Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My favourite things from the year so far...

We're almost halfway through the year now - and I can't believe how quickly it's gone! The mornings and evenings are lighter, everything's turning green and flowers are appearing. I've even been out without a coat several times. Late spring is definitely my favourite time of year.

I've just come back from my annual pilgrimage to Fowey and all the scenery that inspired Daphne du Maurier's books. God, I love it there! Every time I see a sign for Fowey, I hear the end of chapter eleven of Frenchman's Creek in my head...

'And then, stretching her arms above her head and smiling, and glancing back at him over her shoulder she said to him, "Where are we bound then?"
"We are bound for Fowey Haven," he told her.

So for the last three days, I've been wandering around Fowey Haven. I've been across to Ferryside on the Bodinnick ferry; I've swam and sauna-ed, listened to the gulls and the waves slapping against the harbour, bought multi-coloured bonbons from my favourite sweetshop, and eaten fancy fish and chips - followed by a dessert pizza (surprisingly delicious!)

And - of course - I walked down to the beach where Maxim shot Rebecca! 

'We were standing in a little narrow cove, the shingle hard and white under our feet, and the sea breaking on the shore beyond us.
Maxim smiled down at me, watching the bewilderment on my face.
"It's a shock, isn't it?" he said, "no one ever expects it. The contrast is too sudden, it almost hurts."'

Before we went away, I had a run of celebrations only a few days apart, which might as well have been known as the 'Festival of Chocolate' - including my birthday, Mother's day and Easter, so I was given flowers, chocolate and fancy notebooks. I do love a fancy notebook!

We went to the Rococo Gardens - as usual - to see the snowdrops, which were late this year, but very pretty. There were also some fantastical tree sculptures.

After that, came my Leipzig trip - which was pretty thoroughly covered by my last blogpost, but it'll definitely remain one of my highlights of this year. It still makes me smile every time I catch sight of the phone cases I brought back for myself and my eldest son.

Last but not least, I spent a lovely afternoon in Birmingham last month, chatting to authors, bloggers and friends. I was on a panel of authors who write historical fiction for children and teens, as part of 'History Month' at Birmingham Waterstones. It was organised by Rhian Ivory, author of the brilliant 'The Boy Who drew the Future' and the lovely Jamie from Birmingham Waterstones. Also on the panel were Lauren James, Emma Carroll and Katherine Woodfine - all of whom have written books I've read and loved. I was very lucky to be in such company! We talked about our books and the people or places that inspired them; and the research we did; and the reasons we love historical stories and so on. Afterwards there were questions and answers, and book signings. It was lots of fun. We've since had so much enthusiasm from other branches of Waterstones, there's definite possibility of the history girls going on tour. Rock and roll!