Friday, 11 November 2011
Saturday, 29 October 2011
Okay, now what?
Dunno … it’s not quite what I was expecting. I thought it would be somewhere more upmarket.
I thought it would be more … more luxurious.
Luxurious? Don’t be fooled by the posh address. This is it, the place where ‘working late at the office again’ happens.
Well are you going in or what?
What if she’s there?
You don’t have to say who you are.
I couldn’t lie.
I’m not suggesting that you do.
Will you wait here?
Sure, but the traffic cop may move me on.
I won’t be long.
Alright, I’ll drive around the block.
I’ll be as quick as I can.
Don’t worry take the time you need. He won’t be back for some time.
Sure, I’m sure. Haven’t you forgotten something?
Thanks … don’t know why he can’t pick up his laundry like everyone else!
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Anyway, back to the book evening, a fun event with glasses of wine, homemade cakes, book quizzes, author interviews and stories. I really enjoyed the evening and I was delighted with the ‘goodie bag’ which contained not one but three new books!
I particularly enjoyed reading a delightful publication from the Booktrust charity called ‘The Letter I wish I'd written,' – A selection of entries from the Bookbite writing competition. The competition ran in the spring of 2010 and encouraged older writers to write about life experiences and letters they wished they had written about said experiences. They were indeed 'Letters from the heart’. As a keen letter writer, I found the letters in this publication inspiring, thought provoking, amusing and occasionally sad. I encourage you to stop by and read a few. In light of my previous post about letter writing, I think this would make a good writing project for the long autumnal evenings.
If there was a letter you wish you’d written, what might it say?
Monday, 17 October 2011
As the recipient of the occasional letter, I do enjoy the chance to stop, pour a cup of tea and savour a good gossipy letter telling of family events and occasions. It’s a joy to hear from an old college friend getting in touch after several years. Even the old fashioned courtesy note of thanks for a birthday present from a nephew or niece comes as a pleasant surprise instead of a texted ‘thanks’ or indeed acknowledgement at all in the days of instant communication. Sometimes I think we are so busy being busy with life that we don’t take time to record any of it and share it. What if we did? What difference might that make? What relationships and friendships might grow as a result of this? What might be recorded for futures generations through pen and ink? Will our communication systems of today hold interest and intrigue for our readers of tomorrow?
On a recent visit to family in Canada, we shared a letter written many years ago from a grandfather to his son. I don’t suppose when grandfather wrote it he thought that this particular letter would be read by grand children long after he had gone. As several of the grand children had been born after grandfather died it was lovely to have some insight into this member of the family they did not have the opportunity to meet. His letter, an extremely well written and detailed missive not only told something of the day but also of the man himself. He wrote about his thoughts and observations of life and his good wishes for his family too. His letter prompted much discussion over dinner about grandfather, grandmother and the events of the day. His letter, no doubt had taken time and effort to write. It had been written by a generation who would never experience email and speedy communication. But in writing this letter and sending it to his son and being retained by the family, the next generation were able to learn something more about family. Questions were asked and a few gaps in family history were filled.
This month I’m launching a campaign to bring back the art of letter writing using pen and ink … very old fashioned I know, but I think it will be good practice for my letter writing. I encourage you to do the same. Set yourself a target to write least 3 letters this month. Let me know how it goes. Who knows what may come about as a result of this little project for the autumn months.
Monday, 10 October 2011
I have to say that I do enjoy porridge for breakfast, with a little cream (just a little) and even a teaspoon of sugar, much to the dismay of the Man a serious porridge maker of Scotland. However I have learned this weekend that the art of porridge making has taken on a more adventurous role in the culinary field. Tuning into the radio yesterday I learned all about The 18th Annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship which took place yesterday in Carrbridge, Scotland. As well as the traditional recipe for this good wholesome breakfast there is now an array of speciality porridges to try. Check out the recipes from the winners John and Neal on the Golden Spurtle website. Photos courtesy of the official Golden Spurtle website. I do wonder what Goldilocks and the three bears would have made of all this.
And did you know that today is - World Porridge Day.
Monday, 3 October 2011
Today I’ve stopped by cousin-in-law’s blog, The Red Shoes. I invite you to join me. Sarah shares a beautiful picture of a Monday morning wash. Something simple, something ordinary and something we all recognise, not unless of course, a weekly trip to the launderette denies such an a ordinary activity like hanging out the washing. I can almost hear the autumnal breeze blowing those bright white clothes on the line. I can almost smell the freshness of the washing blowing in the breeze. And the sunshine, ahh … the sunshine. Hurrah for good old fashioned washing lines. I agree with Sarah, the washday experience is not quite the same with one of those whirly things.
Do stop by and have a look at Sarah’s artwork, I’m sure she won’t mind one little bit.
Happy Monday and may the autumn breeze blow all your washing dry!
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Monday, 1 August 2011
Sunday, 24 July 2011
Saturday, 25 June 2011
Saturday, 11 June 2011
Sewing has never been one of my talents as a domestic goddess. My domestic science teacher Mrs P would definitely vouch for that if she were around today. I would like to state for the record that her grey hair (possibly stress induced by my particular class) had nothing to do with my unfinished sewing assignments. No-one was happier to learn about the invention of velcro more than me! I was very inspired however when I attended my friend Pat's creative class. They make all sorts of things there and she has her own website called MadebyPIN so that you can be creative at home. Do stop by and have a look.
Baking is another talent in the armoury of the domestic goddess. I recall vague words from Mrs P, something about Victoria sponges, shortcrust, puff and choux pastry. I distinctly remember the sampling stage but have no recall of the baking stage at all. Strange that. Thankfully my friend Di at The Bluebell Cafe, a great maker of cakes and all things delightful too, shares great recipes for banana cake and cinnamon cake. Again worth a visit for some mouth watering treats.
Thank you ladies, how inspirational you have been. Well that leaves a little time now to do something a little creative before my next blog post. Now where did I leave that needle and thread?
Monday, 30 May 2011
Monday, 2 May 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Sunday, 17 April 2011
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Happy St Patrick's Day one and all!
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
“Are you sure that’s all you said?”
“So what’s with the bloody fork then?
“You sure it’s blood and not paint?”
“I’m sure and the knife, it’s missing. Where’s the knife?”
“You don’t think …?”
“No, she wouldn’t, would she?”
“You sure that’s all you said, you can’t stand lemons?”
“I may have mentioned the outfit.”
“The Carmen Miranda outfit, you know the one where she wears bananas, pineapples and lemons on her head. Honestly, she’s such a prima donna and no sense of humour.”
“Don’t be so tough, she probably spent ages on that. She’s really making the effort to get involved this year.”
“Come on, if you think for one minute that I’m dressing up like that for a sponsored pancake race, you’ve got another think coming!”
“But it’s for a good cause. Harry’s going as Count Dracula.”
(A pained voice screams in the distance) “AGGGGHHHHHH! Stupid woman, I was only joking about the lemons!”
“Who said that?”
“It’s coming from the stationary cupboard.”
“Oh dear, sounds like Count Dracula. Looks like he’s wearing a knife in his leg! You know he’s really squeamish, can’t stand the sight of blood”
“Pity that means our team is one man down for the pancake race this year!”
Sunday, 27 February 2011
- I love writing and enjoy blogging.
- I dislike clothes shopping but can spend ages in a book store, a charity shop, anywhere that sells books and cards. Have been known to get lost there too!
- A long time ago I made an LP (yes, you've read correctly! ... a very long time ago). Actually it was part of a fund raising event. And no it wasn't a worldwide success nor did it make me rich and famous. But I do remember we had a lot of fun doing it and we raised lots of money too! Emmm ...wonder if that electric blue jumpsuit would still fit? Oh I was so trendy back then.
- I love going to the theatre and would happily go every week if I could afford to do so.
- My heart place is a cottage in Co Donegal, Ireland with a real peat fire that smells wonderful especially on cold autumnal days. Peace, tranquillity, a good book and lots of white wine thinking.
- I admire people who can make beautiful storytelling patchwork quilts ... never was the star of Mrs P's needlework class at school but have learned to be very creative with paper clips and Velcro. I think, as a past pupil, I may have made her proud ...well maybe just a little ...
- I'm a hoarder and love to keep mementoes ... a nightmare when it comes to moving! My husband will vouch for that. Thankfully we don't move often.
And now ....(roll on the drums) ... I would like to pass this award to
Sunday, 13 February 2011
The Man has been trying out his new camera lens this weekend. I attended a writing workshop and met some lovely people there. This picture captured my imagination for a story.
She stood across the street staring at the window. She knew it would fit perfectly. She just knew it. She had painstakingly sewed every single stitch of that dress under the watchful eye of Madame Fontaine. Madame ensured that all her dressmakers were needlewomen of the highest calibre. Years of training in the fashion houses of
“Go on, try it on Kitty, we won’t tell,” shouted Daisy.
“I couldn’t. What if Madame came in?” said Kitty.
“Go on, I dare you, Kitty. We’ll watch out for Madame,” cajoled Esther from across the workroom table.
Kitty had spent weeks stitching the intricate mother of pearl beading onto the bodice and around the neckline. She took great care not to snag the thread or pinprick the silk of this exquisite gown. She held the beautiful white wedding dress in her arms and gently caressed the softness of the material. What a fine gown for a beautiful lady, she thought.
Her thoughts drifted to her own impending wedding to her sweetheart Edward, a war photographer who had been posted to the front line. There had been no correspondence from him for weeks.
“Hurry up, Kitty. Try it on. Pretend that you’re the bride,” giggled Daisy, the youngest seamstress.
With a little help from the girls, Kitty Delamere carefully donned the wedding gown. She took great care not to allow the train of the dress to trail along the workroom floor. It fitted her perfectly, as if it had been made for her. It felt good, really good. She felt elegant and beautiful. She felt like a lady. She wished that Edward could see her. She knew she could never afford one of Madame’s fine gowns on a seamstress’s wage of four shillings a week.
“Oh Kitty, don’t you look a proper lady,” quipped an fascinated Daisy.
The door opened suddenly.
Madame’s tall and wiry frame filled the doorway.
She shrieked loudly in her flowing French accent, “Kitty Dela-meere, the dress, take it off this minute!”
The girls reeled back in horror. Kitty blushed furiously at being caught. She stepped out of the wedding gown and made her way to the office to endure the wrath of the outraged Madame.
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Photo from Tess over at Magpie Tales
"But … it’s not!”
“Gold, you said the streets would be paved with gold and they aren’t!”
“Keep digging, you probably haven’t dug deep enough. Not enough blood, sweat and tears from you yet, young man.”
“But Da, my hands are blistered and my back is killing me. I didn’t imagine it would be as tough as this!”
“And how did you imagine it would be?”
“I thought the land of opportunity would be better, not so much of this physical work. I certainly didn’t expect us to be building the streets and working on the pavements. We could have stayed home if all we wanted to do was dig!”
“The trouble with you is you’ve never had to exert yourself too much. I blame myself for that, I’ve been too soft in my ways and your mother constantly making excuses for you has not done you any favours. But times are tough and now we need all the work we can get. We need to feed the family back home.”
Back home seemed a lifetime ago. Several months travelling in a coffin boat full of emigrants wasn’t the most thrilling journey to
It had been a painful farewell at the harbour for them both. Saying good bye wasn’t easy. Neither of them knew if they would see the family again. But there was no choice now, no choice at all it seemed, staying in a country no longer able to feed its people didn’t count as a worthwhile choice. People were dying, the crop had failed. In order to survive and provide for his family of five, Malachy O Reardon had to go to
Malachy knew that the boy was missing his family and friends and the familiarity of ways back home. He was finding it hard to settle in the dark and overcrowded hostel which was usually full of older men who like themselves had travelled to find work. Many of them were homesick and resented being treated like second class citizens. They often resorted to heavy drinking and gambling to while away the time after work and lessen the pain of loneliness and despair in a foreign country. Many of the men had only managed to pay for a one way ticket, in the hope that life and work in the ‘land of opportunity’ would provide enough wealth and fortune to send for their families when they got established in the new country.
“Da, da, come over here. Look at this. Quickly, down here. Just below the spade. Can you see it?” shouted Jed.
Malachy walked across to where his son was working. He looked down at him in the big hole of dirt filling up with water. Piles of broken pavement heaped on either side of the growing cavity.
Jed O Reardon laughed and handed his father two small, dirty coins.
“You could be right Da; maybe the streets are paved with gold after all!”
Monday, 24 January 2011
Did you know that Saturday 29 January to Saturday 5 February is National Storytelling Week? I didn’t! I’d never heard of National Storytelling Week until now. Apparently this is the 11th year of Annual National Storytelling. I learned about this eventful week through my local newspaper, which often tells tales about local shenanigans and goings on. Like most newspapers for the past few weeks there’s been a lot of gloom and doom stories, hard stories and stories which made me question whether or not I should continue buying the local paper! Some weeks it makes for a depressing read. In fact I found myself scanning the paper for good news stories, inspiring and uplifting tales but there weren’t many this week, except for news of this – National Storytelling Week. Now there’s a thing, I thought. I do love a good story and proceeded to check out what is on offer in and around my area.
As a child I loved stories and still do as an adult (the grown up child with me!) My lovely Dad was one of the best story tellers in my time. Sadly he is no longer with us but I can still recall many of the tales he told, those of mystery and intrigue, those where everyone got a mention in the story by name and those well told ‘shaggy dog tales’ where even today I wonder if they were really true! His storytelling had the power to quieten and still the boisterous and lively child. He could entrance us as children with the goings on of his school days and later the harmless and playful pranks on mates when he worked in the building trade in his early days. His love and enjoyment of stories continued in his grandfather years and often as adults we would listen to him recounting the same tales to his grandchildren and despite invariably knowing the ending of the tale, we sat on engaged and listening anyway.
I wonder now if it was the story, his dulcet tones, the musicality of his words or quite simply the child within us wanting to be entertained that held us there hanging on his every word. Whatever it was, we loved it, young and old alike. For a few minutes he could transport us to a different time and place through the magic of storytelling.
So I’m off to check out some storytelling this week. What about you? Let me know if you come across any good tales in your travels. You may consider starting with the Society for Storytelling and their website is http://www.sfs.org.uk/nsw
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
“Come on, hurry up. For goodness sake, take the photograph Edward. If we stand here much longer we’ll freeze to death” shouted Ella.
Her friends Elisabeth and Kitty stood and grinned. They refrained from getting caught up in the good natured brother-sister banter. Kitty had always admired Edward. In fact it could be said that she was quite smitten by the young, handsome dark haired man with the camera. He had smiled at her, not once but twice when they met outside the library at Marchmand House.
“Just one more shot and we’re finished here” called Edward from behind the curtained camera. One day he would be a famous photographer with a studio in
“You need to get yourself a proper job,” his father had said over and over again. A photographer was a proper job as far as Edward was concerned.
His father had plans for him to work in the City, ‘a sensible career in banking or the stock market’. His plans hadn’t included Edward ‘wasting time on photography and spending endless hours developing pictures that no-one wanted to buy or admire’. But Edward Marchmand knew different. One day people would travel miles to see his great photographic exhibitions and leave in awe of the great photographer.
“Here, I’ve brought your skates too” shouted Ella. “Come on, we’ll race you there.”
Monday, 10 January 2011
I’ve been blog hopping again and came across a great post written by Benny Lewis on the Zen Habits site, a site which I think you will enjoy, so do stop by. When I read Benny’s guest blog I was fascinated by several things he said, one of them being his passion for learning new languages. You see Benny is a ‘polyglot’. A what? I know it isn't a word prominent in my vocabulary so off I went to the ‘authorities on vocabularies and big words’ and discovered that a polyglot is someone dedicated to learning languages and has the ability to speak and write in several languages. Impressive!
My language abilities extend to great English in a Northern Irish accent, a reasonable grasp of French, enough to order a meal and find somewhere to stay, a inactive command of Irish (Gaelige) and half a dozen words in other languages that permit me to say hello, please, thank you and a glass of white wine! It’s often stood me in good stead when I’m travelling. Yes I am one of those people who often makes a fool of herself trying to come to terms with the local language. Well it’s all part of the travel experience, don’t you think? Our last trip to
Anyway, back to Benny, the polyglot … great word … polyglot…one for dropping into conversation this week when you can’t think of anything to say. You know, when you hit one of those awkward silence moments – ‘Are you a polyglot?’ Although probably best to use with caution, well until you get comfortable with the sound of the word anyway. Benny is a keen traveller and professes some great ways to learn languages. Sounds like a fun way to learn and much more creative than the audio visual languages courses at a certain Grammar School all those years ago.
What new word have you discovered recently? How has it influenced your communication skills?
Have a good week and do let me know if you bump into any polyglots in your travels.
Blogs worth hopping over to;
Zen Habits http://zenhabits.net/fluent/
Benny Lewis http://www.fluentin3months.com/about/