Steve - this is my garden!
Our First Foray into Fiction! Published 8th June 2014
We were delighted to receive this submission for a fun story with a delightful turn of humour throughout and decided with author Petra Vallance to try it first as an e-book before going into print. (Especially as Petra Vallance is a pen-name used by our own Val Wineyard!)
On the very first page, when the characters Sue and Shirley tested their wit against each other while deciding the fate of the creeping plumber, we were hooked and wanted to know what happens next to all the delightful people in the story. Events are set in Watford England and the Canal du Midi France not far from the Mediterranean starlit nights . . . with Sue and Steve evading her vigilant family to make love in the vines or on the beach; but was Sue's real love affair with the rosé wine? What a delicious romp!
You can buy the e-book for coppers, (well, 1 dollar 99) and read the first ten pages for free, on Smashwords - click here!
Here's an extract; And so we christened the garden, with the lads wandering round in the long grass with those little tubby bottles of beer in their hands and Shirley insisting of making cups of tea for all in the caravan “to make them feel at home.”
Suddenly there was no end of grizzled French farmers and ladies walking little white dogs in the lane, trying to look as though they weren’t peeping through the gate, so we invited them in as well, for a tour. But they wouldn’t drink beer or tea and I promised them I’d have pastis for them the next day.
After they’d gone, Shirley got her Tarot cards out, and I had to feed the lads into the caravan one by one to have their cards read. Bonding was achieved. Shirley was accepted, and was talking about starting a new career on the canal bank in a tent as Madame Zola, with Willy as her manager. More beers were handed out.
It was imperative Shirley went to the café (“I can’t go in that shed with blokes about”) so we all went to explore the village favorite rendezvous.
God, it was the dream of southern French life, sitting outside watching the world go by. One of the ladies with white dogs went past and wished us good evening, laughing. Our first day and already recognised by the locals! The party only ended when Roger and Jim had to go home to their wives, (first escorting Silly Willy to his boat - “He does it all the time” Jim said, “He fell in the canal once and got a letter from the council the next day about polluting the canal”) and Shirley and I went back to the garden in the sunset, to eat our first meal of bacon, egg and beans.
“Just like home!” she said. “Do you think I could really make a living telling Tarot cards?”
“You do it so well Shirl, it was a journey over the sea for both of us.”
“That Roger’s marriage is breaking up,” she said.
“How do you know?”
“I saw it in his cards.” She paused. “And in his eyes.”
Under all the wit and quips, Petra's characters have great heart. People thinking of moving to Languedoc will love this story.
An easy-read fun family story. Loved every minute! Paul Wylie, Belfast.