Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Reading . . a window to the world. Not forgetting libraries.

Libraries have been part of my life forever.

As a little girl growing up in Lancashire it was second nature to pay a regular visit to that wonderful building in Railway Road, Leigh, where I could lose myself in a world of . .well . . . whatever I wanted to read. Growing into the teen years, I remember my father asking to see what I was reading to make sure that it was 'suitable'.

Later, as a young mother, I regularly parked our daughter's Royale pram outside and climbed the steps into the the hallowed depths of the library. There, my baby and I spent many a happy hour as she nestled comfortably on one arm while I held a book - usually a medical one  - in my other hand. To this day I swear that she absorbed the contents as she later became a nurse! 
Picture of a man reading in a library
Moving to Wales and the Dee Valley we were many miles from town with a bus -up a steep hill to the bus stop  - once an hour. We continued our regular practice  of library visits we trundled up another even steeper hill to the George Edwards Hall in Cefn Mawr. As our family grew the  three children were never short of a book to read as they went at their own pace. The new library was a joy. 

Mills and Boon romances and Georgette Heyer historical novels were another of my escapes in those days and beyond. Or biology books, food nutrition as I checked that I was providing healthy meals, gardening, travel . . . Occasionally, when funds allowed,we bought a book for the children; especially for Christmas, birthdays or simply after saving up our pennies. But with a lending library, cost is not an issue. Can't decide between two? Borrow them both.

Nowadays, living nearer to Wrexham town, I use the very modern Wrexham Library. Thankfully, in spite of there not being as many books on the shelves as hitherto, it has escaped a complete cut in services. The Internet facilities, reading corners for children, strategically placed chairs among the rows of shelves, and the research and study facilities upstairs are a joy.

Libraries - we already pay for this service in our Council Tax charges.

Two people in a library among the bokshelves.Not being able to 'afford' to read is not an option and  when we are ordering 'cheap' books on the Internet, let us not forget our libraries. They are free to join and you can now download eBooks as well. We already pay for this service in our Council Tax bill. Nowadays, I can come away with a huge pile of books . . . a recipe for escaping into my own little world as I have done all my life,delving into the world waiting for me among the pages.

If a book that you would like to read is not in stock, just ask if it can be ordered. Askews and Holts are the main library supplier in the UK but -for all our titles at least -there are other global suppliers as we use the global distribution services of Ingram Lightning Source for print and eBooks as well the US Smashwords eBook distribution to libraries.

You know what they say. 'Use it or lose it'. Happy reading.


Images-Google Images)

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Winter Wondrland and the Best Laid Plans . . .

The snow has fallen a little earlier than anticipated.

After weeks of waiting, we are nearer to our garden re-vamp. Yes, tomorrow is the day. Today? We are covered with a smattering of snow. It looks beautiful but we are hoping for
a few degrees warmer weather this week.

You may ask 'Why December?' Why? Our chosen gardener is in great demand and is booked up some months ahead. The bulbs have been dug up and packed away in a dark corner. New plants are waiting. I have been busy with graph paper, pencil and ruler - the old-fashioned but satisfying way. It certainly exercised my brain as I marked out the squares and what they represented in cm/inches; converting one to the other. Pictured is a Viburnum Tinus or snowball bush. They are meant to flower in Jan/Feb but the mild winter so far gave them other ideas.

We have spent the late summer visiting garden nurseries and garden centres far and wide from Powys to Cheshire. We had some lovely trips out as we delved down  country lanes hidden between the lush green fields heavy with the fruits of summer. We had fun deciding what to keep and what is past its best. Two rose bushes are still under the chop. We will leave it to the gardener to decide if a heavy pruning will re-generate them or if they should go the way of other that are past their sell-by date.

For now, we are in the throes of pre-Christmas lunches with friends far and wide. This morning, I logged on to Facebook to find that they had helpfully compiled  a list of events in 2017. It reminded me that the year was more than 365 days. It reminded me how many people make up the fabric of our lives and that, without them, we would be poorer without them. This is the positive side of social media. 

With another fall of snow in the night we are hoping that the roads are clear this morning as we journey to meet up with some of these fiends - the ones that Gold Wing motorbiking brought to us.

A small thought to leave you with. I am trying to remember this - the accepting part - in the midst of our current challenge. 
It says, 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.'


Monday, 4 December 2017

Shivering into Winter

My last post was full of the joys and beauty of Autumn. 

Winter is here with a flourish. 

Two weeks on and we have had a severe drop in temperature. It is cold and damp where  
we are in our corner of North Wales. Winter however, has its own beauty. At the Ponderosa on the Horseshoe Pass, Llangollen/Llandegla/Llantysilio area the other week, all signs of Autumn had not only gone as those golden leaves blew away in the wind, there was a smattering of - yes - snow.

I am not going to bore you with Christmassy stuff; there is enough of that around. It is a pity that the true meaning of Christmas has been overshadowed by the increasing commercialism that we see around. Advent Calendars in particular have lost the true meaning of Christmas.

Normally, we would have just left Spain with a tan, memories of the wonderful displays of banks of Poinsettia plants that the Spanish use to decorate their roundabouts, streets, and hotels, a bag of carefully chosen Christmas presents for family from the wonderful shops in Nerja and Granada,before a hurried rush to catch up on writing Christmas cards. A change of plan in June hurtled us into unplanned and unknown territory as we faced a crisis.
Meanwhile, here is a flavour of what we have missed this year - memories:

Other matters.

All our previous skills and experience in the realms of construction, engineering, research, report writing etc has stood us in good stead. Hopefully their is light at the end of the tunnel.

For now, I sincerely hope that I can get back to my SEO [search engine optimization] and website updates along with  long-neglected Aquafit and Gym routine. It is looking good on that score at least. I have party clothes to get into!

Monday, 20 November 2017

Beautiful Llangollen in Autumn.

When all around you is fraught . . .

. . .the only solution is a walk along the Glan yr Afon - Riverside Park in Llangollen. So wonderful at any time of the year. The noise of the river rapids soothes. The timeless beauty of the towering mountain clothed in autumnal colours makes you realise what really matters.
Colours of autumn on the mountainside along the river Dee in Llangollen

Llangollen in the Dee Valley is beautiful at any season as is the drive down the A5 to Betws-y-Coed

Memories in the mists of time.

We are so lucky to live in this wonderful part of North Wales and thankful that we chose it all those years ago when looking for a better future. Times were a-changing in Lancashire in the late 60's with the closure of the coal mines and cotton mills - affecting engineering trades in the service industry. With hope in our hearts, we took the plunge and, with our small baby, went into unchartered waters in a manner of speaking.OH had passed his driving test but having no car, we hired one as he came for his second interview in a village nearby - the passport to a new life. 

We first saw Llangollen one snowy January as we drove down roads packed with ice and snow. The roads had only just become passable. The A539 runs alongside the river as it flows along the bottom of the valley. With snow-laden trees sparkling in the winter sunshine, to a young couple coming from a Lancashire mill town it was like fairyland. The street signs were - and still are -  in Welsh. Llangollen has a deep Welsh history and culture. Stopping for lunch at the Grapes Hotel just over the ancient bridge on the A5, we and our baby daughter were given a warm welcome and food.

Fast forward to November 2017

A view of the River Dee looking towards the bridge and rapids.Parking up in the car park on Market Street last week and hoping for an empty space I commented, " I think that Tuesday is market day". And it was. Stalls were spread along with market traders coming to the end of their morning's trading. We found a space. Coming out onto the street, we decided to head into town for a bite to eat. The Italian Fouzzi's Cafe Bar by the bridge and the Royal Hotel was again a good choice. Settling for a hot roast pork bap, side salad and fries, washed down with a cool drink, we had to hurry back to the car park to put in more money as OH must have pushed the wrong buttons when a 50p piece was rejected. One hour cost us £2.00 instead of £1  and we wanted 3 hours at £2.50.  Meanwhile, I wandered along to look in the range of independent shops of which Llangollen has many. 

Turning to head towards the side streets to the river, in front of us was that timeless view of the towering mountain that rises above and shelters the town. Today it was wearing its colourful autumnal dress. Passing the Cornmill riverside restaurant, we stopped for a while to watch the canoeist riding the rapids. This part of the river is a favourite for canoeists; the water races over the rocks as it heads towards the ancient bridge and beyond, through the villages and towns on its way to Chester and the sea.

This particular group appeared to be in training and quite young. Each waited for the signal from the instructor before they launched themselves off the weir into the raging river. So brave!
The rocks and changing scene of the river at Llangollen
Further along we were struck with awe and calmed by the sheer beauty of what nature had provided in this ever-changing scene. The photo above explains what I mean.

A little further along, we stopped to read the information board about the history of the Riverside Park. Retracing our steps, we took the easy, level  route back to the main road.

This little trip was just the medicine needed to soothe the soul.
Illustrated information board about the Glan Yr Afon Riverside Park.


Sunday, 12 November 2017

A Virtual Visit to Cordoba and Ronda in Andalucia, Spain.

Re-visiting memories as a consolation for not visiting Andalucia and Nerja this year.

Is it really three years since we re-visited Ronda and discovered Cordoba? Time flies. Unable to make our planned visit to southern Spain and Nerja this year, the first time for some years, I have been looking back on earlier blog posts. In 2013 we took advantage of the opportunity to re-visit Ronda in the mountains above Malaga and San Pedro on the coast. Ronda sits in the middle of no-where. When we rode there on our Gold Wing motorbike all those years ago we saw it sitting there surrounded by a 'nothingness'. 
Here is what I wrote in 2013.
Another Sojourn in Spain.


With four included trips during our stay in Nerja, Andalucia, (or Costa Del Sol) we hadn't anticipated wanting to take in any optional ones. However, Ronda called to us and it was a better alternative to hiring a car.
We actually first visited Ronda many, many years ago when staying further along the coast in Fuengirola. It was two bus rides and lots of winding roads up the mountains from the coast. Then we had a wonderful four days when we rode there on the Honda Gold Wing in 2001 as part of our Andalucian Adventure*
It was time to re-visit to see the gorge again. We were met by a local guide. This is normal practice in large towns of cultural interest. He was so enthusiastic and explained about the bullring before taking us around the side from where we could see over the plains - as well as a statue of a huge bull.
Walking around the side of the Parador to the distant strains of someone playing a Spanish Guitar, we all looked over the wall into the depths of the gorge below. 
Rounding the side of the Parador we came to the huge square in front of it - by the bridge. The guide was to take our party over the bridge into the old part of Ronda which goes back to Roman and Arabian times. I elected to stay behind as I wanted to wander at will and perhaps have coffee.

I found that the hotel in which we had spent our time in 2001 had changed its name. It is down a narrow street which leads from the square to the bullring. Coming back to the bridge, I noticed that the Hotel San Miguel across the road had terraces going downwards as they overlooked the gorge from the other side of the bridge. Taking the lift down, I settled down for coffee and to absorb the wonderful timeless view. Meeting my husband later, he was full of the tour and we elected to have lunch in this hotel - again on the terrace down below - and savour the atmosphere.


Cordoba was an extra trip which the Saga Reps organised. Being part of the 'real' Spain with so much history attached, we could not let this opportunity pass. Cordoba was occupied by the Moors in 711AD until reclaimed by the Spanish in the 13th Century. It is famous for its Mosque-Cathedral or Mexaquita as it is still known. It is actually now a Cathedral. It was too large to pull down so they built the cathedral inside.
On entering you are rendered speechless in awe at the wonderful design of arch after arch, one behind the other, going into the distance.

As we walked around we could hear the sound of an organ in the distance and a choir singing. Entering the main chapel we were fortunate to experience this at closer quarters.
Leaving the Mexaquita through the Orange Tree Courtyard, our guide - again a local guide - took us into the old Jewish quarter with its narrow streets and alleyways crammed full of shops of all description. All in all, the time there was not long enough. You need a few days and more to really explore but it was wonderful to get a flavour of this important city. After lunch in a typical tapas bar/restaurant (which had a wonderful display of richly embroidered and embellished matador outfits belonging to famous matadors) where we devoured a huge pizza each, we strolled back to our pick-up point by the side of the Rio Guadalquivir.
Stopping by the Roman Bridge we captured more photographs and reflected how the buildings in those early days have lasted all this time.
Needless to say, after an early start we slept on the journey back to Nerja!

Read about Part One of our sojourn in Andalucia - Nerja, Malaga and Granada. 

Publishing website: Facebook

Monday, 30 October 2017

Hello Kindle!

Good News. We are back in Kindle. Yes! All ten titles.

We have made some changes over the last twelve months but are happy to say that we are back in Kindle. And not just that. We have added our latest release Island Interludes to the extensive list.

Just Us Two Travel books have an increasing number of full colour photographs. Indeed, the last two have upwards of twenty full colour photographs to enhance your reading experience.

Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery and Chasing Rainbows go together as Chasing Rainbows is the sequel and the real ending to Rosie's story as they finally say 'good-bye' to their Gold Wing years.

Debut Fiction the travel-based ORANGES: A Journey is not illustrated. It takes you through parts of Portugal and Andalucia in southern Spain from the coast to the mountains.

The Lifelong Learning Personal Effectiveness Guides for career, employability and personal development are all illustrated in full colour with images, diagrams, charts and/or tables as appropriate to the topic. Lifelong Learning is an educational research paper and reference book. The other four are user-friendly workbooks with spaces to pause, reflect and (in print) record your answers.(You need a separate pad of paper or your PC for this in Kindle.)

All ten books are also in paperback with the Just Us Two travel and Fiction books now on Glossy Hardcover.


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Seagulls and sea breezes in the late sunshine of Llandudno.

We finally made our escape!

After the fierce winds of Monday, when the tail end of the hurricane named Ophelia found its way across the Atlantic to the UK, Wednesday dawned bright and clear. Was that a hint of the rising sun peeping between the leaves of the trees?

With computer switched off and plans made, we headed down the A55 Expressway to Llandudno on the North Wales coast. It is some time since we have visited this timeless seaside town with its wide curved bay lined with Victorian/Edwardian hotels; the bay is backed by the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance. That great rock jutting out to sea called Great Orme was unchanged. The pier stretched far out to sea towards the distant windmill farm.

Our first stop, as we came out of the shopping mall under the car park, was a tea break in the upstairs cafe of the re-furbished Waterstones bookshop . I used to have book signings there in the early days before it all changed.

Strolling along the promenade, I stopped to take photos. While Allen concentrated on the map I focussed on the unbelievable fat seagull that calmly stood at the edge of the pavement. No doubt it was eyeing up unsuspecting tourists for its next 'sandwich snatch'. (This happened to us the last time we were there. I sat on a bench chatting to Allen, sandwich in one hand, when out of nowhere a seagull swooped down and snatched my sandwich out of my hand. All I felt was something bang against my head.)

A fat seagull by the sea in LlandudnoA photo of the bay in Llandudno, North Wales

A photo overlooking taken from the pier in Llandudno.We strolled along part of the pier. At least we found where the cable car station was and Allen had worked out from the map on the promenade how to get up to it in the car. Perhaps when in season? Leaning over the pier rail, I looked down at the sea crashing against the rocks and the huge wall of rock stretching away around a bend.
'Are we on the Balcon de Europa in Nerja?' I asked Allen. He laughed. The sea wasn't as calm, the sun not as strong.

Although the start of the pier was lively with the sound of music playing, further along it was all tranquillity. There are many seats along either side to rest and enjoy the gentle breeze and warm sunshine as you gaze across the vast sweep of the bay. Last time that we came, it was summer and a
perishing cold and windy day. That was the time that the seagull swooped down. We didn't walk to the far end of the pier. When you do it is as if you are far out to sea, the pier is so long.

Many of the hotels are privately owned; not all serve lunches. Having passed the famous St.George's Hotel many times we thought that this time we would see if they served a bar lunch. Perhaps in the conservatory that stretches along the front of the hotel? We were not disappointed and they even had the red carpet out for us. The sandwiches were delicious, the ambiance quiet and unhurried, the waiter service excellent.  Altogether, a good choice.

As we normally decide to do, we took the scenic route back home, travelling down through the ancient and pretty town of Llanrwst that nestled in the mountains to Betws-y-Coed, the A5 old Holyhead - London route, and home.

The sea air and sunshine the best medicine of all.


Monday, 16 October 2017

Nature's Beauty on our Doorstep in Wrexham

The glory of Autumn at Erddig. Explore. Discover. Enjoy.

The National Trust property of Erddig was formerly the family home of the Yorke family of Wrexham, Wales. When we moved to Wales in the late 1960's, Squire Yorke was a familiar and
Photo of the avenue of trees in autumn at Erddig Hall, Wrexham
unusual sight in the town as he rode around on his penny-farthing bike. 

As he had no heirs, he gave the estate to the National Trust in 1973 with the proviso that the grounds/parkland be for the public to use and enjoy at no cost. Erddig Hall and gardens were in a dilapidated way to say the least. The formal walled gardens were buried under years of neglect. The hall was in a similar state. We remember reading that, before he died, Squire Phillip Yorke had resorted to living in two rooms as he couldn't afford the upkeep needed for this magnificent house. The house was subsiding and crumbling due to earlier coal-mining.

A glimpse into the task ahead.

IndoorsIndeed on his death, one room was found to have bowls on a bed to catch the drips of water coming through the ceiling. These Elizabethan bed hangings were sent to London for restoration. This was one of many projects needed to bring Erddig back to its former glory. The downstairs servants quarters are, today, a living testament to how life was in those days. Everything is set out as it used to be - pots, pans, furniture, kitchen, . . . Some years after the initial restoration in 2013, the Chinese Room was opened to the public on a few days a week. This is just a glimpse of the beauty of the hall itself.

Outdoors. Looking at the formal gardens today, it is hard to imagine that the avenue of trees, the canal water-feature, the fruit trees trained against a wall, had all but disappeared. With careful conservation and reference to the original drawings that were found, forty years on it is a different story. Our daughter and her family, often enjoy the beauty of Erddig. Our grandson took this photograph last week as the leaves start to turn into the glorious colours of autumn. It is a great place for families. Many old crafts have been revived in the out buildings e.g. carpenter.

Parkland. Many local residents enjoy the natural beauty of the grounds on their regular walks with their four-legged friends. One feature is the 'cup and saucer', a cylindrical cascade. Many school parties enjoy educational activities.

Shop and tea room. Of course, no visit to a National Trust property is complete without a visit to the wonderful tea room before ending up in the well-stocked shop. A good place for Christmas Shopping.

Getting there.
You don't have to go far if you live in the Wrexham County. Erddig is at the south end of Wrexham. Leave the A483 at Rhostyllen and head to Wrexham town. Before the cemetery on the left on the hill, turn right down the lane at Felin Puleston and follow the signs.

"Erddig Hall is a National Trust property on the outskirts of Wrexham, Wales. Located 2 miles south of Wrexham town centre, it was built in 1684–1687 for Josiah Edisbury, the High Sheriff of Denbighshire; ... Wikipedia"

Photo by kind permission S.M.T.

Friday, 6 October 2017

On the Nursery Trail. Not Babies and Children - Gardens.

With some beautiful Cheshire countryside on the way. 

Thursday saw myself and my other half, list in one hand, set off for a jaunt into Cheshire. Our destination was Grasslands Nursery in Lower Peover and Over Peover. And you are better with a satnav if you are not familiar with the area. (I never thought that I would say that!).
First stop was a cuppa at their Snowdrop Cafe. It seems a regular stop for these hardy cyclists.
Mission accomplished, after trundling two plants down to the 'Pay Here' hut we manoeuvred them into the car and headed out to our next stop. Our visit didn't take long as I had done a web search to find who stocked what we wanted.

Grasslands is a nursery, with rows upon row of sturdy plants of all kinds. But it is not a Garden Centre and therefore does not have the usual  shop full of goodies. Therefore, we wended our way through the rich Cheshire countryside with its trees and hedges turning gold in the autumn sunshine. 

Guided by our trusty satnav we soon found Plumleys Plant and Garden Centre but went past as the roadworks and work van outside his the signs. Turning around down the leafy country lane, we soon went back through the traffic lights and into the car park. Our search now was for various garden implements and bulbs. Although a lovely shop, with an enticing plant area - we weren't looking for plants - we didn't find what we were looking for. It was too early for a snack  lunch in the lovely cafe.

The last on our list was the Weaver Vale Garden Centre - a Klondyke and Strikes Garden Centre - at Winnington, Northwich. Eventually, after reaching Northwich from a different side from what we are
used to, we headed out, passing signs for the Anderton Boat Lift at Weaverham on the way.(Memories of Sunday ride-outs on our Honda Gold Wing motorbike.) Eventually, turning down a side road, we found the most wonderful garden centre. After a spot of lunch - just a scone for me and a piece of apple pie for him - we spent a happy hour inside looking at garden tools and bulbs for the garden.

After all this hard work we treated ourselves to an early dinner out - with a special 'Dine for Two' deal at the Egerton Arms on the edge of Cheshire and Wrexham. I have to say that the tomato and olive sauce with the salmon, dauphinoise potatoes, and spinach was excellent. I could have eaten a bowl of it. No hot spices to spoil it as some chefs are want to add to all sorts of dishes for the unsuspecting diner. The Pino Grigio Blush wine was also excellent.

Guess what I have been doing today?

After a late start due to lying awake in the early hours mentally writing a fairy story, I got out the graph paper and planned where to plant the bulbs. Don't you just love playing around with graph paper pencil and a ruler? Measuring out all those squares against what you have to put in them? No, I don't just toss them in the air and see where they fall. It is all in the planning.

'Job Done' as they say.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Amazon - Online or Brick and Mortar stores? Print or Digital?

Print book sales on the increase? Has the eBook bubble burst? 

It appears that Amazon are picking up on the trend for the surge in bookstore sales. Publishers Weekly reported this week that Amazon are to open two more brick and mortar stores in 2018.

It is good news that people are falling love again with print books. I too love to see 'proper' books on a bookshelf. But I have always maintained that there is a place for both print and eBooks.  Without regurgitating an old analysis on the benefits of both too much, I will pick out a few points of a guest article that I wrote some years ago, 'In Defence and Celebration of eBooks':

"I want to look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Paper books.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like a book in my hand as much as anyone; the suspense as you hurry through the pages, turn the page, and stay gripped while you chew on a sweet, take a slurp - sorry, sip - of wine, bite your nails etc., is not to be underestimated. The joy of running your finger along the spines of a row of books on the bookshelf, pausing to select one, pull it out, and browse, cannot be described fully.

But wait! You want to read your current book on the train or plane. The book you are in the middle of is quite bulky, you struggle to fit in in your bag or case, horror of horrors, your case is overweight and you have to leave it behind. Even if you do manage to fit the book in to your bag or case, while you sit in your confined space on the aeroplane there is little room to spread out while you turn the pages. The passenger in the next seat turns the page of his/her newspaper and knocks your drink over - all down the page you are reading. Disaster!"
Enter the e-reader . . . 

"It is the reading that is important. I cannot imagine what it would be like not to be able to read and interact with people as I absorb information and news. Or go off into my dream world as I escape daily cares and relax. . . .
Some people want some books in print and some stored on their reader. For different situations. But they want books. They want to read. Let's celebrate that!"

And it appears that Amazon have picked up on the fact that many readers want to wander into a bookstore, browse around, maybe have a cup of coffee and relax in a comfy chair while they make their choice. With booksellers floating around the store, they can check availability, order if not in stock .(Who has the space to stock a copy of the millions of books out there?)
With their own stores they are in a good position to stock the true best sellers.

The two new stores in Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas will bring their total to fifteen - from east to west.

If our titles are not in stock, you can browse on line in the 'Look Inside' feature that all our books have before ordering. 
  • A glossy hardback for a present, your bookshelf, or coffee table. 
  • A paperback as an alternative.
  • Kindle as well so that you do not miss a minute of the story when on the move. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

Supporting our Community

Surgeries Under  Pressure.

We are all aware of the pressures in our health service. Here in our own little corner of North Wales, we have been struggling a little more than most. 
My OH and I became involved with a local support group, the Friends of Pen-y-Maes Health Centre, whose aim is to get the Health Centre back to the excellent service it used to be.
Not to go into detail, suffice to say that things came to a head over these last two weeks when, at a public meting in the local church (divine intervention?) there was overwhelming support for a public protest before an Executive Board meeting for the North Wales health service.
After letters, e-mails, and contact with the media by organisers, councillors, and patients, we may, just may, be moving forward.

The Wrexham Leader covered the planned protest.

As did the Daily Post Wales who always give good coverage for Welsh matters.

The Peaceful Protest.

It rained. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) 'top brass' met with patients -in the rain - delaying the meeting in the process. They gave time and an ear to listen to concerns. We often say that there is a divide between North and South Wales, split as it is by a mountain range. And so it proved. Our combined voices, led by the courage of organiser Hayley, reached across the valleys of North Wales, over the mountains into the valleys of South Wales in this land of song, to Cardiff - the seat of the Welsh Assembly who are responsible for devolved health provision in Wales.

The media were out in force at the Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University to cover the story.
BBC Wales Today also reported on the evening news. 

Local papers also carried the actual protest as well as online posts.
Online newspaper

But we had a result. We were listened to. Hopefully the situation will be resolved soon. Let's hope so.

With the onset of winter, lives are at risk.

Rosalie x

Monday, 18 September 2017

Post Island Interludes Release - What Next?

Time to take stock on the home front.

Another hectic year today as my inner demons drove me to not only complete Island Interludes but bring it out in a glossy hardcover as well. In true madcap fashion, not only the latest release but the other three books in the Just Us Two Travel series along with fiction story ORANGES: A Journey. But first - 

On the Home Front.

Taking stock of the garden and increasing mobility/maintenance needs prompted us to embark on Garden Project Stage 1 - back garden. Down came the dilapidated shed and up went two smaller maintenance-free ones. The gardeners found where the badgers had dug under next door's fence and under our flags a while back. Horrifying.

Garden Project Stage 2 - replacing flower beds for pots. This involved visits to Garden centres and eventually a lovely visit to Coed-y-Dinas Charlies Garden Centre in Welshpool. They had exactly what we were looking for. Of course, I had to fill a trolley with plants.
More online trawls have highlighted where I could buy and 'everlasting' shrub for a tub that is sheltered from the rain.  Another garden centre where I can get some quarter miniature standards for patio pots. Another day out, with lunch of course, is on the cards.
After shifting around some pots in the back garden and digging up some plants in the front bed, I have now turned my thoughts to spring bulbs. (Still daffs. and tulips to dig up in the front but I think  some small ones around the standard Lavender would be nice - that is if it survives the haircut that my daughter gave it! Snowdrops? Jonquils? Small tulips? they would look good in the old stone boot. 

Moving into the world of Glossy Hardback Books.

It was an offer that I couldn't resist - a free upload promotion. I always remember a book event customer saying to me when I was a newbie at this game, 'I only buy hardback books'. How deflated did I feel?

Of course, re-formatting the cover and interior into a larger size book was not a problem. In updating the front and back matter for the new release, now that both series are complete, I decided that the new hardbacks also needed the same treatment. A sweep of the editing produced a few updates. 

The other four travel-based paperback books needed new files.
Then of course,in the interests of consistency this led to the eBooks. It was an opportunity to revert to colour photographs in the travel eBooks that we had lost in recent changes.

All this followed on from our 'holiday' field trip to the Canary Islands to bring the last chapters up to date. Oh! and a jaunt across France and Spain into Portugal on a family visit. With temperatures at forty-five degrees, we were less than happy that the air conditioning failed (and even a loss of power on cruise control on inclines), The upshot of all this is that we 'eventually' had the car replaced.

Now that Island Interludes is live to order/download at point of sale globally along with the new glossy hardbacks with illustrated back cover, I only have to concentrate on keeping up momentum. And battle with frustrating IT system updates with other organisations - not USA ones I hasten to add. How can two electronic upload systems for the same information in the same organisation  not talk to each other? Actually, it is not the system. A computer only does what it is told to do. That is the difference between the human brain and a computer - well it used to be.

All in all I have been spending money but not on dresses. I promise. Not yet, I need to lose a bit more weight first!

Watch this space for Garden Project Stage Three . . . and the battle of the bulge.

Rosalie xx

Friday, 8 September 2017

Island Interludes eBook Launch Offer. Ends Saturday 9th

Global Distribution.

  • EBook half price launch offers (until Saturday 9th 23:59.)  eBook is enhanced with the images in colour.
  • Live links to Apple iTunes,
  • iBookstore, 
  • B&N Nook, 
  • Google Play
  • Plus download to tablets, PC with apps etc. in Smashwords Store 
  • **Kindle launch is delayed until October. In the meantime you can download mobi for Kindle and other formats for most reading devices and PC at the Smashwords Store
Lose yourself in the story and enjoy as you escape to the sunshine lands with us.

What people have said already:

"I read the Canaries section which is described beautifully, accurately, and with your unmistakable personal passion! Success and Good health to you both!" David Berry Canary Island resident and traveller. 01.09.2017

“The author’s professional approach strikes through”. A.J.Portugal.  16.08.2017
“I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to relax reading this easy flowing narrative of our part of the world.” Joseph Abela.
Island Interludes is illustrated with five maps and twenty-five photographs.
Island Interludes has a wealth of historical and geographical information.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Island Interludes.Now on Release in Print and eBook.

Introducing Sicily - where we left you in The Long Leg of Italy.

"An island of mystery, sunshine, and untold stories. An island dominated by a volcano that erupts when it is angry and the molten lava needs release into the sky as it forces its way from the bowels of the mountain. An island that stretches back into the mists of time, drawing you into its deep mysterious soul as it hugs its secrets of the past to itself. An island at the foot of Italy that floats in the Mediterranean Sea with the warm waters of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas lapping at its northern and eastern shores.
In The Long Leg of Italy, we left our story as we arrived in Messina in Sicily on the ferry from Reggio de Calabria in southern Italy. As the coach rolled down the ramp, we couldn’t help reflectin
g on our first visit in 2005 when we had taken the train to Messina to check out the logistics of coming across on our Honda Gold Wing converted trike.

The romance and mystery of Sicily had always made a pull on my imagination. As we had had our wings clipped so to speak in 2004, the big question was, ‘Where do we go next?’ The story continues. . . ."

Share our diverse adventures and explorations into this ancient island,. Siracusa, Castel Mola high above the sea above romantic Taormina with its Greek Theatre . . .

What people have said already:

"I read the Canaries section which is described beautifully, accurately, and with your unmistakable personal passion! Success and Good health to you both!" David Berry Canary Island resident and traveller. 01.09.2017

“The author’s professional approach strikes through”. A.J.Portugal.  16.08.2017
Island Interludes is illustrated with five maps and twenty-five photographs.
Island Interludes has a wealth of historical and geographical information.

From the book back.

"With her usual self-depreciating, dry humour, the author recounts the adventures, the culture, sights, and sounds as ‘just us two’ bound through the islands with joy; ride up mountains on a scooter, a Boom Trike, and even on foot like a mountain goat as they escape to the sun in the ancient islands of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean."

Global Distribution.

Lose yourself in the story and enjoy as you escape to the sunshine lands with us.