Release Day Extract: Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry
Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings is the wonderful and quirky new romcom from Kirsty Ferry – a book that’s bound to put a smile on your face this summer! To celebrate publication day, we thought we’d introduce you to Edie and her world on Karen’s blog this morning. But who is Ninian Chambers, and how is he about to shake up Edie’s idyllic village existence?...........
The village I lived in was quite a small one. In a small village, of course, your business is everybody’s business. And that was why everyone in Padcock’s tiny corner shop stopped and went ‘Ooooh!’ when Sally announced a certain piece of staggering information …
‘A film crew is coming to Padcock Court in the summer!’
‘Oooh,’ I said, joining in and edging closer to the counter to listen a little better as Lilian commented, ‘Ooooh. But however will Mrs Pom-pom stand that? Won’t she set her hounds on them?’
Mrs Pom-pom wore hats that looked like tea cosies all year round and shouted at a people a lot. She especially liked shouting at people who walked past her gate too closely, and definitely liked shouting at cars. Her real name was Mrs Pomeroy, but, well, her hat choices informed her nickname.
Mrs Pom-pom’s hounds were two great big Labradors, who always stared at her and drooled whilst she shouted.
‘Get them! Get them, boys!’ she’d screeched when my friend Cerys and I had rolled back from the pub one evening and had the audacity to do snorty giggles when we passed Padcock Court.
‘Arf!’ went Arfur, and lay down.
‘Umph!’ went Umbert, and also lay down.
Fortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Cerys and I survived the attack.
‘I don’t know,’ said Sally, back on the subject of the film crew. ‘Perhaps she’ll be a bit more flexible if it’s going to make them some money.’
Everyone nodded sagely. Money was definitely something Mrs Pom-pom needed in shedloads. Padcock Court looked impressive – an ancient familial manor house in our picture-perfect village – but beyond the white plaster and dark wood beams, roofs dripped, ceilings were bowed and windows rattled as the wind came rushing down the lea to hit the back of the house.
I knew this because when I was little, and my granny still lived in Padcock – before I inherited her house – she had been quite friendly with Mrs Pom-pom, who wasn’t quite so shouty in those days. Although even back then she’d owned a series of impressive tea cosy hats.
I’d always spent most of my life shuttling back and forth between Padcock and wherever I found myself next. My mum, Bridget, had me when she was very young and sent me to boarding school as soon as she could. She was never hands on, and my gran basically brought me up.
Gran’s heyday had been in the sixties. She had loads of stories about that time, but had never had a husband. I had no idea who my grandfather was, just as I never knew who my father was. I’m not sure if my mum ever knew either. It probably wasn’t surprising, really, that my personal style was like I’d been spewed out of the sixties and dumped into the twenty-first century, what with Gran’s influence in my life. For some reason, the thought of that era made me feel happy and secure, and I’d clearly absorbed more of Gran’s history than even she thought possible.
It was no wonder I’d started dressing like one of Andy Warhol’s muses in my rebellious teens, when all I was bothered about at my expensive school was bunking off any class that wasn’t art. My style was simple yet effective – black mini skirt, black polo neck, chandelier earrings and boots. My hair, naturally quite a dark brown, was chin length and bleached, and I usually wore it in a ponytail. I got some odd looks in Padcock initially as I grew up and developed my own style, but they soon just accepted me as “That Weird Artist Girl From London”.
I’ve always loved Padcock. Padcock suited my gran and it suited me for the moment – although the village was undoubtedly a bit of a tourist trap. So many films and TV series had been filmed in this sleepy little place in the South Downs, that hearing Mrs Pom-pom had a camera crew coming in shouldn’t have been quite so exciting – but then we could all remember the last time someone had come to film anything. It was a gardening programme, and Mrs Pom-pom had yelled at the celebrity gardener and chased him away with the loppers.
‘Edie.’ Sally suddenly addressed me, bringing me back to the present, even as I found myself wondering just exactly how far Mrs Pom-pom had chased that poor celebrity gardener. ‘You’ll be interested in the programme.’ The swivelling of the collective Padcock eyes towards me was almost audible.
‘What! Why?’ I was a little stunned. I’m as interested as any village local each time a new film crew rocks up. We once had a celebrity bingo thing going on in the pub. Lovely Sam, the barman and owner of the Spatchcock Inn, kept the official list of “things to spot” behind the bar and we’d whisper to him when we heard or saw anything relevant – for example, a film star furtively smoking behind the back of a building, or an actor having a tantrum about something and being ushered away to be soothed by the member of the production team.
‘Because, Edie, this film crew are doing a painting challenge.’ Sally leaned back in her seat behind the counter and folded her arms.
‘And…?’ I failed to make the connection.
‘And you could take part in it.’
‘I could not!’
‘You could. You paint. You draw things. You do art.’
‘Well … yes.’ I felt the colour rise in my cheeks. I would admit that forty per cent of the “local art” in Eclectically Yours – Cerys’ Craft Shop and Organic Tea Room was of my creation. I worked part-time with Cerys … well, Cerys would say I worked for her, but I would strongly disagree. She was technically my manager, but if she ever had to discipline me, I’m sure she’d just say that she was very “disappointed” in me and then I’d cry.
So yes, some of the artwork in her shop was mine, but that definitely didn’t mean I wanted to participate in a televised competition.
‘But that doesn’t mean I want to participate in a televised competition,’ I tried.
That panicky feeling that had become too much a part of me when I thought about doing anything more exciting art-wise than painting pretty little village scenes for the craft shop thumped against my ribcage. I used to do quite a bit of wild avant-garde art when I lived properly in London. I had a studio and everything, not too far from my Camden Town flat. The flat had been in my family since Mum was a baby, and it had become my base when I left Goldsmiths – the same place where Mary Quant studied – when I decided to pursue a career that embraced my creative side.
But the draw of London and the sense of my art being anything expressive and meaningful at all had shrivelled and died when Gran passed away. I couldn’t find the headspace to do it any more. As a result, I was in no doubt that my work now seemed slightly contained and small.
A bit like I felt – now that I was safely cocooned in Padcock, where the real world couldn’t touch me. I dabbled with perfunctory art for Cerys’ shop. That was it. That was what I felt capable of.
‘But I don’t want to do that sort of stuff. I can’t do that sort of stuff. I won’t do that sort of stuff—’
‘But they want local artists to take part. It says in the bumf.’ Sally looked at me with a dangerous, flinty glint in her eye. ‘Nobody more local than you. Your gran talked about you and your London exhibitions all the time. And—’ Again, everyone in the shop – including me, despite my reservations – leaned forward, agog ‘—there’s a celebrity judge.’
‘Ooooh.’ There was another chorus of awed agogness. ‘Who is it?’
‘Ninian Chambers,’ Sally finished proudly.
‘Noooooo!’ I howled.
Everyone swivelled those eyeballs towards me again, clearly horrified that I was looking and sounding so disgusted about the lauded and generally beloved artist Ninian Chambers.
But I couldn’t help it. That squawky denial had absolutely come from me.
What they didn’t know was that me and Ninian bloody Chambers had one hell of a history.
From: Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry
© Kirsty Ferry
ABOUT THE BOOK
Can Edie rediscover her artistic mojo and become a ‘Watercolour Wonder’?
Edie Brinkley went from rising star on the London art scene to hiding out at her gran’s cottage in the little village of Padcock after a series of unfortunate circumstances leave her almost too panicky to pick up a paintbrush.
When celebrity artist Ninian Chambers rocks up in the village to film Watercolour Wonders, a new TV art competition, Edie is horrified – especially as he played no small part in her decision to leave London.
But, with the support of the Padcock community, and one very special fellow contestant, could Ninian’s show ultimately offer a fresh start for Edie and her art career? Or will Annabel the sixties’ style stealer, along with make-up artist Tallulah and her ‘Caravan of Hell’, sabotage her summer of new beginnings?
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3x75XCB
About the Author:
Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more. Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better. Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting. Kirsty writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.
Find out more about Kirsty here: