Joyce’s Blog: Second Novel: The Strength of a Promise

I received a printed copy of my second novel this week; the sequel to The Strength of a Kiss published last year. The sequel is called The Strength of a Promise and continues the story of a young girl’s first love and the problems she has to face. Her story began when she was 16 years old in The Strength of a Kiss and at the end of The Strength of a Promise she is almost 19. I feel a wonderful sense of achievement; this is something that will be here after I am gone. My next venture is probably going to be shorter, but I have a couple of ideas already.

From novels to babies and instinctive behaviours – Have you ever wondered what makes us sway or tap our foot when we listen to music? I used to think it was something we learned; yet my little grandson John, has been bobbing up and down to music since he could stand on his feet. When my son beat a tattoo on a tin drum, little John swayed to the beat. No one has ever taught him to do this. Do we all have an inbuilt urge to move in time with music, do you think?

My daughter and I took baby John to have his feet measured for his first pair of shoes last Friday. I can remember taking my daughter, when she first began walking and she is 31 now. Her first pair of shoes were red with a strap and the sole turned up at the heal. John watched the girl measuring his feet with interest and when she began trying shoes on him he was very good. Emma chose a grey/blue pair with two Velcro straps and the assistant fitted them onto John’s little feet. We set him on the floor and he was off; we couldn’t stop him walking round and round the shop. Since then he has become steadier each day. Although, today he has an upset stomach; bless him, he has slept off and on all day. My daughter Emma says he is now able to keep water down and has managed a little savoury rice.

I have been busy in my allotment several days this week, preparing the ground ready for my first potatoes. Several weeks ago, we had a delivery of some well rotted manure and by the time I discovered it, there wasn’t much left. So last week I trundled backwards and forwards with my wheelbarrow, piling as much as I could onto my plot. My family laughed when I enthused over the quality and richness of it. Of course, I don’t expect them to share my interest in manure, but when they see the quality of my vegetables this year, they won’t be laughing, will they?

I have levelled the inside of my greenhouse ready for my husband to build my shelving and have dug up the rest of my parsnips. All my potatoes are laid out in trays to encourage the shoots – chitting is the term used in garden books. I am saving newspapers ready to lie in a trench beneath my runner beans, along with compost. And I am weeding as much as I can, but the ground is too wet to do any real digging yet. I need to feed my spring greens this week and plant my peppers and tomatoes indoors. I am really looking forward to this season; being only my second year of allotment growing. Especially as I now have my greenhouse.

We have already had our first rhubarb and it was delicious. You can’t beat fresh produce for taste. I hope I do better with my blueberry bush this year. I only planted it last spring and it never grew very well. I noted the fresh growth on it today, so perhaps it will pick up. I have two gooseberry bushes and one raspberry as well. I only have half a plot so am limited for space. I do have six or seven strawberry plants in front of my patio next to the shed; I am looking forward to some fruit in the summer.

I have a long, raised bed at the end of my plot where I grew carrots last year. This year I am going to plant my salads here. Next to this bed I have two compost bins, one at each end; which I hope will have rotted down by next year. At the other end of my plot where my shed and greenhouse are, I’d like to have a little sandpit for baby John, to keep him occupied whilst I potter about. I am not sure how long this will keep him busy though, he does like exploring and is very inquisitive. I may find most of my time is spent running after him! Still, it will all help to keep me fit.

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