Monday, 30 August 2010

Sorry, but I'm closing down!

Hello, everyone.

I have been really ill with a chest infection and have had two courses of antibiotics, neither of which have worked. I feel very guilty for not having written my blog for so many weeks so have decided to close it down. Hopefully when I feel better I will start it up again.

Thank you for reading my blog so far and also for your lovely comments.

With very good wishes to you all.

Maureen Lee

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

One Day Late

My friend, Margaret, read my blog the other day. You don't mention Paul, she emailed later. David is our eldest son who we meet often and Patrick, who frequently comes to stay, is the youngest. Paul is in the middle, but he lives in Colchester so we see him a few times a week. We would never ignore Paul.

Margaret and I met fifty years ago when we both worked in the typing pool of the English Electric Company in Liverpool. We decided life was terribly boring and that we would hitch hike round the continent together. Such adventures were frowned upon in those days. 'If you leave this house,' my mother told me, 'you needn't think you're coming back.'

Regardless of this, Margaret and I resigned from the English Electric and hitch hiked from Liverpool to Dover, travelling one part of the journey on top of a load of beer crates on the back of a lorry. We went by ferry to France and then hitched to Paris where we looked for work but didn't find any. We had little money and ate nothing but French bread for a fortnight before hitching as far as Lyons, meaning to go as far as Nice or Cannes. Instead, we got a lift to Geneva, found work as shorthand typists in the United Nations where we stayed for two months, then with another branch of the United Nations in Rome. They actually flew us there and we stayed in Rome for three months having our bottoms pinched by young Roman men. We eventually learned to pinch them back.

The wages were fabulous, three or times as much as back in Liverpool. I had remained on speaking, or at least letter-writing terms with my mother. As soon as she was told how much I was earning, she felt able to boast about my achievements whereas before she'd been ashamed.
And she let me in when I went home.

Have just watched a programme about The Andrews Sisters on television. I like watching these sort of programmes because I write so much about the second world war when the sisters were very famous. One sister is still alive in her nineties. So many of these real life stories have terribly sad endings. The sisters split up as they grew older and went their own ways. In the end, they almost hated each other. Yes, really sad.

Will go now. Hope everyone is well and happy. Good night.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Monday, 28th June

I have lost a friend. I used to have seven but one has disappeared off the face of the earth and now I only have six. What did I do wrong? Was I too dull? Quite a few people email and want to be my friend on facebook, but I'm not on facebook and can't tell them that because the email won't accept replies.

What wonderful weather we are having! If only I had young skin and could wear a strappy sundress but I daren't expose my arms because they're old arms, all saggy with bones protruding all over the place. I can actually remember a time when I wore shorts. That was before I had children and purple veins exploded all over my legs.

Being old(ish!) brings along wonderful memories though. The other day my friend Audrey telephoned out of the blue. We had really exciting times when we were young. Now this might not seem exciting to you, but when we were young we went to the theatre in Liverpool and saw Michael Redgrave, Googie Withers and Sam Wannamaker in a play. We hung around outside the stage door afterwards in the hope of seeing Sam but he didn't appear. The other two did and we followed them as they strolled along Lime Street to the Adelphi Hotel. Googie wore the most incredible coat that must have cost the lives of many hundred minks. Mind you, these days I wouldn't wear a real fur coat for anything.

At that time, the Adelphi Hotel was to Liverpool what the Ritz or the Dorchester are to London. We stayed there earlier this year, just for the experience. It was cheaper than all the other present day hotels, the Holiday Inns and the Rennaissances. It was a rather sad experience because it was so run down and we wished we hadn't gone.

There has been a shout and a cup of tea is waiting for me downstairs, so off I go. I am going to make this a weekly blog so won't feel guilty for not writing every day. Farewell.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Been Very Busy

I did intend to write a blog every day. I thought it would stretch my imagination, but that would require making things up. I didn't realise my life was quite so uninteresting. What have I done recently that I can tell people? Well, my husband and I went to London again last Saturday to meet our youngest son Patrick who was in London for a few days, but he felt sick, and then my husband felt sick, so we didn't have a meal. Everywhere was terribly crowded and it was cold, much, much too cold for mid June. In the end, Patrick went back to his hotel and Richard and I caught a taxi to Liverpool Street and went home and watched Wallander on television. Has anyone else watched the Swedish version of Wallander - the series has just finished. It's exceptionally good. Although it has subtitles, they are easily read.

Today, the weather is forecast to be hot and sunny and it's lovely outside right now. Also today the budget is being announced. I don't want to stray too far into politics, but the crisis was caused by the banks who are apparently back on their feet again and giving each other massive bonuses. I can't understand why they aren't being forced to repay the loans from the taxpayer before taking any money for themselves.

I have finished altering my latest novel, Au Revoir Liverpool, following my editors' suggestions - I have two editors at the moment. I emailed the manuscript to my publisher yesterday and am thankfully back to working on the novel I am writing now, After the War is Over.

I really enjoy getting letters from the readers of my novels. I have received hundreds and out of them all have received very few that were offensive. One suggested I cut two hundred pages out of The September Girls, and the other threw Lights Out Liverpool across the room when she finished reading it because she didn't like the ending. I had one recently praising all my books except Lime Street Blues which she 'hated'. That hurt far more than the pleasure I felt that she'd enjoyed all the others.

The sun has gone in, I do hope it comes out again soon!


Sunday, 13 June 2010

It went!

So, back to our day out in London. Our first call was at The Crypt of St Martin's in the Fields in Trafalgar Square for a coffee and a Danish pastry. If anyone is ever in the area and wants just a coffee or a full meal, The Crypt is ideal, much preferable to places like Starbucks or Coffee somewhere or other. It is ancient, more than 200 years old, yet has a super modern lift and a really attractive shop where you can do brass rubbings.

This was followed by the cinema where we saw Greenberg with a very downbeat, unsmiling Ben Stiller. It was a family drama and I loved it, but Richard found it boring. No one was murdered or tortured, there were no cowboys in it, there were no plagues, floods, explosions, and the world didn't end. We then went to met our son David and his girlfriend for a meal. David is otherwise known as Joey Negro who deejays all over the world. He has had several records in the top ten of the music charts, but downloading has had a negative effect on that side of his business.

Back in Colchester, we drove from the station wondering if everybody in Colchester had been put to sleep during the afternoon. There was hardly anyone about and the roads were strangely devoid of traffic. It turned out to be the World Cup and England were playing. Poor, poor goalkeeper. That goal will haunt him for the rest of his life. Goodnight.

Another Lost Blog

This isn't going to be very long. Firstly, I have been told my blog is boring. I shouldn't go on about doing the washing and hanging it on the line and stuff like that. Secondly, and this is my own opinion, it does seem a bit arrogant of me to think that the minutieu of my life is of interest to other people. Thirdly, having a blog is irresponsible when you are so utterly useless with computers that you can't guarantee that the damn thing will leave the computer and go to where it's supposed to go. For instance, last night I wrote quite a long blog. We had been to London and I had things to say. But when I'd finished, the blog positively refused to leave the machine. I madly pressed things, but nothing happened. Actually, I had paused writing it halfway through and think the internet switched itself off and when I tried to connect it I cancelled the blog which then went into cyberspace to be read by English speaking aliens. I am now going to send this bit. If it goes, I shall write something else. Cheerio for now.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


For some reason unable to get through to proper page over weekend to send new blog, but discovered how to find it this morning. Yesterday, went to Ingatestone Library with three fellow writers to give a talk. Not many people there, but all very enthusiastic. Lost sun glasses, only had them a week. Today, like every day, I find I can't work unless I've been out for an hour a so, usually a short walk into town to have a coffee. My favourite is M & S where the coffee comes with a little jug of cream. Halfway down the road it begins to pour down so I get my umbrella from my bag, open it, but forget to close bag in which everything gets soaked. I have A Handbag Full of Rain which is a good title for a novel if one could think of a plot. Tata

Saturday, 5 June 2010


This morning we went to an art exhibition by Ian Hay, a Colchester artist whose output covers nearly 50 years. The exhibition is in a lovely old house used as a museum and art gallery. It has a restaurant and an attractive garden. It was another lovely day and we had coffee in the garden. We used to know the elderly man, John, who was born and grew up in the house in the nineteen twenties and thirties. He came from an extremely artistic family - his aunt married Lucien Pissaro, son of the famous Camille Pissaro, and an artist himself. John, who died some years ago, had a flat in the town and it was full of the most beautiful works of art; sculpture, paintings, sketches, and other valuable items. He kept some paintings hidden for fear it might become known he had them and they would be stolen. It was a strange feeling, having coffee in the garden where John and his brothers and sisters had played as children, though nowadays their cries would have been drowned out by the noise of passing traffic and the building going on behind.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Another Lovely Day

Went out to buy two plant pots. Discovered I have been putting things in pots when they should go in the soil. Or at least I think they should. Have got this lovely purple plant climbing up the drainpipe. Painted two benches, one blue, one lavender. As a writer, I really should be telling you about my novels, so I will. My most recently publishered paperback was called Nothing Lasts Forever and told the tale of four women who move into the same house and become good friends. It took place in eight months in 2006. My last hardback was Martha's Journey which is set during the First World War. Martha's son, Joe, who is only fourteen, signs up to fight during the First World War. It was a terrible scandal at the time and Martha sets out for Downing Street in an attempt to stop it happening. This novel will be published in paperback at Christmas. Au Revoir Liverpool I only finished a few months ago and was with my publisher for a while. It was returned last week with suggestions for some minor alterations which I am working on at the moment. This novel's heroine, Jessica, finds herself stranded in France during the Second World War. The book I am writing at the present time, which I have had to put to one side for the moment, is called After The War is Over. It begins in 1946 and my three heroines, Iris, Maggie and Nell have just been demobbed. They have left the Army camp where they have spent a number of years full of adventure and incident. Life outside the Army is deadly dull and they are wondering how they will cope. I have only written three chapters and am longing to continue with the story. I am now going downstairs to watch television. Goodnight.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Busy Thursday

Have washed everything in sight apart from curtains and feel really pleased with myself. While I'm not a keen fan of housework, it does give me a feeling of satisfaction to see washing blowing on the line - actually, there was no wind, so it hung there lankly, but still dried rapidly so I was able to put more and more stuff out. One of the biggest benefits of hot weather, though, is being able to leave the door of my garden office open while I write. The birds in the trees directly outside sing beautifully and various cats pop in for a visit. Looking forward to tomorrow which is forecast to be just as fine. Goodnight.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Sad Wednesday

Must have done something wrong on Monday as I wrote a blog, but there is no sign of it. What has happened to it, I wonder. Today, I can't bring myself to write something flippant or try to be funny. For some people in Cumbria, this day turned out in a way they would never have imagined in the wildest of their dreams. They went out to shop or to meet a friend or follow some entirely innocent pursuit, and were shot to death by a man who had lost his reason. Life is so unfair, so unpredictable. None of us can escape the unexpected. Let us hope the injured soon recover, but many people, even those unhurt, will find it hard to recover from the horror that incurred in their small town today. Goodnight.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Bank Holiday Sunday

Good evening, Had a leisurely day. Went to Sainsbury's for the weekly shopping. Whenever I put the groceries away, I am reminded of our dog, Percy, a wire-hair Daschund. (I usually spell that wrongly.) Percy loved helping put things away, usually down his throat. He was a total pest, but dearly loved and sadly missed. If I am ever clever enough, I will put his photo on the blog. A day rarely passes that someone doesn't bring up the subject of Percy. The day after he was put to sleep, we ran away to London as we couldn't imagine living in the house without him. Of course, we had to come home eventually to a Percy-less house that took an awful lot of getting used to. He was cremated and we put his ashes in the garden and planted a tree. It is a Percy tree and has the most glorious leaves. They are as big as plates and turn from pure gold to a beautiful rust colour in the Autumn. I dedicated a book, The Hen Party, to him. Tomorrow is going to be a tidying-cleaning-catching up on the ironing, changing the bedding day. Or so I say now. Tomorrow I might feel very differently. Good night.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Rainy Saturday

Hello there. Today it was our intention to go to London; Richard was interested in visiting the Tate Modern. Unfortunately, our local railway system is frequently out of use at weekends, in particular Bank Holiday weekends. Apparently, the railway lines are in desperate need of repair and the most convenient time for this to be done is when people would like to visit our capital city. We must have the lousiest, most inefficent lines in the universe. Instead of a straightforward train journey, London requires going on the bus, the train, and the underground. So, we went to Ipswich again for the second time this week and Tate Modern had to do without us. It rained quite heavily, but better weather is predicted for tomorrow and Monday. Tuesday it will be the first of June and the weather is unnaturally cold for this time of the year. One never knows whether to wear one's mink or a bikini. Goodnight.

Friday, 28 May 2010


Have just pressed the wrong button and lost my post. It was truly brilliant, witty, the best I have ever done. It would really have impressed you. But it's lost. I will do an extra long one tomorrow. Sweet dreams my two friends.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

'The Pics'

Went to the cinema in Ipswich today to see The Bad Lieutenant. Didn't fancy it, but went to keep Richard company. When I was very young and lived in Bootle, we used to visit the cinema on Saturday afternoons. In those days we said 'going to the pictures' or 'the pics'. It really is true that you could get in with jam jars. The one pound jars were worth a penny and the half pound ones a ha'penny. I never paid with jam jars because my father had a job and could afford to give me tuppence for seats at the very front. Whilst out today, I lost another umbrella. I lose umbrellas regularly. Recently, the Tie Shop in Colchester closed down and they were selling umbrellas for £2. I really should have bought a few dozen, but stuck to a nice tartan one which is the one I lost today, though still have the cover. Goodnight everyone.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New House

Forgot my daily blog yesterday. Am letting myself down. The reason was we are looking for a new house, details came from an agent and there was a house amongst them that we loved. It was the house that we have been looking for for months. We spent all day, apart from a few hours of me writing my novel, discussing it. This morning, we went to view - it was lovely, individually designed, detached, wonderful garden. I have never, in all my life, had a decent kitchen and the one in the house we live in now is no exception - not that I spend much time in it, Richard usually makes the meals. The kitchen in the lovely house was brilliant. Of course there was a drawback. It was all by itself, yet overlooked by two huge blocks of flats. We sadly had to turn it down. I have been looking at other details tonight, but none compare to THE house.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Lovely Monday

Another fantastic day. This should have been the day I returned to my novel, After The War is Over, but I still feel tired after our holiday. My agent, Juliet, has read the first three chapters and likes them. I do wish I could write more than just a few hours a day. I have so many stories in my head that I long to get down to. This afternoon I went for my three-yearly breast X-ray and shall now be on tenterhooks until I get the letter saying I'm okay. Once I was asked to go back. The letter came on the Thursday before Easter. I didn't tell anyone and spent the holiday organising my funeral. Fortunately, when I returned and had another X-ray I was quite clear. Some women have wonderful courage and can cope with illness, but I am a total coward and would collapse at the news.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sunny Sunday

Hello, it's Sunday and the most beautiful day. Richard and I had a wonderful time in New York. We saw four musicals and thoroughly enjoyed them, and trod the colourful streets of Manhattan until we were exhausted. We flew back overnight, neither of us sleeping a wink, and spent the rest of Friday half asleep. Saturday, I went to a place called Galleywood in Essex along with four writing friends, Fay Cunningham, Jean Fullerton, Fenella Jane Miller and Sheila Norton, to give a talk at the local library. We will be in Ingatestone library in two weeks' time. Today, we are off to do the weekly shop at Sainsbury's and later take our youngest son, Patrick, who is home from Exeter for the weekend, to lunch. I don't normally look forward to shopping for groceries, but it's such a lovely day it will be a pleasure to get out. Will be back soon, Maureen.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Wednesday, 13 May, 2010

Hello, This is my first blog (actually, it's the second and I lost the first and it could well appear one day.) I thought it a good idea to communicate with my readers, let them know what I'm writing, how I'm getting on with it, how life is at the moment and other things. I hope to write a few words every few days.

The first thing to say is I'm going to New York tomorrow for seven days, so won't be writing anything until the end of next week, so am getting off to a bad start by making promises I can't keep.

Before going on holiday, I am attempting to complete the first three chapters of my latest novel, After The War is Over to send to my agent Juliet to see what she thinks of it.

Have just been interrupted by a call from someone asking all sorts of personal questions. I have no idea what they were selling.

Will finish now. I wish everyone well who has read this blog and also those who haven't.

Best wishes to you all. Maureen