Wednesday, 9 April 2014


So - do you believe in ghosts? Have you had any ghostly encounters, such as Catherine had in OUT OF TIME: Tyneham Revisited? Here's a heartfelt ghost story I love (and hope you'll love too!), found in a recent Daily Mail feature by Wendy Leigh:

I’ve never believed in ghosts, but three years ago I had an earth-shattering manifestation of the ghost of a dead former lover.

His name was Richard. He was 6ft 2 in, with bright blue eyes, dark hair and a smile that could warm an Arctic winter.

Sadly, he died suddenly of a heart attack when he was just 66. He had been the great love of my 20s, but circumstances had separated us. Then, by a strange and dramatic stroke of fate, we met again through work over three years ago.

Despite the mega-watt attraction that still flared between us, reality was against us. He was married and I, too, was committed elsewhere.

So we had an affair. A series of beautiful, secret encounters, rippling with love, sensuality and spirituality, which carried on until the tragic day I learned of his death.

Devastated, I locked myself into my office and, with the glamorous Cartier fountain pen he had given me for my last birthday, just wrote his name over and over again.

Then the phone rang in the living room, so I stopped writing, screwed the top back on the pen, left it on my desk and went next-door to answer the telephone.

After an intense 20-minute conversation with a dear friend – one of the very few in whom I’d confided about Richard – I decided to go for a walk. But just as I shut the front door, I heard Richard’s voice telling me to go back into my office.

In a trance, I did. And there, on my desk, was my Cartier pen, with the top I’d screwed on so tightly on the other side of my desk, far removed from the pen.

I went into shock. As I did, there was an almighty explosion and every bulb in my office chandelier went black and died.

At that moment, from afar, I heard Richard’s voice saying the words he’d said to me on our last encounter, just days before he died.

“I love you, and thank you for being my Indian summer. I never thought this would ever happen to me again.” And nor did I think I would ever be haunted by a ghost – but I was.'

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


So - can dogs still see us after we die? I've asked myself this question many times. My reason for asking it is that my Bearded Collie, Sam, seems to see people who have died. He has demonstrated this seeming ability more than once - the first time when he was just a puppy.

We were visiting an elderly friend who had recently lost her husband. Sam began behaving a bit oddly as Barbara prepared tea, and kept staring at an empty chair by the fireplace. But was the chair actually empty? When he went purposefully over to it, acting very much as if it had an occupant, Barbara sighed and told us that that chair had been her late husband's favorite.

Sam's behavior - the way he gave little barks, then rested his head on the seat, just as he likes to do on my knee, convinced her (as it did me) that he was seeing someone we couldn't see. Was he seeing the man who, while alive, always sat in that chair? Well, Sam answers that question himself in SAM'S STORY: It's A Dog's Life.

Can dogs still see us after we die? I firmly believe that they can, with an insight human beings sadly lack!

Saturday, 6 April 2013


Whenever I walk before breakfast by the Dart in Totnes and see this swan he swims across to me immediately. This morning his behavior was quite extraordinary. From the far side of the river - where he had been hobnobbing with two wading birds and a duck - he came straight over (and posed for this photo).

I spoke to him (as I often do!)  and he appeared to listen. Then I made as if to go and he turned to go too. But when I stayed he came straight back. We repeated this process several times and I was able to take a whole host of close up pictures of his arrivals and departures.

It might of course just be my fancy, but more and more I feel as if this swan and I share an affinity - and maybe a history!

You see, I had a Bearded Collie who yearned to be a bird and spent his whole life trying to fly ...

Is there any connection between Sam and this swan? I leave you to decide!

Sunday, 3 March 2013


I was stopped in my tracks during a walk near South Brent, Devon, the other day by the sight of this little cross and the poignant words nearby. Who was 'A.J.B - Royal Navy' and how was he 'taken by this tree' in 1990?

Did the tree fall and kill him, or did he die naturally at that spot? Whoever he was, someone still marks with fresh flowers the place where he died, keeping his memory alive.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


When I recently took this picture of St Michael's Mount from Marazion I felt a curious sense of eternity - almost as if I were standing outside time, in the place where there is no death, just life eternal!

Have you ever experienced a similar feeling?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Whenever I see snowdrops growing in a churchyard I think of my great-grandmother. I never knew her, but I know that she lived (and died) in a castle in Czechoslovakia. I also know that every year, at the first hint of spring, she went barefoot into a special part of her garden and gently lifted the snowy coverlet from the earliest snowdrops.

She went barefooted because that's simply what she did. How do I know all this? I learned it from my mother who, year after year, sent pressed snowdrops to her brother George for his February birthday. He lived in Nassau in the Bahamas by then and she sent them from her home in Kent as a poignant reminder of their shared childhood in Czechoslovakia - and of their grandmother.

Do you find, as I do, that when we keep memories alive it is almost as if the one we're thinking of has not died? I certainly found that when, inspired by my grandmother, I wrote The Foreigner!

Thursday, 31 January 2013


Do you find it as soothing as I do to gaze out to sea and imagine just how fathomless it is?

There's a whole universe concealed within its depths. I have a sense of awe when I try to consider the size of that universe. But it's too vast for my limited vision - just as the sky is too vast when I raise my eyes to the stars.

While surrounded by so much that's awesome in our lives, it isn't such a big jump, is it, to feel secure in the knowledge - or at least to believe - that there's further cause for awe awaiting us after we die?