Well, that was a Christmas Eve to forget.   Little Millie had to go to A&E with a breathing problem and was kept in the children’s ward overnight.  Mummy stayed with her and here, at grandma’s, we all waited anxiously for news, Christmas temporarily postponed.  Next morning, Christmas Day, Millie was a little better and Santa visited her in hospital with a present, the doctors having given her another little present – a soft toy elephant with a hospital tag around his little wrist. Thank God for the paediatric department at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth - wonderful care on all her unfortunate visits there.  We unwrapped our presents when she got back and Christmas resumed.

My 3 year old granddaughter Millie has taken to putting things in the oddest places. With everybody waiting to go, the others sitting in the car outside, where on earth were her shoes? In the washing machine of course, where else would they be? The Christmas singers – novelty characters – are in place on the window ledge in the hall raucously singing ‘Jingle Bells’ whenever their little hands are pressed. Had to resort to switching them off sneakily and explaining to Millie that they needed to have a little rest from singing as they were tired.  Several of the e-books are ready at the same time, quite a few going live next week in time for Christmas.  It’s been a joy to catch up with them during the editing – perhaps I shouldn’t admit that I really enjoyed reading them once more but the truth is I did.

Had a get together last night with the neighbours in our outside courtyard – mulled wine and nibbles.  My older granddaughters Meg and Ella helped me put up the Christmas decorations this morning. All the old favourites plus a few newcomers.  Something missing – the small Christmas tree we stand on a coffee table – and I started looking in the most unlikely places.  Peering under the bed, I was met with a pair of eyes – the cat really didn’t like the upheaval and had gone into hiding – but no tree. Mystery indeed.  Busy with the edits for two e-books ‘Family Values’ and ‘Secrets and Lies’ with the new e-book ‘What Friends Are For’ waiting in the wings for me to start editing after Christmas.

It was my lovely granddaughter Meg’s 17th birthday yesterday. I remember so vividly the day she was born and the mad dash my husband and I made to Harrogate from Barnard Castle. The hospital car park was full and we had to park in a side street some distance away. Arriving at the hospital with a big bunch of flowers, we discovered that my daughter and the baby had already left for home. A far cry from the old days, my days, when I was in hospital for ten days with my first born. One extreme to the other I feel.  Had my first seasonal meal yesterday at Lifton Hall Hotel, turkey and Christmas pud and good company.

Colder and drier yesterday – time for the gloves to come out.  I’m checking through the edits for the e-book version of Return to Rosemount, re-named Family Values.  It’s a long time since I wrote it and I can’t quite remember what comes next as I read it. Strange but true. It will be out soon on Amazon from Luscious Books, Cloudberry Imprint.  Looking after the gorgeous Saffi dog (my son is in Tenerife) and we are enjoying our walks along the cycle path, dead flat for me but full of exciting scents for Saffi.  We met three dogs on the way and she was her usual gentle self with all of them.  A few cyclists – after all it is the cycle path – most are the sedate variety exchanging a good morning and nice day as they puff on by.

Having my dining room/kitchen decorated so the rest of the house is in a pickle.  Piles of books everywhere.  The cat is traumatised and is scared of the decorator, a lovely man who has a cat of his own. Got rid of a lot of ancient CD’s to a fete this weekend so that will clear a space on my bookshelves for yet more books.  Had my  hair cut yesterday – Louisa has been cutting my  hair for 7 years and she’s far too professional to say ‘I told you so’ but the longer bob we were aiming for was never going to be my look and I feel much happier now and much more like me. Have agreed to give a talk in spring about writing – I’m going to try to answer that age old question ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Wish I knew.

Took the cat to the vets for her flea treatment. Getting her into the cat carrier requires a stealthy approach because if she catches sight of it, she is off to hide. There is a separate seating area at the vets for cats and dogs, the dogs looking up with interest as the cats are carried past. My old dog would stop dead at the door and have to be dragged in although he would be very perky on the way out. Lucy the cat makes a horrible din in the car on the way there, fortunately it’s only a few minutes or it would be unbearable. Back to the easy business! of writing in the afternoon.

Went to the theatre to see Swan Lake – Birmingham Royal Ballet – and it was wonderful.  Act III began with that ice-effect covering the stage and the swans slowly emerged from the mist – magical.  Have been granddaughter sitting for a couple of days – hide and seek with a 3 year old is lovely because if she hides her face she thinks you can’t see her.  Oh the joy of childhood innocence.  Back to work now and the short break has been good for that making me keen to get back to the writing again.

Just finished reading ‘Stonemouth’ by Iain Banks. I hadn’t realised until I started to read that I’d seen an adaptation of it on television which put me in the odd position of having a visual memory of the characters instead of forming an impression of them in my head. When I’m writing, my characters’ appearance is fuzzy at first but it sharpens up as I go – I have much more of a feeling about their personality, the sort of person they are rather than a clear image of how they look.  What a good writer Banks is – the last paragraph made me catch my breath. It was a gritty read, not for the faint hearted, but I enjoyed it. I can’t understand writers who say they don’t have time to read. Don’t neglect the reading and somehow you will find the time.

A visit up north to Preston for a family wedding. That journey seems to get longer each time. It was cold outside the church and the bridesmaids were doing their best not to shiver in their flimsy lilac dresses.  The bride, my great niece, looked beautiful with her dark hair tumbling about her shoulders. I was reminded of my own wedding many moons ago. That was an April day and chilly and it had rained overnight so that when my father helped me out of the wedding car he promptly dropped the hem of my dress in a puddle. Sorry love, he said, but I could forgive him anything because he was so proud that day.  It is wonderful to catch up with family – a joyful occasion this time – and well worth the tortuous trip up the M5/M6.