Thirty years on 6th March

Thirty years have passed since he left this world, since the sea stole him. Long years of nights and days of wishing I had not encouraged him to go.

I remember where I was, what I was doing and what I was wearing when I heard the news that rocked my world and stole my breath. That fateful Friday evening. I hoped against hope throughout that night but in the early hours of the Saturday he came to say his final goodbye, and I knew he was gone.

Nearly a two month wait for his body to be recovered, one of the last to be brought home. Trapped in the capsized vessel.

The enduring image of those nightmare days and weeks of waiting for the news that his body had been found and would be brought ashore is that of the ship lying stranded on its side, nets over the hold doors to try to keep the sea from carrying away the contents of the car deck.

He is never far from my thoughts, but this year he has been more evident. Images of him, smiling and tanned (he was always tanned), his voice, his laugh, the sound of his bundle of keys jangling: always an advance warning that he was not far. This year I have felt the need to visit places he and I explored.

He was my lover, and my greatest friend. I miss him still, but no longer with the agonising ache of the early years. No longer with the same intense grief. Now the feeling is more one of sadness and regret, that he was taken too soon, that we never got to do and see the things and places we had planned. That the mistakes and errors that led to his death and the other 192 lives still continue to this day.

I am no longer unhappy without him. But I do still miss him. He will be forever in my heart.

Nearly a Year!

I have realised with a sense of guilt and amazement that it is nearly 12 months since my last post here.  The time has flown by and I have a need to explain and bring this site up to date. I discovered that I enjoy designing and making jewellery.

Now how did that happen, not something I would ever have thought I would have a talent for, but it would seem I was wrong.

I mentioned else where that I had been trying a number of crafts that I had either always had an interest in, or a curiosity to learn more.

So 2015 saw me travelling to Norfolk to learn basket making, an absolutely fabulous course, really enjoyed the day and loved making my basket. Brought bundle of willow home to make more. Then to Cambridgeshire for a 2/3rd day to learn about silver clay and the jewellery one can make from this marvellous substance and finally taking a chalk painting course.

The silver clay really stuck a chord somewhere deep inside and I was off on the path to making jewellery. This has been all consuming.

However, in October 2015 my husband finally agreed that we could have a dog! I have wanted to have a dog for so many years but working the hours I used to it just wasn’t possible. And so in early December the lovely Bailey joined the family. He is a gorgeous liver and white sprocker. Very demanding but adorable.

Childhood favourites

I may be wrong, but I think everyone has favourite foods or meals from their childhood, certainly I do. These meals have become my comfort foods – some are not too bad for the waist-line. Others? Well let’s just say they really should be kept for treats.

My husband always says that his mother wasn’t the greatest cook, she says the same. She was always leaving something on the stove whilst she went to see to the frogs in the pond or watch the birds in the garden. However, no-one can make a shepherds pie as good as hers. His other childhood favourite is toad in the hole.

On the other hand, my mother was a very good cook and it is from her I learnt to cook. Her Chicken casserole is up there with my top ten of favourites, along with Oxtail stew (in my opinion the best and most unctuous stew ever). Spam fritters, come to that cheese and onion fritters. Mashed potato (ultimate comfort food). Fried slice topped with runny egg yolk and masses of fried mushrooms.

Then being taken to restaurants by my first true love expanded my food horizons: Chateaubriand, Tournedo Rossini, Scampi Provençal, and er Wine.

But I digress; here are a few of my childhood favourites, which I am pleased to say my OH also enjoys

Chicken casserole  – Warning I am reliably informed that this is addictive.

Sausage Meat Risotto


The Seasons

How often have you been asked the question: which is your favourite season?

For me the answer is nearly always the season I am in at the time. Sounds like I’m taking the easy way out but actually I believe it is because there are different aspects of every season that thrill me. Warm me. Make me smile deep inside.

Each Season is a beautiful gift from Mother Nature. Each to be treasured, adored and worshipped for the joys, the highs the lows they bring.

my thoughts on the Seasons





Copyright (C) October 2015 The Kentish Lass


Back to Photography

There’s a fascination about photographs, proper old photographs. Holding a photograph not just viewing on a screen. Do you recall the anticipation of taking a set of photos, sometimes over a period of weeks or months? Sending the roll or rolls of film off to be processed and the, what seemed like, eternal wait for the results to be returned? The highs of the successes and the lows of the shaky blurred images.

Even now I love trawling through the photographs in my mothers attic. The photos from our childhood, from her childhood and those rarities of her mothers childhood. Each generation captured in a split second of magic. There is something very very special about holding a picture of people who lived in the Edwardian or indeed if you’re very lucky the Victorian age. For me I can almost feel the history, imagine the life the people in the photo lived.

I was given my first camera by, well someone very important to me. He died far too young, but the point is he introduced me to the fun of a snap camera.

Then I was introduced to the intricacies of shutter speeds, F stops, and I bought my first Olympus manual camera. I seemed to have an eye for composition: didn’t always get the right aperture setting but generally the subject was framed pretty well.

Work got in the way and I stopped using the camera – to my ever lasting regret.

After my early retirement it occurred to me that I could combine my love of old buildings, architecture, nature and photography AND get out and about again. The four walls of the house had been closing in. But of course film is as rare as hen’s teeth now and it seemed that if I wanted to get back into photography I would have to embrace the digital age.

So, in May 2015 I bought a second hand Digital Olympus. I hadn’t used a digital camera before (apart from the blackberry and I don’t think we can count that) but have found that I enjoy the freedom of being able to take as many photos as I want and edit and discard as I see fit. Almost instant gratification! The results can be seen on Instagram and Flickr for those interested.

Why recipes here?

Some might think it odd to find recipes on this site. After all I’ve said this is about my progress to full recovery so what have recipes to do with that?

To put this in to perspective: I find cooking relaxing and always have. I think this is probably because if you want to produce something that looks good and tastes good you have to concentrate. Of course it could be partly because I have cooked almost for as long as I can remember or maybe it is also my nurturing instinct.

I was a Brownie and then a Girl Guide and I took all the cookery, hostess, needlework, home making and first aid type badges I could. I know this would seem very sexist by some but it was what I enjoyed. Just as well as my father was a typical MCP and although mum never, ever expected me to take over on Mothering Sunday (or her birthday or Boxing Day) dad certainly did! So as the eldest daughter in a family of 5 children, giving mum a rest generally fell to me.
For a while, when I was very ill, I lost all interest in cooking and food, in fact I was unable to cook.

Yes I could heat things up but was not able to create and adapt recipes. I actually for the first time ever burnt a saucepan and had to throw it away!

In some respects it’s a wonder that I do enjoy cooking and creating food as much as I do.

You will find here a selection of ‘my’ recipes. I hope you enjoy reading about them and / or trying them for your self and your loved ones.

No Mayo, vinegar or anything Yucky

Childhood Favourites

No Mayo, vinegar or anything yucky!

Growing up in a family of 5 children you get used to any number of food dislikes and for catering for different tastes; Sunday morning breakfast was often a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried slice, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Sounds easy? One sibling did not like the yolk of the egg, one didn’t like the white, one didn’t like fresh tomatoes and another didn’t like tinned tomatoes (makes the fried slice soggy), the one who didn’t like the yolk (or was it the one who didn’t like the white?) originally loved mushrooms, but managed to eat so many of them on one occasion that she no longer liked them! How my mother kept her patience with us I know not, but she did!

I then married a man who didn’t like mayonnaise or vinegar. However the list did not and does not stop there. It includes anything that might have vinegar in, or look like mayonnaise, salad cream, mustard, olives, capers, anchovies, seafood, fruit with meat, the taste of sweet and sour combinations, goats cheese, Philadelphia cream cheese, blue cheese, sour cream, oxtail, liver, kidney, lamb (too fatty?) anything with a bone in or skin on, no chicken drumsticks, all visible fat to be removed (I know!). I have managed to introduce mushrooms, chicken thighs, cooked feta, celeriac and lamb – yes it can be cooked and not be greasy. He still prefers carrots cooked in a stew but at least he will eat them.

You might think this would mean that we had a fairly bland diet, but no what it actually meant was that I found new ways of cooking favourite meals. Dislike is the mother of invention as far as my cooking was concerned.


I used to write a LOT.  I was most prolific in my early teens, whilst still at school. Then when I met my first love and throughout our time together. He was a passenger on the Herald of Free Enterprise and we had become engaged literally the day before he took the trip and was killed. I was devastated.  I found that there was a release of grief through writing.

Where I was and what I was doing, even what I was wearing when the news item of the event hit the TV screen will stay with me forever. I imagine it is the same for people who say they remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the assassination of JFK .

He had not told me what time he was travelling, he had not told me the name of the vessel. But none-the-less, in the split second of seeing the newsflash and understanding what was on the screen I knew, without a doubt, that he had been on that ferry. I knew without a doubt that he was never, ever, coming home to me. Although I hoped beyond hope that he would. But this is another story, for another time perhaps.

In 2012 I started writing again, before my disintegration, more in 2014 and still more in 2015. I honestly believe this return to writing is an integral and crucial part of my recovery.

I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute to an e-magazine (SnowGlobe Poetry). My heartfelt thanks to Thomas Snow (Twitter @Snowglobeman, Instagram Thomassnowglobe) for believing in me and encouraging me to write.

My published work can be found here:

The Hunger

You are always on my Mind

The Gnarled Tree

Work not previously published:

A Lingering Kiss

My Constant Companion

Storm Catcher


Your Final Kiss

Forever Mine

The Long Lonely Hours

The Taste of You

Without You

My Love, My Life, My Friend

Miracles don’t happen

Another Dimension

The Beginning


In an instant

Unrequited Love

Not Ever

Retired at 55!!!!

Life is strange. There have been many twists and turns through the years. Some unexpected, unpredictable. Some changes were abrupt and very far from welcome.

I don’t recall making any definite plan for my life when I was young, no particular ambition (perhaps I should have?). Looking back I largely seem to have gone with the flow.

Not successful for my first choice of career I accepted a job offer for one of the (then) regional utility companies and there I stayed, moving around the south-east as the company was privatised, locations closed, jobs disappeared, reorganisations, mergers. Moving from office junior to management. Jan 1977 to Jan 2015. I had expected to stay there until I retired at ‘normal’ retirement age. But fate or destiny had a different plan.

October 2013 saw the culmination of years of excessive work load take their toll. After a particularly nasty, personal abuse incident at work, which was very frightening, my health collapsed completely. It was late afternoon of a Friday and I managed to get myself home but was completely incapable of doing anything of value that evening or over the weekend. I was, to all intents and purposes, a zombie.

I had, overnight, developed a stutter or stammer, I couldn’t stop shaking and crying – the slightest thing set me off, and my brain would not function. Some months previously a rash had developed on my face which it turns out was caused by the anxiety that had been increasing inside me. The skin on my elbows was like an elephants hide: again a physical sign of the stress that I had been under.

On the Monday morning I was able to get an emergency appointment with my GP. My husband, thankfully, came with me. I say thankfully because I was unable to string words together to make a comprehensible sentence. My GP signed me off work and prescribed emergency medication. The medication was changed to a milder prescription a week later, and as the nightmare continued a further drug was added – I take both those prescriptions to this day. They keep the anxiety and the ‘black dog’ days at bay most of the time.

In my work I had dealt with complex negotiations and contractual documents. Suddenly I could no longer make sense of simple magazine articles. I had previously loved reading and would consume the printed word with a passion. I could no longer read a book. Well I could read but nothing made any sense and I would re-read the same page over and over again trying to understand. Answering the telephone or the doorbell caused me huge anxiety. Seeing anyone was traumatic – how could I explain what had happened? What did they think? I was ill but no one could see the illness, did they believe me? After all a short circuit in the brain isn’t visible like say a broken leg

Depression and anxiety, work related stress the nightmare of not being myself continued for 18 months and on some levels continues even now. The professionals have described my symptoms and condition as those of PTSD – this still surprises me; it’s not as if I’d been in a war zone! Or had I? Work had become a long round of trying to please everyone but still complying with ever increasing red tape. Internal customers shouting down the phone at me when they realised they hadn’t done something they should have and expecting me to find them a solution. Keeping sales on track, even without the proper approvals: my neck on the line every time I bent the rules and policies. Team members not meeting deadlines: my responsibility, if they couldn’t meet the deadlines then I had to. Working from 7 in the morning to (at it’s peak) 11 at night, plus weekends. Deliver this, deliver that, do it now…… and by the way Know this is not part of your job but deliver this too.

December 2014 still signed off sick. Still unable to comprehend simple documents / articles. Still stammering whenever talking about work.

BIG decision; actually HUGE decision: retire from work so that I can get fully better. Dilemma is this right? I feel like I’ve driven the car down a dead end with no turning space.

Jan 2015 55th birthday saw me retire and finally start on the road to full recovery.

However, I did not expect that retiring would leave me feeling so devastated, so empty. It was as though I were experiencing the grief of the loss of a loved one. I recognised the feelings from the loss I felt when my first love was killed on the Herald of Free Enterprise. My GP was able to put this in perspective: I was indeed grieving for the loss of someone: the professional me. Once I accepted that this was really quite normal, given the way my career had ended, recovery started in earnest. Almost overnight the stammer and the facial rash disappeared.

I have begun to find the real me, the creative side which has been buried for far too long. I’ve rediscovered my writing, my drawing, my needlework, my love of design and I have now taken two courses which have challenged me to gain new creative skills and meet new people. Meeting people has been particularly hard for me but self confidence and self belief are beginning to resurface.

I know I still have a long way to go but I am making good progress and, yes I am proud that I have come this far.