Moving On

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No, we’re not moving house, although that would be good and preferably to the coast. But as the family are all settled in the Midlands, I’m afraid that won’t happen.

No, I’m moving on from blogland. I know, I know, I’ve only been here five minutes. I thought I would enjoy writing a blog as much as I enjoy reading and commenting on others. But I don’t.

I’m a bit of a butterfly – flitting here, flitting there and as I am only a hobby writer I don’t have a book to promote or anything much to shout about. So I’m sticking to Facebook, where I can keep an eye on the family and contribute when I feel like it.

I have my own additional page there called The Pencil Box where I post pictures of my drawings. You are very welcome to take a look and comment there if you wish.

On Facebook I can choose my friends and they can choose me. It is easily accessible and I can follow my favourite sites without obligation. So if you have been following me here, you are more than welcome to look me up. Come on Cora and Rene – I know you can do it!

I won’t abandon this blog altogether, just in case I get withdrawal symptoms or the sudden urge to write something profound.

So, for now it’s cheerio and a big thank you to all of you who popped by and said hello. Big thanks to Susan Jones who helped me set this up on WordPress in the first place.

PS. This little bridge reminds me of Pooh sticks as there is a swift flowing stream running underneath, and it vaguely links my crossing over to leave blogland behind.

SOCK SHOCK!

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It was reported on line and in the Daily Mail today, that Richard Dawkins, the provocative author,is using his powers of persuasion to convince the public to ‘fight the tyranny of the matching socks.’

You can see him here wearing an odd pair, one red, one blue.

He says we could save ourselves many hours of searching and having to throw away a sock with a hole or an odd sock. His theory is that we should pick out two socks to wear regardless of whatever colour they may be. I’d hate to see the state of his sock drawer.

After my last post I think this could be the answer to my paranoia about matching up my ‘days of the week’ socks. But I think it would only work if your socks were very different from each other so they make a statement of intent rather than an obvious accident.

Now, I promise no more sock posts.

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THE FENCE

No, this isn’t about my non-novel about stolen goods. Originally the word fence came from the idea that selling stolen goods would provide a defence against being caught.

No, this is about our garden fence which I painted all by myself this morning. Okay I admit to stopping for a coffee and a banana to get my strength back.

At the same time, hubby was raking the lawn with his electric gadget. The slugs and leather jackets he unearthed were worthy of a scene from an I’m a Celebrity Bushtucker Trial. I’m sure one was posing as a witchetty grub.

Today in the Midlands it has been beautiful and sunny with a similar forecast for tomorrow.

What are you planning to do?

Warning – Silly Post!

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I’m not normally superstitious. Okay, I don’t walk under ladders, but that’s about it.

Recently I bought some socks with different coloured heels and toes which I thought would be easier to match up after the wash. It was only when I got home that I realised that they also had written on them the days of the week. Nothing wrong with that you might say, except I have discovered a superstition I never knew I had.

I have to wear the correct sock on the corresponding day. I don’t know what will happen to me if I go out on a Sunday wearing Saturday’s sock, but I’m not prepared to take the risk. Scary, isn’t it?

By the way, today is Tuesday and Monday’s sock is in the wash.

Do you have any irrational superstitions?

Elizabeth is Missing

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Sometimes you know from the first page that a book is going to be good. Then halfway, you stop, because you don’t want to rush through to the end – you don’t want ‘the journey’ to end. Well, that’s how I felt with Elizabeth is Missing.

Maud is 82; she lives alone but is visited daily by her daughter, Helen and a carer. She is suffering from dementia and we see how she writes copious reminder notes for herself and does silly things.

But one thing she does know is that Elizabeth, who is of similar age and position, is missing. She doesn’t answer her phone and her house appears to be empty. Of course, Maud thinks that Elizabeth’s son, Peter is somehow involved, but no-one seems to be listening to her, even the police.

You can sense her frustration but because of her confusion, she is unable to make any sensible conclusions.

At the same time as this story is being told, we have mid-chapter flashbacks to when Maud was a little girl about 70 years ago when her big sister, Sukey went missing and was never found. As the two stories run parallel to each other we are led to believe that there is a connection.

Halfway through the book I tried to guess the ending and how the two stories would come together. I won’t tell you here what that was, but I wasn’t disappointed. Of course, an old lady of 82 with dementia cannot suddenly recover, but it was a satisfactory ending and a book I would recommend.

The story is written from Maud’s point of view, which in this case is a good way for us not to see what Helen, Peter and the carer are thinking and how they are reacting. We see Helen’s frustration through Maud’s eyes, but we also see that her daughter really cares about her.

This is Emma Healey’s first novel. It won the Costa First Novel Award 2014. She was inspired to write the book by her own two grandmothers, Vera Healey and Nancy Rowland.

The Thirty Second of March

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Over the last few days I have noticed some strange stories in the newspapers; so much so that I had to check the date. Surely it wasn’t the first of April already.

Some of the headlines that caught my eye:

  • ‘Rescued, the wife who tried to swim after cruise liner.’
  • ‘In A&E…for eating too many Easter eggs.’
  • ‘Hallelujah… a mattress to stop your other half snoring.’
  • ‘Soap that grows in your plug hole.’
  • ‘Could a pillow shaped like a spanner cure your wrinkles?’
  • ‘Pastry chefs put through the mixer.’

Yes, these are all real headlines!

The origins of April Fools Day are uncertain but they go back generations. It could have been something to do with the Gregorian calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from the end of March to the first of January. But this theory runs into difficulty as other countries also celebrated April Fool’s Day.

Hilaria, a Roman festival which celebrated Cybele, an Antolian goddess, was celebrated around 25th March. The Feast of Fools was a term given to many medieval festivals celebrated during the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries in Europe. They evolved to develop a tradition of practical jokes.

I like to believe Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392) where the Nun’s Priest Tale is set ‘syn March began thritty days and two’ and was misunderstood to mean 32 March – hence 1 April. In Chaucer’s tale the vain cock is tricked by a fox.

There are, however, some rules that have to be obeyed:

  • Do no harm and nothing illegal.
  • No pranks after noon

So watch out for those pranksters on Friday morning, and I’d love to hear about them, or any spotted on the news channels or in the newspapers.

Friday 50 Word Challenge

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Here is an exercise to get you thinking. Maybe you could use it as a stepping stone to something more – a story or maybe a poem.

We all need inspiration; perhaps just a word, a sentence, an idea. I hope this motivates you to do some writing today:

  • A red telephone box with a missing door. Where is it and what is it doing there? Whatever this image sparks, write it down in exactly 50 words.

Here is my 50 word flash fiction:

  • There were flowers in a bucket; a string of onions hung French style and a box of vegetables sat on an upturned pallet. A hand written note was posted to the glass. ‘Your call is very important to us. Please leave your produce donation in return for one of ours.’

Have fun and see what you come up with.

 

DRAMA!!

  • Dramatic
  • Reproduction
  • Acting out
  • Murder with an
  • Acrostic poem

There have been some terrific dramas on BBC and ITV lately. It seems that when one finishes, another one begins.

James Norton has proved to be a very versatile actor, staring in War and Peace as Prince Andrei; then as Tommy Lee in Happy Valley, and now as a vicar in Granchester. Three completely different roles.

I am on the edge of my seat in Happy Valley, as each episode puts another problem into the equation.

We can learn from these dramas when writing our own stories. It seems that there is a ‘what if’ in every episode, and when the situation can’t get any worse, another ‘what if’ is thrown into the mix.

Sarah Lancashire, who we remember as the ditsy barmaid, Rachael in Coronation Street, has proved her versatility since leaving the Street. In Last Tango in Halifax she played a headmistress who had to cope with one crisis after another in her disjointed family. In Happy Valley she plays a police officer, a bit rough around the edges but trying to hold her family together, as the criminal Tommy Lee dictates from his prison cell. Excellent stuff and some fascinating characters.

There was also a series of dramas written by the gritty Jimmy McGovern, which has just been repeated on BBC1 in the afternoons. I didn’t feel guilty settling down to watch this brilliant portrayal of real characters.

Jerico, a period drama about building a bridge in the Yorkshire Dales has finished on a knife edge with a shooting. We will have to wait for series two to find out what happens.

I like to make up my own endings to see how mine compare. It’s a very good exercise for my own writing. I try to guess the ending of novels too. So when I’m reading or watching television, I’m not wasting time, I’m working!

How about you?