Farewell to the year from hell, looking forward to #livingthedream

Traditionally this is the time of year when bloggers do a round up of the previous year.

I wasn’t going to join the masses, but I changed my mind, as this has been a momentous year in my life – awful, but life-changing as a result.

Whilst 2019 began hopefully, with the successful release of my latest novel, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE, it quickly nosedived when out of the blue, I lost Merlin, my horse of a lifetime, to the dreaded big C.

Less than 3 weeks later, I received a solicitor’s letter, informing me that my ‘friend’ with whom I owned the farmhouse in Scotland, wanted to withdraw her capital from the house and move on. I was given the choice to either buy her out, or let her buy me out. If I didn’t agree to one of these, I would be taken to court and be responsible for costs, and the property put on the open market.

I have spent 20 years paying the mortgage on this property, with the intention of moving into it when the last of my elderly parents passed away, which, given at this point mum was 98 years old, seemed fairly imminent. No way was I going to give in and sell, but how was I going to find the substantial amount of capital I needed (£120K), plus a mortgage to replace the current one. Approaching 60, and self-employed, isn’t helpful.

The situation taught me the real meaning of being stressed – I couldn’t sleep, I suffered frequent migraines, I had a panic attack every time the phone rang or an email came in, and the chronic pain of my hip problems doubled, and in the worst moments trebled, and believe me, working in the industry I do, I’m no stranger to working through pain, but this was something again. People talk about ‘being stressed’, but I’m pretty sure many of them have no idea what it really means. Now I do.

(Cliché alerts) To cut a long story very short, it turned out I have very good friends. I could probably have borrowed the capital twice over. Arranging the mortgage took the best part of 5 months, tons of inconvenience (such as closing down every single piece of credit, like pay monthly services), and I wasn’t certain until the very last moment that it wouldn’t fall through – house of cards comes to mind. Annoyingly, solicitor’s fees mounted up, as we argued over the value of the house, market valuations not satisfying my now very ex-friend. It took until mid-November before I finally gained sole ownership.

And in the middle of all of this, having had her 99th birthday, mum decided she’d lived long enough, and stopped eating.  She already weighed next to nothing, and astounded us all by living a further 5 weeks on fluids alone. However, the inevitable came about at the end of summer, and then there was all the attendant formalities that need doing, right along with everything else going on at the time.

Following on from mum’s death, I then faced the challenge of clearing her house – both my parents were from a generation when nothing was ever thrown away, because ‘it might be useful one day’. With lifespans of 98 and 99 years, you can perhaps imagine how much ‘stuff’ there was, crammed into a big 4 bedroom house with large outbuildings.

However, it is now done. The house is clear and on the market, and in mid December, two days after my 60th birthday, I made my move north in my own horsebox with what little furniture I needed.

I still have to go back for the horse (thank goodness I only have the one these days) and a few bits and pieces, but I was able to celebrate a quiet Christmas in my own home, with my bestie and lodger, Kimberley, who has also lived through this whole nightmare, wondering if she and her nine dogs might be made homeless while the one who shall remain nameless and I wrangled over the house.

Sometimes, when I look back, I’m not quite sure how I survived 2019, yet here we are, about to wave it goodbye and look forward to a new decade, and a whole new chapter in my life.

2020 is the year I start living the dream – a bit less work, a whole load more quality of life, here in the beautiful, magical Highlands of Scotland. This is the view from my bedroom window…

… and the following morning, from the living room:

Dog walks are soothing for the soul, and fodder for imagination

The big pack

The small pack

And so, after 8 months of being creatively paralysed, I have begun writing again – yay!

Where we so often say, “Next year must be better,” I absolutely KNOW it will be, and I can honestly say I’m looking forward to 2020. My hip problems are an increasing nuisance, and I’m waiting on an MRI scan, but I can live with that, and hope that one day they might be sorted.

The rest of my life has begun…


  1. A big hug to from across the pond, my dear friend ♥ and may this year be both bright and beautiful! We have both walked difficult paths this year, but we are strong! Let the writing begin anew!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the same to you too, Connie, may we both find the next year more peaceful and productive – as you say, we are strong, we have survived, now to move forward ❤


  2. I had no idea you were having such a touch time, Deborah. Here’s to a much better 2020 for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Robbie, I didn’t feel able to talk about the house situation while it was ongoing, it was just too stressful, but here we are, it’s over and I’m so ready to move on!
      May 2020 be good to us all.


  3. I love a happy ending!
    Sorry about the rough year, but this next is looking wonderful. Congratulations.

    Looks like you have your very own nature preserve. I have a tiny park on my property, also.

    Good for you on getting back to writing. I have done a bit of script-writing. I hope it works out.

    Happy Trails, and Happy New Year!
    ~Icky 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Icky, I felt like I was in a film – or maybe a book – at times. Now I know what our characters go through, being put through the wringer!
      The Highlands are every bit as wild an majestic as people believe, I am truly blessed to have been able to move here full time.
      May our writing flow freely and be successful in the new decade ❤


  4. I am SO happy thinking about you in your forever home, with the troubles and sadness of 2019 behind you! Some years just plain suck, if you’ll pardon the crude expression. And 2019 sure was one of those for you. But it’s OVER! Yes, there will be some bad days now and then. There always are. But I have a very good feeling that your life is going to be drastically better this year.

    I’m wishing you much happiness and peace of mind, and a chance to laugh again. A LOT. (It’s good for what ails ye, as my grandmother used to say.) And it heals the heart!

    Of course, being in a house with views like you have now will also go a LONG way toward healing your heart, as well. Love the pictures, love the dogs, love that you are starting a new in your favorite place! And love you, too! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marcia, we will ALL have a better 2020 – agreed? The last couple of years have been hard on you, so sending much love and support flying back across the ocean to your side too.
      Laughter is creeping back. It’s been a slow process decompressing, I’ve found it hard to believe at a deep level that its all over, even though I know it really is. Even a few days ago, a missed call on my phone from a number I didn’t recognise sent me into a tailspin. But I’m getting there.
      The house and the views help. It is such an extraordinarily beautiful slice of the world here, and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of it, on a daily basis ❤
      Take care, my friend, and have a great new year!


      1. ❤ ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Jan Desty · · Reply

    New Year, New place, maybe New hips ? Onwards , I hope they all bring you peace & happiness xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Jan, I wish regarding the hips. Unfortunately that isn’t the problem – looks like I’ve torn the cartilage that forms the outside of the sockets – most common in sportspeople who do repetitive motions – go figure!
      Fingers crossed, they may be treatable with keyhole surgery to put stitches in to hold them together. Unfortunately they don’t ever heal, but nylon stitches can stay in for good, that’s what I’m hoping for.


  6. I hope the New Year is much kinder to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cindy ❤


  7. I feel quite exhausted just reading about your year, but just looking at that view must be very soothing. Nine dogs? There must be a good ‘tail’ there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 That’s nine of our own dogs, plus fosters when needed. We started taking rescue dogs from Spain a few years ago, and quickly got caught up in rehoming. We’ve tended to keep the ones with behavioural issues that aren’t likely to find furever homes easily, if at all ❤


  8. Unchaptered · · Reply

    Aw, all the best for 2020 Deborah. I hope it brings you better and less stressful things ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a mess. Those ‘best friends’ so often aren’t. I’m sorry for all you went through. Nine dogs–life has a silver lining for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m just finding it!


  10. Ack, Deb, what a miserable year. Mine was pure upheaval too, but not nearly as stressful. And like yours, my writing went from 8 hours a day to zip almost overnight. I’m so glad that everything has calmed down for you. Your place in the Highlands sounds wonderful – and the views are beautiful. I wish you a wonderfully peaceful 2020 full of luscious words. Happy Writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Diana, sorry you had a bad year too. It’s really horrible to loose that creative ability, isn’t it? Let’s both move forward to a new phase of our lives and keep those words flowing ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Deb, as your friend, I know the hurdles you faced this year, but wow, when you put it together all in one post, it’s a mountainous victory you survived. You are a warrior woman! I am absolutely thrilled your life has finally fallen into place. I know well how life’s obstacles can kill the creativity. I’ve been having dilemmas this past year that must find resolution this year here too. I hope my outcome will eventually turn out happy like yours as we are struggling with the idea of relocating ourselves! And the hips, oh, my new best friend is my sore right hip for months now. Maybe it’s our stress points, maybe it’s writer’s ass, who knows, but I hope your new fortunate life is contagious!!!! Highland hugs to you! ❤ xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I’m sending you all the very best Highland wishes for your own issues ❤
      Even though I've been planning the grand move for years, the reality of actually going through with it has taken me a further two years to fully accept it. I've lived in the same area all my life; my whole routine, business, friends, familiar venues etc. are all in Southern England, so making such a massive move (650 miles) has been quite traumatic in many ways. However, I do think I'm ready for it. It's really now or never, to use a cliché.
      I hope you can find the solution you are searching for, and I look forward to hearing about it in due course.
      Take care, and keep writing (even if it does mean sitting on the ass, maybe more than is good for us!!!).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, thank you my friend. So proud of you for all your giant steps. This is your year, drink it all in. I’ll keep you posted on mine as it unfolds! Hugs xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Jane Sturgeon · · Reply

    Deb, you are indeed a warrior woman and fingers crossed for the nylon hip stitches. Sending you much ❤ and healing energy. Your new views and dog walks are stunning. It's nigh on impossible to be creative when your emotional energy (and all other energies) are hammered as yours have been. Your Mum's passing is enough on its own. May this revolution around the sun be full of peace, much love and many blessings for you, your loved ones, your true buddies and your furry companions. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jane, I truly appreciate the sensation of being enfolded by love and support from afar – we are such a wonderful community, go us!

      Liked by 1 person

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