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


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

Here is Chapter One.


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




I LOVE …. Number 2



Yey! Celebrating much needed weight loss.
Yey! Celebrating much-needed weight loss.

I love … Those wonderful friends and readers who have responded to my ‘coming out’ post so warmly. I have been surprised at how many people suffer with this CFS. It seems to a hight percentage of women I notice. Now, there is a blog waiting to be posted.

I’m feeling grateful and much happier today. Yesterday was a lovely day with a friend shopping and then lovely news that I have lost more weight at Slimmers World. Hurrah for Fitbit and healthy food.

I shall get better and very soon. One day at a time.

Meanwhile a humourous post coming later.

Much love

Lynda xx

The Dog’s Bollocks



I’m so excited to be called Rom Com royalty by the lovely QVC presenter Debbie Flint. I’m also thrilled to be on her book of the week feature on the QVC web page. here

If you enjoy my books then do pop over and read my funny blog post here on Debbie’s own blog. I think I blew the royalty bit there though by titling my piece The Dog’s Bollocks. Still I’m sure the Queen uses that phrase all the time don’t you? And I was comparing myself to Lady Gaga at the time.

Not sure I’ll be invited to present on QVC now but never mind.


A little t-t-taster. ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’


As  ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ is about to be launched, I thought I would write a piece for my blog about stammering. One of my characters has a stammer and at one time so did I.

I know exactly how awful stuttering can be and find that most things are easier to cope with if we laugh at them. After all it is better than crying right?

Having a stammer is no fun. I remember the days when people finished my sentence rather than have to bear that awful long wait while I tried to get the words out. Of course they always guessed wrong and I was left stammering for England yet again. My stammer started as a child. I was an emotional wreck even then 🙂 Nothing changes. I remember reading classes in school as the worst ordeal I ever had to endure. The teacher would go around the class getting each child to read a small passage from a novel. I would try to work out which would be my paragraph and scan it quickly to see how many B’s or F’s or M’s were in my piece and as it drew closer and closer to my turn I would quickly put my hand up to be excused to the toilet. Having an argument when you have a stammer is very frustrating too. The angrier you get the more you stammer. Believe me you never win an argument. You never get the words out in time. Or when you have good news to share and the excitement just bubbles over in you? Well, it certainly doesn’t bubble over in words, I can tell you. By the time you get the great news out, the fizz has all gone. My stammer never completely left me but in my late teens it certainly eased. But even now, when I get excited or angry I begin to stammer again. Sometimes a word is so difficult to get out that I have been known to pretend I have forgotten it and people help me out, thinking they are being my memory (oh, the deceit)

So, my new novel is dedicated to all fellow stammerers. We may find it hard to say the words but God knows we have plenty to say. It just takes us a bit longer to say it.

So here is a small taster of the latest novel and meet Alistair my fellow stammerer.

Chapter One

Don’t you just hate people who are always on time? Even worse are those people who aren’t only on time but fifteen minutes early. Totally unexpected buggers aren’t they? There you are in the middle of a quickie and they turn up on your doorstep, and you’re staring at them with that post orgasmic flush on your face as you accept their bunch of carnations and bottle of plonk. Not that Julian and I often have quickies before people come to dinner you understand, just in case you think we do, but you know what I mean. The only quickie you’ll catch us doing fifteen minutes before guests arrive is sieving lumps out of the cheese sauce. Lumpy cheese sauce is a speciality of mine. As for me, I am late for just about everything. I just can’t seem to get anywhere on time no matter how hard I try, and believe me, I try. I’m trying pretty hard right now. Julian, however, is one of those people who is always on time and I imagine he is well on his way to the church by now.
‘I’ll meet you at the church. Try not to be late,’ he had said with a wink, knowing full well I would be.
Meanwhile, I’m desperately trying to bungle Celia Blakely out of the laundrette where I work so I can finish my shift, change, and get to my friend, Silvia’s, wedding.
‘So, I said to Mr Newman, you know Mr Newman don’t you?’
I don’t know Mr Newman in the least and I am beginning to wonder if I actually want to.
‘He lives just up the road. His wife was …’
She leans closer and I shift slightly so I can hear her while continuing to unload the dryer.
‘Having it with Mr Douglas from number thirty-three.’
‘Oh,’ I say, folding the towels and placing them into her laundry bag.
‘She went to the Isle of Dogs with him. Well, I said to Mr Newman she can go to the dogs a woman like that. We don’t want the likes of her here in Battersea do we?’
I shake my head and glance at the clock. I’m going to be so late. I find myself wondering if Julian and I might have it later. A wedding always gets you in the mood doesn’t it? Lots of slow dances and champagne, and Julian in a nice fresh smelling shirt and I can see myself getting quite turned on. After all it seems like ages since we have.
‘Where’s this wedding you’re going to?’
‘St John’s Wood, it’s a bit of a posh one. My mum used to clean at their house when I was little and I used to play with their girl. I’ve got to get the bus when I clock off here.’
She grabs the washing bag and hands me ten pounds.
‘Here’s a little extra. Get a taxi. I know you’re struggling with that café and your studies.’
Café? God, Julian would have a hundred canary fits if he heard the restaurant being called a café.
‘Oh no, I couldn’t Celia.’
‘Don’t argue, just take it. It’s your birthday soon, ain’t it?’
‘Yeah, tomorrow actually. Thanks Celia, I’ll pay you back. Honest.’
She tuts.
‘I wouldn’t want it back.’
I see her to the door and rush to the back room to change, tapping Julian’s number into my mobile as I go. It rings and rings and finally goes to voicemail. Shit, he is probably at the church already. I pull off my stripy laundrette overall and study myself in the cracked back room mirror and slip on my new scarlet satin dress. It’s not strictly new of course. I bought it at Oxfam, but it’s perfect. I expect Alistair will quip something about The Waltons when he sees it. A quick shake of my shaggy blonde hair and a stroke of mascara transform me. I look critically at my reflection and sigh. Not enough time to achieve my normal Kate Moss look. Who I am I kidding? I clip a diamante slide into my hair and swipe Sugar Kiss Red lipstick over my full lips and stroke Rosy Red blusher onto my cheeks and sigh. Not bad I suppose. Of course, I’m sure I could look sensational if I had that Bobbi Brown stuff that Fiona uses. I’m so knackered. The last thing I need is a wedding, and a posh one at that. I slip on my trainers, as they are easier for running, and throw my red satin sling backs into a carrier bag. Clutching my woollen shawl, I open the door.
‘Bye Maud,’ I shout to my boss.
My mobile trills and I fumble in my bag. It’s Sid, my landlord.
‘Harriet, I hate to phone you darling. I’ve tried Julian but I’m not getting an answer. I’m sure it’s a silly mistake. Just a bloody oversight but as it happened last month I just thought I should check all is okay.’
What happened last month? I look down the street for a taxi.
‘Sorry, what’s that Sid?’
‘Julian’s bank isn’t paying the standing order for the rent. I’m sure it’s a mix up again, like last month.’
I feel my stomach lurch.
‘Last month?’ I say my voice rising.
I sense his embarrassment.
‘Not to worry babe, I’ll try him again. We’ll get it sorted. He said he would settle last month‘s rent and this month by the end of last week, but I think he must have used the wrong account again. Not to worry huh?’
‘I’ll speak to him. We’re at a wedding today. But I’ll get him to sort it tomorrow for you. I’m sure it’s just a mix up like you say.’
I hang up and push the conversation to the back of my mind. Sid’s right I’m sure. It’s just a silly mix up. Right, all I need now is to hail a taxi and that’s no mean feat. I’ll probably have to flash them. Oh well, there’s a first time for everything.

* * *

‘This is it,’ I tell the taxi driver as I slip on my new Shoezone stilettos.
‘That’s twenty quid darling.’
‘What? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s bleeding extortion more like,’ I quip fumbling in my purse. ‘What a liberty.’
I reluctantly hand over the money and dash through the church gates, struggling with the strap of one of my sandals as I go. That will teach me to buy cheap. I wobble on one foot and fiddle with the strap when I feel a hand on my arm.
‘Can I help with this?’
I turn to the voice and come face to face with a very striking man. In fact, he is so good looking he sends an ache through me. He’s wearing a dinner suit and his white shirt complements his tanned skin. His warm hazel eyes twinkle with amusement and a small smile flickers over his face. His voice is soft but clear and seems to have a hint of laughter in it. Is he mocking me, or is it just his manner? He holds out his arm and I lean gently on it and adjust my shoe strap while trying to ignore the fact that my breathing has quickened. His arm feels warm and sends a tingle down my spine.
‘Ta very much,’ I say gratefully, removing my hand as quickly as possible before I end up ripping off his shirt.
Blimey, I haven’t felt this randy in months. He nods towards the church where the organ is playing softly.
‘I think they’ve started,’ he says in his soft cultured voice.
I do believe I have lost the power of speech, bloody hell, that’s a first.
‘Shall we?’ he asks, heading towards the church.
Ooh, I’d love to but I’m not so sure a church is an appropriate place. For a split second I imagine him without that white shirt and feel myself go weak at the knees. I follow meekly, slipping in quietly at the back. I spot Fiona and Alistair but Julian is not with them, and I can see no sign of him. I love the smell of churches. I couldn’t tell you why. They are kind of sweet and musty all together. Although right now this church smells of Chanel perfume, Pierre Cardin aftershave and rose petals. There is also a faint smell of baby vomit which I am trying to ignore. I love weddings too. I don’t care where they are, I just like the atmosphere. Church weddings are best of course. The atmosphere in a registry office is nowhere near as holy is it? I’d like to get married in a church, not that Julian and I have ever talked about marriage even though we’ve been together for three years. And let’s face it, we can barely afford to eat at the moment, let alone plan a wedding. We never seem to have time to discuss our relationship. Either I’m dashing out to work, or panicking to finish a study assignment and you don’t normally bring up the subject of marriage as you’re tumbling out of bed or flying through the kitchen waving a piece of Marmite-smeared toast. Julian is working hard getting his restaurant going and if we are both home at the same time we are so knackered that we barely exchange more than twenty words. When it’s time for bed we are normally out for the count in seconds. Our sex life isn’t riveting but then whose is after three years? Mind you, my sister Caron and her boyfriend are at it nine to the dozen, or so she would have me believe, and they’ve been together for four years. It would be exciting though, I don’t mean going at it nine to the dozen, although that would be pretty exciting if I could just get up the energy. No, I mean getting married would be exciting. I look down at my dress and feel my head again to check the diamante slide is still there. All the other women are wearing huge hats and fabulous dresses and I feel just a touch underdressed. I’m not good at top hat and tails weddings. I love my friends but I feel so out of place with some of them. I bet these guests didn’t buy their outfits from Oxfam. I pull the dress gently from my newly pierced navel and adjust my bra slightly. I love Oxfam. I don’t know what I would do without it, not that I want people to continually starve, I mean that obviously goes without saying, but charity shops are a godsend to people like me. It’s just a shame they don’t sell cheap food.
The wedding march roaring from the organ snaps me out of my daydream. I turn to see the bride enter, but am acutely aware of the good-looking man beside me and the fresh clean smell that comes from him. I gasp as Silvia glides down the aisle in her beautiful Vera Wang wedding dress.
‘She looks amazing,’ I sigh.
‘She looks okay,’ says the man beside me.
I gape at him.
‘You’re kidding, that’s a Vera Wang dress. I’d die for a Vera Wang dress.’
Oh God, I sound so shallow. I give him a sideways glance and try to guess his age. I’ve never been good with ages but at a guess I’d say he was early thirties. I wonder if his wife/girlfriend and Julian are stuck somewhere together. There is absolutely no way this sex god is single.
‘I like your dress,’ he says softly, looking into my eyes.
‘You do?’ I say surprised. ‘It was a fiver in Oxfam …’ I bite my lip. What am I saying? I don’t need any help in making a bad impression do I?
‘Alistair always thinks I look like crap. He’s dead embarrassed to be seen with me,’ I whisper.
‘Is Alistair your boyfriend?’
‘Heavens no, I’d rather slash my wrists …’
He must think me so common.
‘He’s my friend’s partner,’ I say, pointing at Fiona a few rows ahead, ‘but he’s a bit rude. My boyfriend Julian hasn’t arrived yet,’ I say quickly, although I’m not sure why.
‘I’m Brice Edmunds by the way.’
Brice? I should have known he would have a sexy name.
‘Harriet Lawson,’ I reply, wishing it were something much grander.
There is a hushed silence as the vicar begins the service. It is so unlike Julian to be late. Forty-five minutes later and it is all over and we are applauding Silvia and Hugh as they leave the church. I make my way outside and wait for Fi and Alistair while searching for Julian. Brice passes me and smiles. He could stop hearts with that smile. I spot Fiona and Alistair and head towards them. My God, his flies are undone. I’m so preoccupied with Alistair’s trousers that I send myself sprawling as my heel tangles in my dress. Fiona catches me and wraps me in a tight embrace. Thank God for a familiar face, although it would have been much nicer had it been Julian’s.
‘On time as always,’ Alistair quips sarcastically. ‘There is something c-c-comforting about your consistent lateness.’
‘Hello Alistair, you look nice, like the Y-fronts.’
Fiona follows my eyes to Alistair’s zipper.
‘Christ Alistair, your flies are undone. Do something before that Jeremy guy sees you.’
‘What Jeremy guy?’ Alistair asks while fumbling with the zipper.
‘Over there. He’s a Lord or Sir or something. Anyway, zip your flies up for Christ’s sake.’
I peer at the man.
‘I don’t think he is,’ I say.
‘Are you sure? He looks familiar,’ she says.
‘That’s because he’s the parking attendant at Homebase,’ sighs Alistair.
I narrow my eyes.
‘He’s right you know,’ I say.
‘Are you sure? What’s he doing here?’
‘P-p-parking cars,’ huffs Alistair. ‘I wish you would wear your contact lenses. Honestly you’ll be curtsying to parking attendants before we know where we are.’
‘I do wear them. I’m just so tired and they make my eyes sore. I was sure my glasses were in my bag. I feel like I’m jet lagged. You know, that ‘when you’re not here’ feeling?’
‘I’m rather wishing I wasn’t. I feel like a sodding wallflower,’ I say looking around desperately for Julian.
‘A scarlet w-w-wallflower,’ sneers Alistair. ‘It’s a w-w-wedding you know, not a b-b-bloody period drama.’
What a cheek, some people just don’t appreciate individualism do they?
‘Bloody things,’ he mumbles yanking the zip up.
‘You look lovely,’ Fiona assures me. ‘I love the snap pearl buttons on that dress.’
‘You don’t think it’s a bit, you know, Little House on the Prairie?’ I say feeling self-conscious.
‘A little bit?’ sneers Alistair. ‘That’s an understatement.’
‘Ignore him, he wouldn’t know style if it bit him on the arse,’ Fiona says glaring at Alistair.
‘Have you seen Julian?’ I ask. ‘He should have been here ages ago. I’m sure he left well before I did. You know how he likes to be on time.’
‘Most people like to be on time,’ says Alistair.
‘I can’t see anybody without my contacts,’ moans Fiona, ‘let alone Julian. He’s probably got held up at the restaurant.’
I shake my head sending a pearl drop earring flying.
‘I’ve tried the restaurant, and his mobile, and he isn’t answering either. I’ve only brought a cheap card with me. He’s supposed to be bringing the present.’
‘I imagine he’s still bombing it down the A40 in your Mini,’ says Alistair casually.
I stare at him.
‘That’s just the thing. Alistair swears he saw Julian bombing it down the A40 in your Mini. I said that’s not possible. It’s completely the wrong way, and your Mini won’t do more than forty,’ says Fiona.
‘Not with an empty tank it won’t. That’s why I got a taxi here. I forgot about petrol. I don’t mean I forgot that the car takes petrol, of course. I’m not that dippy.’
‘That’s a relief,’ quips Alistair.
I shoot him a dirty look.
‘I just forgot I was on the red and I’m flat broke. Bombing it down the A40, are you sure he was in the Pooch? The thing will blow up.’
‘I don’t think it is p-p-possible to mistake your Mini. You know that distinctive whining sound that says Harriet’s Mini?’
Why on earth would Julian be ragging the Pooch down the A40 when he’s got his new van? I hope the wheels weren’t nicked from it. That’s all we need. The past nine months have been shit. Every single penny going into Julian’s dream of setting up a French restaurant which, so far, has not done very well at all. If it wasn’t for our friends eating there we wouldn’t have broken even. I’ve seriously started considering selling a kidney. Julian’s obviously, not mine. I’m not that crazy. After all, we could survive on three between the two of us. In fact, maybe I could sell off bits of Julian’s body until he has the restaurant up and running and I have all my studies paid for. Although, strictly speaking, not all our money has gone into the venture. I have been secretly squirrelling away some of my earnings. I decided from the start that one of us needed to put a little by and I’m so glad I did. I need to pay for the next part of my tuition fees as I am not planning to work in a laundrette all my life. I can’t help worrying though, what earthly reason would Julian have for racing down the A40 in my Mini? Come to think of it why is he ragging it down the A40 at all when the church is the opposite way? Still, Julian always did have a terrible sense of direction. All the same, it’s a bit odd. Julian would never be late unless there was a good reason.
‘It’s not like Julian to be late,’ I say voicing my concerns.
‘There’s a f-f-first time for everything,’ says Alistair.
‘It’s dead posh this wedding isn’t it?’ says Fiona, breaking into my thoughts. ‘There are Lords and MPs and everything. It’s a real high-class do isn’t it? They’re all big knobs.’
‘Is that a fact? Perhaps you should keep an eye on that zip Alistair. You don’t want people making comparisons,’ I laugh.


Roll up roll up

roll up

A quiet word in your ear, just in case you haven’t heard…

The popular and successful ‘Croissants and Jam’ is practically being given away on Amazon. TEN Day 99p AUGUST SPECIAL PRICE. OFFER ENDS ON 10th AUGUST. Pop over and get yours now.


Not only that… My very serious novel (just as good) ‘The Diary of Rector Byrnes’ is also on offer for 99pbyrnes

Go on treat yourself.


Now! The best news of all. I’m so excited on the 1st September my new novel ‘The Valentine Present and Other Diabolical Liberties’ is released on Kindle. The paperback will follow and will be available on Oct 1st.

blog 09

Keep an eye on this blog and my Facebook Page and Twitter page for the online launch on 1st September. Lots of Giveaways and fun, so do Join me. LOOK OUT for the free extract coming soon.

Don’t forget that is 1st Sept and just in case I will be reminding you.


Lots of love





‘Croissant and Jam’
#romantic #comedy #kindle #promo 

Holey knickers, sex gods at hospitals and fiddling the NHS



cat 2If yesterday was not scatty enough with having to chase a demented cat out of the kitchen with a baby green finch in its mouth, then I certainly made up for it today.

Yesterday I flew out of the new French doors to chase Bendy (the cat) screaming the whole while for him to drop the baby finch he had in his mouth. The poor thing was twittering so much. Of course in my haste to rescue said bird I rushed out practically naked. It was early. I did grab a shawl in case. I had of course totally forgotten the kids would be arriving for school and you only have to look over the wall to see the mayhem in our garden. Not that we have continual mayhem here. Mayhem yes but not continual. Anyway as always I digress. So there I am a shawl draped over my naked body save for holey knickers and what happens? You guessed it the parents arrive with their kids. I don’t know how many saw my backside. Suffice to say Andrew was not thrilled. He expects me to end up on a list any day now. After dashing to the vet with a poor shook up little green finch I finally got on with work. I managed extra 2,000 words to the novel knowing I would be out half the day today at the hospital having a foot scan and x-rays.

Now, I ask you what can go wrong with a simple visit to the hospital. First stop the Orthopaedic hospital for my X-ray. I pop my money in the pay and display and off I go. So far so good. I am out within the hour. Jump in the car and off to the next hospital ten minutes up the road. Don’t ask why I couldn’t have the ultrasound at the same hospital. Only the NHS can explain that one. Arrive at next car park take ticket from barrier and park car after much difficulty. God, when did hospitals get so busy and when did you have to pay to park? Anyway, off I go to the next Radiology department. I sit and wait until, my Goodness, this Greek god comes to get me. I kid you not. Open necked black sexy shirt, so I get a glimpse of his hairy chest. I say, radiology never used to be this sexy. He wears tight black jeans and gives me the sexiest smile ever. I begin to think my legs may give way completely. Oh well, they have wheelchairs here, so that’s handy. He talks to me in broken English and leads me into the room for the ultrasound. He then caresses my feet in such an erotic fashion that I think I’m in a scene from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ hunk

I blame the Greek god for what happened next. I leave with the news that I am showing slight signs of Arthritis. I look around for the machine to pay my parking fee and then remember I already paid. I climb into my car and the bugger won’t start. I phone Andrew thinking he will have to come and get me or arrange a tow. As I talk to him, the engine starts up. My husband the miracle worker.  I love him for just that reason.

‘Right,’ I say. ‘I won’t stop now until I get home in case it conks out.’

Off I go to the barrier where I push my ticket in. (spotted the obvious mistake yet) I still haven’t and I try again and again and again but it just spits out at me. The lady coming into the car park tells me her barrier won’t work. I tell her mine isn’t working either.barrier

She gets me to buzz and some man snaps at me through the machine. I tell him there is a huge queue behind me and that the barriers aren’t working. He is quiet for a moment and then tells me the system has crashed. We wait. I try again and again. The queue gets longer. People start climbing from their cars and asking me what the problem is. I explain the system has crashed. Finally another man buzzes and complains and then someone comes and lifts the barriers. Relieved I drive through, my engine still running. It is as I am halfway home that I realise it was in the other car park that I paid. It was a pay and display there. The last car park I didn’t pay at all and was trying to exit with my entrance ticket. With a gasp I realise it had been me that had crashed the system. The question now is do I tell Andrew or leave him in the dark? I don’t want to be sectioned yet do I?

Oh, to live a normal life…

A humbling experience

The highlight of my trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia was the chance to visit Pesai, the little girl I sponsored shortly after my first visit here. I only vaguely remembered her from my last trip. My decision to sponsor her came from seeing her photo and reading her background information. My decision to sponsor from this orphanage, The children’s Sanctuary, came from my contact with Dr Andrew Clift and his wife Dawn Cornish. An Australian couple who are doing marvellous work in Cambodia. You can read more about them in a previous post. There are many orphanages in Cambodia but one needs to be very careful. If you wish to visit an orphanage when visiting the country do check it out as much as possible first. The Cambodian people are lovely but there are many dishonest people here too who would gladly take your money.
I never imagined I would be nervous at meeting Pesai again but nervous I was.
Before leaving for Cambodia I had spent many weekends shopping for presents to take to the Children’s Sanctuary with me. With a suitcase full of stickers and colouring books as well as pencils and spinning tops off I went. I had also bought dresses for Pesai as well as a bag and a doll. These were to be her special gifts from me and I was very excited to give them to her.
When the day came to visit I phoned my friend Sochenda who works there. Sochenda and I had become good friends since my last visit. I knew I would never find my own way there and the tuk tuk driver seemed to have no idea. I handed him the phone and Sochenda gave directions. Soon after negotiating a price we were on our way to the Sanctuary. Here is a picture of Sochenda I had been disturbed by the news of the hand foot and mouth outbreak which had already claimed the lives of many children and of course there was also the threat of Dengue fever. I was thrilled I was still allowed to visit. As my tuk tuk pulled up the children ran to greet me. They knew I had gifts. At the front was Pesai who was smiling widely at me. The children were so excited by my bags that I had to give them their gifts immediately. Pesai’s face lit up on seeing the doll and she held it close for the rest of the afternoon.

Pesai on the right and you can just see her doll
The staff were keen for her to have photos taken with me and she seemed just as pleased to have them taken too, even putting her arms around me.
It is very humbling to do something so simple to help someone else. Pesai has no family. Although all the children will go to school the sanctuary depends heavily on donations and sponsorship. Dawn is happy to discuss sponsorship with anyone and you don’t have to donate a fortune either.
It was an exciting visit for one of the other children was having a birthday party so I joined in the fun and celebrations.
Most of the children in the Sanctuary are well but there are some that aren’t. Like one boy I met who has HIV and is deaf and mute. I took many photos of him as it made him happy to see them through my camera. He laughed a lot.
My happiest moments in Cambodia have been spent at the Sanctuary. I hope through my photos you can enjoy the visit too.

For more information on The Children’s Sanctuary go here and you can like their Facebook page. If you would like to help please contact Dawn Cornish through their web page or contact me by leaving a comment and I will email you back.