Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Echoes of the Past

At the beginning of the week I had an early morning drop off at the airport and as my wip was going well, I decided to have a day out and visit one those places I've been meaning to go to for a long time.

So with the sun shinning I arrived at St Fagans. The Museum of Welsh Life. But it's not your average museum. With the exception of a few buildings each and every one has been relocated from its original site elsewhere in Wales. Moving house is bad enough, but imagine actually moving the house!

St Fagans Castle is one of the buildings that is still on its original site and the gardens are wonderful, complete with white doves.

When I entered Y Garreg Fawr (The Big Rock) a stone farmhouse originally built in 1544 the air was full of the scent of smoke from the old fire. The heavy dark oak furniture gave the interior an oppressive feel, not helped by the small windows. Yet this was the home of a wealthy farmer.

As I walked from building to building, entering the rooms that looked as if the families had just gone out for the day, I explored life across the centuries, from a 12th century church to a a 1948 prefab bungalow. The gardens of the cottages and houses were also set out as they would have been at the time, giving a rounded picture of what life would have been like.

So if you are ever in the Cardiff area and fancy a trip back in time, I can recommend it.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Fabulous First Cover

I'm so excited! Here is the North American cover of my first book!

It will be out in October, but is available now for pre-order on amazon in UK here and US here.

I just can't wait to have the book in my hands, but I love this cover. What do you think?

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Writing Under the Tuscan Sun

At the beginning of May, with two writing friends, I spent a week in the ancient walled city of Lucca. We rented a lovely apartment in the heart of the city, which was above a patisserie and the smells as the delicious cakes were prepared were wonderful. As were the cakes!

We all worked hard on our writing and enjoyed several afternoons outside, making the most of the sunshine. We wrote in lots of different places, from the Botanical Gardens, to picnic benches on the Renaissance walls of the city. But the favourite place for me was Palazzo Pfanner and the wonderful gardens full of lemon trees.

It’s also where we spent the afternoon with Sharon Kendrick, who was in Italy teaching at the wonderful Watermill and visited Lucca when the group had their day out.

It was a fun to immerse ourselves in the daily life of the city, everything from shopping for food to enjoying a coffee and watching the world go by. Several times during the week, I walked around the city on the walls, a walk of 4km, but well worth it to see the city. It's also what all the locals do. Each morning they walk, run or even cycle around the walls. 

As well as writing, I visited museums, churches and the cathedral. I spent many hours enjoying window shopping on the Via Fillungo and soon found my way around by remembering all the shops where I liked a dress or a pair of shoes. When the bustle of shopping became too much, I enjoyed coffee in the famous oval Piazza Anfiteatro.

From the apartment I could watch the daily life of Lucca going on and soak up the atmosphere. I loved listening to the sounds of the cafes, the flow of Italian and the gorgeous smells from the patisserie below.
Soon, our week came to an end and I was sad to say goodbye to our lovely apartment and it's charming courtyard view, but I returned with lots of words written, fabulous food eaten and lovely places seen.