LUKE FINCH is only seven when we first meet him in my novel Helter-Skelter. He is the brother of Bessie, the girl I mentioned yesterday who was scathing about Dot Smith’s kitchen.
Luke is a typical little boy, who lives half in the real world of Pinetree Farm and half in fantasy land, where he can be Charles LINDBERG flying solo across the Channel, or a racing driver breaking the world speed record. He is an Indian Scout when he tracks his sister and witnesses something that enables him to save his hero Albie from her machinations.
I was seven when my brother Luke was born. He was a doctor when he died 34 years later in a plane crash in Africa. I remember that Luke, of course, but I also remember him as a little blond boy, just like Luke Finch.

LABELS ARE LIMITING. What exactly does LITERARY mean in the writing world? We’re advised to check out an agent before submitting, and the word literary has always puzzled me.
Last year I completed a book about a young LABOURER who rescues an abused boy, and how that Strange Adoption changes both their LIVES. A professional critic called it “part psychological thriller, part a story of human growth.” If I can’t fit it into a category, how can I pitch it to an agent?

LANGUAGES. When we arrived here to live we had to learn Spanish quickly, because we were buying our apartment privately from a couple who spoke no English. If we were meeting Juan and Carmen to discuss our purchase I would write it all down in advance so I could read them my notes if we got stuck.
It was a tense time, renting in Las Galletas and knowing we’d shot our bolt financially if it all went wrong. I bought a set of flash-cards that reminded me of teaching my son to read, and we tested each other in the evenings. 
Ayuntamiento was our first long word – it means Town Hall, where we had to go for some of our paperwork - ( it also means sexual intercourse, according to my dictionary!) Many words have two or more meanings, and often only an accent differentiates between them. The OH learned the hard way to say “Feliz Año” – Happy New Year – with the ñ as in España. Without the accent, ano means arse! 
Aren't languages fascinating?

..... and for your LAST photo of the week, this is a LANTANA. They come in various colours, of which this is the most common here. When my daughter came to live in Tenerife 20 years ago, the first cutting I took home was a lantana, which flourished in my English garden, even through snow.


  1. A sad memory Liz but his spirit lives on through the eons of time.
    An unusual post in some ways.

  2. Fascinating, I don't know too much about Tenerife. By the way, Lantana grows in the US not sure about Canada. It is edible too, did you know, only the leaves I think, you should check it out.


  3. So sorry about the tragic death of your brother, the photos are fantastic.

  4. Thank you all for popping in on a sunday - I shall check out the lanatan leave

  5. Aren't accents tricky? I remember a story in German class about the perils of the umlaut, and the subtle pronunciation of the "u" in a word changing its meaning from hot/humid to gay.


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