Let me take you back to my childhood years! Yes, I know it was a long time ago.
My dad was a butcher and had his own shop, which meant that as a family we didn’t often get chance to have many family holidays and in those days, people rarely went abroad. Mom used to help Dad in the shop on a Saturday too so when it came to school holidays – February half term, Easter, Whitsun, summer and October half terms my lovely Nan used to take my sister Lisa and I down to Mudeford in Dorset to her sister’s house. Mom and Dad used to come down on a Saturday night after the shop closed to be with us and then headed home on the Sunday night.
Aunty Wynne and Uncle Sid’s house was just a short walk from Avon Beach and Lisa and I spent many a day during long hot summers and probably winters too, playing on the beach as kids, crabbing on Mudeford Quay and generally loving our holidays.
Sadly our Aunty and Uncle both passed away many years ago along with my lovely Nan.
Mudeford was the setting behind my latest book Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove. I wanted my book to be set in a fictional seaside location and used Mudeford as my inspiration but changed the name slightly to Muddleford. My Aunty and Uncle’s house that we used to stay in became an important part of the book, although while it was a bungalow, I gave it an upstairs. I also moved it to the coast road and gave it stunning beach views where the sea glistens beyond the sandy beach beyond. The beach huts on Mudeford beach were something that we always loved as kids too and my character Nellie Wagstaff inherits both her auntie’s beach house and a beach hut amongst other things. The characters go to Muddleford Quay to have lunch, drinks, and ice cream.
Bringing you up to date, last week, my son Ollie and I visited Mudeford while we were on our holidays. After a gorgeous lunch in the sunshine with author friends at a beach bar on Mudeford Spit, we headed to Mudeford and I took photos of my book on Avon Beach and that in itself was a wonderful thing to do. I then went to visit the house that we used to stay in. The front lawn was beautifully manicured, just like Uncle Sid would have done had he still have been here today. He loved his garden. Because I wanted to take a photograph to show Lisa, and I got a real sense of feeling that my book belonged in that house, I plucked up the courage to knock on the door.
When the owner answered, I said “this will probably be the most random knock on your door that you will ever get.” I explained that the house used to belong to a member of our family and that we spent much time there, and asked him if he would mind me giving him a copy of my book to keep at the house. He seemed delighted (well why wouldn’t he be? LOL) and I asked whether it would be ok if I took a picture of the outside to show my sister, and he said those amazing words “would you like to come in and have a look around?”
“I couldn’t possibly impose!” I responded as I began unlacing my trainers on his front doorstep and grabbing Ollie from the car. He showed us around the house and I was able to tell him a little about how it was many years ago. He had only moved in 5 weeks previously and there had been so much work done on the house and it really was stunning. When he showed me the garden, I had a memory of pretending I was a gymnast and doing cartwheel and gambolling routines fit for the British Olympic Team! Gosh, the memories that flooded back to me at that point were incredible and the emotions it stirred within me of such happy family holidays were quite overwhelming. Especially as our wonderful Mom and Dad are no longer with us either.
Driving away from the house, my heart felt so full of joy and when I called my sister to ask her to guess where we’d been she was quite amazed that I’d managed to wheedle myself an invitation into the house. We worked out that it had probably been well over 38 years, maybe slightly more, since we’d been in that house and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to that poor man who had left his dinner half-eaten to answer the door to a madwoman!
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this story and I just wanted to share it with you all.
Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove, my uplifting, heartwarming, feel-good, romantic comedy is available for free on Kindle Unlimited or for just 99p via Amazon Kindle here. It is also available in paperback here.