HOLIDAYS are not just relaxing, they can be inspirational.
My latest and best novel ‘A Punt Into Eden’ was inspired by a break in Sri Lanka.
It was a family holiday but we also explored colonial history and had a mission.
Mother-in-law Wynne wanted to see where her late husband had been in the Second World War, with Mountbatten’s intelligence corps.
The Government’s Heroes Return programme for veterans and spouses awarded us a grant towards the expense. ‘A Punt Into Eden’ is a modern adult adventure and romance but also a gentle spiritual journey. However, the holiday that helped me research it had a funnier side – particularly when we were mistaken for royalty.
Wynne and I were in the Botanical Gardens near Kandy where South East Asia Command was based. As we returned to our car, a passing local asked if Wynne had enjoyed the visit and was there on holiday.
“I’ve come to see where my husband was in the war,” Wynne explained, “at Mountbatten’s bungalow.” Lord Louis’ bungalow was beside huts for his team.
“Ah, Lady Mountbatten!” The awed native exclaimed.
“That’s right, the Mountbattens,” Wynne agreed, not quite hearing or realising the misunderstanding now unravelling.
“Please, lady, wait!” Implored the excited local, then rushed off spreading news of Lady Mountbatten’s return.
He brought back an old worthy with grand moustache and beard, whom Wynne charmed regally. By the time we reached our chauffeured Wolseley, a large crowd had assembled – grinning and waving us on our way.
Wynne, unaware of this mix-up, relaxed in the leather interior with a contented sigh then observed, with a last majestic wave: “What friendly people they are!”
Although they might dispute it in Kandy, Lady Mountbatten died in 1960 in Malaysia.
Amazingly, as young Edwina Ashley she briefly lived – like Wynne – on Whitegate Drive in Blackpool.
‘A Punt Into Eden’ is now generally available in paperback, online or from book stores. A Kindle edition is dedicated to Wynne, as she can read its big print.
n Visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com for full details.