I don’t Own a KINDLE!

Because my books are available on Kindle, people assume I have one. I don’t, but I do buy Kindle books all the time and read Kindle Books almost exclusively.

This is because I read them on my phone.

The app is free, easy, and any device I have has the potential to become a Kindle reader… even my computer. So if this is what has held you back from the wonderful world of Kindle, then look up Kindle App on your device, and download it.

Kindle App

My Africa my Home

Have you bought your copy of my first memoir yet? It’s 66% off if you buy it now, and it’ll land in your Kindle or Kindle app on launch day!

Strike while the iron’s hot AND get it on sale!

Here are the main preorder links, but you can get it on all the Amazon sites: Just click on your region and it’ll take you right there – USAusUK, and Canada.

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Join The JPeaSmith Reader’s Club for non-spam emails with all that and more by clicking HERE. (Yes, this used to be a newsletter but I found that a bit stuffy, which doesn’t suit me).

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New Look, New Book!

It’s not quite official yet, but the long-awaited, much anticipated first book in my memoir series is just about ready! Amazon is doing their thing, we’re just sorting out pricing and fiddling with boring things like blurbs and bios… all of which I hate doing. But it needs to be done and by Monday we should have all the links and the ball will begin to roll. It will be ten weeks till launch but if you’re on the email list I’ll sneak you some photos, snippets, and even the first chapter!

I’ll tell you more about it this week, but in the meantime we’ve both been completely lost down the rabbit hole of artwork, cleaning up links, giving this old blog a new look, dotting all the “i”s and crossing all the “t”s. So if you notice anything that needs fixin, pleeease tell me!

I’ve even updated the “Who am I?” post HERE which was very out of date, so check it out if you’d like.

And I love my header. I do almost all my writing on my lap in bed, at airports, on couches, in Molly…. so I no longer have a real desk, so my new header is the one I created. It’s my imaginary desk, (though the photos are real… I took them and pieced them together)… I think I need to add a cup of tea, what do you think?

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If you’d like to receive the first chapter of My Africa My Home – The Fault in the Family Memoirs Book 1 (for free, in your mailbox), then sign on for my “big news only” (I promise I won’t spam you! I only send them when something important is happening) then click HERE.

  Newsletter link:  http://eepurl.com/cvljU9

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A Blessed Weekend!

So sorry I’ve been quiet again, it’s been a REALLY hard time with the identity theft stuff. Seven nights up way beyond midnight and hours and hours of phone calls and paperwork and stress… we’ve been running on Adrenalin for about 10 days now, and I didn’t waste the energy, using it to unpack 80% of the boxes and do almost all my Christmas sewing. The upside is I’ve done about a months worth of stuff in ten days, the downside is it’s hard to turn it off again. It’s false energy and not good for me, but it was better to use it than allow it to turn into anxiety.

Friday was twelve days in the flat and it was time to leave again. It was just starting to feel like home and I miss it terribly! But we needed to leave for a few weeks for Visa “stuff” and he was off to Israel for two weeks anyway, so I flew alone to the UK. To spend the two weeks collecting and bringing home our Daisy, who I’ll meet and collect tomorrow.

This is me at the airport ready to go, with my luggage… one huge (but very light) bag filled with the packaging and cardboard and bubble wrap that I saved from unpacking our fridge in the move! This will be used to wrap Daisy to safely bring her home 😊

But in the meantime, through my search for Daisy, a fabulous young lady called Natalie found me. She not only has EDS herself, but she also runs her local EDS support group, and works for EDS-UK, and… she and her husband also ride a Hase Pino! She also used it to strengthen her body and it’s so encouraging to see how much it’s done for her, and to validate this investment in my health.

They’ve lovingly taken me in, been the most amazing hosts, and it’s been two days of wonderful English life, from the local Christmas market this morning to a place at the table of her wonderful family …and roast lamb dinner (one of my most favourite meals!).

Yesterday I had the privilege of joining her EDS support group and it was amazing in ways it’s hard to explain, …sitting in a room with a dozen others with EDS, who talk about so many things I’ve lived my whole life with, and no one has to explain anything! Good, smart, normal people in agony, sharing their stories of life, diagnoses, pain, problems, suffering, thriving, and how we all deal with a world who judges and ignores us (for the most part). Lots of healthy laughter too.

It’s also very cold here, especially after Malta! But it’s manageable after Canada, and I’ve loved being a part of all these lives… including dogs and chickens and ducks and markets, and I’m super proud of myself for sticking to my new eating plan … especially hard when it’s coming into Christmas!

(Though Tescos are coveting all their bases and Easter Eggs are already out! Right next to the Christmas mince pies!):

PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve signed on the easy, no-spam newsletters I send out no more often than monthly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those)!

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Spain Photos

Some photos just don’t make a daily blog. Either I didn’t do one that day or there were too many things happening, or multiple stories which got lost in bigger or better stories. So now that we’ve left Spain behind, here are some of the “leftovers”…

Watch this space to see some fabulous videos and blogs about some of the fabulous people and food in Spain!!! (When I get the chance… I’m too busy living in the moment but they’ll come!)

#ASeatAtYourTable !

PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve offered to support and keep asking where and how! I’ll keep these links at the bottom of my posts for the next month 🙂 They’re the easy, no-spam emails I’ll send out no more than weekly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those) till the book launches and you can get your free copy!

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Weekend in Valencia

We spent the weekend in Valencia with “old” work friends, and if you think from the photos that all we did was eat…. you’d almost be right! It’s Spain of course, so we got up late, ate late, and went to bed past midnight which was terrible for #MahEeds but I survived and we’re sure each of us is more than a few pounds heavier.

Valencia is of course all about oranges. But it’s out of season and there were so many other crops on the go. The land is flat and fertile and the farmland protected from development. It’s beautiful in a rocky, raw, salt-of-the-earth kind of way. Olive trees and artichokes, eels and seafood.

We ate paella with seafood and paella with squid ink, fish cooked in salt and eels, pancakes and lemon and raspberry breakfast cake baked at 1am just for us!

We kept our unintended tradition and added three more little girls to our long list of little girl hosts and Molly fans.

Valencia is beautiful, easily Spain’s best kept secret. At one million it’s about the same size as Perth but very old. And not just a tiny old town either, but endless blocks of stunning architecture old and new…

And the bull fights were on!!! 😵

But I do not get their traffic rules. Round-a-bouts or traffic-circles have pedestrian lights as you drive OUT of them blocking the whole flow of the circle. They also have lights within the round. Today there were FIVE sets of lights within one circle, some only about twenty metres apart (and we got stopped for a whole light cycle at three in a row). They also don’t have lane lines within the circle, so at one point, while there were three lanes going in and three going out, there were six cars wide pushing to the front…

Here we are waiting to leave the circle but the pedestrian lights are red. These were the natural lanes… but within a few seconds an extra 5 cars jumped into this space in front of us:

Thanks Valencia, Paola, Manuel, Lucy, Bella and the three girls for a lovely weekend!! We’ll be back very soon!

PS: Solar panel update: the new panel and installing equipment should arrive in Valencia this week so we need to come back for installation later in the week.

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PPS: Thanks so much to those who’ve offered to support and keep asking where and how! I’ll keep these links at the bottom of my posts for the next month 🙂 They’re the easy, no-spam emails I’ll send out no more than weekly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those) till the book launches and you can get your free copy!

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Spain!!!

So, this is how the conversation goes:

“I’m concerned we have so much stuff, it stresses me”

“We have so much stuff because your bike bag takes up all the storage and the stuff that came in the air freight we don’t need for Southern Europe anymore”.

“Ok, that makes sense….”

Then two days later we have the exact conversation over again.

This morning we woke up in the south of France…

….to the same conversation. It may have been once too many. I may have told him he needs to either accept my offer to wrap it all in garbage bags and duct tape and put it on the empty side of the bike bag or stop complaining. His stress levels may have risen further…

We stopped at a shop and bought four rolls of packing tape and a bag of garbage bags. I wish we’d taken photos. This is us at the next truck stop. We went through Molly from front to back and if we don’t need it till Malta we put it in the bike bag. Then we squashed it into a sort of sausage shape….

And #TheSphinx was born!!!!

She’s tied in, chained on, and after two hours in the burning heat we hit the road again. She also protects Hitch somewhat. And all that space formerly taken up with bike bag and other stuff is free!! Woohoo!!!

We drove another couple of hours through Southern France ….

Then crossed the border into Spain late afternoon. We’re in shock. The change was almost instant. We’re in love with Spain like you can’t believe!!!

But more on Spain tomorrow….

For now it’s salted potatoes (my POTS friends dream!!) and home grown home cooked local dinner then bed!

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PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve offered to support and keep asking where and how! I’ll keep these links at the bottom of my posts for the next month 🙂 They’re the easy, no-spam emails I’ll send out no more than weekly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those) till the book launches and you can get your free copy!

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Still Tweaking!

Like all homes, I’m not sure Molly will ever be “finished”. We potter and shuffle and think of new things all the time. We’ve also been living out of suitcases for three months across five countries on both sides of the equator so we’re carrying some extra baggage. Some of it’s bulky (like Hitches travel bag which uses up half of Molly’s storage under the seats), the rest is smaller but all these extra things add up.

So we keep finding better ways to hide it and store it. Which means constant reshuffling, which can sometimes be interesting (but often boring).

I wanted one of those kitchens for Molly where everything hung on hooks. But in the end having ALL the crockery in a single soft basket seems to be the best solution. One single, non-rattling, non-sliding, soft-but-sturdy bag where if you need anything from a pot to a plate, the kettle or an egg ring, it’s in there:

It travels on the bed so it doesn’t go anywhere when we go over bumps, then sits on the counter when not needed, which is the easiest spot to access anything in it anyway. Then when you open the lid to cook or get some water, the bag moves easily back onto the bed.

Crocheting bags keep me busy as we drive and are going on the kitchen wall hooks instead of the pots. They are fun to make and I’ll show you more soon. They hold the cutlery, glass coffee plunger, glass wine glasses etc.

Oh, and I made a hanging fruit bag too so the fruit doesn’t bounce and get bruised. so today was about settling in to routines.

He makes oat porridge for me in bed each morning which is such a lovely way to start each day. The view never tires as it’s different every morning 😊

And that’s all before even climbing out of bed!

So far Molly is everything we hoped she would be and more. Belgium is absolutely AMAZING in ways I can’t explain! What a fabulous diversion!!

Another fabulous day, though Bertha’s not helping things and today was a particularly bad day 😢

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PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve offered to support and keep asking where and how! I’ll keep these links at the bottom of my posts for the next month 🙂 They’re the easy, no-spam emails I’ll send out no more than weekly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those) till the book launches and you can get your free copy!

Hare & Tortoise

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Bruges!

I think I’m going to have to post more regularly as things get so out of date so quickly! We woke this morning to a leisurely getaway from Nigel’s house in England, popped into the supermarket for some last minute supplies (more on that later), then drove an hour to Dover, hopped on the ferry, all without me even leaving Molly!

A couple of hours on the ferry with my blanket and hot water bottle and before we knew it we were landing in Calais, drove across the top of France, through to Belgium, and arrived in Bruges by 5pm!

Thanks to our Wild Camping app we’ll be spending the night along this canal in the middle of town. A short walk to the city square, the best waffles I’ve ever had, a local beer for him to enjoy by the canal with the harbour master (& new best friend) and our first night in Europe appears to be quite the success!

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PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve offered to support and keep asking where and how! I’ll keep these links at the bottom of my posts for the next month 🙂 They’re the easy, no-spam emails I’ll send out no more than weekly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those) till the book launches and you can get your free copy!

Hare & Tortoise

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Upgrade Mark 2

So Molly started out life as a commercial vehicle. @VanscapeLtd found her for us, stripped the insides, and built a basic fit-out. This was done from afar and constituted her first upgrade. We chose Vanscape mainly because their fit-out has a full sized double bed option which could potentially be a game changer for me. Believe me, this is a rare thing in the camping world, and they did an amazing job. I elected to have some of the doors not fitted, as my bed will be an almost permanent set up and I won’t be able to open them with the bedding on.

We collected her on Wednesday, then on Friday drove to good friend Nigel’s for a few days of R&R and upgrade round two.

I would have preferred no window here behind the driver side, as it’s not really needed and the alternative for me would have been a kitchen wall. But I didn’t have a choice, this was the right van to get, and it came with a window here. So, as soon as we got to Nigel’s, I locked it shut, put up its thermal blinds, and asked Nigel for his thoughts on a backing board.

Low and behold, he produced a gorgeous piece of blonde plywood from the corner of his amazing garage, and over a good many hours of very careful work, we (mostly Nigel actually) produced this:

I’d arrived prepared with some basic fittings from IKEA, and the kitchen really started to take shape on day two, despite the rather stressful night in between!

Nigel’s such a patient man! But also a truth speaker like myself, so he very kindly worked with me and my ideas but said NO when they got out of hand somewhat, …and lovingly suggested alternatives which produced these gorgeous copper “towel racks” on the high cupboards:

I’ve still got a long way to go to finish Molly’s fit out, but in the meantime, I’m very happy with the progress so far!

There’s a fine line between the kitchen on the left and my “Office”/bed on the right, but I’m trying to keep them a little bit distinctive. More photos to come as we tweak again…

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PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve offered to support and keep asking where and how! I’ll keep these links at the bottom of my posts for the next month 🙂 They’re the easy, no-spam emails I’ll send out no more than weekly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those) till the book launches and you can get your free copy!

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First night in the UK

We left Malta more excited than we’ve been in a long time, you know, butterflies in the tummy and all that, so didn’t sleep much the night before. …we even kept giggling at each other! How old are we really?

We left 30 degree Malta heat behind and traded it in for midday at Heathrow and 14 degrees, picked up the rental car and headed for Devon, a four hour drive away.

We arrived at Vanscape who’ve been converting our 5 year old commercial WV into a Kombi Campervan, and there she was!! We’ve named her Molly, and we love her more than we could’ve imagined! Molly’s on the left… it turns out we could’ve gone all out like her sister on the right… but he’s very very happy we didn’t do the flower thing.

Here’s Molly in her naked state:

Ok, not quite, as I’d already started loading the shelves before I stopped to grab a photo! But being late in the day the temperature started dropping so while the men did all the paperwork etc, I made the bed.

They couldn’t get the insurance sorted before everything closed and you aren’t allowed on the road without it, so we drove the rental car to the local pub for the best carvery I’ve had in a while, then came home for our very first sleep in Molly… in the factory car park!!

Absolute bliss… the most comfy bed (especially after the horrible Air BnB one we’ve been sleeping on) and we slept like logs!

Maccas for breakfast in bed finished the night perfectly, and like a good girl on a rest day I’m still snuggled up in bed writing while the men fit the bike rack and assemble his bike from the flight. This is my view out the back window as I write (minus the thermal blind)s:

It’s cold out there, but I’m snug & warm on the most comfy bed ever… we now have to return the rental car, tweak the van a bit, then head for IKEA for a few minor supplies, then a camping shop for traveling 12v kettle etc, camping chairs and what not, then it’s back to London and Nigel’s house to pick up our clothes, plastic kitchenware etc which we’d sent ahead of time.

PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve offered to support and keep asking where and how! I’ll keep these links at the bottom of my posts for the next month 🙂 They’re the easy, no-spam emails I’ll send out no more than weekly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those) till the book launches and you can get your free copy!

Main email group:
Team Tortoise:
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The Editing Team:

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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@JPeaSmith