So August 1 saw two milestones for me – my 25th wedding anniversary and the official publication day of my 75th book for Mills and Boon.
We decided to celebrate our anniversary in the Italian Lakes – and where could be more romantic on the day itself than Verona?
August 1 1992 was a baking hot day.
August 1 2017 was even hotter, because Southern Europe was having a heatwave – 39 degrees (but felt like 44).
And I guess the day was very much like any marriage, because there were bumpy bits in the day, starting with the tour bus not picking us up, an hour trying to find out where they were and discovering that our booking hadn’t gone through even though they’d taken the money, and then making the best of it and catching the local bus to Verona and doing the ‘tour’ ourselves. We saw the Arena, Dante’s statue, amazing churches, pretty courtyards and majestic towers.
We visited Juliet’s balcony – after putting our names on the wall (on a band-aid, no less – well, a Medical Romance author would be prepared…)
And over the rest of the week we saw some amazing sights. We caught a cable car to the top of the Dolomites.
We saw the most romantic sunsets.
We ate lots of pizza, pasta, fresh fish and ice cream (I think my dish of the week just had to be pasta with zucchini and scallops, in this lovely cream and saffron and tomato sauce). We tried local wines. We discovered just how nice Aperol spritz is – the local aperitif, basically 1 part bitter orange liqueur, 2 parts prosecco and 3 parts sparkling water, all served over ice.
And with our eldest about to start his second year at uni and our youngest about to start sixth form, it was probably our last family holiday – and definitely one to remember.
Plus there’s my 75th book milestone with M&B – which, coincidentally enough, is set on a fictional Italian island. The title – The Runaway Bride and the Billionaire – pretty much tells you what the book is about, and it’s part of the Summer at the Villa Rosa quartet which I wrote with Liz Fielding, Scarlet Wilson and Jessica Gilmore.
So all in all it’s been a pretty overwhelming week. But milestones like these aren’t reached alone – and the support of my family and friends has been really appreciated over the last quarter of a century, plus my M&B readers and writing friends for the last 16 years. So I’d like to raise a glass (of Aperol, of course!) to you all to say thank you – and cheers!