Happy Birthday Bollo!

Bollo

The first time I set eyes on my hairy hound he was ten weeks old, a chubby little chap with deep brown eyes and paws the size of plates that he most definitely needed to grow into.

He slotted easily into our household and soon become the focus of much cuddling by my daughter, spoilt by long walks, fed delicious doggy meals and enjoyed many tasty leftovers and treats.

Jan  march 2010 Bollo 039

During his first year he went through three training classes and several pairs of wellingtons (his favourite teething ‘toy’ as a pup) and soon became the thirty-seven kilo lump you see today.

Even at five, he’s an effervescent soul that bounds everywhere and still takes off for his morning walk like there’s a party at the end of the village and he’s missing it. His favourite welcome is a head-butt as he tries to lather you in doggy kisses. When he does his business, he waits for me to gather my bag and lean down to pick up, only to step forward and shower me in tufts of grass in a feeble attempt at covering it up. But… he still manages to squeeze a smile out of me every day and my life simply wouldn’t be complete without him.

Bollo Beach Cornwall

In recent years, he’s not only been a treasured friend and companion, he’s always transformed into my very own partner-in-crime.

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Catching Up

Christchurch

It’s been a busy week and I’m just back from a family weekend in Oxford, so I apologise in advance for this week’s blog post which is rather made up of bits and pieces. I will share more of our Oxford experience with you soon. In the meantime the above picture is the sun setting on the ancient walls of Christchurch College, whose Great Hall proved to be the inspiration for the film version of Hogwart’s hall and is well worth a visit.

 

Book Launch

Lauch

Last Wednesday I travelled to London to the launch party of ‘From the Cradle’, the number one bestselling novel by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards. They are pictured above giving their speech. So much work goes into writing a book and bringing it to publication and it was wonderful to be able to celebrate the event with them and meet up with literary friends, old and new.

Launch Ian Me

The venue was a beautiful art gallery in Gray’s Inn Gardens. The pic above is of me and my dear friend, Ian Robinson. I’m told the display of boxes behind us was on sale for 6K, should anyone be interested in purchasing!

 

Coffee with a canine

P1000458

Recently I took part in Marshall Zeringue’s ‘Coffee with a canine’ blogspot, where writers talk about the part their hairy friends play in their writing life. The post went live this week and was great fun to do. You can read it and catch more pics of Bollo here.

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Just Another Phase…

We’ve been busy decorating daughter’s bedroom recently. It seems to me that the life of a child is played out in phases, in her case characterized by the décor of her room. When she was young it was a Winnie the Pooh room. When old enough to express a preference we moved into a pink Disney Princess theme. Several years on, she was fascinated by the ocean, so we switched to blue and accessorised with all things under the sea. Now that she is a teenager we have moved on again and I’m sure that her purple walls will soon be covered with posters from her beloved Kerrang magazine.

As I stroked the brush across the walls, it struck me that navigating the creative world of writing feels quite similar in many ways. When I discovered fiction writing, all those years ago, I started with a few short stories. Then I dipped my toe in the water and decided to write a novel which eventually became An Unfamiliar Murder. I had a bit of a paddle with The Truth Will Out, still unsure of whether it would actually work. With my latest, I plunged myself right in at the deep end and immersed myself in it. However, since starting my fourth, I feel I’ve lost my way a little.

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A Few of my Favourite Frenchies

It’s a short post from me this week as I’m just back from our family holiday in the sleepy Dordogne. Once again we were treated to long evenings of rich wine and engaging conversation with our friends at ‘Josse’, and surrounded by panoramic views of vineyards and fields of sunflowers. All in all, a very relaxing week. Here’s a few of my highlights:

Rocamadour

Rocamadour is built into the sheer rock face of a gorge above the River Dordogne. Built on the shrine of a Madonna, it’s thought that the Abbey here dates back almost a thousand years in some form and, believed to hold great healing powers, became the site of a major pilgrimage over the ages.

 

The village beneath the Abbey is full of paved streets, lined with medieval houses and contains fortified stone gateways, all of which are totally breathtaking.

We did take the 216 steps down (although not on our knees as the pilgrims once did), but there is also a winding road that leads down and I believe a lift for the less discerning traveller. Certainly worth a look if you are in the area.

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