Canalside walk

A selection of photos from a visit to the Salterhebble canal basin a few days ago.

I’ve passed it many times on the drive between where I live and Huddersfield, but never visited. Turns out to be a pleasant place for a fairly secluded walk around by the lock and the mooring place for boats.

I was fascinated by the guillotine-style lock – something else I’d not seen before.

Guillotine Lock

This basin is an offshoot of the Rochdale Canal, which has a total 91 locks between nearby Sowerby Bridge and the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin in Manchester, a distance of 32 miles. The canal system is an amazing feat of engineering with work starting in 1798. One section, passing through Hebden Bridge, is built over the river (a hanging viaduct).

Walking through this tunnel, I felt we might emerge into another place and time.

Altogether, a lovely haven for a quiet walk. Of course, quiet walks are what I aim for these days.

Then it’s back home for more quiet time, mainly reading or listening to audio books while piecing together jigsaw puzzles.

If you’re looking for some reading or listening material for your own quiet times, please check out my books.

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes


Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook

A Time Out

You would think having all this free time would be ideal for a writer. No visitors, only going out if absolutely necessary, grocery and takeaway deliveries, etc. Some authors have taken advantage of this and are producing books without pause. For me, however, it’s like that part of my life has taken a time out of its own. I’ve tried a few times to get some words down – but it’s not happening.

I’ve learned not to force it. With ten books published since the first one in 2014, there really isn’t any need to panic. So why not just enjoy the space for reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to audio books, solitary walks, and sitting out in the garden with a cold drink (weather permitting).

Looking back to last August’s blog, it’s full of photos from different places we visited, playing golf in Scotland, taking part in an archery competition at another club, a full programme of Happy Valley Pride events.

So far this year, we’ve had one outing…a few days away at a hotel on Lake Windermere at the end of July. It was a wonderful time – enjoying different scenery, meals cooked by someone else, conversation (socially distanced) with other people. We felt safe and well looked after. There was a one-way system through the public areas, hand sanitiser stations at strategic points, well spaced out tables in the restaurant. Plus some good weather for enjoying walks by the lake and just sitting watching the ever-changing scene. Overall, fantastic!


Food and drink was left on a service table and we served ourselves from there. (Note the hand sanitiser station by the table behind)


Activity on the lake


Early morning view of geese on the lawn – from our bedroom window


A final view of the lake

Will I look back on 2020 as a lost year, or just a time out from normal activities?

I’ll let you know in January.

Taking time out to read or listen to books? Here’s where you can find mine:

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes


Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


Taking a break

It’s a strange time…coming to the end of the first draft of a novel; I don’t want to say ‘finishing’ because it’s very much an unfinished work.

For months I’ve been waking up and thinking about the next scene in the book, how to move the story forward, worrying about plot holes and whether or not the storyline as a whole hangs together.

Anyway, I reached an end point two weeks ago and the print out is sitting in a binder waiting for me to do another read through which is usually when I think – will anyone else really want to read this?

Taking advantage of this time when I’m not obsessing over characters and story developments, my wife suggested we take a trip to Liverpool. We decided to make it an overnight stay so we could have a relaxing evening. It’s about 55 miles from where we live and the driving time is about the same as taking the train, even with making a change at Manchester. So we took the train.


Sunny start from Mytholmroyd train station

The sunny day came with us and we walked through the shopping area of the city, passing a large Waterstones bookstore on the way. We knew if we went in there we would come out with books, so decided to save that for the next morning on our way back to the train station. Around the corner from Waterstones we came across a delightfully created seating area with shelving for book swapping.


Book swap seating area

We found the Albert Dock easily. Our main aim for the afternoon was to wander around there and visit the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Lots of fascinating stuff in the museum depicting stories of the Titanic, the Lusitania, plus World War II memorabilia – and lots of models of ships. We arrived at the same time as a school outing, a large group of eight year olds. Shades of Joyce Grenfell with the teacher constantly saying things like…”George, DON’T do that!”


At the Albert Dock

Our trips usually revolve around finding good eating places. And we succeeded for all three meals in Liverpool. Lunch was taken at the Salt House – a tapas restaurant that we had spotted on the way to the Dock.

My wife had done an extensive online search beforehand to seek out a restaurant for the evening meal. The one she settled on was called Puschka – an independent, family-owned restaurant. Finding our way there was a bit of an adventure as we hadn’t invested in a map of the city and only had a vague idea of where it was in relation to the hotel.

We were about to give up on our search for Puschka when we spotted a whisky bar. The restaurant was a few doors further down the street but it was too much to ask for me to resist going into the bar first. I sampled a Canadian rye called Whistle Pig…it would have been rude not to try one of the many whiskies available from all over the world. Unfortunately I could only manage one.


Enjoying a shot of the delightfully named Whistle Pig rye

The food at the restaurant was lovely and we had a Yealands wine with it. When the waitress told us the story about the short-legged sheep, we thought she was having us on. But it turns out to be true. The vineyard uses Babydoll sheep to keep the weeds down. The news item on YouTube explains what a wonderful environmentally friendly innovation this is.

We found a less roundabout way back to the hotel and met a friendly cat called ‘Scruff’ on the way.


A friendly Liverpudlian – Scruff

After a good night’s sleep, we had a relaxing morning…breakfast at Bill’s, a browse around Waterstones (yes, we did buy books) and a smooth train journey back home.

As often seems to be the case with short breaks like this, it feels like you’ve been away longer. And now I feel ready to take on the task of re-reading the first draft of the manuscript and see what needs more work.

Book links for The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks/Amazon US / Amazon UK / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Ebook links for The Starling Hill Trilogy (still available on Kindle Unlimited):

Starting Over: Amazon US / Amazon UK

Arc Over Time: Amazon US / Amazon UK

Carved in Stone: Amazon US / Amazon UK