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Tales from the hamlet

Cover art © Jill Bissenden

Available on Amazon Kindle, Apple Books and Paperback


Tales from the Hamlet

Memories of Italy
“This is a charming book – a quirky travelogue written by a somewhat eccentric middle-aged English lady. She invites you to share her extraordinary experiences as she explores a little-known area of Italy, introducing you to stunning terrain, surprisingly welcoming people and mouth-watering food.
WARNING don’t read this book when you are hungry!”

At the age of 61, Cassandra, a single and peripatetic Brit, was asked to pack up her house and move to Italy to take up the offer of a much-needed job. 15 months later she was made redundant, leaving her unnerved, broke and unable to return home. Her dream of a new life was rapidly turning into a nightmare and saddled with all her belongings, her antique furniture, over 800 books and her aged Siamese cat she had nowhere to go.

A kind friend offered them sanctuary in a tiny converted barn in his family’s ‘Borgo’, a cluster of rustic properties grouped around a late-Medieval manor house in the mountains; the beautiful and mysterious Emilian Apennines of north Italy. There she was befriended and watched over by the owner; and eccentric octogenarian, his household ghosts and 14 semi feral cats.

The experience proved to be challenging yet deeply transformative as she struggled to recover her equilibrium and rebuild her life.

Cassandra Campbell-Kemp

Cover art © Jill Bissenden

Available on Amazon Kindle, Apple Books and Paperback


Cauliflowers Through the Catflap

and Other Tales From a Solitary Lockdown
“I see this as an important book… one high-risk, single woman’s view on how she, personally, coped with an unprecedented situation and who is not afraid to bare all… literally!! The fact that it also looks at the situation from political and other angles is integral to the overall read…”

This is the story of a solitary Lockdown… a story of bloody-minded self-preservation replete with moments of anxiety, resignation and sadness but also with joy, hilarity and above all dogged determination. Cassandra – sixty-five years old, single and somewhat immobile – struggles with myriad new challenges as she watches herself – and the world – change from within her self-imposed fortress.

In November 2019, she had a terrifying nightmare which warned of something very bad emerging from China. In early January 2020, she had a subsequent and similarly disturbing dream in which she found herself in an empty and deserted Italian castle, furnished solely with a single ventilator tent.

Forewarned by these dreams she threw herself into a frenzy of logistical planning, laboriously turning her spare bedroom into a store cupboard stuffed with many (rigorously disinfected) boxes of sensible, nutritious, long-life and probably disgusting dehydrated foods – ready for whatever The Fates had in store.

On the 3rd March 2020, notwithstanding the dithering of the UK government, Cassandra unequivocally shut herself away, refusing to open the door to anyone and using a newly acquired pink megaphone with which to communicate, through the closed window.