Autumn News – Cruising, Walking and Working

As November is upon us, it’s time for a blog post. I hope you all had a perfect summer and are settling down to the autumn months with good health and a happy heart.

I recently returned from being a Guest Speaker on a Fred Olsen cruise liner, Braemar. The cruise made history as Braemar is the longest ship ever to cruise through the very narrow Corinth Canal in Greece.

If you want to see how the Captain Glavic achieved this monumental event, have a look at this YouTube video Corinth Canal:

It was fabulous to have some lovely Mediterranean sunshine warming my bones and highlights for me were the old town in Ibiza, where we ate the best tapas I have ever tasted, sitting in the sunshine, in a little bar, beside the entrance to the old town of Ibiza.

I loved the colour and beauty of Ibiza Old Town. From the markets to the buildings and stunning views of Marjoca and Minorca.

Another highlight was beautiful Sicily, where we wandered through the fascinating buildings and churches in Trapani. I bought lots of souvenirs and some lovely keepsakes, and even purchased a huge wedge of aged parmesan for just a few euros.

Back on board, as we left Italy, we cruised past the island of Stromboli. It is a volcanic island and an incredible sight. Captain Glavic sailed the ship around the island so that we could see it puffing out volcanic smoke in the day and as it grew dark, lava spouted and lit up the sky. Even the crew came out to have a look.

Being a guest speaker on a cruise ship is a great privilege and I am grateful to Fred Olsen Cruise lines for the opportunity.  Standing in front of such a large audience is daunting but I took a considerable amount of time to prepare my talks, which were itinerary driven, and I hope that the guests enjoyed them.

I’ve decided that I love cruising and hope to do many more.

The weather has taken an unexpected turn and the days are sunny and cold and a real delight. I’ve managed to get out and do some walking, one of my favourite things to do.  These photos are from a walk in Lancashire, at Rivington Pike.

There is a fascinating area called the Japanese Gardens, where the ruins and follies of Lord Leverhume’s (the ‘soap’ magnate) terraced gardens sit high on a hillside below Rivington Pike.

japanese gardens old
The gardens Rivington Pike in the 1900s

In the early 20th century Lord Leverhulme created a weekend retreat where he could relax and entertain and it consisted of Japanese lakes, pagodas, archways and bridges and even a huge ballroom. There’s a man-made ravine and cascade and formal lawns and gardens which surrounded the residence he built. It all fell into disrepair from 1925 but now the Heritage Lottery Fund as given a £3.4 million funding for restoration and already you can see how the site has been revitalised. I love it there, whatever the weather.

As the nights get darker, I am snuggling down with a long reading list and am currently reading My Name is Eva by Suzanne Goldring and so far, I am finding it a gripping read.

I hope to have news soon of my next book which I am currently editing. It’s been a long time coming, so many apologies to fans of my novels. I promise to step up a gear in 2020.



We have a promotion on one of my novels this month: Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me  and if you fancy a feel-good read for the autumn, download the book while this price is more or less a give-away offer.

The book has received great reviews and although stand-alone, is the first in a series. I hope you enjoy it.

Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me



I’ll end the blog with a recipe. My lovely daughter-in-law is Canadian and hails from Toronto. This is her recipe for a tray bake which we make for family parties. Enjoy!

Ashley’s Tray Bake

1/2 – 3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups crushed digestive biscuits
2 cans condensed milk
2 -1/2cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups of shredded coconut
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat over to 350F. Coat 9×13” pan with non-stick cooking spray

Combine the biscuits with the butter. Press into bottom of pan. Layer evenly: chocolate chips/coconut/walnuts. Press firmly. Pour condensed milk over dish.
Bake for 25mins or until lightly brown.

Chill overnight. Cut into mini squares and serve.



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