Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Merry-Go-Round of 2016

What a whirlwind of a year on the merry-go-round of life!

Firstly, I would like to wish all our family, friends, readers, and followers a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous 2017.

2016 started calmly enough. We firmed up plans for a visit to a close family member in Portugal. We  then literally 'escaped to the sun' with another visit to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. I had missed not having a break in February/March to soak up some much needed warmth.  It all seems a distant dream now. The plan on our return was to complete Island Interludes for publication towards the end of the year. But . . . the best laid plans have a habit of going awry. I did manage to complete the Malta chapter, which I sent to Maltese friends to check for accuracy of detail. I am grateful for their input.

April brought us an issue closer to home which exercised our minds; our little world rocked a bit; We also flew out to Lisbon in Portugal. I have to say that the bright and modern Lisbon Airport is so very easy to negotiate on arrival and on departure there was a group of very smartly dressed young ladies at check-in upstairs to direct us to where we needed to go. The hire car was excellent but I was a little worried when it slid into a drainage ditch which, due to the incessant rain that they were unusually having had turned the unmade-up road  at our destination out in the middle of nowhere into a slippy mess. Thankfully, there was no damage.

June saw us driving across France and Spain on a return visit to Portugal - on a mission - to take supplies as OH foraged in the garage for what he couldn't use any more and loaded the car.

Other activities reared their heads; they now pushed back my writing and publication plans and regular marketing activities. Then, a Saga brochure plopped on the mat and, there it was, a holiday in Tenerife in 2017 with excursions to most of the towns and valleys that we had visited some years previously. With the Taganana Valley, Mercedes Forest, Masca Valley, Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz, San Juan and a lovely hotel in the south of the island on offer I put my case. I needed a field trip in order bring my Tenerife chapter up to date and complete Island Interludes. There was no contest - just a laugh and a "book it". I now firmed up a new publication date for mid-year as long as I could get all the editing, book block, jacket design and advance publicity organized. I needed to re-focus.

In August, we attended an Open Day at the  Ingram Lightning Source UK printing facility in Milton Keynes. This was a fascinating and informative visit resulting in a change of distribution outlet strategy as we decided to consolidate and channel all e-book distribution through the recently set-up Ingram Spark with their one-stop shop of increasingly  global partners. We had our photo taken for the Ingram Spark calendar of which  we have received a copy.

Nerja, Costa Del Sol

Other aspects of our life intruded more than anticipated. Suffice to say that we were thankful of our planned sojurn in southern Spain in November.

 On our return, I found that the Windows 10 updates and configurations caused problems with my desktop PC resulting in loss of Boot Data and subsequent system recovery. E-mails came and went over the next week, calendar and
contacts were lost but thankfully backed up earlier in the year. I went back to basics, found graph paper and drew up a Gantt Chart for the processes that I needed to complete over the next few months, using colour coding with highlighter pens. he first edit of the 'Meandering the Mediterranean' section of Island Interludes is complete. We are back on track. 

Now, a few days before Christmas, we have reflected on what a busy and hectic year we have had with unexpected issues and problems being thrown at us in the hurly burly of life - as life has a habit of doing. Would we have it any different? Well, to be honest not really but a little calm is called for over the next few months so that we can catch our breaths and keep the home fires burning.

You can read about some of our travels in this blog. Follow the links at the side.

Once again, I would like to wish all our family, friends, readers, and followers far and wide a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous 2017.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

After the rain - music and sunshine on the Balcon de Europa.

And so our sojourn to Costa del Sol and Nerja ended.

After the glorious sunshine, the steady rain and wind came as a shock. Would it cease before we had to return to a cold UK? Our last Sunday looked promising. With hope in our hearts we looked peeped through the curtains on our last Monday morning. Threatening
clouds soon blew away; the glorious sunrise over the sea gave hope.

Hopping onto the Urban Bus outside the hotel Marinas de Nerja, " I told you the shops wouldn't be open," I chided as the one we had window shopped in after church on Sunday still had grilles across the doors.

"A wander at the other end of town, the shops down Pintada and a cuppa on the Balcon until they open is the answer," my husband replied.

What a good decision that turned out to be. After shopping and wandering down to the Balcon, the gentle sounds of a harp caressed our ears. As Allen settled down out of the, by now, hot sun, I wandered to capture the timeless scene as I walked to the far end where the Balcon juts out over the sea. If a picture says a thousand words, follow the link below to a short video where harpist Daniel Jordan ( delighted all around. No more words needed.


P.S. And the orange trees in town were full of ripening oranges.