Let it snow (as long as we have shoes)…

‘Let’s do something different for Christmas this year,’ I shouted through the wind as we sat on a balcony in Tenby last summer sipping G & Ts in our raincoats. ‘Snow! I want to see snow!’


We all agreed that a White Christmas would be perfect, and after deciding that we would have too much luggage to fly anywhere (who wants to travel with a turkey in a rucksack?), we hit on the idea of the Scottish Highlands. After all, they seem to get the white stuff from the August Bank Holiday until, well, Midsummer, don’t they?

It took lots of planning. As self-appointed Chief Elf, I had found the perfect getaway – a log cabin nestled in the forest, just south of the Cairngorms.


‘You won’t get snow below the treeline,’ a friend helpfully informed me.

‘Lalalalalala,’ I sang in my head, as I imagined chopping down a towering pine and dragging it back to the cabin on a toboggan (a very big one).


What had seemed like a simple idea became a military operation. I delegated shopping lists, which included seasoned logs, greaseproof paper and enough alcohol to souse the Scots in their entirety. I sent missives about gifts – just one small thing per stocking. I made meal plans and game plans and plans of plans…

Finally, we were off, and most importantly, all availed of the most essential of information: WE ARE GOING TO GET SNOWBOUND. BRING THERMALS. BRING HATS, GLOVES, SCARVES, LAYERS. BRING YAKS… No. Forget the yaks.

Travelling in two cars, the first meeting point was to be Yorkshire – at my mother-in -law’s where we would stay overnight ready for the second leg of the journey. What had not been on my plan was that my elder daughter, a medical student, just a few days before leaving, announced that she’d have to pop back to a Birmingham hospital where she had a piece of work to complete. She had left her ‘Scotland’ luggage at home so all we had to do was pack it, swoop by when we got to The Midlands, and pick her up. It was touch and go as to whether we would fit her in; Hubby had spent a long time early that morning packing every inch of the car – and the roof box – with Stuff.

We arrived at her student house, and as I was stuck in my seat with a huge, heavy hamper on my lap (one of three in the car to be relinquished in Yorkshire), Hubby got out to knock on the door. He walked around to my side of the car – I could only see his upper half. He stopped next to my window and looked down… for a long, long time. When he looked up at me again, it was with horror.

‘I’m wearing my crocs,’ he mouthed through the window.

‘Your crocs?’ I mouthed back. ‘Crocs?’

He loved those crocs and, as much as we’d always told him they were gardenwear only, he’d put them on at any opportunity; he’d slipped them on that morning for comfort while packing up the car.

I opened the door and looked at his feet.

‘You have packed other shoes, though? Boots for trudging through the snow?’

‘Did you pack any for me?’ he asked.


At that moment, my daughter scuffed her way to the car, wearing a pair of highly unsuitable fancy shoes which she had left undone to emphasise the temporary nature of their use.

She was followed by her sock-footed, pyjama-clad best friend.

More shoe shenanigans. I was all shoe-ed out.

‘Where are your shoes, Eve?’ I asked.

‘Packed. You’ve got them in the car somewhere. Have you seen the carrier bag I left for you to bring?’

We located it and she extracted another pair of (unfamiliar) shoes which she handed to her friend. ‘These are Anna’s.’

Anna scuttled off in her socks. Eve got into the car in her dolly shoes and Hubby pulled away wearing his crocs.

We had almost left the city when I heard a little voice from the back.

‘Uh oh. I’ve forgotten my coat.’

It was back at the student house. I sighed. We continued on our journey. We left the coat.

When we arrived in Yorkshire, we asked my mother-in-law if there was a charity shop in the village. There was! Eve and I hurried to get to it before it closed and, like a mirage, there appeared before us two coats, both of which fitted her. We bought the pair for about £10. Sadly, the only shoes for Hubby were a pair of football boots. We didn’t buy those. Plan B was to ask his dad who seemed to have a secret shoe shop in the back room. He brought in pair after pair of new shoes, various colours and sizes. The only pair which were a good fit was a brown suede pair.

‘Suede’s no good in the snow,’ I said.

Out came a couple of cans of waterproof spray.


The log cabin was wonderful.


Two-coat Eve was warm and dry, and Mr Tumnus (our new name for Hubby with his new brown suede hooves) was able to walk without getting frostbite or trenchfoot. It was very (very) cold, but, sadly, there was no snow until the day after we left. On the eleven-hour journey home, however, I got a message from my friend at home:

‘We’ve got snow!’






Well they say you live and learn.


*checks pulse*


Yep. I can tick off the first one.


But learn… That one seems to be a little faulty. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – COMPUTERS ARE OUT TO GET ME. Always have done. Always will.


With Hubby’s help, I have managed to decorate the edges of my blog. This involved much bleeting on my part – and many mistakes *coughs* …on my part.

I have also been re- re- re- publishing my paperbacks which has been emotionally-draining as my beautifully-honed covers have been sucked into the system, never to be seen again. ‘Starting from scratch’ has now become my default and accepted state.


I don’t think I’ll be one of those clever people who decides to enhance their golden years by taking on another degree. I’ve even written down instructions how to work the TV.


Still, I should thank my lucky stars. There’s a lot to be said for being alive…




Well, here I am again.

Already? you ask.

Yes, it’s all or nothing with me.

Just thought I’d post a little bit of news whilst having a break from republishing ‘Salt’ – a children’s mystery set at Pirates’ Cove…

Some lucky individuals are awarded OBEs, some CBEs. Others become Sir or Lady


Drum roll, please!


Trrrrrrrrr (that’s the drum roll, in case you were wondering)


I hereby proudly announce my newly-awarded title – Drablr of the week. Ta da!


*hears confused muttering*

It means – some people know nothing – that my 100 word story (i.e. ‘drabble’) was voted favourite on the drablr.com website.http://drablr.com/helen/drabble/bie/cold-heart

And here it is in its full gruesome glory:


‘Mrs Radley, you really should open your windows more often. Look at the flies.’ 
I opened a window. 
‘And get some air freshener. It smells so-’ 
My face contorted. 
‘You’d feel a lot less lonely if you tried making more conversation. Sometimes I feel as though I’m talking to myself.’ 
I flicked the duster along the back of Mrs Radley’s chair. Specks settled on her soft white hair. I swiped along the arm and around her mottled hand. 
Mrs Radley was grinning at me. Her dentures were on her chest and a bluebottle was regurgitating on her left eyeball.


The Return (long overdue, but a return nevertheless)

OK, blog, I have returned… and bearing gifts at that!

I have been a very busy bee of late – *shakes tail and wiggles wings* – because I have been in direct combat with technology. Yes, I grabbed it by the horns, had a bit of a scuffle where it rudely threw me around and left me disorientated, but I came out triumphant and victorious, wearing a laurel wreath emblazoned with the words ‘By Jove, she did it’.

Let me show you what I’ve been up to:

*rummages through Internet, comes up for breath and dives back in briefly*


I have been using what can only be described as magic to make what can only be described as paperbacks.

I’m still only two-thirds along the rocky path that lies ahead of me, complete with deviously camouflaged trapdoors and things with sharp teeth which are prone to nibbling a small writer’s ankles, but here’s the booty so far:



*takes a deep bow and skips off happily*

I’ve broken in at last…

Well, it’s only taken me a year and a half to realise that the reason the option ‘make a new blog post’ didn’t come up was because I had to SIGN IN! Doh…

And now I’m here, I have nothing to say.

So that was disappointing, wasn’t it?

Well, no, actually – as there’s no one to be disappointed! No one knows about this blog so I’m just shouting into space.

Hello! HELLO!!

Don’t they say talking to yourself is the first sign of madness?

‘They’? Who are they?

*feels paranoid and looks around*

Anyway, this will probably be my only post for a couple of years as I’ll forget to sign in again.

Will it really?

Yes, self, more than likely…