The Beast from the East.

 

 

As the Beast from the East, the description that is given to the current weather front that is threatening, the East Midlands and much of the United Kingdom arrives; I began to think of days-gone-by, snuggling up around our coal fire.

My late father worked at Thorseby Colliery. As such we were lucky as a family to always have a warm house.  Concessionary coal was an integral part of his wages. The glow of the coal fire a welcome sight to come home to when the weather outside was freezing cold. Sadly, the era of the coal fire was to rapidly decline as a result of the Miners strike of 1984.

Thorseby Colliery closed in 2015, marking the end of an era of mining in Nottinghamshire.

 

 

 

At one time Nottinghamshire, with 42 collieries and 40,000 miners, was one of the most successful coal-fields in Europe. Many of Nottinghamshire’s towns and villages were established around the collieries. There was a good community spirit and a sense of belonging. Sons often followed their fathers into the mines or allied professions which supported the mining industry.

Sadly, all of this changed in March 1984 when Arthur Scargill led major industrial action.

The choice of whether to join a picket line or continue working; divided workforces, caused arguments within families and began fights across the country.

As the situation became worse, many miners refusing to work found themselves struggling financially and kitchens were set up by families to provide food for those who could not afford it. These struggles are explored in my book, a work of contemporary fiction.

Love, Secrets, and Absolution. Published by The Globeflower Agency.  Available from Amazon and Waterstones. 

Love, Secrets, and Absolution - novel

Extracts from Love, Secrets, and Absolution.

  ‘You heard the news?’ Grace nodded and said, ‘Will you be going on strike?’ Paul gulped his beer and then began to update Grace on what was happening. He told her that the Nottinghamshire NUM supported strike action, but some members wanted to continue working as they didn’t agree with it. Paul explained that he didn’t know what to do. His whole family worked, or had worked, in the mines of Nottinghamshire. His great-grandfather had helped to sink the first mine in their district and his own father had carried on the family tradition of working the coal face. He felt loyal to his family and fellow miners, and didn’t want to be a ‘scab’. But, if he went on strike then money would be tight.

Helping in the soup kitchen.

Paul went on strike, and initially tried to be constructive with his time. He planted the garden with the vegetables, as Grace had suggested. He also chopped down an old tree at the bottom of the garden and cut it into logs. Along with the loss of wages the concessionary fuel was stopped. Their last load of coal that was delivered would have to be used very carefully. Grace thought it was fantastic that Paul would take Alfie to the playground every day. However, she noted that Alfie never seemed happy upon their return. Money was very tight, so throughout the strike the wives rallied round and supported each other. Whilst Paul took Alfie out, Grace met her friend Hazel and they would talk about the strike. Hazel informed her that the Women’s Institute was helping struggling families, and she wondered if Grace would like to help set up a local soup kitchen with funding from the Women’s Institute. Grace thought that this was a fantastic idea and threw herself into this new role of helping others. She began to feel empowered by her actions and her confidence soared.

 

 

 

 

Make your travel dreams come true, through the media of books.

 

 

 

The Little Paris Bookshop.

Written by Nina George.

I took this delightful book with me, to read while travelling around Central America with my husband. But let me tell you! Despite the beauty of the places I visited, I yearned to be travelling with the protagonist of the story, Jean Perdu; aboard the ‘Literary Apothecary.’ Such a wonderful name for Jean Perdu’s canal barge.

I was transported through the streets of Paris and into the Champagne regions of France. The rivers Seine and Rhone beckoned me to visit, such was the wonderful descriptions  that the writer, ‘Nina George’ wove into this charming story.

This is an uplifting story of: love, loss and friendship. I was fascinated by the idea of a books content, helping to heal the tormented mind of a reader. Using books like medicine is a magical concept.
By giving a voice to Manon through the media of a diary, adds another dimension to this fascinating book.
The characters all came to life for me, each one unique and interesting.

 

Improving Lives.

                                     Improving Lives.

 

I am a great believer in donating to charity. However, of late, I am becoming confused, with respect to the increasing number of charities seeking a donation.

According to Wikipedia, charitable giving is the act of giving money, goods or time, to the unfortunate. Either, directly or by means of a charitable trust or other worthy cause.

Sounds pretty straightforward and heart-warming. Yes! It feels good to be generous and helpful. Fulfilling an inner need to be benevolent.

With all of these worthy causes, how do we know if our donation helps to drastically improve or save people’s lives in a cost-effective way? How do we know if the aid that is put in place, is sustainable? There are a countless number of charities to choose from and many are doing good work. The question is. Where should I give to accomplish the most good?

What is the answer?

This is a difficult one to answer. Medical research, medical welfare, mental health, learning disabilities, children and youth, hearing and visual impairment, disability, hospice, hospitals and helping the aged, are just a few, within one category. Phew! This is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are a number of different categories.

There are local charities, British charities, and International charities. The High street has charity shops, the Banks and Post offices accept donations when an appeal goes public. We now have the lottery charities, which appear to be new on the scene.

In the past, the majority of the charity work was done by the church. Also, do any of you remember the large animal-shaped collection boxes, outside of shops and Post offices where you could pop a penny or two in? Let us not forget the charity workers who relentlessly jangle their collection boxes and offer us a flag and a pin. No matter what the weather, these charity heroes trudge the streets and stand in draughty shop doorways. I am proud of you all.

Here is the thing. How efficient is the management of these donations? What is the percentage left at the expense of soliciting them? Apparently, there are governing bodies who are responsible for monitoring charities. For starters, there is a Charity register and a charity commission. Overall charities are accountable to the people who donate.

FACT.

Did you know that more than one million people-mostly children die each year, due to malaria? Insecticide-treated bed-nets that are relatively inexpensive can prevent these deaths. This is evidence-based fact. Perhaps we need quality research to identify the best use of our donations and identify ways of reducing the overhead costs of getting aid to the needy.

If there was a policy of one charity for all, where the donations were divided according to evidence-based need and effective use of funds, then that would solve my problem. There is another point that I would like to make, and that is my feeling that we should prioritise our children, the next generation, these are at the beginning of their lives and as such, deserve every opportunity for a good life.

 

 

Introducing, James J Cudney.

I have recently read, Watching Glass Shatter, written by James J Cudney. I was so impressed with this debut novel, that I felt compelled to share with my followers, the Goodreads review that I recently posted. However, first I would like to introduce you to James.

He grew up on Long Island and currently lives in New York, The United States of America.He has travelled extensively across the United States and other parts of the world, giving him a breadth of experience to enhance his writing. James previously worked in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Despite enjoying his work, he left in 2016 to focus on his passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. James writes contemporary, Fiction and Mystery.

He can be contacted on the following:   Website  https://jamesjcudney.com

Twitter  jamescudney4

An introduction to Watching Glass Shatter.

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way.While preparing for the reading of his will, Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

My Goodreads Review.

Congratulations James on writing a wonderful debut novel. First let me say, that the title is brilliant and very well thought out.
I simply could not put this book down. This is my kind of book. A gripping family drama with a wealth of well developed, interesting characters.
Reading about the Glass family, was very emotional. I felt the pain of each character.
The story is very well structured, full of twists and turns. There is never a dull moment. I was intrigued to know the outcome of the second letter that Ben left to Olivia. The suspense began to build, to the point that I was sad, yet relieved to hear, which of Olivia’s sons, was the subject of Ben’s secret.
This is a book that I definitely recommend.
Watching Glass Shatter is available at the following:

Amazon UK.

Book Depository

Abe Books

Kobo

Alibris

Indigo.ca

Audible.

 

 

 

 

Words Matter.

 

 

 

Words matter.

I have long since recognised the importance of the spoken word and yet, find myself increasingly communicating through the media of the written word. It is an interesting fact; that since the introduction of electronic mail, messenger service and all related means of transferring spoken words into a written communication. The written word is growing in popularity.

Either way. Words matter. In fact, they matter so much, that we use them to commit ourselves first and foremost, to some of the most important events in our lives. A good example of this is the wedding vows. Yes, we also sign the register, but the spoken vows are the words that each Bride and Groom want to hear. The spoken word is committed to the air.

Unlike the editing that can take place with the written word. Once spoken, your words are out there. You cannot snatch them back, so it is important to think clearly, exactly what it is that you want to say. The responsibility is with the speaker. According to  Sun Tzu in his book, The Art of War, he says; If I tell them and they do not understand. I check myself twice, then I realise it is them.

My recent book, Love, Secrets and Absolution, explores the subject of Asperger’s.

Words matter a great deal to all of us. However, many Autistic People use words in a unique way. They sometimes speak through Echolalia. As one would expect, with the prefix of Echo. This behaviour involves repeat words and phrases.

Imitation is a pretty normal part of human development; we teach our babies and toddlers our own language, by repeated use of a word. However, those with autism may use it well past their toddler years and continue it into childhood, teenagehood and even as adults.

The recent television drama, ‘The A word’ demonstrated Echolalia in a sensitive and touching way.

I am hoping that this brilliant production, will help the general public to become more aware of Asperger’s and associated Echolalia.

 

 

Happy New Year.

        Wishing everyone, a very Happy New Year.

Wishing you 12 months of success, 52 weeks of laughter, 365 days of fun, 8760 hours of joy, 525600 minutes of good luck and 31536000 seconds of happiness.

A time to reflect.

As the year draws to a close, myself like many other people, take the time to reflect on the passing year. I sincerely hope that you all have some fond memories of 2017. Our memories are personal and precious, good memories can be retrieved and the feelings of happiness can once again bring joy.

Memory is the ability of the mind, to encode, store and retrieve information.  Recall is the ability to bring the memory back into our awareness. As humans, we have been gifted with this ability, so as the year ends, let’s reflect on the good things in life.

I see myself as an upbeat kind of person, one could say that I am a glass half full, positive woman, who can sometimes fall into the realms of being a people pleaser. We are all different and it is important to respect other people’s differences. Now, more than ever, in our ever-changing world, this is important to remember.

This year for me has been the year that I ticked another wish off my Bucket List.

The very beginning of the year, my dream of becoming a published author, was realised, when my debut novel, Alice, was released. My dream was further reinforced when my second book, Love, Secrets and Absolution, was published by The Globeflower Agency, in November; bringing my year to a close.

Our third grandchild was safely delivered in May, a nephew for our Grandson and Granddaughter. Our family is expanding, making for many wonderful family occasions. This Christmas, once again our home was filled with family, enjoying good food and festivities.

I think the time has arrived when we need to consider buying a much larger dining table. Our current six-foot refectory table no longer accommodates the many diners and children’s highchairs. I guess the old table will have to be replaced, despite thirty plus years of family gatherings around it.

However, here is my dilemma. Do any of you have a favourite piece of furniture? I do. For me, it is the old dresser that matches our refectory table. Each Christmas, we decorate it, fill it with all kinds of goodies and place some of our greeting cards on the shelves. When the dresser is full, we are ready for the celebrations. I don’t think that I can part with it. This piece of furniture, along with our rocking chair, has become a permanent fixture. Therefore, in the new- year, we will be on the lookout, for an extendable table to compliment the dresser.

Wish me luck everyone.

 

 

Merry Christmas everyone.

                                                    The Mercia Marina Ukulele club.

I can confidently report that we have now completed all of our Christmas preparations. Aside from the fresh produce, which is such a pain. Having avoided all of the last minute shoppers, we still need to venture out for the fresh meat and vegetables, along with everyone else. Yes, I have considered ordering on line and having it delivered.

I don’t know about other obsessives like me, but I just feel the need, to check out the freshness of the sprouts and the crispness of the red cabbage. I won’t even begin to explain the rigorous tests I go through, to check out the meats and fish. So I’m afraid, an on-line shop is not an option for me, just yet. That’s not to say that things won’t change.

I do have a little help with choosing my Christmas fare. I am a subscriber to The Good Housekeeping Magazine. Their team of experts, do all of the work for me, having rigorously tested many of the products.

Enough about my shopping habits. As I said, most of the work is done. With this in mind, my husband and I decided to go to our ‘cottage in the country’. Most of you will know from previous posts that I refer to our canal boat. As expected, due to the temperature in our region being below zero; the canal was frozen. Can you imagine how cold our boat was? Correct. It was chilly to say the least. I quickly lit the wood burner stove and waited. Five hours later, after many logs had burned through; the boat was warm enough to bank up the fire with coal. Satisfied that we could leave the boat and return to a warmer environment than earlier in the day. We walked into the village of Willington. The frost was already settling and a cold mist falling. Wrapped up warmly in our best thermals, we set off on the fifteen minute walk, to The Dragon Pub/restaurant in Willington. To say that it was fresh, is an understatement. However, it was all worth it, as once again we enjoyed good food and hospitality.

The following morning, we visited the Christmas Market on our marina, Mercia Marina. Although cold and raining; along with other die hard’s we checked out the market stalls. As usual, the makers market was full of interesting homemade crafts. Feeling festive, I purchased an individual rabbit pie, my husband chose a venison and wild boar pie. No traditional Sunday dinner on the boat later, just pie, peas and jacket potatoes. The Mercia boater’s ukulele club gave a brilliant performance of traditional and popular Christmas songs. Well done. I’m proud of you all.

In the afternoon, despite the rain, we used our National trust membership and visited Calke Abbey. This is located near Ticknall in Derbyshire. Unlike many country houses. Calke Abbey has not been restored. In some corners there is grandeur; in others peeling paintwork. Apparently, The Harpur Crewe family, reclusive and private, kept the Abbey and its park, hidden away until handed to The National Trust in 1985. It was well worth a visit, made all the more special, when hungry and cold, we sat outside in the stable yard (I felt as though I was on the set of a Charles Dickens production) and enjoyed the most delicious Venison Burger. Apparently, from the local deer that roam the Park.

We returned to a warm boat, grateful indeed that we were born in the twentieth century, despite the fact that every Christmas we are surrounded by Victorian images.

    Happy New Year everyone. x

 

                                                                   Christmas at Calke Abbey.

Post Codes.

  Cyprus - reading books

                                              Post Codes.

                                         Written by. K.L.Loveley

 

 

Out comes the address book.

All the old names.

A book full of memories.

I turn each crumbling page.

The corners curled, the ink stain faded.

Just like me, the old book is jaded.

 

From A to Z the book is filled,

With by-gone friends.

Most of them dead.

Each page, I turn, sadly reminisce.

My eyes fill with tears, they spill on the page.

My book of memories, from a by-gone age.

 

At this time of year.

When young families rejoice.

When carols are sung.

At the top of their voice.

When love and laughter, fill my home.

I can’t but help remember, my long-gone friends.

 

My mother, my father.

I held most dear.

Grandma and Grandad.

Uncles and Aunts.

I can remember them clearly.

Each and every one.

 

They all touched my life.

Bound in my DNA.

Their blood is my blood.

In my head, their memories will stay.

I turn each page, with sadness so deep.

Remembering the times, when I was unable to sleep.

 

The excitement of Christmas.

The parties, the fun.

With nephews and nieces.

Uncles and Aunts.

My brother and sisters, oh! How we would dance.

Singing, dancing, laughter and tears.

No care in the world, not aware of the fears.

 

My fears are now real.

When I cross out in red.

The names of family and friends.

Who are long gone and dead.

 

 

 

My Reading Nook.

 

 

My practical and perfect Reading Nook.

Just thinking about writing this post, makes my toes curl up in anticipation of the wonderful images about to play through my mind.

The pure joy, of creating the perfect reading space is happiness in its simplest form for me. Reading is an amazing way to unwind and relax. To lose oneself in another world, of fiction, or fantasy can help to dissolve away the stresses and strains that everyday life can bring.

To reinforce this experience, the perfect reading nook needs to be a personalised space that encompasses the reader’s own tastes.

For me, the perfect location is my conservatory. Picture this. A large Edwardian style conservatory, with a glass roof; providing the perfect natural light. The view overlooking the garden, a constant change of scenery throughout the four seasons of the year. The brick built- base, on two sides, houses low slung bookcases, filled to capacity. Along the third wall, a large, comfy, sofa covered in the softest of fabric. Large brightly coloured scatter cushions slung lazily on the sofa, and a huge faux fur blanket strewed over the back of the sofa. Perfect for those cooler days.

Lighting when needed on the darker evenings provided by an adjustable reading light close to the sofa.

The conservatory filled with a variety of green foliage plants, scented candles and brightly coloured rugs. To complete my perfect dream reading nook, I would require a large glass coffee table, where I can place my drinks, nibbles and spectacles.

As I enter a world that the fictional characters of the story transport me to, my Reading Nook, will provide a huge comfort blanket of happiness, wrapping around me, making me feel complete.