The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Ripper, My Love by Glynis Smy

I rarely win anything. I am not very lucky that way. So when Glynis Smy recently informed me that I had won a signed copy of her novel, Ripper, My Love, I was doubly thrilled. First of all because I had won something; and secondly, because when I hit  the ‘Post’ button for the very first time, Glynis was my first follower and the first person who commented on something that I had written. She was my constant support and gave me the encouragement I needed during those first few months when Blogging was new to me and it all felt very lonely and confusing.
This year, Glynis self-published Ripper, My Love – her first novel. The following is the blurb from her website:
Growing up in late nineteenth century East London, Kitty Harper’s life is filled with danger and death – from her mother, her beloved neighbour and the working women of the streets. With her ever-watchful father and living surrogate family though, Kitty feels protected from harm. In fact, she feels so safe that while Whitechapel cowers under the cloud of a fearsome murderer, she strikes out on her own, moving into new premises to accommodate her sewing business.
But danger is closer than she thinks. In truth, it has burrowed itself right into her heart in the form of a handsome yet troubled bachelor, threatening everything she holds dear. Will Kitty fall prey to lust – and death – herself, or can she find the strength inside to fight for her business, sanity and her future? And who is the man terrifying the streets of East London?
I have not read the book yet but I am eager to start it. I am sure I will find it very interesting, especially since the mystery of Jack the Ripper’s unsolved identity has always intrigued me. Perhaps Glynis will shed some new light on that particular mystery. I suppose I will find out very soon.
Blurb and book cover reproduced by kind permission of Glynis Smy.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Misty Afternoon In Mousehole

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Mousehole – the name made me smile and wonder, with some trepidation, whether the town would be overrun by little, furry, grey and brown creatures with beady eyes. It wasn’t, of course, but the moment I stepped out of the car and saw the streets lined with cottages and decorated with a profusion of flowers of all colours, the word ‘hobbit’ came to mind.
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We arrived in Mousehole in the rain, that very English type of rain that seems to fall as gently and as soundlessly as a butterfly’s tears. Tendrils of mists floated around us, as soft as gossamer and just as delicate. Enchanting, I thought, as I tried, without success, to catch the wispy whiteness between by finger-tips.
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Somewhere a spell was being laid. I could feel it working on me. I knew that I could easily sit on these trellised steps, thick with moss and grass, and dream up stories of fairies and goblins and elves and dwarves …
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But I thought it wiser to do a spot of sight-seeing and immerse myself in the real Mousehole, not the one that I was creating in some corner of my mind. And I was not disappointed.
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On my travels I have learnt to expect the unexpected; to delight in the ordinary and to seek out the extraordinary.
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To embrace glimpses of the past and sweet reminders of the present.
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To explore, to dream, but, above all, to give in to the fleeting joy of the moment.
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I never thought that I would fall in love with a place with such an unromantic name as  Mousehole. But I did. As surely as the rain falls from English skies,  I did.
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If you would like to read a bit more about this fascinating place, go here.
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Friday, 20 July 2012

A Craving For …

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… Cornish cream tea.
When it comes to food, Cornwall is famous for two things: pasties (more about those some other time) and cream teas.
Cream teas consist of a cup of tea served with scones, strawberry jam and thick, buttery, golden Cornish cream. It’s the epitome of decadence but well worth the hundreds of calories per mouthful.
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We found a lovely restaurant in Mousehole serving cream tea – the best we had on our trip. And I absolutely loved the décor – the clean lines, the vintage touches and the simple white roses. Bliss!
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But I need to let you in on a little secret – I don’t like tea. So I had … let’s call it a cream coffee, instead. It was perfect.
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2 Fore Street Restaurant
Fore Street
Mousehole TR19 6QU

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Forgotten Magic Of Tintagel

My lips curled into a smile when I saw the word Tintagel etched on a huge slab of slate. I had finally made it. I have wanted to visit Tintagel Castle since I read my first book of legends about King Arthur. I was not more than 10 years old. Since then I have read various re-tellings of Arthur’s tale. From Malory’s Morte D’Arthur to Tennyson’s Idylls Of The King; from The Child Of The Holy Grail to the more controversial The Mists of Avalon  - and so many others that I cannot remember the names  of all of them.
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I am still not sure where the fascination lies but of one thing I am certain – this legendary hero from the Dark Ages has ridden through the swirling mists of time and gripped my imagination as surely as his strong hands once gripped Excalibur.
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Tintagel Castle, perched  high and precariously on the cliffs of North Cornwall, is said to be the place of Arthur’s birth. (Those not familiar with the legend may read it a very short version of it here). The climb to what remains of the ruins requires an almost super-human effort but, once up there, the view is as wild, spectacular, rugged and unspoilt as I had expected it to be. Tintagel Castle boasts an interesting history. But what of Arthur?
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I believe that a legend which has survived for hundreds of years and which has captured the imagination of thousands of people so fervently must have, at least, a kernel of truth in it. After all, each legend is as true as we want it to be. I believe that if we seek hard enough we will find what we are looking for.
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As I sat at the top of the castle’s magnificent headland I found the Arthur that I had always seeked. His legacy lay in the surrounding land that still remembers him. Perhaps, he does lie sleeping, somewhere in the apple-scented land of Avalon and, perhaps, as the legend goes, he will return when Britain needs him.
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And standing there, on the windy headland of what once was a magnificent castle, it dawned on me that Arthur has returned, many times, under different names and in the guise of countless men and women who have done their duty to their country. The real Arthur would wish for no more.
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Ah … and what about the magic of Tintagel? Well, it is hard for such a beautiful place not to lay its spell on such a one as me. I arrived curious and left enchanted and, as I stole one last glance at Merlin’s Cave, and imagined the thick mists for which this coast is so famous moving like wraiths around it, I had no doubts as to why a legend so  powerful and so magical had come into being. Cornwall 126
If you are interested, King Arthur, ‘Once and Future King’ amalgamates the historical figure with the myth and makes an interesting read.
And I will stop here, at least for today, before I get carried away, by the magic of Tintagel and by its legendary hero, to some misty realm.

Friday, 13 July 2012

More …

Here’s what  I’m wishing for this summer:

Yes, more of all the above would be great. Except for tea. I am not a big fan of tea unless it’s a peppermint tea or something like that. So I would substitute tea with coffee.
I wish you all more of what you desire this summer – be it little things or big things.
Till next time …

Monday, 9 July 2012

Cobblestones, Cottages, Castles and Cliffs

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We’ve just returned from a wonderful vacation in beautiful Cornwall. Over the years I had seen many postcards and pictures of this magical place. Yet I do not think I was completely prepared for its simple beauty. Cornwall is wild and rugged, it is lush and green, rainy and misty. A land of myths and magic. It is a place of secret coves and smugglers caves; castles and cottages; pubs and inns; pasties and clotted cream; cobblestoned lanes and winding streets. And flowers – flowers, flowers everywhere. It was breathtakingly pretty, in an understated sort of way. Needless to say, I fell in love with the place and, me being me, instead of just being content that I have seen Cornwall and can move on to some other place … well, all I want to do now is go back again.
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We stayed in a cottage in the small hamlet of Trennance – about a mile up the hill from Mawgan Porth.
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We were lucky enough to visit many small towns and villages:
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Port IsaacCornwall 145
WadebridgeCornwall 231
St IvesCornwall 311
Mousehole (yes, there is really a place called Mousehole but it is pronounced Mawzole)Cornwall 390
TruroCornwall 437
St Michael’s MountCornwall 457
Plymouth (in the neighbouring county of Devon)Cornwall 508
As you can appreciate, I cannot talk about all these places in one post. So I’ll  spread out the posts throughout the summer and, hopefully, those of us dealing with sweltering heat will be cooled down by the gentle rain of Cornwall.


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