0 thoughts on “Fiction

  1. Pingback: THE NEXT BIG THING | Ashley Stokes

  2. Dear Lisa,
    I have a strange request and fortunately a couple of delightful ladies have helped me so far in my quest, including Margaret Brown who contributes to Algarve Resident. I holidayed in the Algarve quite recently and on visiting Monchique with friends and we met a charming Irish man from Cork who was on retreat in Monchique for a month, I don’t know if he was staying in a hotel or staying at his X sister in law’s who resides there! We all chatted for some time whilst dodging the rain & he invited us to a music evening,which we missed!
    As I work in IT I decided it would be possible to find this chap & talk to him some more, I suppose I assumed that the expat community would have some central email address that I could contact …….. this has proved to be not quite so simple, my logic was that as there are only 7,000 residents in Monchique , someone must know how to contact this chap.
    I am aware that it all sounds a little odd and if he is known possibly someone could pass on my contact details rather than giving me any information. His name is Buntie he told us his grandfather named him & he is in his late 50’s mid 60’s ! Do you have any idea how I can proceed with this? Does a Monchique Resident’s email exist? This is very much a case of ‘ I started …….so I’m going to give it one last go!’
    Please forgive my intrusion on your valuable time.

    Chris Marsden ( Christine )
    Sheffield University

  3. Beijinho muito grande LISA SELVIDGE, foi muito bom conhecer-te e partilhar contigo muitas experiências, desde Livros, Gastronomia, Amizade, Crianças, etc… espero repetir este convívio na tua companhia muito brevemente!!

  4. There are huge differences between how the Portuguese care for children in creche and school verses the UK. I remember visiting a creche in Lagos and being horrified to see the 2 year olds all sat in rows facing a television which was on constantly and a swimming pool in the garden with holes in the fence surrounding it. The positive side is that my children learned to speak fluent Portuguese from the age of 3 yrs when they could express to me if they were unhappy which they did constantly until they left 8 years later. It was a fantastic experience for them, one which I don’t regret at all even dealing with the Portuguese bureaucracy. Listen to your instincts and gut feeling. Bjs

    • I’ve been meaning to reply for ages, Nicola, but no creche, no time! I tried again with Leo at the Monchique creche week and I have to say, despite my doubts, it is very good in terms of structure and lots of activities. The first day they did an exercise about what they did the day before (unfortunately Leo doesn’t really speak) and then did a drawing, the next day a story and a painting. I assume that was why they didn’t want me to go in the afternoon. But they were happy for me to go however many or few mornings I wanted. Unfortunately, Leo did not like it and was very disruptive. He would not sit in a circle with the others and marched around the room picking up toys and throwing them back down. All the other kids quietly sat and listened. The first day I stayed with him for an hour and then left him for half an hour. For the next two mornings I tried, I could never leave him again – not even to go to the toilet without big screams. I wouldn’t mind but I can leave him with most other people without a squeak so it’s not for him. I don’t know why. There were a lot of children – maybe twelve and sometimes only two people in the room. It’s very enclosed. The teacher is great but quite strict and they are constantly telling the children off for putting fingers in their mouths. Leo is 16 months and he puts his fingers in his mouth when he’s teething. But I have to say the kids were really well behaved and none of them were crying. But I just couldn’t do it. So back to square one. Agh!

  5. Lovely to read this, Lisa, and to see your photographs.  Sounds like quite a trip. You should send this to something like The Guardian – I think we need more material about the trials and joys of travelling with a toddler. Best wishes, Caroline  X


    • Thank you, Caroline, and thank you for reading. Sorry for late response – afraid toddlers gobble up time! I’ve tried to submit articles to The Guardian before – Travel section – but no response. I think they keep closed doors but may try contacting the Family section and see if they’re open for articles.
      Lisa x

  6. Hi, Lisa. I tried to contact you by the email in your website, but it seems your inbox is full. I am a Brazilian author whose first language is Portuguese but who’s trying to write fiction in English. I would like to have some “creative writing feedback” on my fiction. Do you still accept this kind of job? Thank you very much. Best regards, Lucas Nicolato.

  7. Hi Lisa

    sorry to hear its a bit bumpy at the moment. I am amazed its 10 years ago. I am still writing in an informal little group with Ian Nettleton, a novel no less. What a shame you aren’t coming back to Norwich, I’d love to see you and meet your son.

    Chris Armstrong x

    • Lovely to hear from you, Chris, and glad you have a writing group going with Ian. Yes, time slips by – but then it does seem a long time ago since Fakenham… All well here. It is just very remote and leo seems to have changed my priorities – never would have imagined!I also feel a strange pull towards England – something to do with cultural heritage?! Anyway, once I have the camper van we will be more mobile and I would like to spend more time in the UK (I say that now before seeing the cars). Then i will definitely visit Norwich again so see you soonish. Lisa xx

  8. Hello there Lisa, my names Josephine. I’m a 21 yo Australian traveller currently living in Lagos and am extremely interested in creative writing. I have unfortunately fallen into a pit of laziness since arriving as I haven’t been able to speak with a mentor. Your history and experience has caught my eye and I would love to have a chat with you if you have the time! Or if you offer a monthly tutor class at all let me know :). I’m delighted to have come across your blog and hope to hear from you soon. My email is

  9. Wonderful Lisa,considering I’m not a reader,i have really enjoyed your short stories.Glad you are enjoying motherhood.Leo is gorgeous.Much love x

  10. Very nice Lisa. I just start to have sometime and think about how I’m going to write mine. Having read yours I’m inspired.

    Keep writing please. Can’t wait to read the rest.

  11. Hi Lisa, I love to read in your Post, that is something happening inside of you and I will wait with huge antecipation for your outcoming and “new” style and tempo. it seems that a kind of Empathy wave is building up and it will errupt soon. GREAT keep me on Huge hug for you and Leo and have a good trip! o by the way, happy birthday, even as it already passed… see ya when I see ya, xx Catrin Kulturpunkt luso-alemã Catrin GeorgeAlgarve Exkursionen & KulturWalking

    Actividade Cultural e Turística RNAAT 195/2014 Jornalista/Autora Mob 969052712 8500-059 Portimão KULTURPUNKT

    lisaselvidge schrieb am 14:26 Montag, 15.September 2014: Lisa Selvidge posted: “It is August in the Algarve but, for once, it is not so hot. The wind turbines refuse to swivel away from my house meaning that the north wind is blowing. Nonetheless, the beaches are rumpled with towels, surfboards, buckets and somersaulting umbrellas. P”

  12. Hi Lisa,
    I’ve just stumbled on this. just gorgeous! I can’t wait for the next instalment.
    I hope you and Leo are well, Daisy still talks about him. Hope to see you in the spring.

  13. I did enjoy this piece of writing Lisa, despite your being in pain and distress. I remember Leo’s incessant energy in my own young bones, and It made me wonder what my life would have been like if Ailsa and I had ever had a boy. My two adventurous, tree-climbing girls were never a real physical handful. Boys have to be, have to thump into things, test muscle and bone, theirs (and even better) those of lesser boys. Why else would they play the best game in the world, rugby football? Perhaps one day Leo will play it, combining the physical courage of Anglo Saxons and Celts with the elan and flair of Mediterranean soccer-playing southerners. Watch him run through undergrowth full-pelt and look for the body swerve. If he has it he could be a ball-playing back. If he crashes on through scrub regardless then he may be destined, as I was, for the pack. Both are huge fun, as many young women are now finding out. I know my elder girl would have been a tenacious tearaway scrum-half, but she missed her time.

  14. Hi Lisa, I don’t know if you remember me but I was one of the Fakenham Four who completed your Diploma in Creative Writing course (part of UEA outreach) in 2002/2003. I have applied to do a scriptwriting course at UEA and I desperately need a reference to say that I am capable of writing. I do not know your address or contact number or email so am hoping this will reach you. I am rather late with my application so need the reference very urgently. I should be most grateful if you could give me one. Kind Regards, Christine Blakemore. (At the time of the course end, you said you thought I might be good at writing for Mills and Boon!)

  15. Well done for listening to your instincts and finally finding Leo a place where he can embark on his own journey into the wider world safely and without too much pressure to conform. It’s not easy being a mother, especially when it’s just you making the big decisions.

  16. Really enjoyed this post Lisa.
    Would like to find out more about the Biggin Hill days – one day

    So pleased Leo has found somewhere he’s happy.

    Effie often talks about you both.

    Must make sure we meet up again next year – one way it another.

    Much love,



  17. Hello Lisa,
    my name is Peter. I’m Swiss and we are going to buy a property near Monchique. I will – hopefully – move to live there next year. 🙂

    I read your post about the REFERENDUM. I could not beliefe that this happened really. On one side I totally agree, that UK people were not ready to vote upon such an important issue! On the other side I for me the biggest problem in democratic votes are the demographical changes in the society. As the older population grows, older people get to much weight compared to the middle age and the younger. Older people tend to keep everything as it is. They fear foreigners more than younger people. I would appreciate if we had an age limit for older voters as it exists for younger (e.g. from 17 – 70). That would have changed many results in Switzerland and I think also the EU referendum in UK.

    I really do hope for the UK, that they can turn the wheel back … otherwise they will face a very rough time and pay a high price to learn what it means to vote.

    Best regards from Switzerland, Peter

    • I rather think that might be considered anti-democratic, Peter! I think older people have as much right to vote as younger people although I must say when I went to university only 15 percent of the population did. Before that, even less. Now, of course, it’s nearer fifty percent. (Not that I think you need a degree to vote – although in the last referendum I think maybe two degrees in law were needed just to separate the degrees of bullshit!).

      Hope you enjoy Monchique. I’m sure you will.

      Warm wishes,


  18. Hi Lisa. I enjoy reading your blog. We actually have met. In November of 1994 I was in Japan. I was taking over a teaching position that you were leaving. I was reading some old journals of mine and luckily found your name.
    We have a lot in common besides our love of poetry and travel . I also have children: a 16 year old daughter and 2 sons: a 2 year old and a 4 year old.
    Teaching writing to public high school students in California for last 12 years.

  19. Hi Lisa,
    I completed one of your Writing Lives Oxford courses and saw you ran creative writing retreats…do you still do these or have any good recommendations of similar courses in Europe? I really liked your online course and would like to do a workshop week.
    Many thanks for your help!
    Best wishes
    Alison Power

    • Hi Alison,

      Thanks for contacting me. I stopped doing the retreats when I had Leo but now he’s more or less settled in school, I have been thinking about setting them up again… I will give it some thought. Are you more interested in non-fiction as in Writing Lives? I have an online fiction course starting Monday for the University of York if you’re interested (10 weeks, non-accredited)? It is very affordable and there are a few places left.

      Warm wishes,


  20. thanks, Lisa. I loved reading this – what an adventure. Talk about ups and downs (that Cessna). But how great to take courage and set off. Sounds like you, Leo and Paul had a great time overall. I think those journeys with difficulties are much richer than the ones where you just lie by a pool (though that pool is appealing when things get hairy). Caroline X

    • Thank you, Caroline. Yes, travelling is like climbing a mountain. Not always easy but always worth it. Glad we did it, glad we’re back home! Hope to see you soon. Our next adventure may be north… xx

  21. Such an interesting account. Thank you for sharing. How did it feel to come home to lovely Monchiqe? I’m left curious about your journey home. Is there more to come?

    • Thank you, Jan. Yes, it was getting too long. There is another half but not sure I’ll post it. But we covered ten countries in seven weeks. I was so relieved to get back to Portugal, I cried happy tears.

  22. What a beautifully written account of a fearlessly undertaken and rewarding adventure. I really enjoyed reading this, Lisa.

  23. Hello Lisa,
    Enjoyed reading about your love of horses and your route to writing.
    Best wishes
    Would love to visit and write and ride (and muck out, groom, turn out etc ) when logistics are better. In a future chapter ??

  24. Wow! what an inspiring blog…. please may I come and muck out your ponies ad clean your tack and ride Winnie through the sage and eucalyptus …..I’ve just turned 60 and I may not have the time to live it but I do have the time to play with yours if you’ll let me!….. Roll on the end of Covid and a return to reality… although we are getting plenty of riding in one way or another thank goodness.
    Best wishes
    Helen Bagnall

  25. Hi Lisa, did you ever go to Hotel California Boracay? Did you meet Joserra? If so please contact me. Im his son and I spend a lot of time in Algarve aswell around Vale Figueiras. Would love to talk to you.

  26. Wow Lisa. I’d love to buy a copy. How much and can you post it please? Postage to Obidos. Congratulations and I can’t wait to read it. Not sure if you knew but before I was a Clinical Librarian I was a school librarian, a role which I loved because it meant introducing lots of children to the joy and wonder of fiction. The cherry on the cake is that your book is illustrated by the lovely Paula. What could be lovelier. Let me know how I can get a copy. Oh, and I hope you and Leo and Paul and all your friends and family are well. Love Jan xxx


    • Hi Jan,
      Thank you! Will find out how much postage is and send it to you. I didn’t know you were a school librarian – amazing! Leo hates books and reading but he likes this one so it was worth it!

      All well here. Xmas plans cancelled again because of You-Know-What but never mind.

      Love to you both and hope all is well in the north!


  27. Hurrah. Well done Lisa for actually making the idea into a finished book. After our online fiction course with York, I went on to do my MA. Thanks for your encouragement.
    Kind regards, Saskia.

  28. ‘Hi Lisa, it’s Uma, I have just finished reading your book! I loved it! It’s SOOOO existing! Congratulations! My favourite characters are Merida and Ely. My favourite bits are when the campervan jumps into the sea and the bit when they look for Ely. But really I love it all!’

  29. iPad? Luxury. 40 years ago we had to be content with VHS tapes and Bauhaus records if we were lucky, most of us just had to put up with with wax crayons on the back of a cornflake box.

  30. Hi Lisa, I thought I’d drop by & say hi as I’ve been contemplating whether to take the Writing Lives Advanced Course. You’re not the tutor so I thought I’d revisit the idea later.
    I read your blog post on Parenting in the 2020s and its so spot on. Seems we’re on the same boat. ha ha Nonetheless, I love that your post is hopeful and positive. Such a changed world we live in. I feel time is flying too fast, “tempus fugit” indeed!
    Hope alls well with you guys.
    Cheers & warm regards,

    • Thank you for reading, Cookie, and nice to hear from you. The Advanced Writing Lives course is very good. These are very difficult times for us parents. As an older mum it is even harder, I think. I don’t know where it’s heading but we need to stay positive.
      Warm wishes,

  31. Nice article but I would say the big problem is that authority is NOT questioned anymore. The new woke generation go along with all the programs that the government invents to create the New Normal and their Great Reset 2030 agenda. We adults that still have a moral compass prior to smart phones and the controlled narrative and we can see this. The kids cant, go along with whatever mind control rubbish is being pushed out and then think theyre being rebels by promoting it. Us adults in turn get called conspiracy this, anti that, right wing this etc but really its us seeing through the BS and were not afraid to call out. Unfortunately for them its so ingrained in their every day life that it literally is normal. Proper parenting needs to make a come back and the first thing we need to do is remove them from any kind of education or indoctrination institutions that are filling their heads with shite.

    • Yes, I think you are right about the lack of questioning, but try getting a kid away from TIkTok or Fortnite. It’s not easy. It’s more the inanity that gets me: the superficiality of the brave new world. But maybe the awakening comes later.
      Thanks for reading.