Bruised Lilacs Are Not Ready To Wilt #inherdefence #winterdowns #crimefiction

In Her DefenceAm I the only person who has trouble getting their plots to stand still long enough to be written? Do some titles – titles that you love – get set aside time and again because something more pressing gets in the way?

As the final edits of my next Bunch Courtney book is snatched from my reluctant hands by stern-faced editors and the layout process is set into motion I was forced to look at the title of next book in order to list it in the prelims. Continue reading


Courtyard Garden : Quince-essential

DSCN1204A few weeks ago we called in a professional to 20181104_123530prune the vastly overgrown holly and prunus that were running amok at the front of the house. (Picture taken early this year – the lawn beneath the tree died in the summer heat and has not yet recovered)


20181104_121438The corner was an impenetrable thicket that was also home to a vast variegated ivy and though good cover for birds was causing damage. (It had already pulled down a brick pillar! illo)

20181104_121433 (1)There is also a wasp nest at the base of the prunus  which is why I am holding back from full scale works. Waiting for those Jaspers to vanish for the winter!

Continue reading

Miss Dilly and Co : softly softy

I bought a new dressing gown – one of those super-soft velour kinds – and made the mistake of putting it on the end of the bed. I doubt it was there for five minutes (quite literally) before Oberon laid claim.

He is obsessed with velour of any kind!

Stock Free Wheat Free Marks and Spencers : @marksandspencer #glutenfree #wheatfree #food

20181107_105017We went to Marks & Spencer at Woolstanton, Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffs today to get various items and whilst there decided to stop for a coffee and maybe a cake from what appeared to be a wide selection.

Peter chose a mince pie – all well and good – until I looked for a wheat free selection.

Oh dear…

My ‘choices’ were limited to
A/ some leaden scones.  By that I mean that they weighed heavily in my hand and when I gave them a prod – through the pack I hasten to add –  there was no ‘give’ in them at all.

Note to M&S chefs… there is absolutely is no call for GF scones to be so dense and heavy – I make them all the time at home!

20181107_105031B/ Chocolate Caramel Crunch (?) bars so loaded in sugar they made my teeth hurt just looking at them! (Not to mention the excess calories!)

Is it any wonder that M&S have such a reputation for being behind the times when this is all they can come up with?

The GF savoury range on offer was very equally poor – and in my book a bag of crisps so do not enhance the drinking of a mid-morning cup of coffee in any fashion.

When I asked staff about this lack of palatable Wheat Free options I was told that they were frequently asked this question but that Head Office did not have an answer.

This is supposed to be a flagship super store! Badly done Marks and Spencers. marks 0/10


City of Secrets

Q&A with Barry and Misha

Being Britalian

Home or away, summer or winter, nothing beats a good book and I’m currently reading the latest book; City of Secrets by Misha Herwin. It’s a book in which you can lose yourself and become immersed in a tale where dragons and gargoyles gossip. I asked Misha, the author of the Dragonfire trilogy and Clear Gold to tell me more about her new book…

City of Secrets1 (2) (1)

First and foremost, thank you Barry for hosting me on your blog and giving me the opportunity to talk about my new book “City of Secrets”.

“City of Secrets” is a fantasy adventure aimed at the 8-12 market, but I think that anyone who reads Harry Potter or Philip Pullman will enjoy the book. Like the Oxford of “His Dark Materials” is a place of plots and dark magic, where dragons and gargoyles gather on the rooftops at night to gossip and exchange news.

Making a…

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What my daughters taught me

Misha Herwin

Posy and Lucy

You would think that in the normal course of things it’s mothers that teach their daughters, for me, however, it hasn’t always worked out like that. Learning can be a two way process.  I taught Posy and Lucy the basics, starting from when they were little and hopefully inculcating some of my own values as they grew up. However, over the years I have learned so much from them.

Starting with the small things: Lucy introduced me to “A Girl called Jack” and Jack Monroe’s thrifty recipes, I also now keep my broccoli in the fridge and only use environmentally friendly cleaning products in my kitchen and bathroom.

Lucy is also good at re-cycling clothes that no longer fit, or suit her and I’ve followed her example in my occasional wardrobe culls, as evidenced on my “Bulging Wardrobe” pages.

On a deeper level, she’s shown me how entrenched our un-conscious…

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Courtyard Garden: Name That Mystery Bulb #gardening #plants #courtyardgarden

A very quick Courtyard Garden post today with a question for you all.

You know that thing where you bung bulbs in hither and yon and don’t bother to make a note of which is where?  Well that is me all over.

Below is a picture of fresh sproutings  in the top of a large pot.

Ignoring the pansies – I think the spikes of green pushing up through the soil may be  Alliums of some kind.


mystery bulbs