Twenty years ago today Noel started his new job as a nurse tutor in Northumberland – leaving me 400 miles away in South Wales where I had a house to put up for sale and pack for moving, and a contract to work to its conclusion… Our six year old dog couldn’t come with us. We had to say goodbye to him. He found a good home. I never felt so lonely.

Fortunately company was at hand – good friends like Alun and Mary Norman who dropped everything to came and picked me up one weekend and took me back to their house… and Stephen (below) who introduced Noel and me and Krissie who saw me through it all.

To make matters worse dear friend Ernie Caddy died on Leap Day that year.

I’d never been to Northumberland – not even to Newcastle – Cumbria, yes, on my way home to Ulster. It wasn’t a good time to sell up either – we ended up losing all our equity so moving up here really was like starting all over again. And of course in my case, with no job – but I had no fears on that score – special needs’ teachers were much in demand in those days…

and then — there were other friends to be met who soon took centre stage.

I had moved to Wales for work and learned to love the place. Now we were on the move again and I can honestly say I have learned to love this place. In fact I have lived near three of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Britain, set against wonderful landscapes, amongst fine people. And I have learned that clouds can and do have silver linings. I’m not a teacher any more but now I have writing friends all over the world.

I have a new story in Microhorror for you: No Safety Net and don’t forget to read Every Day Fiction’s story of the day this Sunday – me again 🙂 I have stories coming up in New Sun Rising, Stories for Japan and Pangea – a new anthology of writings from Writewords’ Members – more of that in April at Flash Fiction Chronicles and elsewhere.

This weekend a little celebration is in order I think – for 20 years in lovely Northumberland, for life’s nice surprises and for St. Valentine’s Day too perhaps – no cards though – hate those mushy cards! I’d rather share a good bottle of Chateau-neuf du Pape with my significant other and look forward to another 20 years – wherever.