Smorgasbord Music Column – William Price King – Life and Music of Barbra Streisand Part Two – 1960s/1970s Films and Music

Every two weeks William will be sharing posts from his music archives here on Smorgasbord with a reminder of the incredible musicians and singers that have been featured over the last five years.

In part one week in the series we discovered how Barbra Streisand began her musical career and here early hits and films.

This week, to celebrate some of the most memorable music of Barbra Streisand the focus of today’s post is the music from the award winning movies that she starred in and also composed music for, during the mid- 1960s and early 1970s. William Price King has selected some of her greatest hits from this period along with the background to the tracks.

Hello Dolly is a 1964 musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 farce “The Merchant of Yonkers,” which Wilder revised and retitled “The Matchmaker” in 1955. Streisand’s Dolly is a rebuke to the modern anxiety about whether or not women can or should “have it all”. Her Dolly is an impressive striver with a heart of gold who knows what she wants, and her ability to convey joy, longing, and lightness with her voice is unparalleled. Louis Armstrong, whose recording of “Hello Dolly” became a number-one single in May 1964, also performs the song (together with Streisand).

In 1965 building on the success of Funny Girl, Hello Dolly and albums of the early 1960s, Barbra Streisand turned to the new vehicle for stardom, reaching into everyone’s home. Her television show My Name is Barbra was an immediate success and received five Emmy awards and CBS gave her a ten year contract to produce and star in more specials. Barbra was given complete artistic control of the next four productions.

In 1966 ‘Funny Girl’ went to London at the Prince of Wales Theater, followed by the screen version in 1968, winning Barbra Streisand an Academy Award. She also won a Golden Globe and was named ‘Star of the Year’ by the National Association of Theater Owners.

In 1969 Barbra achieved big screen success with the film version “Hello, Dolly!” followed a year later by “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever“. With a step away from musicals she starred in “The Owl and the Pussycat in 1970 with George Segal  and in 1972 “What’s Up Doc? with Ryan O’Neal.  The same year she founded her own production company, Barwood Films with the first being “Up the Sandbox”.

Up the Sandbox was one of the first films to explore women’s changing roles during the sexual revolution of the early 1970s. A number of critics praised Streisand’s performance. According to Pauline Kael, “Barbra Streisand [had] never seemed so radiant as in this joyful mess, taken from the Anne Richardson Roiphe novel and directed by Irvin Kershner. The picture is full of knockabout urban humor”

At the beginnning of the 1970s Barbra Streisand had moved into more contemporary material and found her niches in the pop and ballad charts with her album “Stoney End” in 1971.

“Stoney End” a Laura Nyro composition, redefined Streisand as an effective pop/rock singer. It was released in the US in 1971 and charted at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also reached number 27 on the UK singles chart. This recording was a change in direction for Streisand, with a more upbeat contemporary pop sound. When asked by fans during the Q&A segment of Streisand’s Back To Brooklyn concert on October 11, 2012 what “Stoney End” was about, she replied that she still didn’t know.

In 1973 Barbra starred in “The Way We Were” with Robert Redford. Directed by Sydney Pollack with a screenplay by Arthur Laurents, the story follows Laurent’s college days at Cornell University and his experiences with the House Un-American Activities Committee. The HUAC was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having communist ties. Many in Hollywood would find themselves as subjects of this organisation over the next twenty years or so.

“The Way We Werewon the Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song. It ranked at number 6 on AFI’s 100 Years …100 Passions survey of the top 100 greatest love stories in American cinema. The song became a million-selling gold single, topping the Billboard 100 and selling more than two million copies. Billboard named “The Way We Were” as the number 1 pop hit of 1974. In 1998, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and finished at number 8 on AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema in 2004. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The next hit that would bring awards for Barbra Streisand was the film “A Star is Born” in 1976 starring Kris Kristofferson.. The plot sees a young woman entering show business, meeting and falling in love with an established star who acts as her mentor. As she becomes more successful his career begins to decline with the resulting dramatic results.

“Evergreen” is the theme song from the  film, composed by the diva herself, with lyrics by Paul Williams. Both Streisand and Williams earned an Oscar and a Golden Globes Award for Best Original Song. Streisand was the first woman ever to be honored with an Oscar as a composer. In addition to that, “Evergreen” won the Grammy Award for “Song of the Year.”

Buy the music of Barbra Streisand: Amazon US  – and: Amazon UK –   Additional sources: Barbra Streisand Website – And: Wikipedia

Join us in two weeks for part three of the Barbra Streisand story.

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular VenueCave Wilson

My thanks to William for the amazing artists he has brought to the blog and thank you for dropping in today.  As always your feedback is very welcome.

Smorgasbord Reblog – #AfghanistanAdventures53 Foreign(Non)Diplomacy by Mary Smith

Mary Smith continues her journey through the mountains of Afghanistan as snow catches convoys of trucks unawares and overnight stops are frigid..and even require a little Foreign (Non)Diplomacy… as always an amazing read.

Afghanistan Adventures53 Foreign(Non)Diplomacy by Mary Smith

Afghanistan, December 1989: Bamiyan, Sheikh Ali & onwards to Wardak Province

We’d enjoyed our day of playing tourists with very hospitable and friendly mujahideen

We returned to the French clinic to find Ghulam Ali, huddled under his patou, looking more miserable than usual. The room we’d been allocated was like a fridge, the promised stove had not materialised. Ghulam Ali was bored and cold and thoroughly fed up. Jon went off in search of someone to help, and soon a bukhari was installed and we huddled in a circle around it drinking tea, waiting for the temperature to rise.

Shortly after seven o’clock the cook appeared to inform us dinner was ready and, indicating Jon and me, told us to go to the house. I pointed to our fellow travellers and asked, ‘What about them?’ The cook explained food would be brought to the room for the Rahimy, Zahir and Ghulam Ali, but Jon and I were expected to eat with the kharijee – foreigners.

He trotted out. Minutes later he returned and said, this time, in English, ‘Dinner is ready. You go to house.’

I shook my head, ‘No, we all eat together, here.’

The great Buddha of Bamiyan

Looking ruffled, he departed and we sat in an uncomfortable silence. I didn’t know what the other three were thinking about their exclusion from the invitation. Rahimy broke the silence to say, ‘If you want to eat in the house, it’s all right. We don’t mind.’ His hurt expression belied his words.

Before I could reply, the cook shuffled in bearing a tray with three plates of food. Setting it down, he was about to leave, when I remarked, ‘We are five people – there are only three dishes here.’

Head over to find out how Mary deals with tricky diplomatic conundrum…and enjoy the rest of the post: #AfghanistanAdventures53 Foreign(Non)Diplomacy

A selection of books by Mary Smith


Mary Smith, Buy:Amazon US – and:Amazon UK –  Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter


Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will head over to enjoy Mary’s post in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – 20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs by Sally Cronin

It is 20 years since I put pen to paper.. of fingers to the keyboard and wrote my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. I am delighted that it still gets the odd recent review, but I thought to celebrate the anniversary I would offer it FREE for the next few weeks. Particularly as I am in the middle of editing my next collection due out in November.

As an indie author on Amazon I don’t get to do free giveaways, so I would ask you to email me on and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or an Epub version of the book for other devices. I promise I won’t share your email with anyone else. You can find out more about the book and its most recent review at the end of the post.

To set the scene I am going to repeat my series from early 2018 which shared the background to the stories in the book that I elaborated on and fictionalised. As a bonus I will also be including some other jobs that were not in the book that might also be considered a bit different. For example, flogging bull semen at agricultural shows to selling ‘similar’ top end perfumes in the East End of London. I think you get the idea about how odd some of these jobs might have been.

Anyway… let’s start at the beginning of my diverse career.. at age 14 years and 3 months in 1967.

Souvenir and ice-cream seller along the seafront 1967

Just thinking back to those early spring months of 1967 make me smile. I had pestered my mother and father for months to let me get a part-time job. I didn’t want a paper round as getting up at an ungodly hour before school every morning, including Sunday, held little appeal. Also, my parents were concerned that my schoolwork would suffer so we compromised on a weekend and holiday job.

Just before Easter, I saw an advertisement in the local evening paper for staff for the council run operations along the seafront. The minimum age was fourteen years and three months, which I had just passed, and there was an address to apply for an application form.

Without telling my mother, I sent off for the form, which duly arrived. Being a council application form it covered three pages and virtually asked for your weight and number of teeth. I was proud of my efforts, and presented the completed and signed form to my mother, who also had to sign the form because of my age.

My mother had to accompany me to the interview and she made me wear my school uniform to encourage a belief that I might be a worthy candidate! The interviewer was a nice man and I remember that he had a deep voice and seemed genuinely interested in what this fourteen year old had to say… which was pretty rare!

Three days later a letter arrived stating that I would be employed for the summer season, and weekends once I was back at school, at a cafe and souvenir kiosk by South Parade Pier. I would work for a maximum of six hours a day, at an hourly rate of two shillings an hour. I was rich.

I arrived excited, but understandibly nervous, and was greeted by a rather austere cafe manageress. She issued me a nylon overall and so many rules and regulations that I forgot them immediately.. Thankfully she then uttered the words…..‘I am giving you to Betty.’

I was pleasantly surprised to be handed over to a tiny, beaming woman who had been waiting for me outside the back door of the café.

She was wearing the highest pair of stiletto shoes I had ever seen. She must have been under five-foot in height and nicely plump; I had no idea how she managed to stay upright on these thin, three-inch heels. I am nearly six foot and I looked down on my diminutive new companion, wondering how she was going to boss me around. I was soon to find out that looks could be deceiving!

About twenty feet from the restaurant there was a small round building. Little did I know at the time, but apart from occasional relief duties in the main café, this was going to be my work place for the next three seasons. Betty opened a door at the back of the structure.
I stepped through into the dark and stood for a moment on the threshold of a new life. The lights snapped on and I looked around me. It was filled to bursting with leather and plastic souvenirs and beach games, and stored for security reasons, a large double-sided postcard stand that needed to be taken outside to make room for the occupants.

After carrying that outside between us, Betty busied herself at the old fashioned till perched on the wooden shelf. No mean feat as it stood four feet off the ground and she could barely see over the top of the counter. I could now see the reasoning behind the three-inch heels.

Betty then proceeded to introduce me to the world of selling souvenirs which ranged from combs, purses, heart shaped badges and other small items. They either bore the coat of arms for Portsmouth and Southsea or with a male of female name. Good luck if you had been called something exotic!

She was a very patient and lovely woman, who not only showed me a management style that became a benchmark for me in my later career, but also became my friend. Her on job training was second to none, and by the second weekend she pronounced me Assistant Manager of the kiosk. I was solely responsible for stocking, selling to our many customers and cash management when she took her lunch breaks and for her days off.

Betty has featured in several of my stories in one disguise or another and even after 53 years, her influence on my work ethic, management style and sense of responsibility makes me grateful for having her in my life.

As well as providing me with some wonderful characters in addition to Betty, my time along the seafront provided me with plenty of material for future stories. These included her request for me to wear sneakers one weekend so that I could chase down and capture a couple of lads who had been pinching the saucy postcards on a regular basis; a mission that I completed to her satisfaction if not to the suitably berated offenders. I had fun with that in the book.

In my third year at the cafe, I was promoted to the front of house where whipped ice-cream was dispensed. I eventually got the knack of creating perfect whirls topped with a chocolate flake, but I am afraid that I consumed the evidence of my early failures which resulted in a need for a larger overall.

The next post follows my efforts in my first full time job working in a private dental practice at the age of seventeen.

About the book

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Feb 08, 2020 Pete Springer rated it Five stars it was amazing

Sally Cronin has written a delightful book with Just an Odd Job Girl. The central character, Imogen, is most likable and must return to the workforce after her husband, Peter, falls for a much younger woman. At age fifty, Imogen has not only lost her husband but faces the reality that she must find a job after more than two decades. What Imogen has going for her is a rich and varied employment history from when she first became employed at age fourteen.

What follows is extreme hilarity as Cronin skillfully recaps all of Imogen’s unexpected employment adventures. From chasing after shoplifters to unexpectedly filling in as a dental assistant when the regular hygenist faints, there are plenty of laughs. Every employment opportunity forces Imogen to acquire new skills with the most entertaining stint as a hotel assistant manager. Along the way, Imogen realizes that she can tackle any problem or situation that life throws her way. The ending is most satisfying, but I don’t want to spoil that for you.

To get your FREE copy of Just An Odd Job Girl for Kindle or in Epub please email me on – your email will not be shared and whilst a review would be most welcome it is not expected.

Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK  –  Follow:Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58

Thanks for dropping in and more odd jobs on Wednesday and I hope you will join me then.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Blood Pressure and the #Salt debate by Sally Cronin

Having looked at the Cholesterol myth and how to maintain the healthy balance, I am now going to look at Blood Pressure and one of the foods that most of us use daily and is on the restricted list. Salt makes food tasty and the expert opinion is that it is one of the leading culprits in our diet that leads to high blood pressure and a risk of heart attack and strokes.

It is interesting that whilst we as humans are told to reduce salt in our diet, animals will travel miles to lick rocks that have a variety of minerals and in particular one they need to be healthy which is salt.

One of the first things a doctor will generally do, despite the fact that many of us have white coat syndrome which raises our blood pressure, is to measure it. As with the prescription of statins and the treatment of cholesterol ongoing research is identifying that the consumption of natural salt is not the culprit but the amount of sodium we are consuming daily from industrially produced foods.

I am going to share a post from 2018 with some links to the research and then next week I will share the foods that help keep our circulatory system flexible and may therefore reduce elevated blood pressure naturally without prescribed medication.

And as always, I do not advise you to stop taking prescribed medication for high blood pressure without consulting your doctor.

There are a number of lifestyle causes for high blood pressure including being obese and lack of exercise. It is actually quite easy to blame the amount of salt in your diet and in the early days of my nutritional therapy work, I would see clients who had been following their doctor’s advice about reducing salt in their diets, but still had high blood pressure. It was only when they lost the additional weight, upped their exercise to a 30 minute walk each day and included specific potassium and nitrate rich foods in their diet that the blood pressure dropped to healthy levels.

In this first post I am going to revisit some of the studies into salt and then next time I will share the fresh foods you can eat that will help maintain a healthy blood pressure.

I have been a nutritional therapist for 22 years, and one of the essential elements of my work has been to remain informed of new research as it becomes available. This has sometimes turned previously held beliefs on their head, and a number of experts and research studies do make us reassess our position on salt in the diet.

Top scientist says all you’ve been told about salt is WRONG: It won’t give you a heart attack – while having too little will make you fat and ruin your sex life

For more than 40 years, we’ve been told eating too much salt is killing us. Doctors say it’s as bad for our health as smoking or not exercising, and government guidelines limit us to just under a teaspoon a day.

We’re told not to cook with it and not to sprinkle it on our meals. The white stuff is not just addictive, goes the message — it’s deadly. Too much of it causes high blood pressure, which in turn damages our hearts. We must learn to live — joylessly, flavourlessly but healthily — without it.

Well, I’m here to tell you that all of that is wrong. As a leading cardiovascular research scientist — based at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute, Missouri — I’ve contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature.

I am associate editor of the British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society, and I sit on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals.
In my work, I’ve examined data from more than 500 medical papers and studies about salt. And this is what I’ve learned: there was never any sound scientific evidence to support this low salt idea. What’s more, as I explain in my new book, eating too little of it can cause insulin resistance, increased fat storage and may even increase the risk of diabetes — not to mention decreasing our sex drive.

Current daily guidelines limit you to 2.4g of sodium, which translates to 6g of salt (or sodium chloride) or slightly less than a teaspoonful.

If you have high blood pressure, or belong to a group considered to be at greater risk of developing it — such as being over 60 or Afro-Caribbean — doctors even advise you to cut your intake to two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt per day.

Yet salt is an essential nutrient that our bodies depend on to live. And those limits go against all our natural instincts. When people are allowed as much salt as they fancy, they tend to settle at about a teaspoon-and-a-half a day. This is true all over the world, across all cultures, climates and social backgrounds.

Read the rest of the article: Salt is not the problem

The Mineral Deficiency That’s Making You Gain Weight by Dr James DiNicolantonio

“Salted foodstuffs make people slim, whereas sweet ones make them fat.” —Pliny (A.D. 23 to A.D. 79), an ancient Roman author and philosopher

We’ve been told for decades to hold the salt at the dinner table for the sake of our hearts and blood pressure. The anti-salt campaign has blurred the picture about what salt actually does for us—besides making everything taste better. Salt is an essential mineral that has many vital functions in the body, which I go into more in my new book, The Salt Fix. Since we lose salt every day through sweat and urine, we need to consume some salt in order to live.

What happens when we aren’t getting the salt we need?

When our bodies become depleted in salt, the brain seems to react by sensitizing the reward system—and not just the reward system for salt, but the same reward system that drives us to other pleasurable activities. The purpose of that sensitization is that when we eat salt it induces a greater reward than usual, leading to an increase intake of salt. This primitive “reptilian” response in the brain is over 100 million years old and it has carried over from our ancient ancestors. Its goal is to keep us alive by preventing or quickly fixing a salt deficit in the body. In other words, the brain controls our salt fix.
In our modern world, though, this reward system, intended to save our lives after salt deficit, could be inadvertently leading to weight gain, and even obesity.

Read the rest of this post on the subject of salt in our diet: Is salt deficiency making us fat

The Salt Fix by Dr James DiNicolantonio, was published by Piatkus Books in 2017 and is now in Kindle.

Dr. James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, is the author of The Salt Fix, and a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. A well-respected and internationally known scientist and expert on health and nutrition, he has contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature. He serves as the associate editor of British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, a journal published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society. He is also on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals, including Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases and International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (IJCPT). For more information on Dr. DiNicolantonio, please visit The Salt Fix

One of the reviews for the book from a physician.

DoctorSH 5.0 out of 5 stars No longer in fear of salt!

I just finished the book, The Salt Fix by James DiNicolantonio. Well worth the read.
As a prevention and wellness family physician who prides himself in looking deeper at cause and effect in healthcare, I must admit that I had my blinders on when it came to salt. I too believed that salt was to be watched closely and tried to remain at the lowest recommended usage. Well, no longer! The author James DiNicolantonio makes a great case as to why limiting your salt to the national guidelines may be BAD for your health.
In my practice, I have different views than mainstream medicine in many areas of health and wellness. Why? Well, I have arrived at the point in my career when I am not afraid to ask the “experts”- “WHY?”.

Why is fat bad?  Why is cholesterol bad? Do cholesterol lowering drugs really save lives?

I like to dive deeply into cause and effect. But it appears like I did not look closely enough at how the human body uses salt. I was still advising people to watch their salt intake as I thought that the dietary recommendations were set in stone with irrefutable evidence.
Well……. Let me add one more question for the “experts”.
Why is consuming more than 2 grams of salt a day bad?

After reading The Salt Fix, I am disappointed in myself but that changes today. The author James DiNicolantonio very simply makes the case that the war on salt is as misguided as I believe the war on cholesterol and fat has been. He points out how salt is a vital nutrient that our body needs to stay in balance, just like fat and cholesterol. He clearly and simply shows how our body responds to different levels of salt intake.

He brings together many other aspects of my practice, writing about how it is not salt, but that other white processed powder, SUGAR, that is really the issue in most people with metabolic health issues. He points out how sugar can cause insulin resistance leading to Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Heart Disease, etc, etc. He then shows how too LITTLE salt also leads to insulin resistance, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Heart Disease, etc, etc. See the twist?

Besides learning about the many beneficial aspects of salt, this book should make you a more skeptical thinker when it comes to national dietary guidelines. You should ask yourself, “Is there real proof that these guidelines are good for my health AND were these guidelines based on real medical studies or are they a dietary or political/industry power play?

If you are overweight, have High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, or Kidney Disease, BUY THIS BOOK and READ IT. If you like salt but are afraid to use it, BUY THIS BOOK and READ IT. Then have a conversation with your physician(s). If they just restate the National Dietary Salt guidelines without understanding the true data, lend them this book, or buy them one so they can refer to it and help more patients.

The book is available in several formats: Amazon US – And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

And another reason to ‘Cook from Scratch’ based on a Russian study avoiding industrially produced foods loaded with sodium.

Do you believe high amounts of salt provoke thirst and contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease? If so, you’re likely wrong. Studies have consistently failed to support either of these notions, showing the converse is actually true. Here’s a summary of findings that may surprise you:

• Eating large amounts of salt will not make you thirsty or cause greater urine output (which could lead to dehydration). A study1 involving Russian cosmonauts reveal eating more salt actually lowered their thirst — yet increased hunger.2,3 Recent animal research4 support these results, showing a high-salt diet resulted in increased metabolism, forcing the animals to eat 25 percent more calories just to maintain weight. This suggests salt may have a surprising influence on your weight

• Evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and processed foods are typically low in potassium and high in sodium

• Studies suggest a low-salt diet can actually worsen cardiovascular disease and raise rather than lower the risk for early death among patients at high risk of heart disease5

• The vast majority, approximately 71 percent, of your salt intake comes from processed food.6 Hence, if you avoid processed foods, you have virtually no risk of consuming too much salt.7 Eating a whole food diet will also ensure a more appropriate sodium-to-potassium ratio

• When lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers started adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with obesity, headaches, eye damage,8 fatigue and depression. Due to its ability to overexcite neurons, MSG may even raise your risk for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease

Read the rest of the article here: The information you have been given about salt is flawed.

And another more recent look at salt in the diet and how far too much sodium is obtained from industrialised foods rather than from natural sources from Chris Kresser

“Salt has been the subject of controversy in recent years, and has increasingly been blamed for a number of poor health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. (1) Salt is ubiquitous in our modern diet, with Americans consuming an average of 10 grams of salt per day. Of this amount, about 75% is derived from processed food; only about 20% is naturally occurring or from discretionary salt use, such as that added in cooking or at the table (the rest comes from sources such as water treatment and medications). (2, 3) Most of what we read and hear about salt these days is telling us that salt consumption needs to be reduced, and it has even been referred to as “the single most harmful substance in the food supply”.

This is a two part post – Part One: The History of Salt

About Chris Kresser

Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., is the creator of the ADAPT Practitioner and Health Coach Training Programs. He is one of the most respected clinicians and educators in the fields of Functional Medicine and ancestral health and has trained over 1,300 health professionals around the world in his unique approach.

A reminder again that this is not a recommendation that you stop taking medication and suddenly start eating high levels of salt. But, as always I do recommend that you stay away from industrially produced foods and add salt to your food as you prepare and then eat.

Next time – foods rich in potassium and nitrates that the body needs for healthy blood vessels that keep them flexible as we get older, and whole grain carbohydrates ensuring adequate blood flow and healthy blood pressure.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Your feedback is always welcome and if you do find that following any of the posts that I have shared are beneficial then it would be great to hear about it. If you have any questions you can email me on

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – New Releases, #Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz #Reviews #HistoricalRomance Christine Campbell, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens

Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update with new releases, reviews and offers for authors on the shelves.

A new release for Charles E. Yallowitz…Ravenous (War of Nytefall Book 5) published the first week in September.

About the book

In the shadows of Windemere, fangs are sprouting from the least likely of maws.

News is spreading that wild beasts with vampiric natures have been attacking mortals and carrying off random victims. With the Dawn Fangs still a secret from mortal society, Clyde fears that these strange creatures will reveal his peoples’ existence before they are ready. Old enemies and trusted friends begin to disappear as the investigation goes deeper into a business that has been lurking in the shadows of Windemere for decades. Those who return are beholden to a new master whose cunning is matched only by her primal desires. As his allies disappear, Clyde is left with the one he trusts the most in all of the world to help him solve this mystery. Too bad Mab has her own secret that can cause more damage to Nytefall than any vampiric beast.

Is this how the Dawn Fangs will be revealed to Windemere?

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A small selection of books by Charles Yallowitz

A recent review for Warlord of the Forgotten Age (Legends of Windemere Book 15) and the Windemere series

Magjm02 5.0 out of 5 stars Great series  Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2020

A 15 book series that is highly recommended. This is the second time I’ve read the whole series and this time I was able to warn my husband about the tears. Some happiness and a lot of sadness at the end but I love it.

Charles Yallowitz – Buy: Amazon US –  and:Amazon UK –  follow Charles : Goodreads –  Blog: Legends of Windemere BlogTwitter: @cyallowitz

The next author is  Christine Campbellwith a review for  A Mountain of Memories.

About A Mountain of Memories

A childhood trip from Edinburgh to explore Caitlin’s family’s history results in tragedy on a mountainside above the village of Kinlochleven.

As an adult she is still affected by the events that took place there, though most of her memories of that day were lost as a result of its trauma.

Over a century earlier, Caitlin’s great-great grandmother, Mhairi, watched the village of Kinlochleven being born, suffering through its birth pangs. Caitlin and Mhairi’s lives are linked by their common heritage, and as their stories become intertwined, Caitlin is drawn back to the question that has haunted her for eleven years.

What really happened on that mountainside?

A historic story folded into a contemporary story, the two linked by family, location and events.

One of the recent reviews for the book

K. Francis 5.0 out of 5 stars A truly captivating read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 September 2020

I have just finished reading A Mountain of Memories. This definitely has to be my favourite of Christine Campbell’a books that I have read so far.It is difficult to categorise this sweeping story into a particular genre. As another reviewer said, it is part romance, part historical, part mystery/thriller with some psychology thrown in.

Right from the beginning, I was drawn into the lives of the characters, Caitlin, Matt and Lexie. And then to explore how their modern day story links in with Mhairi,100 or so years previously, and all that happens in her life is just captivating.

Both stories evoked some strong emotions in me. I felt happy when they were happy, but I also cried when they experienced tragedy and loss.

Thank you, Christine, for producing another wonderful story. Now I just have to decide what to read next. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US
A selection of books by Christine Campbell


Christine Campbell, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK –  follow Christine : Goodreads –  blog: Christine Campbell at WordPress – Twitter: @Campbama

The final author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for her poetry collection My Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2020

My Maine by Bette A. Stevens is a book of poetry in Haiku verse that is matched with breath-taking photos from Maine. I ordered the printed book so the book would be handy for me to read a poem every day to inspire me. Author Stevens has grouped the poetry into four seasons in Maine. Each verse focuses on landscapes, beginning with “Spring Awakenings” and ending with “Winter Tales.” The verse is eloquent with rich sensory descriptions. As in life, nature reminds us that we are stewards of the earth and of our human souls. High recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK

Books by Bette A. Stevens


Bette A. Stevens, BuyAmazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Reblog – #Writers – Mojo gone? Mustn’t grumble! by Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie with a look at the ‘mojo’ missing from our lives particularly for writers who find it hard to create when the world is going to hell in a hand basket all around us. Can we find something to write about that will catch the eye of a publisher, or the readers who are inundated with new titles. The post will put things into perspective as things could be a lot worse… and Jessica offers a hug at the end too.

Mojo gone? Mustn’t grumble! by Jessica Norrie

People in England do grumble; it’s a national hobby. For example, I wear my Remoaner badge with pride. One grumble leads to another, as here when I meant to write about not writing and found myself on Brexit by my second line.

This blog post grumble is cheaper than a therapist and may find friends among the online rumble of grumbles about books not selling, authors uninspired, authors unappreciated. One author started a recent Book Connectors thread with: “I’m sure I’m not alone, but boy, I feel alone right now”. Respondents described “terrible inertia”, “terribly demoralising times”, “soul-destroying hard slog”, “disappointing book sales and no vigour to promote”. Publishing a book in a saturated market is like “screaming into a din.” Twitter too is full of moans, not only from authors. It’s a great place to bellyache, beef, bitch, bleat, carp, cavil, chunter, complain, create, find fault, gripe, grizzle, groan, grouch, kvetch, mither, pick holes, protest, sound off, whine, whinge. (That’s my riposte to writing teachers dictating you must only use the verb “said”.)

Much author grousing is justified. The disrespect for the time and effort taken to produce a book, the hoops to jump through to get it published, friends and families all wanting free copies or buying one between twelve, with their first question “What are you going to write next?” Then there’s the stranglehold of genre; the expensive, sometimes formulaic creative writing industry; piddling advances and low royalties; piracy; gatekeeping from trade publishers; too few stockists; Amazon dominance; the difficulty of getting noticed/reviewed; the high cost to indies of (often excellent) editing and design; the scams from fake services… The assumption that all self-published authors write crap – this blog post was delayed as I fired off a response to a smug thread on the Facebook “Extreme Pedantry” group.

Head over to read the rest of Jessica’s post and add your own thoughts and hugs over there… and if you would like to leave one here too.. it would be very welcome: Mojo gone? Mustn’t grumble! Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie studied French literature at Sussex University, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield. Then she wandered into parenthood, told her now grown up children stories, and heard theirs. A qualified translator, she worked on an eclectic mix of material, from health reports on racehorses to harrowing refugee tales. She taught adults and children, co-authored a textbook and ran teacher training. In 2008 came the idea for “The Infinity Pool”, which appeared in 2015 (and in German in 2018). Her second novel “The Magic Carpet”, inspired by teaching creatively in multicultural schools, was published in July 2019, and she is working on a third. She divides her time between London and Malvern, blogging, singing soprano, and walking in the forest and hills.

Books by Jessica Norrie

One of the recent reviews for The Magic Carpet

Steph Warren VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story about family, diversity and the importance of stories  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 August 2020

The Magic Carpet features a tapestry of different cultures, nationalities and generations, all woven together through a shared school, neighbourhood and a story-centred school project.

We get to dip in and out of the lives and houses of a diverse cast of children, parents, siblings, grandparents and friends as they all tackle the task of reinterpreting a classic fairytale in their own unique ways.

The themes of cultural identities and cultural integration, and the struggle for immigrants to balance their own family history and traditions with their desire to ‘fit in’ with those around them are sensitively explored from a variety of different perspectives, giving plenty of food for thought, especially in our current social context.

The other overarching theme is that of the importance of stories and storytelling. The importance of ‘own voice’ story experiences, the unity of collaborating on stories; the way stories can be written and rewritten to shape reality into different patterns and change the way we think about the challenges we – and others – face.

More than a morality tale, though, this story paints a warm picture of each different family environment: their individual struggles and successes, dreams and fears. The characters feel like friends and neighbours, and I was thoroughly invested in what happened to them… still thinking about them long after I turned the final page.

This is a beautiful, skilfully-crafted tale that entertains and moves the reader (to tears on occasion!), and really makes you think about privilege, respect, diversity and what these things mean to different people. And, of course, it is perfect for anyone who loves a good story!

On the magic carpet with Xoriyo I’m a child again, whooping with joy and laughter, swooshing, swirling, fearless of the height. We’re children together, but also wise: we know the languages of the places we see, our homeland and those of others. We can communicate with any of our fellow travellers… Xoriyo sees curving blue rivers far below and she knows they are called meanders; she sees oxbow lakes, murrains and wadis and she knows what all these are too. On the magic carpet we understand all people we meet: the goatherd, the engineer, and his toddling twins. We may choose to wear whatever we like from abayas to swimsuits. We are confident in our choices and violence and ignorance can do us no harm.

Really there is no reason my daughter should not make friends at this school, new friends, who can take this journey with us through fresh places and new joys. We can have every passport and none, here; we can belong and invite others to belong with us. On the magic carpet we are free.

Jessica Norrie, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Website:Jessica Norrie on WordPressGoodreads: Jessica Norrie – Twitter: @Jessica_Norrie


Thanks for dropping in and I hope you will head over to read Jessica’s post in full..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Spotlight – Life Changing Moments – #Australia – The Great Fire of Canberra by Toni Pike

Welcome to Cafe and Bookstore Author spotlight. I invited authors in the Cafe to share what they consider to be a defining moment in their lives that resulted in a major positive change. The current series ends on October 11th and is booked out with some wonderful authors and their stories.

Today’s author sharing their life changing moment is Toni Pike who shares her experiences during the devastation of the Great Fire of Canberra

Toni Pike is a multi-genre author who enjoys writing exciting thrillers for adults, non-fiction, and hilarious books for children. She also loves travelling and being with family and friends. She lives in Australia and firmly believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day.

Do you like books that you can’t stop reading? Pike is the author of DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: THE MAGUS COVENANT, THE ROCK OF MAGUS, THE MAGUS EPIPHANY and HOLY SPEAR OF MAGUS. Her latest release is for children aged 6-9: BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE.

She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. THE ONE WAY DIET is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight and coping with the journey. HAPPY TRAVELS 101 is a short book of travel tips with great advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas

The Great Fire of Canberra by Toni Pike

Canberra is the capital city of Australia and is often referred to as the Bush Capital. That’s because this small landlocked city, of just 400,000 people, is surrounded by national park, pine plantations and farming land. It’s also very spread out so that many homes are close to that hinterland and wide swathes jut right into suburbia.

It was no wonder, then, that one day a great fire would come – and I was there right in the middle of it.

On 8 January 2003, lightning strikes started a small fire in nearby, but very rugged and remote, Namadgi National Park. That fire was allowed to get out of hand over the ensuing days. There were several fires by Saturday, 18th January 2003, when intense heat and strong winds struck. But it was only in the afternoon that people in Canberra were warned about the terrible danger they faced.

That morning, the fires merged and created a firestorm that bore down on the entire western edge of Canberra. Emergency warnings were only given an hour before the fire arrived. The firefront reached Canberra’s urban fringe at three o’clock in the afternoon – and that included my house.

The sky turned as black as midnight. The fire travelled at incredible speed and the bushland next to my street seemed to suddenly become a wall of flame. The garden next door suddenly caught fire and an intense ember storm bore down from above.

Neighbours raced next door and fought to douse the burning garden with garden hoses. By doing that, they saved the house and the rest of the street.

All that time, I wondered where the fire brigade was, and listened out for the sound of their sirens. But the front was so extensive there was no hope for them to be everywhere.
I had sent my two children, aged 16 and 18, to the school that was set up as an evacuation centre. My daughter, who had just got her driver’s licence, drove them there. When I set off to find them, it was a very surreal experience. It was still pitch black and the roads were in gridlock, as thousands were evacuating their homes. Along the route, I could see fire breaking out in surrounding parkland and hills.

At the high school, hundreds of families wandered around in silence as if they were shellshocked. Many had pets in tow and already knew they had lost their homes.

Thousands of people had fought with garden hoses to extinguish flames in their gardens and homes. With a mature pine forest right next to the suburb of Duffy, a wall of flame had destroyed many homes. The fire brigade had put up a valiant struggle where possible, but it was overwhelming.

We drove the two cars home in convoy. The electricity lines, which were along the urban fringe, had all burned, causing widespread blackouts. Because of that, the signal lights were out at all the intersections.

At home, the entire suburb was blacked out, and stayed that way for nearly a week. Inside the house there was a thick layer of black soot over everything – but I was so pleased that it was still standing. The water supply was also cut, because the roof of a nearby tower had been ripped off during the fire, and the nearby reservoir contaminated with ash. Gas supplies were also affected, and many homes blew up because the gas connections had not been turned off before the firefront hit.

Nearly five hundred homes in Canberra were destroyed and there was severe damage to surrounding farms and infrastructure – including historic Mount Stromlo Observatory. Farmlands, pine plantations and the nearby national park were destroyed. In some suburbs, nearly all the homes in some streets were wiped out. In some places, the wind had been like a tornado, creating its own havoc. The fire had penetrated further than anyone could have imagined – destroying homes that were streets back from the urban fringe.

After the fires

What I learned

It showed me that in a natural disaster, you can’t rely on the authorities to assist everyone, as that is an impossible task. Every individual has to rely on themselves, and it always takes longer than expected to get back to normal.

I also learned that a natural disaster like that is traumatising and creates a sort of collective trauma in the community. Talking about it to each really helps – and it seemed to be the favourite topic of conversation everywhere for quite a few months.

It also seems to bring out the best in people. Whenever I walked around in the ensuing days, strangers would stop to talk and we would ask each other how we fared in the fire.

Lifelong Friends and Being a Firefighter

Community Fire Unit

The fire brigade established a community fire unit in our street, which I was involved in for ten years until I moved to my apartment. All the neighbours would train every two weeks so that we could defend the street – and we had special uniforms and a trailer of equipment. We all became good friends and had one or two street parties every year – something that never occurred before the fire.

Me with my son and the storage unit

Pine plantations close to the urban fringe were subsequently replaced with parkland and the National Arboretum.

Now the authorities pay much closer attention to keeping fuel loads down close to the suburbs, and there are dozens of community fire units to help firefighting efforts. They also pay much greater attention to warning residents about impending dangers, and have set up systems such as SMS messaging.

So, I think the Canberra Fire qualifies as a life changing experience. There were positive changes for the community, and I gained good friends and became a firefighter (of sorts) – a terrifying disaster that taught me many things.

©Toni Pike 2020

I can only imagine how frightening this must have been for the thousands of people in the area and my thanks to Toni for sharing what is definitely a life changing moment.

Books by Toni Pike

One of the recent reviews for Brody Cody

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Review written by a 7-year-old  Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2020

I purchased this book for my grandson, and this is what he said about it:

I liked this book. It’s about this boy, Brody Cody, whose mom died. He and his dad live together and Brody doesn’t have very many rules. Then his dad goes away and comes back with a new mom. Brody doesn’t like her because she has rules, like eat vegetables and do chores. He thinks she’s an alien. The best part is when he thinks he sees the spaceship. I liked Brody, and he found out having a mom was pretty good. I read the whole book. There aren’t pictures, but it was good.

Toni Pike, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK –  Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni1


Thank you for joining us today and I know that Toni would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

#Dogs – Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Eight – Human Language Lessons by Sally Cronin

By special request I am sharing Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story and I hope those of you who have not read his adventures will enjoy…

51uI0kWA+ML._UY250_Last time  we discovered Sam’s love of sausages, ice cream, snow, Christmas and the ‘love in’….in this chapter he shares his efforts to learn ‘Human talk’

Chapter Eight – Human Language Lessons

My pack was made up of the alpha pair, Sally and David. As I have already mentioned both of them talked to me all the time.  As well as words designed to let me know my role in the pack and behaviour expected from me, I began to understand the tone and meaning of many other words as well.

It is a common theory that animals do not understand human speech except for specific and relevant words such as sit, wait, down etc. This is a misconception because if you have been talked to continuously over a period of time you do begin to attach meaning and actions to certain words and sentences.

For example, it is no secret that dogs, and I have to include myself, are quite self-centred and are only really interested in what is in it for them or this case me.

At only a few months old I was beginning to isolate certain words that applied to my well-being, specifically the well-being of my stomach. For example, my favourite treats in the world cheese and cooked sausages. The latter was an occasional addition to my training sessions and they were, Sally assured me low fat and healthy enough for me to eat from time to time. Personally I could have eaten them every day but she assured me that I would soon grow tired of them. This was one of those rare times when I felt that she perhaps did not understand my needs quite as much as I wanted her to.

Anyway, I would begin to listen to conversations between humans carefully to determine when I might be able to partake of my favourite foods. Even if I was in semi-sleep mode, which for the uninitiated is flat out with eyes open but in a dream state, I could recognise the key words.

Let me demonstrate. “I thought that we might have chicken tonight with cauliflower and cheese sauce.” Or perhaps; “I went for a walk at lunchtime and I saw that the butcher has begun making home-made sausages.

I think that you get the idea. Now, as I got older I learnt more vocabulary and I certainly knew more that the sixteen words the vet had predicted I would know eventually.

I knew the names of all my toys. When I was six months old Sally had bought me a football but it only took half an hour to puncture it. Although we now live thousands of miles away from my home in Ireland I still have that ball and some of the other toys I was given. Apart from Ball there is “Santy” (a rather portly plastic Santa Claus), Squeaky and Precious. The latter got its name after we all sat through the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and you have to lisp on the middle of the word.

At ten I now have a very extensive vocabulary including not only my favourite things that are important to me such as Car, Walk, Play, Football, and Chase, but words that also get me wound up like Flies, Magpies, Gaston (my next door neighbour here in Madrid, who is a large and stupid Pyrenean Mountain dog), and Cats (not the wild kind, but domestic variety who are very arrogant and self-satisfied and ask to be chased).

I was only a few months old when I began to string words together and although I sometimes would get wildly excited over nothing in the last ten years, I have really got into the whole conversational thing.

Sally often whispers to David in an effort to avoid ‘a certain somebody’, as she refers to me, getting any ideas but she still does not have enough respect for my hearing as she should do.

Apart from things in my life, I also know the names of all the people too. The other day Sally mentioned Henry to David and I could tell from her voice that she still missed that smelly old boy. I immediately went up to her and looked up to see if there was something else that she might say about my friend. She just looked at me, stroked my ears and said. “Where do the years go Sam?”  Good question.

But understanding of human words and emotions is only part of my ability because after a year of being bombarded with vocabulary an event occurred which ensured that I would be even more immersed in the human language.

David was offered a job in Madrid, Spain and it became too good an offer to turn down. Sally and David had often worked and lived abroad for their careers and had always moved homes and countries together. In seventeen years they had lived in England, America, Belgium and Ireland but this time there were other considerations to be taken into account.

They had only owned the house for a couple of years and would barely break even if they sold up now and Sally had only just bought a business in the local town and was in the process of building up a successful dietary practice. It was decided eventually that David would go to Madrid and that they would alternate visits every three weeks at the company’s expense and Sally would find someone to look after me for these few days at a time.

It was a wrench for them both but at least Sally had me. Apart from when she was working in the mornings, she and I spent all our time together and apart from an occasional night out with her girlfriends, I was her friend and confidante.  It was my job to look after her and make sure that she was happy.  Without David to talk to she talked to me all the time, and although I already had an extensive word base this immersion therapy gave me a great many more.

This is the time that I wanted to improve my ability to communicate back and the result was my first spoken word.

The three of us had already established a very effective method of communication using body language, eyes and tongue. Well I had, they continued to use the spoken word. For example, if you want a drink or some ice (perfect for cooling a dog down on the one scorching day in an Irish summer), you lick your lips and hold your mouth slightly open indicating extreme thirst.

If you particularly like a morsel of food, and you want more, then you lick up as far as you can to your eyebrows once or twice to demonstrate that this is delicious, and further examples would be appreciated.

If you are desperate for a wee or other business you put your paws up onto the sofa between a person’s legs and hold your face up close to theirs and stare them out. If this does not result in the desired affect then you whine deeply in your throat with a rising pitch at the end to indicate a question. “Do you think that I can hang on to this for ever and are you getting the message?”

If I was in the garden and wanted a game of chase, which was let’s face it is most days, then a sharp but restrained nip on the back of the calf usually resulted in a thoroughly satisfying gallop through the bushes.

They enjoyed the game as well and knew that the more arm waving and barking they did the more I liked it. It was standard pack practice and I was delighted that my instincts were so closely aligned to theirs.

However, as I grew older and was no longer a growing puppy, some of the goodies that I had come to enjoy seemed to be reduced to the occasional treat. I have to admit to playing on the common collie predilection for pickiness when it comes to eating and I am one of the few breeds that can affect disdain when a perfectly good bowl of food is presented.

Give them their due they were fast learners and discovered that if I knew that I would be offered a small morsel of cheddar, I would eat all my dinner. All was well and good but the scarcity of the offerings made me contemplate another strategy.

As I have already mentioned I do not have a voice box and it is virtually impossible for me to annunciate human language but I learnt to give a very good impression.

The first word I learnt to say that was understood was ‘more’ needless to say. I really had to concentrate and it usually involved several parts of my body. I would crease my forehead, lick my lips, wag my tail and from deep in my chest produce the sound of ‘mawgh’. As you can imagine this became one of my party pieces when David and Sally had friends over for dinner on his visits home.  I managed to obtain several pieces of after dinner cheese from all the guests who felt very honoured that I spoke to them personally.

I have to say that eight years on and I have had to modify this particular word, as with any middle aged dog my waistline has expanded somewhat. This is also due to having my teeth cleaned by the vet three years ago but more about dentistry later.

Back to ‘more’. About a year ago I was particularly intent of achieving a further portion of my favourite after dinner treat and I had been told three times to go away and find my bone. Usually I did this as I am well aware of pack etiquette, and one does not want to push the alpha female too far, as she is very good at the ‘hot tongue and cold shoulder routine’ that reminds you of where you are in the pack.

On this occasion she was involved in a television programme and her directives to move away were slightly more offhand than usual so I pushed my luck.

The result was a frosty look to encourage me to mind my manners and a gentle sweep of her arm that indicated that I should move away. I do wish she had not watched so many episodes of the Dog Whisperer, that woman has a lot to answer for. Anyway, I ignored the instructions and she turned to me and looked my right in the eyes.

“You are beginning to sound like Oliver Twist and if you don’t stop pestering me I will call you Oliver in future.”

She obviously considered this Oliver chap to be quite something if she was willing to call me his name.

I scrunched up my forehead and really concentrated. I licked my eyebrows and wagged my tail vigorously.


“Pardon.” I had certainly got her attention now.

“ORH,EE,VA.” I emphasised.

David who had been trying to watch the programme throughout this exchange turned the volume down on the remote control.

“Did he just say Oliver?”

Right on brother and they were so impressed it resulted in an extra treat, my favourite next to cheese, a hard-boiled egg.

I now no longer bother with the short but ineffective ‘more’ and get right to the point with ‘Oliver’ after my dinner.

I also developed another word that stemmed for an everyday activity. I have already told you about the ‘greeting rug’ which is used to have a pack greeting when we have been apart.

David and Sally would always use a word over and over when we hugged and stroked each other and it was ‘hello’.

One day when I was about six years old, I felt the need to reciprocate and began responding with my own version which sounds somewhat like ‘hayyo’. Sometimes it comes out better than others depending on my level of concentration, and I do get a real charge from uttering this word when we meet people on our travels.

There was one particular occasion when we were staying in our apartment on the Costa’s, where you find a lot of people who talk like David and Sally, unlike here in Madrid where I cannot understand a word people are saying.

We were out for their morning walk which they insist on taking rain or shine and this couple were coming towards us arm in arm. As they reached us the woman stopped and greeted us.

“Hello, what a beautiful dog.”

“Heyoo.” I greeted her back wagging my tail.

Just as well she was hanging onto her husband’s arm, to say that she jumped two feet off the ground is a bit of an exaggeration but you get my drift.

“Did he just say what I think he did.” She looked at me awestruck.

“Sam, say hello nicely to the lady,” Sally prompted.

“Heyoo.” I uttered again and was rewarded with much petting and admiration.

This has inspired me to try and use other words, not all are successful but it is a work in progress and combined with my other effective methods of communication, I feel that I probably do better than most dogs in achieving the right balance of food and comfort.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

About the authors

Sally Cronin waited until she began working for herself, and had the time to commit to the welfare of a dog. before she fulfilled a dream of having another Lassie Collie. From the moment that Sam came home at 8 weeks old they were inseparable, and travelled thousands of miles together and with her husband David, exploring Ireland, Wales, England and Europe. Finally they all ended up in a large house up a mountain to the north of Madrid.

Sam could charm the birds out of the trees and assumed that every human that he met was more interested in him than his humans that were tagging along. He developed a vocabulary and non-verbal clues as to his needs, cheese and sausages being the main ones.

They collaborated on this book, with Sam dictating his recollections and Sally correcting some of his more flamboyant claims pertaining to his adventures.

You can find out more about Sally’s books and their reviews: Sally’s Books and Recent Reviews

I hope you have enjoyed this chapter and will join us again next Sunday.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Reblog -Scary Alexa – Digital Footprints – All eyes on us by D.G. Kaye

Since WordPress no longer allows me to ‘press’ a post and therefore schedule into this 6pm slot without converting to the new block editor, I have resurrected by reblog heading. It is not going to stop me sharing the good stuff!

We are under surveillance, not just in the outside world but in our own homes… Debby Gies shares some scary examples and some simple steps to increase your privacy.

Scary Alexa – Digital Footprints – All eyes on us by D.G. Kaye

Eyes Watching

Lord knows with the amount of time I spend on the computer, I’m enabling my digital footprints to stretch far and beyond. We’re caught in a web of our personal lives, living somewhere in the digital library of bits and pieces of everyone, somewhere. We are losing that ability to remain anonymous as digitalization progresses. Privacy is quickly becoming obsolete in today’s digital world.

Do you ever think about the fact that anytime we go out in public we are susceptible to being videoed and/or recorded? Anyone, anywhere can take our picture and use it however they deem. Nary a public place is without a camera for their ‘security’ purposes, but nonetheless, we’re recorded. Personally, I feel there’s wayyyyyy too much information for strangers to have access to and then to do what they please with it. I don’t like it!

Maybe we’re just getting too complacent and don’t pay enough attention to it anymore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. There is nowhere safe anymore it seems. And this isn’t just about once we step into the outside world, but we invite the same into our own homes – some unknowingly and others quite willingly. Just think about all the digital gadgets we all have in our homes. From computers with webcams and microphones to our phones tracking our every move, and Smart TVs – there are potentially eyes on us if we don’t remain cognizant about smart digital use such as turning off mics and covering up webcams when not in use.

And as if we don’t have enough technological spyware following us, enter Alexa. I refuse to have one in my home. I feel there’s enough ‘big brother’ going on in our personal lives and I’m doing my best to keep from being spied on as best I can in the cyberworld, but let’s face it, if we work on computers daily, the best we can do is help minimize the invasions. All these digital methods come with way too much convenience in exchange for our digital footprints being sold to third parties to be shared, often exploited, and lord knows who else, so they can follow us around on our digital apparatus and flash advertising at us.

Head over to read the post in full and check your own susceptibility to an invasion of privacy: D.G. Kaye – How Many Eyes Watching Us..

About D.G.Kaye

If you are a regular visitor you will have met Debby before as a contributor writing The Travel Column for two years and now The Realm of Relationships 2020. Debby also co-hosts the Laughter Lines twice a week.

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the recent reviews for P.S. I Forgive You on Goodreads

Jul 29, 2020 M.J. Mallon rated it Five Stars it was amazing

This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.

As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which begun in childhood.

It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.

But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.

I’d recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAndAmazon UK – BlogD.G. WritesGoodreads:D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster – Facebook: Debby Gies


Thanks for dropping by   Sally.