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A Berry Yummy Time

Huckleberry picking with my sister in Oregon. I’ve wanted to do it forever, but could never seem to manage my visit to coincide with the elusive fruit in season. Finally I managed! And the experience did not disappoint. The only disappointment was that we didn’t get to camp while we picked.

 

 

Official picking tools: a plastic ice cream bucket clipped onto a belt to free up both hands for the yummy, but backbreaking, task at hand.

 

 

The delightful fruits of our labours are the wild cousin to the blueberry, smaller and much more tart, tiny round packets of tastebud titillation.

 

 

In the UK, they are closely related to bleaberries and bilberries. We picked three days and over that time managed nearly three gallons of berries. LOTS of work.

 

 

But time spent in the sunshine on the wild flank of Mount Hood is SO worth the effort.

 

 

And yes, it was sunny, though from the distance where I’d taken this photo, the clouds hadn’t cleared yet. This is a little closer to our destination.

 

 

Oh, and did I mention lunches at one of the best cafes in the world?

 

 

We seldom picked later than three in the afternoon.

 

 

By that time the back was not caring at all about the belly’s greed, and of course we ate almost as many as we picked. Well, in the beginning at least.

 

 

I had to pick frantically to keep up with my sister who is an expert at the job. She always managed more than I did, even with her ‘one for the bucket, one for the mouth’ technique.

 

 

And then there was clean-up before we headed home. The remnants of huckleberry stains from three days of picking were still with me when I got on the plane back to the UK.

 

 

At home, the berries had to be cleaned and bagged, then put in the freezer.

 

 

All this happened while we laughed and chatted about the wonderful day we’d had.

 

 

BUT! We always made sure we’d left plenty out for the best part of the day, the reward at the end …

 

 

Homemade huckleberry pancakes for dinner!

 

 

 

 

Out Now! Cupid by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985 @evernightpub) #holiday #christmas #erotica #romance #shifter #paranormal #pnr

CupidBlurb:

As a postman by day, and one of Santa’s reindeer on a single very special night, Cassius Cupid eats, sleeps, and breathes deliveries. He doesn’t mind, but sometimes wishes that someone would send him something more exciting than bills and junk mail.

One cold January morning, Cassius gets his wish. A young woman arrives with a parcel. Turns out it’s for his housemate – but Cassius doesn’t care. All he’s interested in is Carina – the beautiful female courier.

Has Cupid finally met his match?

Buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/cupid/

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27255784-cupid

*****

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Excerpt:

Cassius Cupid woke with a start, and then sat bolt upright in his bed. Shit, I’m going to be late! was his first thought.

Milliseconds later his brain switched on, and he remembered. He was on holiday. Flopping back onto the warm mattress and pillows with a contented sigh, he smiled. No work for fourteen whole days—it was going to be utter bliss. He stretched, relishing the feeling it created in his sleep-softened muscles. Ahhh…this is the life.

He knew he wouldn’t go back to sleep—hell, it was eight o’clock, which was practically the middle of the day for someone in his profession—so Cassius fell to thinking about how he was going to spend his day, not to mention the several others in front of him. God knew he deserved to relax and have some fun. He’d just emerged from the busiest part of his year, and he was more than ready to do some chilling out.

He enjoyed his job as a postman—he really did—but the Christmas period was a total killer. He idly wondered how many cards and presents he’d delivered over the past few weeks. It didn’t bear thinking about. Once you factored in the festive period itself, the weird few days between Christmas and New Year, and then the flurry of mail that got sent when everyone went back to work properly at the beginning of January, he’d racked up some serious deliveries. And that was before you even thought about his other job—which was for just one day a year, but was arguably more important than the other 364 put together.

Cassius—or Cupid, as he was known to his boss and colleagues in his second, but most important job—was not only a regular postman for the Royal Mail, but also a reindeer. For a single day of the year, Cassius had the supernatural power to transform into one of Santa’s faithful steeds and help pull that famous magical sleigh, delivering presents to excited children the world over.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Cassius really did eat, sleep and breathe deliveries, but not for the next fourteen days. All he planned to do was watch some TV, read some books, maybe go out hiking, meet some friends… basically anything that wasn’t delivering something to someone. Hey, he might even receive something through the post himself—preferably not the usual crap; bills and junk mail. He didn’t hold out much hope.

He lounged in bed for another ten minutes before realising he was lying there just for the sake of it. Being on holiday didn’t have to equal staying in bed all day—and certainly not for someone as active as him. He reached over to his bedside table, grabbed his glasses and put them on. Throwing off his thick duvet, he walked to his bedroom window and peeked out through the curtains, immediately glad of the effective central heating he and his housemate had forked out to have installed the previous year.

The outside world was covered in a thick layer of snow, and Cassius was mightily glad that he wasn’t out delivering letters and parcels. The stuff was treacherous enough without having to carry a heavy bag up and down driveways, paths, and pavements — most of which either hadn’t been cleared, or had been cleared badly, leaving incredibly slippery patches of ground for an unsuspecting postie to come across. God knows he’d gone down enough times, but, much to his relief, nobody had ever seen him do it. He’d always been relatively unharmed—excerpt for his pride, of course—and had been able to scramble back to his feet and carry on.

The eerie silence outside was broken by the rumble of an engine, and Cassius turned his head to look up the street—he lived in a cul-de-sac, so he knew that’s where the vehicle would come from—and watched as a delivery van made its way slowly and carefully down the road. He hoped the driver was sensible enough to try and steer over the thickest parts of the snow—the more people went over and over the same patches, packing it down, the more the road surface resembled an ice rink. And since the cul-de-sac was on a slight hill, it was easy enough to get stuck. He’d seen it so many times—even going outside one time last winter to suggest the driver go down to the bottom of the road, turn around and try reversing up the hill—an almost foolproof plan for vans with rear-wheel drive. He’d gotten a big thumbs-up for that suggestion as the driver finally got to the junction where the road became flat, and went on his merry way.

As the van drew closer to his house, he saw that the driver was a woman. That would explain her cautious driving—he’d never admit it to one of his drinking buddies, but women were far superior when it came to driving in adverse weather conditions. He even thought he’d seen some survey containing statistics that proved it.

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*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 140 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

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Mud Mountains and Jurassic Treasures

It’s a mountain of mud, Black Ven, constantly flowing and collapsing and being washed into the sea. It’s the largest mud slide in Europe. On one end, at a place called Church Cliffs, Mary Anning found her famous ichthyosaur fossil in 1811. It’s impossible to stand on the beach looking up at its towering black mass and not be a little bit weak-kneed.

Black Ven far left

The cool thing about Black Ven is that it’s not JUST a mountain of mud. Black Ven is a mountain of prehistoric mud, a mountain of mud filled with fossils. Raymond and I walk along the beach with the other fossil hunters beneath this intimidating wall of mud hoping we’ll get lucky and find something positively Jurassic.

Bright yellow signs warn fossil hunters to keep off the unstable mud cliffs, and even from a safe distance, occasionally we can feel the mud shifting beneath the sand and rock. Just a reminder that this is a landscape in flux.

We’re on holiday in Lyme Regis. We have our official goggles to protect our eyes from flying rock fragments, and we have our official hammers and chisels to create said flying fragments in search of the surprise in the middle. I keep my focus on the litter and debris under my feet, not just looking for fossilised treasure, but also to keep from falling on my butt.

Raymond’s beautiful Crinoid

The best find of the day is an exquisitely detailed crinoid Raymond finds while standing a little bit closer to the threatening mud mountain that I’m particularly comfortable with. But then after he finds it, I’m willing to risk a closer walk. A bloke from Brazil is there with his wife. He

The day’s treasures

points us to a right smorgasbord of belemnites closer. It’s like picking up small bits of pointed rock bullets, and the more we pick up, the more we want to pick up – even while we’re wondering what we’re going to do with a pocketful of belemnite bits.

A lot of the bigger rocks, the boulders too big to stick in our pockets and bring home are covered in trace fossils of

Ammonite in a boulder. Not Titanitus giganteus, but still very impressive.

ammonites. We take snapshots to remember how amazing they are, and we stand for a long time admiring their beauty and their size. While we eat our sandwiches looking out to the changeable sea, Raymond reads to me from the fossil book that some ammonites got to be two meters across. I’m stunned. He reads the name from the book –Titanites giganteus, which we both agree is a good name. Most died out before the Cretaceous, he adds.

As the tide begins to come in, we work our way back toward Lyme Regis and end up in the Pilot Boat Pub for a pint and some chips – our reward for the successes of the day. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, and we’re told the worse the weather the more fossils wash out of Black Ven.

Now back home in our cottage, as we look over our stash and sip coffee, we talk about

Ammonite in boulder

what a perfect day it’s been, eagerly looking at other fossil hunters’ treasures and sharing our own, sifting through the rock that’s been washed from Black Ven by the sea and the rains, and experiencing the rush of finding bits of the ancient past before they wash out to sea and are lost forever. It was a good day. It’s supposed to rain tonight. Who knows what treasures will wash free from the prehistoric mud? Someday the whole mountain will wash into the sea, along with all of its secrets of the past. But as for today, we took home a few of those fabulously ancient secrets tucked away in the pockets of our walking trousers.

Some experiences have nothing to do with writing, and everything to do with widening and deepening my inner world so that I have something to write about. Finding Jurassic treasures that Black Ven has given up to the sea is one of those experiences.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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