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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year for 2013

For me, 2012 has been a roller coaster of unimaginable lows and unbelievable highs. Quite frankly it's left me exhausted. Writing and this blog has taken a back seat for the most part and that's something I hope to remedy in 2013. Normally at this point I add a list of resolutions. Last year I had 4 writing resolutions and in the end I completed 3/4 which can't be bad given the circumstances. For 2013 I'm giving myself 2 resolutions. The first is to complete my next novel, Baby Number Two. The second is to give my blog some much needed attention. I'm going to add a picture and a few words each day so I can look back on 2013 and what I've been up to.

Wishing you all a fantastic New Year in 2013. I have a feeling 13 is going to become my new lucky number.

Love to all, Catherine x

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Winning Season?

It's official - the Coke advert has been on the telly, so the Christmas season is nearly upon us! Now I don't know how you feel about this time of year, but I love it! The reason for my enthusiasm is more to do with one of my other big hobbies - comping. That's entering competitions, not an interest in composting.

Over the next six weeks there will be lots of extra competitions in the run up to Christmas and I love entering them in the hope of one day winning a big Christmas hamper or any other number of prizes. Since taking the decision to cut my hours and become a writer, these competitions have been a blessing. It has meant over the past three years I have been able to give my supportive husband and family better presents than I would be able to afford and bagged a few luxuries for myself.

In 2009, I was lucky enough to receive this email:


Congratulations on winning the Guardian competition!


You have won a fantastic stay in London including:

·         1 night's accommodation a night at either the luxury five-star Sanderson, or St Martins Lane.
·         A cooking master class for two people at Almeida restaurant in Islington

We went in January of 2010 and it was a fantastic foodie experience.

Complimentary Champagne
 

In 2010 I won my OH a tablet:

I have been informed by Business Traveller Magazine that you entered the competition to win an ARCHOS device in the October Issue.

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that you have won one of the prizes.

Your brand new ARCHOS 10.1 Internet Tablet will be ready for you from the 24th November.

And last year I received a call from Metro Paper informing me I had won a £400 One4all giftcard so my OH had 3 very Happy Christmases.

It's wishful thinking to hope for the same this year, but as you can see, for the past three years, at about this time, I've been beyond lucky. This is of course because I enter lots of competitions and when I'm not writing, this is what I'll be up to in my spare time.

Good Luck to anyone else who is doing the same.

Catherine x

Monday, November 5, 2012

Only in my wildest dreams...

I've mentioned before I have very detailed and varied dreams. Last night, I dreamt about a whole new series of True Blood. Think I'll have to store that for another day. Back to the point...

So a while back I had a dream and I told The Romaniacs about it seen as they were featured. I was at the Festival of Romance Gala Dinner. I was there because I'd been shortlisted for the New Talent Award and all the other Romaniacs had been shortlisted as well. In joint third place were Vanessa and Celia and in second... well, I don't know because I woke up at the crucial point. I think Laura was going to win, but we'll never know because it was just a dream. Like I said, I told them about this dream because it was lovely and I wanted them to know about it. And then...

STOP PRESS!!!


On Friday the shortlist came out and after being congratulated on twitter, I was shocked and amazed to find my name on the list! And not only that, I soon discovered that all my fellow Romaniacs who had entered were there as well!! This was my reaction:


This is what Romaniac happiness looks like. Scary, isn't it? The other Romaniacs were also in varying states of elation. Just imagine what we'll be like if any of us get placed. And you never know. Because it turns out your wildess dreams can come true!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Potatoes!

Somehow, even though I'm the most ungreenfingered person I know, I've managed to grow some potatoes in the garden. They are from some potatoes my grandad had prepared at his allotment shed when he passed away. It's rather lovely to finish something he started.

I've also inherited lots of seeds ready for next year when I plan to try and get the rest of the garden sorted.

For the next few weeks the blog will be a bit quiet whilst I get stuck into more DIY and sorting some other non-writing related things out. I'll be back as soon as it's all done with photos of what I've been up to!

Take care whilst I'm away!

Catherine x

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A trip to the Little, Brown offices...

Today I'm over on The Romaniac's blog interviewing Vanessa Greene about her debut novel. I got to have a sneeky peek in the Little, Brown offices so find out more about the book and my visit over on The Romaniacs.


Catherine x

Monday, October 8, 2012

Going down to Margate!

I'm just back from a week staying at my mum's place in Margate where the sun did shine for some of the time.

Westbrook Bay
It was nice to have a break with my husband, Dan and it was lovely to spend the time with family. Especially this member of the family:
Jasper
The family dog, Jasper got most of the attention as he'd just had a cancerous lump removed from his leg a couple of days before we arrived. I was expecting him to be feeling rather sorry for himself, but he was his usual boistrous self. He was very good and was allowed the collar off when we were about as he hasn't been fussing over his wound. However, he did have to have it on when we went out and here he is being obedient (for a change) and letting us put it on. By the end of the week, he would just pop his head into it. What a well behaved dog he can be. Although my mum would like to advance his training to making cups of tea and closing doors behind him. Don't think she's going to have much luck there!

Now, time to get back to writing! (This counts, right?)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Am I a wafer thin mint yet?

Well I've been on Slimming World for a week and a half now so I must have virtually disappeared, no? Oh OK, I haven't reached my goal that quickly, but I did lose 4 pounds in my first week so can't be bad going and there is a chance my double chin is fractionally smaller:
Sue, Mandy, Laura and me at the RNA Southern Chapter Meeting
It's either that or I've managed to elongate my neck in the correct way! The meeting was lovely and you can read all about it over on Sue's blog: Love Reading, Love Books.

I do fear this blog may become very Bridget Jones' Diary, you'll have to forgive me if it does in terms of updating you on how much weight I've lost. That's as far as it goes though. Sadly you won't find Hugh Grant and Colin Firth battling over me any time soon.


Monday, September 24, 2012

The worse they can say is NO!

I seem to have lost my confidence this year. When I started this blog and my journey to becoming an author, I did so with great gumption, but slowly that dreadful thing called doubt has crept up on me. There are days when I think my writing is worse now than when I started out. That the more I learn, the less I know. I sometimes think wouldn't it be great to go back to that carefree way of writing when I didn't worry, I just did!

The gumption has become gloopy. It's partly down to personal circumstance. A lot has happened this year and when you have other worries it's hard for writing to become a priority. It's also to do with confidence. That fickle thing that can wane so magnificently when you're a writer, knowing at some point we have to share our work with the rest of the world.

I've already had mixed reports about my manuscript and the ones I'm fixated on are the less positive, despite there being more compliments than criticism. There's something about wanting the MS to be perfect even though it would never be possible to please every reading palate. I haven't got to the point of approaching agents etc. because of my gloopy gumption, which anyone who knows me is a most unlikely attribute for me to have acquired.

Which is why it was nice to be reminded of that the other day when my brother popped over. He wanted an update on what was happening with the book. I told him everything that had happened up to now and when I told him I was reluctant to send it out, he said, 'The worse they can say is NO!'

Ah, yes, he has a point. Don't you hate it when brothers do that? I really hope he doesn't read this or I'll never hear the end of it. When he put it like that it seemed silly to be hesitating. Rejections can't hurt in the same way real life issues can, so why have I found myself crippled into believing I'm not good enough. How will I ever know if I don't go for it? So, even though I still have decorating to do, I have vowed to start getting out there a bit more and start submitting my MS.

Oh, and at some point, I don't know when or where I found it, but I seem to have regained that good old gumption. Let's hope it's here to stay!


Friday, September 21, 2012

#fabfoodfriday Butternut Squash Soup

With my new drive to lose weight, I thought I'd add pictures of the healthy food recipes I create. First up isn't really a recipe, it's more a case of choosing the vegetables I like to make soup.
So into the pan I added:

1 butternut squash, peeled & chopped
1 onion, peeled & chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
Enough water to cover.

Boil, then simmer for about half an hour and voil√°:
Lunch!
Oh, and salt and pepper to taste. It was so yummy I had a bowl and a half! Well, I had to make up for not having the bread somehow!



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The rise and fall of the double chin!

It has come to my attention that a double chin has taken up residence on my face again! I have several photos proving its existance and I'm none too happy that it thinks it can visit as and when it pleases.

My face minus the double chin

A more recent picture where the double chin has found its way back
I'm not surprised it thought it had an invite to return. After all its been a year full of incident and comfort eating has been the only way through. So I've done a brave thing and taken said chin to a rehab class. The one known as Slimming World. I think I have the mental energy to tackle the double chin, but will appreciate any encouragement. This time round I think I'll let you know how I'm getting on. Unless it's become a triple chin. In which case I shall remain indoors for ever!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Morning Pages Technique - Writing Up My Weird Dreams!

In the past few days I've heard the same writing technique mentioned by three different writers so I thought I'd give it a go. I first read about it in Simon Whaley's blog post, Morning Pages. It's worth reading the post for a good explanation of what the technique is about. The second time I heard about it was when a reader mentioned it in a comment on my 'Why Writing Should Be Like Sex' post on The Romaniacs blog. Edith mentioned an excellent article she has read about the Morning Pages technique. Then, when I was at the Vintage Tea Party, author Vanessa Greene said it was a technique she used every day before she started writing.

So this morning (13/09), I had my first crack at it. I think the idea is you get rid of the things that are worrying you. You will be much better off looking at Simon's blog for the details of what you should do because my approach was slightly different, mostly because of the crazy, whacky dreams I have most nights. I'm so used to them on the whole I dismiss them. There is the odd occasion when I will wake up and think there's a story in that and I've gone on to write something based on my dreams. They've even gone on to win prizes!

It seems I shouldn't be so readily dismissive of these dreams so as my Morning Pages exercise I'm going to write them down. Here is this mornings example:

I'd had an operation on my finger. The scar was very neat and the finger was still healing and had no dressing on.

Back in my old house and my brother was being chauffeured to his job at great expense. It was £30,000 for a short period. It was a fancy car, no idea what, something like a phantom. When it arrived it could be split into two, so the chaffeur could wheel you from your door. This also worked as a bike so my brother started peddling and fiddling with some very high-tech gears and the chauffeur had to get into the second part of the car and chase him down the road.

In another house, I had to swap rooms for some reason. I was trying to find a cupboard to put my clothes into and every cupboard was full with random stuff (crafting material, baskets.) I then found another corridor like room. It was like a hall way, but in the centre of the house, no daylight and secret access to each room. It was white and each door had black letters telling you which room it led to. There were also cupboards in the corridor and I continued to look for somewhere to store my clothes. In each cupboard there were expensive items of furniture, like a chinese chest, but it had all been painted white.

Those are the three seperate dreams that I recall. They tend to be very cinematic with great detail, but if I ever wake up and explain them to my husband he looks at me like I've lost the plot! I can quite understand why. They are sometimes really hard to explain - a bit like the car splitting into two. In my dream I could see the mechanics of it so it makes perfect sense, but my explanation of it - not so much.

These dreams are all ones that I would dismiss. But I can already see there is potential for stories even if they are slightly removed from my normal genres. If I hadn't written them down this morning, I would have forgotten about these dreams within a few days, maybe even a few hours.

It'll be interesting to see if this technique works for me, even if it's not quite how it's meant to be used. There seems to be a lot of odd clutter in my brain.

Catherine x





Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Vintage Tea Party

Has anything ever sounded more delightful than a Vintage Tea Party? Well, no, I don't think so and at my age, I really should have been to more of them.

I was lucky enough to win a place to go to a Vintage Tea Party from Little, Brown book group with author of The Vintage Teacup Club, Vanessa Greene. It involved all the essentials: tea, cake, fizz and a book club style chat with Vanessa.

All the guests received an early copy of The Vintage Teacup Club and I devoured that in the same way you should a plate of cake. The book is about three woman: Jenny, Ali and Maggie who form a friendship when they discover they all have a need for vintage cups. Each reason is different and they agree to work together to get the number they need. They each have different stories and it was great to read a story involving more than one generation.

During the evening, Vanessa did some readings and we got to discuss which of the characters we most identified with, what parts we enjoyed and we were able to ask Vanessa all about her writing journey everything from where she got the idea from to how much cake she ate in the process!

It was a lovely evening and I will go into more detail on The Romaniacs blog and at some point Vanessa will join us on there for a Tuesday Chit-Chat.

Now to attend to my diary. I really do need to schedule more tea parties into my life.

Catherine x

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Inspiring Paralympics

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to head to The Paralympics to watch the evening athletics. I've been absolutely glued to the events aired on the TV and was really looking forward to being there.
I've heard lots of people say what an experience it is to be there and I can vouch that's absolutely true. It was rather like arriving at a theme park only without the sad faces waiting in long queues. As soon as we arrived in Victoria there were volunteers ready with directions and pink signage all the way to the Olympic stadium. The Olympic spirit really did come for the games makers.

Once inside, it was great to watch the events. There was so much going on it was hard to know where to look. We were lucky enough to see Team GB get a silver and a bronze, but there other great highlights. I thought I'd share the bit I will remember and may not have made the headlines quite as much as some other events.
Getting ready for the T11 100m final
My favourite moment was the T11 100m final. It was very apparent that the runners had a great relationship with their guides.
Get Set

Go!!

The race was fantastic with the Brazilians getting Gold, Silver & Bronze, but what really put a smile on my face was the medal ceremony. Each medalist had there own unique way of taking to their podium with their guide. The Bronze and Silver Medalists were carried by their guide whilst the gold medalist danced up with her guide...

What really got me though was seeing their emotion as there national anthem played. It was hard not to be moved by the moment... I nearly joined Terezinha Guilhermina in shedding a tear.
It truely was a great celebration and I'm so glad I got to go. Not only to see the athletics, but also to see the amount of regeneration that has gone into Stratford, the area I lived in when I studied my degree. It's unrecognisable from the way it was a decade ago and I really hope the facilities there continue to be used in the ínspire a generation ethos. Looking forward to Rio already!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September Sort Out!

The last few months have passed me by far too quickly! So in the month of September I plan to be efficient in sorting out what I should have been doing for the past three months! Firstly, I apologise as they are not all writing related but the decorating spree must continue! Room One is complete, but there's so much more to do!

Anyway, I thought I would declare early on what my plans are in the hope of getting them done and reporting on them as I go!

1) Redecorate the back bedroom
  • Now our lodger has vacated it's time to freshen the room up and do some much needed redecorating. The photos don't show up the leftover marks/scuffs/stains! The stuff in there is from our lounge makeover so we'll be clearing that and making a start this month. Hopefully finishing as well but we need to remove the ceiling tiles and get it replastered so will take longer than the lounge.

2) Lose some weight
  • I have to confess I'm a comfort eater and my diet has gone to pot! This is the first time in a while when I've felt ready to take charge again. So it would be really good to have lost some weight by the end of the month.
3) Continue with Take 10 challenge
  • I've completed 3 new pieces of writing in my Take 10 challenge. I planned to do more by now, but the lounge and illness have got in the way. So if I'm more careful with my time I hope to get nearer to the finish of this.
4) Tend to the garden
  • We've done a lot of work in the garden this year. Now we're saving any more landscaping for next year to concentrate on the house. But there's still the upkeep to continue with. Here's our first tomato that I picked last week...

5) Get out the house
  • I'm off to the Paralympics with my husband & I've won a place at a Vintage Tea Party reader group hosted by Little, Brown. There's also a Southern Chapter Meeting to attend this month!
Looking at the list it'll be a miracle if it all gets done... I best get on with it!

Catherine x

Friday, August 31, 2012

Why? Why? Why?

I was recently tagged by the lovely Elaine over on her blog, Sassy's World, in a Meme - a question we all hear and ask on a daily basis... WHY? Normally it's a question for toddlers, but here are the why questions I'd like the answer to:

1) Why does food always taste better when you haven't cooked it yourself?
2) Why does my Books To Be Read pile never get smaller?
3) Why can I never find enough hours in the day?
4) Why can my husband eat whatever he likes and barely puts on a pound?
5) Why do I look at food and gain three pounds?
6) Why are Things To Do Lists never ending?
7) Why does my husband ask me, "What kind of cheese are you?" (He's odd, but he'd argue not as odd as me!)
8) Why does my eyesight insist on playing up?
9) Why has no one invented the bottomless cup of tea?
10) Why haven't I bumped into any gorgeous megastars yet?

There are many more I could add, but I have a feeling they'd get more obscure the longer I went on! Instead I'm going to pass the question onto some other bloggers. To take part they need to complete the following steps:
1. Post your whys - as many or as few as you like
2. Link your post to Mummy Central
3. Tag 5 bloggers to keep this going

I'm tagging the following bloggers:

The Romaniacs
Cara Cooper
Nicky Wells
Mandy Baggot
Jane Lovering

If you have any, please add them below. If not chesk out these other blogs as I have a feeling some will be far more obscure than mine!

Catherine x



Friday, August 10, 2012

Project 3: The Lounge Makeover

Somehow eight years have slipped by. I moved into this house in 2004 (gulp!) which was in need of modernisation and eight years later the lounge hasn't been properly redecorated. The kitchen and bathroom took priority and we haven't had enough space to get the lounge done until the lodger moved out. So my reason for being so quiet over the past week or so is below. Only problem is we have two bedrooms to get on with now!

BEFORE

In the picture above you can see the textured wallpaper that was the feature wall along with some of the not-so-lovely pink carpet.

DURING
On the other three walls (which were originally bright peach when I moved in) we have changed the colour to Perfectly Taupe to freshen them up.

DURING

The previous residents had a thing for colour it would seem! If the bright peach front room and bright yellow hallway (now both neutral) weren't enough evidence, then we seem to have unearthed some more.
AFTER
Ah! Much better. New feature wall, other walls painted and new laminate flooring. Think I'll go and have a lie down now.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Garden - Update!

Before
Before
After clearing
 




Currently: Fences painted!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Vampire State of Mind by Jane Lovering

Jane Lovering does it again! Following on from winning 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year for Please Don't Stop the Music, Jane's latest book manages to create quirky characters in a very different version of York to the one we know. This contemporary thriller still has Jane's unique sense of humour shining through and the tense storyline will have you worrying about the characters until the end. A great read.

Here's the blurb:
Jessica Grant knows vampires only too well. She runs the York Council tracker programme making sure that Otherworlders are all where they should be, keeps the filing in order and drinks far too much coffee. To Jess, vampires are annoying and arrogant and far too sexy for their own good, particularly her ex-colleague Sil, who's now in charge of Otherworld York. But when a demon turns up and threatens not just Jess but the whole world order, she and Sil are forced to work together, and when Jess turns out to be the key to saving the world it puts a very different slant on their relationship. The stakes are high. They are also very, very pointy and Jess isn't afraid to use them, even on the vampire that she's rather afraid she s falling in love with...

You can pre-order Vampire State of Mind here.
And follow Jane Lovering here:
Jane's blog
Jane's twitter

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Larfing out loud & other stuff


It's been tough with regards to my personal life this year. Things that have been too personal to put on this blog, but I have shared them with my lovely Romaniac pals, as they have with me, and they've really become a pillar of support. So when 7 out of 9 of us caught up at the RNA Conference, well, the photo above sums up the weekend. I don't think I've ever laughed so much over the space of a few days. It really was therapeutic and we really are all as mad as we come across on The Romaniacs' blog. Each personality is so different, but when we get together, we really do compliment each other - in a good way, I hope. To sum up our weekend, we will have a blog post on Monday titled: Penrith: The photos we didn't want you to see! So keep an eye out for those.

Yesterday I had my report back from the NWS. The main thing I need to work on is my characterisation and they've advised I start the next one and come back to the current one at a later date. Sounds like a good plan to me. I'm trying to plot the next one out much more in the hope of not making the same mistakes I did first time round. Before this I'm going to continue my Take 10 challenge. So far I've completed 2 projects with another 8 to go. I'll keep you updated and in the mean time, if you don't find me here, I'm over with my nutty pals, The Romaniacs!




Friday, July 6, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Cox by Kate Lace

Dan - dark and brooding, he has to work day and night to achieve his dream of rowing in the London Olympics.

Rollo - rich and arrogant, when he's not rowing he spends his time seducing women and spending money.

Amy - a brilliant cox who catches the eye of both Dan and Rollo.

In a boat Dan and Rollo row perfectly together, but on land they despise each other. So with the addition of Amy to the mix, sporting behaviour is the last thing on their mind.

May the best man win? Not a chance.

From Henley Regatta to the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, and finally to the biggest race of their lives, their determination to settle old scores threatens to capsize everyone's plans.

This is the first of Kate Lace's books that I've read and I loved the pace of this novel. Amy, a newly qualified physio starts working evenings voluntarily at the Oxford St George's college boat club and she gets to do occasionally coxing as a result. Soon she is falling for brooding Dan, but also the charm of Rollo. 

This is a great story that takes you along with the training hopes of the rowers wanting to make it to the top of their game. There's testosterone aplenty as team mates struggle to get on and where does it all leave Amy? A fantastic read, particularly over this summer of sport.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's easy for a girl to love cake on Paragraph Planet

The 75 word story I submitted to Paragraph Planet is being featured on their website today. The title is included as part of the word count and this one is called, 'It's easy for a girl to love cake.' Well it is, isn't it? Please pop over and have a read if you get the chance.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's in!

Months of work wrapped up in one envelope. Today I've sent my manuscript off to the New Writers' Scheme for assessment. Last year I received a report on the same manuscript and with the advice that gave me it has undergone a major rewrite.

I think I've done the advice I received justice. The story is much better and I've learned a lot in the process. Next week I will chat more about what mistakes I made on the way over on The Romaniacs.

For now I can sit back, relax, and start planning the next one!

Monday, June 25, 2012

#Take10Challenge - Number One - Paragraph Planet



As the first of my ten new short pieces, I've written and submitted a 75 word piece to Paragraph Planet. If you've never tried to write a piece of flash fiction, it's great fun and a good writing exercise. There are lots of great examples on the website and they publish a new piece every day. So go on - have a go!

Friday, June 22, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay

It's rare that I look forward to a book in the same way I might a film, but as soon as I read the blurb for The Silent Touch of Shadows the premise intrigued me. I'm glad to say it's lived up to my expectations. It's based in Ashleigh Manor, Kent and when Melissa moves in with her aunt, she starts to experience vivid dreams and is haunted by visions. The problem is a ghost called Roger and in order to rid herself of his presence she sets out to find out more about Ashleigh Manor and its history.

The story offers a perfect weaving between past and present in its time-slip style. For reader's of Christina Courtenay it's a departure from her historical novels, but still offers you the same quality. It's the kind of story I've always wanted to read and don't find enough of. A must-read.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Take 10 Challenge

My head has been stuck in one project for so long that I've decided to have a bit of a stop gap before starting the next novel. I've decided to write 10 new short pieces and enter them into competitions. It's the writers' equvilant to taking a break (Take 5 - hence the loosely themed title) and if anyone wants to join me then please comment below. I will add a list below of what I have completed and the competitions I've entered.

  • Set your own time limit. I'm aiming for the end of July.
  • Both fiction/non-fiction count towards the total. 

  1. Paragraph Planet - a 75 word story. 
  2. A short story
  3. Paragraph Planet
  4. A short story 
  5. Flash Fiction  
  6. First Chapter

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Clearing flower beds and finding someone else's marbles

Project 1: The Garden


Before
After husband's hard work at the weekend
I'm clearing the patch by the shed
My efforts over past couple of days
The marbles I unearthed. Wonder if it's lucky to find someone else's marbles?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A tribute to Randolph Harris Austen

Randolph Harris Austen 

22nd September1923 - 20th May 2012

Twice I've tried to sit down and write a tribute to my Grandad and both times I've got too emotional to come up with adequate words. It's fortunate then that I don't have to come up with new words to tell him how I feel now he's passed away. Instead I'm adding this letter I wrote to him in 2008:

Dear Grandad,

For many years you have been trully what a father should be in the abscense of my own. I have probably never said how thankful I am for that, but I hope it is something you have always known.

So really there is no other person more suitable to walk me down the aisle and I am hoping you will do me that honour?

Yours lovingly always,

Cat xxxxxx



After he passed away my mum and nan found the letter tucked away in his special draw. It was a rare sentimental moment as most of the time we would be winding each other up in humour that we both shared. In the photo above I think he was saying something about gladly getting rid of me. I called him Grandad Gorilla Features and I was his cheeky monkey. Don't ask me how it started, but as normal it was a bit of a wind-up and his presents continued on a theme...
Dan dishing out a thank you gift.
A gorilla ornament to join all the cuddly ones and my nan saying, 'Not another one!'
And this is how I will always remember him:
On our trip to Monkey World where I insisted we take him.

I will always miss you, Grandad, but I'm so happy that you were part of my life.

Your Catherine xxxxxxx