Elizabeth Chats With…Lin Treadgold

My guest this month is fellow writer, Lin Treadgold, who has recently moved back to the UK after living in The Netherlands for the last fifteen years. Her husband retired and now she is celebrating a new lifestyle in Devon. 

Hello Lin, thanks for dropping by. Let’s start by taking you back to your childhood. What is your earliest memory — and how old were you at the time?

virolMy earliest memory was when I was about 15 months old. My mother left a jar of Virol on my high chair. You know, that horrible brown sticky stuff they used give you to ensure you had enough vitamins. I must have picked up the spoon and daubed my hair with it. I remember my grandmother making a fuss and trying to wash out the brown sticky mess whilst I was screaming my head off. I know it’s a young age to remember that far back, but it must have left an impression because I never forgot it and I hated having my hair washed for many years after. Then there was always the Syrup of Figs and the liquid paraffin and senna pods. My grandmother’s generation were obsessed with bowel movements and apparently it wasn’t just my family, it was something they used to do in the forties and fifties as a matter of course. If you hadn’t ‘been’ to the loo that day, you could guarantee a dose of something nasty the following morning. I used to lie and tell them I was fine.

What was your favourite subject at school — and which was the lesson you always wanted to avoid?

I loved English and writing stories. My other favourite subject was geography. I found I couldn’t see numbers; they were a jumble of shapes of which the values meant nothing to me. I didn’t find out until later years that I had dyscalculia, I didn’t know there was such a thing. So arithmetic was the subject I always avoided. Since that time I have passed a maths exam with the Open University if only to prove to myself that I could do it. I found it very difficult to concentrate but got there in the end with 87{ca225c2aedd0a3230fdf18169b52e0cd27b098bc7f89404059909f89450e2217}.

If you had to escape from a fire, what three things would you take with you?

I would grab my husband and dog, then my family photos, and finally I must not forget to take my jewellery, as most were a gift from my mother and my family. I suppose, in reality, I wouldn’t get much time to do all three.

Talking about yourself, how would you finish the sentence “not a lot of people know…”?

… I travelled the world by sea over a six year period during the seventies. I sailed to Africa, the Far East, and Australia. I had the time of my life on a general cargo ship visiting many of the places where holidaymakers rarely travel. It was where I first became aware of the importance of conserving nature. My ex-husband was an officer in the Merchant Navy, but all that seems such a long time ago, I was only married seven years and I now have two very grown up children to a fantastic husband who has been supportive of my profession as a driving instructor and now a writer.

scillyWhere is your favourite place on earth — and why?

I have two favourite places. I regularly visit the Isles of Scilly mainly because it’s Britain’s sub tropical paradise and very inspirational for writing and I get to see puffins and seals up close. I also love Australia.

How do you relax?

I never really understood the term ‘relaxation’ until I became a writer. My life has been one continual burst of energy. I think my relaxing time is when I am writing my novels. I get very involved in the story and it takes me to another world. I also relax by sitting at the bottom of my garden in Devon with a pair of binoculars watching kingfishers darting and trout jumping. We have a wildlife camera on the river bank; we hope to capture photos of otters in the future.

What would be in your ‘Room 101’?

blistersOh yes, I like this question! I suppose I am a grumpy old woman. My Room 101 would be modern packaging for pharmaceuticals. My pharmacist provides my prescriptions in packets. Last week I received one weeks’ supply of pills in one box and another week in another box and so on. What a waste of paper and not at all environmentally friendly. I throw away countless boxes, foil, and instruction leaflets with each one. What was wrong with bottles? We should be able to return the bottles and recycle them. When I lived in Holland they gave me one or two months supply of pills in just one box. Why do we need all this packaging? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Upload a picture or photo that best represents you, and tell us why. lin-lambI love all farm animals. A lady who lives in Holland and has a lamb rescue centre took this picture. She takes orphaned lambs and rears them until they are old enough to go out into the field. It helps the local farmer to do other things than feeding lambs by hand. I was passing her house during one of my bird surveys on the nature reserve and she plonked this lamb in my arms. It was delightful to hold and they are so cute. I think this best represents me because I have rescued a lot of wildlife when I lived in England prior to 2001. I really enjoy the outdoors and now that I have a mini nature reserve of my own I hope to improve the garden for wildlife. I also support the Orang-utan project in Borneo as well as many British charities.

Where have you lived and where do you expect to be going in the future with your life? What are you writing now?

I was an only child and never attached to any one place. Whatever comes my way, I decide and go for it. I tend to be a Ready, Fire and Aim kind of person. I can settle anywhere as long as it’s interesting and there is plenty to do.

I was born in Saltburn by the Sea, Cleveland, and then moved to Surrey to work. I returned to the North of England and met my husband. We lived on Teesside for most of our married life until 2001 when we moved to Holland due to his work. I thought I could live anywhere until I had spent fourteen years there and began to get bored with the environment. Holland being so flat, I found it hard to get used to all the right-angled roads and no hills or dramatic scenery.

I was born on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors and when my husband was due for retirement, we wanted somewhere warmer without being out of the UK. We needed scenery and where the people spoke our language. It became rather tiresome having to think out sentences before speaking Dutch. Yes, they do speak English but in my part of Holland, German is the preferred second language. I did eventually speak Dutch, but it became confusing when everyone wanted to speak English with me.

In January 2015 we found a lovely house in Devon and moved across the North Sea in May before my husband’s retirement. We now have Dartmoor on our doorstep and the local people are very helpful and friendly. We were lucky to find a property near open farmland, on the edge of a riverbank (no floods so far) and within easy driving distance of Okehampton. We absolutely love the views of the moor. My husband retired in December last year and now we are decorating our barn conversion. Life seems to have taken on a new meaning. It’s delightful. He is presently painting windows and improving the large and very pleasant garden on the bank on the River Taw.

So, what am I writing now? I have two books in progress. The Tanglewood Affair is almost finished and professionally edited before going to a publisher. It was previously accepted for publication, but I wasn’t happy with the business practices of the company. I think I can do better. The other is a war story, Harold the Good Soldier, and a work in progress. I still have lots of research to do on this book.

goodbye-henrietta-streetAs for Goodbye Henrietta Street, my first novel, I haven’t had a lot of time to spend on it, due to moving house. The book is based on The Isles of Scilly and is doing well on the islands and on Amazon.

After many months of reorganisation and a crippling illness, we have a daughter who got married; I put my writing life on hold for a year. Now, my aim is to write many books, find a reputable publisher, and spend time with my colleagues at the Romantic Novelist’s Association. I am living near to the Exeter Chapter and 1.5 hours from the Cornwall Chapter, both of which I have attended.

Last year I contributed a short story to a themed anthology, Wrongpublished in the USA in aid of breast cancer.  

Thank you Lin for sharing your writing life and your plans with us. Readers, you can find Goodbye Henrietta Street on Silverwood Books or on Amazon.

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

Comments (1)

  1. Chrissie Bradshaw 13th December 2016 at 11:42 pm

    It was interesting to find out more about you Lin. I’m glad you’ve finished your sabbatical and you’re taking up writing again.

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