Special Launch Feature – Beth Haslam

Please join me in congratulating memoir author, Beth Haslam, on the publication of her brand new book Fat Dogs and WELSH ESTATES. Beth has come along to Patricia’s Pen to tell you all about this sequel. Without further ado, it’s over to Beth.

Fat Dogs and Welsh Estates – Series Prequel

Beth Haslam

Thanks so much for inviting me here to introduce my new book, Tricia. I’m honoured.

When my publisher suggested I write about my upbringing in Wales, I hesitated. Why would anyone have the slightest interest in reading about my childhood? My publisher thought otherwise, so I reflected. Finally, the solution came to me.

Instead of focusing solely on myself, which, ironically for a memoir writer, makes my toes curl, I decided to tackle the project differently. I would produce a light-hearted account centring on the rich tapestry of my homeland.

My research journey began with the sunny shores in North Wales and my many sailing misadventures on the infamous Menai Strait. Sadly, I wasn’t a great sailor. I recalled visits to roughhewn slate quarries with my Pa and the majesty of Snowdonia – which brought back memories of myths we were told from the Mabinogion. King Arthur, dragons, wizards and druids, tales from the ancient tome enthralled (and terrified) children of all ages. And then I reflected on our history.

For such a little country, we have lots of castles. Harlech, Beaumaris, Caernarfon and Conwy all featured in my youth. Trips to these extraordinary places, including coming to a sticky end in Beaumaris castle’s moat, are imprinted on my mind. I had to tell that tale. Inevitably, with my childhood being the central theme, I did have to talk more about myself. Typically, I found my comfort zone with animals.  

Tales about growing up on a farm estate flowed from my pen. For as long as I can remember, my life has revolved around animals, big ones, little ones, bitey ones and cuties. My book is filled with anecdotes about our furry and feathery family members. I also recount the trials and tribulations concerning life at a crumbly boarding school, which, I admit, often sound like chapters from St. Trinians. Detention was my second name.

Throughout, my descriptive content revolves around the countryside, culture, and what being Welsh really means, including the quirks and misnomers of our lilting language. For years I thought that wibli wobli meant jellyfish and I was convinced that popty ping meant microwave oven. Imagine how disappointed I was to learn that the correct terms were slefrod môr and meicrodon. Still, it’s a strangely intoxicating dialect.

Before I knew it, my book was written. I’ve shared stories about my unusual upbringing in remarkable homes surrounded by animals and several ghosts. And I’ve described the extraordinary characteristics of the magical north where I was born. The early reviews of my book have been incredibly heartening. If through my writing, I leave readers inspired to visit my homeland, I’ll be thrilled to bits.

In closing, I have included this YouTube video. It gives glimpses of Snowdonia, together with the inspiring words of David Blakemore. And as a poet, Tricia, I think and hope you’ll find it stirring too.

YouTube Video

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About Beth Haslam

Beth Haslam grew up on a farm estate in Wales. Passionate about animals, her free time was spent on horseback or messing around with the family pets, waifs and strays.

Following a successful business career, Beth and her husband, Jack, decided to buy a second home in France. A decision they had no idea would change their lives forever.

Beth is now occupied as never before. Raising and saving animals, writing, and embracing everything that rural France has to offer.

She’s loving it!

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11 thoughts on “Special Launch Feature – Beth Haslam

  1. merrildsmith January 20, 2023 / 2:45 pm

    Beth’s life sounds very interesting. i think wibli wombli and popty ping sound perfect. 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. vallypee January 23, 2023 / 12:37 pm

    I’m just popping in here too, Trish, to say I adored Beth’s book and can recommend it without reserve. It’s such a treat to read! And Beth, this is a lovely post. I completely understand about the toe-curling feelings, but I loved the mix of your life and the wonderful backdrop of gorgeous Wales. It’s a triumph!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia M Osborne January 23, 2023 / 12:38 pm

    Thank you for popping in, Val, and for reading and commenting, and the recommendation for Beth’s book!

    Like

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