Sunday 5 July 2020

Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Juliet Greenwood ☼

☼ Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic ☼ 

Pull up a deck chair, tie knots in your hanky and roll up your trouser legs!

☼ Summer time is here ☼ 

 I'm delighted to welcome author, Juliet Greenwood to our picnic ☼

What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic? 

I’m vegetarian, so I’m bringing a huge salad, with mixed salad leaves, watercress and rocket from the polytunnel in my garden, along with a few home-grown tomatoes and a large avocado (not from my garden – yet!). I’m accompanying it with homemade bread and sheep’s cheese from the local farmer’s market – a bit like feta but very smooth and delicious. My grapes aren’t ripe until well into the autumn, so I’ll bring a fruit Pavlova with plenty of raspberries and strawberries, and a few wild bilberries. 

Would you like chilled white wine, a flute of Prosecco, a tumbler of Pimms, or a tall glass of sparkling elderflower cordial? 

A flute of Prosecco, please. That sounds perfect for a relaxing summer picnic. I think we all need a touch of luxury, these days. 

Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside, at the seaside? 

I think on a meadow, overlooking the sea. Maybe with bees in the flowers, and the odd dolphin passing by? That sounds perfect. 

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag? 

Oh, a wicker hamper and the works, I think. Let’s do this in style! 

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic? 

The hill behind my house. Even in the summer there are very few people up there. I’m in the heart of Snowdonia, so that’s very precious in a normal summer. There’s the remains of an Iron Age fort at the top and you can see the sea on one side and the mountains on the other. It’s where lots of us went up to see the last solar eclipse, with plenty of picnics to hand. That’s such a happy memory – although usually we are usually only surrounded by sheep and the occasional mountain pony. 

Which of your literary heroes are joining us on the picnic today? 

Now that’s a hard one. 

I think it would have to be someone I’d never otherwise have a chance of meeting – so it would be George Elliot and Elizabeth Gaskell, both women who defied their time and wrote about social issues and the real lives of women. I hope George Elliot would feel able to join us without plunging us into social disgrace – we might have to reassure her that living with a man to whom you are not married does not make you a pariah any more. And I’m sure Elizabeth Gaskell would soon be quizzing us on industrial relations and the wonders of the NHS and the welfare state – and itching to write a new version of North and South! 

Which summer read are you bringing with you today? 

Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers. It always reminds me of summer by the sea, it’s a book I can get lost in for hours. 

What is your earliest summer memory? 

Being on the beach in Barmouth, in southern Snowdonia, watching the tide come in after a long summer’s day running in and out of the sea with my brother. And the delicious smell of chips mixed with sea air – delicious! 

Do you have a favourite summer hideaway? 

My dad’s cottage, miles from the nearest shop and no mobile reception and a river for a refreshing (and very chilly!) swim. There are only two other houses in the valley, so no light pollution, and no mobile reception. Just the deer coming down from the forest to graze the sheep fields at dawn. It’s a bit of a challenge in winter, especially as you get cut off at the first sign of snow, but idyllic as a summer retreat. 

Do you have a summer music playlist for reading / writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel summery? 

My favourite summer listening is Youssou N’Dour. My choice would have to be ‘My Hope is in You’ from the album ‘Joko’, which is wonderfully upbeat. I love his voice, and it brings back happy memories of playing the song full blast while finding my way round country lanes in Cornwall in the glorious summer sun! 

Do you find that your reading tastes differ between winter and summer? 

I tend to prefer long reads in the winter, the kind where you can vanish into another world for days on end. I also tend to revisit favourite reads, like Pride and Prejudice, A Woman of Substance, and Bleak House. 

Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or during the winter? 

I find it easier during the winter. In summer, I love to be out in my garden and walking my dog. I live in the heart of Snowdonia, so it’s stunning here when the sun is shining. I need to meet deadlines in the summer, of course, but I find it much easier to chivvy myself to stay indoors when it’s wet and windy and dark and all I want to do is to disappear into another world (preferably where it is still summer!). 

Would you like to tell us a little about your latest novel, or your current work in progress? 

My latest book is The Ferryman’s Daughter, which is published by Orion and is out on May 14th. The story is set near St Ives in Cornwall around the time of the First World War, and follows Hester, who is determined to escape dire poverty to become a professional cook, and one day open a cafe for the artists in St Ives. I love Hester, who is independent minded and never gives up, even when everything seems against her, and the world around her changes as WW1 breaks out. From rowing the family ferry to survive, to cooking with what she can lay her hands on (overcoming flour and sugar shortages!) to help wounded men recover their strength, she keeps on going. Plus she’s nobody’s fool, and can spot the creepy young man trying to sidle up to her to get her at his beck and call a mile off. She’s also fiercely protective of her younger siblings, while never giving up on her own dream. Go, Hester! 

14 May 2020

Juliet, where can we follow you on social media? 

Thank you for coming to our picnic. 

It’s been a pleasure! Nothing can beat a summer picnic by the sea in good company. It’s the best. Now, how about another glass of that delicious Prosecco? 

More about Juliet

Juliet Greenwood has always been a bookworm and a storyteller, writing her first novel (a sweeping historical epic) at the age of ten. She is fascinated both by her Celtic heritage and the history of the women in her family, with her great-grandmother having supported her family by nail making in Lye, in the Black Country, near Birmingham in the UK, and her grandmother by working as a cook in a large country house. 

Before being published by Orion, Juliet wrote three historical novels for Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press, reaching #4 and #5 in the UK kindle store. 

Juliet lives in a traditional quarryman’s cottage between the mountains and the sea in beautiful Snowdonia, in Wales in the UK, and is to be found dog walking in all weathers, always with a camera to hand…

☼Thank you for coming to our picnic☼
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  1. Thank you for inviting me to such a glorious picnic - it's so wonderful to escape lockdown with good company. Cheers!

    1. Juliet, thank you so much for being our guest today and for sharing your fabulous picnic with us. It's been great fun ! x


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