It doesn't seem possible but we're at the end of another four-month adventure with that fabulous globetrotter, Anna Campbell. Many thanks to Anna for taking us along on her journeys and offering up giveaways at each stop. I'm so excited for this fall when I'll have a chance to be in some of her travel photos with her!
Well, that went fast! There’s only a week or so of my trip left. I can hardly believe it. Off to Paris at the end of next week to attend the Festival du Roman Feminin (https://tinyurl.com/yy5x5ae6) and then it’s the long journey home to Australia. I’ve had the most wonderful time and thank you to all of you for coming on the voyage with me. And an especially huge thank you to PJ for letting me share some of my travels with you all.
The last month has been a bit chaotic, frankly! I had a new book out and handling the launch while I was moving around so much has been a challenge. But now my Highlander is safely out in the world and I’ve been with some old friends for nearly two weeks so things have settled down just a little.
We finished last month’s adventures with me on the beautiful island of Eigg in the inner Hebrides, just south of the Isle of Skye. Lots of lovely sunsets! Here’s the link if you missed it: http://www.theromancedish.com/2019/04/on-road-with-anna-campbell-2019-episode.html
There are four islands in this spectacular group. I’d been to Muck and Rum but I’d never been to Canna. So purely in the interests of completing the set, I booked 4 days on Canna after I finished up on Eigg.
Well, what a gorgeous surprise! Canna is a tiny island owned by the National Trust. Only 17 people live there, although it offers one of the few reliably sheltered anchorages on this part of the coast, so the yachties tend to come and go, augmenting the population quite considerably. It’s less rugged than either Eigg or Rum and much more fertile so I found myself floating in a sea of lush green grass with baby lambs gamboling around me. And there were bluebells everywhere. I love bluebells! As you can see from the photos – I could have filled the whole page with blue, frankly!
There’s a lovely café that offers wonderful gourmet meals (and a nice wee dram to finish the day with as you watch the light fade over the water!) and my guesthouse was a gorgeous arts and crafts house with views down over the anchorage toward the isle of Sanday just across the way with Rum in the distance. The picture with the bluebell path winding up to the white house in the wood gives you a glimpse of Tighard (pronounced tie-ard), this magical place to stay.
The small gravestone in the bluebell wood belongs to the last laird of the island, John Lorne Campbell (no relation!), who was a famous collector of folklore and who donated the island to the National Trust. What a perfect resting place!
Four days wasn’t nearly enough on Canna – the wonderful weather didn’t hurt, believe me! I’ve booked to go back there for three weeks next year to do some writing. Can’t wait.
Since then I’ve been moving around a bit. I had my long trip south which always makes me sad and then I had a riotous reunion with a couple of the Romance Bandits. For those who don’t know, I used to be part of a blog made up of some of the 2006 Golden Heart finalists. While the blog has folded, the friendships haven’t, so it was wonderful to catch up with writers Nancy Northcott (https://www.nancynorthcott.com/) and Anna Sugden (https://www.annasugden.com/), who lives in Cambridge. Don’t we all look happy together in the photo of the three of us? Nancy is the tall girl with the floral jacket in the middle. The photo of me chatting up a Chinese warrior was taken at Buscot Park in Oxfordshire. It was a bit of a shock running into the terracotta warriors in the middle of a rainy English spring!
My next port of call was a catch-up with brilliant historical writer Nicola Cornick (https://www.nicolacornick.co.uk/). We’ve been friends since my visit to the UK in 2004 and when we get together, we never shut up! This time we weren’t shutting up at beautiful Buscot Park, the home of Lord Faringdon (and the location of those terracotta warriors!). It’s a beautiful house with beautiful gardens, even if the weather wasn’t kind to us that day. But the best bit was the room with all Edward Burne-Jones’s Briar Rose paintings ranged around the walls. Breathtaking. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but if you’d like to see this gorgeous space, check out this video: https://www.tatler.com/article/helen-rosslyn-buscot-park-briar-rose-burne-jones
Since then I’ve been catching up with more old friends and drinking lots of tea! But I wanted to finish with a real treasure of a place, Deene Park in Northamptonshire in the Midlands. This spectacular Jacobean manor with Georgian additions was the home of the man who led the famous Charge of the Light Brigade and is full of memorabilia of the Earl of Cardigan and his scandalous second wife (who once lived openly with him as his mistress!). As you know, I love a bit of shame and scandal in the upper classes so I soaked up the stories of all the naughty nooky in society’s top echelons. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the house, but I went absolutely wild in the beautiful gardens. The sunny day helped too!
Because this is the last of the current series of On the Road with Anna Campbell, this month’s giveaway offers the people who comment on this post TWO chances to win my latest book The Highlander’s Lost Lady. No geographical restrictions.
With all this travel, my To Be Read pile has sunk perilously low. So I’m looking for recommendations. What’s the last great book you read? For me, it was Ruining Miss Wrotham by that wonderful historical romance writer Emily Larkin. If you haven’t read her Baleful Godmother series, you’re missing out on a huge amount of fun. Good luck!