Books, ‘La La Land’ and Cats

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Gosh, I can’t believe I haven’t written in here since November 2016. What have I been doing with myself, aside from eating Kit Kats untill I look like one?  It’s been so long that even WordPress has changed. What’s worse, I forgot my password to get in. Let me tell you getting back into WordPress was harder than breaking into the Bank of England. Not that I’ve tried to break into the Bank of England, I should hasten to add. The important thing is that I’m back.  I was thinking about this blog in bed the other night and thought if only I had the time like I used to. I then realised that I actually have more time now than I ever had. When I worked part-time I seemed to find the time to write in this blog, write novels, cook dinner and keep on top of the housework. Now, I work at home full-time and get nothing but books written. The less said about housework and the dinner, the better. That’s great, but how is it I have more time but get less done? Time management, I hear you say. Quite right too. Less procrastination and more work. So, today I am editing and I thought why not take a break and write a post for the blog while listening to the soundtrack from ‘La La Land’

So what’s been happening. Do I have news? Yes I do. I have a new novel coming out soon. It doesn’t seem that long ago that my last little baby came out. Here it is just in case you had forgotten. You may remember that ‘Phoebe’s Smith Private Blog’ had two different covers. I’d love to know which one you preferred. Leave a comment. Anyway back to novels.  ‘Phoebe Smith’ is £1.99 on Amazon. Better still you can borrow it for free if you are with Amazon Prime. Take a look. You can get it here  All my books apart from a few can be borrowed for free on Amazon. Check it out. I’m also delighted that ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ popped back into the charts this month. Borrow that for free too. Check it out here

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My new novel is due to be released early April. I’ve gone for a change in genre this time and it is a psychological thriller. I do hope you like those. It’s very gripping and I’ve just got the cover. I love it. I’ll be sharing it soon on Facebook and Twitter and there will be the usual competitions on my Facebook page so do join us here  if you haven’t already. I’ve been holed up here in my writing room working hard on the new one. I so hope you like it. There will be lots of lead up on my Facebook page so keep your eyes peeled. My little companion in my writing room is my lovely cat ‘Bendy’

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About six months ago we almost lost him. One Sunday morning he just collapsed. There was no warning. He couldn’t move or do anything other than sleep. I even had to pick him up from the garden after he had a pee. Not ideal! Me being me, I went into a massive panic, while my husband, AKA as the doctor, kept remarkably calm. we drove to the vet. That is the doctor did. I was shaking so much I could barely hold onto the cat basket. The vet diagnosed heart failure and gave little Bendy a week to live (ooh deep breaths at the memory) So we brough him home with his meds. I needed some Valium for myself at this point. Oddly he bucked up the next day, although he was still cautious going up and down the stairs and slept more than usual. But the next day he bucked up even more and the doctor and I started to get a bit suspicious about the flea preparation we had used on him a few days previous to his collapse.  I then Googled, which I’m prone to do about any illness, only to discover other pet owners having had a similar problem with their pet after giving them flea treatment. I’m now dead against flea products. I think they’re too toxic for little cats. Does anyone know an alternative treatment for dealing with fleas? Please let me know.

So, that’s it for the this post. I hope it wasn’t too boring. I’m now going to edit and then write another post about our holiday. That will be a more humourous one, so hold onto your hats 🙂

Lots of love

Lynda xx

 

Women’s Bits and New Books

 

 

images-1It’s been so long since I’ve posted on here. It’s been a manic few months with so much happening.

Life is certainly never static is it? After months and months of chronic knee I finally went private to find out what was going on. This only after being told that my appointment to see a consultant would take eighteen months. Eighteen months, I don’t know about you but that seemed a lifetime away to me. I love the NHS but it certainly doesn’t seem to like me. Or maybe my GP doesn’t like me. I discovered my flat feet were crippling me. Who’d have thought such a simple thing could cause so much pain? Insteps and a few months later and I feel like a new woman. Well, leg wise anyway. A woman I am beginning to detest being.

So, I thought I’d share the ongoing saga I am having with my GP. I’m attempting to see the funny side of things as I’m sure there must be one. I’m also hoping someone going through a similar thing may contact me to share. God knows I’m in need of sharing.

Before you read on, be aware this post does mention female bits. Okay, brace yourself for the ride. Ready? Here we go then.

About three months ago I began to feel just a touch uncomfortable ‘down there’ My mum always referred to it as ‘down there’ and oddly enough so did a very young gynaecologist I saw. There was me trying to be all technical and knowledgeable by saying, ‘The sore area is on the right labia, high up by the vagina.’ We finally just referred to it as ‘down below.’ I must admit it is far simpler. I also worry I’m saying the names wrong. I probably know the parts of a car better than I do ‘down there’

Anyway, I’m waffling as usual. So, the first thing I do is go to my GP. Sensible I thought. I phone for an appointment. I’m then triaged as I say I really can’t wait three weeks! I’m told my doctor will phone me. She does. She then tells me they are too overcome and I’d have to go to another surgery in the town closest to me. Off I trot. I see a nice doctor there who says she can’t see anything ‘down there.’ Asks me if sex is painful and then suggests something to numb the soreness. I’m not over the top happy but take her prescription. A week later I’m still the same. I phone my GP again and it’s arranged for me to see a female doctor at my own surgery. Off I pop. I explain the soreness and she has a look.

‘Ooh,’ she says surprised, ‘I can see a lesion.’

‘Oh really, I guess that must be the problem,’ I reply.

‘It looks like an ulcer.’

‘Right, what do you do for that?’

A sensible question I thought.

‘I think we should take swabs.’

Great, this was what I wanted to hear.

‘Shall I test for everything?’ she asks.

Now, not being a doctor, I have no idea what everything is. Clearly she doesn’t need to check me for Syphilis or any other STD. I’m happily married to my second husband. He is happily married to me. I was previously married for a long period to another man who wasn’t the type to put it about either. You know your men better than the doctors’ right?

‘Not the things I’m unlikely to have,’ I say.

‘I think we should test for Herpes,’ she says.

I’m a bit open-mouthed for a second and then stupidly find myself wondering if you can get Herpes any other way. I’ve not even worn a tampon in over a year, besides you can’t catch it from them can you? I try not to be insulted.

‘There’s no way I have Herpes,’ I say, trying not to sound affronted.

‘You could have had it from the age of nineteen,’ she says confidently.

‘Without symptoms? I ask.

I’m seriously distrustful of her judgements now.

‘It would be odd that you’ve had no symptoms,’ she says.

So here I am at the age when the only thing I should be worried about is the menopause and this twenty something woman is telling me I’ve been walking around with Herpes for over thirty years without any symptoms and now wham bam here they are. Yes, right, you don’t trust her judgement either do you?

She takes the swabs and I hit the ceiling. She tests for thrush and Herpes. I tell her I have neither. She doesn’t listen to me. I have no voice.

I trot back home and phone for the results a few days later. The receptionist isn’t allowed to give me the results so I wait for the doctor to phone. She doesn’t. It’s on her list but she doesn’t phone. I call the next day and ask could she phone as I’m still in discomfort and need something to ease the soreness. I’m now struggling to pee. And let me tell you, I pee a lot.

‘She’s the duty doctor today,’ I’m told. ‘So she’s very busy.’

Excuse me, but am I not a patient?

I patiently explain she was supposed to have phoned me yesterday and didn’t. It’s a Friday and I don’t know what to do now the tests have come back. It gets to five and still no phone call. The phones shut down at six at the surgery. I phone The Doc (Andrew my husband) in tears. He phones them and says how dissatisfied we are. They promise to phone. They still haven’t by six. He goes in on his way home and says he won’t leave until they call me. She finally does and tells me I will need to be referred and it will take six weeks but as they saw a lesion she thinks I should be referred to the cancer clinic using the two-week wait. I question whether it could be a hormonal thing as my breasts are also sore. She doesn’t know. I ask if she thinks it could be serious and she says ‘The other doctor saw a lesion so best to be sure.’ I agree and wait for the appointment. At least I know I don’t have thrush or Herpes. It’s a start.

A week or so later and off I pop again to see a lovely gynaecologist. We chat about ‘down there’ and finally he has a look ‘down there.’ He then asks if I’d like to know what is wrong with me? Dumb question, but still.

‘Nothing,’ he says.

‘Right,’ I say. ‘So is it Atrophy then?’ I ask pulling up my knickers. I’d worn my best frilly pair. Well, last time I got caught out with a hole at the back. Very embarrassing.

‘Ah, how do you know these things?’ he asks.

‘Ah, I like to know what’s going on with my body,’ I say.

‘Right,’ he says, ‘You need some local Oestrogen for ‘down there’

‘Oh, I say, ‘I take HRT, wouldn’t that have been enough?’

‘Some women need both.’

‘So it’s okay to use both?’

You can’t say I don’t ask questions.

Off I pop. A few days later I phone  my GP and ask them if I can have the medication. They say they will get the doctor to phone. She doesn’t phone. I’m tearful. I phone again the next day and she finally calls back and tells me I can’t have it if I’m on HRT and that she needs the letter to come back first and will also contact the menopausal clinic to speak to my consultant there. I tell her the gynaecologist said it was okay. No one believes me. I contact the menopausal clinic. They send an email saying I can have the medication. The gynaecologist writes and says I can have the medication. My doctor still doesn’t give it. I phone again to be told she is very busy and that she needs the letter first. I tell them it is on their system as I can see it. That day I get no medication. The next day I phone again. I wait until six, no phone call, no medication. Finally it gets to Thursday and I phone again. This time no reply. I jump in my car and go there. I’m seething, in pain and totally fed up. I demand the medication and tell the woman at the pharmacy at the surgery that I’m not going without it. She then tells me my doctor has gone home. She had messages to contact me. She ignored them.

I stand my ground and a doctor gives me the medication as soon as he hears what is happening.

Your opinion? I’d like to hear it.

Meanwhile happy news. While all that has been going on ‘down there’  ‘up here’ a new book has been released and I’m so excited. It’s already getting rave reviews and it’s only **99p** at least for a short time. Don’t miss out.

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I’ve loved writing this book and I so hope you enjoy reading it. It’s a fab read for Christmas. Well, I would think so, wouldn’t I?

Lots of love

Lynda

x

Going All The Way With A Bus Driver

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

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

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

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

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‘Fancy something to eat?’ asked Marie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘You worry too much,’ he replied.

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

My brain froze. I had no idea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘This is the Enstone bus isn’t it?’

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

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

‘You want this stop?’ he asks.

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

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

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

‘But … I thought …’ I begin.

‘You needed the Charlton G3,’ he said.

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

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

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

I sigh and text Andrew, fighting back my tears.

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

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

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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

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

 

 

 

 

The Fat Club

light  You know that moment. That light bulb moment. The moment when you think ‘I’m fat’? As opposed to I’m a little overweight or I’m a bit dumpy or, I’ve gained a few pounds. It’s that awful torturous realisation that it isn’t just a few pounds around the tummy and that those clothes in your wardrobe that don’t fit anymore, haven’t actually shrunk. And stuffing them to the back like they’re the ones that should be ashamed, isn’t really helping either. You’ve basically got bigger right? And you’ve only got bigger because you keep pushing stuff into your mouth. Yes, it really is that simple. The final straw for me was when the doctor aka my husband, said ‘Your bum really does look big in that dress.’ Shock horror, as I honestly thought he would never notice and that those baggy tops were hiding that extra two stone from his ever watchful eye. That sneaking those extra fig rolls into my mouth when he was at work meant he wouldn’t notice. It seems not. I had to face it. I was getting fat. I couldn’t pass off two stone as a couple of extra pounds any more. The Doctor was concerned I’d get diabetes but then he is always concerned I’d get diabetes. If I was anorexic he’d still be worrying I might get diabetes. He read somewhere that diabetes was the biggest killer of women and everything I do he watches with a sharp eye. The truth is I had been avoiding the long mirrors and telling myself that that new top didn’t fit in the shop because it obviously had the wrong size tag on it. Ha, there’s a limit to how many items have the wrong price tag on, right?

I know to use the word fat is not politically correct. I should say I’m overweight. That would make everyone more comfortable wouldn’t it, including me? But the fact is I am fat or at least I was. I’ll never be anorexic. Not that I underestimating the pain of anorexia. In fact someone close to me was anorexic. The fact is food is one of the most dangerous things we have in our house. It’s one of the things that most of us suffer some kind of dependency with, either using it too much or going the complete opposite. It’s never really about food but how we feel emotionally. I don’t see anything wrong in admitting that I was getting fat. In fact, by accepting it, I actually started doing something about it. After the light bulb moment I decided it was time to take action. I do sit around a lot. Not because I’m lazy you understand but because work dictates that I do. It’s quite hard to write a novel standing up. Although, having said that, I did get a fair amount of exercise every time I headed downstairs to stick my head in the fridge. I would eat a lot of liver pate on crackers and worse than that a lot of fig rolls. In fact I have been known to eat more than one packet in a day and then there was the chocolate. Not that we have it in the house. Oh no. Chocolate in the house is a no no. That was until the doctor’s son came to stay with his five year old son and that was it. I was doomed.  On a bad writing day I would think nothing of sneaking into their room and stealing some of the five year old’s stash, usually after I had run out of fig rolls. How low is that and I never felt guilty? God forbid I should get off my arse and walk to the shop, although it is a three mile walk there and back from where I live so you can’t really blame me. But before we all get too depressed about my fatness let’s get fat into perspective. If you can run up and down the stairs without getting breathless and your feet swelling then you’re not really fat are you? You don’t have to be a size 8 and look like Kate Moss. I’ve always been slightly overweight and that’s okay. I didn’t struggle with walks or even try to get out of them as I have been doing of late. But as soon as your health suffers then it’s time to take back the control. It’s not the worst thing in the world to be a bit overweight. But it is clearly a woman thing. Now I’ll be accused of being sexist but seriously there are more women at slimming clubs than men, although it could be argued all the women frighten them offfat

Yes, you’ve guessed it I popped along to a slimming club. This helped enormously in the first few minutes when I saw there were people (mostly women) much more overweight than me. But then I stepped on the scales and had a minor heart attack when I discovered I was well over twelve stone. I’d been kidding myself for the past year that I was ten stone. Mind you, the last time I weighed myself, I was, so I could be forgiven for deluding myself that nothing had changed.  I was given my booklets and told to ‘fill my boots’ I of course took this quite literally and hardly looked at the material except to see what the Syns were and how many I could consume on a daily basis. I didn’t take much notice of the A and B choices. Oh yes, slimming clubs are very technical but basically they all come down to the same thing. Eat less fat and sugar and basically you will lose weight. I chose only to hear ‘fill your boots’ and that is what I did the first week, stupidly expecting to have lost weight when I returned the following week. Far from it, in fact I gained.

And so it went on. I attended meetings religiously. I stuck to the plan religiously. Aside from literally stripping off when I got to the scales I did everything to make sure I was lighter before stepping on them. I walked to club. I peed before weigh in. I removed every item of clothing possible. One week I even prayed. I was actually getting close to bribing the weigh in girl with a huge bar of Yorkie. But I never lost more than a half pound and even then not every week. Some weeks I gained, some weeks I maintained and the odd week I may have lost a minute amount of fat. Depressing or what? I was sodding starving. I lived off porridge with fat free yogurt for breakfast and overdosed so much on sweetener that someone said I have no doubt given myself a brain tumour. I’m not sure what’s worse. To be fat or have the sweetener induced tumour. Anyway, let’s crack on. Lunch was Quorn mini sausages which taste foul but I’m used to them now, along with salad and Rollmops. Followed by more fat free yogurt and hey ho a treat, some sugar free jelly (more sweetener I hear you cry) I don’t stand a chance do I? Dinner would be fish and salad or a jacket potato. But no matter what I ate or how little, I still couldn’t seem to lose weight. Finally I lost it, my temper that is, not the weight. I came home and sent a text to my slimming buddy and said ‘I’m not going any more,’ and then immediately hit the chocolate. She later text back to say ‘Oh, well, I’m not either then. I’m not going alone,’ and she immediately hit the wine. The pleasures of making the decision to leave fat club … except it only lasted a day and I changed my mind. I invested in a fitbit and found my tape measure. I was losing weight. It may not show on the weighing scales but the fat was coming off. I started walking and more came off. I walked every day and even more came off. Walking became easier and I finally got into those clothes that had been shoved to the back of the wardrobe. Better still the doctor said ‘Your bum looks good in those leggings.’ What’s more I felt better. I also learnt that weighing scales aren’t the be-all and end-all. The important thing is that I’m getting fit and feeling good about it as I do. Yes, I’m still eating the rabbit food but it’s not so bad and I’ve begun to cut out carbs. But I do have chocolate on occasions and cheese. I’m more conscious of what I put into my body and even more conscious of how I treat it. I’m not a fitness freak but I’m certainly aware of my food intake and how it affects me. So, if you have any great recipes do let me know and if you haven’t tried overnight porridge then you really must. It’s fab, filling and helps you lose weight. Just weigh 35 grams of oats, add lots of raspberries or any other fruit of choice, top with lots of fat free natural yogurt, sprinkle with sweetener and stick in the fridge overnight. Delicious!

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Ooh a little PS, my new novel Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown is released on the 14th August. To celebrate, my two best-selling novels ‘Croissants and Jam’ and ‘Coconuts and Wonderbras’ are currently 99p on Amazon. Get them here, here and here. 

 

Much love

Lynda

xx

 

 

Scones and Sherry with Natalie Love (and Anouska)

 

Today I’m welcoming the lovely Natalie Love to my blog. You will know of her, of course. Natalie runs the fabulous Raven Street Theatre in Soho.

I love this place and have seen some really cool plays there.  My favourite has been the comedy musicals.  And I’m thrilled, in fact I’m that excited I could pee my pants. Of course I didn’t. That may have put Natalie off me forever. I’m delighted because Natalie Love has expressed an interest in staging ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ at The Raven Street Theater, how cool is that?

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Natalie has just arrived. Ooh, my excitement overflows. Although I am rather worried that the title may offend her. Ooh it looks like she has brought a friend or associate. This bodes well.

Lynda: Hello Natalie, what an absolute thrill to have you here and your friend also, of course.

Natalie: Hello Lynda, its lovely to meet you (lowering voice) I’m sorry, this is very unprofessional but I had to bring my Gran, Anouska, with me… She’s a big fan of The Dog’s Bollocks and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Anouska: Lynda. My darlink!

Lynda: Welcome Anouska.

Natalie: I promise she’ll be no trouble…

Lynda: Of course, come in, the more the merrier. What can I offer you to drink? I’ve herbal teas, coffee, fruit juice and I’ve made some scones, which we can have with jam and clotted cream. I hope you’re not watching your weight? I’m always on a diet. I have to say I wish I looked as glamorous as you two.

Anouska: Lynda, men like somethink to hold on to! I share the same diet philosophy as Miss Piggy: never eat more than you can lift. I vill take a scone piled high vith jam, and have you any sherry?

Natalie: I think tea, for me…

Lynda: *Thinks frantically* Oh dear, what did we do with that sherry from Christmas?

Lynda: Coming right up! So Natalie, what do you have in mind for The Dog’s Bollocks?

Natalie: We’d love to produce it as a musical, for our autumn season so that…

Anouska: (interrupting) Lynda darlink, vill you sign my copy of The Doggies Bollocks, before we get too drunk…

Lynda: Certainly. I have to say Anouska , I love your Jewellery. Where did you get it?

Anouska: Ah, this vas the jewellery my mother vore when she escaped the Nazis…

Lynda: Oh dear, that must have been a harrowing experience.

Natalie: She says they escaped. They actually got a lift with an SS Officer on his way to the shops to buy bratwurst.

Anouska: Say vat you like about the Nazis, but they knew how to dress…

Natalie: Look, Gran, I need to talk to Lynda about her book. Why don’t you…

Lynda: You could go and look at my garden Anouska?

Anouska: Ah yes, that vould be nice. I vill take my sherry… can I take the bottle too?

Lynda: Yes, of course… careful on those heels Anouska…

Natalie: Thank goodness she’s gone. Sorry again, Lynda.

Lynda: That’s okay. Tell us Natalie, how are things at The Raven Street Theatre? I’m excited you want to feature ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ You must meet some interesting people?

Natalie: Yes, and we’re getting a lot of press interest in our plays. I think we might be able to get some big names for The Dog’s Bollocks: The Musical. Now for the lead character of Harriet, there’s a chance we could get Lindsay Lohan? We have to just check if she’s still tagged and on house arrest… and if she can sing…

Lynda: She would need to time a comic line too… Harriet is a very funny character.

Natalie: Yes, she is. Okay maybe not Lohan. We could go the more traditional route, someone British with good acting chops. We’d love you to write the script… Can you write music? I see there’s a piano in the corner of the room!

Anouska: (comes back inside) Bloody vooman!

Natalie: What is it Gran?

Anouska: Your vindow cleaner is very rude, he said I vas too old for him!

Natalie: what are you doing with the window cleaner?

Anouska: Nothing – yet. But I am single and, how do you say, free to mingle. There is nothing wrong with dating a vindow cleaner.

Lynda: That’s not the vindow, I mean window cleaner, that’s my husband!

Anouska:  Ah. My darlink Lynda, you hev a nice husband if he cleans the vindows for you… I may hev tried to climb his ladder and kiss him… If I knew he vas your husband I vould never have done that… Although must say he is very handsome, and he has a very nice chamois leather…

Natalie: I’m so sorry… Look Lynda, maybe you could come up to London? I could take you to a lovely restaurant and we could talk more about The Dog’s Bollocks: The Musical?

Lynda: Yes, of course…

To experience more of Natalie’s world and of course Anouska’s, pop to Amazon to purchase a copy of Robert Bryndza’a brilliant new novel ‘Miss Wrong and Mr Right’ here at Amazon.co.uk and at Amazon.com And even better you’re in time to enter the ‘Miss Wrong and Mr Right’ giveaway here

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Miss Wrong and Mr Right

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Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all: she runs a successful theatre in Soho that’s about to host one of Hollywood’s leading stars. Her biggest supporter is her eccentric Hungarian Gran, and she even has the ‘perfect’ yoga teacher boyfriend – Namaste!

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie’s escape from her chaotic country family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar 15 years ago. And then he turns up at her theatre door…

With rivalry clouding old feelings, events in Soho bring Jamie and Natalie together in hilarious ways. Gran is loose in the city once more, it seems to be raining sandwiches and records are broken for Burlesque flash mobs. If she can keep her world together, will Natalie discover who is really Mr Right, and that perhaps she isn’t Miss Wrong?

A delightful new romantic comedy, from the author of the best-selling Coco Pinchard series.

You can make contact with Robert by following any of the links below

www.robertbryndza.comhttps://

www.facebook.com/bryndzarobert

Goodreads

 

 

 

Kippers and Marzipan

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Holiday breaks are odd things aren’t they? Or maybe they are just odd for me.

Off we go on Thursday evening for an Easter break in Ross on Wye. I’m very excited. Of course this may have something to do with the fact that I have it in my head that we are going to Hay On Wye, where I know there are lots of book shops. This is, of course, completely wrong, as Hay on Wye is an hour away from Ross on Wye and only has two bookshops. Well, that’s all I managed to find. I’m sure it has more, if you feel inclined to look, but not as many as Hay On Wye, and seeing as I thought that’s where we were going you can understand why I felt a bit let down.  Not that it’s anyone’s fault and after all I was the one who booked the break.

The doctor arrives home from work and I’m packed and ready to go. I’ve packed enough books for two weeks in Mauritius. I’m determined to have a break. It is then little Matthew (my grandson) realises we are not joking and that we are really going away for a few days and leaving him. He’s having none of it and races to the car before we do and dives in. Now, there is nothing worse than an upset child, except an upset child who refuses to budge from the back seat of your car demanding to go on a weekend break with you. I had planned a lot of things happening on this break but babysitting a child was not one of them. I check my phone aware we had booked our table for dinner at the B&B for 8 pm. We still had the rush hour traffic to fight through. Twenty minutes later we have wrestled said child from the car, handed him back to his parents and are waving goodbye. I start to fret about Bendy (the cat) Did I leave enough cat milk for him? Will my stepson and his wife remember to pull the blinds at night so he doesn’t see the bully cat? Is this whole break thing a bit extravagant?  I tell myself I deserve it and the doctor tells me so too, so it must be true.

We arrive at Ross on Wye and the little B&B I had been expecting is nothing short of Ross On Wye’s own Shangri La. Our room looks like one out of the Shangri la that Andrew stayed in while in Hong Kong (okay slight exaggeration) but it feels as hot as bloody Hong Kong. I struggle to turn down the radiators and have already drunk my way through their two bottles of  complimentary water when I realise it is the towel rail that has turned the place into a sauna.

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After freshening up we go down to the bar for dinner where we’re invited to sit in the library and peruse the menu. I’m not sure if my eyes pop out before the doctor’s or vice versa. £36 per person for a three course meal? I check I’m wearing the right glasses.

‘Was dinner included with our booking,’ I whisper, thinking of the little pub just up the road and how pie and chips would be just as good as the Garlic and thyme rump of Herefordshire lamb, saffron potatoes chantenay carrots, peas, and broad beans offered on the menu in front of me.

‘What was that?’ asks Andrew, who never hears me at the best of times but at present has an ear infection so is basically only hearing me with one ear.

I whisper again, a little louder this time.

‘I think so,’ he whispers back.

Before we know it, drinks have been ordered and we’re being led like lambs to the slaughter into the dining room, a waitress carrying our tray of two glasses, which we could easily have carried for ourselves.

‘Would you like me to pour water into your glasses?’ asks the waitress.

I shake my head. I think I am still capable of lifting a jug.  Dinner turns out to be quite superb and we both make a mental note to check that the evening meal is included in our booking.

I can’t believe we have this luxury for three nights. The following morning we toddle down to breakfast (also included, in case you were getting anxious for us) we’re shown to our table where we consume a pot of lemon and ginger tea, cereal with yogurt, followed by kippers for Andrew, full English for me and toast to finish.  We then toddle off to Ross on Wye for me to look in the two bookshops and countless charity shops. I’m at my happiest. The doctor then encourages me to do some sightseeing away from the shops.

The churchyard
The churchyard

We wander into the local church yard and I take a few photos before we walk towards the church where a vicar stands to welcome us.

‘Hello,’ he whispers ‘are you visiting?’

Oh dear. Andrew inclines his head, obviously wondering how his hearing could have deteriorated so quickly. I lean forward in an effort to hear the vicar thinking he must have a sore throat.

‘We’re having a service of silence for six hours. But if you’d like to come back.’

Andrew inclines his head.

‘Come again?’ he asks.

‘If you would,’ whispers the vicar. ‘Tomorrow would be fine.’

‘That’s good,’ says Andrew. ‘The weather is not so good today.’

Meanwhile I’m standing there wondering why the vow of silence seems to have included us on the outskirts of the church. But God moves in mysterious ways, so they say.

We leave the vicar to his silence and when he is out of earshot, Andrew says,

‘I can barely hear you at the best of times and that’s with both ears. How am I supposed to hear him?

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We make our way back to the town, discussing what great food it is at the hotel. How the breakfast is so vast that guests can’t possibly want lunch.

‘It’s nearly two and I couldn’t possibly eat lunch,’ I say.

‘People do though,’ says Andrew. ‘I’d never want to be a glutton like that though, would you?’ he asks as we both glance in the local bakery window.

Ten minutes later we exit the bakery after buying two marzipan cakes, a hot cross bun, and a large custard tart.

Well, it’s a long time before dinner.

Hope you all had a fun Easter.

The Well Showered Cockroach. (Holiday Part One.)

There is something about holidaying in Asia that always makes me feel a little like Karen Blixen, you know, the woman depicted in the film ‘Out of Africa.’ Different continent I know but you get my drift.

It is rather romantic to think of myself as like her of course, aside from the syphilis, hers that is not mine. Let’s clarify that before rumours start and as lovely as Andrew is, he isn’t Robert Redford.

Anyway, back to holidaying in Asia. I always transgress as you know. So, let me tell you a little about the romance of our holiday shall I? Be prepared. It isn’t anywhere as romantic as ‘Out of Africa’ I mean, really, did you expect it to be? This is me we’re talking about. Let’s face it starting a holiday with your other half sniffling and coughing is no fun. The Doctor (aka Andrew) decided to catch the flu before we left. Okay, he didn’t exactly decide to. That would be a bit silly wouldn’t it? The point is we became those passengers from hell. You know the ones? The passengers everyone avoids. The passengers you dread will be your seating companions. That was us. Of course, you try to hide it. But it is a little impossible when Andrew had a choking fit and I’m doing my first aid bit in an attempt not to have him die on the plane.  We finally arrive in Bangkok where we have a seven hour stop over and I get my first update on Bendy from my stepson James.

 ‘Hello, just to say Bendy is well and enjoyed the biscuits, treats and milk earlier, as you can see in the photo here. He spent most the day sleeping in the lounge, although is always welcome to go upstairs for quiet time.’

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I feel a little better knowing Bendy the cat is okay but by now I’m feeling a bit rough myself and the Doctor is barely able to speak for the pain in his ear and sinus and I start wondering if he’s perforated an eardrum. That’s just wonderful. He claims never to hear me half the time as it is. Now he’ll have a really good excuse to claim he doesn’t hear my nagging. We trudge to the departure gate for our next flight. It’s now pm and we have six hours to wait for the flight to Laos in South East Asia. I’m so tired but the air conditioning is so fierce that all I can do is shiver. The Doctor lays himself out on three seats and tries to sleep. Everyone avoids us which is good in a way because at least we have plenty of seats to ourselves. If only it weren’t so cold.  Seven hours later (the flight is delayed. I bet Karen Blixen never had these problems) we finally board our flight to Laos. It will take one hour and the time there is pm. We’ve lost a whole night’s sleep and feel crap to boot. But at least the Doctor is out of pain. He can’t hear a thing mind you but he’s out of pain. We both just want to get to Laos, to our hotel and to crash out. Well, that’s simple, I hear you say. You’ve no idea. This is us we’re talking about Lynda and the Doctor remember, not Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

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The plane lands and we depart with throbbing ears and sinuses and queue for our visa. We then collect our suitcase and It looks less bulky to me and I say as much to the Doctor.

‘Don’t be silly, it’s your memory. It looks the same.’

It doesn’t you know but who am I to argue with the doctor. We get a taxi to the centre and tell the driver where our hotel is. We’re dropped off and walk up a short hill and Andrew says,

‘This is it.’

I’ve never felt more relieved in my life. I trip over a stray cat and follow him to reception where a young girl greets us. She doesn’t speak English and just looks curiously at us. After trying to make her understand that we have booked a room for three nights she finally makes a call from her mobile. A man talks to Andrew in broken English. Andrew gives his name and the man says,

‘Ah yes, Andrew. No problem.’

The phone is handed back to the girl, who takes a key and leads us through a dingy kitchen, out to the back and then into the tiniest room I have ever seen. She closes the door and I look around me. The bed linen looks like it hasn’t been changed in weeks and there is a strange musty smell about the place.

‘We’re paying thirty dollars a night for this,’ I say, struggling to keep my eyes open.

The doctor looks like he couldn’t care less.

‘I’m too tired to care,’ he mumbles.

I trundle to the loo and stare at the dingy shower. Oh God, is that a cockroach making itself at home. I don’t believe this. I’m feeling decidedly jet lagged now not to mention shivery and achy. Now my stomach feels dickey. I’ve been here two minutes and I’ve already got deli belly. I lift the lid of the toilet seat only to have it come away in my hand. What the…

‘Andrew,’ I begin angrily, ‘the toilet seat …’

At that point I sit on the loo only to have it break underneath me. I’m halfway between the floor and the loo when the doctor walks in.

‘What are you doing?’ he asks to a chorus of wailing cats from outside.

What does he think I’m doing?  Toilet seat yoga? Honestly men!

I burst into tears.

‘The toilet seat broke and don’t say it is because I’m overweight. I’m not staying here,’ I blurt out. ‘It’s a dump. I want to go home.’

I want to go home? Have I gone mad? It’s nearly killed me to get this far. If I have to do a return journey now it will be in the body bag our insurance agreed to pay for. Can things get any worse? Andrew sneezes loudly.

‘Let’s go and explore and if we see another hotel that is nicer then we’ll check out of this one.’

If we seriously don’t see another hotel nicer than this one I’m likely to slash my wrists. I swallow my malaria tablet, dash to the useless loo one more time and tiredly follow him out for a walk.

To be continued.

Part 2 A new hotel and a promise of chocolate pancakes with a twist.

 

The Disastrous School Run as Performed by Lynda

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Only I can mess up the school run, although I do wonder why it’s called the school run. I don’t recall there being much running this morning, at least not at the start anyway. Oh no, I hear you groan, what went wrong this time? Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

My grandson and I get on really well. We make cakes together, go for walks together and do arts and crafts together. Of course, these things are quite easy to do aren’t they? We’re going to the library together later, which is fun. So, I imagine my stepson thought who better to ask to take him to school than Lynda. Of course, normally they take him in themselves but Monday morning saw an important appointment come up and you know what happens if you cancel appointments. You end up waiting until you’re eighty for the next one to come up. I readily agree. I mean, how hard can it be, right?

Monday morning arrives and I drag my hung over body from the bed. Okay, okay, so Sunday night saw me consume just a little too much wine. I am allowed you know. It’s not like I’m going to drive him to the school under the influence is it? After all the school building is right next door and before you ask, yes, I do get up early some days and some nights I work late and get up later. A writer’s life is a complicated one. I wander downstairs where grandson is sleepily eating breakfast.

‘Good moaning,’ I smile.

Nothing, absolutely nothing.

‘He’s a bit dopey in the mornings,’ says stepson.

Dopey or grumpy I want to ask. But I just swallow two pain killers instead.

‘Will you be okay?’ asks stepson.

‘Sure,’ I say, more confidently than I actually feel. ‘Just remind me what I have to do.’

Although it can’t be much can it? Seriously, I just throw him into the classroom don’t I? I hear your gasps. You don’t really think I’d do that do you?

‘Take him in at about 8.45 and he’ll show you where his bag, coat and water bottle go. You can then sit with him until the music plays. That’s the time for parents to leave.’

How sweet. They play us out to music.

At twenty to nine I do battle with the shoes. Tuck him warmly inside his coat, hand him his satchel and off we go, straight next door. He excitedly shows me where his coat goes. I follow and say hello to his teacher. This is dead easy that I could do it with my eyes closed.

‘This is where my bag goes and this is …’

He turns and looks accusingly at me.

‘Where my water goes,’ he finishes.

Oh no.

‘Where is my bottle of water?’ He asks accusingly.

Good question. Where is the water bottle when you need it? still sitting on the table in our living room if I remember correctly.  Damn it.

‘Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back.’

Did he roll his eyes?

This is when I did the school run. I fly back to the house, grab the bottle and fly back to the school where he is waiting in the same place.

‘Where does it go?’ I pant.

He points to where a thousand other bottles sit. Okay, maybe not thousands but you get my drift. How can this be so difficult? I flop into the chair beside him and start helping him with his numbers. This is better. I can cope with this. In fact I get so into it that I even help the little girl who sits opposite. Then, before I know what is happening, grandson is standing up and pushing me.

‘You’ve got to go now. Go on, go.’

I hear the music playing and realise all the parents have left. Trust me to be last. They could at least play the music at decent volume. My grandson is blanking me now. I’m just one big embarrassment. I sneak out of the door and breathe a sigh of relief.

‘How did it all go,’ stepson asks me later.

‘Great. It was good fun this morning wasn’t it Matthew?’ I say to grandson.

He harrumphs and continues building his Lego. Oh, well, you can’t please all the people all of the time. However he loves me when we make cake.

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When You Simply Have to Take a Pee!

 

loo I was all poised to write my latest post when I got side tracked and you know how easily that happens. I was chatting on Twitter how I had become trapped in a Wendy House with my husband, stepson, daughter in law and grandson. It’s a long story and I do believe you can read it on the lovely Katie Oliver’s blog  when she features me in a few days. This elicited a bit of response on Twitter and the next thing I knew I’m not only discussing my, trapped in a Wendy House experience, but also the worst loos I’ve been in . Don’t ask how you can go from a Wendy House to a loo but it seems you can. It got me remembering all those awful places where I had to take a pee. Of course if we can avoid it, we do, don’t we? But there are some cases when you just can’t avoid those loos and you know the kind I mean. There’s that lonely solitary loo that nobody wants to use but is the only one that is free and no one is going in, or if they do they out pretty quickly. The queue for the ladies is horrendous (why is that?) and you’re pretty desperate. You’ve done it haven’t you? I know you have. I know for sure I have. Then follows that  awkward situation where you try to work out how to do it without sitting down. God, that’s more difficult than you imagine isn’t it? It’s a whole knicker removal job and you don’t want them dangling even half an inch from that filthy floor do you? It’s bad enough your bag has to sit on it. Oh, I’m shuddering just recalling it. It’s enough to lock your bladder for good. Then there are those wonderful moments when you don’t realise the loo roll holder is empty until you desperately need the loo roll. That’s a bummer (forgive the pun) but it is isn’t it? Then, you have to rummage in your handbag don’t you? You felt sure there were tissues in there. In fact there usually is but this one moment, this crucial moment when you need a tissue more than you ever have in the whole of your life, is the moment the damn things aren’t there, right? I mean, seriously, why did it have to be the day you decided to clear out the handbag? Typical, right? Even when there is loo roll, it’s a bugger to get a decent sheet isn’t it? First you’ve got to find it and that can waste a good thirty minutes of your life.  Then you grab a piece and it’s like you’ve grasped a lifeline. What happens? it tears and you’re left holding something  too small to even blow your nose, let alone wipe your arse. There are the holiday loos too aren’t there? God they must be the worse ones. You know the type I mean. Holes in the ground loos. Loos without doors, or loos with doors but the floor crawling with creepy things that you’ve never seen the like of before and never want to see again.  My worst moment with a loo came when I was in Cambodia. We had taken a tuk tuk into the countryside to see the real Cambodia. I suddenly had to go. I simply couldn’t hold it. The only loo was in the monastery. So I toddled behind the monk with Andrew mumbling ‘are you allowed?’ Like at that moment I really cared what God thought. I nearly died when he pointed to a tumble-down shack with its door hanging off. Inside was a huge sink full of water and a tiny hole in the ground. Trying to pull down my knickers, pee and hold the door partly closed was a feat of its own. Of course there was no toilet roll, just a saucepan and a sink of water. A pee I shall not forget. I went blue in the face straining to get that one out.  I’ve also been known to go into the gents. I’ve been known to do this three times during my life. I never learn anything do I? Usually I realise it is the gents as there are gentlemen in there, not that I’ve ever met their eyes, you understand. I’m usually looking elsewhere and wondering why they have it out in the Ladies loo. Enough said. But once, I actually went in and did a pee only to come out and find a man urinating. I was about to give him a piece of my mind when another man walked in and I realised it was me in the wrong place. I made a tactful exit. The other awful thing that happens in loos is when your sanitary towel falls in without your permission. This is fine as long as it flushes. The Doctor (aka husband Andrew) was none too thrilled when the loo got blocked. Loos are my nightmare. I dropped my BlackBerry down ours. Don’t ask. It was dark is all I’m going to say.

I’m sure you have funny loo moments. Do share them?

 

 

Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers. Sign up for the tour…

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I can finally reveal the big news.  The title and cover of my new novel. I’m dead excited. I love the title so much and the cover is just brilliant. I don’t know how my illustrator Katie Gracie Klumpp keeps doing it but do it she does. It’s titled ‘Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers’ and it has been hard work. It was not my greatest year in more ways than one and I’m determined to make 2015 a good one, book wise. I’ll be on a book tour from 23rd Feb to the 8th March. Book bloggers if you’re interested, sign up today. Go here to take part. We’d love to have you.

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Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers

‘Poppy Wellesley is rich. In fact Poppy Wellesley is very rich, so when her fortunes change from riches to rags Poppy has to start a whole new life. Put yourself in her Guccis as she swaps her penthouse apartment for a run-down houseboat on Regent’s Canal. Meet her dippy friend Chelsea, the infamous Jack Diamond (see The Dog’s Bollocks) and her hunky boat neighbour, Taylor. Will Poppy hold on to her millionaire fiancé or will Pug-face Pandora steal him from her? Can she avoid the advances from Balls (Lord Balthazar Wyndham-Price) or does she find true love on the canal? Fudge Berries and Frogs’ Knickers is a romantic comedy roller coaster ride that will put a smile on your face and a cheer in your heart.’

You can purchase the e-book on the 23rd January from Amazon, Kobo and others. The paperback on the 14th February. The paperback will be available for pre-order in a few days.

If you would like to review a copy of the novel for your book blog please let me know. You can contact me at review@renham.co.uk

Enjoy and join us for Facebook fun here.

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And the Bride Wore Prada

 

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Hello everyone and a very Happy 2015 to you all. I’m starting my New Year postings with a guest spot. There will be a lot of fab books out this year and one of them will be ‘And the Bride Wore Prada’ by Katie Oliver.

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I met Katie when she first joined my author page and tweeted a lot about my own novels. It was a while before I realised that she was also a novelist. But you know how long it takes me to realise things.  Katie and I became good friends and I am delighted to welcome her onto my blog. Fortunately for us, Katie loves writing romantic comedy as well as reading it. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three parakeets, in a rambling old house with uneven floors and a dining room that leaks when it rains. It sounds a bit like our cottage before the renovation.

Katie has been writing since she was eight, and has a box crammed with (mostly unfinished) novels to prove it. Katie and I could be twins. One day we’ll have to meet and swap boxes.  In the meantime I will hand over to Katie so she can tell you more about herself, going for walks and her own Mr Darcy. Catch her on her book tour this month.

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There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. – Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

I love to take walks. And it appears I’m in good company.

Not only do plenty of people elect to walk (or ride a bicycle) these days; many fictional heroines did the same. 

Jane Eyre met Mr Rochester astride his horse while walking alone across the moors, and Mr Darcy shared more than one stroll with Elizabeth Darcy in the gardens of Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s estate.  And who can forget Mary Lennox and her outdoor rambles at Misselthwaite Manor, which led to her discovery of the sadly neglected secret garden?

As I walked our dog one day last December, and waited for him to do his business, I breathed in the cold air and admired the snow on the ground. Normally we don’t get much snow in the Washington, DC area, especially not before Christmas.  So I was pretty excited (chuffed, as you Brits would say).

Duke and I resumed our walk, and my imagination kicked in. I was no longer on a dead-end street in Northern Virginia with my Belgian terrier, but wandering somewhere in the snow-covered Scottish Highlands with a pair of deerhounds at my heels…

…returning to the family castle after a long, invigorating walk.

My thoughts moved as quickly as my feet. I had something to tell my family, something big. Something that would upset their lives, and mine, forever…

As I followed Duke down the hill, I had an epiphany.  Well, not an epiphany, exactly, but an idea for a new book. What if two of my characters – Natalie and her new husband, Rhys – are invited to Scotland to spend the Christmas holidays with Nat’s old friend Tarquin Campbell and his wife, Wren?

And what if a blizzard wreaks havoc with their travel plans, and they barely make it to the Campbell castle before the roads become impassable?  And what if there’s a gruff and mysterious groundskeeper, and a dark family secret, and-?

I was off and running (figuratively, not literally – Duke and I are far too lazy to run), and I eventually finished “And the Bride Wore Prada” a few months later and typed “The End” (which, as any writer knows, are the two sweetest words in the English language) and sent it off to my editor.

Last year, after I finished writing the first three of my ‘Dating Mr Darcy’ ebooks – Prada and Prejudice, Love and Liability, and Mansfield Lark – I honestly thought I was done with those characters.  Finished.  I had nothing more to say.

Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.

But thanks to that early snow, and Duke, and the necessity of walking (not to mention my very overactive imagination), the book – which kicks off a new series, ‘Marrying Mr Darcy’ – is soon to be published.  It’s a prospect at once daunting and exhilarating.  I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Wishing everyone a very happy New Year filled with love, laughter…and lots of good books!

 The Marrying Mr Darcy series.

What could be more romantic than Christmas in the Scottish highlands?

The first book in the Marrying Mr Darcy series, “And the Bride Wore Prada,” finds Natalie and Rhys Gordon headed to Scotland to spend the holidays with Tarquin Campell and his wife Wren. A mix-up at the Inverness airport leads Natalie to offer a ride to stranded rock star Dominic Heath and his fiancé, Gemma.  A blizzard soon makes the roads impassable, and the foursome barely make it to Draemar Castle.

When tabloid reporter Helen Thomas’s car slides off the road, she seeks shelter at the castle as well. She’s after an exclusive story on Dominic and Gemma’s not-so-secret upcoming wedding. But Helen finds a bigger story when she discovers Tarquin’s brother, Andrew, drowned years before. His body was never found. Is it possible he’s still alive? Her investigation yields more questions than answers.

Could Colm MacKenzie, the gruff groundskeeper with more than a passing resemblance to the Campbell family, be the missing piece to the puzzle?

Natalie and Rhys are recently married and blissfully happy…until Nat receives unexpected news that changes everything. Hurt by Rhys’s less-than-enthusiastic reaction, she wonders if their sparkling new marriage is over before it’s even begun…

You can find Katie by following the links below.

Website: http://www.katieoliver.com

Blog:  http://katieoliver.com/ko/?page_id=27

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/KatieOliverWriter

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/katieoliver01/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/katieoliver

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7565829.Katie_Oliver

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@katieoliver01

Big News

Big News!

big news

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Car and the Stepson Having a Breakdown

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

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

James gives him an odd look.

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

We nod.

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

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

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

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

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

His face lights up.

‘If that’s okay?’

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

‘Just keep pushing the buttons,’ I say.

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

‘Everything okay,’ I ask.

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

He’s getting the hang of it.

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

Ah yes, I probably should have said which buttons.

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

‘Yes, sorry about that,’ I say.

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

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

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

‘No, Dad’s will be fine.’

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

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

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

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

James walks in ashen faced and exhausted.

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

‘With what?’ I reply.

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

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

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

She holds out my BITCH mug.

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

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

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

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

Oh yes, and a Merry Christmas from us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

xx

All I want for Christmas is a present.

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

‘There’s plenty of time,’ he says.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or.

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

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

Or.

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

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

Answers on a postcard to Lynda.

Merry Christmas and I hope you get everything you want.

Calling the fireman for chocolate … Why not?

choc

 

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

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

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

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

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

‘Someone left these for you,’ he says.

‘Where’s the chocolate?’ I ask.

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

‘Should we have bought some?’ they ask.

I trundle back upstairs for a quiet weep.