I thought I’d write a  brief report on the official launch of The Water Doctor’s Daughters in Great Malvern.  Editor Des was supposed to do it, but he was still in recovery from an unfortunate incident in London [see end of article].


Oh dear, there was a most  unseasonable and unexpected heavy fall of  snowl!  It was almost impossible to drive or walk around, especially as Malvern is so steep.

The atrocious weather conditions in Malvern! Oh my word!!

The atrocious weather conditions in Malvern! Goodness me!

I am tempted to believe  that the weather was Dr Marsden’s  way of getting his revenge on me…but I only wrote the truth!  (even though the local paper mistakenly reported that I had written a novel based on  the doctor’s  tragic  daughters and their governess, Mlle Doudet.) Mind you, conditions were ghastly  all over the UK so perhaps I’m being a bit fanciful.  There was a positive side to it too, as the town  looked  utterly magical…a true Christmas card scene (yes, yes, that’s a cliche). The famous Malvern Hills were covered in snow. They looked as though they were draped in wet, white sheets..just like the water-cure patients.   Naturally poor Rob was too busy and harassed to take pictures, but my friend Clare took this stunning photo of snow on early blossom.

Snow on Blossom, photographed by my friend Clare Nunns.

Snow on Blossom, photographed by my friend Clare Nunns.

Fortunately there are  some hardy souls in  Malvern (must be something in the water!),  and they  braved the weather to  attend the launch at the Foley Arms Hotel, as did my  own band of loyal and lovely friends. Caroline and Bill drove all the way from the far west  of Wales before the worst of the  snow arrived.  Clare and  Des’s Godmother Yvonne came  from points  south of London. Cath  drove out from Maidenhead and Rita caught the train  from  Rugby.

Jackie was about to drive down from Birmingham until the snow   made it  utterly impossible, but  she posted  a sweet message on Facebook.

A snowbound Jackie sends a kind greeting!

A snowbound Jackie sends a kind greeting!










Yvonne’s friend  Maureen had  made  Editor Des a new outfit for the occasion and I must say he looked very warm and smart.  My friend Bill said he was in Manchester City’s colours but I prefer to think the  blue  represents  Chelsea. I also received countless  messages of congratulation and good wishes from  family and friends around the world. My sincere thanks to  everyone.  A fellow author called Mike told me to wear red knickers  for  good luck and promised  that he would too. Well it didn’t work as far the weather went Mike!  He later said that he should have worn them outside his trousers, like Superman.

Des in the outfit Maureen knitted for the occasion.

Editor  Des in the outfit Maureen knitted especially for the occasion.

Here is the Morgan Room at the historic Foley Arms being set up. Many of the wealthy water-cure clients used to stay here.  It was very generous of the hotel to provide the venue free of charge. The event was hosted by the Malvern Book Co-operative and I must  thank  Helen and Dan for organizing everything. By the way, there should still be some signed copies of The Water Doctor’s Daughters in the  book shop at 2 St Ann’s Road. They also sell lovely homemade cakes and coffee!

Setting up ready for the launch.

Setting up ready for the launch.

One local  man arrived with a carton of eggs in his hand, which was a little disconcerting. He said he also had some tomatoes with him!  Another lady told me she had an apartment   in a house called  Abbotsfield, in Abbey Road. This was  where Dr Marsden moved to from Cotswold House  after he remarried in 1852.   His daughters Lucy, Rosa and  Emily came back to Abbotsfield  after their sister Marian  had died in Paris in  the summer of 1853.  It was in this house that 14 year old Lucy also died,  in September of the same year.

Yvonne was the first to sit down at the launch. She was minding Editor Des and was a bit agitated in case he  wandered off outside and got lost in the snow. He insisted on sitting on the window sill.

Godmother Vonnie with Editor Des.

Godmother Vonnie with Editor Des.

My friend, local historian  and  author  Cora Weaver,  gave me a great introduction.  I wasn’t really  nervous during my own  talk,  but a bit inclined to digress!!  This will not surprise anyone who knows me.   I suspect the man with the eggs must have been sorely tempted  to hurl a couple towards the end.  Rob managed the PowerPoint presentation as best he could …given my verbal  hopping about!  Will have to tighten things up for my next author event at The Hive in Worcester on April 3rd, which is more formal and will focus on my research.

The author in full flight on the subject of Mlle Doudet's greatest supporter, Julie Schwabe.

The author in full flight on the subject of Mlle Doudet’s greatest supporter, Julie Schwabe.

It was great day for me, despite the horrors of the weather. I  happily signed books and wished my darling mother could have been there, especially as the book is dedicated to her.

Signing a copy of The Water Doctor's Daughters for Rita.

Signing a copy of The Water Doctor’s Daughters for Rita.

Unfortunately my friend Rita had to return home on the train after it  was all over, but  the rest of us had dinner together, with much chat and laughter.  There is to be a launch at Sydney’s  Ashfield Public library  when I get back  to Australia in June as the book will be released there in April.  Surely it won’t be snowing in New South Wales…will it??


Desmond BearPsst- excuse me. Now that Pauline has finished raving on about the book, let me just quickly tell you what happened in London. Well we were staying at this hotel near the Tower of London, and when Pauline and Doctor Bob packed up to go home…THEY LEFT ME BEHIND!!  Can you believe it?? It was as if that great Shard of glass had pierced my heart.

The Tower of London contrasts wonderfully with The Shard!

The Tower of London contrasts wonderfully with The Shard!

And Pauline didn’t  even notice my absence until they were at South Kensington station, that’s ten stops away; TEN!  I was sobbing my eyes out until  finally I heard the door open but it wasn’t my  worried guardians…it was the cleaner! Well he was quite kind, but I was scared witless. He put me on his trolley and was wheeling me down the corridor when finally Dr Bob arrived…looking  really white around the gills. He had caught another train back to the Tower,  checked the room and found me gone. Well I hope he got a huge fright. My Godmother Vonnie  has threatened to report  both he and Pauline to the welfare people  for  un-BEAR-able carelessness but I don’t suppose anything will come of it. Anyway, I have said my piece and I feel better for getting it off my chest. My confidence has been severely shaken though. Can you understand why??


  1. Well done, Pauline! You must be very proud of yourself. I’m glad the snow didn’t cause a complete write-off of the day. Hopefully, the weather will be much better when you get down here to Devon. Looking forward to meeting the three of you (and my best wishes to Editor Des after his unfortunate incident). Elizabeth/Kate

    • Pauline

      Thanks so much Kate. Oh dear the launch was a challenge alright. Thank goodness for loyal friends. Who would have thought the country would be blanketed like that?? Never mind, we could only carry on regardless, trying not to break limbs. I am really looking forward to visiting Exeter, the library staff have been so warm and friendly…and surely the weather will be a little warmer at least! We are travelling on to Plymouth and Tavistock to stay with my friend Marcia. As for Editor Des, well he completely disobeyed me by writing that bit at the end. Everybody makes mistakes and it doesn’t mean we are incompetent or uncaring guardians. I’ll be telling that to the authorities!

  2. Loved reading about the latest adventures, and Well Done on a successful launch despite the inclement weather. I trust Dr Bob has recovered from the stresses of managing the IT during the event. Your writings continually make me smile, though of course NOT at the expense of young Editor Des. God forbid. The very idea! Looking forward to the next instalment. Keep ’em coming.

    • Pauline

      Thank you Marcia. Dr Bob is always at his best in a crisis. lol And he certainly learned how to swap between pics on PowerPoint at the drop of a …new name. Des is in disgrace for disloyalty.

  3. PS: Meant to add a big Well Done to all those loyal friends who also managed to brave the weather and make it through to Malvern to support the event. I was there in spirit.

    • Pauline

      Yes, I know you were Marcia xx And yes yes yes…my friends came through when I needed them most!

  4. Awwwww, I so wish I could have been there!

    Congratulations honey!

    Will make it to the next one I promise 🙂

    Give Des a cuddle from me….LOVE his jumper!


    • Pauline

      Never mind Vikki, we had that wonderful book signing get-together in London with Maddie. xx Des is still in disgrace but yes, will give him a hug from you. He also demands very fancy coffees now thanks to you.lol

  5. Poor little cousin of Pooh. I can certainly understand why your confidence has been shaken and not stirred. That Pauline could forget you? Well, is unthinkable, unbearlievable. Normally she can’t bear to be separated from you. But she has had a lot on her mind, with the book launch and the talks. So, since it’s the first time in 13 years, could you bear to forgive her. She can bearly eat her hot cross buns, and as for her Easter egg? She’s denying herself, as a punishment. So, how about it, Des? Go and give her a big bear hug. Love Madalyn x PS On second thoughts, perhaps leave the bear hug until her cold is better. xxx

    • Pauline

      I notice that the comments are all directed at Des and his angst. Very little has been said about the dreadful stress of my weather wrecked book launch!! ….Pauline.

      Just for you Maddie, I will try to put it all behind me…However, the emotional scars (that’s what people call them) will take a long time to fade. love Des.

      • Now Des, be a good bear and let it go! Breath in and… yes, that’s it, let it all out. That’s a good boy. Mustn’t hold grudges, especially with such lovely guardians as Pauline and Rob.

        Congratulations on your book launch, Pauline. I know it went brilliantly because we’ve talked about it on FB. However, I didn’t realise the weather was so inclement. What a wonderful word that is. Perhaps I should have said b****y awful. As you know from Jackie, the weather up here was dreadful. My garage had a snow drift against it that was as high as the Blue Mountains. Well, perhaps not as high as the Blue mountains. That is a bit of an exaggeration, but we were stuck in the snow. But you had a great signing, and I am proud of you. xxx

        • Thanks for your kind words Maddie. All is harmony in our household again. Editor Des and I bonded over the Boat Race!

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