Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lake disappointment

On Friday evening's local news there was a piece about the last Vulcan bomber.  It's coming up to the end of its flying days, and is doing a flypast around the country to celebrate and/or say goodbye.  And it was due over Windermere on Saturday afternoon.

We last saw this very aircraft, over the lake, two years ago at the Windermere Air Show and an incredible sight (and sound) it was too.  Seeing a massive bomber doing aerobatics over the water, standing on its tail, weaving, rolling, and all to the backdrop of that staggering engine roar, was something neither Dave nor I will ever forget.  So we cancelled any plans for the afternoon and braved the hot sun to toddle down to the lake.

We got there a little early, just in case, and found a convenient bench in the shade with a great view up the lake towards Waterhead, and settled down to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Around us other frustrated viewers waved binoculars and expensive cameras, and checked details of the Vulcan's itinerary on its Facebook page.

By ten past three we realised we'd long since passed the point of no return and set off home, with never a glimpse of the Vulcan.  We heard later that it did indeed fly over the lake, but due to an emergency involving the air ambulance near Ambleside, had had to alter its flight plan.  When it passed overhead it was so high up that it was barely visible, or audible.

It's obviously just 'one of those things', and if the air rescue was indeed the reason for the change then it's entirely understandable.  Very disappointing, though, as that was almost certainly our last chance to see this majestic aircraft in flight.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Strawberries and peacocks

Yesterday afternoon we were invited by a couple of our friends to a strawberry tea in aid of the charity organisation The Soroptimists.

The event was held at a big Edwardian house on the hillside above (lake) Windermere.  The weather wasn't the best for garden parties, with clouds, a strong if fitful breeze, and frequent heavy showers, so the hostess was forced to move indoors, but it was still very pleasant.

Tea was laid out in the dining room (with a big bowl of strawberries and some delicious home made cakes and scones); there was a raffle to raise funds for the charity, and our friends took us on a tour of the owners' large and stunningly beautiful gardens, with views across the lake to Claife Viewing Station (a Victorian tourist attraction, newly refurbished by the National Trust and on our list for later in the year) on the opposite shore.  And when we strolled round to the rockery, there was even a peacock scratching about in the undergrowth!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Another reduction

Riptide's sale to celebrate National Pride Month continues, and this week it's the turn of the Riptide Rentboys collection.  This features my novella-length story Necessity's Door, and the whole collection of four e-books is reduced from $11.96 to just $4.99.  The offer only lasts for a week and you'd be daft to miss it, so hurry along to the Riptide catalogue now!


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Wordsworth House

We had a really nice day out on Saturday, visiting Wordsworth House in Cockermouth.  This is a National Trust property, but not one we'd ever been to before.  In fact, we'd only ever been to the town once, years ago before the devastating floods, on a terribly wet day which we spent mostly doing a tour of Jennings Brewery to get out of the rain!

Going back was great.  The town has recovered from the 2009 deluge remarkably well and looked lively and buzzing, full of attractive independent shops, antiques centres, cafes and galleries.  We mooched up and down the main drag, had a coffee, mooched some more, poked about in the antique shops, had lunch, and finally headed for Wordsworth.

The poet lived in this house before moving to its more famous counterparts, Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount.  He and his family were tenants of his employer, the Earl of Lowther, who may even have partly furnished the property to show off his own wealth to their visitors.

The National Trust have done a super job with the place.  Where Dove Cottage is all about Wordsworth the word-smith, this is far more about his life as a family man, and as an employee.  I hadn't even realised that he was employed as Lowther's estate manager - and, judging by the tone of various letters scattered about, very much at the Earl's beck and call.  "You will receive this letter on Monday and will travel to Millom on Tuesday..." without so much as a please or thank you.

The house, although one of the larger properties on the High Street, was by no means a stately home and the interior room sizes and furnishings seem to have been relatively basic.  Ann, Wordsworth's wife, apparently didn't even have a cook or housekeeper, just a single live-in servant, which was surprising for that age.  It all built up into a fascinating portrait of a man who was by no means a 'gentleman of leisure' and had to work hard for his living - not at all the impression you tend to get of one of our most famous poets these days.

The garden was also a delight, with lots of fruit trees, hidden corners, old state roof tiles with bits of Wordsworth's poems scribbled on them, and even some chickens!

Personally I got rather put off Wordsworth by having to wade through 'Michael' at school, but this is still definitely recommended as a day out, whether you're 'into' his poetry or not.

Monday, June 08, 2015

And again...

This week it's the turn of 'Gleams of a Remoter World', which is on sale via the Riptide catalogue for only $2.99 for the ebook - a reduction of $4. 

The book, set on the stunning west coast of Ireland, is a poignant ghost story intertwined with an intriguing mystery.

Grab it now before it's too late!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


Riptide are currently holding a giant 'blowout' sale with quite a few titles priced at only 99c - and Necessity's Door is on the list!

This is my short and somewhat naughty novella about undercover hi-jinks, heavily based on all those stories about undercover police doing things they shouldn't have. 

You can find out more by following this link to the full list of 99c titles at Riptide's catalogue.  If you can't see Necessity's Door straight away, you may need to click over onto page 2.