Messing about on the river.

I felt compelled to share this with you all. My husband and I have witnessed many marvels of nature during our time on the British inland waterways.  There have been numerous occasions when we have observed the sweetest evidence of new life.

A few weeks ago, we set off for a four- day round trip from our mooring on the absolute best Marina ever ‘ Mercia Marina’, towards one of our favourite little villages along the canal, ‘Alrewas’ in Staffordshire. Our journey took us through the picturesque countryside where we decided to moor overnight by Branston Waterpark.

The following morning, while sipping our tea, we glanced across to the opposite side of the towpath, where we spied a moorhen sat serenely on her nest.  Very quietly we opened the side hatch doors of our boat and gently threw small morsels of five seed grain bread out onto the gentle ripples of the water. Sure enough, mother hen and her six newborn chicks swam towards the bread. The chicks were tiny bundles of black fluff. Amongst the uncontrolled sticky out fluffy feathers, bright red and yellow beaks dazzled in the early morning sunshine. A vivid shade of red that contrasted brightly against the murky grey water of the cut.

What happened next was the sweetest of sights. The mother collected the small pieces of bread and one piece at a time she re -dipped the bread into the water then popped it into the beak of the first chick that was in line. She then proceeded to repeat this process for each chick. Without having any food herself, she ushered the chicks back to the safety of the nest, where she promptly sat on them to keep them warm, after their early morning swim.Satisfied they were safe, imagine our delight when she returned for her own share of the food, which we promptly provided.

Our journey continued taking us along a small section of the River Trent, towards Alrewas. Approaching the village, I jumped off the boat to open the lock that we were approaching. As I walked along the towpath, windless in hand, my husband called to inform me that a Pidgeon was stuck in the water and struggling to get out. As the Pidgeon flapped and struggled towards the bank, I knelt down on the grassy bank, reached out as far as I was able to stretch and gently hooked the windless underneath its belly, slowly pulling the bird close enough to the bank for me to lift out of the water. The Pidgeon was ringed, suggesting ownership. Immediately on terra firma, it hopped towards the hedgerow to rest and dry out.

I’d like to think that it was able to complete its journey, whatever the destination, as we completed ours, later that day.

Do you have fun messing about on the river?  Do tell.

Look at me!

As per my previous post, I don’t wish to go on, but “Look at Me” Today, I used my bus pass for the first time. Now, some of you can be forgiven for thinking “why is this woman so obsessed with this retirement issue and her bus pass.”

The truth is, that like so many women born in 1953 and beyond, we have had our pensions (and bus pass) deferred due to changes in government policy. I don’t intend to go all political here except to say. “GO WASPS GO”. You know who you are.

So you ask. “Where did this woman go on this austere occasion with her Virgin bus pass”?

Along with my husband, we went to the historic town of Lichfield in Staffordshire. Our boat was moored in the pretty village of Alrewas, a bus ride away from Lichfield. So off we set, two young at heart senior citizens, to explore this delightful city. We were not disappointed.

The city centre was alive with activity as bunting gently swayed and buskers played a variety of music. We made our way to Lichfield Cathedral, the burial place of Saint Chad, the Anglo-Saxon missionary. This medieval cathedral is a sight to behold with its three majestic spires.

After eating a traditional Sunday lunch in the oldest pub in the city, we made our way to Beacon Park. A festival was in full swing with many events taking place, including a classic car display.  I thought that I caught a glimpse of ‘Jeremy Clarkson’ driving by in a vintage sports car, but alas. My husband informed me that as usual, my imagination was in over-drive. Very appropriate I thought, considering the car theme.

I particularly enjoyed watching the Police dog training display, which reinforced my views on the importance of Police dogs.

Although we didn’t have time to explore the rest of the city. Plans are already in place to return and visit the many other interesting places. For example The Erasmus Darwin House and the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum.

Still, there is plenty of time for that. Oh! Did I forget to mention that I am now retired.

 

Goodbye, farewell!

Goodbye, farewell to an era.

As I said my poignant goodbyes to work colleagues on Wednesday, June 28th, I was also departing from my long and wonderful career with the National Health Service. A dedicated career that began April 1972.

Nursing career - KL Loveley photo 1I am about to embark on a new journey. A pathway that has been taken by many before me. It is an interesting word that describes this new and exciting time, although the noun ‘retirement’ does not reflect this.

The Oxford Dictionary describes this as giving up your regular work because you are getting old. “Oh dear me, how that could be misinterpreted.”

Apparently, the practice of leaving employment has been around since the eighteenth century. Prior to this, the life expectancy was on average 26-40 years of age.

Already I have been receiving junk mail about retirement homes, financial advice, pension advice and e-mails enquiring if I am worried about retirement. “I ask you, is there no end to this constant reminder?”

I digress. My retirement from formal work was celebrated in style with a delicious meal and celebratory drinks at Rossini Italian restaurant, Mansfield Woodhouse, where a wonderful evening was enjoyed by all. I sincerely thank everyone for the many gifts and cards I received.

A special thank you goes out to the patients who came bearing gifts and farewell cards over the last few weeks. The kind words, the many hugs and well wishes will remain embedded in my memory forever.

The following morning I woke up feeling bleary eyed and surprised that I had woken up at exactly the same time as on a working day. Two cups of tea later, I heard the letterbox rattle and guess what? My concessionary bus pass had arrived. Confirming that I am indeed an OAP, or to be more polite ‘a senior citizen’.

As I now enter a new period of life that some describe as the’ autumn years’ there will be no leaves falling from this tree. I plan to be as busy as ever with the many plans my husband and I have in place. I hope to continue with my writing for many years to come. Watch this space there may well be a few surprises in store.

 

Book review: Blink by K.L Slater

Having read ‘ Safe with me’ I immediately purchased Blink and Liar ( on pre-order) I am now hooked on K.L Slater as an author of psychological fiction.

Blink is a fast paced thriller with believable characters and a twist around every corner. I was very close to the ending before I had worked out the lot.

K.L Slater tricks the reader into assuming the perpetrator of the crime is a character that she has involved extensively in the victim’s life. However, the ending is most unexpected and actually quite shocking.

Well done to K.L Slater on a remarkable and well-written book.

Blink by K.L. Slater

Churchill film 2017 review of a new perspective.

This week, my husband and I went to see a long awaited film. ‘Churchill’ who was First Lord of the Admiralty in the first World War and the Prime Minister in the second World War.  My husband along with many others believes that Winston Churchill was the greatest Britain ever. I am afraid that I have not been so generous in my beliefs.

This film does not do Mr Churchill any favours, in terms of the portrayal of his character and his decision making of D-Day.

Brian Cox did a fine job representing his character and although I was aware of his heavy drinking, smoking and his black dog depression. The film brought home to me a picture of an old, unhealthy leader who was not in touch with the modern warfare of the time. I understood the symbolism of the seas of blood, relating to the disastrous attempt to open a second front at Gallipoli during the First World War. It was clear to see, this had a wounding and deep psychological effect on Churchill as he had backed this campaign, much to his regret.

Danny Webb as General Alan Brooke, John Slattery as Eisenhower and Julian Wadham as Montgomery gave a good performance as supporting cast coming across as far more decisive than Churchill who appeared as a dangerous irritant and a very loose cannon.

By contrast, his wife Clementine, played by a rather good Miranda Richardson, is portrayed as a strong determined woman, who will not take his nonsense.

There was one scene I struggled to either believe or understand. King George V1, played by James Purefoy was portrayed as visiting Churchill to dissuade him from his plans for them both to sail alongside the men to the Normandy Beaches. Kudos to Churchill for wanting to stand by the brave men of Britain. However, I question did this actually happen? If so, it would have been an act or irresponsible lunacy on both parts.

In summary, I enjoyed the film very much and it certainly gave my husband and me, a lot to think about.

Are you planning to visit the cinema any time soon? Let me know via Twitter or Facebook !

 

 

 

 

Boats, sunshine and a beautiful wedding

Special occasions are always memorable. Some are unforgettable. On Saturday June 17th my husband and I were invited to our very first boat wedding. Yes, my friends, you read that correctly. The register office wedding had been conducted the previous day. As you are aware from my previous blog posts, we have a canal boat that is moored up at an amazing Marina in Derbyshire. ‘Mercia Marina’

On the day in question, two of our friends who are moored on the same pontoon as ourselves made an amazing commitment to each other underneath a flower covered harbour on the back of their lovely boat. Their boat, along with many others, sailed on a short journey out of the Marina towards the village of Willington and moored beside a wooded area, known affectionately as ‘ Dingley Dell’.

The Humanistic ceremony was the most touching wedding ceremony I have ever witnessed. The lady who conducted the ceremony did so with great professionalism while at the same time portrayed the symbolism of marriage in a most profound way. The bride and groom had written their own vows, each with their own unique characters embedded in the meaning.

Wedding on a canal boat

Surrounded by Family and friends, the bride and groom enjoyed a wedding ceremony and celebrations that reflected their love for each other in a beautiful and touching way.

The celebrations went on well into the night, as we were sat in the Dell under the shade of the trees. A marquee was set up in a small clearing, where Live Music was performed by a local band. ‘Moore and Moore Beer’ the pub and party band played throughout the night  The bride, a member of the ukulele group on the Marina, played a set of tunes along with other group members. In addition, her daughter and partner along with other guests played and sang music throughout the evening. A disco was played between sets, making for an evening filled with entertainment.

Wedding band

My husband with his wry sense humour claimed that he felt like Robin Hood in the forest enjoying a medieval banquet. I agree, as we were sat amongst the trees, swathed in white bunting and fairy lights, there was a feeling of magic in the air. I felt truly at one with nature.

I wish my friends Carol and Keith a long and happy life together, full of joy. May all of their dreams come true as they sail along the British waterways together?

Sailing the seas aboard the ‘Queen Victoria’

My husband and I are regular cruisers, having sailed on a number of large ships around the Mediterranean, Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. Not forgetting our inland waterway adventures on our slightly smaller vessel. ‘Speckled Hen’.

We have now returned from our recent trip aboard the Queen Victoria, our first voyage with Cunard. This was a short cruise over to Amsterdam where we enjoyed an extended stay, due to poor weather conditions which kept us in dock. Actually, I was quite relieved not to be sailing in the rough sea, for despite the many times I have sailed, my sea legs are prone to get a little wobbly at times and my stomach somewhat delicate.

Queen Victoria cruise ship

While aboard, we met many interesting people, from a variety of backgrounds which enriched our stay aboard ‘Queen Victoria.’ As a gesture of good will, I left a signed copy of my Debut novel ‘Alice’ dedicated to the staff and crew. This is now in the Library and hopefully will be travelling around the world.

Queen Victoria library

When we docked at Southampton, we travelled over to Dover to spend a few days with our very good friends John and Sandy, whom we met on a holiday a few years previous. Knowing that we were confined to dock in Amsterdam instead of travelling to the designated port of Zeebrugge and our intended trip to Bruges. They booked a ferry the following day and off we went again, this time over the channel on ‘The Pride of Kent’ car ferry.  Off we travelled to the amazing city of Bruges with its picturesque medieval architecture, pretty streets and canals. You’ve guessed it. Yes! Once again we were on the water, this time on a tourist canal boats enjoying the city from a different perspective. 

It occurs to me that my husband and I were both born under the right sign of the Zodiac. We are Pisces and Cancer both water signs. How great is that.

I do hope that you are all enjoying the end of spring. Official summer begins on June 21st, I wish for you all to have an amazing summer. Don’t forget the sun protection.

Mercia Marina Maker’s Market – May 2017

I would like to say a huge thank you to Mercia Marina in Willington, Derbyshire for hosting the Makers Market on Sunday May 28th and giving me the opportunity to promote my debut novel Alice. Despite a cloudy start to the day I was surrounded by a sea of sunny faces as all of the stall holders pulled together to make the event a success.

The open mic session which was set close to my pitch was an absolute pleasure to listen to, and as the sun broke through the clouds in the afternoon and the crowd of visitors increased. I enjoyed meeting lots of interesting people, including other authors and would be writers.

The event takes place on the last Sunday of the month from May until September, so watch this space. I hope to return again at the end of August.

Hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend, whatever you were doing.

Mercia Marina - KL Loveley - photo 3

 

Mercia Marina - KL Loveley - photo 1

 

Mercia Marina - KL Loveley - photo 2

 

Mercia Marina - KL Loveley - photo 4

Alice Blog Tour – April 2017 – Summary

The Alice – April 2017 blog tour has ended, and I am very grateful to all the book bloggers who took the time to read my novel ‘Alice’, review it and host me on their websites. The blog tour was organised by Emma Mitchell, further details about her services can be found on her website.

Here is a list of all the book bloggers who participated, and links to their blog posts:

Bits About Books

Bookalicious Travel Addict

Swirl and Thread

The Stationery Geekette

Bliss She Wrote

Kristin’s Novel Café

By the Letter Book Reviews

Feminisa Libros Reviews

My Reading Corner

Novel Deelights

Short Book and Scribes

Jen Med’s Book Reviews

Truly Madly Cuckoo

Ali The Dragon Slayer

Mrs Blogg’s Books

Caro Emerald is a shining jewel

Having purchased the tickets ten months previous (so has to be sure of getting a seat). My husband and I were excited to finally arrive at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall to see Caro Emerald, otherwise known as Caroline Esmerelda Van der Leeuw. Her outstanding performance was faultless throughout. She wowed the audience with an electrifying mix of old and new songs, all delivered to perfection in her off- beat, and relaxed style.

The supporting band were extremely talented, creating a mix of light jazz and pop music with a distinctive style.  The concert hall was packed and as the shyness of the audience ebbed away, many were on their feet, dancing and clapping. When Caro announced that it was her birthday, the crowd roared their greetings as everyone sang the birthday song.

Caro Emerald

This was my first Caro Emerald concert, after encouragement from my husband who attended her performance last year at the same venue. I will certainly be keeping a check on the website for her return to Nottingham.

Do you like Caro Emerald ? Let me know via Twitter or Facebook !