Posted in Cornwall, CUMBRIA, Happy New Year, Holidays, Norfolk, Update, Writing

2022 ROUNDUP

So here we are, facing the final few days of 2022. For me, it’s been not only one of the speediest but probably the most challenging. So what exactly has been happening?

WRITING

The plan had been to publish my WIP in August, a month I usually work to for publication. Unfortunately, due to issues which will come to light later in this post, it’s now been rescheduled for the end of January 2023. I’m nearly there, but it has been a long journey, one which has had a knock on effect and caused the start of my 13th novel to be delayed. On a positive note, maybe the beginning of this new year is a good time to launch a new project, who knows? Anyway, in anticipation of the new title, here’s the banner advertising the now completed Cornish trilogy.

HEALTH

The good news is I’ve had my last post Cancer CT scan and once again, thankfully it was clear. All that is left now are two six monthly CEA blood tests and then that’s it. Having experienced the big C, caught at Stage One (for which I am eternally grateful) it has given me a nudge with regard to diet and fitness and I’m not only careful what I eat now, but exercise (mostly walking) regularly.

If I had thought that was it and I could get on with life, I was to be disappointed. In January, I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, something which affects around 1.4 million people. I was put on a small dose of beta blocker and a blood thinner. This worked for a while but gradually I began to feel light headed and breathless. I got to a stage where I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs at home without struggling for breath. Back to the doctors and a blood test showed I was severely anaemic and needed a transfusion. After that my iron levels went back to normal as did my breathing. However, the general consensus was that I must have an internal bleed. So began the investigation. To date, I have had a Radioscopy, Colonoscopy and a tablet pill. The latter is swallowed on an empty stomach and takes intermittent pictures of your upper digestive track. All very sci fi and when you think about it, truly amazing. This took place on 13th November and there is an 8 week wait for results – which means I should get them in about two weeks from now. I’ve also had an echocardiogram which takes an ultrasound of the heart. Am happy to say both Radioscopy and Colonoscopy were both clear and the echocardiogram showed no problems. So at the moment, everything hangs on the camera pill results. As for me, I’m feeling well, breathing is fine and energy levels good. I believe if anything was terribly wrong I would have been told by now.

HOLIDAYS

We spent a week in May in Cumbria which due to my health problems wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. However, it’s such a beautiful part of the country and sitting in the car it was easy to forget my situation and simply enjoy the scenery.

June, post transfusion, I was back to normal for our trip to Suffolk. We had been here in 2019 and watching The Dig starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes made me realise I’d missed out on Sutton Hoo. Our trip took place on one of the warmest days of the holiday and we both enjoyed the day there, even if I chickened out of climbing the observation tower. I really don’t do heights! We also did a lot of walking, met up with old friends and enjoyed eating out at some great restaurants and pubs. All in all, a perfect week.

In September we returned to Fowey. After all these years I still find Cornwall a magical place. We stayed in our usual apartment in The Old Stationmaster’s House, within sight of the Boddinick Ferry. The weather was a little disappointing, probably because we’d not been able to book our usual first week of the month, which still manages to hold onto most of August’s heat. Instead, we arrived on the 17th to a chilly breeze and drizzle. There were some brighter days, of course, but a planned trip across on the ferry, followed by a walk along the coastal path to Polruan had to be postponed. I’m sure we’ll get to do that sometime in the future though, as we will definitely be back.

READING

I set my Goodreads Challenge at 45 this year, and having just finished my final read for the year, ended at 71! Because hospital appointments meant I continually had to dip in and out of my writing, it was good to take a break and relax with a book. I’ve already set up for the first six months of 2023 with 17 books. However, I do realise it is important to put my own writing first and that’s something I definitely plan to do in the new year. The trouble is, there are so many good books out there!

Here are a few of my favourite titles for 2022.

And so that’s about it. Another year beckons. New places to go, people to meet, books to be written (and read). So it’s goodbye for now and wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. Tomorrow it’s my turn to cook for friends. The day will be busy with food prep and it will be all about making sure everyone enjoys their evening and raises a glass to the incoming new year.

See you in 2023!

Posted in Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Devon, Lost Lights, Norfolk, Walking, work in progress, Writing

January Update…

Well here we are, 1st of Feb already. One whole month of 2021 gone.

Like most people, we had a quiet Christmas. Taking down the decorations on 12th Night, it left me wondering what it was all about.  Our usual trip to do some of our Christmas present shopping in either Salisbury or Winchester was postponed, everything bought on line instead. Our pre-Christmas meets with friends for lunch or a drink; our New Year’s Eve plans, cooking for friends at home. All of this cancelled. We didn’t even get the bubbly out while Jools Holland’s Hootenanny welcomed in the New Year with excerpts of past programmes. In fact during the Christmas period I kept looking at the decorations and the cards and feeling everything was somehow out of kilter. As if I had made a mistake and decorated at the wrong time of year. This wasn’t Christmas; it didn’t feel like Christmas. It was like decorating a room for a party that no one was going to turn up to.

One thing I have noticed on our walks during January is that some people have decided to keep their Christmas garden lights going. I think this is a great idea, providing a bit of cheer during the month, which has mostly been dull and wet. I have to say even under normal circumstances, for me it’s the worst thirty one days of the year and I can’t wait to see it gone.

When the decorations were eventually packed back into their boxes, one question still remained. Where was the new set of lights we’d bought last year? In October 2019  we bought a new set of lights. We used them to illuminate the inside of a large lantern in the lounge. During Christmas 2019 we moved them onto the mantlepiece. When the decorations came down, I remember putting them back into the lantern. That meant they didn’t get packed away in the loft.  In February 2020 I bought a large candle for the lantern,  took the lights out and re-boxed them. Our house is obviously in some sort of UK Bermuda Triangle, because we turned every drawer and cupboard out pre-Christmas 2020 and could not find any trace of them.  We still have hopes we’ll discover them, probably in the last place we ever thought of looking.

The one thing I have missed most during all three of our lockdowns is people, as I am sure most of you have. Social media is great but it is in no way a great substitute for actually being with people. Last summer, some weekends we spent time in friend’s gardens (and our own) for a socially distanced drink. It was allowed then, although not indoors. I’m hoping when they begin relaxing the rules that we will be able to do that again. It may be baby steps back to normality, but spending time with friends and family is so important.

Holidays too, are in limbo at the moment. We have a break in Norfolk booked for mid-May. It’s roll over booking from last year when Covid and the first lockdown scuppered our vacation plans. Not sure whether we’ll lose it second time around. Currently it’s all in the lap of the gods –  and whatever decisions Boris decides to make.  In the meantime, where possible, we have been continuing our daily walks for exercise and fresh air.  It’s all about keeping going, making the best of things and staying positive.

 

 

 

BOOK NEWS

I have just reached 53,000 words. As a writer of larger books (120,000 – 135,000 words) there still seems a long way to go. Certainly as far as the plot is concerned, the journey is no where near its end.  So at this moment in time I’m not even attempting to predict the final word count.  At the very beginning there was a slow start when I reused part of an already written manuscript. A bit like unpicking knitting; time consuming and laborious, but looking at the story so far, I know I made the right decision to re-use it. Currently I’m in completely new territory where the writing is averaging 1500 words a day and the word count is mounting up very quickly.  I’m working towards (fingers crossed) a publication date some time in June.

 

Well that’s all for this month. I will be  back again at the end of February.  I hope by the time I post again, there will be a glimmer of light at the end of this very long tunnel.  In the meantime, take care and stay safe everyone.

 

Jo x