Exciting thing number one: the Paralympics!
As I may have mentioned, I'm probably the least likely person to get caught up in excitement over a sporting tournament. Which means no one was more surprised than me when I found myself utterly obsessed with the Olympics. As soon as it was over I cried a bit, then consoled myself that there was still the Paralympics to come. And do you know, I think the Paralympics might have even been better. I mean, watching Usain Bolt break his own record in the 100m is amazing, but watching a man with no legs do the same? Astonishing. For yes, I'm adding my crush on Oscar Pistorius to my crushes on Jonny Peacock, Greg Rutherford & Jon-Allen Butterworth, not to mention my girl-crushes on Victoria Pendleton, Ellie Simmonds and Nicola Adams.
|The Orbit. No, I don't know either.|
|The Stadium was surrounded on all sides by water, which is kind of appropriate in an island nation|
|The atmosphere inside the stadium was electric|
We had a wonderful day. I only wish we could do it again next year!
|The Paralympic cauldron|
Exciting thing number two: book launch!
|Ruth with that most lovely of things, a whole stand of her own book!|
Exciting in a totally different way was my trip to Dublin for the long-awaited launch of Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things. I'd already read it as an ebook, but couldn't wait to get my hands on a hardback and, let's face it, it doesn't take much to get me to Dublin. So off I went, booked myself into a swanky hotel overlooking both the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea, and ate lunch in a ballroom one day and a funky cafe the next, with a launch involving cheese leaves and flowered cake in the middle.
|Ruth's beautiful flower cake, which tasted as good as it looked|
Treachery is the story of Jenny, an ordinary girl whose brother Tom is stolen by the fae. When she tries to retrieve him, she's sucked into the dangerous and amazing world of the fae, where absolutely nothing is as it seems and nobody is trustworthy. Except for Jack, and even he's not sure if Jenny should trust him. Both Jack and Jenny have destinies and promises to fulfil, destinies both of them have to fight. After all, while Jack might know the treacherous world of the fae better than Jenny, but she knows her own mind better than anyone, and she's not going to calmly accept the fate a bunch of mad fairies throw her way. It's a fabulous book, full of twists and revelations, with two wonderfully portrayed leads and the strong underlying message that no one has to accept anyone else's idea of what they should be.
|The Gutter Bookshop, in the Temple Bar district of Dublin|
Exciting thing number three: actual holiday!
|View from the Slipway Inn. And yes, that is the hill where Doc Martin lives.|
All right, this was exciting to me more than anyone else. It seems I've been away plenty this year--my suitcases are more repacked than unpacked--but only on short, fragmented breaks that didn't give me much time to do what I really like doing, ie sit around reading and drinking whilst looking at the scenery. Therefore a week in Port Isaac was exactly what I needed.
|Believe it or not, this street is also called Temple Bar!|
Keen blog readers (there must be some of you) may remember me mentioning that Port Isaac is the inspiration for the Cornish fishing village of Port Trevan in the fourth Sophie Green book, Still Waters. Above is the street nicknamed Squeeze-ee-Belly Alley where Luke and Sophie stay with Maria; the cottage on the right, Jolie Brise, was the cottage I stayed in when I came up with the idea and, therefore, the cottage featuring in the story. Apparently you can still rent it, although it looks like the cherubs have gone (thank god!).
Still Waters, but if it had been I'd have sent Luke and Sophie there, because it's the most charming restaurant I've ever been to. Absolutely tiny, serving only 30 covers, it's incredibly atmospheric and the food--mostly seafood--is just wonderful. If you're in Port Isaac, book a table!
So...what did you do with your summer?