roux Lockhart, comes to stay. 
The spirit of the season weaves its magic and a freak snow storm that blows in a surprise visitor. Frankie discovers love from an unexpected quarter, but can she trust it? And is someone cheating with their Christmas cake?
 *

To celebrate the release of ‘A Christmas Romance’ I arranged a book signing at my home. I was to meet several of my readers for the first time. It was nerve-wracking to say the least. But they were all warm and lovely. We had a super day. Books were signed and mince pies consumed. What more can you ask for with Christmas approaching?

Later, a few of us went onto dinner at my local pub. It was a wonderful day. I can’t wait to do it again. Many thanks to Tina and Aiden, Suz, Jaydee, Katie, Carrie and Mark, Anne and David, Sarah, Rachel and Raley. Also thanks to Yvie, her mum and Michelle, Gemma and Sally. Not forgetting Nicola and Debbie. It was a great day. Thanks to my wonderful husband who made the teas and to Louise for her support.IMGP2719IMGP2716selfiesigning 23

Enjoy ‘A Christmas Romance’ You can purchase your copy here

A Christmas Romance Design!

Much love

Lynda

xx

 

 

 

 

Sunday Dinners

Fellow author and friend, Jon Rance, has a new novel out. Such excitement! To celebrate I invited Jon onto the blog for tea and a chat. The novel ‘Sunday Dinners’ was released yesterday and is a fabulous and funny read, as are all of Jon’s books. You can get your copy on Amazon for just 99p! Just go here

‘The Wilde family have always had a roast dinner on Sundays. Greg Wilde made sure of it. Him, his wife, Lizzy, and their three children around the table; for years it was the glue that held them together. But now with the children all grown up and moving out, and Greg and Lizzy’s marriage facing an uncertain future, their lives are becoming increasingly unstuck. Greg soon begins to realise that creating a happy family is one thing, but staying that way is an entirely different story.’

Told from each of the family’s perspectives at their monthly Sunday roast dinners, this is a bitter-sweet comedy about parenthood, marriage, love, life and roast dinners.’

SD-COVER-PB-8 Now without further ado, over to you Jon. Tell us all about it …

Hello. Firstly, a big thank you to Lynda for having me over for a cup of tea, a biscuit, and a nice chat about my new novel SUNDAY DINNERS. It’s wonderful to be here.

So my new book SUNDAY DINNERS is out and I’m excited to be here to talk about it. So what’s it about? You’re probably asking. This is my fourth book and like my others it’s firmly about love. It’s not a rom-com in any sense of the word though, but a book about the love between parents and children, brothers and sisters, and a husband and wife.

The book is told from five different first person perspectives. There’s the father, Greg Wilde, his wife, Lizzy, eldest child, Lucy, middle child, Matt, and youngest, Holly. They live in north London and from the outside look like the perfect middle class family. But as the book unfolds at each of their monthly Sunday roast dinners, we discover that none of the family are happy and all are struggling to cope. Greg and Lizzy’s marriage is hanging by a thread. The golden child, Lucy, is dating someone at work she shouldn’t and is facing failure for the first time in her life. Matt is heartbroken and in a rut, but is trying to move on and gets more than he bargained for. Holly is off to university soon and is facing a crisis of sexual identity. And then there’s Joan, Greg’s mum, who’s having a hard time living life without her dead husband.

The biggest influence on the book was the quote, “Life is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go.” I used this to really inspire the central theme of the book. The book takes place at that moment when all the children are leaving home, the parent’s marriage is failing, and so all the characters are facing a tipping point in their lives. They need to let go and move on and yet they’re still holding onto the past through their Sunday roast dinners.

I think the book is about something very British. It’s about the importance of family getting together and eating roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. During the week we’re all too busy to really sit down and spend time together, but for an hour or two on Sunday afternoon, time stops and we have the best meal of the week together. It’s a ritual that means so much to me and I’m sure to you too. It’s uniquely British and I hope that shines through in the book because it’s something I wanted to really celebrate. It’s almost an extra character!

SUNDAY DINNERS is a comedy drama about parenthood, marriage, love, life and roast dinners and it’s out now for just 99p! If you love funny, heart-warming books about love and life and have a passion for properly cooked roast beef, crispy roast potatoes, and homemade thick gravy, you’ll love this!

 

Cheers,

Jon X

Thanks so much Jon. Good luck with the book. Pop over to Amazon to get your copy. See you all again soon and keep reading.

 

 

 

Sample of ‘Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown’ a heart throb to rival Christian Grey

Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown

Meet Ark Morgan a heart throb to rival Christian Grey

Chapter One

 ‘Mr Morgan will see you now.’ The receptionist points at the lift where he is waiting for me. The doors slide shut and I inhale the clean smell that is uniquely him. I’m intoxicated. He could have me now, here in the hotel lift. My legs tremble and he supports me with one hand while his fingers trace my face with the other. I shudder with desire. His breath hitches, or is it mine? There seems to be so much hitching of breath when I’m with him that it is difficult to tell who it is that is doing the hitching. No, it can’t be me; I can barely breathe at all. My eyes lock onto his lips. Kiss me I implore silently. Spank me until I’m raw. Take me, do what you will.

 I bite my lip and he sighs.

‘How many times do I have to tell you about that?’ he whispers. ‘You know how it tempts me.’

‘I’m sorry,’ I breathe, feeling my desire for him, way down below.

I lick the blood from my bitten lip. He’s right, I must stop this. I already have two blisters. Anastasia Steele never has this problem. His breathing has become heavier while I’m barely breathing at all. ‘Pull away,’ cries my subconscious voice. ‘Pull away while you can.’ But I can’t. I can’t pull away from the muscular toned body of Ark Morgan. I’m mesmerised by him.

‘You should stay away from me. I’m not the man you think I am,’ he whispers into my ear.

‘Who are you then?’ I ask huskily, running my hand through his damp tousled hair.

My head is swimming.

‘You’re next,’ he says.

‘Next?’ I repeat.

Holy crap, he really is going to initiate me. I bite my lip in anticipation and cry out in pain. ‘Stop that lip biting,’ scolds my inner goddess, ‘or you’ll have no bloody lips left. You’ve got more pain than this to come.’

I shiver with anticipation.

Next,’ echoes a voice. ‘You want serving?’

What? Did he ask if I wanted spanking? I’m dragged from my Fifty Shades fantasy and come face to face with the shop assistant.

‘Fifteen thirty-five,’ grunts the purple-haired cashier, holding out a ringed hand that could be mistaken for a knuckleduster.

By the time she’s pushed her gum into a rounded bubble through her over-painted pink lips I’ve dredged the depths of my little floral purse and realise I don’t have enough. It occurs to me I could do a runner but who do you know does a runner from Aldi? I shouldn’t have got the wine.

‘Erm,’ I begin, biding for time while I rummage through my bag for those odd coins that loiter at the bottom. ‘I’m sure I had more. I’m really sorry.’

‘Ain’t you got enough money?’ she says loudly, affronted, like I’ve done it on purpose just to annoy her.

‘Ain’t you sure you don’t need a megaphone?’ I mimic.

Don’t you just hate it when shit happens? Maybe you don’t. Perhaps shit doesn’t happen to you. It happens all the time to me. I’m forever treading in the metaphorical shit in my well-worn twenty quid Matalan boots. Purple Head shakes her mop of hair and rolls her eyes in the direction of a Liz McDonald lookalike standing behind me. Lookalike’s perfume is seriously clogging up my throat that I fear I may well have to guzzle the unpaid-for wine right here at the Aldi checkout. Lookalike groans and stares accusingly at my bulging carrier bag. I pull out a packet of custard creams and some sliced ham.

‘I don’t really need these,’ I say with a smile. ‘We’ve got loads at home.’

‘Why you buy more then? That stupid, no?’ says the Polish assistant at the next till, scanning items with such speed I feel sure I see sparks fly. I never get this abuse at Patel’s corner shop.

‘Doug,’ yells Purple Head, ‘she ain’t got enough money. Can you put this stuff back?’

‘Do you have to shout?’ I say softly.

‘Can you ‘urry, I’m on me lunch break,’ says lookalike, swinging her peroxide hair and showering me in a volcanic cloud of perfume.

‘Can’t she sodding pay?’ yells someone from the queue.

I feel my face burn as everyone glowers at me. Honestly you’d think they’d keep such outrage for a shoplifter wouldn’t you? I’m giving things back not bloody nicking them.

‘Now look what you’ve done,’ pouts the assistant.

‘If you hadn’t shouted,’ I protest.

‘Thirteen eighty,’ she says her face devoid of emotion. ‘Or do you want to give something else back that you’re stockpiling?’

And have Doug make a second trip? I don’t think so. I scrape together the thirteen eighty and grudgingly hand it over.

‘Thanks for your patience,’ I say sarcastically.

‘You want patience you go to Waitrose,’ says Purple Head.

‘This Aldi, not ‘arrods and you no Princess Diana,’ quips the Polish assistant.

‘And you no Aldi’s queen of people’s hearts,’ I snap.

‘What you say?’

I’m about to answer when I see through the windows two little buggers trying to remove the wheels from my Ford Fiesta. Honestly, the bloody thing barely moves as it is, and that’s with wheels.

‘Shit,’ I grab the carrier bag and run from the store. ‘Bugger off you little sods,’ I shout, clouting one around the ear.

‘Hey, that’s abuse,’ he spits, rubbing his head.

‘Good,’ I retort, giving him another one for good measure.

‘You’re bald anyway,’ he says cheekily ‘I ‘ope you get done.’

‘You cheeky bugger, I’m not bald at all.’

‘Your tyres, you silly tart. You’ll get done.’

‘I’ll do you if you don’t push off.’

I sigh and watch them run off before checking my car. I’m Roxie Brown by the way, short for Roxanne. I’d like to say my name was inspired by the Moulin Rouge movie but it’s not as romantic as that I’m afraid. My mum was obsessed with The Police. The eighties rock band that is, not the force. She was obsessed with Sting to be more precise. She still is actually. She spends more time talking about tantric sex than anyone I know. In fact, I don’t know anyone else who talks about tantric sex. I only hope she doesn’t spend as much time actually doing it. It doesn’t bear thinking about, does it? Sting and Trudi whatserface doing it at their age is one thing, but your parents … Well, I don’t like to dwell on it. It’s a bit demoralising to think your parents are having longer sex sessions than you. Mind you, just about everyone must be having longer sex sessions than me and Darren. Tantric sex with Darren lasts about ten minutes and by our standards that’s a mammoth session. It doesn’t end with any real spiritual connection either, unless Darren mumbling ‘alright Babe’ counts, but I don’t actually think it does. By then I’m usually out for the count. So if there was any Dalai Lama stuff going on I’ve most certainly missed it. Anyway, the only Tibet Darren knows is the Tibetan Palace curry house in town, so I doubt he even knows who the Dalai Lama is. He’d probably think it’s a new dish on the menu. Not that we have it that often, sex that is, not curry. If Darren had his way we’d have that every night. Curry that is, not sex. Darren is more interested in looking through his telescope. He has a thing about stars, the ones in the sky that is, not those on the telly. He loves the galaxy he says, while I’m more interested in actually eating one, while in bed, reading my erotic novels and fantasising about my Christian Grey boss, Ark Morgan. Not that Ark Morgan would look twice at me. I’d be lucky if he looked once. Not that I’m unattractive or anything but multimillionaires just don’t look at chambermaids do they? But there’s no harm in a little fantasy is there, and if you saw him you’d understand. I’ve seen him in person only once and that was at the staff Christmas party. He didn’t stay long but he was so close that if I’d reached out I could have touched his sensual thigh. My table was that near to the podium. He gave all the chambermaids Viktor@Rolf Flowerbomb perfume and a bottle of champagne. Not that I wear it much. Darren says it gives him a headache and I do get runny eyes when I wear it. But it was a fabulous gift, you have to agree. Ark Morgan is very generous to his staff. I imagine he thinks I’ve got sawdust for brains. People think that about cleaners. Not that I’ve always been a cleaner, mind you. I once worked in the pharmacy department of Boots as a dispensing assistant. I had all the qualifications and everything but the pay was rubbish and I got a bit punch drunk counting out pills all day long. At least my job has some variation now, although I can’t say I like cleaning but the pay is brilliant.

I pull my vibrating phone from my bag.

‘I’ve got carrots coming out of my ears,’ says Mum.

‘That’s unusual. They normally come out of the ground.’

‘Your dad’s been at the allotment, digging up God knows what.’

‘Well, as long as it wasn’t bodies I really don’t care,’ I say, yanking the door of my Fiesta. It squeaks noisily and I cringe.

‘I’ve packed a bag for you.’

‘Am I going somewhere?’ I ask, starting the engine, or at least trying to. It always needs at least three attempts.

‘A bag of carrots and some of your dad’s potatoes.’

‘There was me hoping you’d say Majorca.’

‘Your dad is really chuffed. Marge said she’d never seen one so big.’

‘We’re still talking about potatoes I hope?’ I say.

‘Well,’ she says proudly, ‘your dad has nothing to be ashamed of. Oh, that reminds me. I’ve got you a book, Tantric for the Busy Woman.’

‘Tantric on the go is it?’

‘Don’t be silly dear, it’s …’

‘I’ve got to get going,’ I break in as I see a police car pull into the car park. Holy shit, that’s all I need. Bald tyres, a noisy exhaust and a crack in the windscreen is not a car they’re exactly going to miss. Honestly, my day can only get better can’t it? I squint into the dazzling May sunlight and hope it’s blinded them enough that they haven’t spotted me. I try the engine again and thankfully it starts, and I edge the car slowly out of the car park only to have the damn thing stall. I curse and turn the key again when the police car flashes me. Shit. Why is this my life and on the other side of the world Angelina Jolie has hers? Why did I get Darren Smart and she got Brad Pitt? I mean, how is that fair? I undo the top button of my blouse and put on my vulnerable look.

‘Everything okay officer?’ I ask innocently, when it obviously isn’t.

‘Please step out of the vehicle madam,’ says one of the policemen while the other snoops around my Fiesta.

Don’t panic. That’s the key. Don’t give them any cause for suspicion.

I say policemen but police boys may be more appropriate from the look of them. Don’t you just hate getting pulled up by policemen that are younger than you? I step nervously from the car and make a huge attempt to look confident. Not easy when you’re struggling to remember if your insurance is up to date. Why can’t I be more mindful?

‘Can I see your driving licence please madam?’

I try to look nonchalant as the other one studies my tyres, while I rummage in my bag for my purse, only to find the damn licence isn’t in there. I begin pulling things out of my overstuffed shoulder bag and arranging them onto the bonnet. The policeman’s eyes widen at my well-thumbed copy of Fifty Shades. I blush profusely. It’s not a crime to enjoy a bit of erotica is it? Erotic literature that is. Goodness, I’ve not got time for the real thing. Let’s face it, if Darren and I haven’t got time for tantric sex we’ve certainly not got time to tie each other to the bedposts and shag one another senseless have we, as lovely as it sounds. One half-eaten Galaxy follows the book. I’d forgotten all about that. It has bits of hair stuck to it now. Shopping receipts and an assortment of hairbands are followed by torn-out recipes from magazines, a hairbrush, make-up bag, a lipstick with the lid off, and several chocolate covered leaflets on tantric sex that Mum had given me yonks ago. I’m looking like a sex-mad chocoholic. I feel my heart hammer in my chest when I realise there is no sign of the licence and then I spot the tear in the lining, and there it is along with three pound coins. Where were they when I needed them for the custard creams? I’ve a good mind to go back and stick them under Purple Head’s nose.

‘Are you aware two of your tyres are bald?’

Not until that little sod mentioned it earlier. I wish Darren would keep a check on these things.

‘Oh no,’ I say dramatically and feel real tears well up. ‘Is that bad?’

It’s always good to feign innocence isn’t it?

‘When was it last serviced?’

I jerk my head up. God, for one minute I thought he was asking when I was last serviced. I must stop reading Fifty Shades.

‘I’m not sure. My partner sees to those things.’

That’s a joke. I’m lucky if Darren fills the thing with petrol.

‘Looks like he hasn’t seen to those things for a while,’ says the policeman as he pokes the exhaust.

There are a lot of things Darren hasn’t been seeing to if you want my opinion. The car isn’t the only thing not getting a good service. I fight back a sigh. Please don’t let them say I can’t drive it. How will I get to my cleaning job? Come to that, how will Sylvie get to her cleaning job. Sylvie is my best friend by the way and she really is the best aside from saying Jesus wept a lot. I put that down to her Catholic School education. She’s also addicted to crime; I don’t mean crime like burglary or anything. That would be awful. While I’m into erotica Sylvie is into crime novels. She has visions of herself as another Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison. I only wish she’d used her expertise and spotted my bald tyres before the police.

‘Make sure those tyres get replaced and that exhaust checked,’ says one of the police boys, handing me my licence.

‘Off you go.’

‘Yes sir.’

Did I really call him sir? I came close to curtseying too. I give a little wave as I drive out of the store’s car park and decide to stop at Patel’s and buy a lottery ticket with the money I found in the torn lining.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

‘Darren, he come in already and bought ticket, usual numbers,’ says Mrs Patel.

Usual useless numbers she means. We’ve been doing those numbers every week for the past three years and we must be the only people I know who haven’t even won a tenner.

‘I thought I’d do an extra one,’ I say.

She nods while arranging bags of Bombay Mix. I take the lottery slip over to the shelf in the corner and study the numbers. What am I doing? My chances of winning the lottery are 14 million to one. I’ve got a better chance of doing a house swap with Angelina Jolie. I stare at the ticket and curse that the numbers only go up to 49. How useless is that? My first number has to be 50 for Fifty Shades. I circle ‘49’ and then ‘1’. I bite the end of the pen while choosing the other numbers. I suppose ‘3’ should be another for the three pounds I found in the lining, after all, that was a stroke of luck wasn’t it? If I hadn’t found them I wouldn’t be buying another ticket would I? Okay, Darren won’t get his custard creams but that won’t kill him. I circle ‘30’ for today’s date and then ‘4’, the number of years I have worked for Ark Morgan as a chambermaid for his chain of hotels. You can’t get luckier than working for Ark Morgan, not that I ever see him, at least not close up. I fight back the little stomach flutter I get every time I think of Ark Morgan. Finally, I hover over the number ‘2’. I’m not sure if having two bald tyres is lucky exactly, but the police did let me off so that has to be my last lucky number.

‘Circle ‘6’,’ says Mrs Patel seeing me hovering. ‘That’s my lucky number.’

What a dilemma. I’m not sure the number 6 has ever been my lucky number but how can I not put it? Not now that she’s asked me. I hate that I can’t say no to people. I circle ‘6’ and hand the ticket to Mrs Patel.

‘You feeling lucky?’ she asks.

‘There’s always a chance isn’t there?’ I smile.

I take the ticket, tuck it into my purse and drive to my parents’ house. Mum opens the door and a hot blast of air hits me.

‘Have you got the heating on?’ I ask, feeling beads of perspiration form on my forehead.

‘We’ve just got back from Morrisons,’ she says, like that somehow explains it.

‘It’s a supermarket, not a morgue.’

‘I’m checking the answering machine. We advertised for swingers. Isn’t it exciting?’

Mum’s wearing one of those velvet kimonos with enormous shoulder pads. If they were any bigger she’d look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I look at her. Did she really say what I think she said? Have they gone completely mad? My dad swinging, good God, it’s too crazy to contemplate. I feel myself sway. It’s like a sauna in their house. It’s May for goodness’ sake. No wonder all her plants die. The only thing that seems to survive is the cacti in the living room, and they get bigger by the week. I’ll arrive one day to find their house looking like a remake of Lawrence of Arabia. I’m surprised the plastic covers on their three-piece suite haven’t melted. I so wish she would take them off. There’s nothing worse than sitting on plastic is there? It’s the getting off that’s the biggest problem. It’s not normal to get stuck to a couch if you want my opinion.

I hope they didn’t advertise in the Clapham Chronicle. This is dead embarrassing. What if they used their real names? My mum should have a degree in embarrassment. I still tremble at the memory of when I was a teenager and we lost our pet cat. Mum asked all my school friends if they had seen my pussy. I wanted to die.

‘Shoes,’ she barks.

Mum would have made Hitler a great wife. Even the cat is too afraid to shit in its own garden and goes to the neighbour’s. I exhale and pull off my boots.

‘You look tired,’ she says.

‘Well I do get up at five.’

‘Ridiculous godforsaken hour,’ she mumbles.

‘At least I finish early.’

‘Your cousin Helen is pregnant,’ she says almost accusingly, like I had something to do with it.

‘Oh,’ I say.

‘Everyone’s having babies except you.’

Not everyone. That’s a bit of an exaggeration isn’t it? Jennifer Aniston isn’t for one but I think better of saying that.

‘There’s plenty of time.’

‘You’re nearly thirty-two,’ she says, as if I could forget.

‘I’m not about to draw my pension.’

‘It’s getting late to have babies.’

‘Lots of women have babies late in life these days,’ I say.

‘I hope you’re not thinking of waiting until you’re sixty-two like that woman in Algeria. It’s a bit difficult spoiling your grandchildren when you’re dead.’

I sigh and follow her into the kitchen and slump onto a stool as messages issue from their antiquated answering machine.

‘Margo, it’s Joan, you don’t have a lemon squeezer do you? Geoff and I are trying something new for tonight.’

Lemon squeezer? Christ, what can they do with one of those?

‘Only me Margo. Just to let you know Pam’s husband has buggered off. We should all pop round later, cheer her up. What do you think? Call me.’

Mum’s name is Margaret by the way. But she decided after watching re-runs of The Good Life that Margo suited her better.

‘Hello, I’m responding to your advert for the garden swing. Is it still available?’

I stifle a giggle. Mum gives me a filthy look.

‘Honestly, some people,’ she huffs.

You have no more messages, announces the machine much to my relief.

‘I’m making camomile tea, do you want some?’ asks Mum, filling the kettle.

I nod, I think I need it.

‘What do you mean swingers? This is Clapham. People don’t swing in Clapham,’ I say dismissively. ‘This isn’t Surrey you know.’

‘You think we should advertise in Surrey?’ says Mum brightly, popping teabags into the teapot.

‘I don’t think you should advertise at all. What’s this?’ I point to a bulky envelope on the kitchen table. It’s addressed to me.

‘Sting and Trudie swing.’

Frankly I could swing for Sting and Trudie for the trouble they cause me.

‘Ah Roxie, how’s it going? You haven’t seen my sudoku book have you?’ says Dad, strolling into the kitchen.

Do people who do sudoku swing – surely not?

‘No,’ I say, removing my cardigan and socks. It’s hotter here than in the Bahamas.

‘Martin, please empty the recycling and move your trough off the kitchen table,’ snaps Mum.

I sigh.

‘Don’t you mean trowel?’ I say.

Things are worse than I thought if Dad is drinking from a trough, unless that’s part of their bondage games. I really must stop reading erotica if I’m starting to think my parents are at it. I did think about studying, English literature that is, not erotica. After all, thirty-one isn’t too old to start studying is it? But Darren doesn’t see the point in study.

‘You’ve got a good job Babe, haven’t you? What you going to do with knowledge, bloody dangerous if you ask me. Besides, I suppose we ought to get a baby at some point. You’ll never have time then,’ he’d said, making it sound like we’d just pop down to Aldi and buy one like you would buy a chicken. Talking of which … I stare through my parents’ kitchen window.

‘What’s that?’

‘Hens of course. Sting and Trudi have them.’

Oh well, that’s okay then isn’t it? I only hope Trudie and Sting don’t become cannibals. I’ll be in fear of my life.

‘Are you sure about that?’

She looks thoughtful.

‘I read it in Chat. Besides, think of all the eggs we’ll have.’

‘Think of all the mess you’ll have.’

‘I am thinking of it,’ says Dad, grimacing at the hen that is staring at us through the glass of the kitchen door.

‘Roxie thinks we should advertise in The Surry Advertiser,’ says Mum.

‘I never said that,’ I protest, fingering the envelope.

‘Do they know a lot about chickens in Surrey?’ asks Dad.

‘Don’t be stupid Martin, to advertise for swingers, of course.’

‘Oh that,’ he says dismissively. ‘Personally I’d rather keep bees,’ he adds, smiling at me. ‘I never did like Glenn Miller.’

What has Glenn Miller got to do with it?

‘I can’t believe you’re even considering it. You won’t even know these people. How can you trust them?’ I ask worriedly.

‘I’m writing a list of questions. For example, what is your favourite film? If they say Fatal Attraction we’ll avoid them like the plague, but there’ll be lots of us. How can it not be safe?’

Lots of us. Holy crap, as Anastasia Steele would say, they’re surely not thinking of an orgy?

‘Why can’t you copy someone safe, like Alan Titchmarsh for example?’

‘Absolutely,’ agrees Dad.

Mother scoffs.

‘Do you see Alan Titchmarsh swinging?’ she asks scathingly.

‘He is in his sixties,’ I say. ‘And probably too busy doing normal things like gardening.’

‘Well, we’re far from sixty and I really don’t understand why you’re making such a fuss about us doing a bit of swinging. It will be fun. We need a hobby now your dad has taken early retirement.’

A hobby? Jesus, I’ve heard swinging called some things but never a hobby.

‘It will be disgusting,’ I say, pulling a face.

‘I’ve got two left feet anyway. I’ll be useless,’ says Dad.

It’s either too hot in here or they’ve spiked my tea. What has his feet got to do with anything? I really don’t want to ask.

‘You’ll get the hang of it,’ says Mum.

‘I’m not sure I want to get the hang of it,’ says Dad, handing me a box.

‘Plenty of spuds in there, as well as carrots. If you want some broad beans I’ve got lots of them coming on.’

‘If Dad hasn’t got the hang of it by now he never will,’ I say feeling myself redden.

‘You have to practise, that’s the thing, Martin.’

I splutter on my tea.

‘Mum what do you think swinging is?’

‘Dancing to big band music of course, what else?’ she says, quickly spraying with Mr Muscle and mopping up my spilt tea.

Oh dear.

She points to the envelope.

‘That’s your book Tantric for the Busy Woman. I also bought you Fifty Shades number three.’

‘Ooh,’ I say excitedly. ‘Thanks so much Mum. I’ll hide them when I get home. Darren thinks I have too many books.’

‘The little things that make you happy,’ smiles Mum.

‘You shouldn’t need to hide anything,’ says Dad scathingly. ‘It’s not like you’re doing anything wrong.’

‘Don’t bring that up again Martin,’ says Mum.

‘I just don’t see why he should dictate what you do when he was the one playing away from home and …’

‘We’ve put it behind us,’ I say, pushing the package under the potatoes and carrots.

‘All the same, you earn good money and if you want to spend it on books …’

‘We shouldn’t get involved Martin,’ says Mum.

All the same Dad is right. If I want to spend my money on books, why shouldn’t I? I’m too easy-going that’s my problem.

‘Ah there it is,’ says Dad gleefully, pulling his sudoku book from under the box.

I finish my tea and stand up. I can’t leave without warning them can I?

‘Mum, most people think of swinging as wife swapping. I don’t think you should advertise anywhere else.’

Dad sighs.

‘Good heavens,’ cries Mum. ‘Are you sure? But Sting …’

‘Might do all kinds of things but you don’t have to do them too.’

‘Ooh Martin,’ she says worriedly.

Dad rolls his eyes.

‘It’ll be okay,’ he says in a soothing tone. ‘I’ll sort it, don’t you worry love,’ he says patting me on the shoulder.

I kiss him on the cheek and make for the door. Mum hugs me.

‘With your looks and figure you should have been a model. That Darren is holding you back if you ask me …’

‘I thought we weren’t getting involved Margaret,’ scolds Dad.

I kiss her on the cheek and lug the box to the car. They’re not wrong about Darren but that’s a partnership isn’t it? You’ve got to make it work. With that thought in my mind, I climb into my Fiesta and head home.

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK SIGNING FOR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

So, good news!

To celebrate Christmas coming, I am signing books and sending them in the post. More importantly I am selling them cheaper than the shops. I will be signing copies of ‘Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown’ ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’ ‘The Dogs Bollocks’ and ‘It had to be You’ at a private book signing.

x4

 

All books are £4.99  (RRP £7.99) + £2.00 postage.

Great presents.

I will sign the books according to your requests.

Limited time only and orders need to be in by the end of October.

email your order to Christmas@raucouspublishing.co.uk

If you would like to attend the book signing please email booksigning@raucouspublishing.co.uk for details of the venue

Love

Lynda

xx

My Normal, Mad Behaviour

 

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Me with the geocache in France

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. I’ve been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And just when you think it has gone, it rears its ugly head again with a vengeance. Leaving you drained and shattered and with thoughts that you don’t normally have.

However, it hasn’t stopped my normal mad behaviour. Now there’s a phrase you won’t see very often. Normal mad behaviour.

I got back from my holiday. Ooh I never told you about the weird happening on holiday. Here I go digressing. The doctor and I went on a little trek to look for a Geocache. If you’re never heard of Geocaching, then let me enlighten you. Dotted all over England and in Europe are little treasures. Nothing big but finding them is fun and they are nearly always hidden in beautiful parts of the country. The doctor and I do this a lot. Yes, you always wondered what we did in our spare time didn’t you. It’s a good way to get walking and walking in a nice place. So, while in France we decided to go Geocache hunting. You can check Geocache hunting here

Off we went on a lovely walk. We find the treasure. Took photos for the web page and started to walk back. By now we were both thirsty and a little hungry. The walk took us onto a dual carriageway where we never imagined for one moment to find an eating place. But there was the sign. Large and bold ‘Creperie’

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‘How lucky,’ I said.

We turned the corner to where the sign was large and welcoming again and even more welcoming was the open sign. In French, of course, but luckily the Doctor can speak some French.  Ahead of us was a large wrought iron gate and hooked through it was an odd padlock. Hooked through but not locked. We looked at each other for a moment and then pulled the lock through the gap in the gate. We then pushed the gate open only to hit a large paddle which had been laid in front of it.

‘I’m not sure we should go in,’ says the doctor.

‘But it’s open,’ I say, my throat closing up from thirst.

I’m beginning to know what it feels like to be stranded in the desert. Was this some kind of mirage? My first thought was that dogs may come racing towards us, tearing at our throats like something out of a Stephen King novel. I hesitated at the gate.

‘It does say open,’ I repeat, feeling my breathing return to normal after seeing there is no sign of mad, snarling dogs.

We step over the paddle and venture in. We turn a corner and see the café. It is all set up outdoors. We stare for a few seconds and then both become aware of the eerie silence. The huge house to the right of us is imposing. We look at the table and chairs and then I realise. They are all pulled out, like people left in a hurry. On the tables are jugs, half filled with water, just sitting in the sun. Also there was a bottle of wine and glasses, also sitting in the hot sunshine. On one table was a lighter and glasses.  On others half-drunk glasses of water, but the worst part was the eerie silence.

And then … that awful feeling of being watched.

‘We should go,’ says the doctor.

There is not even the clatter of crockery. That usual noise you hear when in a restaurant. We backed out slowly and I nervously began clicking away with my camera, focusing on the windows of the house.

We then hurriedly left and for some weird reason I felt an overwhelming need to look behind for at least twenty minutes. Here are the photos but they don’t do justice to the spookiness we felt.

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Back to my normal mad behaviour.

I got back from holiday, went to fill my car with petrol and couldn’t get the petrol cap off. I was turning it the right way but it just went round and round. When I turned it the other way it made a strange clicking sound. I spent twenty minutes in the garage. Finally I came home and considered pulling it off with a knife. I phoned the doctor first though. I didn’t want his wrath when he came home.

‘Take it to the garage where you bought it,’ he says. ‘It’s still under warranty.’

So, off I go to the next village with my car. Of course, by now, I am very low on petrol. I pull up and march into the office.

‘The petrol cap won’t come off,’ I complain. ‘That’s not very good. I’ve only had the car for a few months.’

You have to stand your ground in garages don’t you? especially if you’re a woman and blonde at that. They immediately assume you’re a dumb blonde don’t they? Well I’m here to prove them wrong.

He follows me to my car and turns the petrol cap until he has it off and is holding it in his hand.

I stare flabbagasted.

‘What did you do?’ I ask.

‘I undid the cap,’ he says flatly.

Ever felt like a dumb blonde.

‘But how?’ I ask.

He demonstrates and I realise when I thought the cap was locked it was in fact the right way to turn and just needed a little more turning to come off. I’d only been away a week and in that time I had managed to forget how to take the cap off my new car. I mumbled something about being tired and drove home.

Still at least I have a good reason for this madness now.

Lastly, my novels. Well, you didn’t think I would write a blog without doing a bit of promotion. My readers say they will buy anything I write. So, I don’t understand why no one is buying ‘The Diary of Rector Byrnes’ which is me writing under the name of Edith Waylen. Please give it a go, it is only 99p at the moment and you don’t often get Lynda Renham books for 99p.

Here it is.  It’s a chilling love story. Click here to purchase  It’s a tale of love, faith and much more.

rector

Meanwhile much love to you all and thank you for your support. This CFS is a bugger and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Lynda

xxxxx