My Favourite Places: Freya North
Freya North‘s 14th (yes, 14th novel) is published today, and The Turning Point has been eagerly awaited by her legions of loyal fans — just take a quick look at the comments on her Facebook page to see how well-loved an author she is. In The Turning Point, a Canadian musician and an English author see if their love can survive the distance between the mountains of British Columbia and the rather flatter terrain of the north Norfolk coast.
You might also know her as one of the founders of the Hertford Children’s Book Festival — along with her good friend Maureen Pegg — which celebrates and promotes all things book-related for young readers. She’s also an active ambassador for the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.
And today — publication day! — she’s sharing her favourite places with us here at Muddy Herts. Most of them are in Herts, too, where she lives out in the countryside with her two children, two dogs, and a horse.
The Candlestick Pub, Essendon
It’s like going back in time: the peaceful setting, tables in the orchard, a tie-up for horses. Plus I can walk to it from my house, though the woods and over the fields. It’s run by a lovely young couple who are keen about local produce – and beer! It’s truly a family pub, filled with good cheer and the food is excellent.
The Oak Room, Hertford (and also at Hatfield House)
A really lovely lifestyle and gift shop with an excellent range of unusual greetings card. A one-stop-shop for presents for all ages – and for treating oneself.
The Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden
With some museums, as a parent you’re aware you’re dragging reluctant children around while trying to breezily enthuse ‘wow! look at this! it’s so interesting’. The Roald Dahl museum is brilliant because it’s as fascinating and hands on for parents as it is for children. I love going there and sitting in his writing chair. The village is so pretty too.
Walton on the Naze, Essex
A lovely stroll away from the it’s more lofty neighbour Frinton, I love Walton on the Naze. It’s a slice of unchanged British seaside life – enviable beach huts, proper fish ’n’ chips, old fashioned push-penny games in the arcade, bucket and spade shops with postcards curling in wire racks… and miles and miles of beach, part sandy, part Jurassic where you can still sift in the shingle for sharks teeth. Just north of the Naze is where Arthur Ransome set his novel Secret Water.
Pemberton, British Columbia
I discovered Pemberton whilst researching my new novel The Turning Point. The hero of the novel is a Canadian musician, Scott, so I went over there to discover the sort of life he might lead. I found a funky, thriving village set in the most stunning mountain landscape, a vast river that is a beautiful milky hue for half the year and crystal clear for the other half. A land of black bears, of bright turquoise glacial lakes and fascinating First Nations Canadian culture and history. I’m not a religious person but out there, in the most stunning natural landscape I’ve ever seen, I felt I was in God’s Own Country.
Foxholes Farm Shop, Hertford Heath
Quite simply one of the best farm shops there is – well stocked, well run and appetizingly displayed. I go there to fill my fridge, larder, freezer, vegetable rack and fruit bowl with beautiful, tasty locally produced goodness.