Newsletter no. 191, September 2022

Phew! Here in London it doesn’t seem to have dropped below unbearable for weeks, and our poor gardens! Conversations centre on letting the grass turn yellow and how to keep this or that plant alive. After a good start in life, my runner beans dried up and died. A second lot of seeds has germinated and has actually produced flowers! But will I get any beans? Who knows?

The only plants that seem to thrive are the blackberries. A neighbour has a wonderful crop at the bottom of her garden and keeps me supplied, hurray! All of which reminds me that my mother always said blackberries are no good after Michaelmas. You’d think that this should vary from year to year with the changing of weather conditions, but it seems to be something that stays true, no matter what.

. . . which leads on to my being asked to produce a story at short notice for the Methodist Recorder. My thinking went like this: Blackberries – Michaelmas – Michaelmas daisies in the garden – who was St Michael? A fighter, yes but . . .goodness me, when did that happen? He’s the patron saint of paramedics! So I built a story around a paramedic wearing a medallion of St Michael and it worked out all right. It’s to be published sometime in October and no doubt I’ll be sending it to you in due course.

Work on the next book continues; it’s a fun story in many ways, a reverse Cinderella with a man in the title role. I got all the way through with the first draft only to decide I didn’t like the way I’d dealt with the last two chapters and had to re-write and re-write them until they worked. I’ve never dealt with so many villains before, but each had their reasons and some of them were more weak than vicious. There’s another six weeks before I send it in and I shall need every minute of that time to make the story run smoothly.

Meanwhile. . . Parsley & Posy have been posing in front of the silver pennies of Honesty (Lunaria). I took a photo of them in the spring when the flowers were a brilliant purple, and thought you might like to see it when the flowers have turned to seed heads so this month you have a ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture. I usually keep some of the silver pennies for decoration indoors over winter. See them here.

                  The next short story is: ‘It wasn’t my fault!’

It’s set in the days when Covid was rife and it raises the age-old question of how much you are responsible for your actions. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. A man who wasn’t good at filling in forms and applying for help, lied to get a job to feed his family, with tragic consequences. He argues mitigating circumstances, but . . . oh dear! How can we judge? You can access the story here.

A blessing on all those who are always ready to listen to other people’s problems.      

Veronica Heley