What a fabulous holiday - we've had a seriously great time. And that in spite of the rain, which didn't dampen our spirits one jot, hurrah. Pause now for Boring Birder Moment (AKA BBM): we've seen 15 new birds in Norfolk, double hurrah! Including the bearded tit (my target bird for the week and identified by ... um ... me, even before our tour expert for the day could get to it), a spotted redshank, eider ducks, yellow wagtails, marsh harriers, reed bunting, gannet, a red-legged partridge, two golden pheasants, a ruff, several whimbrels, a sandwich tern, a willow warbler, two tree creepers and two yellowhammers. Well gosh! And yellowhammers really do sing: a little bit of bread and no cheeee-eese. Right in front of us on top of a bush too, Gawd bless it.
The hotel was grand too - a room the size of Essex so it became utterly exhausting just reaching the bed from the door, and some fabulous food. And - triple hurrahs (but we knew as we'd checked for this) - the menu did indeed change every day. I do so hate hotels where they only change it every week - it's pure laziness. I also ate samphire for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed the eating experience - and yes the waiter does have to give you instructions. It's very messy! And I had a chicken curry dish to die for. Mind you, they were quite quaint, as well as being totally charming - the concept of trays doesn't seem to have reached Norfolk yet. If they brought you something which required more than two hands, they would make several trips. We only saw someone use a tray once, for clearing up a lot of drinks, and he had obviously been around a long time. Perhaps you have to serve at the hotel for ten years before they give you a tray of your own? It's a mystery ... It was also a mystery why I had to keep asking for a jug of water and glasses and they were most reluctant to provide one, or so it seemed! Lord H thinks it's because they know what's in the water and it's the cause of all that Norfolk inbreeding, and who's to say he's wrong?...
“Maloney's Law has excellent pace and a rich sense of place as it eases its way into the criminal world. Anne Brooke knows her London and understands the motives of both the 'good' and the 'bad'. The clever 'insider' knowledge helps to keep you on tenterhooks. But this is more than another 'gay crime novel'. It touches on very powerful emotions and there are some heartrending moments. One can't help liking Paul Maloney and his 'Laws' that mark him out ultimately in his true colours. A further precept might be added to those 'Laws'. All it takes 'to make a town good or make it what you see' is for 'good' people to do nothing. And Paul Maloney is not one of those 'good' people. He is, in the final assessment, a man of heart (despite his statement that friendship is better than love) and of integrity. He is a man of principle. A thought-provoking book.”
"Riotous "chick-lit" with a pink twist and heaps of laugh out loud moments. Just adored impulsive – or should that be impetuous – Angie and her motley, larger-than-life entourage. Gotta love those knickers. Simply gorgeous."
Again, many thanks, Vicki! Other good book news is that two of my poems, Venetian Doorway and Bridge Song, are published in the latest edition of The Seventh Quarry poetry magazine. Lovely to see them there, and I'm sure I'll enjoy reading the rest of the work included too. That brings to an end my poetry submissions actually, as I've tried my hand at no more magazines since then. It just seemed better to stop - too much trauma in the silences, as people don't generally let you know if they don't want stuff now. So there you go.
And today, we've spent a grand few hours at Titchfield Haven and have spotted another two new birds! First, two Little Ringed Plovers right in front of us, and secondly the gorgeous Osprey - being mobbed by anxious birds desperate for it to leave their vicinity. Both wonderful. After all that, I've had a much needed - two-hour! - nap. Equally wonderful.
Whilst on holiday, I finished Bethan Roberts' novel, The Pools. A fabulous start and a very good ending - but a very, very slow middle. I wasn't sure how they could be connected really. She seemed to give me a lot of irrelevant stuff, but even so she writes well. The book's strapline of "A cool and relevant novel" did rather seem to damn with faint praise as well as being not entirely true (to my mind the main character is the son, not the father - I was fed up with the father by the time I'd got a quarter of the way through). If I'd seen that first, I suspect I wouldn't have picked it up, although it's had one good result: I'd like my next novel to have the strapline of "A hot and irrelevant novel". By George, that'll draw 'em in ...
Today's nice things:
1. Being on holiday
2. Birds - new ones aplenty!
3. The Maloney review
4. The Champers comment.
Causes Anne Brooke Supports