We’re all going on a picnic.
The ground floors of department stores are bright, white and overpower you with a nauseous mix of perfumes. On board the yacht I have a stomach of iron, but I was not looking forward to hunting for my sister’s favourite perfume.
A young man, with more make up than the girl assistants, came skillying up.
‘Good afternoon Madam, may I help?’
For a moment I was so fascinated I could not answer. He looked like a beautiful slender doll, high cheek bones, rosebud lips, hair spiked immaculately and dressed totally in black. His charm was enough to make me, in my jeans and anorak, feel I was as entitled as any other woman to grace these hallowed halls of beauty. He laughed when I confessed my predicament. I had forgotten the name of the perfume.
‘Can’t you phone or text her?’
‘She’s just started a three hour exam and I’ve got to get back to the harbour while the tide’s high.’ I looked at the shelves full of elegant boxes, none of the names jogged my memory.
‘Treat yourself instead; what do you miss most out at sea?’
I was talked into buying an expensive tiny bottle.
In my cabin I cautiously removed the delicate stopper, sniffed and was transported to a walled garden I had visited as a child. A summer scent never recaptured until now. How was such a scent created? How did the young man choose so perfectly?
We visit Winchester Cathedral quite often; this time we had been told about the flower festival. After a late breakfast at Wetherspoons we sauntered down the road to the cathedral. It was a week day so we weren’t expecting to see a queue to get into the cathedral, but a flower festival by definition can only last a short time.
It was worth the wait; it was a flower festival like no other I have ever seen and the rich colours cannot be conveyed in the pictures. What can be shown is the crowds. There were a lot of very English,’ excuse mes’ and ‘sorrys’ as we all tried to take photos or stay out of the way of other people taking them. Winchester is very light inside and gazing up you could forget you were not alone.
The rich reds, blues and purples reflected this year’s theme which was inspired by the Winchester Bible.
The Winchester Bible is the largest and finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles. A single scribe wrote out its text in Latin, while artists worked its exquisitely illuminated capital letters. Their glowing colours, including gold and lapis lazuli, are as intense today as 800 years ago.
We have never seen the Bible. On a previous visit, hoping to see it, we were informed with great satisfaction by an officious lady that the room where it was kept was closed that day! This time we could have queued to see one volume in a temporary exhibition, but made the decision to queue for the crypt.
Down here, often standing in water, is Antony Gormley’s statue. Cyberspouse got a picture years ago when he pushed open a door that was ajar to see where it went; that time the statue was a complete surprise. This time the surprise was to see a candlelit path to the man with cupped hands.
On staycation you visit places for the day that others may have travelled across the world to see. We chatted to a couple who had come down from the North, but had the convenience of a son-in-law who worked at the cathedral and lived in the cathedral close, so they had free delightful accomodation and the opportunity to look round when everyone else had gone home.
In my novel Three Ages of Man the stranger has never seen anything as old and solid as a cathedral and marvels as he lays his hands on the stone walls of Winchester Cathedral.
I follow Jaye and Anita’s blog regularly and today I was delighted to find a review of my novel. The best review for an author is when the reader really ‘gets’ their novel and enjoys it.
In the early years of the Twenty First Century, widow Susan Dexter has more to worry about than the recession. For thirty years she has kept a secret; she is not sure if her daughter is human. New events lead her to other people who need to find the truth.
How do ordinary people cope with the extraordinary?
Mystery, music and medicine are at the heart of this family saga; sub plots are woven amongst several very different love stories, as the characters question what it is to be human and what is reality.
What an opening!
Spaceships, encounters and strange goings-on, all so much more interesting than the film with the similar name and as I read this story, I couldn’t help wondering how I would cope in similar circumstances.
Right back at the beginning of her marriage, Susan longed to be a mother, but it…
View original post 418 more words
Typing at school is not for me,
A secretary I’ll never be.
A home computer, whatever for?
A Commodore 64?
For that we are too poor.
Who has the patience to dial,
Peering at screens is such a trial.
Internet we do not need,
Goodness knows where that would lead.
You don’t have e-mail..
How will we keep in touch?
Amazon, that is a river,
Blue hieroglyphics in your e-mail,
Links are what you get in chains.
I only wanted to know
What you’d like for Christmas.
Join Facebook? No thanks,
What, you’ve put me on already
And my date of birth…
Hey come and look at this picture,
You’re not on Facebook, how come?
How do you keep in touch?
Kindle, what’s that?
Self publish, what a dream,
But I don’t DO technology.
You’ve got your book on Kindle,
Tell us how…
Yes, it’s live now.
Artists and Writers’ Year book thrown out,
I’m an Indie Author now.
How many novels have I sold?
Two or is it three,
One for my sister and one for me…
Websites, domains, Goodreads, Twitter,
Google, Pinterest, Linked In, Tumbler
Too much trouble
Just a muddle,
Two domains by error.
My picture’s gone sideways on Goodreads,
I’m only Linked In to three people,
I’ve lost my Twitter account.
Only four friends have Liked
My Facebook Author Page.
Blogs, no time to read or write,
My novel I must complete.
On WordPress there’s a pattern,
Where my photograph should be,
I don’t know how to schedule
Or understand the Stats.
My website is sunshine yellow,
My blog is sea green,
But neither flash or move
And I wish I could be seen
As a jolly cartoon
For my Author Persona.
I have an identity crisis
How do I become an Avatar?
Damp cold creeps up from the ground: long johns, zips, buttons, scarf, hat and gloves provide no defence against the bitter wind. I thought being a BBC cameraman would be a glamorous job, but someone has to do the night watch. At least it’s peaceful, better than being in a war zone.
I stay alert; my ear pieces are in, though all I can hear inside my woolly hat is my tinnitus, but when the signal comes I will be ready, this is a live broadcast.
He is standing motionless, head held high, I have him in my sight, in my lens, in focus. Then come the words I am waiting for.
We now go over live to Downing Street to hear from our political correspondent.
He looks directly at me, ready to speak to every home in the country, to tell the news we already know from the six o’clock bulletin, to repeat what the presenter in the warm studio has already recited from the news desk.
‘…as yet, there is no news from Downing Street.
We should never give up hope for peace.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Peace (World Peace Day) is celebrated on September 21 each year to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. I believe that the power to promote world peace lies within each of us. Together, we can transform the world!~Bette A. Stevens
“It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.” — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
Find out more about International Peace Dayhttp://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/resources.shtml
Peace Comes Walking
Step by step
Peace comes walking
Step by step
Peace comes walking
Step by step
Peace comes walking
View original post 9 more words
Salisbury is a small city where we used to think not much happened. It lies in the county of Wiltshire, where you might think not much has happened since Stonehenge was built. Salisbury is a city because it has a cathedral. It is not large, but it is busy with a hospital, university and many places of interest to historians and tourists.
Since March this year it has been in the international news with the poisoning by novichok nerve agent of two Russians and a local policeman. Just when Salisbury was getting back to some normality there was the bizarre tragedy when two locals were taken ill and one became the first fatality. Two Russian suspects have been named and even appeared on Russian television to explain they visited Salisbury merely as tourists to see the cathedral with its famous spire and the oldest clock in the world.
You couldn’t make this story up; if these two men were ‘secret agents’ they certainly bungled the whole mission, their target was not killed, though he and his daughter only survived thanks to the National Health Service and skilled care. Before leaving Salisbury they dumped the novichok in a rubbish skip. Through all these months, parts of Salisbury have been closed off and scoured for any trace of the nerve agent, a nightmare for businesses expecting a busy tourist summer.
We quite often go to Salisbury and went there last week after our morning at Stonehenge. Everywhere seemed busy, but perhaps they were locals.
I can believe the two suspects didn’t find the cathedral; though the famous spire can be seen for miles around, the first time we visited we stood in the main square and could not see it, we had no idea which way to go.
Through an arch you will find yourself looking at the cathedral green; fine weather shows the scene at its best. This area is full of interesting houses and museums and the expanse of grass is ideal for children to run and play and school parties to let off steam. There is too much for one visit, but whatever your plans just stand by yourself and look up at the spire.
The refectory, cloisters and smart toilets are free to wander in. Do you pay to go in the cathedral? There is a suggested donation. On our visit, late in the afternoon, I was just trying to read what we might ‘kindly be asked’ to pay when I realised Cyberspouse was already inside. We may have accidentally followed a coach party in. The house of God should be free to enter, but cathedrals need constant loving and expensive care. We always buy our refreshments at the refectory and there is a nice shop for tourists.
Cathedrals can be overwhelming, I guarantee most of us do not remember all the saintly and royal details in the leaflets. Take in the ambience and spend time with what takes your eye. Highlights include the clock, perhaps the Russians wanted to steal our cutting edge technology! Look carefully down the nave and see if you can spot the columns bowed at the centre of the cathedral under the weight of the spire. A model of the spire shows the original wooden scaffold still there. Another model shows the cathedral being built; I had a nice chat with an American lady as we admired the model and the original builders. The biggest miracle of ancient buildings is the fact they are still standing and I love to wonder if those who built it could have imagined how far into the future their creation would be admired.
Cathedrals are living places and new art is added. I love the font, sculptor William Pye, consecrated in 2008.
On our brief stroll around the cathedral Cyberspouse met a woman from Iceland, tourists are still coming to Salisbury.
My Brief Encounters trilogy is partly set in rural Wiltshire and Salisbury also features, especially in Lives of Anna Alsop.
Reviews of two very different novels and a murder mystery play by Francis Durbridge
I posted both book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads
Our Spoons Came From Woolworths
by Barbara Comyns
I read this as a paperback passed on to me and recommended. I had not heard of the author before.
Many of us love anything to do with the twenties and thirties; architecture, art, music and elegant young men and women capture wistfully the two decades between world wars. But we also know it wasn’t glamorous for most and for the British it was a time our parents and grandparents remember before the Welfare State and the birth of the National Health Service.
Sophia is young and naive and the novel is probably very close to the author’s own life. I love the way she tells us her story as if she was looking back and telling a friend, which indeed she does at the end. The book was published in 1950.
We have a vivid picture of life with very little money, renting rooms and sharing bathrooms. From details of what they eat to the realities of pregnancy and childbirth which will appall most women. Ironically it was also a time when new mothers who were able to afford a nice nursing home would have enjoyed two weeks of bed rest – unheard of these days! Love and poverty never go well together and being married to an artist who is never going to earn proper money is a recipe for disaster. Follow Sophia in a poignant story that has humour, very dark times and then hope.
Secrets by Anita Dawes
20 August 2018
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I finished reading this in the middle of last night; though it is not unusual for me to turn my Kindle on in the early hours, this is not the sort of novel you should be reading in the dark watches of the night! It is a good paranormal thriller, but more than that it will make you reconsider all our childhoods. How responsible are children for what they do and what is really going on in their minds? In some ways I felt most sorry for Jack’s parents, a poignant back story gradually revealed, an event that ruined any chance of his father continuing the life he loved or his mother coming to accept their rural life. There is a lot going on in everyone’s lives, but Jackie is a reminder that those of us who have led ordinary lives cannot know what others have had to overcome. There were only a few things that jarred – I thought it was likely the social services would have got involved, Maggie did not guess an obvious pointer as Jack’s story was revealed and some dialogue and characters’ thoughts could be confusing in the pace of the story. But overall I really enjoyed this unusual novel.
SHELLEY THEATRE, BOSCOMBE.
Francis Durbridge’s play Suddenly At Home
Thursday-Tuesday August 16-21
Durbridge won international acclaim as the creator of Paul Temple, one of the most famous of all BBC radio detectives. He also wrote nine stage plays, Suddenly At Home was first performed in 1971.
Percy Florence Shelley was the son of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 -1822) and Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.
He bought Boscombe Cottage, near Bournemouth, Dorset for his mother to live in and had it rebuilt based on the Casa Magni in Lerici, northern Italy, the last home of Percy Bysshe and Mary. He renamed it Boscombe Manor. Mary died before it was completed and Percy and his wife Jane took residence.
Sir Percy had a timber theatre built in the grounds but replaced it with the current grander theatre which opened in 1870 with a public performance. Many of their friends acted and came to see shows including Sir Henry Irving and Robert Louis Stevenson (who wrote Jekyll and Hyde in Bournemouth).
Now this lovely pocket sized theatre has been restored and is a treat to visit. The volunteers give you a friendly greeting, there is a pleasant bar and the seats are very comfortable – they came from the much hated Bournemouth Imax cinema building when it was demolished, but that story is for another blog!
Small theatres are always fun, the audience are there to enjoy themselves for a play such as this which follows in the long British tradition of darkly comic murder mysteries.
The London Repertory Players were at the Shelley Theatre for a four play summer season. The action was set in one room; all that was needed were a few items of furniture and several doors. Door bells and ringing phones, always at the wrong moment, kept the cast and audience on their toes and guessing till the final curtain.