Why move to Idaho?

Writing Wings


Before I answer that crucial question, welcome to the first Pick’n’Mix blog post. I will attempt to post something at this same time and on this same site every week. And rather than having a specific topic, this will be whatever seems tastiest – as suggested.

Anyway, when I announced that I was attempting to emigrate across the pond to Idaho, some people questioned that choice?

“Why move there?” they asked. “There are better places for your MS – Switzerland or Spain.”

True. My multiple sclerosis gets worse in damp, cold weather, and in humid, hot weather. And sadly Wales has ticked the first box, this year. The second rules out many places in the more distant East, like India or Singapore. However, the key thing is having family and friends that can be supportive. A non-starter in this park home estate, where I seem to have a communicable disease…

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The Candle

Writing Wings

A sundae and candle at http://ri.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrB8qHVM8dVYxkA256WnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBxNG1oMmE2BHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmwEaXQD/RV=2/RE=1439147094/RO=11/RU=http%3a%2f%2fcityhomekitchenstore.com%2fchocolate-ice-cream-sundae-scent-home-fragrance-candle/RK=0/RS=VGdOYtBON2viK00lZmzhumz9jow- http://www.cityhomekitchenstore.com

There was a single twinkling candle on my chocolate fudge sundae. One candle for another year older, if not a year healthier. Friday August 7th 2015 was a turning point – well it felt that way for my stomach.

It churned and squirmed along with my head as we drove through the lush green Welsh scenery, across the mountains between Harlech and Bodnant. I hadn’t felt so car sick since I was a child – not physically sick, just feeling rotten. Is this because I’m into my second childhood?

But the journey was worthwhile as the food was delicious at the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, which is “set in the heart of the Conwy Valley and surrounded by the stunning scenery of Snowdonia”. Best part was browsing their farm shop, and being tempted to buy some tasty treats from chili chocolate to locally sourced beef sausages. What…

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Was the first novel too easy?

Writing Wings


As this is the first Wednesday in August, I’m talking about ‘my debut’ for this monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group contribution.

As some of you may have noticed, my debut novel “Spiral of Hooves” is no longer available, since I parted amicably with my publishers. I have all the rights back, but I need to find another publisher. That should be easy as the novel has already been accepted by one publisher and got 5* and 4* reviews.

Life is never that easy. The first publisher that I offered “Spiral of Hooves” rejected it, but I don’t know why. Is it too long? Is it badly written? Has it passed its read-by date? Or did it appeal to the original publisher but not my next choice?

When I was preparing the document for submission, I did wonder about some scenes. Should I have cut them out, and re-edited…

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Confessions of a Pariah

Philip Green, Blogging & Writing.

I have thought long and hard before publishing this post, I am not a fan of ‘misery memoirs’ and do not sit well in the role of victim. The recent budget has left me scared and angry so as Mark Twain said “write what you know” I felt I had no choice but to blog about it from my point of view, it has turned out to be a much more personal article than I had intended but when I tried to edit it or turn it into a ‘third person’ piece it lost resonance. I’m generally a very private person, many friends as well as strangers will learn things about me for the first time from this article, but I have written this to highlight the unfairness of government policy on disabled people generally and not for personal pity or notoriety. Many millions cannot, for whatever reason, articulate their fears and situations so those of us who…

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Bill Allen: A Great Heart and A Generous Man

Bill Allen was indeed a great person. Both he and his wonderful wife Ann always treated me as a long time friend. He will be missed greatly. R.I.P. Bill

Writing Wings


On Saturday April 4th the sport of eventing lost one of its great supporters and personalities, Bill Allen. My first thought was for his wife Ann, and his family as I know how close they all are.

I couldn’t help it but I cried. For me Bill was special, as a friend and a colleague. Without Bill, I would never have got Borde Hill Horse Trials back onto the calendar. As my co-organiser, Bill taught me everything I know about running a horse trials, and helped assemble a first class team to put on the event. For many Bill was a first-class starter, and the joint-organiser of the successful Purston Horse Trials, but he could turn his hand to almost everything. But most important thing I learnt was that the organiser was responsible for chucking out the rubbish bags.

Bill Allen at Borde Hill Horse Trials with BE Steward Nicky Salmon (centre), Johnny Hill and Roland Clarke (right). Photo by Tony Warr. Bill Allen at Borde Hill Horse Trials with BE Steward…

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Brysur Fel Morgrig ~ How Industrious Are You?

You make a lot of sense with this one my darling husband!!!!!

Writing Wings


Today is the first Wednesday of March so I’m blogging as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Whether it proves to be an industrious day, remains to be seen. But last month was.

First, a clue to the Welsh I learnt in April – I now know at least four phrases in a language that we hear all around us, if we go outside our compound.

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?                                   Henry David Thoreau


Looking back, I’ve been busy all my life, but often that rushing around has been evasion. I had things to do, but often found other distractions. With my writing that can be detrimental, whether it is playing Facebook games, watching Soaps, or researching without direction.

However, in February I found some balance and managed to write a satisfying amount…

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A blank canvas…..

In a weeks time it will have been a year since Roland and I left our humble beginnings in England to begin our new adventure in Wales, UK.  It has been a very interesting journey for both of us and we have both learned and grown in the last year.  We have made new friends and lost old friends along the way and there are several who have stuck by us through it all.   This is how our adventure started:


and how it has progressed over the last year:

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Although there are some plantings, statues and garden structures it is time to do more, to finish this blank canvas and bring some colour to an otherwise dull painting.

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We had a garden designer named Tilly Jones come and draw up some plans for this new garden of ours and I do have to say that I have been very excited about it since she finished them late last year.  I want spring to hurry and get here so I can get outside and feel the damp earth and plant and watch them grow into a beautiful palette of colour.  Here are the plans:

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We plan to move some things around and add new structures like six foot willow screens for privacy, willow wheelie bin screen to hide the ugly rubbish cans, a new arch over the path through the rose garden, new planters and pots dotted around the yard full of wonderful plants and trees, and a new solar water feature for the rockery:

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I have decided to include a picture of all the plants and the botanical names:

Herbaceous plants:  Agapanthus umbellatus ‘Blue Umbrella’, Agapanthus umbellatus ‘White Umbrella’, Ajuga reptans ‘Braunherz’, Alcea rosea ‘Halo Red’, Alcea rosea ‘Nigra’, Allium giganteum, Anemone blanda Blue, Anemone blanda White, Aquilegia ‘Black Barlow’, Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’, Blechnum spicant, Campanula carpatica f.alba, Campanula poscharskyana, Crocosmia ‘Emily Mckenzie’, Dryopteris affinis ‘Cristata The King’, Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’, Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’, Erigeron karvinskianus, Eryngium planum, Euphorbia X martini, Geranium ‘Sabini Blue’, Helleborus niger, Hosta ‘Blue Angel’, Iris sibirica ‘Snow Queen’, Iris sibirica ‘Temper Tantrum’, Miscanthus sinensis, Pennisetum alopecuroides, Penstemon ‘Raven’, Persicaria affinis ‘Darjeeling Red’, Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Inverleith’, Phlox paniculata ‘Fujyama’, Polypodium vulgare, Rudbeckia fulgida var.Deamii, Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’, Stipa tenuissima ‘Pony Tails’.

Agapanthus-umbellatus-2Agapanthus-umbellatus-whiteAjuga reptans 'Braunherz'~mid 04AlceaHaloRed-500x500alcea rosea nigraallium giganteumanemone blanda blueAnemone blanda White Splendourblack-barlow-columbineBergenia 'Bressingham White'Blechnum.spicantCampanula carpatica f. albaCampanula poscharskyana Blaurankecrocosmia-emily-mckenziedryopteris affinis cristata the kingechinacea purpurea magnusepimedium grandaflorumerigeron karvinskianus, fleabaneSeaholly Eryngium planumeuphorbia x martiniigeranium sabani blue. cranesbillhelleborus niger christmas rosehosta blue angelsnow_queen-large iris sibiricaIris_Sibirica_Temper_Tantrummiscanthus sinensis chinese silverpennisetum-moudryPenstemon_Ravenpersicaria affinis darjeeling redpersicaria amplexicaulis inverleithphlox paniculata fujiyamapolypodium-vulgare-outdoor-good-sizerudbeckia fulgida var. deamiisalvia royal bumblesedumautumnjoy_jwb_2_xlgStachysSilverCarpetstipa_pony_tail

Shrubs:  Camellia japonica ‘Pink’ Lollipop, Cornus Sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Glam Rock’, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Zebra’, Lavandula augustifolia ‘Hidcote’, Rhododendron ‘Golden Wedding’, Rhododendron ‘Gumpo White’, Rhododendron ‘Mother’s Day’.

CamelliaPinkLollipopcornus sanguinea midwinter firehydrangea macrophylla glam rockhydrangea macrophylla zebralavandula__HidcoteRhododendronGoldenWedding2rhododendron gumpo whiterhododendron mother's day


clementis multi bluehedera colchica dentata variagatahydrangea periolarisjasminum beesianumMmeGregoireStaechelin038-1trachelospermum asiaticumwisteria floribunda domino


Prunus incisa ‘Pendula’, Cornus ‘Venus’, Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Boyd’s Dwarf’, and  Pinus Parv. Hobbit Conifer.

prunus-incisa-pendula weeping cherrycornus venuscercidiphyllum japonicum boyd's dwarfPinus Parv. Hobbit Conifer

So there it is and it will take time to get it all done but it will be worth it in the end……will keep you all posted with pictures as the work progresses.  So till the next time from the Duskweald happy Spring!!!!