Living Between the Lines

A wry look at family life

  • Living Between the Lines

    Summer’s End

    What a way to bring summer to a close! The past three weekends have been amazing. After more than 18 months of restrictions and lockdowns we opened up our garden and finally got friends and family together in one place. 1st: Came my youngest son’s 30th birthday party which he held in our garden (30, How did that happen?) – It was a far cry from the teenage parties of yesteryear! The thing about 30 year olds is, they are grown up and they willingly help tidy up afterwards. 2nd: Lisa’s 50th birthday party – also held in our garden with the same marquee, this time with a pizza van…

  • Living Between the Lines

    Going up in the world!

    I have moved up in the world (upstairs to be precise). My desk and files are now sitting in a spare front bedroom, (the bed being replaced by a sofa bed). This will be my new ‘study’. I love it already. The move was probably long overdue, I am no longer the only one in the house during the day. My husband and my dear friend, have both set up office space in the house. Lockdown is easing but my dear husband is showing no signs of wanting to make the daily journey to the office and much as I like meeting him for a coffee or lunch during the…

  • Living Between the Lines,  Mum is the word

    When Inspiration Strikes…

    A trip back to my late mother’s house in Essex, unearthed a real gem recently. The small, blue, notebook was crammed with recipes, some written on the pages in her neat, cursive hand, others culled from newspapers and bearing stories of mystery and intrigue on the back of a recipe for peanut butter cookies and trifle. These stories are sometimes just a headline, sometimes whole paragraphs…never the whole story. What a feast for the imagination! My mother started collecting the recipes when she married my father in October 1948, perhaps even before that! Having survived all these years, the pages are yellowed and worn with time but there is a…

  • Living Between the Lines,  Tidbits - the written word

    The Real Ghost Girl

    Having drawn on my own childhood for part of the Ghost Girl at Angel Cottage, I thought it only fair to relate one of the events that led me to write this story in the first place. It was a warm summer’s day back in the early sixties. I was probably about 6 years old or perhaps younger, playing on the stone steps set in my Grandparents’ back garden, in the village of Writtle. Cottages lay either side of us. My grandparents’ house was set back from the road, behind wrought iron railings. (A sad tale (tail) occurred here, during the war when the railings were removed for the war…

  • Living Between the Lines,  Puptales

    It’s a Mystery

    Embarrassing? Or have I cemented my reputation as being the dippiest person in the family? Hmm. Let me begin at the beginning, It is still February 2021 as I write… Flossie was a brave dog. She underwent surgery to remove a nasty tumour from her mouth. In true Flossie style, she is uncomplaining, but the operation means that when she is let out to perform her ablutions, she must be on a lead. There is to be no running into bushes or trying to chew logs (a favourite pastime of hers). So, early this morning, a Saturday, I came downstairs, still clad in night attire and wearing a dressing gown,…

  • Living Between the Lines,  Tidbits - the written word

    Memories pre- lockdown

    Despite the snow we had today and the long wait for Spring, vaccines and freedom, it is always a treat to find a memory that has lain forgotten amongst my files. Today, I found such a memory, written during one of our past visits to Portugal…reading it it makes me thirsty for more! ******************************************************************************************* Ragged palm leaves feathered against the cobalt sky, a crisp, white sun refusing to budge from its perch on the spine of next door’s roof. Heat bringing rivulets of sweat and hot rasping breath with it as it travels through the villa. There is no wind nor a kind and understanding summer breeze to relieve us.…

  • Living Between the Lines

    The Angel

    A quick story that may make your spine tingle… When clearing out my late mother’s house a few weeks ago, I found the Christmas Angel which had adorned our childhood Christmas trees for as long as I could remember. This, the angel who inspired the very angel mentioned in my novel, The Ghost Girl at Angel Cottage. Naturally, I was moved to keep the angel. This morning, having put up our Christmas tree, a little early for me this year (like many, I wanted to shrug off the current restrictions and threats with some early Christmas cheer) I stood back to admire it and realised that there was one thing…

  • Living Between the Lines

    Tell it how it is…

    You may conclude from that title, that I refer to the current pandemic, well, in part I do but there is a wider aspect to this statement – more of a question really. Do you always tell it how it is? Or, are you one of the people who tries to dress up the truth a little to make someone feel better when needed? Some are good at it, others not so good … but I expect we all, occasionally, do not tell it quite how it is. It wasn’t the current health crisis that brought this question to mind, although no one can deny that governments rarely tell it…

  • Living Between the Lines,  Mum is the word,  Puptales

    Dog in a towel

    On the day of my mother’s funeral: As we tried to swallow breakfast – hard to eat when your emotions are roller coasting – we were all a little careless it appears. The dogs were ambling around, not bothering anyone. Flossie appeared to be sleeping. Dave had taken her for a long walk…she was a little muddy so had been dried and wrapped in her dog dressing gown, just as she appears in this photograph. Youngest son went out to his car… front door was left open… Out of the door went Floss before anyone noticed. Heedless of the brown towelling wrapped around her middle, she headed off into the…

  • My Mum and me
    Living Between the Lines,  Mum is the word

    Thank you to a Guardian Angel

    Saying goodbye to my mum was the saddest of any tasks I’ve had to face during this Covid crisis. Yes, she of the dancing shoes, high heels and sparkling dresses, has left us. She was funny, nowhere near as prim and proper as she appeared and the master of the disparaging look. Am I like her? It is not for me to say. Aren’t we all a little like our mothers? I did not take after her for dancing, nor for singing but my creative talents do come from her and my grandmother. Both talented ladies, painted and sewed a fine seam and my grandmother wrote many short stories that…