I never wanted to be a leader

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My Dad never liked being the one in charge. That’s why he married my Mum. She loved being the leader, and he was happy to be her most loyal supporter. He didn’t ‘lead’ at work either, remaining Assistant Manager of a Horne Brothers Men’s Outfitters branch for over fifty years, only taking the lead for a few weeks each year when the Manager was on holiday. I must take after my Dad because…

I never wanted to be a leader. Leaders are there to be shot down. Leaders take all the criticism, complaints and problems. Leading is lonely.

I remember in the lower sixth form at school, taking on the role of actor, director and producer of the Oak house play, to be performed before the whole school and a panel of judges from the community; journalists, head teachers and clergy. No one else wanted to do it. I adapted and shortened Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound, every copy of the script produced by me on an old Gestetner machine. We rehearsed for weeks, and costumed the play and built the props ourselves. The judges loved it, but the school hated it. Collecting our trophy, I was booed off the stage. I never wanted to be a leader.

When I became a mother, I made decisions for my children when they were small. I did my best to lead by example, making every choice and decision in their best interests. There were days I felt alone, isolated and afraid, but I stuck at it. Supporting them through their schooling and University, I’m so proud of the strong, capable adults they’ve become…but I’m glad they make decisions about their own lives now! I never wanted to be a leader.

At the age of forty I discovered the magic of bellydance, empowering me when I needed it most. I discovered how supportive and wonderful it is for women’s bodies and minds. I never wanted to be a teacher, but I couldn’t keep this power to myself. I knew how important it was. For me, it was never just about the dancing. There’s a special bond between people who dance together. So I put my fears aside and went to college to learn to be a teacher. I began with Phoenix Bellydance, teaching Egyptian bellydance workshops, courses and classes, to girls and women of all ages and abilities. I worked hard to be the best teacher I could, training with Hossam and Serena Ramzy, Katie Holland, Kay Taylor, Charlotte Desorgher and many more.

I discovered ATS Bellydance and Tribal Fusion and attended workshops and classes, happy not to lead, and then my ATS Bellydance teacher asked me to lead a tribe in Wales. For five and a half years, I worked hard to be the best teacher I could be, and to create a safe space for women to be themselves and dance, always respecting the needs, wishes and sensibilites, of all tribe members. I never wanted to be a leader.

I never wanted to be a leader. The move to Wales, the logistics of moving two adults and three cats, and fifteen years of possessions to Wales to live in a tent in a field, took some doing, and all the while, Mum’s healthcare needed to be monitored, fortnightly visits made from Wales to Essex being the outcome, strategies put in place so she’d be visited by friends every week. Meetings and difficulties with scaffolders, thatchers, heating engineers, CADW, planning permissions, councils….I lead the way to get our renovations started, so we could live our life in Wales.

And now I’m done. I’ve spent my life working hard for the good of my school, my children, my dancers, my parents and my partner. I’ve agonised over decisions to try to please everybody. I’ve taken so much flack my protection bubble has dents in it!

We’re nearing Samhain, the end of my year. It is a time to remember those we have lost. I miss my Mum and Dad. It is also the time for reflection of the past year, it’s highs and lows, successes and failures. It is time to decide what to carry forward to the new year and what to leave behind. It is time for new plans and new ideas.

I never wanted to be a leader.

 

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Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life #16 -Sleep is your super power

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Deep down, I’ve always known how important sleep is for happiness and health, but over the years, I’ve made a lot of excuses.

During my teenage years, I could stay up late and snooze anywhere, determined not to miss a thing.

As a mother, sleep was a luxury for a number of years, especially when child no3 decided to sleep no more than two hours, day or night, for the first two years of her life, bless her. And then there was the Christmas Eve I didn’t sleep at all when same child decided she was putting up a stocking for Big Ted and Magic Ted, so I sat up all night knitting them scarves!

When I was poorly, I grabbed as much sleep as I could, especially when I was recovering. At this time in my life, in my mid thirties, I discovered the beauty of a power nap, and used it whenever I could. I took a lot of hurtful banter in the school playground, where other mother’s were critical of my need to have a break in the middle of the day, but if I was up at 6.30am and often didn’t finish teaching dance until after 9pm, I needed 40 minutes rest to keep going.

My family grew up, and I needed my sleep to pack in as many things into my day as I could manage – dancing, cooking, writing and looking after elderly parents, to name a few

And then we moved to Wales, and embarked on a new adventure! I’ve never needed good sleep more in my whole life! But you don’t have to believe me – believe the science! Watch this video in your tea break (just 20 minutes) and you’ll soon realise why I do my utmost to get 8 hours of sleep EVERY night! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MuIMqhT8DM&t=1035s

Matthew Walker is an English scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the impact of sleep on human health and disease.Enjoy….and good night!

 

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2019 – Coming soon!

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I love a short story anthology, don’t you? It’s like a box of assorted chocolates –  if you don’t look at the menu card, you can be surprised and delighted by what you find inside.

The Ghostly Writes Anthology 2019 by Plaisted Publishing House, will feature a host of fabulous authors, each sharing a very special ghost story with you.

This year, my story is called ‘Charlotte’s Ghost’. Here’s the blurb for your delectation and delight….

It’s the summer of 1850. Newly widowed Aunt Winifred and her daughters, move into the Johnson country house, threatening to ruin Charlotte’s happy life with her parents. When her loathsome, tale telling cousins insist on being included, Charlotte uses the opportunity to restore Lady Mary’s missing jewels and preserve the secret of her personal ghost forever.

The awesome Eve Merrick-Williams also has a story in this year’s anthology. ‘Perchance to Dream’

There’s ‘Primrose Point’ by Mara Reitsma and ‘The Lighthouse’ by Michael Lynes

Publication day is Wednesday 31st October so look out for the promotions! I’ll be sure to post nearer the date with more teasers and links to where you can download your copy.

 

Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #15 – Everything is changing

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Finding the perfect, balanced vegan diet for my body is taking time, but I’m enjoying the challenge. Abandoning calorie restriction was the best move I made, as I’m loving eating bowls of plant based whole foods and feeling full and energised…and I’ve lost another two pounds.

Due to my daughter asking to come and live with us in June this year, everything has changed, and that’s one reason I’ve not been posting as much. I’ve taken my books to book fairs…

But there’s been little time for writing as I’ve been lime mortaring and painting to get a room ready for my daughter.

My eldest son married this year too, so it’s been a summer of family love.

The biggest change is the best one, and I’m going to shout about it….I’VE MORE ENERGY THAN I’VE EVER HAD! Eating a whole food plant based diet keeps me fuller for longer and nourishes my body so well. I’ve enjoyed my dance so much this year too, now I bend in the middle again! I’m not the same shape as I was, that’s definitely changed, but I don’t care…I can fit in my jeans and I feel well and healthy.

My lack of novel writing made me sad and angsty for a while, so I started writing short stories again and had a few published…

Witch Lit: Words from the Cauldron was produced by myself and the rest of the Witch Lit Admin team, Laura Perry, Sheena Cundy and Ruth Aitken. All proceeds go to Books for Africa https://www.amazon.co.uk/Witch-Lit-Witches-Who-Write-ebook/dp/B07SCVXR88

Zimbell House publishing brought out 1969, and my story is the first one in it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/1969-Zimbell-House-Anthology-Publishing-ebook/dp/B07S2L2HQX

But as the Wheel turns, making its way into autumn, I’m back writing ‘The Able Witch’, the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin series. Once its finished, I’ll continue with the final book, before publishing four, five and six for your enjoyment. You can start the series here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

or here for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

Don’t forget, you can listen to me reading you stories on my Welsh riverbank at Phoenix and the Dragon on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

Plus I’m talking books and everything magical on the Witch Lit Podcast, as well as interviewing other magical writers https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHtAJO5uh6c9TSai1lhwF7g

I’ve continued my daily walks and using Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen App, but I don’t worry too much about my activity levels anymore. I know that if I eat whole food plant based, and take my B12 supplement, I’m taking in all the nutrition and goodness my body needs. If I want a berry, banana and spinach smoothie, I’ll have one! I drink two or three mugs of hibiscus tea daily, which I love, boosting my antioxidants and keeping the colds away. I dance a minimum of six hours a week, not including performances, and I’ve been barrowing, chopping wood, fixing barns and moving stuff outside….

So I won’t be joining the gym anytime soon!

Apologies for my lack of posting, but I’m starting to create a new routine out of all these changes, and I’ll be back soon trying out new recipes and sharing useful and informative posts and videos to inspire you to eat well, nourish your body and live your life to the full. Bright blessings xx

 

 

 

The Beauty of a Book Fair

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This weekend was the Narberth Book Fair in Wales, and I shared a table with my friend Nicola Beechsquirrel on the Sunday.

There’s no doubt that at a book fair readers love to buy books, and authors love to sell them, but there’s so much more to a book fair than that.

Book fairs are a great way for authors to meet other authors ‘in the flesh’. Lizzie Lamb and I had been interacting online for a while, so it was great to meet her, and have a chat. We talked writing, book covers and marketing among other things, and I always find having spoken to other authors, I have ideas about ways that I can publicise and share my work that I might not have thought of otherwise. Seeing how authors have set out their tables with banners, leaflets and book marks, is always useful too, showcasing their books in the best light they can. All the authors at Narberth are friendly and happy to chat and share. Some authors I’ve known for the past four years now, and it’s great to get together, catch up and share news.

I’ve met up with Greg Howes at a couple of recent steampunk events where I’ve been dancing, rather than writing, and the fabulous Carol Lovekin lives near me, so I often see her in town, but it’s always good to meet up at a book event, where I wear my author hat.

On top of all that, I get to talk about my books and my writing all day, with other authors and the public, so what is there not to like?

And the readers? They get to meet, speak to and have books signed by the authors whose books they enjoy reading. My favourite moment of the day was when a reader picked up the third book in the Lizzie Martin series, The Flowerpot Witch and asked if I would sign it for her. I said, of course, but that she did realise it was the third book in a series. She replied that she did know because she had read the first two books, had enjoyed them and was thrilled to have a third one to read and to meet the author who wrote them was wonderful. I told her there were three more on the way to finish that particular series and she left with a huge smile. (I know, I should have asked her if she would like to leave a review saying she’d enjoyed my books, but I was excited to meet a fan!)

And that’s another beauty of a book fair; for an author to meet a reader who has enjoyed their stories is the biggest boost there is.

Readers also like to talk, and not just about books, so this weekend I’ve talked about organic gardening, spinning, crochet, magic and archaelogy!

My only regret at this particular fair was that I didn’t attend a workshop by the lovely Juliet Greenwood, which I would have enjoyed so much, but we were a little delayed getting there, so I spent so long setting my table up, I was too late (and too embarassed!) to walk in once it had started.

Huge thanks go to Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore for making the Narberth Book Fair 2019 a resounding success.

Support a book fair, and have a wonderful day.

 

Ghostly Writes Anthology – now open to submissions!

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If you enjoy a good read, read on!

Reading anthologies is a fabulous way to find new authors, whose writing style you enjoy. I’ve contributed two so far, to Plaisted Publishing House, and they are now open to submissions for their new Ghostly Writes Anthology. Visit the group for details https://www.facebook.com/groups/GhostlyWritesAnthology/

The group is friendly, helpful and supportive, and everyone’s story gets a teaser to boost the anthology before it’s published.

This was my one from last year, when I wrote a steampunk ghost story. You can download your copy here for FREE https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghostly-Anthology-Plaisted-Publishing-Presents-ebook/dp/B07JMHWMZN

or for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Anthology-Plaisted-Publishing-Presents-ebook/dp/B07JMHWMZN

 

I’d better get writing and get my new story finished! Be sure to look out for the new Ghostly Writes Anthology at the end of October 2019!

 

 

Holding myself to account

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After almost two months away from writing my novel, I’ve found it difficult re-establishing a writing routine, so I decided to hold myself to account to write for 10 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I write. Here are the first six days’ work for your enjoyment. Let me know which you enjoy, and whether you’d like to see any of them expand into a short story or novel.

Day 1

The leaf dripped with morning dew. Balancing in Tilly’s eye line was a magnificent dragonfly. Golden light flooded across the hills, and the dragonfly rose into the air to greet it. Gossamer wings shimmered, the dragonfly steadying herself on the hastening breeze, and Tilly reached out her hand. Tiny feet touched her skin and Tilly’s world turned upside down.

She stood on a mountain top, her hair blown this way and that by a warm wind that wove around her body like a snake. Beneath her feet, there was darkness so black and solid that she almost stepped out into the abyss. Above her, the wind parted the clouds, and out of the bright blue firmament shone a light so bright that Tilly took to her knee and shielded her eyes.

Her head filled with the warm, honey light and the darkness fell away. Peter’s infidelity and her mother’s spite and venom were gone, swallowed by the cavernous mouth.

She stood alone in a field outside her village, a wooden gate before her, and beyond the gate, the path continued, beneath arches of cream scented roses to a point of vibrating, pulsing light.

Tilly spread her arms out beside her, and a new, turquoise winged dragonfly flew down the path, beneath the flowers, into the arms of the goddess.

 

Day 2

Jess held onto the letter with her fingertips for what seemed an hour before letting go and dropping it into the post box outside the pharmacy in town. Her heart beat in her ears, and her legs wobbled beneath her. She pulled up her hood against the fast falling rain drops.

“Jess!”

Across the road, Mari called to her from the doorway of the coffee shop.

Relief flooded over Jess like a warm blanket. The sweet, bitter fragrances of coffee and vanilla flooded her senses. She dropped into a chair by the open fire.

“Get that coat off and I’ll get your coffee,” said Mari, “Penny will be here in a bit. You posted the letter then?”

Jess twiddled a stray damp curl against her face, waiting for her large skinny latte. Mari and Penny were her best friends, but how could she explain the importance of the letter she’d posted without sounding mad?

 

Day 3

Annie zipped up her hooded anorak and stepped into her Wellington boots. Her flash light was powered up and her wicker basket empty and eager. Though it was Lammas eve, the Welsh rain hammered down on the hills and fields. The blessing was, it wasn’t cold rain. There was a hint of a tropical storm in the air.

The track down to the river was overhung with ferns and hawthorn. Stinging nettles jostled with thistles in the strengthening breeze, buffeting against Annie’s legs. Head down, she hurried towards the stands of hazel.

In the light of her torch, the glossy white fruit shone beneath the dripping wet, lime green leaves. Still clasped in their fluffy holders, Annie picked them in clusters, sending showers of raindrops cascading onto her coat with every tug. She found a tree stump to balance her torch on, so in its beam, she used two hands to collect her harvest.

For the past two years, she’d watched the hazel nuts growing on her trees and then disappearing overnight. She smiled to herself on this occasion, pleased she was at least able to share the trees abundance with the squirrels.

 

Day 4

After six hours of driving in heavy traffic, Charlie turned her little blue car off the motorway, and the heavens opened. Rain like stair rods threatened to pierce her windscreen, but on she drove, up hills with ninety degree bends, and down again. Traffic thinned the deeper she drove into the heart of Wales. All she could think of was her little cottage with the jasmine beside the front door, and a week of peace, just her and the countryside.

It wasn’t that she didn’t love Steve. Her heart panged every time she thought of a fortnight without him, but the Jethcoe project was important, she knew that. Even working late in the office most evenings, he wasn’t close to finishing, he’d said, so it made sense to leave him in London, and enjoy her holiday on her own.

The cottage was a gift from her Auntie Elaine, who’d used it as a writing retreat, but now preferred to spend half her year in Malta and the other half in her villa in Spain, and Charlie loved to spend time there whenever she could. She’d considered renting it out for about ten seconds, immediately hating the idea of strangers in what was her home.

The sign for the village was almost obliterated by the pounding raindrops merging on the windscreen. Charlie slowed down before turning off the main street, up towards the woodland and her cottage on a rough stone track. She barrowed stones from her ‘quarry’ to fill the holes each year, but the rain was biting deep into the surface making her drive a bumpy one.

Turning into her yard, she slammed on her brakes. There was a light upstairs, and one in the kitchen.

Rain soaked her hair as she crept from the barn, her bill hook balanced in her hand. She blinked it away, her heart dancing to a crazy beat, and flung open the kitchen door.

‘Surprise!’

Snuggled naked on the duvet in front of the open fire, Charlie recalled the scene she’d witnessed in the kitchen; every surface glowed with the light from  a tea light in a jar, the scent of josticks pervaded the air and Steve stood naked except for her bread apron, stirring supper on the Arga.

 

Day 5

How could she be lonely or bored when there was so much to do? Doris shook her head, attempting to dismiss the ache in her heart that threatened tears. Self-pity didn’t get the harvest in or the wood chopped. It was time for action, not wallowing in ‘what ifs’.

The rain on the roof of the wood barn was like a never ending barrage of gun fire, not the perfect day to pick and store vegetables, but with rain forecast for the rest of the week, today was the best day to begin.

 

Day 6

With the advice of her friends bouncing around in her head, Carys continued along the bumpy track. Although the gardens were private, being part of the National Gardens Scheme made them open to the public, so this first date was definitely in a ‘public place’, but whether there would be any members of the public at such a remote location on a drizzly, August day, she couldn’t be sure. Being new to the area, Henry hadn’t any better ideas of where to meet, so a walk around a soggy garden, hopefully followed by a hot drink to stave off pneumonia, was the best scenario she’d been able to come up with.

On she drove, fine mizzle coating her windscreen and dampening her spirits. A hand painted sign confirmed she was still driving on the correct path, turning up towards the skyline and the outline of a house and trees on a hill. A lady clad head to toe in waterproofs opened the gate for her and beckoned her to park in front of the house. There was no sign of any other cars. Carys glanced at her watch. It was ten past eleven. She was late, yet there was no sign of Henry. She checked her phone in her bag. No messages. She zipped it into her waterproof coat and climbed out of the car.

Melissa was a wonderful host. The garden tour, including a visit to the ‘cave’ and the ‘temple’ was relaxing and fun, despite the weather, and the home made Welsh cakes and fresh coffee, were welcome to stave off the chill. The sculptures she’d seen throughout the gardens inspired her, and excited her, confirming her love of everything upcycled and reused to be a healthy state of mind. She’d a list of plants to seek out when she got home, and half a dozen envelopes full of seeds to plant in her own garden.

Climbing into her car after bidding her host farewell, Carys’ phone vibrated in her pocket. She glanced at the screen and giggled to herself a little. Once through the gate and a final wave to Melissa, Carys allowed herself permission to laugh as hard as she wanted. She wouldn’t be meeting Henry, ever. He’d approached the road to the garden, but been worried the rough track might damage his car, so had driven home before messaging. What need had she, a woman who lived alone in a remote longhouse, surrounded by twenty acres of land, for a man who wouldn’t get his car dirty, let alone his hands?

 

They are all first draft, so be kind, but it fascinated me how some days, I struggled to write fast enough to get the words on paper, and yet other days, I could barely string a sentence together!

I’m happy to say that I’ve picked up my WIP again, and The Able Witch is coming together, the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin Witch Lit series. Book four, The Eloquent Witch, is written but I’m waiting to complete the series with book six, before publishing. If you haven’t begun the series yet, you can buy The Naked Witch, the first book in the Lizzie Martin series, here, for less than the price of a skinny latte https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

and here https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

for my friends across the pond.

Don’t forget to comment on the writing!

 

Changing my routine

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I’m a creature of habit who loves a routine, but I don’t want to get stuck in a rut, especially if the routine is an ‘old story’ I’d do best to forget and write a new one.

With three weeks to go before I needed to go back to teaching dance four times a week, I wanted to re-establish the important routines in my life.

The first step was to get back into my daily walking routine. I hadn’t stopped walking each morning, first thing, but I’d been doing less steps then, and far less during the day, as my time was spent renovating. Now that’s done, I’ve created a new morning walk that is working towards clocking up 3.5k steps and 30 minutes of active exercise on my Fitbit.

I started with 2.5k and 20 minutes, which was fine as I’ve also got back to pulling brambles and nettles, and barrowing stones, so they clocked up extra active minutes, but by pushing over the 30 minutes in the morning, I’m guaranteeing myself the minimum every day, and setting myself up to achieve a minimum of 10k steps too.

My 5 minute arm workout is also back as a daily one, especially as I’m not dancing as much at the moment. I was thrilled with how toned my arms looked in my sleeveless dress at my son’s wedding, and I want to keep them that way for as long as possible!

Having used Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen App for over a six months, I’ve been able to keep my diet pretty balanced, and get the nutrients I’ve needed, but I have been eating a little more than I’ve needed. Vegan Magnum ice lollies are delicious, but don’t count as a whole food, unfortunately, so they, and a tendency to eat dates by the handful, need to be kept under control. I’m keen to return to eating until I’m full and then stopping, as the healthiest way to eat on a whole food plant based diet.

I’ve committed myself to more magic on my river bank than I have been this year so far. At the last full moon, I set off a powerful healing spell for a friend, that was added to and boosted by other magical creatives, and I’m happy to say our friend is a lot better.

But I’ve struggled to get back into a writing routine. I’m used to days, or big chunks of days, where my partner is at work and I can write. Even with a few hours to myself, I’m not writing, so I decided to hold myself to account. I have to write for ten minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what it is, but I have to sit and write for a minimum of ten minutes.

I’ve six short pieces so far (more by the time you read this!), some of which could be longer stories, or even novels.

Visit again for Holding myself to account, and a chance to have your say as to how I should expand my writing.

 

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 3

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The Wheel turns. Nothing stays the same. Since 14th June this year, my life has been chaotic. I’ve spent the past three weeks attempting to restore some of my familiar, important routines, but from the chaos I’ve emerged changed myself.

I don’t think we know what we’re capable of until we are challenged. Eighteen months ago, I stopped smoking, my hormones went crazy and I gained 30lbs in weight. I’ve never felt so ill, depressed and anxious in my life.

I didn’t look like myself, and felt like a totally different person. The doctor told me I’d have to get used to the mass of weight around my middle, that there was nothing I could do about it. I refused to believe her, and embarked on my own programme of diet and exercise, in a way that suited my life and body. Whole food plant based eating plus walking, dancing, yoga and a few specific exercises meant I attended my son’s wedding on 30th July, having lost all the weight and happy with my ‘new’ body.

And on the 14th June, we made a commitment to our daughter, to renovate the upstairs of our house to create a welcoming room for her by the 3rd August. We turned a barn-like space into a sanctuary.

Eating good food and not smoking helped our endeavours. Having lost a lot of weight and getting my waist back, helped me lime mortaring, lime washing, emulsioning and rubbing down woodwork, as I was able to bend and stretch as I always had, but realistically, I knew I couldn’t do everything. I still had dance classes to teach, and performances to lead my ladies in, so they had to stay, but without a deadline for my novel, I put my writing on hold.

I didn’t stop writing completely. I had a short story started, so I set myself the deadline to get it ready for the submission date of 15th July. I didn’t make it, but I’ll read you the story from my Welsh riverbank soon, and you’ll hear how much I enjoyed writing Secrets in the Water. (You can listen to other stories read by me on my YouTube channel Phoenix and the Dragon https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber)

And why have I changed?

I can do anything. All I need to do is go for it. Living my life with my daughter is wonderful. Who knows what adventures she and I will have in the future. Maybe we’ll start a business together. Deadlines are important, but spending time supporting and loving your family and friends is more important.

Visit again to find out which routines I’ve reinstated and a new way to get writing again.

 

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 2

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I remember when each of my children were born, my wish for them was health, and I was blessed with three healthy babies. As they grew, my wish for them was happiness, and that wish carries on to this day, and must be every parents’ wish for their child.

On 30th July 2019, my eldest son was married. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

I spent the day smiling, remembering the determined little boy who wanted to fly aeroplanes when he grew up, who became a handsome, focussed adult…and a pilot.

During the evening celebration, my son sat with me and told me how much he appreciated all I’d done for him. I didn’t need his thanks. All I wanted was to see my child happy, and I was blessed to be part of a magical day where I could see how happy he really was.

Bringing up children is hard work, and there were many times over the years, when I worried about the decisions I was making for them, but seeing them all, good looking, intelligent, well rounded human beings, I took a moment to be proud of all I’d done.

I gave them all the best start in life, and for me, that was bringing them up as vegetarian babies and young children. As they grew older, they were given the choice to eat what they wanted, and it broke my heart that at the age of 15, my eldest son chose to eat meat. He found pressure from others difficult to bear, so I didn’t blame him, but I’m thrilled to say he and his wife have been vegan for the past three years, and they chose a vegan menu for their wedding. The food was fabulous, and everyone enjoyed it.

There is always a hint of sadness on these days, thinking of those who have passed, who would have loved to be part of the celebration, but weddings are days to look ahead.

The Wheel turns and the world changes. Maybe in a year or two, my partner and I might be celebrating being mamgu and tadcu.