Over the weekend I watched this bluetit fly in and out of the nesting box on my garage wall so, while my dinner was cooking this evening, I thought I would try and capture it on photo. My patience was rewarded when I saw it land on the clothes line. ‘Don’t press too soon,’ I told myself and waited for a second. Lo and behold, I did it on the second attempt! I’m so proud, I can’t explain, not only that I’ve photographed it, but that it should choose my garden in which to nest.
A man in red military uniform stood on the doorstep. For a second, Harriet thought her musings had conjured up her brother, but the man was older, and severe-looking. “Mistress Harding?” he asked in a gruff voice.
Her mother came up behind her. “Yes, that’s me.”
The man took off his hat. “Captain Holmes, ma’am. Please may I come in?”
“Yes, yes, of course, how discourteous. Pray, excuse my daughter’s bad manners.”
Harriet puffed out her cheeks, about to protest but, seeing her mother’s worried face, thought better of it. “Would you like a cup of tea?” she asked.
The gentleman shook his head. “No, thank you. I regret I am the bearer of bad news.”
“Bad news?” her mother asked in a weak voice.
“Pray, sit down, Mistress Harding.”
Harriet took her mother’s proffered hand and gripped it, wondering what bad news he was about to impart. Surely nothing to do with her brother? He was, as she had been remembering, in Aldershot.
The man asked, “Is your husband due home?” At her mother’s nod, he continued, “Perhaps we should wait until he comes.” He gave a pointed look at her belly. “It would be better if he were with you.”
I have transferred all my self-published books from CreateSpace to Kindle Direct Publishing and hopefully, the transfer has gone smoothly. As a result, (except for Lea Croft) all the kindle versions are on offer at 99p on Amazon.co.uk, or $1.39 on Amazon.com. Please note for Jamie fans, the Jamie series is not included, although the first in the series – Looking for Jamie – is always 99p. If anyone buys one and finds a blip, please let me know so I can correct it and send them a revised version.
My mother always insisted she was an eighth Welsh but in the 15 years I have been researching my family tree, I have not been able to find any Welsh ancestors. UNTIL NOW!! I was so excited and thrilled to find my great great great grandmother, Margaret Pitt, whom I already had in my tree, but with no details of her birth, came from Abergavenny. This makes Mother only a sixteenth Welsh, but she wasn’t far off.
But there’s more… My middle name is Margaret, so I wonder if Mother knew all along and named me after her.
And… Margaret was buried on 9th May – my birthday (although 131 years earlier, in 1816).
I spend hours researching and have 1362 people in my tree, and have traced ancestors back to John Raven in Cumberland born 1520.
I am amazed!
More people who bought the paperback edition of my new novel Harriet of Hare Street (I never hear from those who buy the kindle editions) have come up to me and said how much they enjoyed the book than has happened with any of my other 8 books. Yet I didn’t think it was my best. I removed nearly 20,000 words when editing it. Perhaps the others are too long!
Anyway, it is on offer this week at only 99p for the kindle edition and, if anyone would like a signed paperback, just drop me a message and I’ll send one, postage free, to the UK on receipt of £7.99
Thanks, Miriam, for allowing me to share Harriet’s letter
I think today’s visitor is my youngest ever. She’s only thirteen and comes from Victorian London and the pages of Harriet of Hare Street by Angela Rigley. Harriet has brought a letter to her father, who has just died. I believe she wants some answers.
Dear Papa in Heaven,
I miss you so much. Why did you have to die? Mama has not told me how it happened. Not the real circumstances. She just said that you fell off a bridge. Well, dear Papa, why did you not hold on tighter? I am sorry William Henry died. We all are. But were you so upset that you jumped off? I am sure that is not the case, but some people seem to think that was what happened. Anyway, Father Lane would not have given you a Catholic burial if he thought so. I would hate to think of you burning…
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Another snippet from Harriet of Hare Street:
A girl of five or six, with curly ginger hair, came up to her. “Are you the lady what owns that baby me ma’s feeding?”
“If you mean the…” What was the word she needed? Her own father had been one. He’d been found in a basket in a church doorway. A foundling—that was it. “If you mean the foundling, then it isn’t mine, I just happened to…to… Anyway, I was hoping your ma might keep it.”
“No, she says she can’t. She says we can’t afford another mouth to feed.” The girl twiddled with her apron. “She says when are you coming to fetch it?”
Her heart dropped. “Has she finished feeding it?”
“Your ma says a lot of things, doesn’t she?”
The girl nodded.
Another snippet from Harriet of Hare Street:
An excerpt from Harriet of Hare Street. Although not a biography, much of the novel is based on my mother’s experiences as a child. Her grandfather was a seaman, a ship’s engineer with the General Steam Navigation Company.
“Speaking of grandfathers, when’s Gampy coming home from sea?”
“Child, why do you still call him by that babyish name? Can’t you say, ‘Grandfather’, like any normal thirteen-year old?”
With a sigh, she replied, “Because he likes me calling him Gampy. He says thinking about me keeps him sane while he’s at sea all those months. I can’t wait to hear more of his adventures.”
Her mother pinned a stray lock of greying hair into place and sat down. “He makes up most of them.”
“You always say that, but I believe them, especially the one about the pirates. That must have been exciting. Fancy, actual pirates climbing aboard his ship! And the tale about the black cat appearing from nowhere in the middle of a storm. They all thought it was the devil.”
A tut and a shake of the head was her reply.