Wednesday, May 15, 2013

When Emma Lee-Potter Ran Away

Here's Emma's story....

My daughter was a year old when I became obsessed with the idea of running away to the country.

We were living in south London at the time and although I loved our house, with its pocket-handkerchief garden and scruffy Georgian façade, I loathed the traffic and the noise and the scary crime levels. In the space of a few weeks a friend was mugged in the alleyway a few doors down and another had her bag snatched while her two young children looked on. One night I glanced out of the back window to see flames soaring 20 feet into the night sky. Joyriders had stolen a car and set it on fire behind our garden fence.

This definitely wasn’t the life I’d dreamed of for my daughter. But how could we possibly escape? As a writer I could work anywhere but my husband couldn’t uproot at the drop of a hat. Then out of the blue he was asked to take over a company 250 miles from London. So that was it. We threw caution to the wind, let our house and ran away to the country.

We rented an old stone farmhouse just outside the idyllic village of Downham, in the wilds of rural Lancashire. The next house was half a mile away, we had no heating and getting to the nearest road involved driving through two fields of sheep, opening and closing three gates along the way.

Our friends thought we’d gone bonkers but it was one of the happiest times of my life. Downham looks like something out of a picture book – complete with a pub, church, village shop, stream with ducks and even a nursery school – and the whole village welcomed us with open arms. Every evening I gazed across the fields to majestic Pendle Hill soaring high above, and thanked my lucky stars that we ran away.

PS. A few years later the experience inspired my novel, Taking Sides. It’s the story of a mother who uproots her family to a cottage in the country only to find that her DJ husband has landed a new radio job and refuses to come with her.

Here's Emma's Novel Taking Sides and you can get it here.

Juliette Ward is tired of trying to be superwoman. Her job's driving her crazy, her house has been burgled three times and she's scared to let her six-year-old son out to play. But just as she persuades her family to move to the country, her DJ husband Jon promptly lands the breakfast show on a new London radio station. 

Juliette knows he'd be mad to turn down his big break. But she hates the thought of swapping her stable marriage for a long-distance relationship. Big city versus country idyll? If only things were that simple...

And the novella Lessons in Love is here. To find out more about Emma visit here.


Julia Stagg said...

I think of you every time I see Pendle Hill, Emma! Lovely tale.

Deborah Carr said...

I'm not surprised you wanted to run away. Downham sounds wonderful and the perfect place to go to if you want to get away.

Emma Lee-Potter said...

Thanks so much, Julia and Deborah. Downham is heavenly. Whistle Down the Wind and the BBC TV series Born and Bred were both filmed there - so I'm not the only one who loves the place!