True Crime, Freesias and a Happy Easter

My conversations with my dad are not what most daughters have with their fathers.  For one thing, they are held over the telephone most Sundays when he calls me from home prison.  For another, our conversations aren’t exactly run-of-the-mill. Our most recent one went something like this:

“Just to let you know Dad I’ll be away for a couple of weeks.  I’ll drop you a line with the dates so that you’ll know when I’ll be back and we can chat then!”

“No problem darling, where are you going, somewhere nice?”


“Oh yes, Lewes!  I remember Lewes.  Long time ago now, but a very nice town, from what I saw of it!”

“When did you go to Lewes then Dad? You’re not getting confused with Arundel are you?”

“Oh no.  I’ve been to both!  I was in nic for a spell in Lewes as well as Ford. I’ve been everywhere man!”

That’s the gist of it anyway. I’ve honestly lost track of all the prisons my dad has done time in and even joked with him once that he should star-rate them according to how good or bad the food, accommodation and location is.  A sort of Trip Advisor for cons.

During these roller-coaster decades my thoughts towards my dad have ranged from acceptance but with sadness, to great concern and fear for his life and then veering to anger and rage, times even when I thought I downright hated him and wanted nothing more to do with him such was my hurt and disappointment, putting it mildly.

The most recent photo I have of me with my dad, taken in 2006 outside Kingston Lacy House, Dorset.  Dad was 'out', living at a half-way house but not long after this he started drinking again, attempted to rob a bank and was arrested.   Photographs aren't allowed in prison. (c ) Sherri Matthews 2014

The most recent photo I have of me with my dad, taken in 2006 outside Kingston Lacy House, Dorset. Dad was ‘out’, living in a half-way house but not long after this he started drinking again, attempted to rob a bank and was arrested.
Photographs aren’t allowed in prison.
(c ) Sherri Matthews 2014

But I could never leave him, this lost-soul of man who is my father, who is now eighty-one and still in prison.

Love can walk hand-in-hand with hate,  ready to pull away when life doesn’t match up to what is so often expected.

My ‘hate’ was never what it seemed.  I always loved my dad and always will.

Easter brings back a memory of a time when I was a teenager catching the train to spend the Easter weekend with my dad.

I remember waking up that sunny Easter morning and dad pacing up and down, desperate for the pub to open.  While I got ready, he popped out to the off-licence to buy cigarettes and booze – what else? – but when he returned, he stunned and thrilled me when he handed me a small bunch of freesias. The only other gift I remember from my dad was a bottle of Charlie perfume which I kept forever and a lifetime.

My dad was the first man who ever gave me flowers and the delicate beauty and scent of freesias make me stop in my tracks even today.

Beautiful Freesias

Beautiful Freesias

I wasn’t to know then that after this visit I wouldn’t have another sober conversation with my him for many years.  His drinking escalated, he disappeared under the radar but somehow we managed to keep in touch by letter when he was sober (meaning, in prison).

Easter time with my own children growing up in California was always a happy, fun-filled family time. My mum would often visit us from England at this time of year, her suitcases crammed full with British-style chocolate Easter Eggs.

It meant a great deal to me to be able to share them with my kids alongside their traditional American Easter baskets, which were not something I grew up with.

Granny’s visit was always something to be eagerly anticipated with great excitement!

You can always talk to me... (Eldest son & Bonnie 1984) (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

You can always talk to me…
(Eldest son & Bonnie 1984)
(c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Although we had our share of adventures even then. One Easter, our darling dog Bonnie, a cross Lab/Collie, managed to get to Granny’s Easter Eggs (hidden out of sight but not from a dog’s powerful sense of smell) while we were out one afternoon and ate the lot, foil and all.

I was convinced she had been poisoned and was going to die.  Oh no, my poor Bonnie! Dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate, right?  But that dog was cast iron.

She never got ill.  She lived a long, healthy life until she ran out of steam and left us peacefully, many years later in her old age.

Easter holds some powerful memories for me. It was during the long Easter weekend back in 1980  that my life was thrown into immediate turmoil.

That Easter Sunday I took a phone call bearing devastating news that would send me on a flight to the East Coast of America not a few days later. Nothing would ever be the same again.

Many years later at Easter in 2003, a For Sale sign went up in front of our home in California and with every thud of the Realtor’s hammer pounding that wooden sign deeper into the ground, my marriage of twenty-one years shattered and splintered into the broken dirt surrounding it

That same Easter in California, the winds had howled and the seas had raged, black and fierce, churning up its dark secrets. A woman’s torso washed up on a beach in Northern California and not one mile away, the body of a baby, her baby.

Married and pregnant, a beautiful young woman called Laci Peterson had been missing since the previous Christmas and I, along with millions of others in America, was glued to the reports coming in of the search for her.

The news that she and her baby had been found meant a bittersweet closure for her grieving family that Easter, but the ensuing trial ripped apart Laci’s so-called grieving husband’s lies and today Scott Peterson sits on Death Row in California.

Yet, in the mix of these memories, and let’s face it, we were never promised a rose garden,  the strength of all that is good and right takes hold of my heart and reminds me to be ever thankful for the simple and sure message of Easter and the blessings in my life.

Californian Poppies in the Spring - Cambria, CA (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Californian Poppies in the Spring – Cambria, CA
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

For me, there is no better way to do this than to remember the words spoken by one  certain little four-year old boy one Easter Sunday many years ago.

Let loose when Sunday School came to an end and bursting out of the classroom (very excited to get home to his Easter treats) he was not only desperate to show me pictures he had drawn but also to tell me something he had memorised that morning.  Something about a man called Jesus and what somebody had said when they couldn’t find him in the tomb.

The words came tumbling out from the mouth of my youngest son, his face beaming with pride, so pleased with himself that he had remembered what to say:

“He is not here, He is risen, just as He said!”  (Matthew 28:6)

That’s the Easter I remember and I smile because of it.


This will be my last post until next week.  Family time (guess who gets to hear all about a certain someone’s trip to California?!) coming up, although I will be keeping tabs on you all and catching up with your blogs, so please bear with me! (Is it me, or am I always playing catch-up these days?)  Until then, I wish you all a very Happy Easter, filled with joy and blessings for you and your families. And, as I always say, watch this space :-)

Love Sherri x

Posted in Childhood Memories, Family Life, My California, My Dad's Alcoholic Prison | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

A Lingering Look at Windows and A Walk In Lewes, Sussex

As some of you already know, I recently spent some time in Lewes, Sussex and had the opportunity to take some lovely walks.  You will also remember that it wasn’t too long ago when I wrote about ‘Historical Lewes‘ so I hope you don’t think I’m repeating myself here.

I thought it would be nice to take you on one of my walks and show you some more of the sights of this delightful town and at the same time I can share some more windows for Dawn’s A Lingering Look at Windows challenge.

I also thought it would be nice to share this walk with my friend Jo over at restlessjo who takes us on the most wonderful walks every Monday.

If you don’t know these two lovely ladies by now then I’m sure they will be thrilled to see you and you will love their photographs of their travels and adventures.

So, with street map in hand, let’s set off for our walk through the town of Lewes.  Ready?  Good!  Then let’s get going on this glorious, English spring day.

Starting off at the top of the road we head towards a short cut just along from here crossing over to the right-hand side. The trees are just beginning to come into blossom and it’s nice to see the newly mown verges.

A Walk in Lewes March 2014 (1) Some lovely signs of spring well underway as we walk on.

You can see we’re fairly high up as you catch a glimpse of those instantly recognisable chalky Sussex South Downs.  Some beautiful walks can be taken up there I can assure you!

The South Downs, Lewes

The South Downs, Lewes

Before we start to walk down towards the river we have to decide which path to choose.  Left or right?  Hmmm.  Not as if we’ve ever had to make that choice before…

The path to the left it is then.  It’s a steep walk down (and an even steeper one walking back up, be warned; my photo doesn’t do it justice).  At the bottom we turn right and walk under a bridge, which, I understand is very spooky at night.  There seems to be a definite atmosphere about it don’t you think?

Spooky Bridge, Lewes, Sussex

. Spooky Bridge, Lewes, Sussex

Down by the river at last and a lovely, spring walk alongside it.

Walking along the path now with the River Ouse to our right, we are approaching the famed Harvey’s Brewery which has been making Sussex Bitter Ale since the 1700s.  Not my favourite, I prefer wine (bubbly will do nicely too) but the ale, I hear, is excellent.  If there’s time, you can pop back after our walk for a quick half, or pint as the case may be.

Now we are in the actual town of Lewes and our long, uphill climb along the high street begins.  On the way, we can take in the view from the small bridge which connects both ends of the high street and stop to linger at a few shop windows.

This window, you’ll agree I’m sure, is magnificent.  Just look at that antique copper bath.  It’s going for a cool £4,000.  What’s that in dollars? A lot of money, that’s for sure!

Antique shop, Lewes High Street, Sussex (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

Antique shop, Lewes High Street, Sussex
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

Just up ahead is a well-placed map of Lewes showing all the public rights of way should we get lost.  With my map reading I would say the chances are fairly high that could happen.  I blame it on being left-handed.  Still, you trust me, don’t you?

A Walk in Lewes March 2014 (20)

Town map, Lewes, Sussex (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Once at the top of the town, we can turn back for this view of the War Memorial against the backdrop of the edge of the Downs and see how far we’ve come.  The Memorial was unveiled in 1922.

Not too tired yet, I hope!

War Memorial, Lewes, Sussex (c) Copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

War Memorial, Lewes, Sussex
(c) Copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

Now for another short history lesson.  We’ve found the Town Hall and the plaque which marks the place where the seventeen Protestant Martyrs were burned at the stake just yards from here between 1555 – 1557.  You can read more about this here.

Part of the Town Hall is the Lewes Market Tower, as seen on this plaque.

Plaque for the Lewes Market Tower, Lewes, Sussex (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Plaque for the Lewes Market Tower, Lewes, Sussex
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

We are able to walk through the Market Tower’s archway leading to the other side of the street to continue our walk.  You’ll be amazed when you stop to look at this mural with its accompanying description hung on the inside wall, especially for my American and French friends.

Coming through the Market Tower then, we change direction, which according to my handy-dandy little map will take us out of the high street and back down towards another part of the river.  On the way we can linger at yet more delightful windows.  I love the old sewing machines in the top windows.  There’s also a cafe in this converted warehouse but it isn’t time to stop for a drink just yet!  Just a little further…

Continuing down along the path the stunning Church of St John sub Castro seems to loom out of nowhere.  Look at the cute sheep on top of the weather vain!

Walking past the church along the path and on the right hand side are the old swimming baths.  Fancy a swim anyone?

Then, at last, we are almost back to the river but first we walk by The Pells, a delightful wooded area and pond, home to a variety of wildfowl, at the other end of town.  Very pretty here isn’t it?

Now we are at another bridge and, according to the map, at the end of our walk.  Faced with two choices, which way shall we go? To the left and keep walking along the river or over the bridge and back home?  Decisions, decisions!

Had enough?  Me too.  I’m going to leave the rest of the river walk for another day.  Time to head home for a lovely cup of tea.  Anyone care to join me?  Great!  Oh, and the good news for those of you who fancy a pint, we’ve come full circle so Harvey’s Brewery is only a short walk away, across the bridge and down to the right.

A Walk in Lewes March 2014 (43)I hope you all enjoyed your walk with me through Lewes!  Make sure to turn up for Jo’s walk on Monday, I’m sure she has a real treat in store for us.  Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll catch up with you soon :-)

Posted in A Lingering Look at Windows, Photos | Tagged , , , , , , | 73 Comments

American Pie

The Daily Post hosts a Weekly Writing Challenge which I thought I would try.  This week, Vincent Mars challenges us to write our ‘First Fifty’ in this way:

‘For this week’s challenge, you must write a fifty-word story. Not five thousand, not five hundred, but precisely fifty words.’

Here is my ‘First Fifty’:

Spring Blossom against a Dark Sky (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Spring Blossom against a Dark Sky
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

American Pie

Out walking her dog, she never saw it coming.

The car careened across the road slamming her into a wall and the last thing she felt was her dog’s tongue frantically licking her face.

Back home, her husband hummed along as the radio played ‘American Pie’, his wife’s favourite song.

*This story was inspired by true events.  Yesterday, I was shocked to notice a smashed wall draped with police tape and several bouquets of fresh flowers placed by it on a street where I regularly walk not two minutes away from where we live. I later found out that somebody had lost control of their car and driven into a woman walking on the pavement (sidewalk) early Sunday morning.  Although unknown to me, I dedicate my ‘First Fifty’ story to the woman and send prayers to her grieving family and all concerned in this tragedy.

Posted in Flash Fiction, Weekly Writing Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 50 Comments

Threshold of a New Beginning

On the threshold of a new beginning, a point of entering.

This week, over at the Weekly Photo Challenge, Krista asks us to share a photo that captures that moment ‘just before a new beginning — that split-second moment in time, full of anticipation. All the hard work is over; relief is palpable.’

There are many photos I could have used for this challenge but the choice was easy.  This photo was taken in the mid 90s of my three children, dressed up for an Easter church service.  I was not a girly-girl, never have been, and my daughter (Aspie D) was/is the same, but I did love to make her a new dress every Christmas and Easter because I loved to sew.

I knew that she would happily wear the dresses when younger (and had no choice, awful mother that I am!) but I knew that it wouldn’t be for long before she refused so I got in there fast!

Having made that year’s Easter dress and bought the boys proper shirts and trousers for the service, I thought it would be lovely to take a nice photo of them in the back garden/yard before we left for church.

We hadn’t long lived in the house where this photo was taken, having lost our previous home due to the market crash of the early 90s and a serious problem with a neighbour who liked to stalk us and take pot shots from his roof with a high-powered rifle. (I’ll save this little bedtime story for another time.)

What matters now, is that we had settled in nicely and were on the threshold of a new beginning for our family.  We were no longer homeowners but tenants and we faced a long climb back up to rebuild in every sense of the word, yet the five years that we went on to live in that house were the happiest for my marriage and our family life.

Thinking, then, back to this time when I tried to take this photo and the kids just wouldn’t cooperate.  They were restless, wanted to get church over and done with so that they could get back home to the Easter Egg hunt we always held in our back garden,  back to their soon-to-be devoured chocolate as any kid would.

Trying to keep little Aspie D from running off and the boys from pawing at each other as boys do, never mind standing straight, proved to be impossible.  In the end, just before I took one last shot, they exploded into fits of laughter.

Three Kids Together, Paso Robles, California, 1990s (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Three Happy Kids Together, Paso Robles, California, 1990s. Easter chocolate anyone? (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Taken on the threshold of our new life together, it turned out to be one of my most treasured photos, one which reminds me of deep-held memories that, despite our  many challenges, we shared a good and rich family life in California filled to the brim with moments like these.

I’m also reminded that this same richness plays out in the joy and laughter shared with my adult children today.

‘The best thing about memories is making them’ – Anon

Posted in Childhood Memories, My California, Weekly Photo Challenge, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 84 Comments

April Follower of the Month: Sherri Matthews


Genie, over at Espirational, recently and so very kindly invited me as a guest blogger. Very excited and honoured to do so. Thanks so much Bob and Genie!

Originally posted on Espirational:

Our follower of the month for April is Sherri Matthews who blogs at A View from my Summerhouse.  Her blog is fun, informative and she takes great pictures.  I’m sure you will want to stop by and say hello.

Three years ago I lost my job at the same time that my now 21 year-old daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Unable to find another job offering the part-time hours that I could cope with and my daughter, who was suffering from crippling social anxiety (a common problem for ‘Aspies’), needing my help, I became not only Mum but her full-time carer. But deep inside I struggled with the rejection of being laid-off and I began to feel old and useless,  insignificant, washed-up.

As I prayed about it, one day I read this by novelist George Eliot: ‘It’s never too late to become what you might have been.’  I realised that I could use this time…

View original 140 more words

Posted in Guest Blogs | Tagged | 14 Comments

Writing Process Blog Hop

What exactly is a Writing Process Blog Hop you may well ask? I’ve read about them on other blogs  but assumed that since I’m not a published author it wouldn’t apply to me.  This is exactly what went through my mind when Pat invited me to take part in one.  That, and ‘I’m not worthy!’

Never assume anything, my dear friends, for we all know what ‘they’ say about that.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when I hardly dared tell anyone in answer to the question, ‘What do you do?’ that I am a writer.  Even then I would mumble it and quickly turn the conversation around to something else. Not out of embarrassment but because I didn’t think I qualified to call myself a bona fide writer.

Once I had a couple of articles published in magazines I began to ask myself the question and slowly it dawned on me that yes, I am indeed a writer and that writing is now my career.   Yet, as I journey on towards the holy grail of book publication only then shall I be able to say with pride that I am a ‘Published Author’.  Then I will know that I’ve made it.

Meanwhile, I’ve realised that no matter where we are in our writing journey, we all have something to share with other writers about the ‘process’ from our own unique perspective and experiences, no matter how far (or not so far in my case) we are are along the path.

Here is how this Writing Process Blog Hop works:

I introduce the person who invited me to take part,  then answer four set questions about my writing process and finally, I introduce three writers/authors/bloggers who have graciously agreed to take part in this blog hop with me and then keep it going.

With no further ado then, it is my delight and privilege to introduce you to my inspiring and talented writing/blogging friend Pat over at Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom  where she shares her heartwarming and moving stories from her beautiful home in the Colorado Rockies:

Pat Ruppel

Pat Ruppel

Pat Ruppel

Is it possible to make a difference in the world? Pat believes there is. One way is through writing to inspire and warm the heart.

That’s what she hopes to do on her site at “Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom” by extending trust in sharing personal kitchen-table stories.

People always seem more comfortable wherever food and drinks are served, whether inside where it’s warm and cozy or out on the patio.

We go to where we’re most relaxed to catch up on the latest with family and friends or open up to explore conversations with new people. That’s when magic happens.

Pat believes, if we could find common ground and talk, whether it’s around a kitchen table or in writing a story, anything is possible. If there are problems or life issues, she thinks most could be resolved, if we could find where we most identify with one another and trust to tell our story.

Kitchen-Table Stories to Enjoy

The desire to connect and learn how differently people react and their opinion of things interest Pat. It probably comes from when she facilitated talking-stick workshops for her employer back in the late ‘90’s /2000’s. She’s always wondered why people have different attitudes in their approach to what they do and how they feel about life. Where does it come from and what is their story?

It is her hope that you’ll pull up a chair, kick back and join her at her kitchen table at “Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom”, with a few examples of featured stories below. Maybe, they will warm your heart and take you to a similar place — familiar memory — or trigger a feeling within where you could tell your own story.

Ghost Stories From An Old House ― It was the home where my mother grew up in a small beach town in Virginia, situated on main street and only 2 blocks from downtown. You wouldn’t think the house would be “haunted” just to look at it.

Young Love to Old Love ― Well, it’s official. We are now the elder couple with white hair walking down the street holding hands. I remember when I was in my dating years or married and chasing to my next errand I’d see an older couple holding hands and think, “Awhh, isn’t that nice. I’d like to be doing that someday.”

A Talking Stick and a Poem ― A post I read today from a fellow blogger, John Cali, started me thinking. He was asking the question, “How Do You Know If You Are Making a Positive Difference in People’s Lives?” Have you ever thought of that or, maybe, you’ve thought, “What’s the point to what I’m doing?” I remembered, one time, when I was shown how a talking-stick and a poem can make a difference. Here’s my story.

You can connect with Pat at:

Blog: Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom
Facebook Page:

Thank you so much Pat for inviting me to take part in this Writing Process Blog Hop and I look forward to sharing many more of your wonderful stories with you around your ol’ kitchen table for a long time to come!


Here now are my answers to the four set writing questions:

1. What am I working on?

There is a story that I’ve wanted to write for many years and this is what I’m working on now, my memoir, as yet untitled.  I have at last written up a Memoir Book Blurb  for those who would like to know more about it.  This is my first book and the one I feel I must write before I venture into the realm of serious novel writing, if indeed I follow that path.

2. How does my work differ from others of this genre?

Since my book is a memoir it is no different from any others in this genre other than this is my personal story but most of my writing is non-fiction which is what I enjoy most and comes the most naturally to me.  I write in the same style that I write here, on my blog, I don’t follow any formula and I write as it flows, from my heart where it has lived for so long. I’m not sure if that makes my work any different or not, especially as this is the first time I’ve written a book.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write purely and simply because it is the one thing I have that is solely mine, my creation, my voice and it is my passion. It is through writing that I feel I can be heard and understood and accepted as someone who has a passion to share stories based on my life experiences.  I feel that memoir-writing is my true calling.  It sits with me and slots right in, like the proverbial missing piece of the puzzle.

It helps me to come to terms with the past while bringing those memories into the present and so giving hope and strength for the future.  By doing so, I am ever hopeful that I can bring encouragement to others, as well as a little entertainment along the way.  I believe that no experience is ever wasted and if I can write about it, then so much the better.

4. How does your writing process work?

Well, this is something I battle with even now.  On an ideal day, I start on my memoir first thing, resisting with all my might the temptation to look at any emails and my blog until after I’ve bashed out what usually equates to between 2 – 3,000 words.  This I am getting slightly better at (she says optimistically!).

I become completely immersed and lost in my memoir writing but when I come up for air, it is with a strong sense of  ‘fait accompli’, as in job done for today. Phew! Then I know I can put it aside, otherwise I could write all day. Maybe I should, maybe it will come to that if I am ever to get this book written, or at least the first draft. For now, I do need to take a breather and I do this by turning to other writing projects (articles and poetry for submission) but mostly blogging (my life-saver) which changes my focus, brings me back to the land of the living and prepares me for the next day’s purge writing.


Now please meet three writers/authors/bloggers, wonderfully talented, awesome ladies whom I respect and admire greatly and am proud to call friends:

Irene Waters : Reflections and Nightmares

irene waters

Irene Waters

Irene believes that reflection is an essential part of life and in doing this she has written many short stories and poetry. She doesn’t baulk at the unusual which is shown in her varied background. It was her time on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu which motivated her to write her soon to be published first memoir Nightmare in Paradise where she brings alive her experiences and reflections.

She has had short stories published in the anthology “Eavesdropping” by the River Writers and also in Idiom 23 Vol 23 November 2013. She is currently undertaking a Research Masters at Central Queensland University examining sequel memoirs whilst currently writing her second memoir After the Nightmare.

Blogging for a short eight months Irene’s writing reflects her life, her thoughts and opinions and her humour as she takes us around the globe and into her world.

She lives on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland Australia with her husband and German Shepherd Dog Zac.

You can connect with Irene at:



Tracy Lee Karner

Tracy Lee Karner

I’m Tracy Lee Karner, a Food, Travel and Creative Writer

I write for print, web and social media in and about New England. Currently.

I’ve been writing professionally since the early 1990′s.

I also teach “Share Your Story” workshops, and small-group classes for those who want one-on-one help for meeting their writing/publishing goals.

My background:

  • I’m a passionate home cook who served a long apprenticeship under a classically-trained chef (to whom I have been married for 20 years);
  • I’m a life-long language and literature junkie;
  • I’m a former youth minister and Christian education director, and arts educator, specializing in creative, individualized methodology;
  • My University of Minnesota degree is in English Literature, with emphasis on Creative Writing and Individualized Education.
  • I’m a mother and grandmother, living with my husband in New England.

I’m promoting my recently published memoir/travel guide, while working on a novel about family relationships–truth, lies, and reconciliation.

You can connect with Tracy at:

Blog: Tracy Lee Karner


 Seyi Sandra David - seyisandradavid

Seyi Sandra David

Seyi Sandra David

Seyi David loves to write and she has done that for several years. She has worked as a reporter, teacher, and accountant. She had a brief stint as an actor while at the university before she finally decided to write novels full time.

She is a committed blogger and a columnist for ‘Black Heritage Today,’ a London based Magazine, and ‘Rev Up Media.’

Her first novel, ‘The Impossible President’ sold out of its first print run in 2004. She wrote a short story, ‘Tales of Five Lies,’ which gripped readers worldwide. ‘The Feet of Darkness,’ her second novel, is still on sale worldwide.

‘Cydonia: Rise of the fallen’ is her fourth work of fiction.

Seyi lives in London with her husband, Kay, and three children, Samuel, Elizabeth, and Emmanuel.

Links where readers can buy Seyi’s books:
Book Depository
Barnes and Noble (Australia)
ABE Books


Thank you so much Irene, Tracy and Seyi for agreeing to take part in this Writing Process Blog Hop, especially knowing how much you all have on your plates at the moment.  To be afforded this opportunity to introduce you to my readers is a great privilege.  I wish you all every success in your writing endeavours.  I also look forward to meeting your blog-hop writers and reading all about how your writing process works for you!






Posted in Blogging, Memoir, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 69 Comments

WPC: The Streets of Old City Dubrovnik, Croatia

Over at the Daily Post, the Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is ‘Street Life’.  Cheri puts the challenge to us in this way:

‘For this challenge, document the movement (or stillness) of a street: tell a story with your snapshot, capture a scene that reveals a bit about a place, or simply show us where you live — or a path you often take.’

With this in mind, here is my story entitled,  ‘The Streets of Old City Dubrovnik’.


The beautiful country of Croatia (once part of Yugoslavia together with Bosnia and Slovenia until declaring independence in the 1990s) is home to the Old City of Dubrovnik.  Otherwise famously known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’, this medieval walled city is nestled on the Dalmatian coast; from the 13th century onwards it became an important Mediterranean sea power.

Dubrovnik is home to beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries and palaces, all of which were severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667 and then again in more modern times by the Serbian attack against the city in 1991.

After a ceasefire was called, and due to its great concern for the damage done, UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) named Dubrovnik a ‘World Heritage Site in Danger’ and immediately coordinated a major restoration programme.  Click here to read more about this programme and for a more comprehensive history of the Old City.

We were privileged to have been able to visit Dubrovnik in 2012.

Approaching by a narrow, twisting road which drops down to the Old City and its hidden streets, I was able to take this shot.  This was the moment when I first caught sight of it, having been blocked by the tree-lined road until then. Stunned into silence, I immediately understood why Dubrovnik is known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’.

My photo doesn’t do it justice, it is simply breathtaking.

The Pearl of the Adriatic - Old City Dubrovnik taken as we approach from the road above.  Look at that sea! (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

The Pearl of the Adriatic – Old City Dubrovnik taken from the road above. Look at that sea!
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Once inside the city, climbing the city walls gives a magnificent view of the rooftops.  The  buildings seem to be hiding the streets as if protecting them, closing in on themselves.  What secrets lie there I wonder, what stories are to be told?

Dubrovnik May 2012 (197) - Copy

View of the Old City of Dubrovnik taken from the city walls. Notice the Clock Tower (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Climbing back down from the city walls, you can get a closer view of the streets below, beckoning to be explored.

View of the streets below from the Old City Walls, Dubrovnik (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

View of the streets below from the Old City Walls, Dubrovnik
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Back down in the streets of the Old City, there are numerous alleyways at every twist and turn lined with cafes, restaurants and shops.

There are steps to be climbed leading to medieval churches and monasteries.  On the day we were there a jazz band, having travelled all the way from Washington DC, were preparing to play later that evening as part of a jazz festival.

Jazz Bank from Washington D C preparing to play - Dubrovnik (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Jazz band from Washington D C preparing to play – Dubrovnik
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Coming back down some steps after exploring a church, we were greeted by this welcoming cafe at the bottom.  It was lunchtime, so perfect timing!

Continuing to walk through the streets you will soon enough be led to the medieval harbour and out to the crystalline Adriatic sea.

Then, by evening, the streets are bathed in a soft, warming light.

In the streets of Old City Dubrovnik you will see many stray cats.  They are in surprisingly good condition as the business owners take good care of them.  If you don’t mind cats, one of them might even come up on your lap for a cuddle.  I didn’t mind at all and I don’t know who was more happy, me or the cat!

Cat on my lap in Old City Dubrovnik, Croatia (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Cat on my lap in Old City Dubrovnik, Croatia
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

There are many more photos to share from our trip to Croatia but that will have to wait for another time, should you care to see them.  I think I will have to include a post of its own dedicated to all the cat friends we made over there! For now, I hope that you enjoyed this walk with me through the streets of the Old City of Dubrovnik.





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