Blog

Sunrise near Sandwich

Dreams of Loss and Lost Dreams

The Magnificent Seventh is here!
Also available to purchase at Gould Gallery 35 Harnet St Sandwich. CT13 9ES.
Tel. 01304 611104

About this book
Writing this, my seventh novel, was a sometimes disturbing exercise in that it pulled memories to the fore which I had buried deep. However, this is not an autobiography and any similarities to persons alive or dead are unintentional. There were times when I felt like crying at what I had expressed in this book and at others I found myself chuckling at some humorous little additions despite the fact that I had written them. Like Jo, I am a solitary person, one who enjoys long walks with my dogs and the beauty of the natural world, the change of seasons and the tableaux which nature paints without the use of a pallet or brush. How often have you walked alone and felt that the weather, the light, the sky, the sea, or a river is reflecting your mood? And did you walk on, sharing your thoughts, anguish or indeed happiness with them, grateful for the empathy shown to you? If so, I hope you will feel Jo’s emotions as I did on writing these passages.

‘The sunrise is non-existent. I trudge through the murky morning which seems to fight the onset of daylight. As dawn approaches, darkness becomes greyness, a tiny hint of orange on the horizon is gobbled up by charcoal clouds like hungry ogres. Grey banks of rain-filled mist are coiling and swirling as though linking arms to keep the sun’s rays out, and succeeding. Thunder claps its applause, again and then again. A fork of lightning provides the standing ovation. ‘I continue my walk, I’m already soaked and have very little to hurry back to. Strangely, I wasn’t aware of when I realised the wetness on my cheeks was not solely rain drops, I wasn’t even aware that I was crying. The rain dilutes my tears and I welcome the feeling of empathy, the sky weeps with and for me.’

Book One ‘ Catalyst ‘


A BLACK EMPTY ribbon stretched out in the headlights of the car. She flipped the Pink Floyd tape to play.
The first strains of Atom Heart Mother swept through the car.
She drummed her fingers to the beat on the steering wheel.
Damn! The tape stuttered. As she reached down to eject it something flashed in her peripheral vision. She glimpsed a man’s face, pale and ugly in her lights, heard a soft crunch, a shudder ran through the car. The screech of her tyres merged discordantly with his scream as her fell.

Book Two ‘ Legacy ‘


A WEAK MORNING SUN cast elongated shadows of the grave stones; some square topped, some rounded and from other older ones, huge angels reached unnaturally long limbs out across the cemetery. Miss Hazlett, her walking stick echoing a third footstep on the paving slabs, walked slowly to the graves and took from her bag two bunches of flowers from her garden. In foresight, as the tap was at the far end of the cemetery, she brought a Tizer bottle filled with water with which, after removing the dead flowers and emptying the now stale and brackish water from the vases, she replenished them both and resting uncomfortably on arthritic knees she arranged the posies to her satisfaction.

Book Three ‘ How it all Began ‘


A barrage of anti-aircraft fire burst around me and a squadron of enemy fighters emerged from the ragged clouds, spitting bullets, startling red tracers, as if spun by a gigantic spider, webbed across the turbulent sky. One after the other, I saw planes fall from the sky or explode in the air. The fast flying fighters pursued me, riddling the sides of the craft with bullet holes, and the failing engine caught fire. The fighters then fell away to leave me to my fate. I ploughed on through the storm as lightning flashed through the black tumbling clouds, splitting them in two like a hot poker through snow. The bomber shook and shuddered as the gale-force winds slammed into it. I tightened my grip on the controls, it felt as though I were trying to control a wild stallion. I battled on, the lone engine struggling to turn the propeller and for a while I really thought I was going to make it.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Book Four ‘ Sickle Moon ‘


The icy cold water took their breath away and they sank below the surface. Swallowing muddy water, they struggled for air as the current grabbed them and swept them downstream. Each held fast to the other, trying to stay afloat and to make it back to the bank. At first it seemed as though they were attempting to save each other and then it appeared that they were still fighting. They struggled against the stream, they struggled against each other, blood flowing from their wounds. They sank under then rose up again, coughing and gulping the air, all the while getting weaker until the river parted them and in the darkness took them away.
____________________________________________________________________________________________

Book Five ‘ My Daughter ‘

“Coming Ma, what’s all the fuss about?” Joan clattered down the stairs, a nappy in one hand and a bottle in the other whilst somehow holding on to her two year old who was sucking a dummy and defensively clutching a knitted doll as though it was about to be snatched from her arms. “Oh, Mabel what a lovely surprise, how are you keeping, and Walter, is he alright? Angela love, you can’t put that back in your mouth now. Oh give it to me, I won’t be a minute Mum, just look at all those dog hairs, I really ought to hoover, Angela I said No!” Mabel smiled as she watched the scene, a smile which hid the sadness in her. How she would have loved a grandchild. She pulled herself together, if she could find Bill’s little girl it would almost, but not quite, ease the pain. I will be her grandma. In her heart she was hopeful but in reality she knew that the little mite was probably dead, God rest her. But maybe, just maybe she had been rescued and no one knew who she was. If that were so, there was no one better than Margery to do some digging.

Finally, Joan extracted the dummy from Angel’s mouth, wiped as many hairs as possible from her lips, washed the dummy and plugged it in again. By this time Margery had made a pot of tea and placed a plate of biscuits on the coffee table, whooshed the black and white hair shedding culprit mongrel’s nose away from the biscuits “Oh dear, I’ll have that one” wiping the nose print from the top digestive, she leant forward and poured the tea. “Well, here we are. Sugar?” Mabel was used to her friend’s scatter brained way of talking but was also aware that Margery was very astute and generally didn’t miss a thing.

Book Six ‘ Those Who Lie Beneath ‘

In time I forgot to miss Mum and were it not for the photo on the hall table I wouldn’t remember what she looked like when she was well. In their wedding photo she seemed so young, so petite, almost like a child, and him a giant of a man. The young woman in the photo bore no resemblance to the mother I watched slowly fade out of life. This woman, frozen in celluloid was pretty in an oriental sort of way, with glossy black hair and dark eyes, and a sweet smile. I tried to lodge this image in my mind and to shut out the one which she became before she died. But no sooner had I turned away from the picture than I seemed to hear the rasping of her breath and see her pale, pale face. Perhaps she had always been frail, who knows.


Updates on Val’s writing

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.