>> Kindle >> Free Kindle reading Apps ..

leads to this page: [click this link below to go there]

 Select the one under ‘Computers’ that matches your system.

For example, if you have Windows 7, XP or Vista go here:

 Click the ‘Download now’ button.  Then do whatever it tells you. There will be a Kindle icon on your Windows desktop for starting up the reader.

This page gives instructions for using it, getting Kindle books etc:

 Good luck!

running_wildIt should appear on Amazon today or tomorrow.

This cover shows wild Lathyrus (sweet pea) clambering through an espalier tree of Discovery apple – to suggest the burgeoning fruitfulness of rural Dorset where the main action of the novel is set.

One more re-Kindled

December 26, 2012













And ‘Running Wild’ will be out in a week or so.

Best wishes to all my readers. May you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Here are some photographs of my own garden (the better bits) in October.

One sees at once that the regimen for next year must be earlier staking, better staking and much MORE of it than seems necessary in the comparative calm of February.

Flowers that are good value for October are Aster Frikartii Munch, Salvia Involucrata, Dahlia Blue Boy, Dahlia Nuit d’Ete, Salvia Cerro Potosi, Verbena Bonariensis and Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Dazzler’ …all very easy.

More Kindling

October 21, 2012

The little bunch of short stories that used to be on my website are now published together as a Kindle e-book, and so are my children’s books.


This was my fifth visit to Sissinghurst in thirty years. Why so infrequent a visitor to what must be the most romantic English garden…so imaginatively planned, so well planted and so beautifully kept? Well, I live in Northamptonshire, Sissinghurst is in Kent and London sprawls between. One’s resolve falters at the thought of getting round the M25, so hectic, so jammed with cars, so dispiritingly ugly in every way.  But we were spending a few days in the charming town of Whitstable so the nastiness was already got over and we whisked through the pretty Kent villages in the best of moods despite incessant rain. Because of the weather and it being late … very late … in the season the car park was almost empty. One coach from Holland and a scattering of cars. Buoyed up by a decent lunch in the restaurant …very good vegetables …and a glass or two of wine we entered the garden …..

this is one of four bronze urns at the entrance, planted with Verbena ‘Sissinghurst’ ….


….to find ourselves very nearly alone. On former visits one has fought one’s way down narrow paths past streams of people embosomed with cameras, waterbottles, coats and notebooks and patiently waited one’s turn to get a glimpse, through the gaps between heads and shoulders, of an entire shrub.

The Yew Walk

The Lime Walk
The Upper Court

I won’t show you any detailed borders because enthusiastic gardeners will already have whole books of them taken by professional photographers and unenthusiastic ones will be bored. I just want to say that the experience of being alone in this lovely place (husband having got fed up with the rain) wrought quite unexpectedly upon my feelings. There was delight, yes, spades of it, but also an inkling of the terrific sadness one must feel when one knows one is about to be separated by death from the cherished garden to which one has devoted so much time and thought and energy.  This had not occurred to me before because I prefer not to DWELL  …but I was much moved.

I am delighted to report that my first two novels ‘Out of Love’ and ‘Past Mischief’ are now republished as e-books for Kindle.

Work is in hand to do the same for ‘Dance With Me’ and ‘Running Wild’, and also the children’s books ‘The Winter of Enchantment’ and ‘The House Called Hadlows’. All these should be ‘kindled’ before Christmas.

How green the grass is, how brimming the ponds, how lovely the cloud formations!

How huge and succulent the weeds and how ragged the edges of the flowerbeds.  How heavy my boots with mud, how filthy my fingernails, how runny my mascara, how wet my hair.  For here in Northamptonshire it has rained six days and nights out of seven for three whole months.

And, with a careless laugh at all my efforts to plant,  prune, stake, spray and tie in order to create a garden of beauty, Nature gets on with her own little essay in beauty in a patch of uncultivated ground with no help from me …not even the flinging of a handful of seed.

This is what she has done

And this

and this

Well, really, it’s too heavenly for words and I shouldn’t be annoyed by this showing off on the part of Nature but it does make one want to fling down one’s spade and go indoors for a good long sulk.

Was that summer?

June 3, 2012

Last weekend we went on a short visit to Shropshire and  were practically crisped to toast by the heat. By English standards it was HOT and the sun was merciless in Lawrence of Arabia fashion.  Touring houses and gardens we felt sticky, our makeup ran …well, not my husband’s, if he wears any it is very discreet …and our feet swelled. But we saw good things.

Stokesay Castle

This is a darling little castle, not far from Ludlow, built in the 1280s, never capable of withstanding anything like a siege, though the moat (dry now, and a pretty walk through knee-high wild flowers) might have discouraged burglars.  It is empty of furnishings and only swallows, swifts and housemartins make their  homes here now, shooting in and out through the large glass-less windows in a blur. You can sit in the little courtyard …with an anachronistic espresso and a piece of homemade cake from a tearoom not much bigger than a cupboard …and drift into a dream of mediaeval times …only the nice bits, no nose-slitting or plagues.

The gatehouse, built in the 1640s so comparatively late, is so pretty

If I found myself alone in the world I should like to live in this little  house as custodian of the castle.

Powys Castle is a vastly different cup of tea with a very different atmosphere, though also built as a declaration of status rather than belligerence.

It is enormous and quite hideous, built in  the 18th century in the gloomy  purplish-greyish stone of the area and pointed with a sickly pink mortar, reminding one of those clownishly over-painted old ladies one occasionally sees, who fill me with the most painful protective feelings. But the garden is marvellous, huge terraces planted with a generous hand and wonderful clipped box and yew

Now I’m back home and the rain, it raineth every day …all over the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant …and more rain is forecast for the rest of the week.  Charles II  described the English summer as ‘three hot days and a thunderstorm’,  which is exactly what we’ve had.  Back to vests and woollies.


May 15, 2012

The maxims of the cynical old Duc de la Rochfoucauld are, like most collections of aphorisms, sometimes profound, sometimes just showing off. He said, among many rather neat things

‘One’s envy always outlasts the happiness of those one envies.’

I’m not sure if he meant this specifically, that the particular object of your envy …the  operatic career,  the violet eyes, the rich husband, the Bentley Continental …will be surpassed, fade, die, or conk out on the M25, or just that even those most beloved by Fortune will rub up against some kind of grief sooner or later.

The maxim is most likely true but to be comforted by this means facing up to the beastliness of one’s nature and admitting to being gratified by someone else’s misery. Naturally I  don’t wish any misfortune on the owners of Cottesbrooke Hall,  a magnificent demesne not far from where I live …on the contrary, long may they prosper and kindly continue to open their house and garden to people like me …but every time I go there I ‘m filled with an awful kind of desire/ covetousness/envy for these lead eagles on these gateposts, which seem to me so beautiful.

I know that if … by donning a cloak made from star sparks and muttering a spell …I managed to acquire them I should have to remodel my entire house and garden to suit their grandeur and that they look much better at Cottesbrooke (built 1713 by Francis Smith of Warwick)

but still I cannot see those eagles without a painful longing to own them myself.

You do not, anyway,  enjoy your own modest belongings in  the same way as you admire  other people’s because you always think how much better yours ought to be …if only you had been more expansive with the design … chosen a different colour …they were prettier last year …those damn pigeons have got at them … making improvements will not only bankrupt the exchequer but also send you to bed for a week with backache …

But here are a few photographs of my garden just now …

Rosa Banksia Lutea, actually a pale custard yellow, rampant, thornless, easy to grow, to my mind enchanting.

Sweet pea wigwams fashioned by husband

A tulup called Rai that is new to me. I particularly like the green streaks on the petals though they are of course untidy growers, being parrots