“Oh, you shouldn’t have…”

“You shouldn’t have…”

I have been watching people receive gifts recently (we all have, I suspect) and I have noticed that some people are exceptionally good at receiving gifts—and others aren’t. There are those people, who simply make you feel that what you have given them is the best thing ever, and has made their day. They seem to smile with their whole face, and look genuinely delighted with those slippers or that mug or those earrings. Other people (and I’m afraid that I might be one of these) struggle to appear pleased, even if they are. I am always aware that I’m being watched, that my reaction matters, and so it all goes to pot and even when I am excited by the gift, I’m not sure that I show it very well.

The thing is, I think that receiving is very important, and there are lots of us who find it difficult. This Christmas, I have heard lots of people say things like: “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” and they mean it. They absolutely do not really want to be given anything. They don’t want gifts, and (perhaps even more) they don’t want help. If they need to be driven somewhere, they would rather pay for a taxi than accept the offer of a lift from a friend. They will grind themselves into the ground with exhaustion rather than let someone help them.

Of course, this isn’t true of everyone, and there are a few people who ONLY ever take from others. They will stand by and let others do all the work, ask for favours but never do any in return, and generally are a drain on those around them—but I’m not talking about those people. I want to consider the others, the people who dislike accepting, because I think it’s important.

We talk sometimes about relationships being “Give and Take” and yet we are so loathe to “take”. This makes relationships unbalanced. I find I feel much closer to those people who will let me help them, who are not completely self-sufficient.

If you believe the Bible, there is lots there to show we should accept help. Right back in Genesis, Man was created to need a helper, so Woman was created. Man didn’t say,”Oh, no thanks, I can manage on my own.” Man needed Woman. And later, the absolute example has to be God himself, who came as a completely vulnerable human baby in order to reach us. Many times during Jesus’ life, from the very first time he needed to be fed by Mary, to the times he asked for a drink of water, or for other people to organise things or find things, or provide things, he asked for help. And his needs were genuine—when he asked a woman at a well for a drink, he really was thirsty and needed a drink and didn’t have a pot to collect water.

This is a lesson that I learnt painfully, when I had brain surgery. I changed from an independent person who didn’t need (or want) much help, to someone who suddenly needed lots. It was a tough lesson to learn.

So please, think about it this week. If people offer to help, perhaps you will deepen your relationship with them if you accept. It’s probably good for us, makes us humble, to realise that we all need other people, we can’t manage to do it all on our own. We were created like that.

Thanks for reading, have a good week.

Take care,
Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson has written several novels and non-fiction books. You can find her work in bookshops and Amazon.
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People Know Best…Right?

People know best…right?

Recently there was a march in London – 670,000 people walked the streets of London – showing they wanted a new vote on Brexit. Nearly seven-hundred-thousand people. Surely, that many people can’t be wrong, can they?

On 23rd June, 2016, 17,410,742 people in the UK, voted to leave – so surely they couldn’t all be wrong – could they? And yet over sixteen million voted to remain in Europe. Which is also rather a lot of people. So who was right? Who had the best interests of the country at heart? Surely, when millions of people vote for something, it shows what is right – doesn’t it?

Yet, as the above example shows, clearly millions of people can vote for something that is wrong, because in the Europe vote, both sides cannot be right, which means millions of people have voted for the wrong thing. Which shows, I think, that we cannot always trust what other people think to be right. Something which has the support of the masses, is not necessarily correct. Sometimes, people are wrong. Sometimes, millions of people are wrong. (Which is a slightly scary thought when you live in a democracy – because populations can vote for the wrong thing.)

If we look at the arts, we can see more examples of what the masses think. I know of many singers, musicians, artists, who will probably never be famous, but not because they weren’t ‘good enough’. Were the Spice Girls the best singers at the height of their fame? Are the acts that win X Factor the best entertainers?

Look at the book reviews on Amazon. Some modern books have thousands of reviews. Other, great books, do not. The Phantom of the Opera has only a few hundred reviews, even though everyone has heard of it – but not many people read it. Sometimes, the number of reviews say more about the amount of time the author spends on social media, and less about the quality of the book. {Small plug here – if you have read one of my books, please scribble a review on Amazon. Even if you didn’t like it! Only 1% of people who read my books bother to put a review on Amazon, and it’s how some people choose books.}

I was thinking about this recently, as I was asked to preach at a nearby church. It’s tiny, with a tiny congregation of mainly elderly people. The service was very traditional, and several members took part, some of them with major health issues (the lady leading the service pulled her oxygen tank around with her) and I gave the talk. It was not a professional product. And yet, it was a service where I felt the worship was very real, the love of God was very evident, these were people who were sincere in their faith.

In comparison, there is a study-guide which is popular at the moment in churches. The author is a well-known American pastor, who leads a huge church. He is an engaging speaker, I imagine his church has beautiful music and up-to-date IT, and a wonderful building. But would you feel God there? Certainly the study seems to be made up of popular sound-bites and clever phrases, the sort of thing that people like to repeat because it makes them feel better about how they’re living. But there isn’t much in-depth Bible study, there isn’t much that encourages you to come in awe to the presence of God and understand more about who he is. It seems, in my opinion, rather glib.

So why does a seemingly superficial church have thousands of members and a sincere group of Christians remain tiny? Perhaps because God wants it that way. Perhaps he wants to bless those faithful Christians, and for them to have a safe place, where things don’t change, and they can worship him. Sometimes Christian churches can feel like scalp-hunters, they judge the value of something by how many people are in the building. I don’t think God does. Sometimes, people don’t know best. Sometimes the most popular is not the best. Sometimes we need to look to God, and make choices based on what our hearts tell us, not simply follow the crowd. Because sometimes, the crowd is wrong.

Thank you for reading. Hope you make some good choices this week. I’ll write again next week – I want to tell you about an author who refused to accept that “what everyone thinks is best” (which perhaps was a mistake).
Take care,
Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson has written several novels. They are available from bookshops and Amazon.
You can follow her blog at:
anneethompson.com
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Diary of a Day

Today was just a normal day. I will tell you about it (because spying on other people is kinda fun, isn’t it!)

Got up, and sorted the ducks and chickens and fed the outside cats. Lots of signs of nest building, but no actual eggs, so either rats got there first or the hens are just pretending.

Had coffee, cake, and Bible time. My favourite bit of the day. (I make a very complicated cake which is made with sour cream, so it isn’t too sweet, and has a crushed pecan and maple syrup stuffing. It takes ages to make, so I hide it in the larder, and never share it, and only ever eat it – one slice – on my special Portmerion plate with the fuschia pattern – at coffee time.)

Shopping order arrived. It’s my turn to cook at Lunch Club, and usually I would shop in Morrisons, because it’s cheap, but this week has been hectic, plus I keep having chest pains, so I decided to keep things simple. It costs more, but there will be a dinner at the end and I might survive. This week I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie. I use the term loosely, as it is made with beef mince, not lamb mince, so really should be called ‘Cottage Pie’. Plus, I am too lazy to actually make it into pies, (you should ask my family about my picnics sometime – they epitomise my lazy cooking style). So, really, it will be heaps of mince on plates with heaps of mashed potato. But Shepherd’s Pie sounds better. I put the frozen veg into the freezer (keeping things simple, remember?) and made a start on the mince.

The mince recipe is modified from a Nigella Lawson recipe, because I like her food, even if I don’t manage the flirty eyes when I cook. It is a brilliant recipe as it involves putting lots of veg through a processor so it forms a mush, then adding it to mince. So children (and elderly members of lunch club) eat lots of tasty vegetables without realising it.

Due to a recent decrease in numbers (none for good reasons) I decided to cook for 35 people. I began to peel onions and mush them with bacon, and add them to the mince to fry. Onions for 35 people makes you cry.

Then peeled carrots, feeling slightly guilty. Every week, we have a young woman who is autistic, who comes to help us prepare the veg and wash up. She always peels and chops the carrots. She works really hard, and never complains (except the week when my sister came to help, but that’s another story). However, she does not like things to change, and she always peels the carrots. But I needed to mush them and add them to the mince, so this week I did them. This might cause angst tomorrow. I will worry about it then.

Added whiskey, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, allspice, cloves, and other stuff. Left to simmer for about an hour while I washed up. When it was cooked, I transferred the mince to plastic containers. This is one of the difficult bits – when you are cooking for lots of people, you must ensure that everything is cooled down and refrigerated within two hours (otherwise it has to be thrown away, which is something of a waste). Cooling down heaps of mince is not as easy as it sounds. Finally was cool enough to go into fridge.

Washed up. Cooked ginger sponges (will reheat them tomorrow with custard for pudding). Washed up.

Packed car with rest of stuff, then allowed dog back into kitchen (she is banished when I cook, in case a stray hair floats upwards and contaminates the food).

Considered whether chest pains were better or worse. Have a slight nagging thought that heart problems begin with chest pains. But I feel I have already had a brain tumour (rare) and that to also have heart problems (also rare) is simply too unlikely. Decided chest pains are more likely due to lugging crates of water around for the ducks, and took an aspirin.

Rest of day spent walking dog, doing washing, clearing up cat sick (old decrepit cat who lives in the utility room) and reading. Got a dinner out of freezer for our own meal – after a day cooking mince, I cannot face making something else for us to eat.

Thank you for reading. By the way, have you read a copy of CLARA yet? It’s getting some good reviews already, which is very exciting. Take a look at the Amazon link, to see what other people are saying.

Love,
Anne x

Bill Wilmot 1918 – 2018

My friend: Bill Wilmot 1918 – 2018

I’ve just come home from the funeral of a friend. Not exactly my favourite thing, but then, most people find funerals difficult. I tend to avoid them if I can, but I couldn’t avoid this one. Bill has been a friend since 1982, when I moved to Surrey with my parents, so I felt I had to go, to pay my respects. He deserved to be honoured, because Bill was special. Let me tell you a little about him.

Now, I wasn’t a relative, so I can only tell you the stories about Bill that I remember. But what anyone who knew Bill will tell you, he loved to tell stories. He had this lovely west country accent, and when he spoke (and he could talk for a very long time, so it was no good being in a hurry) you listened. His best stories were about being a medic in the war. He told me that before he went away, he tried to find someone to care for his dog, but no one would. So one day, he spent his week’s money on meat, gave the dog a feast, and then shot it through the head. Because he said, he loved that dog, and refused to have it suffer when he wasn’t there to care for it. There was a strength to Bill, and a determination to do things right.

Bill specialised in ‘landings’, and he seemed to have done a lot of them. So when the troops landed on a coast, Bill would be in the next wave of landings, helping anyone who was wounded. He told me that once, he jumped off the boat, and almost immediately, something exploded next to him, and he was completely covered in mud. He thought he’d die, but one of his friends had noticed, and dug him out. Later, when he rejoined his unit, they were surprised to see him. “Oh,” they said, “we thought you were dead, we saw you being blown up”.

As a medic, Bill treated anyone who was injured, irrespective of country. When he was in Burma, he helped both British and Japanese soldiers. He told a story about bending down in the make-shift hospital to help one soldier, and a Japanese patient next to him, slipped Bill’s knife from his kit, and stuck it into his leg. Bill said (and you have to read this in a west country accent):
“I won’t tell you what I said, because it wasn’t suitable for a lady to hear, but I was not very happy.”

When Bill returned from the war, he went straight to where his fiancee lived. But while he was away, she’d died of an illness. Bill never married.

Although a hero, Bill was no saint. He told me that when he later worked in a reform home for boys, teaching them gardening skills, one of the teachers annoyed him. So one evening, when everyone was eating dinner, he went out and slashed all the tyres on his car. Later, Bill worked at Godstone Farm, and was keen that children living in London should have some knowledge of the countryside.

Bill was always interested in boys who were in trouble. I met him long after he’d retired (Bill was always old, even back in 1982). He would talk to the boys in the village, get to know them, and give them advice and help. He told me that once, he was driving a couple of boys into Redhill, and one of them turned to him.

“Bill,” he said, “I could get out a knife right now, and stab you, unless you drive us where we want to go.”

Bill continued driving, and answered: “Yes you could. But before you do, remember that I’m pretty old, and I shall die soon anyway, and I know exactly where I’m going because God has promised me a place in Heaven. But things are a bit more unsure for you. So bear in mind, that if you do get out that knife, I shall drive straight into a wall, and then you’ll be in trouble.”

The boy put away the knife.

I’m not sure that Bill was afraid of anything, even though as he got older, he was very frail. He told me that some men tried to sell him a scam recently, so he told the police. The police went to his flat, and hid in the bathroom, while Bill spoke to the men who’d come back to sell him some dodgy deal. They had to wait until the men actually asked for money, and Bill had actually written the cheque, and then they emerged from the bathroom and arrested them. I asked Bill if he’d been scared, but he said no, it was exciting. He was no fool.

Bill was always willing to help with young people. Whenever Husband was away, and I had breakfast club, Bill would come to help me, just to be the second leader, and to talk to the boys.

When Bill was 98, he asked us if he could pay for the meal at Lunch Club, and if it could be his birthday meal. We said we would do it anyway, but he insisted that he had savings, and he wanted to pay. So we agreed. He chose a roast lamb lunch, with a pudding, and I made a cake and we decorated the hall. Bill arrived with an inflatable hat, which had birthday candles on it and an “I’ve lost count” slogan. We sang happy birthday to him, and he stood, and made a little speech. It was a real honour to be able to help him mark his birthday.

Then after the meal, Bill came into the kitchen to pay. The cook for that week, asked me what she should do. We’d had 40 people that week, and roast lamb for 40 people is expensive, and probably cost much more than Bill realised. I told her to ask him how much money he’d brought, and then to tell him the meal had cost slightly less than that.

I heard her ask him how much money he had, and then tell him an amount which was £20 less.

“Right,” said Bill, “well here’s your money for the food. And here’s a £20 tip for the workers!”

I will miss Bill. The last conversation I had with him, was at Lunch Club. I held open a door for him, and as he walked through, he positioned his walking frame, so I was trapped behind the door.
“Aha! I’ve got you trapped now!” he said. If I’d blown, he’d have fallen over. But that was Bill, he had a wicked twinkle until the end.

I cannot pretend that his body wasn’t ready to die. After 99 years, everything is worn out, and the last year has been very tough for him. He didn’t want to die, he was determined to live until September, when he’d have been a hundred. But he didn’t manage it. He had asked my dad if he would go back to Godstone to do the funeral. But my dad died 10 years ago, so that wasn’t going to happen!

The funeral was very dignified, and Bill had written a letter, which was read out. He told us all about his faith in God, and talked about “agnostics who hide in their foxholes of darkness”. If anyone had the right to give advice about life, it was Bill. He honoured God, and although his life was often not easy, I know he never regretted that decision. I feel privileged to have known him. Though, I was surprised at the funeral to learn that actually, he wasn’t called Bill, his name was Oswald, and all his family called him Uncle Ossie!

Thank you for reading.

*******
anneethompson.com

Life has been busy…

Life has been busy since we arrived home from India. We had barely unpacked before Husband set off again, for Germany. I’m sure this was an essential work trip, and not because I am very irritable when I’m jet-lagged. It took me a few days to readjust my clock, which was fine because waking before the rest of the country is not unpleasant, though I did have a tendency to collapse at about 7pm. I was cooking at lunch club on Friday, so the first couple of days were busy with shopping and making ginger sponges for pudding. I cooked my default meal: roast gammon, roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower cheese, and sweetcorn. It went okay, and we served 36 dinners.

The following day, we were organising a church social. Well, to be precise, Husband was organising a church social, as when it was planned way back in October, I told him that after Christmas and new year and a trip to India, I would NOT be helping to then arrange an evening of entertainment for the church family. But he didn’t listen. He arrived home from Frankfurt Friday evening, and spent all day Saturday getting things ready.

Due to my refusal to help, he ordered fish and chips for everyone. This worked really well, and the shop delivered 45 portions, all boxed and ready to eat, with tiny sachets of salt and vinegar. All I had to do was hand them out to people. Everyone had brought puddings, and we had a table of drinks.

It was a fun evening. Everyone was put into teams, and each team was given a box of challenges to complete in 45 minutes. These ranged from drawing a portrait of a team member, to building the highest tower with the paper and tape provided. It was an evening for the whole church family, so we had young children and elderly, but there was something for everyone, and lots of opportunities to chat. Which is probably the main purpose. One of the activities was to complete a jigsaw puzzle, which was probably impossible in 45 minutes, but it was rather pleasant to join puzzle pieces while chatting to other people on the table.

On Sunday, daughter and dbf popped home. We went for lunch at The Bell in Godstone, which is the only pub I know which offers a complete alternative menu for vegans. (I pretended I had known this in advance, and chosen it specially, but actually it was a complete fluke!) Then we went for a very wet dog walk and lazed around watching television.

I found an old book about grammar, and read out interesting snippets to people, which I’m sure added to their enjoyment of Lord of the Rings. For example, did you know that you should use ‘was’ for things that are certain (I was at the cinema) and ‘were’ for things that are uncertain (If I were to go to the cinema…)? Or that Samuel Johnson put together the first English dictionary in 1755, and thereby standardised spelling. But Noah Webster found all the silent letters very annoying, so he produced an alternative, American, dictionary in 1828, which spelt words the way they sound: center not centre, and color not colour. Which is why, even today, American spelling is different to English spelling.

I also made a Kindle paperback of JOANNA. I was hoping it would be listed first on Amazon, above all the annoying secondhand copies. But it’s not, it appears to be listed separately. So, if you live in the UK, don’t buy that version – the first edition version can still be bought, which is a nicer quality book. You just need to check you are buying a new copy when you order one. However, the Kindle paperback version does now mean that people in other countries can order physical copies of the book, so I will leave it there. I’ve sold quite a few other books in the US, Australia, and various parts of Europe, and now JOANNA is available in those countries too.

Today, I will try to catch up with life a little. I feel as if I have been running since November, and I have piles of stuff around the house which need to be sorted. I then need to start planning the launch of CLARA, which I’m very excited about. The manuscript is finally with the printer, and the order placed. I had to decide how many copies to print. I was very tempted to print fewer books than previously. I really find the selling bit difficult – since my operation, I find approaching strangers and telling them about my books, to be really scary. On the other hand, I feel that CLARA is a book that should be read. I know it’s controversial, that some people will find it difficult, but it says so much. It tells the story of the women I met in the slums, and it has layers of messages hidden in the depths of the story. It is a gripping story, but I hope it will be more than that. So, I was brave, and have ordered 500 copies. I need to work out the price, as it’s a fatter (and therefore more expensive) book than JOANNA, but I think £12.99 will be about right. I’ll let you know. If you want to preorder a copy, send me a message via my Facebook page.They sent me a copy of the cover to approve, so I’ll let you have a sneaky preview.


Thanks for reading. Have a good week.
Take care,
Anne x

Being Shameless (further confessions of an author)

As it’s a new year, I thought I’d give you an update on the whole ‘being an author’ game/business/nightmare (delete as applicable). Actually, to be honest, the last few months have at times felt like a nightmare – but I’ll come to that in a minute.

First, I’ll tell you about Christmas. For a self-published author, Christmas is busy. There seem to be sales everywhere, and if you’ve been organised a few months ahead of time, booking a table is relatively easy. Prices for a table tend to vary, so it’s worth researching which fairs are likely to give enough sales to recoup your costs. But selling at fairs is okay, all you need is a good patter, and people will buy a signed book for their son, aunty or bookclub friend. Actually fitting in time to properly celebrate Christmas with your family is more difficult. I did rather struggle through Christmas this year in a state of disorganised exhaustion – so perhaps I need to have a rethink for next year.

Regarding Christmas, I must confess, I was shameless, and did a terrible thing. You see, when you’re an author, it is very difficult to advertise your products. They are books. Unless you talk to people, they don’t really sell themselves. So, how to raise awareness? How to best remind people that my books exist, and they said that they intend to buy another one, but they haven’t yet got round to it? How to avoid being that boring person at dinner parties who always talks about her books? Marketing. The big companies do it, so why not self-published authors who are struggling to be seen? You often see massive posters at stations and bus stops, advertising the next blockbuster by Lee Child or Stephen King – why not by Anne E. Thompson?

 Now, I wasn’t sure if Husband would be happy to finance a thousand-pound advertising spree, but I thought it unlikely, so I didn’t ask him. Instead, I looked for something cheaper than a couple of posters at Victoria Station. My solution was photo-gifts. You know the ones? Those mugs, and coasters where you can have a picture of your puppy on the front. Well, why not books? I have photos of each cover, why not produce some merchandise? So I did. I went online, found some that weren’t too expensive, and had some things made with the cover photos of my books on the front. They looked okay. But then I needed to distribute them, so they were seen in public – which is where the shameless bit comes in. I decided that my family would all like to walk around, advertising my books on a bag, so they all received one for Christmas. (Okay, so actually I knew they’d be slightly horrified, but I did it anyway.) They were polite.

 I rather like the mugs, which are a decent size and a nice shape. So I had a few made. I’ll see if I can sell any when I’m next selling books, which won’t make me any money, because they’re quite expensive for me to buy, but they will help to advertise my books. I have this image, of someone drinking coffee, and being asked, “What is that picture on your mug?” “Ah,” they will reply, “that is the cover of a book I read recently. It was really good, you should buy a copy.” I tried this out on the man who came to service the boiler, and gave him his coffee in a Joanna mug. He didn’t comment.

The nightmare bit of my job is publishing Clara. As it’s my sixth book, I thought I had the publishing bit sorted. The book was finished in the summer. But everything since has been hard work. My editor suggested I rewrote lots of it, which took me months. Then the cover photo was later arriving than I’d hoped, which meant the typesetter didn’t get everything before Christmas. Then there was a strange glitch on the computers, which changed some, but not all, of the curly quotation marks to ‘smart quotes’, which look odd in a book, so I had to read through and find them all. Which took hours and hours. Plus some words were hyphenated, which always irritates me when I’m reading books, so they had to be found and corrected, because for some reason the auto-correct function only worked on some chapters. I felt like everything was against this book being published. As I write, we are negotiating with the printer, and hopefully, Clara will go to them this week. I hope so. I am worn out with things going wrong, especially as I find the IT side of publishing to be beyond my ability level.

I need to decide soon if I am going to have another book launch. They are a bit scary, but they do make it easy for friends to buy the book. If I do, I need to decide when. I want to avoid holiday seasons, but have it in time for people to buy the book for the summer (when most people read at least one book). I will let you know.

I also need to do something about Amazon. They have changed their listing policy, so cheaper books always appear first. Which means people selling secondhand copies of my books show ahead of me, and those are the copies people are buying. So I don’t receive any money. I am thinking that I might make Kindle paperback copies of all my books, and only sell my self-published ones directly. The Kindle paperbacks are less nice, they’re heavier and not of the same quality as my self-published books. But they are okay, and customers can avoid paying postage, and I don’t have to physically send them out, AND they would be listed ahead of all the other copies (because most of the money goes to Amazon, so they want to sell them). I’ll try to do it in February, at the moment I’m still trying to catch up with life.

Thanks for reading. Take care.
Love,
Anne x

*******

You can follow my blog at : anneethompson.com

 Anne E. Thompson is the author of five novels and one non-fiction book. Her latest novel, CLARA – A Good Psychopath? is due to be released soon. You can find her books in bookshops or Amazon.

Which book will you read next?

These are a few of my favourite things….in case we have a thunder storm.

Christmas tends to involve a lot of stuff. Some of which is fun, and helps the general mood of celebration, and some just gets in the way. Sometimes I think we have too much stuff, and life would be much simpler without it. But there are some things which I really like, for a whole variety of reasons. Sometimes because of who or what it reminds me of, and sometimes just because it works really well. So, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite things (even though some are perhaps a bit odd.)

I shall begin with my iron. People have been very rude about my iron over the years, but I think it’s perfect. It’s small and heavy and doesn’t hiss steam in a scary manner. My brother gave it to me in 1988, and it still works just fine. I expect you are jealous.

Next is a more recent gift, a mug from my mum. It is chipped now (no one admitted responsibility, one of those mysterious damages that happen in families). It is now a pencil pot. During its brief life as a mug, it was a nice curvy shape to hold, with a thin rim, so nice to drink from, and it held more coffee than our other mugs.  It was my morning coffee mug. Once chipped, it lost its attraction, but I can’t quite bring myself to throw it away, so it sits on my desk, reminding me of peaceful mornings and the joys of living in a family.

Next is my garden. I chose our house on the strength of our garden, and I still love it. It’s not very manicured, but it’s full of little corners and living things. You will find chickens wandering through the trees, and cats waiting to pounce on you, and ducks being noisy on the pond. Two of my best gifts from Husband were a large cage for a birthday (which he managed to put together with himself shut inside, but we won’t talk about that!) and some toadstools. The toadstools are surrounded by snowdrops in the spring, and they sit near the lawn where we buried my labrador, so it’s rather a special corner.

Next is my knife (these are not in any sort of order, in case you’re wondering). Okay, so it’s just a knife, but it’s red, so easy to see when I forget where I’ve left it (happens a lot) plus it works. I don’t particularly like cooking dinners, but I can whiz through a sack of potatoes with this knife in no time. It was bought from John Lewis, but when I tried to buy another one, they were gone, and they only had serrated ones. If you ever see them lurking in a shop, let me know. (Made by Kuhn.)

I can’t choose a favourite book, so I’ll have them as a bookshelf. Hours of learning and listening and being whisked into other lives.

My wellies have to be on the list, because I live in them, and they symbolise hours of pleasure, stomping across fields and hills and footpaths. My life would be less nice without wellies.

I will finish with some jewellery (just to prove I am a girl!) Actually, specifically my engagement ring, which is the most exciting piece of jewellery I own. It isn’t huge (we had no money) but we bought it soon after we were engaged, when we were still students. It was from a shop in London, and when it was fitted to the correct size, I had to collect it and take it to Bristol, where Husband was a student, so he could keep it until we were ‘officially’ engaged. I remember sitting on the National Express coach from Victoria, and staring at it on my finger, holding it in the light so the sapphire shone blue. Then Husband kept it, for ages, until we finally told everyone that we planned to get married. It was all wonderfully exciting.

I could go on, but you might lose interest if I go through my favourite shoes, and pen, and chair. So I’ll stop. What is your favourite thing?

Thanks for reading. Have a good week.
Take care,
Anne x

xxxxxx

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