The New Forest

If you have been to the #New Forest in Hampshire, UK you will know what a unique place it is. I was fortunate enough to grow up there and I am able to trace my family history back through several generations in the area.

I took for granted running in the woods and living with the rhythm of the seasons. I thought it was normal to everyone’s life. When my family moved to a small town, aged 9 it was a shock.

The school was a two-mile walk and so was church every Sunday. When I had a bike it made such a difference. Children riding were safe in the early ’50s as there was no traffic around. When I look back we were an odd family.

Wildflowers were a big pleasure on walks. In spring small daffodils carpeted the forest floor, huge bluebell woods and primroses grew everywhere. Later in the year briar roses clambered over bushes.

We knew where the snakes lived, where the newt pond was, how to find the badger sets and mix with the wild ponies. Flocks of birds were a daily occurrence.

I drive to the forest now, but it is difficult to find the abundance of flora and fauna I remember, although there are pockets to be found.

The New Forest is by the South Coast. Lymington and Beaulieu Rivers are must see places and to walk by.

There are wonderful villages like Lyndhurst and Burley and Beaulieu. Exbury Gardens are between the Beaulieu River and Lepe Beach.

Find out more by visiting Find other sites by searching Google and explore the New Forest, Hampshire, UK.

Come to the New Forest in search of Alice in Wonderland – Alice Liddle is buried in the Lyndhurst churchyard. Jane Austen is buried in nearby Winchester Cathedral and Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey isn’t far away along the A34. Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat is a favourite read and a film. There are literary connections all over Hampshire, which is not surprising.

A short blog on the New Forest hasn’t space for a history of smuggling. The sea and the forest were the perfect settings. My ancestors were a part of it all. They were smugglers who became coastguards.

You might like The Trinket Wife recently published on Amazon and set in the New Forest.

When a #Marriage is Falling Apart

The Trinket Wife is about the disintegration of a marriage. With fortitude, laughter and tears, Elizabeth makes it through to a different life. Not all marriages and #divorces have a happy ending, but fiction needs an element of escapism.

In many of my Creative Writing classes, I have taught students to write about what they know and I realise that both, Marriage, A Journey, and A #Dog, and The Trinket Wife are about marriages falling apart. The #relationships could have, or perhaps should have, broken up years before the end but life is complicated.

When my first marriage fell apart it did so in three stages; 1. Recognition it was over. 2. Accepting it had been over for some time. 3. Knowing it was never going back together. This can be a time for pressing the self destruct button or finding a new life.

A new life can be just a dream, but dreams can be uplifting and keep people going with a vision in mind. When the last pages of my novels have been read I want to leave the reader with hope for a happy tomorrow. Not a vain and empty hope but one that starts with the will to build #self-confidence before looking for a romance that may follow. The grief of a lost relationship, followed by the finding of self, can deliver personal satisfaction even if romance is not on the cards. That is the essence of what my books are about.

The settings for Marriage, A Journey, and A Dog, begin in a little known market town near where I live. The story includes a trip around France where I have spent many happy holidays. Natalie, travelling alone apart from her little dog, travels on to Spain and Barcelona, such fun places I have visited. You may well have been to these places too. Spain includes the thrilling adventure of flying a glider in the Pyrenees. Going by train from Eastleigh to London gives most readers a place they can identify with.

The second novel, The Trinket Wife begins in the #New forest, where I grew up, again it takes the reader across the English Channel to France and for a bit of glamour the heroine visits the Caribbean, somewhere I have never been but I have read about.

There is more to my novels than circumstances and settings, they are about the heroine discovering herself. There are so many things about people and places we all don’t know about and it is good to find out while stepping out of a comfort zone. A good partner or having no partner could be stepping stones.

#Romance has no guarantee of perfection. If that were so there would be no divorce. Romantic fiction comes with a happy ending.

When the opportunity to live and work as a teacher in a different culture came my way it was too important an opportunity to miss. A chance for personal development with my second husband. Sri Lanka has taught me so much about another culture and how communities are the same but also different. An experience I have benefitted from greatly. Love, loss and seeking success is the same wherever I look.

Sri Lanka is a magical setting and I have been asked why I don’t set a novel there. So far I have accumulated a series of short stories that may one day be in print. I know of many great Sri Lankan novelists and I would not dream I could compete.

After a difficult year for everyone, there is hope for tomorrow and a value put on who we all are and what we can explore. You might like to try #writing.

If you would like to add a comment I would be pleased to hear from you.

The Trinket Wife

Now that the new ebook is up and the paperback is in formatting, perhaps I will need to change the heading of this blog from only Marriage, A Journey, and A Dog.

In the meantime, there are some questions from the end of the book,

Can money make for happiness in a marriage?

Is there such a thing as a midlife crisis for men and women?

Could Des have a point when he says he feels unhappy that he’s no longer in control of family finances and he doesn’t like it?

Would you marry for money?

How will floods affect the way we live in the future?

These are set up as book club questions at the end of the story and I would like to ask my word press readers what they think. If you like, please share the questions with your friends and enter a group response.

One question at a time and the answers can be shared with book clubs.


Can money make a marriage happy?

There will also be feedback on twitter.




Something to Think About


Joining us for bookclub Sri Lanka

When staying at home in the UK I am #reading more books.

The ones that have been waiting on the bookshelf accusing me of not reading them when I promised I would, or bought because they sounded interesting. Where I have spent the most money on books and failed to read them is on my kindle. My Goodreads account has many ‘reading’ books listed but that ‘read’ has not been registered even if I have read them. Shamefully for an author, my reviews for books ‘read’ are not up to date. Now is the time.

Many #bookclubs are continuing online through apps like zoom and Whatsapp.

Sadly my bookclub in Sri Lanka has stopped. Now I have returned to the UK we share our recommendations by email. Will book club there ever start again? I hope so. Many of the ex-pats have returned to their home countries for the foreseeable future and can only hope to return. Unfortunately, foreigners and Sri Lankan returnees are blamed for taking the virus by some of the population who are scared. Inevitably our travelling way of life has helped spread the Covid19 virus and many other diseases but the blame can be badly misdirected.

Amazon isn’t sending out books and reserving their deliveries for more essential work and who can blame them. For now, it is downloads or swapping books with friends and neighbours without touching the books for a day or two and keeping a distance from the person bringing the book.

I miss the discussion groups that go side by side with book clubs in the UK and Sri Lanka. Also film-club with lunch and a discussion afterwards.

Here are some questions from the back of The #Trinket Wife. The book can be downloaded from Amazon, but the questions can be ‘food for thought’ without reading the text. Here they are:

0Would you marry for money?

1 Can money make for happiness in a #marriage? Is there such a thing as a midlife crisis for men and women?

2 Could Des have a point when he says he feels unhappy that he’s no longer in control of family #finances and he doesn’t like it?

3 Would you marry for money?

4 How will #floods affect the way we live in the future?

Add your thoughts to the comments if you wish.

Would you marry for money?

Would you marry for money? This is the first thought-provoking question at the end of The Trinket Wife. Reading the novel isn’t necessary, although you might like to. You can submit a personal or group response. 

My personal answer: Not only for money, but people do tend to marry in social groups and I guess I have.  People know they don’t want to live in poverty with children if avoidable. They may not marry for heaps of money, more for a steady job and prospects for both partners. Having hope for the future when making plans depends on some financial security.

The more I think about this question the more possibilities there are for answers. Please add your comments in less than 100 words. All comments will be moderated to avoid offence.

A husband placates his wife with gifts of jewellery, not love.

Next week, Is there such a thing as a midlife crisis for men and women?

The discussion ends in 60 days. An interesting article on marrying bank accounts after ‘I do’.


Returning to my blog

I am pleased to be back after taking time out to write The Trinket Wife and do all the other things that add up to a full life.

November to March is the time I spend in Sri Lanka and an opportunity to spend days when writing is a priority.

Today The Trinket Wife started its journey from upload to download availability. There is a lot more work to do. Getting the paperback version available. Marketing and reconnecting with my blog and more.

For any writer, taking control of a book is a huge task. It takes many hours of preparation. There are the times when the computer goes down at the wrong moment. and numerous interruptions. For all my fellow writers I send my admiration.

Also to all those who keep on writing because they enjoy it and don’t want the hassle of publishing.

I have joined a writing group here in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and take pleasure in listening to what others have written, over a cup of coffee. It is because of them that I have found the spirit to go through the task of publishing and marketing for a second time.

This is a blog to reconnect, now each week I will be in touch and read your blogs too.

Another amazon author review

In case you fancy a read of Marriage, A Journey and A Dog this is an example of an independent #review and the latest:

on 20 March 2017
I have been MIA for a while. Now I’m back with another wonderful author I have discovered- Brenda H. Sedgwick. I’ve been sharing my reviews of books by Indie authors on my blog. And I must say, I love to share the good ones. This is an enjoyable story about life; and let’s not forget the travel. The title is just right for this book. In the beginning, Natalie comes across as a scatter brain with little confidence. But as the story progresses, I begin to admire her and her journey. Let’s be clear here- she is on more than one journey and they make for an interesting story telling experience. I loved spending time with her new friends and the travel spots. As Natalie’s story was drawing to a close I felt a little sad at how things had ended at her 40th birthday. But you know what? I never liked Gerry anyway. I was lifted by her handling of the situation and I have to say, pretty proud. You go Natalie.
I love independent reviews, that’s why I don’t ask for them, and I love to know that people enjoy my book.
Happy writing to all those following the writing blogs.

Writing and Mental Health

Seeing the world through a Mental Cage

I read this on the internet and it reminded me of the time I spent working with Mental Health patients an experience I think it might be worth blogging about:

How often do you sit at home and wish someone would ring you and suggest, well anything rather than these 4 walls? How many of you have had a night out planned, or arranged coffee with friends and suddenly “these 4 walls” seem the only safe haven because it’s the only place you don’t have to pretend you are ok, so you cancel. Or when you are invited out you tell them how terribly sorry you are but you’re already booked up that weekend, when you are actually just really busy holding it together in your safe box. And so the first problem starts, all by itself , people stop asking you and the isolation that at first wasn’t true becomes your only truth.
Mental Health Awareness!!

20 years ago Easleigh mental health unit got in touch and asked if I would run a writing class there. Happy to take on a challenge and with nothing to lose I started classes that continued for three years.

Moving, clever, sad and funny, the students turned up every week. I lacked understanding of mental illness so I went in with ideas and the group set the pace .

The results ranged from an apparent cure for agoraphobia to the sad loss of  two students through suicide. Somewhere in the middle was a great sense of achievement and a lot of laughter. These wonderful, brave, people gave a performance, reading their work at a local theatre,

Writing is more recognised as a therapeutic tool than it used to be, but there is lots more that can and is being done. If you have the opportunity to help someone by suggesting they write and share, is there anything to lose?

I greatly believe that life’s problems that affect us all can benefit from writing things down. Please read my earlier  six blogs on Writing for Therapy.

I’ll write blogs about the other groups I worked with – in prison and with the homeless.

Writing  two novels the second to come out in June, has provided a means of escaping into characters’ lives. Poetry is a means of expressing myself and the main goal with my writing is to entertain myself and other people. Perhaps you can do the same. If you teach Creative Writing in mental health areas, please do link up to this blog and share your experiences.
I loved writing this. It gave me so much pleasure to share it with so many people around the world.

Starting Creative Writing 5 of 6


Poetry and language skills.

If you want to write creatively don’t underestimate the importance of writing poetry. Whether you are good at it or not there are benefits to be had from experimenting with this language skill regularly. People who write a poem every week, but are not recognised poets, do so because they know the advantage it gives them with all aspects of their writing.

This is why.

A poem should not waste words. It should not tell the reader everything, but leave them space to think. It is a medium to communicate a lot with a few words.

A poem is a place a writer can play with language skills and experiment with the use of words and punctuation.

Google ‘what is a poem’ and ‘how to write a poem’. There is no point in going over what is readily available online.

Find a small group to work on your words and improve your language skills with. When people critisise poetry or your writing it can feel like a personal insult – it isn’t, it is holding your hand on the stepping stones across a river of learning about how to write well.


Writing a novel is an enormous challenge. Don’t believe the sites that tell you ‘you can be a writer’ without experience and years of hard work. You can write whatever you like and everybody should, but to be a writer is a profession that comes with a huge learning curve.

Writing can be enjoyed at many levels and as your written language skills get better you find it is a process that gives you self confidence.

Try reading ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. One reference book on grammar and writing isn’t enough, read lots, ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’ by Lynne Truss, is useful to keep on a shelf and refer to. Make grammar books your bedtime reading unless you’re a genius.

Read poetry, set a goal of at least one poem a week. Take a line or a word out of the poem and write your own.

Writing and not getting paid isn’t a waste of time. It helps life along like reading does. The more you do it the better you become.

Poetic skills that spill over into language skills;

Metaphors and similes

Assonance and alliteration

Use of unusual words

No wasted words

No unnecessary repetition only if it adds something

Show don’t tell

Get rid of those ‘ly’ words (carefully, happily, really etc, etc).

Write for a reader not always yourself

Write and rewrite, however many times it takes to get your words to the best they can be.

Don’t be in a hurry to finish a poem – it might take months or years to find just the right word or rhythm.

Ask google ‘what is a poem’ and read from some of the sites. Poetry forms and ideas can be found on this BBC website

Look up any poem you like on Poem Hunter.

You can add a poem in the comments if you like. All poems will be read before publication and no copyright exists. Write for the fun of it.


From the author of Marriage, a Journey and a Dog. Women’s fiction – romantic Comedy.

The Trinket Wife is coming out in June. Women’s fiction – romantic comedy.

Starting Creative Writing blog 4 of 6

th-4The Pleasure of Making up Stories

This is National Story Telling Week – a good time to write a new story?

Stories have entertained humans since communication began, and spread throughout the world before writing and the printing press. Stories were told on street corners and in plays, they were drawn in pictures and written on stones and in sand.

Now we listen or watch stories every day. Stories entertain, but are also reflections of life and a necessary part of the human thinking process. A story can try to make sense of something that we don’t understand.

There is no evidence of fiction in the animal kingdom except to mislead in the pursuit of food. Imagination – the ‘what if ?’ question is a part of the human brain. Storytelling and understanding sets us apart from the animal kingdom. We tell true stories to mirror an event, exaggerated stories to make them interesting and stories which are the product of pure imagination.

This  blog is a precursor or opposite of  Shed Loads of Money (3 of 6). It’s about making up stories and taking pleasure in the experience and  in sharing what you’ve written if you want to.

Great works of literature have come about and stories  have been made up just for the pleasure of doing so. Some have hung around in notebooks and others been consigned to waste bins. Sometimes they exist by word-of-mouth, like a children’s story  made up in families. Let’s look at some of the reasons to write, dance, act or paint stories.

Using Imagination

Exercising Creativity

A Fun Hobby

Keeping the brain active

Self expression

Communicate a message

Can you add more reasons?  (To tell a truth, to impart an idea)

Have you read fiction thinking ‘I could do that’? Well, give it a go. It isn’t as easy as it may seem but none the less a lot of fun.

The pleasure of story creation comes in the freedom and opportunity to do so.

Use triggers – focusing on a creative outcome improves with practice.

Stories can be reworked many times to improve them or develop new ideas within the structure.

If you would like to write a story about A Story Teller add it your blog and enter a link with the title and a 100 word synopsis in the comments so that other people can read it.

Blog 5 Next – Enjoy writing poetry and playing with language skills.