Author, Barbara Studham

Creator of memoir, fiction, and the children's picture book, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

My painting of Mrs Beech's view from her window overlooking Hope Bay on the Isle of Wight. This is how I imagine her place to be: tatty curtains, cats, and old rattling windows. Poor Milly Mullan, her neighbor, who has to listen to those windows rattling on stormy nights. A description from A Hint of Spring, by Barbara Studham. www.barbarastudham.com


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Bringing fiction to life, by Barbara Studham

Using My Imagination!

My painting of Mrs Beech's  view from her window overlooking Hope Bay on the Isle of Wight. This is how I imagine her place to be: tatty curtains, cats, and old rattling windows. Poor Milly Mullan, her neighbor, who has to listen to those windows rattling on stormy nights. A description from A Hint of Spring, by Barbara Studham. www.barbarastudham.com

I painted this picture with Mrs Beech in mind. As an elderly resident of flat number 4 in the Old Stone House situated on Hope Beach on the Isle of Wight, she has spent most of her life looking out over the bay. During the fifties, net curtains (sheers) grew popular as people could spy on others without being spotted. I’m certain Mrs Beech picked up these tatty green curtains with red dots from a thrift store, along with the, almost matching, yellow glass vase. As the seasons change, she picks a flower from her neighbor’s yard (what harm can one do?) and places it in the jar. Never without less than two cats, her current felines Shadow and Tibbles, love to laze on the sill to catch a few rays. Her windows, however, could do with an upgrade. According to her neighbor, Milly Mullan, of flat number 6, Mrs Beech refuses to update her windows, and so poor Milly is forced to contend with the endless rattling on stormy nights. Milly Mullan and Mrs Beech are characters in my book, A Hint of Spring. The following is the opening paragraph of the first chapter which brings light to Milly’s stormy nights plight. A Hint of Spring, by Barbara Studham http://www.barbarastudham.com


Milly Mullan and Mrs Beech are characters in my book, A Hint of Spring. The following is the opening paragraph of the first chapter which brings light to Milly’s stormy nights plight regarding Mrs. Beech’s old windows.

Chapter 1 (copyrighted)

A furious winter storm screamed inland, whipping up the waves of the seaside town of Shanklin located on the Isle of Wight. The ancient windows of the Old Stone House situated only yards from the sea on Hope Beach vibrated from the gale force winds.

Before turning in that evening, Milly Mullan, a widowed retiree who recently moved from London to purchase flat number six in the old building, locked her balcony door against the storm’s wrath. She closed the curtains and went through to the kitchen to make a cup of hot chocolate.

Having applied her many years’ experience of interior design to renovate her flat’s décor, which included installing double-glazed windows, she resented her neighbor, Mrs Beech of number four, who staunchly refused to alter the character of the Old Stone House by keeping the original, ill-fitting windows. Therefore, every windy day and, worse, every stormy night, a ceaseless rattling echoed throughout the building.

Though Milly adored the soft breezes of Shanklin summers, she was not a big fan of dreary English winters. Given she was travelling the road to seventy years of age, she resented being holed up in her flat for several months every year while waiting for spring to arrive; a waste of what short time she had left that could otherwise be spent actively socializing outdoors.

Checking the balcony door one last time, she finished her hot chocolate and climbed into bed. Snuggling into the covers, she held her hot water bottle close. To drown out the clattering of Mrs Beech’s windows, she did what most people would do; she sunk her head deep into her pillow, pulled it tight around her ears, and thought happy thoughts. One of those thoughts was the upcoming fundraising gala she was soon to attend…..

A simple gala, you might say, but you would be wrong! Discover the ups and downs and insides and outs, including embezzling and murder during another Milly Mullan adventure in The Hint of Spring.

A Hint of Spring is the fourth in the Under the Shanklin sky English seaside series by Barbara Studham. . Milly is a retiree from London England who moves to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. Soon after moving, she is caught up in the locals’ activity and finds herself sleuthing her way through her golden years by the sea. Available from AMAZON.

A Hint of Spring, by Barbara Studham. Part of the Under The Shanklin Sky series. Available from Amazon.

A Hint of Spring is the fourth in the Under the Shanklin Sky fiction series, and offers Milly Mullan a new adventure. Rain, hail, sleet, gale; the petulant, English winter reluctantly gives way to spring by mercilessly battering the town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. Conversely, spring ushers in a new adventure for retiree, Milly Mullan, resident of flat number 6 in the Old Stone House situated on Hope Beach. Anticipating an upcoming fundraising gala, she is shocked to discover the host, Evelyn Scott, is embezzling funds from its charitable agency: Triple-F. With little evidence, Milly drags her obnoxious daughter, Rosie, into the fray who witnesses Evelyn Scott’s murder and joins the list of suspects, all of whom hated Evelyn. For a while, Milly is at a loss as to whodunit. Was it Crystal, the receptionist at Triple-F, who holds a long-standing grudge against Evelyn; or, perhaps Evelyn’s love affair, married man, Fred Barker-Ford, of Barker-Ford dog foods, and suspected collaborator in crime. Or, was the killer Tom Fielding, a local health and fitness business owner who, for personal reasons, detests Evelyn Scott. As Milly delves deeper into the case, she inadvertently saves scores of seniors from Evelyn’s scheming and their financial ruin. Given that, and her eventual solving of Evelyn Scott’s murder, she is abruptly elevated to bees’ knees status in the eyes of Shanklin’s locals.


Barbara Studham’s bio.

For over twenty years, Barbara Studham has parented grandchildren diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Her two memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, describe her challenges during their toddler years and teens. She has also written fiction, including a six-book series titled, Under The Shanklin Sky, set in the seaside town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. She is currently creating a children’s FASD picture book series Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Now available is the first two in the series titled THE SCHOOL DAY, and, FIDGET!

Barbara Studham’s books are available from AMAZON.

Author blog: http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD blog: http://www.challengedhope.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham