A Visit to the Old Country

Paperback and Kindle

When I reached “The End” of  Fresh Start Summer, I thought about the promise Grace made to take Maggie pony trekking.

I’d already outlined Autumn Changes (due out Autumn 2012), and knew it wouldn’t fit, so I had a quick production meeting with myself. “Self,” I said, “this would make a perfect novella.” So the short story, Grace & Maggie Across the Pond, was born.

I enjoyed developing the characters, Emma and Fiona, and reliving our years in England while Gary was in the Air Force.

Like the Brits, we frequented our own local, The Barley Mow, where we’d tip a few with our mates after a long day of riding, or flying, or what not. I usually tipped a few ice waters, which, by the way, I personally taught the barkeep how to make. Gary gamely attempted to develop a taste for bitters.

But mostly we enjoyed the custom of noshing with our neighbors, discussing politics (they love to discuss American politics and know A LOT), and the Royals (we were there for Charles and Diana’s wedding) but learning not to disparage the queen in any way. Ahem. (But seriously, what does she carry in that handbag?)

Our local pub in Witnesham, Suffolk.

And, yep, that’s me on the horse. That’s actually a mare I rode before moving to England where I was a working student in a British riding school, Newton Hall. I was pursuing the prestigious British Horse Society levels qualifying as an instructor.

Think “The Army meets Horse Camp.” Without people shooting at you.

Correction, there were barbs, not bullets flying. But all in your best interest, designed to make you the best rider possible. Or else.

Under the headmistress’ strict tutelage, I earned my level 2 out of 4 possible levels before Gary’s orders moved us back to the States. The experience riding there was priceless.

And I might have picked up a bit of an accent. So much that my “clients,” as the day riders were called, thought I was a Brit.

I hope you’ll enjoy riding along with Grace & Maggie, who find their unique friendship inspires another fresh start across the pond in the place I once called home.

This gracious home is exactly how I imagined "Sunnyside Laurels."

 

Grace & Maggie Across the Pond, now in Kindle and Paperback 

Grace and Maggie, the stars of Fresh Start Summer, are back in this novella from Beverly Nault. Summer is over, and the former rivals celebrate their rekindled friendship by traveling “across the pond” to England’s countryside. But their pony-trekking plans soon go awry when they discover a friend in need. Also includes the first chapter of Autumn Changes, Book Two in the much-loved Seasons of Cherryvale series!

Give me a break (with apologies to John Stossel)

The hubby and I recently took a much needed break (well, he needed one more than I, but a wife does what she can) to Kaua’i.

In my zeal to ensure we took full advantage of this lovely vaca, I may have started a few weeks early by singing out, “in six weeks we’ll be on the beach in Hawaii” or “just think, we will be watching the sunset from our condo in three weeks…” when he’d get home from a long day at work.

Not sure if it helped, but I adore the islands.

And I may or may not like to tease.

So I thought I’d share some of the highlights of our trip with you.

We tried paddling. (“We” in the sense that Gary tried paddle boarding.) But that’s for another post. As soon as I can write without maniacal laughter.

“Whoa.”

 “I got this…”

“I’m ok!”

>maniacal laughter<

Pull yourself together Bev.

Ahem.

And we relaxed.

And drove around the islands. This is in Lihue.

  We ate well.

…and “we” relaxed. 

Me: “Honey, do you want to try paddle boarding again?”

Him: “Mmft”

What did you do besides take pictures and lead everyone on the beach in laughing and pointing, Bev?

Why, thanks for asking!

I joined in a death-defying zipping experience over former sugar plantations infested with man eating crocodiles. (Not. Actually the most dangerous part is walking from one launch to the next. Watch out for that pebble!)

But you are up really high. Just sayin’.

The only downside to Kaua’i, and mind you I’m not complaining, are the chickens. (All right, I’m complaining a little.)

Oh boy, the legends, stories and myths abound about how they got to be such a fixture. But here’s the bottom line. Chickens + no natural enemies = waytoomany. (Didn’t know there would be math involved, did you?)

They are by no means endangered, trust me, but they are protected to a degree in that all “wild fowl” are, so the feral ones cannot be caught and served up in a luau or at the local KFC. Unless they roam onto your property… according to some sources. (Warning: they’re quite tough and gamey. One resident told me this, but he didn’t say how he knew.)

  Seriously, there are TOO many. Especially the incredibly loud, and extremely close-to-your-windows-left-wide-open so you can enjoy the sound of the surf as you sleep ones.

Oh, boohoo, Bev. Right?

They really are becoming a problem. They wander everywhere, get hit by cars (I think it’s becoming a reverse frogger game by islanders). I have to imagine they compete with other, ahem, more attractive, birds for food.

Nor are they sacred, as one tourist sagely advised.

Give me a break. No one’s worshiping them.

How did there get to be so many, and why protected? That’s where the legends and myths come in.

Apparently, many years ago some species of wild chicken was introduced on the island, and after the barnyard fowl were released, possibly during a hurricane, they mixed and mingled, and now it’s impossible to tell which ones carry the DNA of the more exotic birds and which are just, well, chickens.

They’ve become part of the fabric of Kaua’i.

And alas, a part of our memories, because now we’re back on the mainland, recalling them, and everything else, with fondness. Well, everything else.

Me: “Remember how two weeks ago we were watching the sunset on the beach?”

Him: “Mmft.”

It never gets old.