Just back yesterday from an utterly fabulous holiday in (fairly ancient) Italy - the guide was grand, the hotel very good indeed and the history fascinating. Really, what more can you want? Major highlights for me were (a) the marvels of commercial Pompeii, where we were lucky enough to spend over 7 hours exploring and taking it all in, hurrah; (b) the smaller but better preserved seaside town of Herculaneum - which actually I preferred to Pompeii and which was somehow more moving. The inhabitants were basically smothered by a wall of volcanic mud travelling at c250 to 300 miles per hour, and those who'd previously rushed to the harbour to escape by boat couldn't as the winds were against them so all died on the shore. Horrific to think of it really. Apparently (look away if you're squeamish), the method of death was the moment the vastly boiling mud touched the skin, the brain couldn't take it and basically exploded. It was fascinating to see the great wall of volcanic material which still covers half of the town ... Oh, and (c) was the surprisingly well-preserved Greek temples of Paestum, whilst (d) was actually climbing to the top of Mount Vesuvius where the whole story began and looking at the hundreds of swallows flying over the top. Amazing. Plus a special mention for (e) the guide reading out the letters of Pliny the Younger who (as a man who usually wrote incredibly long and dull administrative letters to the Emperor) somehow reached very affecting levels of poetry in his description of the eruption and the consequent death of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, during it. Hearing this eye-witness account made the whole thing come alive. So, if all this enthusiasm has made you curious, here's the tour we went on - expensive, yes, but frankly worth every penny and more.
Anyway, back down to earth now and the flat is full of more washing than I'm sure I've ever seen, groan - how I'm looking forward to that ironing pile. Um, not. Talking of the flat, there's no real news about anyone moving (sigh) and we certainly haven't exchanged this week, as the solicitor was hoping. Hey ho. The one good(ish) thing is that the new lease requested by the tricky neighbours has been finalised and all we have to do is sign it, which we're happy to do, and hope that all goes through smoothly from now on. Dream on, eh!
Today, we've tried to extend the holiday feeling by lunching at Wisley - the roses are beginning to appear and should be great over the next few weeks or so. But I must say that after the glorious Italian weather, it does seem a tad chilly here in the mother country ...
I'm thrilled to say that The Art of The Delaneys, the third in my erotic Delaneys series, is now available at Amber Allure at a discount price for its first week, so buy early buy often, as they say. Keeping to the subject of erotic short stories, my stand-alone (as it were) story, For One Night Only, will be published by Amber Allure on 24 July, so the summer should, I hope, get hotter.
Meanwhile, the first of my fantasy trilogy, The Gifting, now has its own page at Bluewood Publishing, which looks very snazzy indeed, and is due out in the next couple of weeks, well gosh! Honestly, I can't wait for this one as it seems I've spent years beating that trilogy into some sort of shape and now the first one is nearly here. I do hope at least some people might like it.
Finally, here are two Sunday haikus for you:
In my deep blue haze
waiting for the rain to pass,
I dream in sunshine.
Sun carves out the day
and I taste only the sea
shimmering in heat.