Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Memories of my mother

My publisher MuseItUp invited me to post some recollections of my mother at the May blog, the theme of which is Mother's Day, so I'm sharing the following, which is only part of my contribution.

My mother, Lucy Agnes, celebrated her 100th birthday Boxing Day and left her body on the night of the 28th December, 2010.

During the last few years of her life Mum’s hearing was impaired and she suffered from macular vision. In her own words: “It seems as if there’s a small coin placed over the centre of my eyes and I can only see round the edge of it.” For years she suffered from back pain and one of her lungs only worked at quarter of its normal capacity. However, Mum’s wits were needle sharp and remained so until the very end.

Mum had more common sense than anyone else I have ever known and I could always turn to her for advice. There’s a huge gap in my life. She’s always in my head. I see a film she would have enjoyed, go somewhere she would like and miss her dreadfully. Sometimes I pick up the phone to give her a ring and realise she’s no longer there for me – at least – not in this world.

Since mum’s death memories have flooded into my mind fast and furiously. I imagine the young Lucy leaving school at fourteen. Her father arranged for her to be apprenticed to a milliner. He said that it would provide a living for life as women would always wear hats.

Mum spent one miserable day at the milliners. On the next day she tramped the streets of London until she found a job at one of the large London stores. Nothing my wonderful grandfather said persuaded her to return to the milliners.

Over the years Mum worked at many of the large, fashionable London stores in the West End where she met potential husbands. One of them was a high-ranking civil servant who had a splendid house run by his housekeeper in the Chilterns, near Wendover. They used to go for long walks in all seasons. Afterwards they went to his house where they enjoyed afternoon tea. Cucumber sandwiches made with thinly cut bread, scones with strawberry jam and fancy cakes in the summer; crumpets, cheese on toast and fruit cakes in the winter. However, the civil servant was too old for her so she turned down his offer of marriage, but he was not the one who broke her heart.

She never told me the name of the man she fell passionately in love with, but not passionately enough to go to Brighton with him for – as she put it – “naughty weekends”. However, she and the man she loved, who I shall call John, and other friends often piled into cars and set out for Brighton, where they swam in the sea, ate fish and chips and returned to London in the small hours of the morning.

John went on business to Australia. Mum waited for John to return and dreamt of marrying him. All her hopes were destroyed. John, Lucy, her girlfriend, May and May’s fiancĂ©, Bunny, went out for a meal at a posh restaurant. Halfway through the meal Bunny looked John straight in the eyes. “Why don’t you tell Lucy you’re married?” Bunny asked. I can only imagine the scene and grieve for my mother, who lost the love of her life.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Withdrawal symptoms

One of my grandsons stayed for the night - we had a lovely time but there was little time to write. I did turn on the laptop but he plonked himself next to me and ...aged five...began reading the new novel I'm writing. (According to his teacher is reading age is seven plus.)

Later I made 5 and a half pounds of rhubarb chutney, tidied up the house and pulled up some potatoes to make potato salad. The potatoes are growing on last year's patch and need to be pulled up so that they won't cause disease in this year's newly planted patch. I made a mixed salad useing greens from the garden, including young dandelion leaves and some feverfew, which is very bitter but hardly noticeable if it is chopped very finely. I added chopped chives to the potato salad and fresh basil to the green salad.

This afternoon I had my hair coloured and cut and when I came home had to tidy up the house and water the garden and now ... at last the withdrawal systems are decreasing,

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban

Yesterday my daughter and I visited the Cathedral Abbey Church of St Alban.

St Alban lived in the Roman city of Verulimium. His life was transformed by a Christian priest who he sheltered from persecution. When St Alban professed his faith before a judge he was flogged but still refused to deny his Christian faith and was sentenced to death.

"St Alban was brought out of the town across the river and up a hill to the site of execution where his head was cut off. Legend tells us that on the hill-top a spring of water miraculously appeared to give the martyr a drink. Also moved by his witness the original executioner refused to carry out the deed, and that after his replacement had killed Alban, the executioners eyes chopped out. This account is based on that of the Venerable Bede."

The children enjoyed their visit and the picnic in the beautiful grounds at the rear of the abbey.

When I visit Westminster Abbey, it fills me with awe but St Albans gave me a sense of welcome as though the ancient building had opened its arms to me.

I will vist the Cathedral again, go on the guided tour, spend time in the library and make notes.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Chance Encounter

Yesterday, I needed more plant pots so I went to the Pound Shop and then visited Wilkinsons, where I bought some brackets and chains for hanging baskets and some trailing fuschias.

A bit hot and tired, I lunched at British Home Stores and sat at a table opposite an amazing gentleman who must have been about 90. He started chatting to me about healthy, organic food, something I'm so passionate about that I grow about 60% of my own. He then asked me what I do and when he learned I write romantic historicals, amazed me by his knowledge of Queen Anne's era in which Tangled Love is set. Chatting to him was a delight and I hope I bump into him again.

Rosemary Morris.

Tangled Love 27/01/2012 MuseItUp Publishers

Thursday, 7 April 2011

MuseItUp publishers - special offer

This week Muse It Up Publishing have two special offers for $1.99 each.

The first is Crimson Dream by David J. Normoyle a young adult fantasy fiction novel.

"Haunted by a dream of his beloved sister's death, an asthmatic seer leads his people against a long forgotten enermy."

The second is Norman by Craig Gehring a sci-fi novel.

"Journalism student Clayton East is hot on the trail of a multi billion hoax - a research project into artificial intelligence authored by a sceintist turned exile.

He'll risk his careet, his friendship and his love to get the scoop of a lifetime."

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Historical Fiction - Research

I have begun a Restoration Novel set soon after Charles II was crowned King of England.

My bedside table is piled high with reading material about the period. Another, smaller pile of books borrowed from the library are in a heap on my desk in the spare room. I woke up at 5 30 a.m. and decided tecord the tit-bits about customs, fashion, food, gardens, husbandry etc.

Recreating times past to the best of my ability requires meticulous research which I enjoy.

Our well-to-do ancestors ate well. In one book asparagus, Spanish cardoons, grapes and figs are mentioned.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Rainy Day

After cold, icy weather during winter, when I was housebound, I've enjoyed a few sunny days in the garden. Yesterday was cool but pleasant so I planted my maincrop potatoes, which had been chitting indoors. Then I potted up Idli tomatos. Last year this variety provided dozens of small, sweet yellow fruits. I also sowed some mustard seeds, on Thursday I'll sprinkle some cress seeds over them and in a short time have mustard and cress for salads or sandwiches.

Back to the main topic. Today is rainy so I shall remain cosy indoors while e-mailing, blogging and, of course, writing in the hope that my new work will be published,

All the best,

Rosemary Morris

Forthcoming release. Tangled Love. 27.01.2012 Reprint of Tangled Hearts