Coping Mechanisms – 6 – Out for a meal

Going out for a meal, sans alcohol, is a big step forward as a coping mechanism and merited shoes. Real shoes, folks, not the sturdy lace-ups that go with the well-worn jeans, that represent lockdown fashion around here…

Into the back of the wardrobe dove I.

And it was a first! The first time I’ve ever had to dust my shoes before putting them on. I think they were last seen in March 2020 at the final event we attended before the first lockdown.

Going out for a meal as a coping mechanism had a lot to recommend. There was the chance to dress up, of course, but there was also the chance to support our favourite local restaurant while it waits, like the rest of us, for some kind of normaility. (Rudely shattered this morning by the Glasgow numbers. Maybe there is enough vaccinated population out there. Fingers crossed.) And, for a writer, the chance to people watch.

We were at The Apiary in Newington Road. Excellent food as before and a great selection of non-alcoholic drinks which added to the sense of occasion. DH had an ale, I had a sparkling pink aperitif and we shared a bottle of alcohol free cider.

Walked home admiring everyone’s May gardens in the evening light. Fritillaria Imperialis in yellow and orange particularly impressed. The next week should be filled with clematis and a walk in Marchmont is highly recommended as there are some spectacular plants climbing up all three stories  of a tenement in some places.

Spent a tidy sum on my first visit to a bookshop and have read Lady In Waiting, Anne Glenconnor for the book group and Jane Aiken Hodge’s biography of Georgette Heyer. Am also reading The Corinthian by YKW. Haven’t read it before – How’s that? ed.

If you’re in Edinburgh and read crime, the Christian Aid book sale, much reduced in size and scope, is going ahead today, Monday and Tuesday. there will also be toys and games and I think the cafe. St andrews and St George’s Church, George Street.

Writing news? Sold large print rights in A Debt for Rosalie to Ulverscroft who will bring out a library edition in due course. Yay!

Typed The End on that serial. Phew!

How and where are you on the roller-coaster?



More Hoard: Cheap rather than Cheapside: Priceless, Too

Manchester night out

Okay, so are the shoes above worth ‘keeping for a rainy day’ – ‘might come in useful’ – ‘rubbish’?

They were abandoned on the streets of Manchester by, I’m assuming, an overnight reveller. Having written last week’s post about the Cheapside Hoard, I’ve been having a rake through my own stored items to see what I’m hoarding and why. There are interesting discoveries to be made.

Jewellery is an obvious thing to hoard. It’s of small volume and high worth. What did I find? Well, there’s a brooch of metallic gilt with Mother written across the middle. It’s very precious because pocket money bought it from a white elephant stall. There’s a polished stone given to me by the others in my student house to mark my 21st birthday. It fell just days after my dad died and all those very young friends were struggling to know how to treat me. A real milestone, sorry, pun alert.

Cuddlies are hoarded assiduously by small children, but I really had none left over from childhood. I don’t know why although a tail of siblings might be an answer. I now have several. The lion my husband gave me early in our relationship. He’s from a very upmarket toyshop and he shares a corner with a real elephant, blue not white, bought from another of those table sales by the child who knew exactly what he wanted for Christmas and, therefore, Mummy would be so lucky to get the same. And Mummy thinks so still. Then there’s my hippo bought by another child. He graces the bed during the day.

Shoes have been known, in this house, to separate into constituent parts before being deemed unfit for normal use. Explaining to a bewildered child why you have xx pairs of shoes and she has one, is taxing. It does, however, help to remember that her feet are still growing and yours have stopped – at least lengthways. It can be a problem of course. Packing a coming home bag for my mum after her stay in hospital got highly charged when the shoes I took from her cupboard didn’t fit. Like the rest of us, I should have looked under the edge of the bed, or beside the front door and not in ‘the hoard’ of the ones that might fit again some day.

I won’t take you through the books, clothes, photographs, and china. But I’ll just mention a bone crochet hook. It was my granny’s. She was my pal and she taught me to knit when I was four. I held it in my hand this morning and her image floated into my mind. Like so much of my personal hoard, it’s worthless and priceless. What’s in yours? Mariah’s Marriage US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK

Mariah’s Marriage is a contender. RNA Joan Hessayon Award

I’ve known Mariah was a contender for the Joan Hessayon Award of the Romantic Novelists’ Association for some time. There was, however, a press embargo so I wasn’t able to share. The RNA press officers have now lifted the embargo and details of the nine contenders can be read here:

I hope you’ll drop in and see the other eight books.

So, the train tickets, the hotel room, the dress, oh and what else is important when romance writers get together?

That’s it – the shoes. I’ll keep you posted.

The Shoes were a Triumph

Novels Now sends warmest wishes to our RoNAS heroine, Scarlet Wilson. Two nominations in one year continues to be a remarkable achievement. Sadly, she was pipped at the post by Sarah Mallory for the category prize.

Next year, Scarlet, next year…

Scarlet’s shoes, however, made it into the photographic record of the RoNAS and what a well deserved appearance it was. Deep grey and sparkly all over Novels Now is sure they added a further touch of class to a very classy event.

Well done to all.