Friday 28 January 2022

Wish You Were Here by Alyson Sheldrake BLOG TOUR #WishYouWereHere @AlysonSheldrake @RandomTTours #TravelStories #TenThingsAboutMe

Favourite holidays and special travel memories are shared in this anthology featuring twenty award-winning and top travel memoir authors.

We all have that one holiday that stands out in our minds, that one break or vacation we will never forget. Whether it is a childhood ‘bucket and spade’ family holiday, the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ dream destination, your first trip abroad or the city where you first fell in love, the memories are still there today.

The authors in this anthology bring out their postcards and photo albums and invite you to join them as they reminisce about their travels.

Maybe they will inspire you to book your next holiday too. 

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author here today. She tells us Ten Things About Me

Ten Things About Me - Alyson Sheldrake

How long have you lived in Portugal?

My husband, Dave, and I first holidayed here almost twenty years ago and fell in love with the Algarve. We bought a house here 15 years ago, then had an agonising five-year wait before we could move out here to live permanently. We made the move almost 11 years ago and love it here! We adore the landscape, beaches, 300 days of sunshine a year, the local people, and the relaxed way of life.

How do you find the Portuguese language?

Portuguese is notoriously difficult! After almost eleven years I think I can get by quite well, then I meet someone local and think ‘nope, I didn’t understand a word of that!’

I’ve had lessons, studied lots of online courses, but the best thing for me is always just getting out there and talking to local people. I’m fluent in ‘weather’ and ‘illness’ Portuguese!

I will always keep trying. The worst sound for me is the ão sound at the end of some words... the best advice I ever received was ‘stick a finger inside each nostril and then say the word’... it comes out perfectly!

What are your favourite/least favourite Portuguese foods?

I used to love pastel de nata tarts (sadly I can’t eat them anymore) accompanied by uma bica, a nice strong shot of espresso coffee. I love the local fish, freshly grilled and served with a nice salad and sweet potato chips.

I can’t recommend ordering comida da cozinha (meat of the kitchen) unless you have a strong stomach for things like eyeballs and intestines! I also detest coentro (coriander) which is widely used out here in cooking and is liberally sprinkled on top of lots of dishes.

What foods do you have to avoid and why?

Sadly, it is a very long list. I was diagnosed with RA - Rheumatoid Arthritis - in 2019. I’m managing it well with a strict ‘diet’ of simple food... but there are lots of lovely things like dairy, pasta, and local cakes that I cannot eat any more.

Diet helps a lot, along with CBD oil and acupuncture. I have resisted the drug route; I have a fabulous local doctor at our health centre that is a Functional Medicine doctor. I was so lucky to be assigned to her; she has really helped me. But it has meant a pretty drastic lifestyle change. (Ask anyone that knows me - they will tell you how much I LOVED chocolate!!!!!)

You have worked in both the police and education in the UK. Which job did you prefer?

I served for thirteen years in the police and loved it, but the ladder to climb for promotion is narrow... so I left and pursued my other love (and qualifications) in education. I surprised even myself though as I reached the role of Director of Education within five years, responsible for 130 schools.

That was such a stressful job, working really long hours and battling so many issues, both local and national. It was very scary handing my notice in (it was a very well-paid job and I had worked so hard to get there!) but the call of my paints and the Algarve was just too strong to ignore. Looking back, it was the best decision I ever made. We had always joked we were ‘too young to retire’ and we both had plans. I had the burning ambition to do two things – paint and write – and Dave had held a camera in his hands since he was a young boy. Our new careers were forged, although neither of us had ever worked for ourselves before or had any idea what we were doing! 

Eleven years later, I consider myself an established artist, having sold almost 250 paintings, and completed well over 100 commissions for clients around the world. Dave is now a well-respected and busy photographer, always happiest getting his feet wet on a deserted beach with his camera and tripod at hand.

You have a dog called Kat. Can you tell us a bit more about how she came to be part of your family?

Kat was a rescue dog. We have a friend that runs a charity out here and she went on holiday to Spain and saw a little dog in the middle of nowhere in a terrible state. She was only 11 kg and covered in fleas and ticks and starving. I have some photos from when she found her; they are heart-breaking. She brought her back to Portugal with her. She knew we had been thinking of getting a dog and didn’t want a young puppy, so we met Kat and fell instantly for her. Kat was about five then. We’ve had her over seven years now and she is the sweetest dog you could hope to meet. She is a Spanish water dog; she has webbed feet but will walk around a puddle of water on the ground! And you can blame my husband for her daft name!

Do you write every day or just when the mood takes you?

I get up nice and early (about 5 a.m.) when everything is quiet and write for a solid hour or two every morning. Then I take Kat for her long morning walk beside the river in our village.

I love early mornings here, especially in the summer, as it gets so hot here in the afternoon... that’s the time for a siesta. My brain is usually chock full of ideas when I wake up, so getting it all down is the fun part. The only challenge is getting my fingers to type quickly enough!

They say that inside everyone there is a book/story waiting to be written/told. How would you advise someone to start their story?

I think you are right. We all have a story to tell. I think the best advice I can give is just to start writing! It doesn’t have to be perfect or polished (it won’t be!) but just tell your story.

Maybe think of someone in your mind that you can write it for... maybe a family member or friend. Imagine them sat in a comfy chair opposite you and you are just telling them your story. Or decide that you are writing a letter to someone about an experience you have had or a place you visited... just a letter! Then just keep writing letters or stories until suddenly (as I found!) you have written 80,000 words and have a book.

What genres of books do you enjoy reading?

I love reading about other people’s lives and their stories, memoirs, and travel and adventure stories. I also love a good romance and shh! don’t tell anyone, but I have always loved Danielle Steel! I tend to go through a phase of finding an author or genre I love and devouring loads of books. I also loved the Harry Potter books - I’m just a kid at heart, I think!

I have travelled to so many wonderful places around the world with all the travel memoirs I have read. I have a little corner in our garden where I can curl up and lose myself in a book. We have a lovely covered area to hide under away from the sun... with a fab corner sofa for me – with space for Kat to snuggle up beside me, of course.

Can you tell us about your latest book?

Following on from self-publishing my own three books on Amazon about moving here to live in the Algarve, in my Algarve Dream Series, I have been busy bringing together the stories from a fascinating range of other travel memoir authors. They have all shared their own travel adventures in my new Travel Stories Series.

The third book in the series, Wish You Were Here – Holiday Memories, includes twenty unique and original stories of favourite holidays and destinations. Thanks to Covid, so many people are longing to travel abroad and explore the world, but are trapped at home, passport gathering dust. With my anthologies, you can curl up in your favourite armchair and safely travel the world.

Alyson Sheldrake was born in Birmingham in 1968. She has always loved art and painting, although
she found little time for such pleasures, working full time after graduation. 

She joined the Devon and Cornwall Police in 1992 and served for thirteen years, before leaving to work in the field of education. 

She became the Director of Education for the Church of England in Devon in 2008.

Once her husband Dave retired from the Police, their long-held dream of living in the sun could become a reality. Alyson handed in her notice, and with her dusty easel and set of acrylic paints packed and ready to move, they started their new adventure living in the beautiful Algarve in Portugal in 2011. 

Alyson Sheldrake is the author of the award-winning Algarve Blog, and she is also a feature writer for the Tomorrow Magazine in the Algarve.

She is now an accomplished and sought-after artist working alongside her husband, Dave, a professional photographer. She has published three books about their Algarve Adventures: Living the Dream – in the Algarve, Portugal; Living the Quieter Algarve Dream; and an anthology of expat stories entitled A New Life in the Algarve, Portugal.

Her next writing adventure took her into the world of anthologies, with her Travel Stories Series. The first book, Chasing the Dream – A new life abroad, was released in June 2021. This was followed in September 2021 by Itchy Feet – Tales of travel and adventure.

Wish You Were Here – Holiday Memories, is the third book in the series.
When she is not painting or writing, you can find her walking their rescued Spanish water dog called Kat along the riverbank in Aljezur, Portugal.

Alyson’s comment:
“I’m sure that most of us have a favourite holiday memory, the one destination that stands out in our minds as special. The one that we hold on to the photographs for, maybe keeping them tucked away in a box along with a few special mementoes and postcards. The vacation that we recall with fondness when it is dark and dreary outside in the middle of winter. The one that makes us smile and long for summer days, carefree nights, and that heady feeling of excitement at arriving in a different country, ready to explore and experience a new culture and place.

The authors I have invited to join me here in this anthology all have distinctive holiday memories to share with you in the pages that follow. Whether it is a childhood ‘bucket and spade’ family adventure, a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ dream destination, their first trip abroad or the city where they first fell in love, their stories will delight you.

Travel with them around Europe, eating and drinking the local food and wine, or chase down the perfect slice of pizza in New Zealand.

Be humbled by the poverty in Africa, and find out what it was really like to hang out in the hippie caves of Crete in the 1970s. Visit temples in Thailand and a floating restaurant in Hong Kong.
Go snorkelling in the Galápagos, or ride on a banana boat to Trinidad. Fall in love in Paris and join us for a romantic wedding on a beach in Barbados.”

Alyson Sheldrake, Curator and Editor of Wish You Were Here – Holiday Memories.

You can discover more about the book, including links on where to purchase, and view a free Photo Album to accompany the book, via Alyson’s website:

The book is available on Amazon in Paperback, Hardback, Large Print Edition, and eBook version. It is also available through Kindle Unlimited.

No comments:

Post a Comment