Coalesce with still river;
watch silver fish leap.
At the beginning of September, after having had Mister insist I take a morning off from book-editing, I had the pleasure of visiting Driftwood. This small and unique garden is situated at Seaford in Sussex, on the SE coast of the UK.
Geoff Stonebanks, pictured here, is the visionary who transformed what was originally a plain, rocky chalk garden into a little paradise. He views the garden as his “art”: from its conception, to the planting, to the nurturing, to the ongoing maintenance. It’s no easy undertaking to establish plants on chalk, let alone in a garden that suffers year-round assault by salt-laden air. When Geoff moved from London, bringing many plants with him, about half of them died during their first winter.
Just to prove Geoff’s perseverance and his success in realising an artistic dream, Driftwood was a double national award winner in 2012 — Garden News “Best Small Garden” and the “National Garden Competition”. It was featured on Good Morning Britain in 2014 and is due to be featured on Gardeners’ World (BBC1) this Friday, 23rd September at 2030 hrs (BST)
Since 2009, Driftwood has been open to the public 115 times, has had 13,000 visitors and raised more than £76,000 for various charities. As part of the visit, you can purchase a cup of tea and some delicious homemade cake, and as for the vintage china… need I say more? It’s all so quintessentially English. Geoff usually makes the cakes himself but on the day we visited, some of his helpers had made them instead. Of course, I chose butter-iced coffee and walnut cake as per usual on outings, although this particular slice was the best ever, and so generous in size that I couldn’t manage any lunch, even though they served light lunches there that were most likely equally as delicious.
Anyway, enough preamble. I will now take you around the garden, the first picture being of the front garden and the others of the main garden out back. You will notice some pieces of artwork, as well as various curiosities among the plants, contributing to the garden’s sea theme. The ones with price tickets on them are the work of artists, while the other ones belong to Geoff. There is also a wooden shed that was built for Geoff’s late father, and the last picture is not a real door but a folly door.
I hope you enjoyed your fleeting tour of Geoff’s garden, although I haven’t by any means photographed all of its nooks, crannies, and curiosities. To appreciate it in all its glory, you need to visit and see it for yourselves. So if you’re planning on visiting the SE England in 2017, sometime between June and September, you might like to check out www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk .
I’m thrilled with this review of Desiccation from my fellow blogger, Cee Tee Jackson. Thank you.
And yesterday, the same novel also received 5 stars and a fab review on Amazon.com. Thank you, Rochelle.
(The only reason I took so long to read this book is that I was reading a couple others at the same time ….. and the baseball season started!)
I loved this book. The cover shouted ‘B-movie’ and ‘Sixties’ so that drew me to it straight away.
I would say that initially I struggled to keep up with the number of characters being introduced, but that could also be because as I mentioned above, I was reading another couple of books at the same time. Whatever, the storyline and characters soon settle down and the plot develops.
What I love about this book is that it is a ‘light’ fun read, never really straying too far from that B-movie feel, but at the same time it is spine-tingly dark.
Sarah Potter has written this book in such a manner as…
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I’m so excited and a little bit nervous. The big day has arrived. It’s adventure time for twelve-year-old Noah Padgett and his chocolate Labrador puppy, Bluebell. With one click of a link they’ve landed themselves in the Zyx-dimension, where the predominate species is Canis sapiens. These intelligent dog-people view the boy and his puppy as mutants and alien collectibles, forcibly separating them and putting both their lives in peril. Will they survive, or won’t they?
Not telling. You’ll need to read my book to find out.
For readers aged 10-18+, this is a story for all the family.
Harry Potter had a magic wand at his disposal, but Noah Padgett must survive by his wits alone.
Noah Padgett and the Dog-People is available to buy from Amazon (Paperback & Kindle Editions).
To find out more, click on GetBook.at/Zyx
Let the judging begin, from smallest squash to largest marrow!
I’m just taking a break from my preparations for tomorrow’s book launch of Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, to reflect upon other ways of being creative: that of growing your own food and using it to create yummy meals. In the case of the beauties in this picture, Mister was responsible for their planting and nurturing, and I’ll be responsible for their cooking.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love inventing recipes and hardly ever refer to cookery books, so maybe one day I’ll take a break from writing fiction to produce my own book of tasty and nutritious meals.
Fingers crossed, official publication day for Noah Padgett and the Dog-People is set for Friday, 9th September, although I might have a soft launch a couple of days earlier to marry up the paperback and kindle editions on a single Amazon Product page. With my début novel, Desiccation, I had to email Amazon to ask them to do this, despite the fact that it’s meant to happen automatically. Such is life.
Before things go live, I’d appreciate a little feedback on my product description for Amazon and/or your votes in a 24-hour poll.
I’m happy with the four sentences below that are a replica of the blurb on the back cover of the paperback edition, but please let me know if there are any glaring errors that I’ve missed. I’m also happy with the Audience Guidelines, which will go at the foot of the blurb.
The area that I need help with, is deciding which of the two excerpts from the novel would work best as a prefix to the blurb. In other words, the excerpt is the first thing a prospective customer will see, so it needs to draw them into looking at the rest of the description, encourage them to read the sample pages in the “Look inside” feature on the product page, and then buy the novel.
I’ve decided to market this novel under the main category of Juvenile Fiction/Animals/Dogs and the secondary category of Juvenile Action and Adventure. The reason for not marketing it under Fantasy, is because there isn’t a Juvenile category for “General Fantasy”, only “Fantasy and Magic”. Noah may have many attributes, but magic isn’t among them. He has to survive by his wits, not the waving of a wand!
Noah Padgett’s new stepmother Kate treats him as the worst inconvenience in the world and wants him to disappear out of her life, along with the nuisance puppy that his father bought him for his birthday. Her wish comes true, although too fast for her to notice.
Mad entrepreneur Monsieur Percival Poodle is the self-appointed ruler of Zyx, a dimension where Canis sapiens is the predominant species. Percival likes to collect alien specimens, and two of them have just arrived in his dimension from Earth. One is a primitive four-legged chocolate Labrador and the other a human boy.
Mercenary Lurcher Sergeant Salt works for the highest bidder and makes it his policy to extract maximum profit from jobs. This means selling his alien captives separately, however much distress it causes them.
Fate has already stolen Noah’s beloved mum from him, replacing her with a stepmother from hell. Now it seems that Fate has struck again and stolen Noah’s beloved puppy, leaving him to languish in a high security hospital for criminally insane Canis sapiens, with no apparent means of escape.
Average Grade level 6
Readability fairly easy
Younger Middle Grade Advanced Readers (aged 8/9)
Upper Middle Grade/Lower Young Adult (aged 10-13)
Older teenagers and adults who enjoy reading children’s fiction
A. The hall clock strikes midnight. Noah counts its chimes from one to twelve. He tells himself the ravenous clouds are just a preview to a fantasy game: that there’s no harm in checking things out.
He clicks the link.
B. With every beat of his heart, his yearning grows for home, or rather for random things to do with his city. The sound of seagulls, swishing waves, and a gale-force wind whipping flags about poles; the smell and taste of salt; slimy green rock-pools full of crabs; old shells; vinegary fish and chips wrapped in paper and eaten out in the fresh air; hot pavements; shimmering roads; cycling through traffic jams; the stink of petrol and diesel fumes locked in a heat haze: anything other than this sterile whiteness and deep silence, broken on and off by muffled dog barks.