In Her Defence : Bunch Courtney Investigates New arrivals! @penkhullpress @bunchcourtney00 #crimefiction #newbooks

Looking forward to reading and reviewing.

Jan Edwards

There is nothing quite so exciting as taking delivery of that first box of new books so there was much squeeeing in progress when the first batch of In Her Defence : Bunch Courtney Investigates 2 landed here at the weekend.

Here it is, all its glory, ready and waiting for the launch on 4th April.

View original post


The Good, the Bad and Everest

No, not the mountain − the double glazing firm.


What follows is a tale for our times.

A few weeks before Christmas, my mum, who is an independent, ninety-seven year old in full possessions of all her faculties, received a cold call from a well know double glazing company.

They asked her if she was thinking of having any of her windows replaced and she told them she was not (Everest, the firm who were doing the cold calling, had done the original windows and decades later they are still going strong.) Then the salesman said “What about doors?” to which Mum replied that she was having trouble with the lock on her front door and was it possible to do anything about that.

“Oh no,” the salesman said. “That is definitely not possible. Once the lock has gone, then the whole door must be replaced. If you like, I can send someone round in the next day or so to give you a quote.”

the hard sell

Two or three days later, the people from Everest turned up and quoted Mum a mere £2000 to replace her front door.

Thinking there was no alternative, and fearful of being locked out of the house, when she next went out, Mum reluctantly agreed and wrote a cheque for the deposit.

Now let’s recap. Everest had given Mum false information, locks can be replaced, there was no need for a new front door.

Luckily at this point, my daughter comes over to see her granny and when she hears the sorry tale rings Everest and demands to speak to the manager in charge. She explains the situation and is promised a refund of the deposit and no further communication by the firm.

The next step is to get the door fixed. The firm of locksmiths she tries is fully booked, but when they learn the situation, they suggest an independent contractor−Connor who quotes £200 for the job. Not only that, but he comes round as soon as he can, as he is concerned that Mum is living on her own. He is polite, pleasant and efficient. The door lock works perfectly. All is well.

Then…a week or so later Everest ring, again. They have stated categorically that they will not contact Mum again, but obviously the sales rep either does not know this, or is willing to take the risk to get his bonus before Christmas. Mum is told that he understands she has cancelled the contract but would she like to re-think as he is sure he can get her a better price for the job.

Once again, we are in luck. I take the phone, explain as politely as I can that the situation has been resolved and ask what Everest’s policy is on dealing with vulnerable older people. Naturally, they have a policy, naturally they are concerned, but the rep does not think that he has breached any of the company rules. After asking him if he would like his grandmother to be treated in this way, to which he has no reply, I put down the phone.

The moral−Big companies don’t care. Sales reps who are on commission don’t care. Small business men who have a reputation and are indeed decent human beings do.

Courtyard Garden : First Herald of Spring #courtyardgarden #gardening #snowdrops

Jan Edwards

Here we are on 3rd January and the daylight hours are drawing out. A quick look around the garden in the January sunshine showed dozens of spring bulbs pushing up through the soil, with the promise of all manner of spring colour.

Today, however, I noted the very first hint of the first spring bloom – in this garden at least, I am sure there are places where snowdrops are already in full swing! My solitary snowdrop – Galanthus nivalis – is just beginning to break bud, however and it is one that I am proud of because last year (our first spring here) there were none here at all.

I planted a handful of bulbs way back in June with few expectations because the perceived wisdom for growing these notoriously unpredictable flowers is to plant them ‘in the green’ – that is to plant pot-grown plants (or if you…

View original post 423 more words

Leftover Yummies #cooking #sweets

Great idea.

Jan Edwards

20181222_141429So what do you do with a large chunk of ready-roll icing after you’ve covered the cake?

It always seems such a terrible waste to throw it in the bin – even if it is essentially 100% sugar, which we are all being told to cut down on.

I added a drop of peppermint oil, shape it into small rounds and coated them in chocolate – and voila!  Home made peppermint creams!

The chocolate is Co-op fairtrade dark chocolate and cost £1. The icing was the left overs from a pack of Dr Oetkers ready-roll fondant icing.  Technically free as it would otherwise have been binned, but possibly 50p worth –  £1.50 for 20 large hand-made mint chocs.

You can adapt this with any flavouring essence (strawberry or orange). Or perhaps add chopped nuts or chopped candied fruits, and make a whole box of yummy homemade chocs. An ideal gift or…

View original post 6 more words

13th Day – for the Winter Solstice #solstice #fiction

A winter story for the shortest night of the year.

Jan Edwards

The King sent his Lady on the Thirteenth dayImage result for The King sent his Lady on the Thirteenth day Three stalks of corn
Three stalks of corn.
Two maids a-merry dancing.
Three hinds a-merry dancing
An Arabian baboon.
Three swans a-merry swimming
Three ducks a-merry laying.
A bull that was brown.
Three gold spinks[1]
Three starlings
A goose that was grey.
Three plovers
Two partridges, and a papaingo-aye[2].
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

(trad. Old Scottish carol to tune 12 Days of Christmas)


A story for the Winter Solstice

Thirteenth Day – Jan Edwards

‘The second day,’ said the Holly-Man. He was rugged. Fragile. A woodsman in a shabby green duster and heavy boots. Behind him stood a boy in an Acorn-hat, waiting in silence.

Kat tweaked a tight smile and went on hacking at the ice-bound soil, hoping they would take a hint and leave. They didn’t.

View original post 1,543 more words

What my son has taught me

A while ago I posted a blog about what I had learned from my daughters. At the time it occurred to me that I had missed out another member of the family and one that also had things to teach me. I am talking, of course, about my son.

Posy David and Lucy2


When the kids were small we used to say that in our family was a boy sandwich, girls on either side, the boy in the middle. Research says that a child’s position in relation to their siblings makes a huge difference to their personality: the eldest child tends to be the responsible one, the high achiever and because they like order, the bossy one, the youngest is the charmer and good with people, the middle child the most flexible, the negotiator, the one that goes with the flow.

Looking at my daughters the eldest and the youngest, some of the above is true. Posy certainly was the one that organised the others. Mostly she made them take part in her plays, or contribute to the magazine she wrote and edited. Lucy, on the other hand, has always been a people person, the one in her peer group who counselled her friends when their love life fell apart.Little Manchester pumpkin

As for David, the characteristics he has of a middle child are those traits that have much to teach his over-anxious, eldest born mother.

First and foremost is his ability to go with the flow. When I’m agonising, or ranting over something David’s comment will often be “It is what it is,” and of course he is right. There is little I can do to change whatever it is that has annoyed or infuriated me, but I can change my attitude and view it in a more laid back fashion thus saving myself much angst.

The next lesson from my son is the art of debate and negotiating, something he’s been skilled at since childhood. No temper tantrums just an argument as to why he should be allowed to get up at six am to watch The Open University− no twenty-four hours of TV in those long ago days.

He’s also good at seeing the other point of view and arguing logically, which when dealing with any issue is important and can lead to genuine debate rather than descending into a mere exchange of dearly held positions.

Another thing my son has taught me is the art of giving spontaneous presents. A book he thinks his Granny might like arrives from Amazon and fills a lonely afternoon.

The box of Delights


And I still smile about the unexpected arrival of the “The Box of Delights.” I’d tweeted how much I’d enjoyed watching the TV series at Christmas, but couldn’t do that anymore as we only had it on video tape and a day or two later a slim line parcel arrived from Amazon.




Of course it is great to get presents at birthdays and Christmas but there is something so special and life affirming about these surprise packages, as indeed there is about David and his ability to enjoy life. Another lesson well worth learning.

David in California

Coping with chronic pain – that lonely 3am

Writing my morning pages, more on that later, helps me.

fabricating fiction

Image courtesy of @jontyson

There’s nothing quite as lonely as 3am. The house is quiet; my family asleep. At times like these it’s easy to feel alone. My pelvis is fire, my back screaming in agony each time I shift my position. But I have my blog, words. I can let my pain travel through my fingertips and onto the page. Whether I post this or not, it will be therapeutic to write.

I thought I’d got a handle on my health the past couple years. Along with treatments from a fabulous hospital, I’ve overhauled my diet, take light exercise where I can, meditate daily. My pain had decreased, mobility improved. Lately though there’s been a sense of slipping backwards while trying desperately to cling on to the good days, not let the bad days take over.

Tonight is the worst I have been for a long time. It hurts…

View original post 353 more words