Sunday, 9 June 2013

Siting Round my Pool, Helen Hollick and Peggy Stanton

I have not only one fabulous guest sitting round my pool today, but two! The sassy, celeb interviewer, Peggy Stanton and the famous author, Helen Hollick

 I’m just going to sit back and enjoy a glass or three of bubbly, whilst Peggy finds out all about Helen’s lottery win and her wonderful new life.

Take it away ladies….

Hello Peggy – lovely to be here with you beside the pool. Let me make myself comfy on the lounger…. Ah, that’s nice! Peggy ask away.....

Helen I'm glad you have joined us today, sitting round this pool is lovely, but it's a while since I've been here and meeting you here too has made my day. From my notes I see you've left the smoke and galloped off to Devon. Whatever for?

Well, the opportunity to move came out of the blue – so we took it! There we were, my husband, Ron and I watching and enjoying the opening ceremony to the London Olympics on the Friday evening – little knowing that the next day would change our lives forever. On Saturday Ron collected the winning numbers for the lottery and the special Opening Ceremony Olympic Lottery Raffle. I was working (writing Ripples In the Sand) “We’ve won the lottery raffle!” he called from the living room. I ignored him – he’s often winning £10, so I thought, “Big Deal”.
He called again “We’re one of the one hundred winners. We’ve won the lottery raffle!” and added the amount.
I sighed, and went to sort him out, assuming he had made an error.
Well, it seemed he hadn’t! I tell you, by the time I started dialling the Camelot Telephone Number to put in our claim my hands were shaking!

After a long conversation with a very nice lady – lots of identity checks etc – she wished us congratulations and was about to say goodbye, when I asked (voice shaking as well now) “But what exactly have we won?”

I assumed as it was a raffle, the prize would be split between the one hundred winners. But no – the prize was a very nice one indeed. Enough for us to buy the home of our dreams with land and stables and have a little bit left over to enjoy and live on!

Good grief! You won the lottery!  I can't help saying this, but sometimes it happens, sadly not to me, but congratulations, I’ve never met a lottery winner before. Do tell me all about your new house, it sounds fabulous.

We were lucky – Fortune smiled on us, but I assure you we appreciate every penny of that luck, and realise how fortunate we are. We do not take any of our new life for granted. In fact I often have a few tears as I walk down the lane and see our lovely house through the hedgerow. This old house echoes from the laughter that filled it in the past – we intend to keep the laughter going!

At first we thought of moving to Derbyshire, but that idea was soon squashed, then I suggested Devon and we all agreed (all being my adult daughter, Kathy, as well – she has the horses.) We found a few possible places, but the one we initially liked didn’t work out, others were not suitable, so feeling a bit despondent I applied to the BBC TV house-hunt show “Escape To The Country”. We were accepted and Kathy and I were whisked off to Devon to film finding a house. (Kathy came because she needed to look at suitable stabling and Ron had to look after the animals back ‘home’ in London)
The first cottage the presenter (Jonnie Irwen) and the BBC Crew showed us was THE one. I instantly fell in love with what I call on-line “Windfall Farm”. It is a stone-built house, dating from the late 1700’s. The walls are a metre thick in places. It has old beams and sloping wooden floors – and is just lovely!
We have four purpose-built stables, and sheds and outbuildings, an orchard, some woodland, a stream – and in all, 13 acres.

My my a very long way from London and all sounds a dream. No doubt having all of this has changed your life and believe you me, it would most certainly change mine.

Completely! We’ve slowed down for one thing – no London rushing about. It is so quiet here – just  sheep, owls and cows, with the occasional distant chug of a tractor. What an improvement on sirens, traffic, rumbling lorries and a neighbour who constantly shouted swear-words. Our bedroom window looks out across the back garden to fields and rolling hills (beyond which is Exmoor). Life is leisurely down here – the air is clear and pure. Devon truly is Heaven! We do have to be more organised, though, if we are out in the car we buy milk and bread. And using the Redfyre range (a type of Aga) took a bit of getting used to.
I have to admit, I still can’t believe we are living here, I keep thinking that the holiday will soon be over and we will have to go home to London soon.

I’m already walking down that country lane with you. Bliss! Now best I stop daydreaming and get back to my notes and finding out more about this dream life of yours. You are a writer, a famous one I see, so you must have a special place in this gorgeous home where you can relax and write.

Yes. The house was extended back in the 1980’s (I think) with a purpose-built study downstairs and an extra bedroom upstairs. So I have my own little haven where I write – well where I am supposed to write. I spend more time looking out the window….

With those views it is hardly surprising. Keeping with writing, moving to the whip whops has it helped you write more?

 No! *laugh* There are too many distractions. The Garden, the Community Lunch in the village, walking in the fields in the woods – staring at our land over the gate… Writing? One day maybe…. When I get bored with the view!

Should you find that you can tear you self away from your paradise, can I expect to meet that rascal of a pirate, Jesamiah again?

Yes, I will be writing another adventure for him – probably several in fact. But next in line is an adventure story as a spin-off from my Arthurian Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, about one of King Arthur’s ex-cavalrymen who gets involved with a stolen horse and a murder..

Nothing like a bit of thievery and a death or two to keep readers glued to the pages! Stepping away from murder and galloping horses, my friend and our host tells me you have created a new blog / web site that will have snippets of information, but only for those who sign up. What is this all about?

My webmaster had the idea. He thought that we should have an area on the website for fans and friends who would like a few extra bits that were not available for general view.  So he came up with the H2U area (Helen To You) It’s not exactly secret but to reach it you have to sign up via:
 there are a few fun things to do, some unpublished work, extra information about my books etc.
I also have my H2U Newsletter - which, if you want to keep up with any news you will have to subscribe to subscribers (the link to subscribe is in the top left corner of the blog)

Helen, I can feel your energy and your enthusiasm for life and having your chatting to me, it is clear that you deserve it all. Please let me know when you buy another lottery ticket and I’ll be right behind you. You never know!

I so love living here in Devon, the change from London life is wonderful – I adore walking up the garden to pat the horses, taking the dog for a walk up the lane, enjoying all the wild flowers as they appear along the hedges and banks in the lane. The garden is a joy – each morning I look out my bedroom window to see what new flower has appeared and grab my gardening book to find out what it is!
If you would like to read more about my move to Devon, do come and join me
 Leaning On The Gate

Thank you Helen for allowing me to take you away from your little piece of Heaven and join me sitting round Pauline’s pool. It pretty heavenish here too!

Thank you Peggy – it’s been wonderful talking to you, and thank you to Pauline for inviting me to sit beside her pool. Um? Any chance of some more of that bubbly?

More of Helen’s links:

Main website:
Twitter: @HelenHollick


Helen Hollick said...

Thank you Pauline and Peggy for inviting me to sit a while beside your pool - a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon!

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Gawd damn it, I very nearly toppled off my wedge sandals and just missed diving headlong into the pool...That's what happens when eavesdropping on famous authors whilst balanced precariously behind a potted palm. By God that Peggy Stanton's a nosy strumpet. But hey, great interview and Helen did well albeit whilst supping bubbly and stifling giggles. I reckon it won't be long before Peggy will be elbowing her way onto Radio Tenerife! ;)

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Helen, it's been fab having you here and sharing your wonderful new life, you so deserve it!

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

I watched that programme and loved Helen's new house, it's so gorgeous and I can see why she fell in love with it. The programme said she'd had a windfall, but I didn't realize it was a lottery win, congratulations!

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Francine, we wondered what was rustling in the palms trees! Glad you managed to stumble upon us. No doubt Peggy will have something to say later... LOL! Thanks for calling in.

Dizzy C said...

Congratulations, Helen!
Lovely to hear you had a win and enough to fulfill your dreams, you could have stepped out of Pauline's novel :)

carol x

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Debs, I too saw the program and it was amazing. Helen really is living the dream. Thanks for taking time out to stop by. x

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Dizzy C LOL! I keep saying to Helen - sometimes it happens, but then Helen was my fabulous and wonderful editor for that book. x

Gilli Allan said...

Just stumbled upon this. Gosh, Helen! Lucky you! I say that, though I can't grumble myself. I've lived in a cottage in the Cotswolds, since my husband was head-hunted - which in a way was our own version of winning the lottery. I well remember that "When must I go back to real life?" feeling. Good luck. Hope you continue to love living in your dream house.