Posted in Events, Family, Personal life

Now We Are 6(3)

How old will you be in 2023? About to turn 63 as I’m writing this column, I’ve always been grateful for being born at the start of a decade and in the first month of the year. Being a child of the Sixties sounds far more exciting than a child of the Fifties, and it’s very easy to calculate my age at any time.

I have always counted my paternal grandmother especially lucky for being born in February 1900.

headshot of Grandma in a beret
My beloved Grandma – always me + 60

I wish I’d been able to bear my daughter three years earlier, in 2000, to pass on the legacy of nice round numbers.

Debbie and Laura at TIm's house
With my daughter Laura when she was less than 1

At the other end of the spectrum, my mother was born on New Year’s Eve. To her irritation, just before each birthday, her father would delight in telling her, “Next year, you’ll be two years older.” An accountant by profession, his other favourite quip was, “A statistician is someone who can have his head in the fridge and his feet in the fire and tell you that on average he is perfectly comfortable” – a great line to give you a sense of perspective.

My mum and my daughter together
My mum enjoys an 80th birthday hug from my daighter

When people ask whether your next birthday is “a special birthday”, they usually mean either a traditional landmark that bestows new legal rights, eg 16, 18, 21, or one that marks the start of a new decade. I’ve always been far more moved by other numbers.

On the eve of my ninth birthday, I lay awake, awed that I was about to embark on my last year in single figures. On my twenty-eighth birthday, I cried because the following birthday would mark the last in my twenties, yet my twenty-ninth and thirtieth passed without a tear.

The traditional dread of my fortieth was dispelled by the death of my first husband ten days before. I was aware of the irony of spending that birthday shopping for something to wear to a funeral. I don’t recall how I spent my forty-second – turning 21 again, ho ho. If I’d been familiar at the time with Douglas Adams declaration in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that 42 was “the meaning of life, the universe, and everything”, I’d probably have celebrated it more memorably.

This year, my celebrations at turning 21 for the third time will consist of a sedate family lunch at a National Trust property. Now there’s age-appropriate! Even so, it’s a number I’ve always loved, since, when I was 7, I decided it my favourite times table answer. Its generous, rounded shape pleased me, as did the neatness of its digits adding up to 9. In numerology, the letters in my full name add up to 63. (They reduce to 9 when you add them together to get your final personal numerology number.)

In short, 63 feels auspicious. In any case, at my age, every extra number notched up feels like a win. We have to take our little victories where we can. Ever the optimist!

This article was originally written for the Tetbury Advertiser’s February 2023 edition



promotional image of the cover of Murder Lost and Found
Book 7 in the Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery series

Tomorrow will be my book’s birthday! By which I mean it’s publication day for Boldwood Books’ beautiful new edition of the seventh in my Sophie Sayers Cozy Mystery series, Murder Lost and Found.

This story is set at the start of the school summer holidays, when Sophie, clearing out the village school’s lost property cupboard, finds a dead body – which disappears as soon as she summons help. The race is on to find not only the killer, but the body, and to save the school’s reputation. It’s a fun, summery story set in the beautiful Cotswolds.

Available now in ebook and paperback, and hardback, large print and audio are coming soon. 

Launching a new book (or in this case a new edition of a previously self-published book) is always a momentous occasion, and this time is particularly special for me, because it means Boldwood Books have now published my complete back catalogue of novels, in both the Sophie Sayers and Gemma Lamb mystery series. This means it’s now on to the next stage of my career, as I can now concentrate on writing brand new novels for Boldwood.

In fact, they’ve already published the all-new third Gemma Lamb novel, Wicked Whispers at St Bride’s, last November, and they will be publish their first all-new Sophie Sayers adventure, Murder in the Highlands on 15th March –  more on that soon.

So it’s onwards and upwards for me – and now I’d better get back to my writing desk! 


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

3 thoughts on “Now We Are 6(3)

  1. Enjoying yr latest blog Debbie – grandma Lily and Nina – photo of Nina and Laura- u r right about the smile- I remember our visits to Nina – I loved her dearly – I think of her when I step in my door ( I ought a Liberty hall runner – eastern style with cash she left me ) Also I’m reminded of her love of ducks and the poem Peter wrote out for her when I walk the river Wandle and see them there ! Thanks for the memories xx

    1. Hello Auntie Thelma! Thank you for your comment! I’m very glad Laura and I were able to get to know Nina too, such a character and such an interesting life. I think of Nina whenever I see “The Chase” in television schedules after someone (possibly Margaret?) told me her phone call would suddenly go dead when “The Chase” came on!! I thought of Grandma too on Monday which would have been her 123rd birthday!

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