A lot’s been going on over the summer. Of my six tomato plants, one weedily gave up after a week, two were overthrown by their gro-bag neighbours and one – Ailsa Craig – has turned out to be a real brute. As yet, despite my careful nipping-out of tiny projectiles, none of them have deigned to produce any tomatoes, so if you have any brilliant tomato growing tips, I would LOVE any help. Although I sometimes wonder, when I’m watering the gro-bags of an evening, whether Ailsa is conserving her energy to take over the entire house instead of bothering with tomato production. She branched out aggressively while we were away one weekend and now requires two independent supports. Give her another month and I will probably be shinning up her mighty trunk to swap my dog(s) for some magic beans…



Speaking of dogs, last weekend we took Aurora the Mystic Otterhound on a family (hers, not ours) get-together walk with dozens of other otterhounds along the lush green banks of the River Wye at Symonds Yat. Symonds Yat is the scene of our Worst Dog Walk Ever which I won’t go into here as I have full-body cringe just remembering it, but it’s a lovely place to stroll on a summer’s day, especially if you’re a fan of bouncy suspension bridges.

Our circular route took us across the Wye which the hounds seemed quite excited about –  I did wonder if we were just supposed to hang onto their fur and be dragged across – but the ferryman bravely loaded up his boat with several otterhounds at a time and off we went,  like an illustration from some time-shift novel in which medieval knights return dressed in fleeces and pack-a-macs, but with their hunting hounds unchanged. Twenty otterhounds in one place is a lot of hound. We stopped to re-group outside a local riverside pub, and the assorted cockerpoos, labradors and dachshunds on the pub terrace gazed down at the shaggy heaps of hair and paws and powerful noses, and quailed. fullsizeoutput_3a03

(This looks as if they’ve just swum through the river but they weren’t even wet. I hadn’t realised how ‘wet-look’ otterhounds are, under normal circs.)

What else? Book news! Today – July 9th – Where the Light Gets In is a Kindle daily deal, and if 99p wasn’t bargain enough you also get the first chapter of my NEW novel, Unexpected Lessons in Love, which isn’t out until December, thrown in free! So hurry, hurry – 24 hours only! Hopefully I should have exciting cover news very soon – it’s a tale of jilting, ukuleles, the meaning of love and puppies. So something for everyone there, I hope…

I hope you’re all having a great summer, and please please send me some dog photos!