Wednesday, 30 January 2013

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day,
No, really, I mean
At the end of the day.
You know,
That tortuous wrangling
Of dissatisfactions
Too strong to keep to
Yourself, makes you
I mean,

At the door, on the
Threshold of night time,
Befuddled, you look up
And say,
'I don't know...'
And wish you hadn't.

The ambiguity is unmistakable

It's like when you
Know it's over and
You keep telling yourself
It'll be alright.
You keep stum.
And turn to country walks
And fields for consolation.

You know the winding
Conversation will be fruitless,
Winding back upon itself.

Standing there in the
Doorway, with your glass,
And in your comfy slippers,
It would be better,
Infinitely so,
Just to say,

Sunday, 27 January 2013

PROMOTION RESULTS 'My Grandfather's Eyes'

It's over and I'm very happy that so many people have downloaded my book. 

Hopefully, a percentage of my free downloads will be read and receive a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. The fact that more people will have the chance to enjoy (ever the optimist) 'My Grandfather's Eyes' is thrilling.

So, I'd like to thank all my Twitter friends, friends on Facebook and friends in general, for helping me to make this event successful.  It has been hard work, but it has also been great fun and I have enjoyed chatting with all kinds of people, all of them helpful, generous and enthusiastic.

Thank you all!

For those of you who are curious, here are the results, (which are impossible to line up!):

.com        425      253
.de             11
.fr                1
.jp                1 
.ca                4

So, 695 in total!

P.S. If anyone missed out on the promotion, you can still get a copy for less than a cup of coffee or a pint:)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Extract from 'One Summer in France'

‘Does ‘Naturiste’ mean what I think it means?’ asked Carol, standing in front of a very large sign with a very large arrow on it.

I wasn’t sure, but I thought so.

‘I don’t mind getting my baps out if you don’t!’  she reasoned.

The beach was coming up fast and we clutched at each other, controlling our giggles as best we could.  We might have made it, had we not heard men’s voices behind us and looked round to see two bronzed gods swinging up fast.

‘Christ on a bike!’ said Carol, stepping aside and staring rudely.

‘Guten Tag!’ 

Please don’t stop and have a conversation with us!  I thought.

They passed in front of us and we watched their perfect asses for a while, breathing in for what seemed to be a very long time and, eventually remembering to breathe out.

‘Did you see the size of his cock?’ asked my gobsmacked friend.

 ‘Well, yes.  I didn’t have much choice in the matter, did I?’

‘Come on!  There must be loads more on the beach…’

 I wasn’t sure that I fancied the idea of so much nudity all in one place, but I had never sunbathed topless before, so I was keen to give it a go in an environment where one extra set of, admittedly, perfect breasts would not cause too much of a stir.

To my horror, Carol was untying her bikini top before we even got there and soon it was difficult for me to concentrate on what she was saying as I felt a little sea-sick in the face of so much uncontrolled bouncing.

‘God!  Your tits are enormous!’ I said.

‘Pretty good, eh?  Aren’t you getting yours out?’ 

'All in good time, all in good time, my little Devonshire divvy,' I said.

It was a beautiful beach and there were a fair number of people, mostly couples or small groups, generally without a stitch on.  This was a whole new experience for me.  The German gods we had come across on the path had set up camp near the sea and looked over to us, waving.  Carol was all for joining them, but I suggested that we should keep our options open for the time being, not mentioning that I was rather uneasy about diving into a conversation with a couple of blokes with their willies out.

So we put our towels out about thirty feet from the dunes and sat down.  It wasn’t that easy pretending that it was perfectly normal to be sitting with a load of people we’d never met before who seemed very pleased to see us.  I was aware of my breasts in a way that I had never been aware of them before.  I wished they would just shut up (metaphorically speaking) instead of pertly announcing themselves to all and sundry.

‘Shall we whip off our pants, too?’ said Carol, as she was actually whipping off her bikini bottoms.

‘Really?’ I replied, ‘I don’t know whether-’

‘Don’t be such a prude!  No other bugger’s wearing any.’

She was right.  So I did.

Having no clothes on in public was an altogether liberating experience.  I got used to it quickly and was soon stretching out in various poses, sighing nonchalantly and acting as though it was all terribly normal.  I got out my latest find and started to read. I had brought l’Etranger to the beach and made sure that the cover of the book was visible to others as I read. In those days I was deeply proud of my literary pretensions.  I breathed in the ozone and tried to remember what my French tutor had said about Camus, but I kept hearing the Cure singing ‘Killing an Arab’ instead.



The space between
and all around
is more than substance
that we shrink until it
needs a name for
what cannot be seen
by human eye.

Sticking together,
it makes

And yet,
 it is not
what it seems.

The bed I lie in
bears my weight,
and floats upon a bubble earth
that spins its path
towards our star.

And the space between
and all around
is still greater than
the planets and the
stars that swirl
and cluster, too far
for human minds
to know.

And yet,
 they are not
what they seem.

We spend a lifetime
wandering, across the
spaces between
and all around,
inside and beyond,
dreaming old dreams
that circle in the
sparking human brain.
And in the spaces,
the spaces
where we wander,
lost and looking for a

And finally, 
it is
not what it seems.

For if it were, there
would be no spaces
between and all around.

And then,
where would we

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Galeries Lafayette

JUST BEFORE YOU START READING - free download of My Grandfather's Eyes on 24 25 26 Jan.  If you like psychological drama/mystery/suspense don't miss this one!

I don't like shopping.

All that getting out of and into clothes in a cramped cubicle that smells of cheesy feet and whose curtain is designed never to close properly. Then, looking in a mirror specially lit to show off your most undesirable features.  (And, in January, there is no chance of a bit of a tan to take the edge off the corned-beef look.)

I remember the worst days in Cambridge.  Rain.  Cold.  Coats, hats, scarves, gloves, umbrellas.  Catastrophe.  I was exhausted before I had even disputed the sizing on my first item with the invariably pretty, young and disaffected sales assistant, who would rather have died than go looking for a size 12.

By ten o'clock the tea and cake bell was ringing in my ear and I would grab my equally bored friend and seek out the nearest place to make ourselves feel better by the power of the 'oh-my-God-how-many-calories?/I-don't-care!' school of thought.

Here in France I have found that the world of shopping is less cruel now that I have reached an age where I have enough credibility to hold a number of store cards and enough will-power to eat (fairly) healthily and go swimming three times a week.

My favourite store is Galeries Lafayette, which boasts four floors of very good quality produce that, at present, is heavily discounted in the Winter sales ('soldes'). I find that I take on a distinctly refined persona as I push open the heavy glass doors and nod to the uniformed doorman.  Outside, I am a once-upon-a-time-glamorous-beauty-turned-slightly-raggedy-mother-and-wine-drinking housewife, but inside I am 'A-votre-service Madame!'

I don't have a hard time wondering which I prefer for an hour or two on a Wednesday afternoon, just before the kids get back and demand doughnuts and adequately chilled milk.

I make my selections and load my stylish shoulder bag. The changing rooms are large, lit to flatter, and perfumed with a fragrance of your choice. I choose Chanel No. 5. There are no queues, no limits on items you can take in with you and easy access to a reassuringly lumpy assistant if you need a bigger or (rarely) a smaller size.  Bliss.

What is more, ninety per cent of the stock that was full price the week before, is in the sale.  It's not just a careworn rail of things rejected by previous fashion-conscious customers who wouldn't be seen dead in the dress you are measuring up against yourself because it is the least offensive item you can find amongst the other items which have been tried on and/or scooped up from the floor so many times that they are a shadow of their former mediocrity.  Mais non!

I still don't like shopping.

But I don't like it much, much less in Galeries Lafayette.