‘We are all the product of our experiences in life, of our upbringings, our hopes, dreams, failures, mistakes, needs, fears. Life shapes us and life is not always perfect.’ Shehanne Moore, Tea, Toast and Trivia podcast with Rebecca Budd.
Cassidy Armstrong has had an unfortunate life, that has scarred her in more ways than one. Cast off from family as a baby, and her brother dead from beatings, she is pressed into being a jewel thief. Nonetheless, she has managed to hoard her virginity like it was a massive collection of fine Waterford Crystal worth more florins than any working class person would see in a lifetime
Now, she has returned to claim her birthright. As a fake widow, Lady Cassidy Armstrong can move around more freely, searching for her proof of heritage. Yet, even after 10 years of aging, donned in a widow’s “Crow Black” and with a new name; Devorlane Hawley (fifth Duke of Chessington) recognizes her.
I asked Shehanne: Devorlane Hawley – Fifth Duke of Chessington, was off at war for 10 years. Was it the Napoleonic Wars? If not, which war was he in, and can you give a bit of history of the war and/or London around the time of this story?
Answer: It was the Napoleonic Wars but he was in the military a little before they actually started in 1803, as an unwilling recruit shall we say? And obviously since the book is set in 1810 and the wars didn’t end for another five years, he’s no longer a soldier, having been badly wounded and invalided out. The Wars came out of chaos that was the French Revolution and for some time, a long time, it looked as if Napoleon Bonaparte could become master of Europe, until he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to Saint Helena. I imagine that life for people in London and indeed elsewhere, would–as ever, even as we’re seeing today– depend on your wealth. Whatever your class, most people had a relative in the army or navy and would be anxious about that but that’s roughly where any kind of things in common would end. For the rich there was the chance to make more money, for the women to adopt new fashions, go to charitable balls and see some wonderful re-enactments of battles etc onstage. For the poor–the usual struggle for survival. All the English counties had a militia, there to protect the county and of course there was espionage, the suggestion of which the heroine of this book uses to her advantage at one point.
“Never judge a book by its cover, unless there’s a gown on it.”
I came up with that exceptionally memorable saying, after reading “Splendor”. It was the first book by Shehanne that I read. I pair it here with “Loving Lady Lazuli”, as they are both part of a series about London Jewel Thieves.
You can read my review, and mini interview with Shehanne by clicking on the drawing of “Splendor”, above.
I read “The Viking and the Courtesan” quite recently. It is definitely a bit of a departure from the other stories.
Malice Mallender is quite the piece of work. For the right price “Strictly Business” will destroy any marriage, usually by dealing with the wife nuisance. The right price; enough to buy the latest pair of shoes she covets in Madame Faro’s window. So, what happens when “Strictly Business” is inadvertently hired to destroy Malice’s own marriage to Lord Cyril Hepworth?
I asked Shehanne: In “The Viking and the Courtesan” – How did you come up with the idea of “time displacement” ?
Answer: My dearest, lovely Resa, first let me thank for all your kindness and especially for the gowns and asking me here today. You may know I must be amongst your biggest fans, not just as a mega admirer of your work but the fact you make gowns to be used for charity.
Okay, so to answer your question, I had a flash moment. I never ever set out to write a time displacement story. Just like I never ever set out to write any book. But I had written the first few chapters of this book exactly as they stand now, to the bit where she goes to her husband, Cyril’s flat. The story was to be a second chance love story between them but one day as I was belting away at the keyboard, I thought that idea was a bit too similar to the Lady Fury book. Then the little voicewhispered… you know that Viking idea you have where you have the hero’s story but not the heroine’s? Hmm?? Well … why don’t you just bung that in here? Quite understandably I thought, no way. Are you serious???? I mean, come on. Then I went and thought about it for a moment. And I thought, okaaaay. Maybe I should just give it a try for a chapter or so, no more? What have I got to lose really? And that was it. That’s the truth. It just popped into my head.
The moment I saw the new cover of Shehanne’s re-released tale of Lady Fury (Genoa 1820), I fell in love with the gown. I read chapter one on Shehanne’s blog. Then I read the book.
“Rule One: There will be no kissing. Rule two: You will be fully clothed at all times… Widowed Lady Fury Shelton hasn’t lost everything—yet. As long as she produces the heir to the Beaumont dukedom, she just might be able to keep her position.”
Perhaps ex-privateer Flint Blackmoore (a man she’d rather see rotting in hell than sleeping in her bed) has never been good at following the rules, still she decides to use him to produce an heir.
I asked Shehanne: In “Lady Fury” – What was your impetus for coming up with “the rules”? Did you have a reason for making Blackmoore a privateer… ie: a love of ships, a port you have been stimulated historically by?
Answer: Ooh, I have always loved pirate stories since I read Treasure Island as a kid. I was reared on all the old films and one of my fav board games was buccaneer. I was gutted to learn it just wasn’t possible to pursue my chosen choice of career actually. But I did always want to write a book about a pirate or a privateer. As for ‘the rules’, well, once again I had written first few chapters and I thought, now what? You can tell by now I never ever think anything out. And I thought, well, he’s got her cornered which she’s er…not going to take lying down. So what would she do here to pay him back and keep any feelings which she sees she sort of still might have, under wraps Then I thought I could maybe have a little fun dissecting a certain activity shall we say? I am a great believer in having fun especially with rules on anything. Let’s face it, I dunno about you but over here in Scotland right now, and England, well .. I never saw so many that were badly thought through.
his is my favourite book by Shehanne. It is her most recent, and proves that she gets better with time. As the ending demands a sequel, I am hoping there is one in progress!
You can read my review, some Q&A with Shehanne and see the gown drawings by clicking on my above rendition of Destiny
Shehanne’s titles are available worldwide on Amazon, Ingram Books & Barnes and Noble. If you click on the above banner, you will go to Amazon’s universal “select a country” page. Once there, select “Books”. In “Books” search “Shehanne Moore. It will take you to all of her titles.
The Historical Cornish Environment—a land of Smugglers and Secrets …
‘A separate people. Throughout the early modern period, many Cornish people continued to regard Cornwall, not as an English county, but as a British country, called Kernow. … ‘
‘Physical isolation provides the key to Cornish history. A rocky peninsula, jutting out some 90 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Cornwall stands at the extreme south-western corner of the British Isles. Surrounded by waves on all sides but one, it is practically severed from the adjoining lands to the east by the River Tamar, which runs almost from sea to sea. Although mediaeval Cornwall was – technically speaking – an English county just like any other, the culture of the ordinary Cornish people remained entirely different from that of their English neighbours. They still spoke in the Cornish tongue: a language, closely allied with Welsh. They still prided themselves on being descended from British ancestors, rather than Saxon ones. And, as late as the mid-16th century, they still possessed their own styles of dress, their own folklore, their own naming-customs, their own agricultural practices and their own games and pastimes.’
So the past economy of Cornwall might have been based on a range of industries, including metal mining, fishing, china clay production, wool cloth manufacture, quarrying and ship building. Indeed Cornwall’s rich mineral resources may certainly have been exploited on a large scale since medieval times and rows may rage today between surfers, environmentalists and those bent on lifting the tin tailings sitting on the sea bed to be used in gadgets like phones and computers, Cornwall is also known, historically for another ‘industry’. A sort of ‘cottage’ one in that rather a large number of its inhabitants were involved. And one that the landscape and environment lent itself to naturally. Smuggling.
But the location as described above, the fact the people saw themselves as different weren’t the only things to lend themselves to the trade. Parts of the actual coastline were very nicely placed for trips to France and the Scillies. Then there was the nature of the terrain, vast empty beaches, rocky caves, jutting headlands, little better than cart tracks for roads—and, as a quick glance at any map of Cornwall will show, quite a big expanse of moor sitting smack in the middle, while the inhabited bits cluster round the coast. It was nicely private all right.
At its peak, an estimated 500,000 gallons of French brandy per year were smuggled into Cornish coves. Smuggling has many stereotypes and these images often include a small group of men unloading barrels in the night. However, until the early 1800s it was a highly organized, well financed business that was run on very efficient lines.
Of course the reason for all this unhindered smuggling wasn’t just the highly organized locals, it was the weakness of the excisemen, although in their defence, the level of local support, the sheer organizational skills of those involved, which frequently included the clergy, the landowners, in fact, you name it, and the overwhelming numbers of those involved, made it quite impossible, even for the most dedicated exciseman, to police. So a lot went right on under their noses, in broad daylight.
“They were told that if they persisted in trying to make an arrest they would have their brains blown out. As the law now stands, I fear a criminal prosecution would have been useless for the reason, which it shocks me to mention, that a Cornish jury would certainly acquit the smugglers….These, my lord, are the facts.”
Did the tramp, tramp of smugglers’ feet, the alleged digging of tunnels from houses, damage the rock, the wild flowers, the beach grasses, the environment? I have no idea. But, since reading books set there and further along the south coast, I felt the ruggedness, the isolation, the sometimes crumbling decay of their own lives, that drove people into this world, might lend itself to a book someday. And it has. Finally. Set not only in Cornwall but at a point when the government was beginning to fight back and seriously crackdown by every means at their disposal. I hope this book trailer roughly explains it.
Lady Fury. It’s Fury you little creeps.And if you think I am sharing my treasured fudge recipefrom my treasured kitchen, you have another thought coming. A big one.
Lady Fury. Only something Shehanne got me involved in without the common decency to serialise me first.
Lady Fury. But since this has to do with being on Kindle Unlimited till February, we will say nothing.
Lady Fury. Except that we are going last.
Lady Fury. Indeed Shey having examined her two remaining contracts held by a publishing house, and seeing she owns the subsidiary rights, I may well even be going behind Malice and Brittany which is beyond shocking if I say so myself. You would have thought she’d have held off in order to let me go first. May I just say however you have no idea how hard it is having such a selfish author. But I will say that … Manga? Well, this is how books are often read in the Asian market, where Amazon is not a big deal. Buying and electronically reading each chapter as it becomes available is, so it is of course, when you consider the size of the Asian market, a golden opportunity for me to be read…and did I mention fan/reader forums? No. Well it is also an opportunity for me to be discussed there.
Lady Fury. Yes. And given the company Shehanne has signed with expanded a few months ago have just moved into taking onboard Western romance, so in that respect I suppose it was no bad move on her part to consider this venture on my behalf, especially as the rights that were signed for are the non-exclusive ones on the five books she holds the rights to.
Shehanne. That’s very gracious of you to say so, Fury. What I would like to add, if I may be so bold as to get in a word here, is that as authors we are always looking for new markets, chasing the reader, the event party, keeping up with social media, etc. etc. and this was one market I was not only unaware of but one that shows the importance of aiming your work, in the first place, at a particular market.
Shehanne. Apart from the above? Probably being open and willing to look at new horizons, especially one that does the marketing and pays a good rate of royalties, one where you’ve nothing to lose by signing the contract offer actually. Then you need to break the books into chapters. Again this market isn’t much interested in shorts. All novels must be over 50 thou words and there must be over 50 chapters — when you break it down that is. So each chapter has to be no less that 1000 words and no more than 2000. It’s meant a small bit of adding some words here and there, say when a ‘section’ was coming in at fifty words short or it was possible to break 2900 into three chapters by adding that extra 100 or so. Also, where there’s a series, they put the books out as one big follow on volume, so suddenly you are typing a chapter 125 heading because you start the chapter headings for the second book after the last chapter of the first book. But that’s been it and once you get going it’s not that hard to do. I have always preferred to write in shorter sections anyway than muckle great chapters because I have worked in graphic comics.
Lady Fury. Oh God, Please. For the sake of common decency. No.
Shehanne. You never know.A hamster can but hope. For Christmas presents too…
May everything you touch wither to dust.’ Cursed? Or just unlucky? Shehanne Moore
‘The question is this. I cursed you. I cursed you and your brothers –”
“One of whom—”
“Blew his brains out at midnight. Do you seriously think I didn’t trouble myself to find out?”
“Oh, I’m sure-“
“May everything you touch, turn to dust.”’
Cursed? Or just unlucky? Nice to think it’s the latter but legends of curses permeate practically every culture in history. from entire families to items—jewels especially—but places too. It would be good to say we just like someone to blame misfortune on but then again, some folks don’t seem to have a lot of good fortune, do they?
Let’s take my new heroine, Destiny who is the victim of just such a curse…
“But the fact was that curse uttered for nothing had killed Ennis, as surely as if Divers O’Roarke had pushed his carriage down that ravine that night.”
It’s very convenient to believe that all the loss and tragedy that follows Destiny about like a bad smell is the result of that curse, when it was probably on the cards anyway. Also, at the time she was cruising for the proverbial bruising, causing besotted men to shoot each other, this could just have been a wind change in her life, a what-goes-round-comes-round time. But then again, the loss of a mother, father, brother, husband and more in the space of two years, not to mention another brother becoming an alcoholic, does seem the kind of misfortune that would give the Kennedy family a run for their money in the cursed stakes.
And I think that is where curses have their power—superstitious–but even so. Would you really want to flout a curse by wearing the Hope diamond for example? Or indeed by then touching someone who was cursed?
“From Land’s End to Launceston people avoided her like she had the plague. In fact it was probably from Land’s End to John O’Groats. She couldn’t get another husband even if she wanted to.”
Whether it is balderdash or not, if something goes wrong after you flout a curse, well, you are probably going to blame the curse and wish you hadn’t done it, even if curses may, or may not exist. The Rhodes family aren’t alone in being cursed. Other famous families, in addition to the Kennedys, include the Hapsburgs, the Grimaldis, the Hemingways. I guess the Romanovs weren’t exactly what you might call lucky either.
Of course big families like that, in terms of being newsworthy, of having wealth etc., are always going to find their bones being picked over by the ‘lesser mortals.’ And the Rhodes family have that local standing.
‘She was a Rhodes and Rhodes were all about living life to the hilt.’
Big old house, family tree going back centuries, suggestions of links to pirates, definite links to smugglers. Legends surround them, like Raven’s Passage, said to stretch from their family seat, Doom Bar Hall, all the way to the beach, a fabulous place stuffed with golden treasures.
It’s easy to say that some of these real families were cursed when you can point to the actual curse itself, how it came to be uttered and who was responsible. Rasputin, of course gets held responsible for cursing the Romanovs but as a family they had plenty of misfortune before that. Nicholas II’s father and grandfather didn’t exactly fare brilliantly either and Rasputin never cursed them. But then the times they were living in were pretty explosive. No pun intended actually. Just pointing out the possible carnage/ill heath rate which brings me to the Brontës, another family that might be construed as cursed. Equally fame eventually touched them, so we know of their lives. But their deaths were the lot of entire families especially given the unsanitary conditions of the time.
The thing about curses? I honestly think you pay your money you take your chances…NOW go open the voddie and do Cossack dances.
“He cursed you, me, Chancery. You most of all. Think how different your life would now be if he hadn’t uttered these damnable words. When Chancery loved Rose. Wanted to marry her, for God’s sake. That Divers O’Roarke didn’t know is no damned excuse.”
“I am thinking. And I’m thinking we are the life we live. Its graces and its pain. And while we may not always have any control over it, we can control what we do about it. But if you want to believe in a load of old gypsy mutterings and superstition and hold it responsible for the fact you can’t walk past a drink, without feeling obliged to down and then drown in it, that’s your choice. This is mine.’
A REBLOG OF ARTGOWNS, DESTINY GOWNS AND A REVIEW FROM RESA BY RESA
Is the line between love and hate so fine you can’t see it? If you can’t see it, can you cross it?
Some women are attracted to bad boys. Are some men attracted to bad girls? What if a good boy became a bad boy? What if a bad girl became a good girl, even when she was bad?
That’s just part of the passion play in O’Roarke’s Destiny. The intrigue, mystery and small matter of an effective curse cast by Diver’s O’Roarke is the story’s action.
It’s 1801, Cornwall; a time when women needed men, more than men needed women. Or, so society knew. 1801, Cornwall; Destiny Rhodes needs no one, nor anything: save Doom Bar Hall, its servants, Aunt Modesty’s porcelain, Lord Tredwynne’s antique armour, Grandfather Austell’s stuffed parrots, garlands in the hall at Christmas, her garden and all the embroidered pillows sewn up mended. At least that’s what Destiny was thinking.
However, it all seems somewhat moot after Divers O’Roarke wins Doom Bar Hall, from Destiny’s drunkard brother, Orwell.
It’s a world of smugglers, pirates, excisemen and extreme danger, yet, Destiny needs only her instincts. She’s in over her head, but owns a drive to do what has to be done to get to the bottom of what is going on, and retain a position to remain at Doom Bar Hall.
Still, Lyons busted her illegal casks of spirits. Who tipped him off? Mostly, why did Divers O”Roarke take the fall for her?
💥 BREAKING NEWS! 💥
There’s gowns in the story.
Tragically, Destiny’s dear husband Ennis, while in his carriage, had cascaded to his death into a ravine.(credit to the curse) Now, Destiny is in an eternal mourning in black. On top of it all, she has pined away her body’s curves, and chopped off her luscious long black hair.
Divers O’Roarke wants her, but black is for widows. He has won Doom Bar Hall … fair & square? So, her gowns are his, to sell at his pleasure. Yet, his pleasure is far from the few bits of coin he could get for the gowns. What he wants is to see Destiny, in any gown other than widow’s black.
Eventually, Destiny must wear a gown for him. She dons her least sexy gown, which is in Egyptian blue. (I don’t have that colour in my caddy, but I came up with an eau de nil). This colour is not her best, possibly her worst, definitely her most disliked.
Yet, what Divers O’Roarke wants is to see her in her most vibrant and glorious red gown. Will she wear it?
1. How did the idea of a curse come up? Are you superstitious, dabble in say; Tarot or Astrology? How/why did the curse entail everything turning to dust? Why not turn to toads, a lowly insect or even a hamster? (a little cheek)
Oh, now there was a time I did some work for a psychic journalist. I did once say what haven’t I done writing wise and other way wise when it comes to earning a crust. And yes I also did some Tarot work for her too as part of that. So I did learn the cards. At that time I also could do card readings from playing cards. I had a great aunt who could do the tea leafs. That totally fascinated me growing up. I think much as we may mock it, we do want to know a bit about what’s ahead, that HOPEFULY there’s a corner that will be turned or some good luck coming. As for the curse idea? Well, the book started about a house that the heroine had lost. And that idea came from us having to sell up our family home and me jokingly saying to a friend, I should just have flung myself in with it as a housekeeper. Then I thought BINGO idea for a book here. And it started out as fun and frothy but there were things on the table that weren’t right. Like why didn’t the hero just put her out? How can he be so besotted with this family when they were horrible to him as a child? Was light and frothy going to sustain a book? Then for some reason I saw their pasts and how and why he had cursed her and how everything had then gone wrong in her life since. Everyone she cared about has died. So she gets this name locally that way. Now if only I had thought beyond the box though, you are right. He should have said may everything you touch turn into a hamster dude. But then she’d have been overrun. That might have been a worse curse.2. Your use of humour helps in feeling the underlying intense emotional states of Destiny and O’Roarke. With Destiny it’s the simple practical day to day things she plans to do the next day. With O’Roarke, it’s what to dig his grave with. Did you intend these character’s personal thoughts to be a humorous relief? Or did it just turn out that way?
No. Firstly I always like to use humour of thoughts. We all have them, let’s be clear. Maybe not about graves and what to dig them with etc., but we do have little idiosyncrasies and of course we are not always aware of them either. And I also know my readers expect to have a few giggles. So I couldn’t not. My characters always have some kind of wee saying or attitude. One heroine had sliding scales of things. Another would sooner swallow a crocodile than do whatever and as the book went on, that list grew and grew. One hero–my most impatient one–had Christ on various things. I did feel this book would be a bit dark if I didn’t have these bits. They are neither of them in the best place emotionally. However I then have the prob of her being a widow and I did NOT want to tackle it by having her thinking well, she was widow, thank God, because she had every reason not to have loved her husband. I felt that was a get out. So I thought if I had her, having been hit so hard that her way through is to line up tasks and tick the boxes, that that actually could prove quite humorous, especially if she’s so busy lining up these tasks, while people keep ‘getting in her face’ she doesn’t see how deep the waters are getting. It was like a wee you may think wink to my readers she’s going to be incandescent with rage the way my other ladies would be, but you are in for a surprise here. She’s too busy thinking she has that cushion cover to sew and that stool to mend. In a way these are the things that also need to be prised loose from her fingertips.
3. I’m fascinated by “Doom Bar Hall”. How did you come up with that name? Had you considered calling it “Rhodes Hall”?
Doom Bar Hall was called after Doom Bar sandbar in Cornwall. Given I wanted to write of curses and smuggling, and not such great emotional states, I wanted something dark sounding and it is quite a fearsome sandbar I gather, responsible for hundreds of ship wrecks down the years. Originally before I went from frothy to dark, from Hampshire to Cornwall geographically, the house was called Lavistock and the book title was the Lady of Lavistock. Divers wasn’t called Divers O’Roarke either at that point. I just felt all round this was stronger. I do like to create a pervading mood and landscape for each book. This became the one here.
Resa, I want to thank you not just for inviting me here today, but your wonderful friendship AND the talent and readiness to use it to create gowns, for all those you create gowns for AND that includes my ladies. They and I salute you.
Here’ s the first drawing I did of Destiny. I was trying too, hard with the chopped off hair look. Yet, I still like it, because she looks like a pirate courtesan, with hair for an eye patch. Yet, perhaps this is a more correct visual introduction to Destiny.
Shehanne Moore is a native of Scotland, Dundonian by birth. She is the author of many Romance novels.
Having read 3 (almost 4) of her books, I can say her attention to the details of an era puts one in a different time and place. You don’t question it. You are there.
As for the flame of love she burns with her words, I suggest you read a book to see the fire!
Click on the pic below, to buy O’Roarke’s Destiny on Amazon!
A cover for one’s book can be as daunting as writing it. After a great search, Shehanne found the image below. The colours were wrong, but they were made right.
Eye’d like to thank all who took the time to read this post. Love you all!
It is true. I was born and raised here, although I am also British and have lived in the UK and the US.
SANDY. I don’t, but I am tossing up between getting a pet kangaroo or a pet koala.
I love Italy – perhaps I was Italian in a former life. I love the scenery, the history, the people, the language, the goof, the art, the culture. I would live there.
I think that because setting is almost another character in my books – I write travel romcoms – that I need to write what I know. That way I can truly evoke what it is like to go to those places. But I do research before I start writing. I will go back to my photos, travel journals, and blog posts, and I will fill in any gaps in my memory with Google.
.I think it is important to provide a real glimpse into the places my books are set – all through the eyes of the main character, so my descriptions don’t come across as ‘travel guide-ish’ and therefore pull the reader out of the story.
I was an indie author with two books out in the world and a third on the way when my first book was picked up for publication by Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins UK. I’d been concurrently querying while building my author profile and writing and editing.
That meant, I had three complete manuscripts when I started working with HarperCollins, which has positioned me well to meet deadlines while working fulltime.
Keep writing, keep editing, learn as much as you can about the craft and the business – both are equally important. Treat your writing like any other career. Make the time. Even now, I get up at 5am every weekday to get a couple of hours of author work (writing, editing, marketing) before work. If you are truly passionate, never stop working towards that goal.
I am about to handover edits for my second book, which is a follow-up to One Summer in Santorini. Then I will go back to the Christmas book I am writing for Christmas 2020. Although, I may take a week or two off in between.
After a humiliating break up, Sarah decides it’s time to fall back in love with her first true love—travel. She books the perfect trip to revive her humdrum heartbroken life—ten days sailing the Greek islands on a yacht.
The last thing she wants is to meet someone new, but Sarah soon finds herself flirting with the cute American, Josh, and considering something more serious with the sexy silver fox, James.
Will Sarah dive into a holiday fling, embark on a relationship, or stick to her plan – steer clear of men, continue her love affair with feta, and find her own way after all?
Ten days, two men, one boat, and one big decision.
12 years in the making OR every picture tells a story.
I’m choosing that title, in case you’re wondering, just as I’m sure you must be wondering re the song choice for a wedding day and the answer is it’s just as apt. It is twelve years now since my wee girl, first sold her husband a lunchtime roll in the local Spar shop–a shop my big girl also met her husband in. Must be the little shop of romance that one. That was then, this is now. Now she is a lawyer for those who need one most, and he has his own successful joinery business. I like to think life brings its own rewards.
I say that because when you see the 12 years you may be thinking that’s a long time to be together before making this official. There are many marriages that don’t last a quarter as long. Or maybe, given the average cost of a wedding these days, is that how long it took to save up? But the title says in the making and that’s what it’s been. Quite a number of those twelve years were spent apart, some of them in dark places. I’m not choosing to show these pictures and share a few stories of the day to say, ‘yes, do look at how wonderful and perfect we all are, as a family and there’s them in that grand venue with their little boy and all,’ I’m choosing them to say, ‘here’s where we are on the journey.’ Every step on a journey has to be lived after all and when you get to certain bits…well.. yeah you celebrate what you cherish. I say in my new book, ‘We are the life we lead, its graces and its pain,’ and that is true.
Every picture tells a story. So this one…
It’s the years they took to get here. But they are here. And yep… special moment– the reading? The reading was from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights… If all else perished. (Okay I knew about that bit, I ‘fess up, she ran three possibilities past me and I said it has to Bronte, there’s a cathedral in these towering words, especially when you think of her life and the book she produced for the time she wrote in.)
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”
That first pic at the top of the blog. Well? That’s all the bride and bridesmaids getting in the swing after the older girl had spent the morning lying in a chair with a sick bucket and we all made jokes about carting her down the aisle like that, saying to folks, ‘Braw night we had last night…’ and one of the other girls who does not do hair and makeup but was quite taken with how good she looked, shimmied down behind in her Jurassic Park jammies. The older girl had a sickness bug bto and did not manage much of the reception. But still she managed this…..
As you can see from the second pic up there, these girls turned round and were all swans…
This one here…
Totally belies the absolute high jinks and laughter, to the extent the handymen preferred to put a ladder up outside and climb up to open a painted shut window, rather than take their chances with us ladies… But they had to eventually–poor things. They were quick enough to come back for more ribbing though, bringing big fans to cool the ailing matron of honour. Oh and the ladder left up and the fact we could all be heard right where the guests were arriving—above the piper too, which is saying something –led to a ton of jokes about the bride doing a runner in her trainers…
Of course our special wee grandie best man had to get in on the action.
The other side to this picture…? When I brought him in, to see his Sheshe Bear he looked all round going she is not here and his wee face all fell… only because he did not recognize her.
So? My special moments? All of these. Hearing the saxophonist who played at my other girl’s drinks reception bit, play again. Seeing the bridal party come up the aisle and stand while Alice Marra who has the voice of an angel sung and I could see the registrar’s face going from that is not a wedding song to…oh my…… Clocking my new son in law, mouthing.. wow, she is beautiful… to me as Sheeshe Bear stood beside him. Dancing every dance. Being with those who were there. Both my wee grandies. Enjoying the most beautiful sunshine and warmth outside. Watching the grandie who was the page boy at my older girl’s wedding building lego with the flower girl from that one as opposed to trying to impress her with his dancing skills.
Which truth to tell are now so no bad the band played specially for him at one point, off the cuff. But above it all was his speech, five years old. It was seeing him have the ability to stand there at the table and tell everyone his daddy was his best friend, his mummy was beautiful but he loved it best when she gave him cuddles.
It may have been 12 years in the making but it has been worth every minute of waiting. Pictures do tell stories indeed. Friday was a day of life’s graces.
P.S. I reckon the story on the pic above is that having made a bold failed attempt on the butterflies on the hat, this babba grandie now considers her chances with the necklace…. Also foiled. Never mind, cuz, said the wee best man, you can’t have it all. ‘least you tried, kid. At least you tried….
Destiny Rhodes – Seriously? And I’ve nothing better to do than sit chewing the fat with a lot of moaning skunks?
Destiny Rhodes- Looking at you? Well, maybe that’s cos there’s sod all else to eat in the God-forsaken place now Divers O’Roarke is running the show. Mind you, him and that sidekick, that Gil Wryson, have never had hamsters on the menu. Yet anyhow. Otherwise you can it as read, the ceiling is a lot more interesting.
Destiny Rhodes- Won’t I what?Sorry, I wasn’t listening there. Give tips?What on? Something I don’t have? I mean you see me sat here, with a smile pasted to me face and all?Ask yourselves, why don’t you, would I be able to do thatif I had what you say?
Destiny Rhodes– of course I can.And I can get on with all me tasks too.Right now these in order include, mending the bedroom footstool, sewing the dining room cushions, getting the wassail bowl out of the attic, it’s not THAT long till Christmas after all, andhopefully not having Divers O’Roarke, that Wryson man–don’t get me started on how fanatical he is–me brother, or please call me John, that Lyon creep, getting in me face.So that then I can go lie down and dream of my husband, Ennis. Anything less makes me a bad person. And while I don’t mind being thought of as that locally, I’m sure you can appreciate that I don’t want to think of myself that way where he is concerned. But doing all that in the day, you can see how much I need that rest? And when I don’t get it, well my thoughts retreat. My head feels panned in.
Destiny –When they are my life, the things I cling to in order to cling to something and assure myself that my world is set? Maybe. I don’t know. Life is an unknown journey after all. But I tell you it won’t be for want of the times Divers O’Roarke gets in my face. Breaking the best china, insulting me Grandfather Austell’s stuffed parrots, throwing out Sir Tredwynne. Oh and other things. All manner of things actually. Messes I got myself in.
Destiny Rhodes – Damaged goods with a death wish that one. And such a man of mystery. Do you know that’s why I’m here today without him. He’s not allowed to be interviewed because you wouldn’t know what to interview him as. And there’s games not going to be given away here. But thank you for having me and now, if you don’t mind I’ve a new shortbread recipe to write down. May I just say that looking at you lot has quite fired me imagination that way…. Made me feel a bit more like my old self….
Destiny Rhodes– Me? Dance? Not since my Ennis died…. That ship has sailed. Nah. I’m thinking how tasty that recipe might be….
“Well, I’d ask you in—properly, that is–but I’m afraid, as things stand, I wouldn’t know which parts of the house are mine to ask you in to.”
”And why is that?”
“You mean Divers O’Roarke hasn’t told you?”
”Yes. And pigs fly all over Cornwall. High in the sky. When we all know he probably has. And if he hasn’t–got to you yet that is–he’s probably on his way as we speak. It will be to tell you what a liar I am and how he’s split the house because of it. Obviously I didn’t come to Penvellyn sooner because I had to wait for me opportunity to do so. Anything more would have aroused his suspicions when he caught me talking to you earlier.”
“You are going on rather a lot about Divers O’Roarke, Miss Rhodes.”
“Only because he is a skunk.”
She set her coat on a chair, smoothed her hair back from her face. Actually she wasn’t going on about him half as much as she could.
“But you did have something to tell me? It’s why I’m here,” Lyon said.
Did she? When what she really wanted was to go upstairs and look out her recipe for lavender shortcake too. Maybe find some way of lighting the fire when her nose was pinched by the cold. The distance was there, spread like a long road in front of her. But really, she wasn’t getting much chance to go it. Not with the kitchen probably barred to her now the house had been sawn in half. In fact the way this was going, that recipe was about as much as she was going to get.
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“I hope so.”
Right. Well, she didn’t. Did he have a point though? Was she perhaps going on about Divers O’Roarke instead of applying herself to what was important, like finding that recipe? She’d given him his chance. And very good of her it was too, even if she wasn’t sure what she’d have done if he’d taken it. Some might say she’d never have gotten Doom Bar Hall for a start. And she was inclined to agree. Maybe for that matter Divers O’Roarke had banned her from half the house in order to spark a reaction in her? In which case she’d be failing in her duty not to give him one, now she’d gone to the wire and he wouldn’t come off the fence? Lyon hadn’t come all this way to leave empty handed. Had he? He wasn’t here for a cup of tea either. And it was time to deal with that fact. Whatever she’d determined earlier, living or dying required a roof over her head. She passed her tongue over her lip.