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Writing Update and the Like……..

I thought, for a change, I’d write a blog that is purely informative. One that simply lets you know my writing plans with no frills attached.

And so, here it is……

With regards to my travel guide, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of Dickens, and serialise it over a space of time; rather than publishing it in the guise of a book. Unlike Dickens’ prose, however, it will more than likely be typed on Blogger, as opposed to in magazines in fine copperplate script!

My main reason for doing this is that I’m finding it such a time-consuming affair – one that prohibits me from progressing with my novel – the project that I’m really excited about.

I intend to begin the guide after Christmas, and will link it to my Facebook page, so……watch this space!

As for my novel, I’m working on it daily and it’s taking shape  well. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re a fan of cosy crime, particularly that from a bygone age, you’ll love it! (Even though, it’s not actually set in the past!?) Confused? Good – you should be!

Not giving away much else at the moment, but the photograph below is a bit of a clue…..

That’s all folks! 🙂 

November….and still bloomin’ marvellous

It’s been a while, and for that I apologise! But, I’ve had a good summer ‘magpieing’ lots of ideas for my travelogue. I’ve a mind like a scrapbook…full of little snippets and gorgeous images of beautiful places; secret places that I’m eager to tell you about.

The highlight for me has to be my May trip to a heavenly little cove in SW Scotland….a cove that thousands of people bypass every year in favour of the majestic Highlands. It’s reached by a track, which unless you know what’s at the end of it, you’d surely never venture down. But I’m not going to divulge exactly where it is or what it’s called because that would spoil all the fun. All I’ll say is that I stayed in a house a hop, skip and jump from a pretty beach where sparrows bather in tiny waterfalls and not another soul can be seen.

On another note, I’m still immensely proud of my garden (though, most of the credit has to go to my husband); but I took this picture not ten minutes ago….not bad, I feel, for the beginning of November……

Anyway…..ciao for now……I promise not to leave it so long next time; be in touch again before Christmas! xx  

A Marvellous March Hare……..

It’s been a while since my last blog; in fact, where on earth did February go?

Storms and snow a-plenty, it’s been an awful month; my beloved garden’s a quagmire.

Had a revitalizing holiday in Yorkshire though – bit of a busman’s, but magical nonetheless. I seemed to be permanently surrounded by books, spectacular scenery and art, which can only be a good thing!

The house where I stayed was overflowing with etchings and sketchings – the majority done by the owner’s daughter, illustrator and writer, Beatrijs Brouwer. And I took a trip to Sedburgh, the delightful little book town at the foot of the Howgills – (Westwood Books there was just amazing.)

I uncovered lots of nooks and crannies to put in my travel guide – lovely lakes and fabulous fells, and I had a swift half in Mr Herriot’s ‘Drovers’ – aka, The King’s Arms in Askrigg. (Massive log fire and photos of the original cast everywhere. :))

My penultimate day was spent in Masham (pronounced Mass’em) where I met an incredible artist called Nolon Stacey. Self taught and with unbelievable talent, he and his artwork can be found in a gorgeous gallery down the side of Johnny Baghdad’s cafe in the town square – (scrumptious scran, amazing ambience!)

The hare pictured is one of Nolon’s (I couldn’t resist it!) – quite appropriate for the month of March too, I thought, and so a good one to share with you today…..

Hope the sun begins to shine soon.

Until next time…….

Eliza x

A jolly January to one and all……

…..albeit, so far, a positively perishing one!!

IMG_20170113_122055_resized_20170113_122158028Strange month is January; seems to go on for ever…I can’t believe less than two weeks ago was New Year’s day. It’s raining outside my window just now – freezing rain, like daggers descending from the sky…and the wind? – well, that’s howling like a banshee!

I don’t mind too much; I’m inside! I’m seated at my computer with wondrous thoughts whirling like a Wizard of Oz wind inside my head. It’s time to begin writing again you see; time to get back to where I was before the festive festivities began.

I shall keep you posted of my progress! In the meantime, stay warm!

 

Magical Christmas Wishes………

img_20161214_093036_resized_20161214_093155436My final blog before the festive season is simply to wish you all the very best for Christmas and the coming new year.

I’d also like to share my favourite decoration with you – my vintage ice skates…..and what better poem to accompany them than my ‘ice skater’, Christmas style!

Have a wonderful, whimsical time one and all……………

See you in 2017.

The Ice Skater 

‘When days are short and warmth is sparse, I wake with joy and glee; for scorching summer sunshine is anathema to me.                  

Bedecked in woollens, hued and warm, I trudge towards the lake, and with my boots laced firm and tight, I swiftly start to skate.

I swirl and twirl and zwer and whirl, as carefree as can be, admiring icy chandeliers, which hang from every tree.

I spin, gyrate; I twist, rotate, till dizzy I become. I laugh and shout and lark about beneath the wintry sun.

I slide and glide with grace and pride, enlivened, spurred and spry. I’m brisk and light and full of zip; I feel like I could fly!

And there I stay, content to play, alone, at ease and free. Until some Christmas revellers invade my privacy.’

Happy days…………

20161114_101403It’s been a chaotic but happy month for me so far, with lots of wonderful publicity for my ‘Book of whimsy’!….And as Christmas approaches, my attention turns towards my new book (which is growing well!), and to lots of opportunities for the new year.

That in mind, I had a visit last Saturday from a lovely lady I’d not met before. She is coordinating a project for the Bridgnorth area, and requires input from local writers, artists and photographers to be able to get it up and running.

I am delighted to be involved as I think it’s a very exciting venture!  

It’s all a gargantuan secret at the mo, but you can keep up to date with my blogs to find out how it unfolds……..

That’s about all for now folks!

Love and best wishes,

Eliza x

Hello November……a little late, but never mind……

fairy-02…..And the reason it is late is because I’ve had a very chaotic few days!!

I spent last week in the wilds of Wales – holidaying, but at the same time, researching the area for my second book..(which, I hasten to add, is now well under way!) I had a magical week in a magical location – a real storybook valley; but I’m not going to divulge exactly where I was because it will spoil the surprise.

One thing I will say is that there are very few places you can walk during half term without another soul present, but my husband, son and I did just that!

Upon my return, I was immediately embroiled into making Halloween paraphernalia, as well as attending a meeting with the National Trust, where I shall be coordinating (along with a couple of my good friends and writing compatriots), some literary workshops at Dudmaston Hall next year. And so alas, my post to welcome in what is sometimes the dreariest month of the year is two days overdue.

I notice we had our first visit from Jack Frost this morning, though the sparkly white coverlet on the roof was thin to say the least, and didn’t so much as touch the dahlias; they are still bright and vibrant and putting on a show! There are leaves everywhere in the garden – dry and crunchy and wonderful to run through in your wellies; in fact the weather is still being extraordinarily kind – albeit cooler by the day.

Not much else to report apart from a fabulous write-up about me in the Shropshire Review, and that news of my book must be spreading countrywide as my last order was from a lady in Kent!

Bravo Eliza 🙂

 

Poetry and Apples………………

img_20161021_141339Heard on the radio this morning, whilst still in a state of semi-consciousness, that it’s National Apple Day! How utterly lovely, I thought, as I teased back the curtains to a mild and mellow Autumn morn, to have a day of celebration dedicated to the humble apple; I wonder whose idea that was? So, inquisitive as ever, I looked it up and found that there’s far more to Apple Day than just fruit. This is what the World Wide Web says about it………

‘Apple day, 21st October, was launched in 1990 by Common Ground. The aspiration was to create a calendar custom, an autumn holiday. From the beginning, Apple Day was intended to be both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too. It has also played a part in raising awareness in the provenance and traceability of food.

We would still like Apple Day to become the autumn holiday in Britain. Apple Day is now an integral part of the calendar of many villages, local authorities and city markets. it is a focus for activities organised by the Women’s Institute, National Trust, Wildlife Trusts, museums and galleries, horticultural societies, shops and restaurants as well as for schools, colleges and environmental study centres.

Apple day is also a novel way of encouraging healthy eating. Each year, alongside tasting, juicing, baking, pruning and grafting, (love that!), an imaginative array of games and creative activities have flourished – ranging from simple apple printing to mummers’ apple plays, new songs and poetry evenings – (I knew there was a reason why I was so interested!!)

The first Apple Day celebrations, in the old Apple market in Covent Garden consisted of  forty stalls. Fruit growers and nurseries producing and selling a wide variety of apples and trees mingled with juice-and-cider-makers, as well as writers and illustrators with their apple books. Experts were there to identify apple types, while apple jugglers and magicians entertained thousands of visitors – far more than expected – who came on the day.’

Wow!- Who would have thought such an ordinary and readily available fruit could stir such passion and excitement!!

I’m going to celebrate Apple Day by baking three of my beauties (as pictured above) with currants, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter!

How do you like yours?? 🙂

Serendipity………..

img_20160720_171100So, what are the odds, do you think, of me being in the garden today when Radio Shropshire’s Vicky Archer came trundling past in her snowy white mud-spattered car?

(Well, considering I’m normally blu-tacked to my desk, I would say about two hundred to one!)

But……defying all odds, parlays and just about everything else in the gambling stakes, I was in the garden taking a brief repose! (Hanging out washing, actually, but ‘a repose’ sounds more professional.) Anyway, serendipity had already struck in the form of a couple of amiable house-hunters, who summoned me from my lovely laundered undies to inquire about the cottage next door. Ten minutes of conversation and camaraderie later, and who should pull up in my small and soggy lay-by but the aforementioned Shropshire presenter looking for a ‘Sidbury’ scoop!

Unbelievably, I then proceeded, with the help of my new-found friends, to do a radio interview about my ‘humble hamlet’, Eliza’s whimsy (of course), and a mysterious medieval village which no-one seems to know anything about? I even read a poem which will be aired later this week, (yikes), and, I unintentionally revealed my real name (in part, not in entirety – the Christian bit only!) (Phew!)

So, tune in to Vicky Archer all this week to hear me, my friends and my poetry….should be a hoot!

Eliza x 

Feeling nostalgic………

2015_1029scotland0020With the October holidays approaching, I find my mind swiftly tumbling back to this time last year, and to a wondrous  time in Highland Perthshire – {the county known as ‘big tree country’, and probably the best place in Britain to enjoy Autumn’s captivating carousel of colour change.}

It was then and there that I took this photograph of a cave which, if you’ve read my ‘Book of Whimsy’, you will recognise from my illustrator’s incredible depiction. {It’s very near the front and just before the poems begin!}  The picture was taken at a National Trust garden called ‘The Hermitage’ – a remarkable gorge with wild waterfalls and curious rock formations. I recall the air being so sharp, it almost stung!

The holiday, where squirrel-clad trees glowed russet, and fast-flowing runnels, crisp and clear, tumbled down velvet valleys thronged with birdsong, was as dreamlike as Scotland always is! I met ‘Rabbie’, or at least a bronze of him, seated on a bench in Aberfeldy. I wrote my poem, ‘The Faerie Mountain’, in recognition of perfectly-pointed Schiehallion – for our holiday cottage sat nestled beneath its shadow, aside luring and lovely Loch Rannoch. I fed baby reindeer atop Cairngorm, and paddled in toe-freezing Loch Morlich beneath brilliant blue skies. I ate haggis, drank Malt and didn’t want to come home!!

This awe-inspiring area, among others, has provided the stimulus for the book I am working on now – a travel guide with a difference! And so, without further adieu, I shall resume with my writing so that you may read it in its entirety sooner rather than later………

Eliza x