Take it away, Nell.
Renovation, Renovation, Renovation is a contemporary romance with a twist. One of the residents at Myrtle Cottage, a fifteenth century house is a rather mournful ghost called Mary Ann. She was resident during a turbulent period of English history when Oliver Cromwell was coming to power and civil war raged throughout the country. Mary Ann’s story becomes entwined with that of Kate, the current owner bringing glimpses of the past into the present.
I’ve always been interested in old houses and the human stories they tell about past residents. My great, great aunt Lizzie was a renowned medium in Victorian times – apparently she was famous for her skills at reading tea leaves – and all the women in that side of my family are very sensitive to extraordinary happenings. This, combined with the present economic catastrophes affecting property sales was the catalyst for the book.
As part of my research I was lucky enough to be invited to a séance and cleansing of an ancient cottage. I got to watch the mediums at work and talk to the owner of the cottage. It was fascinating stuff and hopefully added authenticity to the story.
Here's an excerpt for you:
A movement in the undergrowth outside caught my eye and the sight of my cat, Mr Flibble making his way through the long grass towards the orchard at the side of the house bought a smile to my face. Mr Flibble was the one good thing that had come out of my seven-year relationship with Steve. Seven years, thirteen houses and all I had to show for it was a broken heart, a half-ruined house and a one-eyed cat I’d rescued from a dumpster.
A theatrical cough from the direction of the kitchen door alerted me to Steve’s presence in the kitchen.
I didn’t bother turning round. “Is there any hot water left?”
“The tank’ll fill up if you give it half an hour.” Steve sauntered past me crossing the neutral zone to reach his red-labelled cupboard. His hair was still wet from the bath and he hadn’t bothered to dress before coming downstairs. Instead he had wrapped one of the dark blue bath towels that my mother had given us as a gift two Christmases ago around his waist.
“You could get dressed before you come down here.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth I wished I could take them back. It was pointless saying anything like that to Steve. He’d do it all the more if he thought it would annoy me.
Back in his boy band days I would have found seeing Steve half-naked sexy, and we would have made love amongst the dust and debris of the kitchen. Thousands of screaming teenage Danger Line fans would have killed to take my place. Now having him roam around clad in only a towel was just one more of his annoying habits.
© Nell Dixon http://www.nelldixon.com
Overworked, over budget and just so not over him! Kate would like an engagement ring from Steve but instead he's lumbered them with a thirteenth renovation project, and doing up Myrtle Cottage disturbs a ghost from the English Civil War who has romance troubles of her own.
Thanks, Nell. So, over to you! Have you embarked on any massive renovation projects, in life or in building?