I’m delighted to welcome Susan Buchanan with a guest post for my stop on the blog tour for her new release, Just One Day – Summer, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
Where to summer – at home or abroad?
I didn’t travel abroad until I was sixteen, enduring the excitement of a thirty-six-hour coach trip, complete with breakdown prior to Dover, and again at Caen, France, before finally arriving in La Fosca on the Costa Brava. And although we were a family of five, and the trip was hair-raising and exhausting, we loved every minute of it, almost!
That was my first foreign trip, and I went on to develop a love for all types of travel: beach holiday; booking only a flight and winging it when you get there holiday; safari; vineyard holiday; cultural holidays, the lot. I even lived in France and Spain twice. I confess that in the nineties and noughties, and even into the 2010s, my carbon footprint was probably pretty hefty, not least because I also travelled worldwide for work. Sorry…
And the main attraction of going abroad was, as ever, the weather. Guaranteed wall-to-wall sunshine. Apart from in my childhood, Scottish summers haven’t been particularly brilliant in my lifetime, although we now seem to be having a resurgence of decent temperatures the last few years, unfortunately probably due to global warming.
This lack of sunshine on our shores caused many to turn to Spain, and to a lesser extent France, and then further afield in Europe, with the US and other destinations also on the list by the end of the twentieth century. Everyone scrimped and scraped for two years to go for two weeks to Orlando, Florida to see Mickey Mouse, or slogged their guts out for a ten-day break in Estartit, Spain.
Meanwhile, back in Scotland the weather was hit and miss. May was a great month weather-wise when I was younger, but the main months of July and August were so unpredictable. Until recently, this seemed to be true of all the summer months. Often you couldn’t decide how to dress for the day. It could be glorious sunshine one minute, then two hours later pouring with rain, rounding off with a hailstorm by lunch. Fact. Particularly on the Isle of Arran, which I adore.
So, Arran aside, is it any wonder that Brits turned to Europe and beyond? Not really. And with package holidays comparing very favourably moneywise with holidaying at home, it seemed a no-brainer.
However, whilst there’s much to appreciate abroad, and I love travelling (in normal times), I can’t help wanting to explore more of the UK. This year I’ve visited more places in the UK than I’ve ever done. We’ve just returned from a week in Cornwall and Devon, with a foray into the Cotswolds, three places on my bucket list. And I loved all of them. The weather was amazing, the people friendly, the beaches gorgeous, the food (generally) wonderful. I now have two new favourite places – Bigbury-on-Sea in Devon where Burgh Island can be accessed via the causeway, and where the hotel had a writers’ retreat built in the thirties for Agatha Christie no less – we went to Bigbury-on-Sea twice in one week for its golden sands, tide coming in from two directions, amazing views and awe-inspiring landscape; the other is Castle Combe where no new dwellings have been built since around 1600. It was like stepping back in time. I actually felt like crying when I had to return home from my week away, as I already knew I’d miss it all so much.
I’ve also been to Stafford, Stratford upon Avon and I’m off to Telford for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference in a few days, and can’t wait!
Last year we went to the Cairngorms in northern Scotland for our holiday, for my husband’s 50th. Time was spent with family, we sat in the conservatory trying to spot the arrival of red squirrels and saw a hare too. A hare! And of course, a visit to a local bookshop was on the cards. Shoutout to Marjory at The Bookmark in Grantham-on-Spey.
We’ve also been to the Lake District a few times, although since I broke my ankle in a soft play there, maybe I should just move on!
Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate British summers as they should be – full of highs and lows, Wimbledon, strawberries and cream, pub lunches, kids playing in the adjoining play park; crisp white wine or Pimm’s (yeah, I’m fooling no one. I’m not that posh!); days out at National Trust properties, visiting castles, mazes, gardens, stately homes, the beaches and other areas of natural beauty.
I do love a British staycation in summer. Where’s your favourite place to go?
Thanks so much for this, Susan.
‘Gorgeous, glorious and uplifting. A delight to read.’ (Christie Barlow)
List-juggling, business-owner mum-of-three Louisa is reeling after a tragedy, as well as learning how to cope after a life-changing revelation. With oil worker husband Ronnie possibly being able to move onshore, she hopes he can help her manage the burden.
But the secrets she keeps are causing her headaches and she’s unsure if her ability to make good decisions has deserted her. All she seems to do is upset those around her.
With Louisa’s to-do list gathering pace at an incredible speed, will she manage to provide a stable home for them all, embrace her new normal as well as rebuild their life from what’s left?
And if she gets what she has always wanted, will it match up to her expectations?
For fans of Milly Johnson, Sarah Morgan and Heidi Swain.
Purchase link – https://books2read.com/u/3yKNa6
Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband, their two young children and a crazy Labrador called Benji. She has been reading since the age of four and had to get an adult library pass early as she had read the entire children’s section by the age of ten. Susan writes contemporary fiction, often set in Scotland, usually featuring travel, food or Christmas. When not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, Susan loves reading (obviously), the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily in that order!
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