Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up July 25th – 31st July 2022 – Hits 2000, Nina Simone, Waterford, History, Podcast, Book Reviews, Summer Bookfair, Health and Humour

Welcome to the round up of post this week you might have missed on Smorgasbord.

I hope that you have had a good week.  I know some of you are on holiday either at home or abroad and enjoying different surroundings. Hopefully not too long in the airport and reunited with your luggage. The UK is definitely in a mess in that regard and the strikes don’t help. Whilst it certainly gets the attention of the media, it seems that the only people who suffer are those ordinary citizens trying to get to work or take their families on well earned breaks. I am all for fair wages for a days work, but when a train driver is earning almost three times more than a nurse and considerably more than a fireman, it does seem a little aggresive. Whilst the leadership of the UK is in flux I suppose it is seen as an opportunity to cause as much chaos as possible.

On the home front, rain has caused a stoppage of work for the main contractor. To be honest he has painted three quarters of the outside of the house including all the window surrounds and corner stones in white and it looks amazing. I am quite happy that he has to take a break from climbing ladders after 12 days solid. There are some inside jobs that need attention so you can rest assured he won’t be wasting any time!

Thanks to my friends William Price King and Debby Gies for their music and humour contributions this week and you can find out more about them on their own sites. .

William Price King joined me on The Breakfast show this week for the second part of the hits from 1999 and for the next part of the new series about the legend Nina Simone. William is on his usual summer break until September with his family but he has left me well stocked with his selections for the Breakfast Show and also his posts on the music legends..You can also find William – Blog– IMPROVISATION– William Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies is on a short break until August 8th when she returns with a brand new series exploring our spiritual well being.. Over on her blog you can you can enjoy her Sunday Review for Count the Stars by Lois Lowry,a fascinating Q&A with Denise Finn, and the perks in living in a mainly senior community.. head over to D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor  will be here on Wednesday with an exploration of foods and culinary terms in her terrific series A-Z of foods with the letter D. This week on her own blog you can enjoy her Monday Musings, an exploration of the cuisine of the island of Dominica, storecupboard basics with the benefits of bulk buying and cooking and then freezing and her Saturday Snippets exploring the word ‘Magic’. Carol Taylor’s Weekly Round Up

Thanks too for all your visits, comments and shares this week… they mean a great deal..♥

 On with the show…

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 2000s Part One – Destiny’s Child, Santana, U2, The Baha Men

Price King meets the Music Legends – Nina Simone – Part Three – 1960s and Civil Rights

-#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland 1930s – The Colour of Life – The Price Of A Habit – 1937 by Geoff Cronin

#Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Shop and Bakery – Family 1840s -1940s by Geoff Cronin

What’s in a Name? Volume One – Alexander – Defender of Men Part One by Sally Cronin

The Obesity epidemic – Where in the Lifestyle can we Intervene? 7 – 14 healthy diet for brain function and hormones by Sally Cronin

Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity, #anti-biotics,#Candida #hormones #yo-yo dieting by Sally Cronin

The new series of posts from your archives will be starting soon and so I thought I would kick the series off with one of mine.

Posts from your Archives – Why I am skipping old age and heading into my second childhood by Sally Cronin

July 2022- #Romance Jan Sikes, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Dogs #Caravans Jacqueline Lambert, #Flash #Poetry M.J.Mallon, #Dystopian Teri Polen, #Western #Romance Sandra Cox

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Family #Writing by Judith Barrow

#Reunion Jennie Fitzkee, #Poetrystars Colleen Chesebro, #beefstew Robbie Cheadle, #Communityliving D.G. Kaye, #Raptors Cindy Knoke, #Bears Tofino Photography

New Book on the Shelves #YA #Friendship #Faith – Heroes by Design by D A Irsik

Making Your Mark | Leaving a Legacy | And then… A Grand Exit That’ll Have Their Tongues Waggin’ by Peter Davidson

#1920s #Historical Beem Weeks, #Psychological #Thriller Stevie Turner

#History #Britain Mike Biles, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro

#Ireland #Family Mary Crowley, #Thriller Jack Talbot

July 26th 2022 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Lottery Win and Appearances Count

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Grammar Police and Butlers


Thanks very much for dropping in today and during the week… look forward to seeing you again in the coming days.  Sally.

Smorgasbord Podcast – What’s in a Name? Volume One – Alexander – Defender of Men Part One by Sally Cronin

There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

Alexander – Defender of Men – Part One


One of the reviews for the collection.

Mar 15, 2019 James rated it Five Stars it was amazing

There are many topics that will draw my attention to a book. In Sally Cronin’s collection ‘What’s in a name?’ I found a whole bunch that piqued my curiosity: short stories, genealogy, and how first names are chosen. On top of that, it’s the first volume in this series, which means I have another to read soon. Now this made my weekend!

Cronin shares ~20 short stories covering the letters A through J in volume one. She lists a male and a female name for each letter, then contributes a story ranging from five to ten pages each. Short, but not simple, and I mean that in a good way. Cronin packs an immense amount into each brief tale… whether it’s personality traits, complex plots, or comparisons between two people over different periods of time, I found everything from nuggets of glory to hilarious banter.

One of my favorite aspects of this work was the varying time frames, locations, and genres of each short story. Cronin deals with normal life events, everything from death to pregnancy, marriage to sickness. How she manages to pack such a punch with so many characters in so few pages is astonishing! I kinda want a sequel to cover what ends up happening to many of the people we’ve met.

If you’re looking for something fun, clever, and easy-to-digest in short samples, this is definitely for you. I recommend it for those interested in learning about how personalities sometime echo the name chosen for an individual… and perhaps vice versa. Kudos to the author for finding a new fan… and I’ll be reading volume two next month, so be prepared!

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

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me next week for the second part of the story.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Shop and Bakery – Family 1840s -1940s by Geoff Cronin

My father-in-law, Geoff Cronin was a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books. I hope those who have already read these stories will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

The Shop and Bakery – 1900 – 1938

My father, Richard (Dick) Cronin, born in 1881 at 12 John Street Waterford, set up business at that address under the style and title of Cronin’s Bakery. His father Owen Cronin, born in 1846, had bought the premises in about 1875 and had carried on business there selling bread, hardware, flour and meal, and trading in grain on the world market. In fact, he was importing wheat from Canada, among other countries, when the Canadian Pacific railway was being built.

Having gone to Limerick at age 16, my father served an apprenticeship of seven years with the Waterford & Limerick Railway, and became a qualified fitter. (My son Frank has the original indenture papers). He later worked for Dublin Port & Docks Authority as a fitter/engineer, and saw the introduction of the first turbines in Dublin Port. In 1904 he joined the British Royal Navy as an ERA – Engine Room Artificer, and served on Destroyers, Cruisers and Battleships, including a term in the China Seas.

I still remember the names of two of the ships he served on. One was “The Barfleur”, a First-class battleship, and another was “The Vengence”, a Canopus class battleship, which had twelve-inch guns with a range of approximately twenty miles.

HMS Vengeance In Hong Kong Circa 1905

In 1912 he came out of the Navy and returned home to Waterford to work the business with his father.

In the interim, Owen Cronin had bought a grist mill in Kilmacow, Co. Kilkenny, about two miles from Waterford City, and subsequently acquired a neighbouring property of some 37 acres on which stood a gate lodge, a school, and a fine old residence occupied by (I think) the Presentation Nuns, who ran the school. This property included “the pond” which formed the headrace for the mill, which could run for a day and a night on the full of the pond.

Over the next few years they set up a modern bakery at Kilmacow, a thriving milling business grinding oats, wheat, barley and maize for sale to the local farmers and to supply the shop in Waterford.

Richard Cronin Circa 1905

My father used his engineering expertise to set up an electricity generating system for the mill and bakery, and also built the new bakery there. He subsequently modernized the shop in John Street, built a new bakehouse there of some 2,400 sq. feet, and installed a pair of Thompson Steam-Tube draw-plate ovens in it, together with a power driven Dough Mixer and Dough Divider. All the machinery was powered by a Crossley gas engine, for which a new engine room was built, and a gas producer, run on coal and coke was installed to feed the Crossley. Finally, as there was no public electricity in existence, a dynamo was hooked up to the Crossley and electric power and light was produced for the house and the shop. At a time when public lighting was by gaslights, which was fairly dim, the shop stood out like a jewel in John Street.

The business of the mill and two bakeries had been booming and in 1920, prior to the big modernisation programme at John Street, my father had married Claire Spencer and they began living over the shop – my grandfather having retired to live in the house at the mill in Kilmacow.

However, just at the point where my father had launched the new business, disaster struck. There was a country-wide strike by Agricultural Labourers, and all my father’s employees went out on strike in sympathy with them, even though he had no dispute with them. In fact, they were the best paid workers in the city. The net result was that the two bakeries and the mill had to close down and even our grain store in Conduit Lane off the quays, was picketed. There were forty men on the payroll at that time.

A cargo of oats had been purchased just before the strike and was stored, loose in Conduit Lane on four floors of the building, and my mother, who was pregnant at the time, had to help out at the store by turning the oats with a miller’s shovel to prevent the grain from overheating and going bad, and hopefully saving the cargo.

Millstone from Cronin’s Mills Kilmacow, Co. Kilkenny – Now demolished.

I was born in September of that year, 1923, and the men had stayed out for eleven months, which resulted in a huge bank overdraft for my father, as he had lost heavily during the strike.

In the twelfth month, a deputation arrived at the door of the shop at midnight, with the proposal that “the lads would be satisfied to come back to work on the following Monday” even though the agricultural labourers were still on strike.

Needless to say by that time the whole injustice of the thing had stuck “crosswise” in my father’s gullet, and he replied in caustic terms, comparing them to “a pack of cowardly cur dogs come back to lick up their vomit.” “Well,” he said, “it was swept out 12 months ago!” He never employed one of them again, or even any of their relatives.

By the end of the strike the modernisation programme, which was to have been a huge success, ended up – not just for that reason – as a struggle to overtake the losses which had been incurred during the strike. But my father did overtake those losses, chiefly by concentrating on the trade in flour and grain, and he showed an uncanny instinct in watching the grain market and taking some huge gambles on the movement of international prices. In short, he brought the business back into profit over the next seven or eight years, and ended up – by repute – one of the richest men in the city.

As part of the recovery plan, my father established a poultry farm at the mill in Kilmacow, and to do this, he purchased the winners of the world’s laying competitions held in England, and also the prize-winning hens of various breeds of fowl all over Britain. The breeds he bought were Buff Rocks, White Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Jersey Giants, White and Black Leghorns, and the produce, eggs, were being exported at good prices to England.

Then in the 1930s, the Irish government, led by deValera, embarked on the “Economic War”.

All the ports were closed to imports and exports, and anything which had to be imported was subject to prohibitive tariffs and excise duty. Up to then, Waterford was exporting huge numbers of livestock, cattle, sheep and pigs, and we had the largest bacon factory in Europe, namely Denny’s. In fact, most of the employment in the city was provided in the docks. The shipping industry, in all its aspects, was the lifeblood of the city which was known as “Waterford of The Ships”.

As far as the Cronin business was concerned, the effect was disastrous. There was no more export of eggs, the price of which fell from one shilling and sixpence a dozen, to fourpence a dozen, which was absolutely uneconomic, and I recall that three hundred pure-bred champion fowl were sold to a poulterer for seventeen pounds – a mere fraction of their value.

Flour, maize and all grain could no longer be imported, and the grain store had to close down. The mill also ceased to function and in fact, all mills had to be licensed and be given a quota saying how much you would be allowed to grind. Our capacity at Kilmacow as 200 tons per week, but when our license came, the quota was two and a half tons per week. At that point, my grandfather closed the mill. The bakery there had already closed following the strike.

The effect of the economic war on the national economy was devastating. The farmers suffered immeasurably due to lack of markets. For instance, they were told by politicians to “throw the calves in the ditch”, and I vividly remember seeing two calves being sold outside our shop for one shilling and sixpence, and a three year old bullock being sold in the street for thirty shillings. Milk was being poured down the drains – literally – and the object of the whole exercise was “to starve John Bull”, cutting off all our own lifelines in the process, and it lasted long enough to shrink the Cronin business to near extinction.

During this period, my grandfather died, the mill was sold (for buttons) to appease the bank and “the Convent” and its lands were also sold, leaving only the shop and a shrinking trade in bread.

Next came the Government order controlling the price of bread, a vote-catching ploy. The price of flour and other ingredients was not controlled, nor were wages, fuel etc. Our staff shrank to four or five, and the writing was on the wall.

The family home had been in Woodstown from 1928 to 1942, and about 1936 my father was taken ill with mastoid trouble in both ears, and spent almost 12 months in hospital in Dublin.

During that time, my mother cycled into Waterford very early each morning – 8 miles – and ran the business, cycling home to Woodstown each night. My father had ten operations on his ears and throat, and seven of those were done by Oliver St. John Gogarty, and three were done by Dr. Curtin, a surgeon at the Eye and Ear Hospital in Adelaide Road, Dublin. Gogarty was a high-flying social figure at the time, and had his own private aeroplane and his own nursing home in Baggot Street, and he charged the earth for his services. My father paid him £300 for one operation, which was not successful and ended up having the job successfully done by Dr. Curtin, whose fee was £30!

Anyway, the final chapters concerning the shop in John Street are detailed elsewhere in this saga, but to give you some idea of the scale of operations, I shall enumerate the staff, which consisted of the following:-

Three shop assistants cum bookkeepers
Three van men
Three porters cum cleaners and delivery
Thirteen bakers
One engine attendant and
Three housemaids, who lived in.
The balance of forty was employed in the mill and the grain store on the docks.

I should mention also that our bread was famous for quality and our Christmas Bracks were known worldwide. I can remember tea-chests being filled with bracks and shipped to Australia and America. When the bakery was in full swing, we were using a hundred sacks of flour per week, which was two hundred ten-stone bags and at the end this was down to two and a half sacks per week.

During the war – which was known as “the emergency” – the law was such that no white flour could be milled or used to make bread. The order of the day was brown flour and brown bread – known as “Black Bread”. This regime went on from 1939 to 1947, and the law was rigidly enforced, any contravention being met by heavy fines or imprisonment.

Things, however, had become desperate, and we (my father and I) decided to enter the black market in white flour to try to save the business. My father’s expertise in the milling business came into play here, and through various contacts, a length of milling silk was obtained and he and I went to work each night after the shop closed, and worked until 2 a.m. sifting the regulation brown flour into its components, i.e. white flour, bran and pollard, and everything had to be cleaned up and hidden before the bakehouse staff came on duty at 4 a.m. The white flour could then be sold for one pound per stone – the brown flour cost approximately three shillings and six pence per stone, and a very small amount of white bread was baked twice a week to cater for invalids and such like.

The drill was that I would get up first in the mornings and open the shop and start the day’s work, get the one van loaded and deal with the early morning trade. My father would stay in bed until about eleven and then appear in the shop.

Now my father was a short man, only 5 ft 4½ ins. tall, but he was fifteen stone in weight – 46 ins. in the chest and 48 ins plus in the waist – and after a late night was often too tired for formality. He just kicked off his shoes, loosened his tie, and dropped his pants where he stood, and fell into bed practically fully clothed, minus shoes and pants.

Richard Cronin Circa 1922

On one particular occasion, when I opened the shop in the morning, a Jewish businessman from Dublin arrived and quietly asked me for eight stone of white flour in eight separate bags. I took out a ten-stone bag from hiding, and weighed out the eight bags onto the counter, stowing the remainder under the counter. I then took the money and proceeded to close up the eight bags which the client was taking out to his car. Our most trusted employee, Jimmy, was standing by keeping an eye out on the street for anyone who looked like a government inspector.

Just as I was closing bag number eight, Jimmy whistled from the street, and in walked a man unmistakably an inspector.

“I want to see the proprietor!” he said, in a peremptory tone.

“Just one moment, sir” I said, as I handed bag number eight to the customer, who departed swiftly.

“Jimmy,” I called, “This man wants to see the boss. Would you run upstairs and call him please?”

Jimmy knew exactly what was going on, and he duly went upstairs and woke my father with the announcement that there was an inspector downstairs in the shop.

As described by Jimmy afterwards, “The man leapt out of bed, jumped into his trousers, shouldered his braces, and stepped into his shoes while donning his jacket, glasses and hat.” Thus composed, he arrived into the shop, every inch the proprietor, and invited the inspector, who incidentally had declared himself, to accompany him into the office.

Meanwhile, I told Jimmy to take the half sack of white flour to the shop next door, and say he’d collect it later.

The inspector had been seated in the office with my father standing over him. The man seemed to go quite pale, and got up to leave, with my father following him. I didn’t hear what had been said earlier, but as he got to the door, my father took him gently by the arm, and nose to nose, said quietly “I wouldn’t come back here if I were you – it would be very VERY unhealthy, and another thing, Mister, this country will never be right until people like you are strung up by the arse and shot like a dog in the street.” The man walked away, very quickly, and he never came back.

My father stood at the counter, his face flushed with a dying anger and I saw him struggling to get his hand into his trousers pocket, unsuccessfully, and no wonder, for he had his trousers on back to front! Jimmy saw his predicament and guffawed, and then I saw it and I laughed out loud, and then my father, standing on his dignity up to then, spotted the problem and groaned “Oh Bloody Wars” before exploding into laughter.

So ended a very funny episode, which I recall with great affection for my father.


Owen Cronin – My Paternal Grandfather

Owen Cronin was born in 1846, the year of the great famine, and I believe he came from Fermoy, Co. Cork. He died when I was quite young and in all of my memory of him, he lived in the mill house at Kilmacow, Co. Kilkenny. Because of this, I saw him rarely, except for Sunday visits to the mill during which he and my father had long discussions about the price of grain, on world markets, and the business of the mill.

I remember him as a quiet old man, bald, with piercing blue eyes and a walrus moustache. He fascinated me, as a child, and I remember that he had a walking stick with a devil’s face on the knob, which frightened me. My only real contact with him was on the occasions when he used to complain to my mother about my escapades in the mill – and they were many! Most memorable was when I decapitated his prize rooster by throwing a slate at it. His exact words were “That one is a little devil”. Sunday visits to the mill were suspended for three Sundays after that.

Owen Cronin – Circa 1890

My grandfather knew all about horses and horses were his hobby all his life. He was regarded as “a great judge of a horse”. In his young days, he was friendly with a horse dealer named Anderson, who used to buy horses (troopers) for the British Army – and for Charles Bianconi, father of the stagecoach network, which served as public transport at that time. At a later stage Owen Cronin became a friend of the famous Bianconi, and used to buy horses directly for him.

As a young man, he was sent to Leeds, in England, to learn the textile trade. When he returned, he toured the country selling boots, to the mostly barefoot country people.
In or about 1875 he bought the premises at No. 12 John Street from a Mr. Murphy. He then set up shop in grain, feedstuff and hardware. Then, because there was a bake-house attached to the premises, he also set up in the bread business. In time, this became his main trade. Later, he acquired the mill and the Hermitage at Kilmacow.

When my father was married, Owen Cronin gave him the property at John Street, plus a sizeable amount of cash – £10,000, I believe.

Once, I came upon him at his bureau in the mill house, when he was having a raw egg and a glass of whiskey. I was about four years old at the time and asked him for a drink out of his glass. He gave the glass to me, with one of his rare smiles, and I took a goodly slug! I thought I had swallowed a red-hot poker, as I coughed and gasped for breath.

He patted my back and sad to me; “Now boy. What you just had was Drink. So, always remember this… It’s a good servant but a damn bad master!” I never forgot those words.
Owen Cronin was never known to say a bad word about anyone. He was most highly respected in business circles and was noted for his integrity. I just wish I had known him better.

©Geoff Cronin 2005

About Geoff Cronin

I was born at tea time at number 12 John Street, Waterford on September 23rd 1923. My father was Richard Cronin and my mother was Claire Spencer of John Street Waterford. They were married in St John’s Church in 1919.

Things are moving so fast in this day and age – and people are so absorbed, and necessarily so, with here and now – that things of the past tend to get buried deeper and deeper. Also, people’s memories seem to be shorter now and they cannot remember the little things – day to day pictures which make up the larger canvas of life.

It seems to me that soon there may be little or no detailed knowledge of what life was really like in the 1930s in a town – sorry, I should have said City, in accordance with its ancient charter – like Waterford. So I shall attempt to provide some of these little cameos as much for the fun of telling as for the benefit of posterity.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Waterford in the 1930s courtesy of Geoff Cronin. As always your feedback is very welcome. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Round Up – July 2022- #Romance Jan Sikes, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Dogs #Caravans Jacqueline Lambert, #Flash #Poetry M.J.Mallon, #Dystopian Teri Polen, #Western #Romance Sandra Cox

I had some great reading time in the garden during July and here are my recommendations from the month.

This review is for the first of four biographical novels by Jan Sikes based her own life and lifelong love story. Flowers and Stone.

My review for the book July 9th 2022

This is the first chapter in the passionate love story of a young woman enjoying the freedom of having left a restrictive upbringing with a bad boy of country music.

Although Darlina has tasted the joys of a more liberated lifestyle dancing for extra cash in a nightclub, there is still an air of innocence about her that attracts the much older and charasmatic Luke Stone. Wiser heads warn her of the dangers of becoming involved with a man who has long history of playing fast and loose in relationships, but she is in love.

That love will be tested in several ways over the following months and yet through it all Darlina is totally committed to being there for Luke in every way possible. His demons become hers as she watches him battle through a physical and mental crisis and yet there are still secrets that have the potential to rip them apart.

Despite his approach to women and previous relationships, Luke finds himself deeply connected to this young girl and her convictions. Secrets have a habit of being exposed to the light and in a desperate attempt to protect Darlina, Luke may have to make a major sacrifice.

You can tell that this story is written from the heart and is deeply personal. Even fictionalised the strength of the love and commitment to the relationship shines through and as the onlooker you find yourself hoping against hope things will work out. The love of a good woman can redeem a man who has fallen by the wayside, but the road is going to be long and hard.

The 70s and the setting for this story is also authentic and captures a time in music history that is legendary.

I look forward to reading the second book in this love saga soon.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Delighted to share the news of Harmony Kent’s new release and here is my review… Life & Soul (Book 2 in the Soul Poetry series)

My review for the collection July 7th 2022

This collection takes us on a journey exploring the many aspects of life, love, loss and renewal.

The soul that is our unique inner being, can be fragile at times, but also incredibly strong to withstand the storms that sweep through our lives.

The author is very open about her life and the traumatic events that she encountered and overcame and her strength is very evident in the poems she shares in this collection.

There are many that I can relate to, with poems that reflect the heartache of love that has not just faded, but developed a darker side, and being an outsider in a society that has strict rules for acceptance. It is also a celebration of finding love unexpectedly, and discovering true friendships that come with total acceptance.

Clearly love is all encompassing and there is a wonderful section devoted to the romance, growing connection and everyday joys to be found with your soul mate. One line in particular stuck with me.

Love in the simple things
Such as your glasses case left on the kitchen island…

I found the last section of the collection The Life of a Soul fascinating as the author takes us from birth to rebirth with such grace and poignancy. Certainly there are tears for the young child and woman trying to find her way, but also smiles at the determination to overcome a devastating accident and to adapt to the world on her own terms.

There were many poems that struck a chord with me including This Isn’t Love, The Group, True Friendships, Plastic Surgeon and This is Home.

Wild and Free is a lovely example of the authors way with words.

I’m not the prettiest flower in the field
But neither am I a weed
Take the time to watch me bloom
Don’t cut my stem and moan when I fade too soon
Far better that you leave me be
Dancing in the breeze, wild and free

I recommend this collection to those who would like to absorb the wise and poignant words of one soul to another.

Head over to read the reviews and buy new collection : Universal Link

My review for the highly entertaining and fascinating guide to caravanning and travelling through France… with four very individual pups… Year 1 – Fur Babies in France: From Wage Slaves to Living the Dream (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs) by Jacqueline Lambert.

Year 1 - Fur Babies in France: From Wage Slaves to Living the Dream (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs) by [Jacqueline Lambert]

My review for the book 9th July 2022

This book is a very entertaining and informative guide to caravanning with four dogs as companions through France.

Never having been on a caravan holiday, I was ignorant of all the technical requirements needed to not just tow this home on wheels, but manoeuvre it on and off pitches, keep it level, attach all the necessary services and avoid damaging critical pieces of the undercarriage.

The author shares her adventures for the preparation of both caravan and drivers before embarking on an ambitious debut extended tour of France. Daunting enough for the novice caravanner but with four dogs in the mix, quite a logistical challenge.

Whilst excellent information on the technical aspects are included, it is accompanied by an easy going and very humourous narration with some very witty double entendres thrown in for good measure.

For those who are planning a touring holiday of France in a caravan the book has a wealth of information on the best campsites for both scenery and facilities, especially when dogs are not always welcome. Certainly a pack is not usually considered to be acceptable despite the four in question being not only adorable but extremely well behaved. Whilst usually the case, apparently fox poop is the exception and then all bets are off. This can be a problem when you find yourself without a water connection and therefore no showers!

I know France reasonably well, but clearly you get to see a great deal more of the coast and inland areas than visits to the usual touristy hotspots. The book left me yearning for the open road and the freedom to stop in more out of the way places where campsites are the only option to stay for the night. A home on wheels definitely has its advantages, and again with four dogs who love to swim and run the beaches, the only sensible option if you take them with you, as hotels would be out of the question.

This is just the first book in the series and I am very much looking forward to reading the others. I finished this one with a smile on my face and a renewed desire for more travel adventures. I can highly recommend this honest, well written and amusing real life adventure.

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

I am delighted to share my advance review for flash fiction and poetry collection The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet by M.J. Mallon. The collection is on pre-order for 15th August.


My review for the collection July 16th 2022

This is a poetry and flash fiction collection seeped in nature and illustrates the love the author has for the environment, particular the forests.

The first pages share the delightful love story of the Hedge Witch and the Musical Poet, bringing two solitary characters together in the sanctuary of a magical forest far from the human world.

This story is followed by poems and flash ficton, some of which are poignant such as the tribute to a ginger cat in Chester, Don & I, and bewilderment voiced in The Network of Trees as they stand in danger from the human need for progress.

There is also the sad reflection that much of the beauty and adventures to be found in the forests are being missed as children find themselves engrossed in the online world instead. The author makes sure to include the fun they could be enjoying instead.

The Teddy in the Woods probably should come with a tissue alert.

There are some reminders of poems from another collection which I also enjoyed Mr. Sagittarius Poetry; one of my favourites being Rainbow – Parasol of Light.

In the second section of the collection there is a series of poems inspired by other writers. Set in the woodlands and the beauty they offer. This includes the ethereal The Forest King.

The forest king lives in the shadows
his hair and beard, a flame alight
in his crown, the fairy queen sits
far from the tangled roots of his throne.

This is a collection to savour and to dip into when the technical world we inhabit becomes too demanding, or we are in need of a touch of magic. I recommend to lovers of nature and fantasy.

Head over to pre-order the collection for August 15th: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US

Here is my review for Teri Polen and her exciting Sci-fi thriller The Colony Series Book One – Subject A36

My review for the book 21st July 2022

This is one of the most exciting sci-fi thrillers I have read for some time. Action packed from beginning to end with fascinating and complex characters that pull you into, and along with the story.

Set in the future when those with money and power only want more of the same. To ensure those living in The Colony have health and wealth at their disposal, those outside the walls, particularly the children must pay the price.

There are secrets that have been kept for over ten years and Asher finds himself on the run with insurgents unaware that he knows more than his parents have told him. Given safe haven with and adoptive family he forms bonds that he will fight to the death to protect.

The Colony soldiers widen the net to bring in more test subjects and as the insurgents fight day and night to rescue those trapped, they find themselves embroiled in treachery and deceit. With the lives at risk of those Asher loves most at the hands of an evil scientist intent on revenge, the world becomes an even more dangerous place.

The plot is brilliant as is the writing which evokes an emotional response from the reader, as they connect to the lead characters and share their love and pain, to a feeling of loss as this first book in the series comes to an end.

I can highly recommend, and suggest as I have done, that you buy the second book The Insurgent, as soon as possible so you can discover how the story and its wonderful characters unfolds.

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

I like to have one of Sandra Cox’s western romances lurking on my TBR for a wet windy day when escapism is a must…Today my review for Montana Shootists.

Montana Shootists by [Sandra Cox]

My review for the book July 23rd 2022

I have never been disappointed with any book I have read by this author and this novel was no exception. Action packed and written with such authenticity you could almost be there in person.

There is supernatural thread throughout the story as Abby finds herself caught with her body in 1882 and her heart still in the present day. Guilt and loss have a firm hold and even the devastating charm of Jake Barrow seems to be completely wasted despite his best efforts.

Abby has a strong sense of honour and duty, and whilst she may be pulled back to the future, she is also aware that there are those needing her help in this new dimension. I882 is smack in the middle of the range wars where cattle and sheep don’t mix according to those on the warpath and wanting to take over the lands of anyone who stands in their way. In a lawless town, there is strength in numbers and few can win against them.

Abby finds herself torn as she finds new friends in unexpected places who need her help despite her need to find a way back to the future to save another. Destiny however seems determined to made itself very clear about which way the cards should fall.

The characters are marvellous and colourful and those with evil intent are painted very vividly. It is easy to get swept along with the action and as always Sandra Cox brings everything together in a surprising and very satisfactory manner. I can highly recommend to anyone who love action filled romances that leaving you wanting more.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US


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




Smorgasbord Bookshelf – New Book on the Shelves – #Life #Death – Making Your Mark – Leaving a Legacy – And then… A Grand Exit That’ll Have Their Tongues Waggin’ by Peter Davidson

Delighted to welcome a new author to the bookshelf Peter Davidson with his books and today I am featuring his most recent that is enjoying great reviews. Making Your Mark | Leaving a Legacy | And then… A Grand Exit That’ll Have Their Tongues Waggin’

About the book

If you want your life to amount to more than just anonymously passing through this world unnoticed, this book is for you. It describes how you can make your mark on your family, friends, and society and how you can create a legacy that will benefit future generations.

When the time comes for you to leave this world, you can go out with class, style, and pizzazz, just like you lived your life, There are many options, possibilities, and decisions involved in planning a final farewell as we will see as we watch the Grand Exit of Timothy A.B. Smythe. Timothy’s Grand Exit will have people’s tongues waggin’ for a long time and it can serve as an inspiration for your final farewell, when the time comes.

Much of the information in the book is presented in true stories, scenarios, and examples that are upbeat, often humorous, and fun to read.

One of the early reviews for the book

This was a powerful and engaging read. The author did an amazing job of crafting this book in a way that felt both productive and enlightening all at once, while also capturing a tone and writing style that felt at ease and casual as if the book were just a normal conversation between two friends rather than a simple guide from the author to the reader. The themes of life and death were so strong in this book and did a great job of highlighting the message of legacy and what it means to make a mark on this world.

What stood out to meet was the author’s ability to bring a lightness to an otherwise upsetting subject like death. The attitude and confidence that the author has given readers to take the reins of death’s impending embrace and instead find a way of living life to the fullest were amazing to read. From leaving your name on a park or park bench and starting a charity in your name to writing a book or creating a product with your name embedded into the product’s title, the author lays out some great methods of leaving a mark on the world that makes people remember you long after you are gone. Yet it was the author’s ability to find positive ways of dealing with death, both in the time leading up to it and to the actual event itself, that gave a more inspirational tone to one’s demise than the heartbreak it so often brings. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAmazon UKMore reviews: Goodreads

Also by Peter Davidson

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UKFollow Peter: Goodreads –  LinkedIn: Peter Davidson – Twitter: @PeterDa91822406 – Email contact;

About Peter Davidson

Peter Davidson is the author or co-author of thirty books published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, Perigee/Putnam Publishers, Haworth Press, Sweet Memories Publishing, and Northwestern Publishing. His works include fiction, nonfiction, college textbooks, and children’s picture books.

For more than two decades, Davidson was one of America’s most active writer’s seminar presenters, having presented 637 one-day seminars in a 15-state area from Minnesosta to Tennessee and Colorado to Illinois. Davidson’s hobby is writing songs and one of his songs was used in a television series in The Netherlands.

Davidson has owned several small businesses, including a professional recording studio, has been a real estate salesman, and has taught business courses in a community college. Davidson trained more than 700 real estate agents, something for which he will undoubtedly have to answer for on Judgement Day.

Whatever else Davidson has been involved in throughout his life, he kept on writing.


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

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland 1930s – The Colour of Life – The Price Of A Habit – 1937 by Geoff Cronin

My father-in-law, Geoff Cronin was a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books. I hope those who have already read these stories will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

The Price Of A Habit – 1937

Birth and death are common events in the life of a farm and people of the land tend to be stoical about such matters. In the 1930s, farming where I lived was at a low ebb. Things were very tough on the land and you had to be tough in every respect to make any kind of living on a farm.

A farmer’s wife had no soft options then. She worked in the house, lucky if she had water laid on, managed the family, the small yard animals, the dairy, the fowl and all produce from those areas. To her, a shilling was a shilling and if anyone knew the value of it in real terms, she surely did.

So it was, when her husband died and the priest and the doctor were gone, the woman tackled the pony and drove into town to complete the funeral arrangements. She stabled the pony in Dower’s yard at the Car Stand and made her way up John St. to the far end of the Apple Market.

In the corner of the Market Square was Davey Power’s Undertaking Establishment and Coffin Shop and, when he had sympathised with the widow, a price for the coffin of her choice was negotiated.

This done, she said, “Well now, Mr. Power, what are you going to charge me for a decent habit (shroud) to bury him in?”

“Five shillin’s,” he answered.

“Is that the best you can do, now, Mr. Power,” she said, “and me buyin’ the coffin an’ all?”

“That would be the very best I could do, ma’am, for a good decent habit, “he replied, “an’ you won’t do better.”

“Thanks, Mr. Power,” she said, “but I’m goin’ up the town and I think I’ll do a lot better. I’ll call in to ye on me way back.”

Davy Power was “crabbed”, as they say in Waterford, and sorely annoyed that his price should even be questioned.

After leaving the undertaker the woman went up Michael Street, round the corner to Patrick Street and into Veale’s Drapery Shop where she purchased a habit of reasonable quality for three shillings and sixpence. She straightened her hat while waiting for her change, put the parcel containing the habit in her basket and set off again for the undertaker’s.

As she turned the corner of the Apple Market she saw Davy standing outside the door of his shop, where it was nice and sunny, and she passed by the open hall doors where women were sweeping out their hallways and continuing with the brush across the pavement. There would be an audience for what followed!

Davy took the offensive as the woman drew near.

“Well ma’am,” he said loudly, “were you able to get a cheap habit up the town?”

“Well,” she echoed, just as loudly, “I got a very good habit in Veale’s for three and sixpence an’ it’s every bit as good as what you offered me for five shillin’s.”

With that she handed him the parcel and turned on her heel. He would be out later to coffin the man.

Davy tore the parcel open and shook the garment out of its folds and looked at it, disdain on every line of his face.

“Alright, ma’am,” he called after her, “but I must tell you this, his arse will be out through that in a week!”


Asked why he had never married, a country bachelor replied – “Why would I give away one half of me dinner to get the other half cooked?”

©Geoff Cronin 2005

About Geoff Cronin

I was born at tea time at number 12 John Street, Waterford on September 23rd 1923. My father was Richard Cronin and my mother was Claire Spencer of John Street Waterford. They were married in St John’s Church in 1919.

Things are moving so fast in this day and age – and people are so absorbed, and necessarily so, with here and now – that things of the past tend to get buried deeper and deeper. Also, people’s memories seem to be shorter now and they cannot remember the little things – day to day pictures which make up the larger canvas of life.

It seems to me that soon there may be little or no detailed knowledge of what life was really like in the 1930s in a town – sorry, I should have said City, in accordance with its ancient charter – like Waterford. So I shall attempt to provide some of these little cameos as much for the fun of telling as for the benefit of posterity.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Waterford in the 1930s courtesy of Geoff Cronin. As always your feedback is very welcome. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – July 29th 2022 – #Reunion Jennie Fitzkee, #Poetrystars Colleen Chesebro, #beefstew Robbie Cheadle, #Communityliving D.G. Kaye, #Raptors Cindy Knoke, #Bears Tofino Photography

Just a small selection of posts I have enjoyed this week and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Jennie Fitzkee catches up with one of her children Noah this last week as he prepares to head off to Iceland in his gap year. Jennie shares how both his sister Emma and then Noah made a difference to the classroom during those early years as their teacher.


Head over to enjoy this reunion post with a student who clearly remembers his years with Jennie with great fondness and respect: A Child and His Family Over the Years

Colleen Chesebro shares the links to the responses to last week’s challenge which was an amazing photo prompt.. head over to enjoy the selected star poem which is stunning by Reena Saxena

Head over to enjoy the star poem and check out the links to the rest of the participants: #TankaTuesday #Poetry Stars No. 281 | #PhotoPrompt, #Ekphrastic

Debby Gies shares her home with us which is a condo in an amazing complex in Toronto. It comes with many perks and built at a time when units were much bigger and certain legal benefits are now in place to protect the residents. Sounds pretty good.

Head over to check out the benefits of living in this community: the-perks-of-living-in-a-senior-community-even-if-you-yet-arent-one

Robbie Cheadle shares a bittersweet family get together over the weekend with Christmas in July and a farewell to a sister who is moving to Cape Town many hours drive away. A sumptious feast and the post includes the recipe for Beef and Stout Stew.

Head over to enjoy the feast and the recipe for this beef and stout stew: Recipes from around the world Beef Stout Stew

There are two photographers that stun with their images and the first of those is Cindy Knoke who has captured the imperialistic and all-knowing look of a selection of raptors… Magnificent.

image ©Cindy Knoke

Head over to enjoy the rest of these amazing photographs of raptors: Bird Portraits Raptors

The other photographer that captures wildlife in such a beautiful way is Wayne Barnes of Tofino Photography. This week a gentle giant with a love of Sea Asparagus, which by the way is a pre-seasoned delicious vegetable served hot or cold.

Head over for a close up of this epicurian bear: My Shadow and my furry friend


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full….. Sally.



Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Ireland #Family Mary Crowley, #Thriller Jack Talbot

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is another of my recommended reads  Under a Dark Cloud by Irish author Mary Crowley

About the book

Under a Dark Cloud is a grippingly emotional story of shattered dreams, haunting nightmares and bitter memories. Kelly Henderson wants reprieve to emerge from Under the Dark Cloud that shrouds her life.

Kelly Henderson returns to Bunreen, a small town nestled in the South East of Ireland, weeks after her husband’s tragic death, wanting to re-establish a relationship with her mother and sister. However, as the taxi approaches her old home, she is harshly reminded of the night her mother Lorraine banished her to live with her father in Scotland, when she was only fifteen years of age.

Kelly’s’ heart is heavy and her grief raw, but she must keep strong as she soon discovers there are more secrets within the family. While Lorraine’s indifference to her pain gives renewed determination to right the wrongs of the past and prove she had not been lying about what had happened to her as a teenager. A wrongdoing that led to the breakdown of her marriage and in Kelly’s mind, inevitably caused her husband’s death. It’s time to take back control and get the reprieve she deserves.

Nessa Quinlan has a simple but happy life with her devoted husband Liam; however, her life is turned upside-down when her estranged brother contacts her to say he is dying of cancer. Nessa had broken all ties with Donald after he had killed a local teenager in a road accident showing no remorse.

Kind-hearted, Nessa becomes his carer which concerns her family and best friend Clodagh, but Nessa has more to contend with than the disagreeable Donald, with ghosts from her past threatening to cloud her happiness, which in turn puts a strain on her marriage. This is not helped by Donald refusing medical treatment until one day Kelly arrives on their doorstep as his new Health Nurse.

Can Nessa save her marriage? Does Kelly hold the answers to Nessa’s problems, or will her presence bring further recriminations?

Under a Dark Cloud is Mary Crowley’s second Novel following her Debut A Sweet Smell of Strawberries, a heart wrenching tale of a mother’s loss when her son, a talented athlete is killed.

My review for the book 4th April 2020

I read and enjoyed A Sweet Smell of Strawberries and was looking forward to reading Mary Crowley’s second novel and was not disappointed.

There is some continuity from the first book which featured characters on the edges of the main story, who now take centre stage in this novel. This did help bring me in to the story right from the start and although a stand alone book, you would gain a great deal by reading the first book.

The women in this story all have fractured pasts, trauma, loss and challenging personalities. Kelly and Nessa have secrets and unresolved issues that are now influencing their relationships and their futures. Their families are also going through challenging times and those who you would expect to be supportive and trustworthy are holding on to their own darkness.

In this small town evil is lurking and it will take strength of character, resolve and courage to confront it and move on from the devastating repercussions of its impact on individuals and the community.

Mary Crowley has created wonderful characters and even those who are dark and unlikeable are compelling. The threads of each character’s story from the past to the present, are woven into a complex and interconnecting web of lies, mystery, trauma and secrets. The reader is left guessing who might be the perpetrator of the actions that have resulted in both Kelly’s and Nessa’s turmoil, and there is a surprising ending that brings the story to a satisfactory close.

It is a well written family saga, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing and I am sure that like me, you will enjoy reading Under a Dark Cloud.

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

Also by Mary Crowley

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And on : Amazon US – Follow Mary : Goodreads – Blog/Website: Mary Crowley WordPress – Twitter: @marycrowleym

About Mary Crowley

Mary Crowley writes Contemporary Irish Literature. Author of A Sweet Smell of Strawberries and Under a Dark Cloud . Her fictional work generally focusses on strong emotional relationships and family conflict, adding intrigue and humour, with a sprinkle of hope but most of all heart.

Mary lives in County Waterford, on the South East Coast of Ireland, with her husband and three children. Having worked as a Dental nurse and Dental Health Educator for many years she decided to follow her dream of writing and went on to study creative writing and journalism. Winner of The Waterford Writer’s Weekend Short Story Competition (2016), she also has several short story publications, in Magazines and newspapers along with publications in, one of which was inspired by her literary heroine Maeve Binchy, another about the local legendary Hoffman’s event, “The Pram Race,” which took place in Tramore back in the late eighties. Mary is currently working on her third novel along with writing for local newspaper The Munster Express and freelance writing.

When she is not writing, Mary loves reading and spending time with her husband John and their three children Damon, Steven and Katie, though they are growing up too quickly. Her most favoured way of family time, is travelling to new and interesting places in her beloved VW Camper searching for the next story to tell. It was a yearly trip to Letterkenny in Donegal where one of her son’s competed in the Errigal Youth Cycling Tour that inspired the setting for her first novel A Sweet Smell of Strawberries.

The next book is by Jack Talbot and is a thriller The Hurler about a game at the heart of Irish family life. I can highly recommend.

About the book

Hurling, revenge, atonement, murder….

A missing man, a tenacious female sergeant, a murky world of criminal activity and murder, all set in motion when local family man and hurler Jim Rourke goes missing….

When family man and local hurler Jim Rourke goes missing in Oldcastle, a troubled call from his wife sends Sergeant Britney Kent delving into his disappearance. Initially, the incident is dismissed as trivial by her colleagues. However, when another man is found murdered at a local hurling field, Britney is convinced there is a connection. This murder is closely followed by that of a high-profile sports correspondent and the connection is only enforced.

With victims piling up, Britney finds herself on the trail of the sadistic killer known only as ‘The Courier.’

However, as Britney digs deeper, it is made clear her interference in the investigation is unwelcome. Deep suspicion of corruption and criminal connections come to light. Britney finds herself wondering who she can trust. Is the killer really one of her own?

Only by unravelling the connection between the hurler, the criminal underworld and corruption at the highest levels, will the killer be revealed. But all is not what it seems.

With time running out, can Britney save this latest victim and in doing so, save her career?

In Jack Talbot’s thriller ‘The Hurler’ we learn how the ancient surrogate for war is more than just a game. And that all may not be as it seems.

My review for the book January 15th 2022

I enjoyed this thriller very much. Hurling is at the heart of Irish sport at both amateur and professional level, and there are not many families whose children have not played the game during school and beyond. Like any sport there are opportunities for manipulation and corruption, and when combined with a thirst for revenge, the door is opened to violent retribution.

As a young police sergeant discovers, solving the mystery of a missing local man and connecting the links in a nationwide serial murder case, is going to be difficult and dangerous when hampered by obstructive senior detectives and those with links to criminal enterprises.

When you don’t know who to believe, trust or respect and the investigation is blocked at every turn, all you have is your own commitment and drive to succeed at whatever the cost. Including the impact on a new and exciting relationship that offers an unexpected chance of a promising future.

The author has created characters that are richly drawn and in some cases downright despicable. As the various threads of institutional corruption within the police, sports officials and the escalating violence of the serial killer knit together, cleverly inserted red herrings have the reader eagerly turning the pages to find the answers.

The momentum was maintained throughout the book and the reader is kept guessing right to the last chapter. There are surprises in store and revelations that will shock and satisfy.

I recommend this to lovers of fast paced thrillers and look forward to reading more books by this author.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

About Jack Talbot

Jack Talbot was born and raised in Kilkenny, Ireland. He lived for a short while in Australia, America and Europe before returning home to his native country. A carpenter by trade he also worked in drapery, bars and as a fitness instructor before turning to writing. Being an avid reader all his life his main interest is fiction, especially crime thrillers. This passion allied to his life experience and his youthful fling with the game of hurling provided plenty of inspiration for his first novel, ‘The Hurler.’

Connect to Jack Talbot: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Website: Jack TalbotFacebook: Jack Talbot – Facebook Author Page: The Hurler – Follow Jack: Goodreads – LinkedIn: Jack Talbot


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books Sally


Music Column 2022 – William Price King meets the Music Legends – Nina Simone – Part Three – 1960s and Civil Rights

It is eight years since William Price King joined Smorgasbord to share music across the genres. It is six years since we have featured some of the music legends and delighted to showcase them again in 2022.

This week in part three of the Nina Simone story and we look at Nina’s enormous impact on the Civil Rights Movement in the turbulent sixties. Her music crossed many different styles and we begin with Nina Simone’s own words about her music and where she felt she fit into the industry of the day.

Nina Simone – Part Three – 1960s and Civil Rights

“Critics started to talk about what sort of music I was playing,” writes Nina in her 1991 autobiography I Put A Spell On You, “and tried to find a neat slot to file it away in. It was difficult for them because I was playing popular songs in a classical style with a classical piano technique influenced by cocktail jazz. On top of that I included spirituals and children’s song in my performances, and those sorts of songs were automatically identified with the folk movement. So, saying what sort of music I played gave the critics problems because there was something from everything in there, but it also meant I was appreciated across the board – by jazz, folk, pop and blues fans as well as admirers of classical music.”

In Concert

Nina had moved to Phillips which was a division of Mercury Records and this would propel her firmly into the global music scene. In 1964 her first release with Phillips, Nina Simone In Concert was a platform for her belief in equality and confirmed her position as a pioneer and champion of freedom. One of the tracks, Mississippi Goddam was released and a single and banned in several states in the south which indicates the impact she had as a performer. The song was her response to the murder of Medgar Evans and the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four black children. The ban was allegedly because of the use of the word Goddam!

Her other protest songs that would become synonymous with the Civil Rights movement were Four Women and one of her most popular To Be Young, Gifted and Black. Here is a fascinating interview with Nina at the time talking about the inspiration behind the song and a live performance of the track.

Although Nina used her music to demonstrate her solidarity for Civil Rights and her belief in freedom and justice for everyone, she initially had misgivings about performing songs that were linked to the movement and this is how Nina described her feelings on the subject in her autobiography I Put A Spell On You.

“Nightclubs were dirty, making records was dirty, popular music was dirty and to mix all that with politics seemed senseless and demeaning. And until songs like ‘Mississippi Goddam’ just burst out of me, I had musical problems as well. How can you take the memory of a man like Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers and reduce all that he was to three and a half minutes and a simple tune? That was the musical side of it I shied away from; I didn’t like ‘protest music’ because a lot of it was so simple and unimaginative it stripped the dignity away from the people it was trying to celebrate. But the Alabama church bombing and the murder of Medgar Evers stopped that argument and with ‘Mississippi Goddam,’ I realized there was no turning back.”

Nina was part of an influential group of African American playwrights, poets and musicians who were living in Harlem and included Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. These and others influenced and inspired Nina’s own creativity. Including tracks such as Backlash Blues by Langston Hughes, on her first album with the RCA Victor label in 1967, Nina Simone Sings The Blues. The song’s lyrics originated from the last poem Langston Hughes submitted for publication prior to his death in May, 1967 and gave to Nina.

Nina would perform and speak at many civil rights meetings including at the Selma to Montgomery marches. She unlike Martin Luther King was not opposed to a more violent approach to achieving the goals of the movement, although she did stress in her autobiography that she regarded all races as equal. It was clear however that she deeply admired Martin Luther King and was deeply affected by his murder in 1968.

Her next album in 1968, Nuff Said contains live recordings from the Westbury Music Fair, April 7, 1968, three days after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr… She dedicated the whole performance to him and sang “Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)”, a song written by her bass player, Gene Taylor, directly after the news of King’s death had reached them.

It was clear that there were many facets to Nina Simone the woman as well as the musician and one of the songs that probably illustrates this the most is “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

Next time the late 60s and more performances from Nina’s seven years with RCA and her work on the musical Hair and collaboration with other musicians.

Buy Nina Simone Music: Amazon

Additional sources
Nina Simone Website

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.

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


As always William would love to receive your feedback… thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Laughter is the Best Medicine – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Grammar Police and Butlers

Firstly, some funnies from Debby Gies followed by some funnies from Sally. Thanks to those who share the funnies on the internet.

D.G. Writes is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.


My thanks to Debby for excellent foraging

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Check out Debby’s latest Travel Column: Cuba

Now for some fun from Sally….


A lady walked into a pharmacy and told the pharmacist that she needed some cyanide. The pharmacist said,

“Why in the world do you need cyanide?”

The lady then explained she needed it to poison her husband. The pharmacist’s eyes got big and he said, ‘I can’t give you cyanide to kill your husband! They’ll throw both of us in jail!’

The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist’s wife.

The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied, ‘Well, now. You didn’t tell me you had a prescription.’


The Lady of the Manor was becoming irritated at Jeeve’s habit of walking into her bedroom without knocking. She took him to task.

‘It would be very embarrassing if I were in a state of undress,’ she pointed out.

‘No need to worry about that, m’Lady,’ he said. ‘I always peek through the keyhole first.’

A few days later….

This was not the last time that her Ladyship had call to have words with her butler. A few days later she called him to her bedroom.

‘Jeeves, please unzip my dress.’ Clearly embarrassed he did so.

‘Now, take off my stockings.’ Jeeves was now visibly perspiring.

‘And now take off my underwear… And if I every catch you wearing my clothes again I will immediately dismiss you!’


Thank you for joining us today and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face.. Debby and Sally.