Portugal Trip continued….

Once the business side of the trip was concluded Gill and myself set about enjoying ourselves. The weather was gorgeous although the nights were very cold. My brother-in-law David, had let us use his house at Bengado near Santa Caterina (thank you David) and we had been given the loan of a car (thank you Bill & Anita) so we were able to get out and about enabling me to show Gill some aspects of my old life.
The cast list is as follows:-
Annie Holland – Erratic writer but lovely natured, known mostly for the Stella the Stork stories and best friend to Arthur the lurcher.
Gill McEvoy – International Poet, Hawthornden Fellow and winner of the Michael Marks prize for the best poetry pamphlet The First Telling 2015. Close friend and adoptive ‘mother’ to Arthur the irascible lurcher.
Angie Pangy -Director of a Property Maintenance Company; a very dear friend of over 20 years. Partner to Jonnie and mother of River.
Carole Dwelly photographer and  owner of the yacht Kariba – another dear friend of many years standing.
My Hui – Former concert violinist now working as a translator and partner of Carole.
1972 Ford Escort – abandoned into the care of Jonnie and Angie but I still love ya baby!
Spring flowers springing up!
Julia owner of the Barquina Restaurant situated at the dockside. The best food in Tavira. If you haven’t had one of Julia’s salads believe me you haven’t ever had a proper salad!
Happy memories of weekly trips into Spain for long tapas lunches – good days eh Julia?
Elizabeth (Julia’s big sister)-who does the superb serious cooking at the Barquina. A delightful lady.
One foot in South East Asia by Bill Pitcock. Bill’s book is a easy holiday read with a very relaxed style. Gill and I both thoroughly enjoyed it.
On the final evening we all met up at restaurant tucked away in the hills and had a memorable meal – one of those eating places popular in the area where you get what you are given. I thought I knew most of the Portuguese delicacies  but it was the first time I had tasted pigs cheeks – they were delicious. Unfortunately the camera played up so I have no visual record of that occasion. Such a shame…
I raise a glass of ‘vinho tinto’ to everyone who made the trip so memorable and I raise a special glass to my late husband John Holland without whom I would not have had such an incredible adventurous life and would not have met these amazing people.





Christmas 2015 I received a phone call from Portugal about my cottage in Cadeireiros. The caller, Bill, had been up to see it, loved the place and put in an acceptable offer.
Accompanied by my friend Gill McEvoy, March saw me flying out to the Algarve for the conveyance. This was a quick and simple procedure carried out at the local Notary’s office. My passport was examined, I signed a piece of paper and then I was handed a bundle of Euros! The cottage now belonged to Bill and his wife Anita. Could you ever imagine that happening in England? There was a nostalgic moment during the proceedings when it was realised that the conducting Notary, Senor Ramos, had also carried out the original conveyance twenty-five years earlier when John Holland and myself had bought the property.
Business done we were able to have a great holiday with perfect spring weather. I met up with many dear friends but it was also a time for good-byes as I knew this would be the last time I would be visiting Portugal.
Bill (a fellow writer) and his wife Anita are a delightful couple, the special people I hoped one day would come along. They intend to renovate and turn the little cottage into an eco-friendly stop-over for hikers and cyclists. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Ready for the Xmas Rush!!**

Delighted to announce that St George’s Hall, Liverpool have restocked on Stella the Stork’s Special Delivery and Stella the Stork’s The Queen from the Land of Snow. These books are realistically priced and make great stocking fillers.
Met up with fellow writers David Irvin and J Carmen Smith – we had  a very enjoyable lunch at the café run by  students from the catering college. Good price. Good food.



A Grand Weekend of Poetry….

Poets come from all over...DSCF0248[1]

Poets came from as far away as Scotland and Ireland to join Jim Bennett Poet and Editor of Poetry Kit – Caught in the Net – for a weekend of fine poetry at Heswall on the Wirral. Held at Heswall library, poets read to poets and it was an event not to be missed.

Pictured are Neil Leadbeater, Jim Bennett, Gill McEvoy, Ann and Lesley Burt


The inspirational Dee-Sign Signing Choir performs to popular music in British sign language. They were enthusiastically welcomed by the weekly Wednesday Group attached to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd. The aim of the group is to promote Deafness Awareness and the beauty of British Sign Language. Formed in 1997 they now have over 60 members and there is a waiting list. They have become so popular they have appeared on Granada TV, BBC 2 See Hear, Channel 4 Gala Night at the Apollo. They also perform at weddings! They have won 2010 and 2011 Jersey Eisteddfod ‘Signing Choirs Competition’ and were awarded the MBE for volunteer groups, The Queen Award for Voluntary Service in 2012. There is also a performing group for the under 16’s called the Dee-Sign Dynamix.

Dee-Sign Signing Choir

Dee-Sign Signing Choir

It was a very happy, enjoyable afternoon and we hope it won’t be too long before we enjoy the talents of Dee-Sign again.

J Carmen Smith img003img008


The judges said, ‘This story is full of unspoken, suppressed, emotion. It crackles with overlying tension and never overplays its hand. A hugely  impressive piece of writing.’
Joan said – ‘My story was inspired by a Victorian artist L. C. Henley,  which depicts a young woman reading by the fireside and idealises Victorian domestic  life. I wanted to twist the title and approach it from a modern, chilling perspective.’

Anthology Launch at Chester University

A collection of talented Cheshire writers gathered at the University to celebrate the publication of ‘Out of this Word’ an anthology of the best stories and poems from the entries for the ‘Cheshire Prize for Children’s Literature.’ Each of the contributors were presented with a copy of the book by the High Sheriff, Bill Holroyd CBE, and were invited to read their stories and poems to the packed audience – a treat enjoyed by all.
The £2000 first prize was won by Tanya Ravenswater’s poem  ‘Badger.’ Tanya has just signed a book contract and is, as you can imagine, absolutely delighted.
Big congratulations Tanya.
AAAA Tania2015-06-23 18.12.32

Tanya Ravenswater  and the High Sheriff Bill Holroyd CBE

Tanya Ravenswater
and the High Sheriff
Bill Holroyd CBE