Saturday, 31 December 2016


Feliz ano nuevo. Here's to a healthy and (hopefully) more peaceful 2017.

Apologies for not yet having published 'Who are the JC's?', the third book in the South Downs series. Unfortunately 2016 turned out to be a very busy year so I am still editing the manuscript.  Hopefully it will be published before the end of January.

In the meantime I am also creating paperback copies of all of my books. 'Homicide in Hampshire' being the first. And for those of you who have asked me, I am also editing out some of the 'cockney-speak' in Cleo's books. Yes, I know some of you do like it but let's be fair to other readers.

Thank you all for your support in 2016 and here's to 2017!

Happy Hogmanay. 

Monday, 5 December 2016


The most annoying anti-leave bit of propaganda is that people voted for Brexit because they don't like immigrants. NOT TRUE.

Most of us voted because the UK desperately needs money for the NHS, Education and various other State funded things.

Imagine how horrified, appalled and ANGRY we are when the Government is offering to pay vast sums to the EU for various 'privileges'.

I think the reason why the EU is asking for this money is to encourage other member countries NOT to leave the EU. Yes, there are millions of Europeans who also want their countries back.

Come on, UK politicians, we DON'T need Europe. We have the Commonwealth and other countries with which we can trade more profitably.

Since writing the above:

Glad to hear Boris Johnson speaking up against these vast sums of money proposed to be paid to the EU.

Italy wants their own currency back. Let's hope more EU countries begin to see sense. 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Kindle Reviews

Hmmm. Have just heard a rumour that Amazon want us to have 12 reviews on each of our books so..... HELP!!!

If you have read my books could you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, give them a review. Just 5* and a brief comment will do - complimentary, of course!

News update on the 3rd Southdowns Mystery (Who are the JCs?) - still editing but hope to publish it around Christmas time.

Thank you for reading, reviewing and recommending my books. It is much appreciated.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

E-book Star Ratings.

It is great whenever your e-books receive 5 and 4 star ratings, but what about the 1 and 2 star ratings?

At first they upset me. How can people be so cruel when you have spent months working on your book?

Now I am more philosophical. What can you think when someone posts a 1 star review based on bad spelling? True. He was an American and, obviously, hadn't read the book right the way through so he didn't know that it was written in English-English. (Nor had he read my bio). Solved that one - changed the title and cover and re-published it. It now gets 4 and 5 star reviews.

Another one star was followed by the word 'Muddled'. That reminded me of a school teacher who, after we had read a classic, asked for our opinions. One pupil responded, 'I thought it was a bit of a muddle.' The teacher gave her a sorrowful look, 'I think that refers to your muddled thinking.'

To give authors 4 and 5 star ratings you have to have 5 individual stars - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. In other words, stars 1 and 2 are only make-weights!  (Of course some of the 1 and 2 star ratings could be from writers whose books don't sell. A bit of sour grapes!).

As my Mum taught me, 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.'

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Paddy the Pigeon

When making a stop at Carnlough in Northern Ireland (during an excursion from the Oriana), I came across this memorial plaque to Paddy the Pigeon. What had he done to deserve it?

Only won the Dicken Medal for bravery, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross. Paddy had been taken to RAF Hurn in Hampshire (now Bournemouth Airport) in time for the D-Day Normandy landings in June 1944. Two days later he was one of 30 pigeons taken to France by the US 1st Army. He was released at 8.15 a.m. on June 12 carrying coded information about the Allied advance and was home in four hours and 50 minutes. A record-breaking time.

Well done, Paddy. After the war he was returned to Carnlough and his owner and died in 1954, aged 11.

Paddy first gets a mention by me in my article on the Antrim countryside which can be found on

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Why Do You Write About Crime?

This is a question I am often asked. I didn't set out to write about crime. My short stories (many moons ago) were all romance. Then one day a short story grew and grew and became a novel. I am thankful to report that, although I sent to a publisher, it sank without trace.

That book was written when I was living in Mallorca and working as a courier. We were very busy in the summer but not so in the winter which gave me lots of time for writing. All romances.

As well as living in Mallorca, I have also worked on mainland Spain, Italy, San Francisco, lived in Florida (Sarasota and Bradenton with lots of visits to Miami Beach), and I have even worked on cruise ships - hence my love of cruising.

So how did I come to crime writing? We-e-ll, I was writing a romance then the heroine found a body. After that there was no contest. I love the intricacies involved with crime. Working out all of the whys and wherefores and sometimes even surprising myself. It is like working out a vast jigsaw puzzle.

My first successfully completed book in this genre was 'Homicide in Hampshire' which introduces the cockney millionaire Cleo Marjoribanks. Yes, people do ask me if that is her real name - I don't know. Maybe some time she will tell me. To date there are five books about her.

With 'Antiques in the Attic' I took a foray into police procedurals and followed it up with 'Model Murder'. DI Sinclair, DC Chris James, Sarah Stewart and their friends are currently keeping me busy with a third book in the series. Once I can think up a title I will let you know!

All of these books and some 'stand alone' ones are available on Kindle (APP). What I find exciting is checking to see which books have sold where around the world. Yes, I do mean around the world. The UK and Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.

Can I ask you all a big favour? Give my books lots of lovely 5* reviews. The more of those I get - such as 50 - the more publicity I get from Amazon.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for buying my books.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Cosy Crime on Kindle

I have just been checking my book sales on Kindle and found a lovely surprise - lots and lots of people are buying and reading my books. Thank you, everyone.

For those of you who didn't know that I write 'cosy crime' let me tell about my books. There are two 'series'...

The Cleo Marjoribanks Murder Mysteries is set in the New Forest, Hampshire. No, not New Hampshire but Hampshire in southern England. Cleo is a lady of a 'certain' age who is happy in her body, has a sense of humour, decided views on things and lots of money. She won the lottery and bought an almost derelict house which has been renovated as has the gardens. Due to some tragic circumstances - a double murder - she quickly became integrated into village life. And having for most of her life been scared of horses, eventually comes to like them. Not enough to get up on one, but to pet and talk to them.

There are - so far - five books. Most of the action takes place in and around the New Forest and London (where she has a studio flat) but one, 'Ghosts in the Guest House', takes place in southern Spain when she and her gentleman friend, DCI David 'Steaming' Kettle go for a holiday.

The most recent one is 'Trouble in Trewith Green', which is the name of the village where she lives. A few murders and lots of mystery. And, I am glad to report, it is selling like the proverbial hot cakes.

'The South Downs Mystery' series is the second set. These are set in and around England South Downs (near to where I live). These are more serious as they are basically police procedurals - with thanks to Sussex Police (mistakes are my own!). 'Antiques in the Attic' introduced Sarah Stewart to DI Alan Sinclair and it took more than two books for them to get their act together! Sarah is a divorced lady whose former husband dies in mysterious circumstances. After the police have broken the news and left she remembers that her husband had left a few articles in the attic - and discovers a computer and some antique silver. She goes out for lunch to her mother-in-law's and, when she comes home and returns to the attic the silver has disappeared. Lots of twists and turns to reach the answer.

The second book 'Model Murder' also takes place on the South Downs. A well known and beautiful model is murdered and there are lots of possible suspects and about halfway through the story takes a twist that totally changes the police thinking. As one reader said of the ending, 'I totally did not expect that'. Which is how it should be with all mysteries.

I am currently working on the third book in the series but don't yet have a title. As soon as I think of a good one I will let you know. In the meantime, if you haven't read my books, give them a try. From the 5* reviews and comments I do know that people enjoy them.

Happy reading - and thank you for buying my books.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Sea Defences in Sussex

I don't know who had the bright idea of using tonnes of stones piled up against sea walls as a defence against the sea, but whichever councils approved the idea, should have had their brains checked....

 Due to these 'fields and hills' of stones the disabled and elderly no longer have access to sea and sand. With all the laws on disability access, surely this is against the law?

Whenever the tide recedes it takes stones with it so that gradually the soft sandy beaches (or what was left of them) will eventually no longer exist.

In areas where the tide has reclaimed swathes of stones and is gradually reaching the sea walls, during strong storms stones are now thrown over onto the promenade. A hazard for walkers and joggers if they haven't been cleared away.

One assumes that this method of sea defences was the cheapest available at the time. As it will have to be renewed when the current stones disappear, a false economy.

I haven't visited all seaside resorts in the U.K. so there may be other councils who also used this method.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Cruising Ireland and Scottish Islands

Just back from a fantastic new P&O cruise on the Oriana (my favourite ship). Leaving Southampton we sailed to Guernsey for a day in St. Peter Port from where some passengers took tours to discover this lovely island. As I have spent much time there I decided to have a restful day.

From there we cruised to Cork in southern Ireland - again, been there and got the T-shirt so I continued to rest. With tours on the following four days I needed to conserve my strength!

In Dublin I did the city tour and a visit to the Castle. From Belfast it was to see the wonderful countryside, up into the hills, down the other side and along the coast. On arrival at Stornoway it was time to take to the tenders to get us ashore - I was on the fabulous tour across Lewis and on into Harris where I treated my Kindle to a new Harris Tweed cover! The fourth day we sailed into Kirkwall (the Orkneys) where we stayed overnight and, no, I didn't go ashore in the evening because I wanted to see the show on board, but I did take a fascinating tour during the day.

Break time and another day at sea. This time to the Isle of Skye where we were again tendered to the dock at Portree from where it was a lovely circular tour of the countryside. The last day we were anchored at Greenock-for-Glasgow. As I have spent much time there I opted for a day of rest.

Once I have my photos sorted out I will do individual blogs for each port and post them on

Why was it so important that I see the on-board show while we were in Kirkwall? The wonderful and ever popular Tom O'Connor was the show. No matter how many times I see/hear him he still makes me laugh - and without swearing or shouting. Thanks, Tom.  

Friday, 8 July 2016

Artistic Endeavours 'By Numbers'.

Cross stitch with
silk, beads and

The advent of colouring books takes me back to my childhood. I loved colouring books and in those days we could let our imaginations run wild - we chose which colours we wanted to use.

Later came painting by numbers and now we have the less messy pencils. I understand that fans of these new magazines find it soothing to sit and colour a picture. Me? I wish I could paint as my late father did but I can't.

My artistic bent is more along the lines of embroidery. Nowadays - and it has been for a very long time - counted cross stitch is the 'fashion'. More doing it by numbers!

The great pity for me is that I love doing 'proper' embroidery using a host of varying stitches. Unfortunately it is very difficult to find pre-printed fabric or even stencils and fabric. The last time I managed to purchase pre-printed fabric - in the early 1990s - the material was dreadful. I think is something that my mother's generation called crush. It was difficult to get the needle through this cheap fabric.

My favourite type
of embroidery

It was also some time in the 1990s that I managed to buy a 'repeater' stencil. (You damp ironed it onto the fabric as many times as you need). Fabric? None to be found so I resorted to a white sheet and made a table cloth and napkins.

I find doing embroidery both restful and a help when I am at the creative stage of writing a novel. Doing two jobs at the same time!

Take up colouring books? No, not possible. I have repetitive stress injuries in my right wrist, elbow and shoulder. Writing? I use a fountain pen - in short spurts.

Table Cloth made from
a sheet. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Getting to Know the Neighbours

It is now nearly two months since I moved to this lovely new flat in Bognor Regis - on England's south coast. It is known as the 'sunniest' place in England. Not sure about that as we haven't had much of that since I've been here but today it is glorious.

I should explain that we have two lifts (elevators) - one for odd numbered floors and one for the even numbered ones. Mostly I have met people in passing and we have exchanged the time of day or chatted about the weather. The latter being a very popular English subject! So far I have encountered mostly Brits and Poles but I did once see a Moslem couple. As we were about to use different lifts there wasn't time to do more than smile at them so I don't know where they are from.

This morning I was a little later than usual going out for my walk (got it up to a mile a day along the promenade) and met two gentlemen in the lift on the way down. One didn't break into a smile but the other - yummy! Even ladies of my age can get turned on by a good looking man. We chatted about the weather while I admired his physique, dark hair and eyes and listened to his lightly accented English. Turns out he is from Poland and he told me that this morning his family in Poland say that at the tops of the mountains have a temperature of 0, yes, zero!

As he was wearing shorts (lovely legs) I assume that he was also about to do a walk but I was too much of a coward to go in the same direction. He was probably going to jog anyway and I am well past that capability.

I am gradually getting to discover the delights of Bognor and know that I am going to enjoy living here more than I did in my last village/small town where the biggest problems were far too much traffic and far too little neighbourly interaction. And, believe me, I tried to get to know them.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A Tin Mine, Me and the Indonesians

'This the first time we meet lady mining engineer,' the little Indonesian man told me.

I smiled at him. 'I am not a mining engineer. I work on The Mining Journal.'

'Ah yes. The Mining Journal. We know.'

This was in the mid-1960s and The Mining Journal, a weekly magazine, in those days was air mailed around the world. It was also a time in history when the British Government and Indonesia were not officially on speaking terms. Where were we? In Cornwall and about to go down into one of the last (maybe the last) working tin mine.

We were all very stylishly dressed - overalls, boots and helmets. On my arrival I had had to sign a disclaimer absolving the company in the case of accidents, then handed overalls and shown to a room where I could put them on. Knowing it would be hot underground I took off my trousers and shirt and discovered that the overalls were rather too large and missing buttons. Fortunately I had a supply of large safety pins in my bag. The dishy looking man who was taking care of me grinned when he saw the pins. I should confess that at this stage I was unaware of the presence of the Indonesians and looking forward to going down into the tunnels with Handsome.

Then it was time for the boots - about four inches too long - and a helmet. This was okay until the lamp was fitted onto the front and my neck disappeared into my shoulders. Was it ever heavy! Then came the fun of putting on the webbing belt to hold the battery - large and heavy - at the back of my waist. I think my knees buckled.

Following my introduction to the Indonesians we were given various instructions before getting into the cage and dropping down into the depths of the world. Then it was walking and climbing up and down rungs set into the walls. My feet weren't much help there as the boots were too long but at least Handsome stayed behind me, presumably to catch me if I fell.

It was all very eerie as the only illumination was from our lamps. When one of the Indonesians realised my lamp didn't always point in the right direction he made me take off the helmet, made an adjustment to the fitting strap and I put it back on. It fitted! Until then my head had moved around inside it.

I shan't bore you with the details of tin mining. We were shown seams of tin ore and various other minerals and had it all explained to us.

Eventually we returned to the surface and divested ourselves of the helmets, I said goodbye to my Indonesian friends, then went to change back into my own clothes.

Hmm. No date with Handsome. Well he was probably happily married.

Later, whenever I thought over that special visit, I thought that I and my little men must have looked like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! I did enjoy myself but wouldn't want to go down another mine thank you very much.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Buy to Rent Landlords

Although I am sure there are some excellent private landlords somewhere 'out there', my experience leads me to the conclusion that most are get-rich-quick merchants and b....r the clients.

Slap on a coat of paint, lay cheap (maybe secondhand) carpet, put up past their use by date curtain rails, install a reconditioned oven (which is usually fitted by cowboys and never works properly), cowboy double glazing (which leaks), double or even thirdhand night storage heaters. Everything which ticks the boxes for the legal 'rating' and because no officials check it out, passes as up to standard.

Client moves in, discovers faults and begins complaining. So does the landlord because he has to spend money. Eventually client gives up complaining and landlord relaxes. Then gradually increases the already inflated rent.

One landlord I've heard about had two rental flats in 2010 and in 2015 had eight and had given up the day job. Says it all, doesn't it? Wonder if he now drives a Rolls Royce?

A couple I met who had had to give up their house because they couldn't afford the mortgage and affiliate house owning expenses told me that they are now paying more for rent than they had for the loan.

This bubble will eventually burst but in the meantime tenants are getting ripped off.

Monday, 2 May 2016

On the Move

Yet again I am moving, I have been in the current 1 bedroomed flat for over six years. My new flat has two bedrooms and the rent is lower. It has also just been completed renovated, has a brand new kitchen (with all new white goods), a balcony and there is a lift! No more lugging shopping and library books up staircases.

At the moment my living room seems to be more boxes than furniture. And still more boxes to get packed. I know it seems never ending but I WILL get the packing done before the move in two weeks' time.

So far the only personal damage has been to my finger nails (now there's a surprise!) and a badly scraped shin. I had managed to get up onto a chair without incident twice. The third time not so lucky. Lost my balance, put down my left leg and scraped the shin. Yuck. The major problem is that I have acute hearing which affects the balance. Note to self - use the steps.

It would be nice if there was a Fairy Godmother to come and wave a wand so that the packing would get done so much more easily, but I don't really know anyone younger and stronger than me who isn't out at work. Or has other things to do.

For the moment, That's all folks!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Sid Buckman - a Family Star

'That's my cousin,' Mum told me as the man on the radio began singing.
'Who is he?'
'Sid Buckman. My cousin.'

This conversation, if it could be called that, took place some time in the late 1940s and was the first time I had heard of Mum's cousin. As you will realise, they weren't good at keeping in touch.
Over the years I garnered various bits and pieces of information which, as it was before the computer age, was word of mouth - from Mum.

What I gathered of Sid's childhood was that his father died young, his mother couldn't afford to keep him so he became a Barnado's Boy. Which is where he learned to play the trumpet and, I presume, to sing.

In the 1920s he was playing with a small group until spotted by Billy Cotton (Mr. Wakey-Wakey). Sid stayed with the Cotton band until Billy was taken ill and the musicians dispersed. Then Sid's expertise and talent were fully recognised by the American bandleader Roy Fox. As well as being lead trumpeter and vocalist Sid was Fox's right hand man. With this band he made numerous recordings, some of which are now available on CD.

Unfortunately at the end of the 1930s due to Roy Fox's ill health, this band also 'dis-banded'.
I believe that during the war years Sid played with various bands and, by the time Mum brought him to my attention, he was with the Charlie Shadwell Band which was a part of the BBCs 'backbone' of bands.

 It also toured the country and in 1953 was doing a summer season in a huge tent on the green in Paignton, Devon. Which is when I met him.

We went to a matinee and in the interval went to the stage door. One of the musicians came out, took a look at Mum and said, 'You must be Sid's sister.' Both with prematurely white hair and the same blue eyes.

Sid eventually retired and died in 1981.

Does musicianship run in the family? I play piano, have played guitar and done my share of singing.

Sid's Mum was my grand-dad's sister bearing the name Linley. If you know your musical history.....
Soprano Elizabeth Linley married Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Her composer brother was a friend of Mozart and her father founded the Bath Opera and helped fund the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (before it burned down!).

No, I'm not sure whether we are direct descendants but you never know what you might find in your history.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Dry Eye, Blepharitis or an Allergy?

Do you suffer from dry eye? Or been told by your doctor that this is what you have?

I have - about four times, twice by doctors as they signed prescriptions for eye drops. And they have included anti-biotic, false tears and some gel ones. Nope, none of them worked, only aggravated my eyes. Eventually I decided to stick to a mild over-the-counter eyewash which works.

The third doctor diagnosed Blepharitis, printed off a copy of the information and the prescription for get type drops.

Having read the information sheet I came to the conclusion that Blepharitis is a 'catch-all' name as three conditions associated with it are: Seborrhoeic dermatitis, rosacea or - wait for it! - dry eye syndrome.

Apparently there is no one-off cure for Blepheritis. You are told to follow a set of treatment rules. Unfortunately, whoever came up with it hasn't made any allowance for people with various disabilities:

Gently press the eyelids with a facecloth soaked in very warm water for 5-10 minutes.
If you cannot bend over the basin how do you do this? Someone suggested carrying the wet cloth into the bedroom and lying on the bed! Oops, water on the floor, bed and clothes. And, of course, by the time you are prone, the flannel will be cold. 
I won't bore you with the rest of this treatment.

A suggested alternative is a reusable heat bag which you put into the microwave. I did buy one but as I have Repetitive Stress Injuries in my arms and shoulders and it is heavy I couldn't hold it up to my eyes. Neither can I lie on my back for the required length of time. 

In order to try to prevent recurrences you are also recommended to carry out this eye and lid hygiene every day. 

I eventually sorted out my own 'cure' which may have worked or my eyes may have cleared up by themselves. As I also had a rash (nettle?) on my upper chest I assumed I was having an allergic reaction to something(s).

My 'Cure'

Whenever my eyelids itched I filled the basin with hot-hot water and held the flannel over my eyes for a few seconds at a time for as long as my back would let me. Dried my eyes, gentle massaged the lids then applied Simple Eye Balm to the lids and around the eye area.
Now I do this every morning, takes less than five minutes and, fingers crossed, might help to keep 'it' at bay.

If anyone has any more suggestions for alternative ways to deal with this all of us sufferers would appreciate them!

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Pearly Kings and Queens

Very happy this morning. The Spring issue of THIS ENGLAND is now out and has one of my articles - about London's Pearly Kings and Queens.

As a Londoner these wonderful people who do so much for charity always fascinated me. Their history goes back about 1,000 years.  Yes, really, but not as Pearlies. It was Henry Croft, in the 19th century who 'created' them.

I loved researching and writing this article and, as they say, read all about it!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Who Shot Jim Longworth?

The bigger mystery than who shot Jim at the end of Series 3 of The Glades is why did A&E pull Series 4?

So there we are seeing Jim writhing on the floor while his bride, Callie, is waiting for him at the altar (so to speak).

So who do you think shot him?

I think either Callie's ex-husband or his brother (who, when he was shot, expected Callie - a nurse - to treat him and not report it to the police).

Any other ideas?

(I understand that both Matt Passmore and Kiele Sanchez (who played Jim and Callie) are now working on other TV programmes.) 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sardinia and the non-Panoramic Tour

Cagliari in the early morning sun

An island that has long been on my bucket list is Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean. I once knew someone from there and he was always singing its praises.

Unfortunately the 'panoramic' tour I went on was something of a let down. I expected to see far more of the countryside than simply driving from the port in Cagliari to a vineyard. At first the scenery looked promising with meadows and woods in shades of green from jade through to bottle green, but then we stopped at the winery. Why is it that when 'wine tasting' is included in a tour I forget about the obligatory lecture where we all stand around being bored? Bearing in mind that none of us were young, some had walkers and some of us were using walking sticks, you would have thought the lecture would be cut short, wouldn't you? Or at least some seats provided. Eventually we came to the wine tasting - very nice and made nicer by the company at the table. Oh yes, then it was time to go to the shop where I got a bargain - a half bottle of rose for E2. No good buying a bottle as I only drink one glass a day - occasionally. (Oh dear, when I opened it on Christmas Day I discovered that it was not the same as the one at the wine tasting, despite having the same label. Or perhaps I just got unlucky and purchased a bad batch. Vinegar down the drain).
Panoramic Cagliari

We then settled down in the coach for our panoramic drive. Of Cagliari. To the top of one hill for the views of the City and its surroundings, then up another hill for more views. We all took photos of the flamingos on the lake below but they really just look like pale pink blobs. The salt lakes had been pointed out to us with the comment that only one is operational but the guide omitted to point out the salt hills. The other lake is now more of a bird sanctuary which is where we saw the flamingos.

I'm not sure about the sights which we passed in the City but I do know we went to see the Basilica di Bonaria (Good Air) which is now the Marine Museum, and the City Hall.

For our free time we were deposited halfway up the steep Largo Carlo street. Remember the walkers and walking sticks? Two of us refused to get off the coach but the rest braved it (I think some just hung around near where the coach was parked). The guide did say that we could go down the hill to catch the shuttle bus back to the ship but she didn't know where we could catch it. Helpful.

The Salt Pans

I doubt if I will return to Sardinia which is a pity as I am sure that it is a very pretty island but it needs to be toured when one is young and healthy.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Valencia, the Ever Evolving City

City of Arts and Sciences
Valencia, the third largest city in Spain has many layers going back into pre-history. Probably its most well-known historical figure is Rodrigo Diago de Vivar, better known as El Cid. During Hollywood's era of epic historical movies he was one of the characters immortalised in film. Played by Charlton Heston with Sophia Loren as his leading lady.

Bridge of the part (Opera House to left)
Twentieth century history includes, of course, the Spanish Civil War when much of the City was destroyed. For about twenty years after the war ended rebuilding took place. Then the River Turia flooded somewhat disastrously in 1957. More changes to the city.

The river was diverted away to the south and the dry river bed has been converted into a 4 1/2 mile long series of parks. A wonderful and popular green space in the centre of Valencia.

In the late twentieth century the City Fathers did away with the defunct industrial area, had the land de-contaminated and the fantastic City of Arts and Sciences constructed. All very modern with the use of glass and white mosaic tiles. They include the Science Museum (of course), an IMAX, Europe's largest aquarium and the Opera House.

From here we drove to the old City, leaving the coach at one of the old Gates to the city, from where we strolled to the Plaza de la Virgen to be set free and explore. Where to start first? The 13th century Cathedral, the Gothic bell tower (for super views over the city after climbing 270 steps!), stroll around the market, sit down for a coffee and watch the world go by? Me? I strolled through the square, turned right up a narrow street with small shops, then did my favourite trick of turning left, turning left, turning left - back to where I had started. As usual I found something absolutely delightful. A 'circus' (as in Piccadilly) surrounded by handicrafts shops which made me wish I had a list of items that I need. In front of one of the shops was a table where half-a-dozen ladies were working on various projects. To one side there was even an iron and padded surface where they could press seams.

I just wish I had had the time and energy to discover more interesting corners and admire the historical buildings such as La Loncha de la Seda. This was the silk exchange which was built in the 15th/16th centuries and is fabulous Gothic architecture with equally fabulous interiors.

Sports enthusiasts will remember the America's Cup of 2007 and, of course, the European Grand Prix which was held here for the first time in 2008. Now, alas, the City cannot afford to host the Grand Prix but you can see the road markings on the streets around the port so maybe they are hoping to host it again in the future.

Maybe one day I will return to this exciting city when on another PandO cruise!