As I look out across the now green grass I remember a really wonderful summer. Short and to the point you might say. A summer making a statement.But what a battle it was to start with! Memories are short, I know, but can we ever forget the cold of last Spring? Would the summer ever begin? I heard that said over and over again as we shivered and wondered whatever to do about the summer bedding plants. We were all feeling upset, not only for ourselves and our rising heating costs, but for the garden centres and all the people who work outside. Remember? And the fashion shops were so disheartened, full of summery prints, about as useful then as a chocolate teapot. My little swimming pool remained tightly covered and piled with snow, still host to playful skating birds trying to keep warm just like the rest of us. And then suddenly, as if it had woken up and remembered that this was England and almost July, and it had better get started. And start it did. So I could now plant into my polytunnel all the desperate little plants - cabbages, lettuces, tomatoes, courgettes, melons and rhubarb. Yippee they seemed to shout - now there'll be some legroom! They had been crowding each other out in my greenhouse for weeks. And that was the start of our beautiful summer of 2013. All about six weeks late of course, but all buzzing with life. And I must say that for the first time ever, I was so thrilled with what was happening in the tunnel that I even photographed the cabbages and lettuces because I have never grown such perfect unblemished things in my whole life. And that is more or less how the entire summer carried on. But I think that perhaps is enough of vegetable talk
I wrote in my last post about my adventures into trying to earn a bit of pocketmoney and the disaster that turned into. So I have steered clear of that kind of thing because I have never heard of anyone having any success making money on the web. I did start listing many books on Amazon. I called myself (still do) Pearlsboox and actually got rid of quite a few off my shelves and happily made room for others, because I do quite a lot of reading these days and winter is coming on so I need the space. But even this occupation is weird. I have written about this before in an earlier post and nothing has changed. I still find that the stranger and more peculiar the book is, the quicker it will sell. No novels, few autobiographies except if they are definitely odd. Reading up on the subject of selling books on Amazon, I find
the best sales are for definite 'way out' books. Remote poets go well, for example I recently sold a book of poems by an unknown poet - at least he was to me and had languished on the shelves, mostly unread for years. I sold it to a buyer who turned out to be his grandson. Other books about herbs and witches and curtain making have done well and if only I could find 'A History of Peat Bogs through the Ages' or 'The Boys Bumper Book Of Worms and their Diseases' that would go as fast. If I could ever be bothered I would ransack bookshops for such items and maybe make a mint.!! But no, this year I swam more than in any year since I first had my little pool mark1 almost 50 years ago. Plenty of time for books and anyway what is left listed on my website just doesn't seem to sell, so I only look now and then to see what's going on. No, Robin my son is not holding me up in this picture (as if) he'd just tried to duck me and I was having none of it. I was just wondering if there might be a few days left for the odd barbeque? We have had a quite a few this year which again has been why this past summer has been so enjoyable.
I did have a lovely time on 'The Orient Express' in March - whilst it was still freezing cold. A friend had reached her 85th birthday - hence the twenties cap in the photo -
and she had been kind enough to invite me along with some other friends from old theatre days and her more recent travel guiding days. Such a luxurious train and serving the most delicious and beautifully prepared food. They really do give service that is so rare these days. We went along the south coast to Hastings and Dover and Ramsgate and Whitstable. I declined the oysters offered in Whitstable as I had bad memories of them, but most of the company had them and everyone thoroughly enjoyed them. Apart from the foggy cold weather outside, we had the most enjoyable day. So lovely to be with old friends. Quite memorable.
Apart from my dear friend Paul Kelly having about 30 of his books published on Kindle which was great cause for happy celebration, just a few things have weighed heavily this year. One was the ending of a friendship of many years duration on the web and the other was the death of a very sweet young friend. The first was caused by money. How right was Shakespeare when he said 'neither a lender not a borrower be'. A ridiculous situation which could have been so easily resolved, but that's life I guess. The second was the sudden death through breast cancer of my dear Hungarian friend Gabi. She was only 42. Alas, she told no one and was a total believer in herbal cures and refused to accept her condition until it was too late. God bless you Gabi, I will never forget you or your kindness when Francis and I visited Budapest as guests of the BBC. Francis Rentoul was the real guest as he featured in a publication being celebrated and I accompanied him. After all, he was 90 at the time. We were looked after by Gabi and her associate Bela who has remained a friend ever since. Francis has been gone 5 years now and how sorry he would have been that this has happened. As you might have read in a previous post, I, too, had breast Cancer but I was one of the lucky ones. All it did to me was to stop me thinking about working again, although I know I am more than capable. But at my age I can't dwell upon that too much - I just take each day as it comes and I certainly am not complaining.
But Gabi would be the last person to have me end this post on a miserable note so I will say that one of the happiest things to happen this summer was an old colleague Robin Squires came across my name on the 'linkedin' website and got in touch. He came to see me for lunch one day and did we have a load of catching up to do! He told me of many of his most recent and exciting projects, the one he happened to be busy with then was this, do visit the site, you'll find it engrossing I know. http://www.lavenderdays.org
Then he came again with a small 'band' comprising himself and a wonderful couple of entertainers. Just my kind of music and I simply love Lynda's voice.
Do please visit this website and see them in action
Lynda Styan - Red Hot Ukelele / Vocal Duo!
Red Hot Duo
Robb himself is a most prolific script writer and has many projects on the go right now and he works closely with Lynda and her marvellous ukelele duo. So on that happy note I shall say adieu until the next time.