About Me

Hi, I’m Sherri & welcome to my blog!

Greetings to you from me!

Greetings to you from me and thank you so much for reading my blog!

Here is my story in brief (famous last words, ha!)…

A born and bred Brit widowed at the age of 21, I remarried and moved to the US with my American then-husband to the Central Coast of California in the mid 1980s. There, we raised our three children for the next seventeen years.

Then my marriage broke up.

Trials and turns have twisted in and out of my life, leaving behind their footprints.

For one, my dear jailbird dad has left a few of those footprints on the cold, hard floors of the many prisons and halfway houses where he has lived for most of his adult life, thanks to an addiction to alcohol that he cannot defeat. *

But please know this blog isn’t about blame and recriminations:
it is about forgiveness and healing and living joyfully in a New Day.

Returning to my ‘home’ in the UK in 2003, I faced life as a forty-something single mum with the prospect of finding paid employment,  And then, life took  me completely by surprise the day I met the man who is today, my lovely Hub.

He took my hand and led me back into the sunshine.

We are now settled in the West Country of England with my youngest adult child and assorted pets which, to date, include two black kitties and a grumpy bunny but once included a family of Chinese Button Quails, a corn snake called Charles P. Snake, an African Land Snail called Vladimir and three degus called KPS: Kevin, Peter and Sam. This is what happens when your youngest is an Aspie and a consummate pet lover.

Turning fifty wasn’t so bad (what better pay back than rocking out with your grown up kids at my first Metallica gig?), but things took a downturn in the coming years. My youngest struggled for years with debilitating social anxiety before receiving a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome (High Functioning Autism) at eighteen.

Job loss (mine), financial reversal and two car accidents followed. That old ‘black dog’ became my constant companion and for a long time I felt pretty damn worthless, insignificant and washed-up.

So I got down on my bended knees and prayed.

Not one, but several doors, slammed firmly shut in my face.  Well, don’t ‘they’ say that when one door closes another opens?  This is true, but it’s no good if you stand still and don’t actually walk through that open door.

It took me a long time just to get the self-belief that I could actually attempt it, never mind achieve any measure of success, but one day I said, “Enough!” I got up off my knees.

With renewed courage and faith, I stepped over the threshold of that doorway to follow a new path towards my life-long dream, in which I dared to call myself a Writer.

What's at the end of your path?  Selworthy, Quantocks, Somerset (c) Sherri Matthews

What’s at the end of your path?
Selworthy, Quantocks, Somerset October 2012
(c) Sherri Matthews

“Rise up; this matter is in your hands.  Take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4

And it was on the other side of that door that I was at last able to find the answer to the question I had asked myself all my life: how can I turn my life experiences into something that others will hopefully find valuable, worthwhile, and maybe even inspiring?

Is it even possible? Risky, yes,  but as I always say, better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. So here I am.  Writing.

Weaving stories from the past, making sense of the present,
giving hope for the future.

Why the name, ‘A View from My Summerhouse’ you may well ask?

Summerhouse in Spring

My Summerhouse in Spring

Some of my most endearing and happiest memories from my childhood are of playing in my grandparents’ summerhouse at the back of their glorious garden in Cheshire, and I longed for one of my own one day.

I had to wait a long time, but a couple of years ago, lovely Hubby built one for me in our garden as my office.

My summerhouse is my writing haven.

My hope is that in sharing my stories here, you are encouraged and inspired to chase your dreams and to never give up.

No matter how side-lined or insignificant you feel, or how dark your days may seem, I urge you to remember that there is always hope, always a light shining in the darkness, always the knowledge that you are not alone.  And if I can change my life for the better, so can you!

The view from my Summerhouse may not always be rosy, but I hope you will share it with me, rain or shine.

Love Sherri x

*At the time of writing this page, my dad was 81 and living in a half way house.  He returned to prison almost a year later for breaking parole – he had ‘a few pints’ – and remained there until, very ill, he was taken to hospital.  He died peacefully, five days later, surrounded by the love of his family, on 17th July, 2016, three weeks before what would have been his eighty-fourth birthday.  He gave me the one gift he could: his blessing to write his story. My blog is dedicated to him.  Be at peace darling dad.


404 Responses to About Me

  1. mel says:

    Hi Sherri
    This is the first blog I’ve ever commented on. It was the instant connection I felt to you that has inspired me to do so! My daughter (age 9) was recently diagnosed with aspergers, which in all honesty has been a great relief after several unhappy years at school struggling with friendships and bullying. I knew instinctively that something wasn’t quite right and felt so frustrated as to how I could help her. I know some parents struggle with the diagnosis, but for me it has opened a door to knowledge and understanding I desperately wanted to find.
    I was touched by your blog on aspergers and animals as my daughter too has a close relationship to animals. We have two cats, and one of them, Bagheera, is especially ‘moody’. I get the impression he tolerates us humans so long as we feed him, but he certainly doesn’t seek out our company. Apart from my daughter that is. He only ever goes to her bedroom and sits on her bed. It’s most bizarre. Especially given the level of torture he will put up with from her….for example wrapping her arms around him, ‘tucking him in’ with various fleeces and blankets not to mention dressing him up in all manner of accoutrements she deems fitting. It’s as if he understands that she needs him.
    I also smiled to read your ‘about me’ piece as I too have a life long dream to be a writer. Sadly, for me this is unfulfilled as yet – or at least, as my husband tells me, I’m a ‘writer who doesn’t write’. I work full time and have two high spirited children to look after, and somehow all of this has taken over not just my time, but that mental space that’s needed. Not that I’m complaining, as I’m greatly blessed, and thankful for my lovely family – I just wish there was a way to carve out a little time for me. I’m inspired by your courage to not lose sight of the dream, and hope that there’s a summerhouse just like yours waiting in a corner of my future.
    Nice to meet you and please keep writing. You have brightened up my day today.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Mel, I am honoured that this is the first blog you’ve ever commented on; I am deeply moved by all you share. I wish I could give you a big hug! I’m so glad and relieved for you now that your daughter has received her diagnosis at long last. I felt the same way when at last my daughter got hers, but in our case, I just wish she had got it when younger. Things are improving with earlier intervention, as demonstrated by your experience, and I’m very encouraged to know this. I do so hope that now your daughter will receive the help and support she so badly needs at school. My heart breaks reading about her struggles with friendships and bullying, knowing just how that feels as a mum. But understanding what is going on with your daughter means you won’t feel like you’re groping around in the dark, wondering what on earth is happening. This knowledge will help you tremendously.
      As for your cat – what a wonderful name, ‘Bagheera’ (The Jungle Book is one of my all time favourite films 🙂 – I am not surprised at the special relationship he shares with your daughter. I have seen time and time again the way animals react to mine and it never fails to amaze me.
      As for your writing dream, when I read your words, I read myself twenty years ago. I felt exactly the same way, unable to find that ‘mental space’ to write with a family of three kids to bring up and then all the ‘stuff’ of life, the nub of which you have read here! So I would say to you Mel, never let go of your dream, believe in that summerhouse waiting for you and know that oneday it will be your time to write.
      I’m honoured that you would share this with me…thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy life to do so, to let me know how this blog inspired you (which in turn encourages me no end!) and I wish you, your beautiful daughter and your family nothing but the very best for the future. Hugs…Sherri x


  2. Annika Perry says:

    Sherri, just to let you know I have included you in a list of favourite / recommended blogs in my latest post. https://annikaperry.wordpress.com It’s the Liebster Award! I thoroughly enjoy your blog and wanted to share it here through this award. Please do not feel under any obligation to accept, however should you wish the ‘rules’ are on my post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Annika, how very kind of you to think of me and the Summerhouse, you are very kind 🙂 Many congratulations on your Liebster award, I’ll be over to read all about it. I’m thrilled you enjoy my blog – as I do yours, very much! -, which is ‘award’ itself. I hope you don’t mind that I won’t participate in the rules due to time constraints, but I will be sure to acknowledge you and link to your blog in a thank you post very soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annika Perry says:

        I agree, Sherri, I find the comments and friendships formed here on wp the ultimate reward! This award is definitely time consuming and I know you are busy; just to let you I’m thinking of you. Take care.😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn says:

    Lovely to met you Sherri. I look forward to reading and sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Antonio says:

    A life very animated……
    hello Sherri, have a greatest w.e.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice blog. Luv your Selworthy, Quantocks, Somerset pic!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Julia says:

    I loved reading about your summer house, and how it is your writing studio. It reminded me of the author Anne Morrow Lindbergh (wife of the famed aviator) who had a tiny shed she called her “little house” where she went to have space and time to write — which wasn’t always easy, with five children and a frequently-traveling husband. We lived on the Central Coast for some lovely years, 1990-1993. Who knows– perhaps we crossed paths one day and didn’t know it? We were at Vandenberg Air Force Base, between Lompoc and Santa Maria. I really enjoyed your story. BTW our youngest son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 1994, when hardly anybody I knew had ever heard the term. He has other disabilities, though, so he was around doctors enough that the diagnosis did not come as late as it typically does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Julia, please forgive me for my delay in replying to your lovely and very much appreciated comment. I’ve only recently returned to blogging since Christmas, for various reasons. It’s interesting to me that these ‘little houses’ in back gardens have now become something of a trend…yet Anne Morrow Lindbergh certainly had hers out of necessity for some peace and quiet! And of course, as you’ve read here, my desire for a summerhouse goes back a long way 🙂 It gets cold there in the winter, but a little electric fan heater helps with that! I’m’ so glad you enjoyed reading about it.
      I loved reading about your time on the Central Coast. I would be surprised if we had not crossed paths. I know of Vandenberg AFB and Lompoc well, and Santa Maria especially is a place I visited fairly frequently. Ahh…happy memories! I am glad to hear your youngest son received his diagnosis early on and hope that he continues to receive the right support. Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your story with me, it is lovely to meet you and I hope we shall meet again 🙂 I wish you and your family the very best ~ Sherri.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Chuck says:

    Hi Sherry,
    I followed you through Hugh Roberts (Hugh’s Views). You site intrigues me and I look forward to reading and following you. There are so many writers, including myself, that are writing memoire based books about troubled childhoods. Is the market getting saturated? My original manuscript was therapeutic, yet I wonder is there still a market for mine? I invite you to visit my site and leave me some constructive comments. A recent post I ask the question, memoir or fiction, I would love your opinion. /www.chuckjacksonknowme.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Chuck! How lovely to meet you via our mutual friend Hugh…thank you so much for visiting and following the Summerhouse, I very much appreciate it. Although I am not blogging too often at the moment while I work on the revisions of my memoir, I sincerely hope you enjoy what you do read. I will certainly reply in full to your great comment and head over to your blog later this afternoon when I return from an appointment, but I wanted to touch base with you, apologise for the delay in replying (story of my life, ha!), and to let you know I am looking forward very much to discussing the questions you raise. I will be back! 🙂 Sherri.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi again Chuck, I’ve left a – long! – comment on your memoir vs fiction blog post which I hope you will find helpful. I didn’t address the question of market saturation you ask here, but I wanted to say I don’t think you have to worry about that. If you know the main thrust of your story, what makes it strong and unique as you tell it through your voice, then there is very much a market for your memoir. This is what I tell myself when self-doubt comes knocking at my door, too often for my liking! I would urge and encourage you to write your memoir while reading others that appeal to you. If you feel your story is one for the public and not just for your own theraputic purposes, then you need to write it, not just for yourself but for those who will read it and come away changed because of it. I wish you all the very best 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. delphini510 says:

    Dear Sherri, I am deeply touched by your story, in spite of difficulties I can feel the light shining through the cracks all the way. It has been a great inspiration to me this morning.
    Keep going with the flow and see the light you know is there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Miriam, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like for a few months now (my last post was in March) mainly due to family circumstances, but I hope to return with a short update post in the next few days. I can’t tell you enough how much your touching message encouraged and blessed me…knowing you feel the ‘light shining through the cracks’ reminds me of my reasons for starting my blog in the first place: to somehow inspire others not to give up and to follow your path no matter what happened in the past. There is always hope! Thank you so much…it’s lovely to meet you ~ Sherri

      Liked by 1 person

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  18. It’s good to meet you. Never give up, and never let other people define the value of your life; that’s my motto.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Juliet says:

    Thank you, Sherri, for sharing and inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I just read your about page to figure out where you live and you have gone straight to my heart, Sherri, with your talk of faith and hope. Am so sorry about the loss of your Dad. Once we get to know each other better I may tell you about about the loss of my Dad. I am delighted to get to know you. – Molly from Maine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Molly from Maine, the delight is all mine and I thank you so very much for your lovely and kind message. I look forward to sharing our stories and hearing about your dad. So glad to meet you here. Sherri from Somerset xo

      Liked by 1 person

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  27. Hello Sherri, you surely are a writer and have a voice that shall be heard and a story that will reach…

    Liked by 1 person

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  34. John Maberry says:

    Ah yes, the trials and tribulations that wind up a memoir making! Mine was going to be something different–an antiwar screed. Then I got involved with someone–that would be my third marriage. Her father didn’t approve (she was 30!) and threatened to kill the both of us. Obviously that didn’t happen 🙂 I don’t know if anyone can right one quickly. Took me five years. I gather it took you a while too. Shakes stuff loose so you can move on–isn’t that so?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yikes, John…what a story, and so glad you are here to tell it! I’m right there with you, six years for me, but just about there now, readying for submission to agents. The next big step! Completely nerve-wracked about it, but will give it my best shot. ‘Shakes stuff loose so you can move on – isn’t that so?’ Never truer words spoken. I have other projects on the go, been published along the way (magazines, anthologies, the like) but this…not until it’s done can I really move on. Blood, sweat, tears and the rest. I’ve never written a novel, so I can only assume writing a memoir is a different beast altogether? Did you finish your ‘antiwar screed’ or write something else? Here’s to moving on soon before I go nuts! Thanks so much for visiting, John, great to chat 🙂


      • John Maberry says:

        “Waiting for Westmoreland” turned out to be the antiwar book I intended–in part, but much more. I had to get it out before I could move on to fiction. That’s taken much longer than expected with researching a place to live in the Southwest, buying land and fixing up the house back East. We bought the land in October 2008 and you know what happened next! Selling the house in 2011 and moving into the new one the end of 2012. Took a lot of time I could have been writing. But I’m on it now! 🙂 Good luck on the final steps with yours!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Glad to hear you’re on it now, John! I can relate, having moved house 2 years ago smack bang in the middle of crucial writing rewrites. Of course, had to let it all go for a while…and so it goes. Now to those final steps! Thanks so much, John…and likewise! 🙂


  35. nightlake says:

    Hi Sherri, Wanted to congratulate you on the Tuff Beans story. The difference between the mild-humored first draft and the deeply meaningful third draft was amazing. The process of improvisation comes out well in your story. Congrats!


    • Thank you so much, nightlake, how very kind of you. Goodness, what a wonderful, encouraging comment. I am truly honoured that you would take the time to share your thoughts on my blog. You’ve made my day! Sherri 🙂


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  38. Marsha says:

    Hi Sherri, It’s been ages since we chatted. Your story is heart warming. I have heard some of it, don’t know why I haven’t read the whole thing before now – my loss. My husband’s sister has been diagnosed as having adult-onset autism and depression. When her parents died, she came to live with us having never held down a job or lived outside their home. She stayed 9 months. We forced her to do some hard things, first to volunteer in various work places, and to get counseling. I got her a journal, which she filled and rewarded us with a sweet family history book she had written for each of her siblings for Christmas. Within 9 months we found a place for her to live on her own. She wasn’t happy about it, but Vince was firm. “Sometimes we all do things we don’t want to do.” By that time she had found a job as an in home support person. That led to a laundry job in a nursing home. She has just quit, due to the COVID scare in nursing homes. We didn’t think it was wise for her to keep working there. So she is officially retired now. We are both so proud of her and her parents would be too. I only wish they had known what to do when she was young, so that she could have matured before she was 56!

    BTW, your dad had the same problems as my great-grandfather – in and out of prison as a young man, a bootlegger and alcoholic. He died peacefully in his sleep when he was about 78 or nine.

    Glad I found your blog. If I wasn’t following you before, I am now. 🙂


    • Hi again Marsha, and thank you so much for sharing your family’s story with me. It’s funny isn’t it, we see each other all around but sometimes we miss each other on our blogs. I’m getting your newletters now which is great. I will catch up with you! What an encouraging story about your sister in law. It is very hard and you and your husband persisted and it paid off greatly. It isn’t unusual for adults to get diagnosed with autism late in life. Not everyone understands. I look forward to chatting more now we’re in touch again. Take care, Marsha, and thank you so much for the follow! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha says:

        My pleasure. When I switched my account to a self hosted blog, I lost all of my former followers. So the followers I have now are just from 2016. You are not among them, so I didn’t have your blog address handy until I saw it on Carrot Ranch. So glad you wrote that post!!! Did you see my interview with Charli? We mentioned you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh Marsha, I don’t know what’s going on with blogs at the moment. Some tell me they no longer see my blog but then they find out they are no longer following me. Then it’s fine again. Weird. So glad you found me at Carrot Ranch! I’m heading over to your interview now! And to follow you again! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  39. Hiya Sherri! Justin’s what people call me. 🙂
    I have enjoyed your blog and the contents therein. I found that I haven’t seen a lot like yours around.
    Quite a lot of wonderful musings.
    A short story about my dad…
    He was always until a few last years of his life an alcoholic. When he met his 3rd and final wife, he was set for life. And she helped him set himself straight, for the most part.
    Tragically, november 29 2016, she passed away suddenly due to a brain aneurysm.

    Around a year later, he suddenly one day, was gone too. Same day as my grandma. We had started reconnecting in 2005 – as my dad left the state for child support evasion. I forgive all, and miss him.
    I’d love to talk more about him, but right now,I’m actually writing something else. More on him later.

    My dad had aspergers, although it wasn’t diagnosed, and so do I. We have most of our diagnoses in common. I’m not bipolar anymore, I didn’t keep that diagnosis, or the flippy-floppy emotional states it brought.

    My mom has ADD, every single one of my siblings – except one – has some ADD/ADHD/Asperger’s/Bipolar, etc going on.

    All this to say, I guess… my dad and yours sound kind of similar in the struggles they went through. And this blog touched me and helped me remember things that I had never actually felt or been able to deal with – I still haven’t mourned him or my stepmom in the traditional capacity, as I think aspies don’t do things traditionally.

    Also, check out *my* blog if you like, I’m creating a blog and website the likes of which I don’t think has been seen before. A lot of things I will have has been on multiple pages, but I’m combining everything because it’s all —————-

    Till later –
    Justin G

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Justin, and firstly, please accept my huge apologies for my terribly late reply to your message. I disappeared offline to tackle some indepth and highly focused developmental edits on my memoir, a book that so far has taken 7 years to get this far! What with keeping the fort held down on the homefront throughout this onging pandemic and the challenges therein, it made for a longer time away from blogland than I expected. Endeavouring to get back on track now and here I find your touching, heartfelt comment. Thank you so much for sharing some of your personal family history with me. I don’t take that for granted, as it’s not easy going back to the past. But that is my hope by sharing my story, to find connnection with others who experience similar. To spark the conversation that might otherwise stay buried. I’m honoured and humbled that this blog moved you in such ways. It is so good that you found forgiveness with your dad, I agree, he and my dad seem to have struggled in similar ways. My dad also remarried, but not happily, sadly. His drinking went downhill and he could never beat it, but I do believe he found peace at the end of his life. How tragic that your dad should lose his beloved third wife, but as you say, it’s good he had a semblance of happiness with her at the end of his life. And your comment about aspies not doing things traditionally…yes, I certainly can resonate! I will head over now to check out your blog. It’s lovely to meet you, Justin. Keep safe, keep well – Sherri 🙂


  40. carol says:

    I’ve just read “about” you and was immediately drawn in to read more about your life experience and courage.

    Liked by 1 person

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