St Helena and other news – an update from Helen Carey (and an outstanding opportunity)

via St Helena and other news 

Just to make clear, this is a re-posting from Helen’s blog : so the I is, in fact, Helen (not me!) 

Hello everyone,Picture from top of Carningli

Greetings from sunny Pembrokeshire! I just wanted to thank you all again for your interest in my books. Over the last few months I have received an overwhelming number of kind messages and comments. It really is wonderful to know that my Lavender Road characters have brought so much pleasure to so many people! Thank you also for the wonderful reviews. If there are any of the books which you haven’t yet reviewed, and if you have the time or inclination, then it would be great if you could pop a few words and star ratings onto my books on Amazon or Goodreads sites, or indeed any other book sites you might use. It all helps enormously. And if you fancy a writing holiday on the remote island of St Helena, then it would be lovely to see you there – see below!

And now, here is the latest news from HELEN CAREY BOOKS:

  • All the Lavender Road books are now out in paperback in the UK.
  • THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET and the four preceding novels in the Lavender Road series are now available in paperback in the USA. The sixth and final book, VICTORY GIRLS, will follow in December this year.
  • All the audio versions are available from AUDIBLE in the USA, and as CDs from Ulverscroft / ISIS Soundings publishing, and libraries in the UK.
  • I am delighted to have been invited to be one of the inaugural tutors for a creative writing week on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic next May. The course will be a week long and will be suitable both for new and more experienced writers alike. The other tutor will be Louis de Bernières, of Captain Corelli fame. This is an amazing opportunity for participants to focus on creative writing with two very different authors in a remote, idyllic setting. For further details see the flyer below.

All best wishes,

Helen Carey

st helena

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Echo Bay.

There’s a small, family gathered stone cairn on the mountain side of Carningli, in West Wales, where we often go to commune with the elders.

Whilst in Crete, we created an echo. We have been staying in a small, serene and very beautiful landscape in a place called Stavros, where the famous scene from Zorba the Greek, when Anthony Quin and Alan Bates dance on the beach, was filmed. We’ve walked along the hillside most days. This poem comes from that place.

Also on this holiday, I read the beautifully crafted, elegiac memoir, ‘Radio Dreams’ , which I recommend to all who have ‘ loved and lost’ (which is, I suppose, pretty much everyone who ever lived !)

And so, with respect, this poem is dedicated to Kimmie Rhodes and to Joe Gracey.

Echo Bay

Out walking

We made a cairn

Of Cretan rocks.

Small pebbles placed

In memoriam for those


Loved and lost.

In the place we made it,

Reached by a red earthed, goat dusted track

Ghosted by myrtle green shadows

Greeted by the tiniest yellow wilded flower

Whilst sea and sky unfolded

Bolts of celestial blue

Cloud cleared and cotton wool true,

The stony beaches rolled by

Restless waves, seaweeded black.


We stop and stare.

Keys chiming in my pocket

Goat bells ringing.

Echoes from Carningli

Surfed westwards

Sunbeam motes

Globetrotted in the autumn air.

Later on

In the cave dwelling distance

High above ‘Zorba’s’ beach


Last night, and all others beside

A devotional light gleamed

Framed below a gap toothed moon

It’s silver glistened face

Like those of the ones we loved





But, not just yet,

Not just now.

And so,

As they,

It lingered, slightly beyond our reach

To err is human, to Arr is pirate

My last post was a sad one…but there will (I hope and trust) always be room for happiness too.


It’s International Talk Like A Pirate day…what other reason do I need?! Greetings me hearties!

Maisie, always there.

Maisie was the last dog to be owned by my parents in law, Derek and Rosemary. She became ours following the death of Derek, as ‘Bloss’ was unable to care for her (though Maisie remained a faithful friend and source of pleasure to Bloss ,until the latter’s death)

Maisie was a rescue dog, from Morfa Head. Part collie, maybe some corgi, definitely something speedy in the genes. She strove to be good (except when sneaking on to the forbidden sofa). She loved to bark (though fell silent towards the end) to chase flies, to chase Phoebe! She was almost obsessed with chasing ‘the squeaky’ and hard to get off the chase, until Helen invented “Maisie, 1, 2, 3 ” upon which she would retreat to the bed, or her sofa.

She was brave, faithful and true. There is , for us at least, no shame in mourning the passing of a dog as much as we would a person, for she (they) are truly : Family.

We will miss her.


Maisie – always there




The walks are getting shorter

The nights longer

(Sometimes I feel like baying at the moon)

A sense of impending separation

Ever stronger.


Swallows and house martins bombarding the September skies

Apples, thickening, ripening

Blackberries bursting

Sloe berries sumptuous


Silvered seas

Mountain ash blood berried red

It was, desperately beautiful

This autumn day


She was…


Obsessed with catching flies

A jumper of style

And stiles

White socked

Tanks in the distance trembling

Great Bedwyn bed jumping

(“Get down Maisie”

Bloss’ morning cry)

Ireland swimming

Nearly dying

Whilst we were in Utah

Ever pleasing

And eager to do so



Running free





And now…


The house is hushed


Morfa Head muffled, mourning

The sea silenced,

Jackdaws screaming an unintended lament

A buzzard dips its wings in sun seasoned tribute

The wind whips and stuns the air.



Meet us on the rainbow bridge?

Let’s hope, suppose…



Meantime, ours to cry,

Memories may be the way to cope.

Ours the loss

Count the cost

The severing of the last link perhaps

To Derek, to Bloss

Oh, the heart hammering

The emotions bludgeoned


“Our little soldier”


…off she goes.


Alcohol Concern | Blog | It’s not about the alcohol! Helping communities to drink more healthily

How do you get ‘ordinary’ social drinkers thinking and talking about alcohol? Probably not by talking to them about alcohol… Andrew Misell looks at the legacy of the Communities Together project.
— Read on

This is neither poetry, nor photography, but it’s a piece about the work I was privileged to be involved with for some three years or so, and I want to share the learning as widely as possible.

A red kite, but no osprey (dedicated to Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita…and the Dyfi Osprey Project)

2015 flowers, family, friends 052(PHOTOS by Marc Mordey – the Penrallt Eagle, created by the blacksmiths

at Dinas, Pembrokeshire)


(The music, like the bird itself


Above the Dyfi Estuary,

and over the mangroves

fumbling their way to the

Isle de Palétuviere

as the pirogues drift down glassy water

and a pelican dominates the jetty)


In Pembrokeshire,

a red kite

eddying the cloudless sky

imperious above our crop dusted fields

might spy

siskin, finch, wood pigeon

a thrush, jack hammering a snail

between two stone dogs

keeping their green mossed vigil

A young jackdaw

striking a cormorant pose

bewitched by the chimney

beating time on the ridge tiles


(It’s hot, this year)


There are swallows skimming

and Amazons at sail in the bay

muted blue below


(and the harp still swoons

and the kora

flying fingered fishing line

rocks a gentle rhythm

whilst I am at sea

in a pyjama striped hammock)


Blue tits, dipping for water

in the stone bird bath

that celebrates a golden grand-parented wedding

of 50 years ago


There are lilies blooming

amidst the dying embers of foxglove

and jasmine perfume teasing

romping in a green gaged balloon of bush

St John’s Wort in full throttle

And pink flushed, sunset resplendent

oliander, a whisper of Greece

and the road to Milapotamos

that we took

so long ago


(and the opsrey, Dinas, fledges

takes fleeting, freewheeling flight

and feels Wales on its wings

maybe anticipates

instinct, deep chested and hidden

Senegal sunshine

 fat flowing river

sea hawk’s delight)


The honeysuckle is draped

and honeyed

whilst the weather vane is stilled

the umbrella stifled with gaffer tape mends

no breeze

no sirocco

blowing the wind southerly

from Africa

 to lighten the atmosphere.


(but, no fear

for the music still plays,

swaying, stirring, evoking

 the sea,


Dinas Head

Morfa Head

and the Land of Song beyond

still here

still here)

2015 flowers, family, friends 051




Four questions – an insight into a writer’s thinking.

via Four questions