Tag Archives: Channel Islands UK

Reading and Travelling for Inspiration and Renewal


This summer and autumn are all about having a refreshing pause for healing and renewal of mind, body and spirit. My two main interests in life are writing and gardening and I found myself with a strained wrist back in the spring ~ possibly RSI ( but who can see a doctor these days?)

What did I need? A break from the garden and sitting at my PC.

What better way to do it than to read and to travel now the world has opened up a bit and while it is safe to do so?

The Extraordinary Island of Iona

In my next blog posts I will share with you posts about my journeys and book reviews of those I’ve picked up and enjoyed along the way.

Book Reviews

I’ve read some gripping and sometimes unusual yarns this summer including:

  • Songbirds by Christy Lefteri
  • The Stationery Shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali
  • The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
  • Interleaved Lives by Roderick Hart
  • Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein

I will share reviews of these books with you over the coming weeks. As I have often said, ‘in order to enrich the quality of your own writing it is vital to read a variety of books, helping you to hone your own skills. Meanwhile you will also enjoy being absorbed in the literary world in which you hope to share just a small part when you publish your own novels.

Islands of Inspiration

It may be a coincidence, but we have been visiting some new and some very familiar islands this summer:

  • Sifnos and Tinos ~ beautiful Greek islands.
  • Iona ~ a favourite of mine over the years for spiritual renewal and refreshment. An extra special place.
  • The Island of May ~ A fortunate recent trip to an island in the Forth estuary, renowned for its seabirds, especially puffins at this time of the year.
  • Alderney, Channel Islands UK ~ An island close to my heart and the original inspiration for my writing novels.
  • Guernsey and Jersey

There may be more.

My aim is to share the experiences with you and how they have inspired me in my life and more particularly in my writing.

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Filed under Alderney, Book reading, Book reviews, Channel Islands, Fife, Scotland, Writing

Virtual Tour beyond the Solent no 11 ~ Alderney and Competition!!!

On the way to Alderney

On the way to Alderney

To Alderney

There you are

As most people who know me realise, Alderney is my most favourite place in the world and it’s where my story began. The reason my virtual tour goes straight from Calshot to Alderney is because it is the closest Channel Island to the mainland, and the closest to France too! The easiest way to get thereis by their own Aurigny islander plane, unless you are a sailor with a yacht! (This might change though, since there are rumours of a more regular ferry service on its way)

It was on Alderney where I made the decision to write my first novel ‘Riduna,’ allegedly the Roman name for the island, inspired by my Great Grandmother who was born there in the middle of the 19th Century. The ferries used to leave Southampton from what people now know as Ccean Village Marina opposite Woolston on the River Itchen and would have travelled past Weston Shore, the Royal Victoria Hospital and Calshot Castle before meeting the Solent. There they would almost certainly have headed east around the coast of the Isle of Wight and then on across the Channel. I travelled that route on the slow boat to Guernsey whilst doing my research, just to see want it was like. Today the ferry passes the island of Alderney just half an hour before reaching St Peter Port.

Why do I like Alderney, apart from my family history, and why do I keep a photo of Braye Beach in front of me on my desk? (the same photo which is at the top of this blog)

Firstly it is a very beautiful island, with long sandy bays and sheltered coves. There are abundant walks on which to view the wildlife. The island of Burhou, just off its coast, boasts of a colony of puffins, but there are also gannets on Gannet Rock, albino hedgehogs and black rabbits.  Although you may have heard that the Germans did their best to adorn the island with concrete defences, time has been kind and most are grassed over now or reclaimed. The underground defences still in existence adds a new meaning to the word ‘bunker’ on the golf course, I’m told, but since I know nothing about golf I can’t verify or deny the rumour. I do know that the views from the links are fantastic and there are benches where you can sit and admire them (as long as you keep your eye open for the odd stray golf ball!) There are imposing Victorian Fortresses which give quite an impact to the views as you stroll about, some on the island itself, some with tidal causeways and others totally cut off by the restless sea. You can’t help but admire the Victorian architects and builders who conceived them.

We also love to amble along the unspoilt cobbled streets of St Anne, lined with Georgian cottages and more sumptuous terraced houses and enjoy the wide variety of cafes and restaurants from local sea food to Thai, from fish and chips at the famous Braye Chippy to Pizza. The island just about caters for all tastes.

Now, this island has certainly inspired my writing and I call Alderney ~ ‘Riduna’ in my novels, The Riduna Series. I see Riduna as a character in itself, since feelings towards it run high. My characters either never want to leave her shores or they long to escape. For those who escape successfully, or have to move on against their free will, the island continues to drawn them home by its compelling force which seems to continue to hold sway over the next generation too. A bit like me really, two generations removed!

Well, I would really like to have some guest posts about Alderney for once I’ve finished my virtual tour ‘beyond.’


~If you have any memories of holidays there, of humorous or cheerful tales. or of course of your childhood if you were lucky enough to be born there….

~If you have a special place that you would like to describe or trips or walks you enjoyed especially.

~If you’d like to put pen to paper and get in touch with me, then I have a small competition running.

The best two will win a £10 book token and a paperback copy of either Riduna or Ancasta

There will be an ebook or kindle version of Riduna for the first ten entrants too!

As long as you are happy for me to publish your post on this blog, with your name and any links you might like to use related to the island.

The closing date for this will be 12th April, when I have just returned from the island myself!

Get in touch for more details or just to send me your writing  in the body of the email please to:


(up to 500 words but could be a poem of only 50!)

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Filed under Alderney, Ancasta, Channel Islands, Riduna, Virtual Tour of the Solent and Beyond