One of these thirteen pictures, taken from my 99.8% full wordpress library, holds the clue to your luck this week. Which photograph has your name on it? Will it be good or bad luck waiting for you?
Seth tried to hang on to the memories before he opened his eyes; a whole film in technicolour. He had dreamed a whole movie, a brilliant idea for a novel if he could recall it; write a best seller with film makers flocking to his door… that would be a dream. If only he could connect his brain to his computer, time would not be wasted sleeping, unless it was the fact that he was sleeping that produced the ideas. He jumped as his phone vibrated under his pillow and played that irritating tune. Every morning he vowed to change the tune and every evening he forgot. Whatever the melody, it didn’t alter the fact that he had to get up for work.
The school Seth taught at bore no resemblance to the one in his dream, where young minds were nurtured and different talents exposed to produce a team of world changing teenagers with Seth sharing a little of the glory, or quite a lot as he was made Prime Minister. Who would play him in the film? He snapped out of his reverie and looked at the surly faces staring at him… and that was just the staff room. Seth put his empty coffee cup down and stood ready to face the afternoon.
‘Hey Seth, you’ve got a new kid in your English class, he’s in my form, Dad’s a scientist and polymath, seen him on television, goodness knows why he sent his son to this school, something about discovering real life.’
‘He was thrown out of his private school,’ said the head of science ‘too clever for his own good.’
Seth felt his hackles rise; they should be encouraging the clever kids, not putting them down. He strode down the corridor with an idea for the warm up pen and paper creative exercise.
The class was unusually quiet, gathered round the new boy who was talking enthusiastically, his long fingers gesticulating elegantly to illustrate his subject.
‘Without any discussion class, write for fifteen minutes imagining you could plug your brain into a computer while you slept.’
Unusually they settled down quickly. Seth sauntered casually between the desks, the new boy was scribbling furiously, words and hieroglyphics.
‘Isaac isn’t it?’
At least the private school had taught him manners.
‘Named after Newton or Asimov?’
‘Do you enjoy writing?’
‘When it’s my favourite topic, good choice Sir, my father and I have just invented such a device. It didn’t go down too well at my last school, getting the pupils to volunteer; perhaps you would like to have a go?’
So on Friday evening Seth found himself relaxing on a comfortable bed in a very pleasant room with electrodes attached to his head; he didn’t expect it to work, but he did have an idea for a new short story about a writer who finds himself in the hands of mad father and son scientists. It was rather creepy being in the company of the two most intelligent people he had ever met.
‘Our initial aim is to discover if brain waves will translate into images or words or perhaps both’ said Isaac’s father.
Seth drifted off quickly. He was on board the International Space Station with Isaac and his father and the attractive married science teacher he fancied; also bizarrely his mother and the middle aged lady who worked on the till at the Co Op. They had a fantastic plan for saving the Earth from climate change, if only he could remember what the plan was… he woke up with a start.
‘Great, we’ve got some images already.’
Seth looked at the screen as he sipped a welcome cup of tea. A beautiful view of the earth, a view inside the space station, well anybody could get those images off the internet… but not pictures of his mother and everyone in his dream, the lady still in her Co Op uniform, the science teacher in a very short skirt and low cut blouse, floating around showing her figure to full effect. Isaac chuckled.
‘Hey Sir, you fancy Mrs Greening.’
Seth ignored the remark. ‘But we’re not talking, I’m not sure if we spoke in the dream, but we had a plan…’ he rubbed his temples ‘to save the earth.’
‘Let’s try the word document then’ said Isaac’s father.
Seth thrilled when he saw words come up on the screen, he’d written a book in his sleep, he peered closer, something was wrong…
I Captain odf the mosat brillainteam o severs sent up my mother fopr got to,mask me to get milkat the shops mrs greening saya her husband is dead so its okayforhet come up herthees the moonnt asbigasithoughtihave togobalc toearth itstime forscgool wonder if the shuttle is working todayknoitdoesb’tworkanymore ohohmyspacesuitdoesn;t fit ishallppbably implode otrisitsexplode ionspace………….
Often we round off writers’ group with a timed exercise, the other week it was the colour yellow and it was surprising how much came to mind. I thought
Hey, I could have a different colour blog each week!
So we start with yellow.
Yellow is the oldest colour, the colour of the Sun, watery in winter, golden at sunset and over the equator. The yellow sun mixes with the blue sky to make nature’s green and among the green leaves are the flowers that mimic the sun. Bees love yellow; they wear it and seek it out. I felt guilty when bees bumped into our sun lounge windows, attracted by the bright yellow of the lamps on the windowsill.
Yellow makes a statement, banish cowardice; let yellow represent spring, summer, fun and happiness. It is also a designer statement, the stars on the European Union flag, the colour of smart raincoats, Ikea, our local buses, my website, my kitchen. When we ‘rebranded’ our north facing dining room we painted the walls yellow, went minimalist, replaced bookshelves with large plants and called it the garden room.
When you stroll down the road your spirits are lifted when you pass pretty gardens and at this time of year yellow is in abundance. As daffodils fade tulips come out and wallflowers with their delightful scent. Dandelions are unfairly treated as weeds and are apparently good for you medicinally and nutritionally.
You can seee more flowers at my website.
What is your favourite colour, suggest a colour and I’ll write about it next week.
A simple idea; ask volunteers to answer a series of questions about a life experience. There are some experiences that most of us have, others that are certainly outside our realm. Even the same sort of experience will be different according to the person, where they live, the other folk in their lives. I loved the honesty of Abbie Johnson Taylor on becoming a carer – would she do it all again? I enjoyed the positivity of Lucy V. Hay on being a teenage mother. Readers may find comfort in knowing other people have undergone the same. We may face events in the future and remember how others in this book dealt with it. But whether you are facing illness or an addiction, one of the messages that seems to be common is that there are some things you have to want to do yourself, you need to help yourself before others can help you.
A letter to the Sun and a reply we should all read.
45 DEGREES – TEMPERATURE IN MANY PLACES AROUND THE GLOBE AND SOMEONE WROTE A BEAUTIFUL LETTER TO THE SUN:
If You may
Please go to Computer Settings
Kindly display Brightness and
Lower your Brightness
We are sweating like pigs
Temperatures are sky-rocketing
Please, it’s too hot to Handle You!
I have not changed any settings
Please go to your settings and
Increase the number of trees
Reduce carbon emission levels
Reduce concrete jungles
Increase number of lakes
Use water wisely and carefully
Instead of bikes, cars
Use bicycles whenever possible
Or go walking it is the best exercise
Sun further said…………
My dear children
Basically, You all need to Switch to
‘Human Mode’ from ‘Auto Mode’
Otherwise do not blame me
For the Global Warming
Simple as that…………..
Sunday Salon, the occasional blog that brings you all the arts.
Today a rattling good story, two very different theatre experiences and a concert.
She Who Goes Forth by Audrey Driscoll
I posted this review on Amazon.co.uk, but it was rejected! I also posted it on Goodreads, giving it five stars.
Whether you are young or can remember setting out in life on your own, you will connect with France our heroine in this ripping yarn. She is the new girl and nothing in Luxor, Egypt is as she was expecting. France finds herself with a complex set of colleagues and like anyone new does not know what is going on. But with her trusty cello by her side she does not let much daunt her. Although this novel is a fantasy, it portrays real people at an interesting time in history. We are not sure at first what is truth, what is France’s imagination or what part others have played in the strange happenings. Then events start to happen fast and there are terrifying page turning moments as France’s life changes forever.
Whatever your taste in music, drama or films; going out to a live event is always an experience.
The Pavilion, Bournemouth
The Pavilion has been celebrating its ninetieth birthday, not the oldest theatre in the country, but it has seen off two winter gardens and survived several attempts at closure or change.
The actual birthday night was celebrated with a trip back in time, three hours of varied entertainment for less than £10. A municipal orchestra was recreated and rose from the orchestra pit. This was followed by amateur silent film of Bournemouth in 1929 and newsreel films accompanied by the fantastic Compton theatre organ, which can also pop up and down and can make the whole theatre vibrate. At the many keyboards was Donald Mackenzie who plays its sister organ at the Odeon Leicester Square.
After the interval was a showing of my favourite old musical, 42nd Street, made in 1933 when movies had made a great leap forward from silent to large scale musicals. The first time I watched it was when the lovely Art Deco cinema in Christchurch was having its eightieth birthday in 2011. On that occasion Mark Kermode, film critic from the BBC, introduced the movie and declared how great it was that the little cinema was still using real ( reel ) film. Shortly afterwards the cinema went digital; modern technology has to be embraced to keep these places busy and functioning…
Meanwhile back at the Pavilion I enjoyed the film again, great music and a show business story that is still relevant, the fat bloke with the cigar and the money was Weinstein. As the film finished the organ rose from the pit with a resounding chord and played the National Anthem and yes we did all stand. Happy Birthday followed to round off a good evening.
Lighthouse Arts Centre, Poole
The Lighthouse opened in 1978 and has a concert hall, theatre, studio and cinema. We went to the theatre to see ‘Dracula The Bloody Truth’ a family friendly show with the premise that Bram Stoker stole a true story. Exeter based Le Navet Bete are committed to creating hilarious, physical and totally accessible comedy theatre using creative and engaging storytelling. The four chaps played many roles between them, including all the ladies. Their timing was brilliant as they mistimed everything, knocked scenery over or spoke each other’s lines. By the end of the first half, most of the set had fallen onto the stage. It was hilarious for the adults, but even better, the theatre was filled with the genuine laughter of children.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, has not been based in Bournemouth since it moved to the Lighthouse; it plays its main season of concerts there and some are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 – make sure you have your mobile phones turned off! But it still plays some concerts at the Pavilion and also in other towns all over the South West of England, as well as spreading out its members to work with schools and care homes.
Even if you are not interested in classical music you probably have an idea what happens at a live concert and you would be right… audience sits down as orchestra come on and start tuning, leader of orchestra comes on, more applause, conductor and perhaps the soloist comes on; even greater applause and they haven’t even done anything yet, but they look smart. If there are choir seats behind the orchestra and no singing planned the audience can sit up there and get a great view of the percussion section, although I always worry the huge cymbals are going to go flying backwards into the audience as the percussionist strikes them with gusto. I have never tried these seats as it involves lots of clambering around watched by everybody else in the auditorium and it would be embarrassing to trip. On broadcast nights you can watch the radio presenter chatting away silently to the microphone in his little booth at the side of the stage…
But every concert can be different and there is plenty to watch. Serious concert goers who all know each other, school parties, restless children and inevitably some people who fall asleep; even the most ardent music lover can find their eyelids, or worse, their head drooping as a busy day catches up with them and they sit in warm comfort soothed by the music… and what of those going for the first time? At one concert, as we all filed up the shallow steps to the exit doors at the back, I heard a woman behind me saying to her chap
‘I feel like I’ve been run over by a tractor.’
You have no soul, it was fantastic.
‘Don’t ever bring me to a live concert again, I don’t mind listening to Classic FM on the radio…’
At a recent concert nobody knew what to expect and the conductor gave us an introduction so we would be prepared. It was the third symphony by Armenian composer Avet Terterian. Two soloists played small wooden instruments called duduks. The piece started with total silence for a good few moments which was surprisingly moving; do we ever hear total silence? This was suddenly broken by the drums. I noticed some of the orchestra had ear plugs and a lady up in the choir seats kept her ears covered the whole time. The duduks, far from being overwhelmed by the orchestra, played piercing notes that took you back to ancient lands. There were other periods of silence and sweet lyrical parts. I could not describe the symphony, but I loved it. There was rapturous applause at the end; it had been an experience.
Today I am delighted to welcome back Baz The Bad Blogger to talk about his new novel and the YouTube video he has created to launch the series.
‘Have you always wanted to write fantasy Baz?’
No, but if that chap can make all that money out of Game of Thrones I thought how hard can it be to write about dragons?
‘Have you watched all the series of Game of Thrones?’
No, have you?
‘No, but I imagine you must have had to come up with some very original story lines to compete with GoT and all the other fantasy novels.’
My dragon is set in the real world of the 21st Century; he comes from a lost island somewhere in the Pacific, but loses his way home and ends up at Bognor Regis. Notflex are going to love it.
‘That explains the scene where he nearly collides with the coastguard helicopter…’
But there is still the traditional castle setting… I can’t tell you any more, you’ll have to buy the book.
The Easter break from university was handy, Lucas had booked a flight before he could change his mind, but he was looking forward to the trip to Paris by himself; no rushing round sightseeing with friends or the pressure of creating the perfect romantic break for your girlfriend. Once he had found the Airbnb he would keep his promise to his grandmother then he would be free to wander at leisure around the city.
They had only had one family trip to Paris, his twelve year old self grumbling and bored, not taking much notice of Grand-maman retelling the stories of her youth. He and his father had opted for a bateau on the Seine while his grandparents, mother and sisters made the pilgrimage to Notre Dame. There had been other trips to Paris, but never all together again. He had preferred Eurodisney with the school, but now he would pay his first visit to Notre Dame and light a candle for his grandmother.
As Lucas emerged from the Metro station he sensed immediately something was wrong; a red glow in the sky, an ancient scent in the air and a strange silence. It couldn’t be happening, but somehow he was standing with the crowds looking across the water at Notre Dame burning, gazing up at the fiery spire as it toppled. His throat was tight with shock as the crowd gasped and wept. Thank God his grandmere never lived to see this day. Lucas fumbled with his phone, he must tell his mother. He snapped a picture, it seemed almost indecent, but plenty of others had their phones high above their heads. What words to follow the picture?
Lucas? I know, we just saw it on the news, thank God you’re okay.
A bubble of hysteria formed in his throat, had his mother feared he had started the conflagration by lighting his candle?
‘Of course I’m okay, but Notre Dame… Grand-maman…’
His mother was crying.
Now, surrounded by Parisians, he understood for the first time what Notre Dame had meant to his Grandmere. He sent up a prayer, the god he didn’t believe in was surely listening this evening and Grand-maman did not need a candle; centuries of incense infused wood were sending holy smoke up to Heaven.
Lucas felt at home among the crowd, not the angry gilet jaune protests he had been looking forward to watching, but united and dignified. Brexit was off the agenda here, irrelevant, but he felt a stab as he recalled how the last few years had made Grand-maman sad, Lucas’ mother irrationally angry at his poor father just because his own father had voted Brexit.
The next morning Lucas was up early along with many others as they marvelled at walls and towers still standing. He was glad now his grandmother and mother had nagged him to practice his conversational French. In the evening he joined in the singing.
On Wednesday evening he was still finding himself drawn there and thrilled to hear bells pealing out all over the city. He vowed to visit the great lady every day of Holy Week.
Thursday evening found Lucas, with new French friends he had acquired, gathering outside Hotel de Ville to pay tribute to the fire fighters.
Now it was Good Friday and perhaps it was time to step inside a church as some of his new friends would be doing.
The weather was greyer and mistier than last time, but at least it wasn’t raining. With two nights away we had all day and this time we were determined to see The Big House properly.
Because Jane’s parents were fortuitous in giving away one of their sons to childless rich relatives ( and what parent wouldn’t be tempted, I wonder if they chose the naughtiest? ) it came about that Jane’s brother Edward Austen Knight inherited Chawton House and was able to provide Jane, sister Cassandra, their friend and their widowed mother a home on the estate for the rest of their lives. Cassandra and the friend ran the household so Jane could concentrate on her writing and this was the happiest and most productive period of her life, sadly cut short by her early death.
We strolled around the village first on this damp morning, being nosey of course and admiring the lovely cottages brightened with spring flowers. At the house there were few visitors yet and I was fascinated with a very jolly, well spoken family; granddad with three generations of women who all seemed to have impossibly long slender legs. You may recall last year we met Jeremy Knight, third great grandson of Edward who now volunteers as a guide at Jane’s. My ears pricked when I heard the grandmother of the family ask another volunteer ‘Is Jeremy in?’ He’s just gone for coffee. ‘I’m his first cousin.’ Oh, did you want to go in the office for coffee? ‘ What, with the staff? I haven’t seen him for years.’
When we did arrive at Chawton House and went first to the kitchen where they serve light refreshments, Jeremy’s relatives were there having coffee, I wonder if they did meet up with him that day?
Mr Collins chooses Sermons to Young Women to read aloud to the Bennet sisters on the first evening that he spends with the family (I. 14). This is an important clue to Mr Collins’s character, since by the time Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, Fordyce’s views were outdated and restrictive. Lydia Bennet is particularly unimpressed by Mr Collins’s choice of reading material: ‘Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him …’.’
There is plenty to enjoy looking round the house even if you don’t pause to read. Imagine the family in the dining room, or gazing out at the views. Take time to wander the gardens as well. The primroses were out and we walked through ‘the wilderness’ and to the church close by where the family worshipped and Cassandra and her mother are buried. Jane Austen’s last few weeks were spent in Winchester, where her family hoped for a cure. She is buried there.
See more pictures at my website.
Not every blogger wantS to do awards or be nominated, but anyone who wants to have a go, I’m challenging you to the five questions Ribana gave me.