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"Happy New Year To All"


January
 2020

In fact, that quote should be ‘Happy New Decade To All’, although there is some controversy over whether a decade starts at the zero or the one. Well, we started the new Millennium in the year 2000 – ergo the decade of the forthcoming 20s has begun. That’s my opinion anyway, and I’m sticking to it.

So what comes to my mind for the past decade? The years 2010 through to 2019?

2010 started badly from the events of December 2009, with us devastatingly, and unexpectedly, losing one of our horses (Izzy) and my elderly Mum passing away on Christmas morning. I’d also had an extremely painful torn ligament in my thigh (it still bothers me sometimes,) so the start of 2010 was somewhat gloomy, but we struggled through and things took an upturn when Sourcebooks Inc of North America took on my historical novels, The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, Harold the King and A Hollow Crown. I still wish they hadn’t changed the titles of the latter two (to I Am The Chosen King and The Forever Queen) but ‘Queen became a USA Today bestseller, and all five books are still selling, earning me modest royalties.

July that year saw me working alongside, and developing a super best-friendship, with Cathy Helms of www.avalongraphics.org. Ten years ago? Never!

2011 started with our horse, Lexie, seriously lame with a damaged tendon – ten years later my daughter Kathy is competing her successfully over show jumps that are taller than I am! 2019 saw them both competing at the All England Showjumping Arena, Hickstead, Sussex, in the main International arena – for Kathy, an ambition achieved.

We also had a scare in 2011 when our kitten, Mab, turned out to be pregnant. The kittens had to go, she was too young and too small. She is now a healthy adult cat who prefers to come and go through the bathroom window and spends most of her days asleep on my bed. (What a life.)

2012 had a rather Bad thing and a very Good thing. The bad was that I was diagnosed with Glaucoma. Now, in 2020, it has stabilised, but has made my vision very ‘wonky’ – it’s like looking at one of those wibbly-wobbly fairground mirrors. But the Good Thing came with the London 2012 Olympics. Oh, how well I remember watching that Friday opening night on TV, and seeing some of the fireworks ‘live’ from our Walthamstow front garden! Little did we, as a family, know that the next day would change our lives forever.

Saturday afternoon. My husband Ron was checking his lottery numbers and the special Lottery Olympics Opening Night raffle ticket he’d purchased. I didn’t believe he had a winning number at first, then it took me ages to get through to an actual person to ‘stake our claim’. What a rigamarole! After about half an hour, I’d established that we’d won something. Before she rung off, after making arrangements regarding our win, I was asked if I had any further questions. "Yes." I said, "What exactly have we won?"

Just as well I was sitting down. I heard the lady chuckle: "£1,000,000" she said. Oh blimey!

It’s nearly all gone now, but in January 2013 we moved to Devon having bought outright a late eighteenth-century farmhouse with thirteen acres of farmland, treated ourselves to a few things and invested a sizeable chunk. Oh, and I paid for a rather grand, and thoroughly enjoyable, wedding in May 2014 when Kathy married Adam. One of the best memories for me, buying her wedding dress and not having to worry about how much it cost. (I didn’t even ask!)

Following that, another chunk of the win went on building them their own self-contained flat adjoining the main house. Well, it was nice being a millionaire for a little while!

2015 saw me meeting up with Cathy Helms and her husband again for a trip to the USA, and another momentous date was January 2017 when I launched Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction. Since then, we are not far off 350,000 visitors, and my enormous thanks to the super team of reviewers who continue to help me run the site.

We’ve had a variety of pets and companions come and go – we lost our dog, Rum, soon after we moved in and last year my Donkey, Wonky Donk. I have two new donkeys now, whilst Baz and Eddie the dogs came into our home and hearts, along with newcomer thirteen-week-old Elfie a PatterJack Terrier (Patterdale Jack Russell terrier). Saffie had a colt foal in 2017 and is due another in May this year - we’re hoping for a filly this time - but whatever she produces, whatever happens in this coming New Year and New Decade the Good Things tend to, in the end, outweigh the Sad or Bad Bits.

And, you never know, I might actually get the next book written…

Lege feliciter (read happily).

helensig