About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Teaching: it’s The Cake and the Frosting by Jennie Fitzkee


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Pre-school teacher of over 30 years, Jennie Fitzkee, has been a welcome guest here many times but this time, Jennie has let me loose in her archives… this will be fun. In this final post, Jennie shares her analogy for teaching…

Teaching: it’s The Cake and the Frosting

Our everyday learning in the classroom reminds me of a big cake. The necessary ingredients are science, math, reading, writing, language, geography and the arts. A cake is mixed by hand, just as our learning is hands-on.

And, the frosting? That’s our unit of study. It’s the fun, the glorious way to encase and show off our cake. Italy is a beautiful frosting. So was the Rainforest, and Hawaii, and India, and Jan Brett. Regardless of the frosting, or our unit of study, there is always a cake and the important learning that happens.

I thought you might like to taste some of the recent ‘cake batter’:

Reading and letter recognition, a daily constant, had an “ah-hah moment” when we read the book Froggy goes to Hawaii. The word ‘Froggy’ is in big letters on many of the pages, followed by an exclamation mark which we had just learned about. That sparked a huge interest in recognizing letters and actually sounding out words. Since then, every time we read a book that has some of the words in large print, such as Toot, Toot, Zoom or My Truck is Stuck (Literacy Tree books); we are obsessed with both recognizing the letters and sounding out the words. We then find rhyming words and sound them out.

Writing has become a popular activity. We use ‘Handwriting Without Tears’ with emphasis on the terminology of ‘lines’ and ‘curves’ and using those shapes to create letters. September introduced Mat Man, and last week our Italy writing activity had children so ready, it looked like the line at the deli counter. Children practice writing their name on paper with three lines, therefore three practices. We used a vertical surface to make the map of Italy and a pizza parlor tablecloth, and our paintings for the Art Show are done at an easel. All of these activities on a vertical surface are developing the muscles needed for writing.

Geography is highlighted so many times with studying different countries. The best part is, every time we pull out our Big Book Atlas, we become sidetracked and learn even more. We have learned about the equator, the poles, and the oceans. Children are always drawn to the map of the United States, and the learning keeps flowing. We have used the atlas to track the travels of Dr. Dolittle, and we’ll be tracking the travels of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Math and Science has been exciting with the hatching of twenty baby chicks in the kindergarten. The circle of life is in full glory. Our favorite science fair activity was using a hair blow dryer to blow ping pong balls into the air and keep them steady.

Of course you know that Art and Music has been a major contributor to our ‘cake batter’ as the children made significant pieces of art, inspired by music, for our annual art show. I bumped into a former student (now going into kindergarten) who told me she was in Washington DC last week and visited the National Gallery of Art. I was there, too! We marveled at the coincidence. Then she said, “I saw the Mary Cassatt”. I did, too! She said, “Jennie, I saw the flower painting we learned about.” Wow!

My classroom makes the best cakes and frostings!

©Jennie Fitzkee

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie

Blog: https://jenniefitzkee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennie.fitzkee
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jlfatgcs

My thanks to Jennie for permitting me to share these wonderful posts from her archives, always something to learn.

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Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Guest Comedian D.G. Kaye and a joke from Sally’s Archives


First Debby Gies shares some of the funnies this week that she feels you should not miss.. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog 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 spotting these.. and please give her a round of applause.

D. G. Kaye – Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

And now time for a joke from my archives….

Late one night, a burglar broke into a house that he thought was empty. He tiptoed through the living room but suddenly froze in his tracks when a loud cried out:

“Jesus is watching you.”

Silence returned to the house, so the burglar crept forward again.

“Jesus is watching you,” the voice boomed again.

The burglar stopped dead in his tracks. He looked around frantically. In a dark corner, he spotted a bird cage and in the cage was a parrot.

“Was that you who said Jesus is watching me?” he asked.

“Yes”, said the parrot.

The burglar breathed a sigh of relief, then he asked the parrot: “What’s your name?”

“Clarence,” said the bird.

“That’s a dumb name for a parrot,” sneered the burglar. “What idiot named you Clarence?”

“The same idiot who named the Rottweiler Jesus,” the parrot replied.

Thank you for joining us today and we hope you are leaving in a more jovial mood than when you arrived.. Debby and Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck- #BookReview LEGACY (PROJECT RENOVA #4) by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) by Olga Nunez Miret


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

I am delighted to another post from the blogs of Olga Nunez Miret, author and translator who I can highly recommend. Olga is well known for her in depth book reviews, that I am happy to say I have received for my books over the years. In her final post I share her review for a book that I also enjoyed.. Legacy by Terry Tyler.

 #BookReview LEGACY (PROJECT RENOVA #4) by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) by Olga Nunez Miret

Hi all:

Today I bring you the fourth book in a trilogy! Yes, what can I say? We writers sometimes can’t let go. Best laid plans and all that. To be honest, I hope the author keeps going…

All books Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

‘Out of all the death and destruction has come the freedom to be who we really are.’

A hundred years after the world was devastated by the bat fever virus, the UK is a country of agricultural communities where motherhood is seen as the ideal state for a woman, new beliefs have taken over from old religions, and the city of Blackthorn casts a threatening shadow over the north of England. Legacy travels back in time to link up with the characters from Tipping Point, Lindisfarne and UK2.

Seventeen-year-old Bree feels stifled by the restrictions of her village community, but finds a kindred spirit in Silas, a lone traveller searching for his roots. She, too, is looking for answers: the truth behind the mysterious death, forty years earlier, of her grandmother.

In 2050, Phoenix Northam’s one wish is to follow in the footsteps of his father, a great leader respected by all who knew him―or so his mother tells him.

In 2029, on a Danish island, Lottie is homesick for Lindisfarne; two years earlier, Alex Verlander and the kingpins of the Renova group believe they have escaped the second outbreak of bat fever just in time…

Book #4 of the Project Renova series rebuilds a broken country with no central government or law, where life is dangerous and people can simply disappear … but the post-Fall world is also one of possibility, of freedom and hope for the future.

About Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of eighteen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Legacy’, the final book in her post apocalyptic series. She is currently at work on a new dystopian novel, set in the UK, twelve years in the future. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

My review:

I received an ARC copy of this novel but that has in no way influenced my review.

I have been following Terry Tyler’s Project Renova from the beginning (you can check my reviews for Tipping Point, here, for Lindisfarne, here, and for UK2, here)and loved all of the novels, getting more and more personally involved in the adventures and with the characters, that became part of the family, as it progressed. When a trilogy comes to an end and you see readers wondering what happened next and pestering the author for more, you know this is not just another dystopian adventure.

Before I get into the detail of this novel, which is fabulous in case you’re wondering, I must say that my recommendation is to read the four novels in the intended order. The series is written to be read as a whole, and the books are not independent. Although this novel introduces many new characters, to fully appreciate the project (yes, I know) and the overall effect, you need to be familiar with the complete story so far. But don’t worry, though, if it’s been a while since you’ve read the other novels, because the author includes a link to “the story so far” before the new novel starts, so you’ll be able to quickly refresh your memory.

This is the most structurally complex novel of the series. Although all the books are narrated by several characters, and that is the case here too, and in UK2 we had different settings as well, this novel takes us back and forth in time. After a brief interlude that follows directly on from the last novel (and there are a few of those interspersed throughout the text, but very brief), Part One is set in 2127, a hundred years later, and we go back to Norfolk, where we meet Bree, a young girl who lives there, and Silas, a traveller. This gives us an opportunity to learn what has happened in that period all over the UK, at least in large strokes, and also to meet two young people that, at least to begin with, we don’t know how they relate to the rest of the plot. Part Two goes back to 2089 and we learn about Sky, who lives in a Northern settlement called Blackthorn. Although she lives a life of luxury, we soon learn that she is in a minority, and the place sounds like a dystopian nightmare (if you’re familiar with Huxley’s Brave New World that part of the story will give you pause, and women will be particularly horrified by that possible future), so it’s not surprising that she ends up taking a fairly extreme decision. Part Three is set in 2050, and in this case we follow the next generation of some of the characters we had left in the last novel, particularly Phoenix. Part Four, set only two years after the last novel, in 2019, reunites us with Lottie, my favourite character of the series (and I’m not the only one). Part Five is set again in 2127, and we see what happened next to Bree and Silas and we get a sense of how the whole story fits and see the bigger picture. And the last bit of the story, back in 2027, answers a question that most people will be wondering about.

Does this mean the story is confusing? Not really, but if you’re trying to find connections and work out who everybody is from the start, you might feel a bit lost. My advice would be similar to what I used to tell people who were reading William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury: even if you can’t see where things are heading, keep reading, because it will all fall into place. And it is fabulous. In fact, the way of telling the story works wonderfully well to emphasise the theme of legacy, the fact that family lines, and especially people’s behaviour, mark those who come into contact with them and is carried through the generations. The structure made me think of novels such as Cloud Nine, and movies like Pulp Fiction, and if you enjoy a bit of a challenge when it comes to the way a story is told, this will add to your enjoyment.

The epic story (a saga) is narrated in the first person in the present tense by the different characters, and that gives it immediacy, making it easier to connect with them, even when sometimes we might know that things are not what they seem to be, and at times we might know much more than the characters do, and that give us a fascinating perspective. The story works well, and as I said, everything fits in, but the author has a particular skill for creating vastly varied characters that are totally believable, and like them or not, we can’t help getting involved in their lives. Lottie continues to be my favourite character, but Bree and Silas are great as well, and their relationship is heart-warming without being overly sweet. Both of them have doubts and reservations, and they prove their feelings with actions, rather than meaningless words. Even the less likeable characters have a heart (well, at least the ones we meet personally) and I was surprised when I felt sorry for some of them, whom at first I had thought of as unredeemable.

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, because the story has to be read. The writing is fabulous, descriptive enough without ever getting boring, and the characters and the events narrated will make you think about known historical figures, religious beliefs, and about what moves society, and what is truly important.

I am pleased to read in the author’s note that she is thinking about writing some novellas and possibly a novel set in one of the places we visit here. Although I loved the story and the ending as well, I know I’ll keep thinking about the series, and I won’t be able to resist further incursions into this world. And yes, I’ll be one of the readers pestering the author for more.

Thanks to the author for another fantastic book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and always keep smiling!

©Olga Nunez Miret 2019

My thanks again to Olga for allowing me to share posts from her archives and if you would like to be reviewed then Olga has some tipsA review for your book.. some suggestions.

A selection of books in Spanish or English by Olga Nunez Miret

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One of the recent reviews for Deadly Quotes

This is Book 3 in the captivating Mary Miller series where Mary gets involved with fellow doctor and pathologist Leah Deakin to solve the mysterious new serial killings case of Deadly Quotes.The author Nunez-Miret uses her expert knowledge as a real life psychiatrist to bring to life in her investigative characters and pulls it off perfectly – like watching a real-life crime drama.

We are engrossed in this tale of murder where the suspect is already in jail. This is an intriguing start to the story which progresses with the discoveries of some new dead bodies and only quotes left behind on the corpses’ computers, taken from a book written by a serial killer still in jail. The investigation keeps us glued to wanting to know the facts as much as the investigators do and keeps us wondering if the killer in jail is responsible for these killings or could it possibly be a copycat killer.

I’m not about to give out spoilers here, but if you love a good mystery with well written investigative story, you will love this book as well as the others in this series. These Mary Miller mysteries are all standalone reads, so don’t feel like you have to have read the others, although well worth the reads, to keep up with the mysteries.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/author/olganm

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Olga-Núñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

Read more reviews and follow Olga on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6562510.Olga_N_ez_Miret

Audio bookshttp://authortranslatorolga.com/my-audiobooks/

About Olga Nunez Miret

Olga Núñez Miret is a doctor, a psychiatrist, a student (of American Literature, with a Doctorate and all to prove the point, of Criminology, and of books and people in general), she writes, translates (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and although born in Barcelona, Spain, has lived in the UK for many years. She’s always loved books and is thrilled at the prospect of helping good stories reach more readers all around the world. She publishes a bilingual blog (http://www.authortranslatorolga.com ) where she shares book reviews, advice, talks about books (hers and others) and about things she discovers and enjoys.

Olga has translated her own books into Spanish of course and she has also translated some excellent Spanish books into English and you can find out more here. http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/translationstraducciones/

Follow Olga onSocial Media

Website –http://www.olganm.com/
Blog- http://authortranslatorolga.com/
Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/OlgaNunezMiret
Twitter- https://twitter.com/OlgaNM7

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy other posts in Olga’s archives. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Sherri Matthews #Memoir – Holiday Reading, Ghosts And The Norfolk Broads


Delighted to welcome back memoir author Sherri Matthews with four posts sharing her experiences of childhood and teens and living in the UK after many years in California. In the final post this series Sherri takes us on a holiday to the Norfolk Broads, a fabulous boating holiday, and an introduction to the more ghostly side of this idyllic part of the country.

Holiday Reading, Ghosts And The Norfolk Broads

Holiday reading. What beats a book crammed full of twists and turn, thrills and spills to keep us occupied while lazing on the beach or reclining on a deck chair by the side of a pool somewhere hot and Mediterranean? What indeed!

When Lisa set her prompt for this week’s Bite Size Memoir challenge as ‘Holiday Reads’ my memories took me not to the beach or the pool but back to the annual holidays we took as a family when I was a girl to the tranquility of the Norfolk Broads

A boating holiday is certainly not relaxing in the usual sense, particularly if sailing. In fact, it is quite physical with all the leaping on and off boats, mooring up, gathering in the sails and generally messing about on the river. Not to mention all those misadventures that seem to go hand-in-hand when on the water, and I’m not just talking about losing one’s sunglasses.

Yet, nothing beats that feeling at the end of a boating day when you are moored up and hunkered down for the night, huddled in your bunk and settling in to your summer read.

Our holidays began with a several hour’s-long drive from Surrey to Norfolk, this being the 1970’s and motorways not what they are today, but oh the joy as we pulled in at last to the narrow roads of the delightfully historic Norfolk village of Horning and headed straight to the boatyard.

There we would set eyes on what would be our holiday home for the next two weeks and so the exodus began of transferring all our luggage, equipment and food from the overflowing car to our boat. Then finding a home for everything, which on a boat is often far from easy.

One year, when I was about twelve, as we took a walk down to the local shops of Horning to gather up some last-minute necessities before heading out, I treated myself to my summer book: it was called Ghosts of the Broads by Charles Sampson

What captured my attention was that there was a ghost story for most of the places we would be visiting so I could time my stories when we were at the actual location. I couldn’t wait!

Some of the stories went on a bit, but there I would be, in the dead of the night, lulled by the gentle motion of our boat to the passing current of the waters surrounding us, my little overhead lamp burning the midnight oil, scaring myself witless.

What filled my imagination like no other was the story about St. Benet’s Abbey

Approaching from the narrow and meandering River Ant as it merges into the strong currents of the River Bure, the sight of St. Benet’s Abbey looming up at the river’s edge of this convergence always struck a sense of foreboding into my heart as a child.

St Benet's Abbey, Norfolk Broads (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

St Benet’s Abbey, Norfolk Broads (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

I came to learn that it was a monastery founded in Anglo-Saxon times and the only one which went on to function well into the medieval ages. A wind pump was built into the gate of the ruins left behind. Hence the unusual structure.

Visiting the ruins today, my imagination still runs riot but I will write about this at another time, taking up a post of its own as it merits!

The ghosts of the Norfolk Broads and I go back a long way. They have fascinated and enthralled me for as long as I can remember. So it was, that fifteen years ago and after a gap of many years, I was fortunate enough to take my three children on a Norfolk Broad’s holiday, together with my mum, brother and his family. Eleven of us on two boats!

We cruised and sailed for two glorious weeks in August and it was steaming hot every day. Sometimes things work out better than planned and this was no exception.

As ever, I took my ‘Ghosts of the Broads’ book with me. To my amazement, I soon discovered that the very night we found ourselves mooring up for the night on Barton Broad (a huge expanse of water which, you might be interested to know, Admiral Horatio Nelson himself learnt to sail on as a boy) happened to be the same night that one of these ghostly apparitions was to appear.

If the conditions are perfect, the face of a woman appears in the lake, so the story goes. You can imagine, out there alone on the water with nothing but our ghost stories and hyped up children to tell them to, just what the atmosphere must have been like!

In all my years of ‘ghost hunting’ on the Norfolk Broads, I never did see a ghost, which disappointed me greatly and caused me great relief all at the same time. Quite what I would have done if I had found one of ‘my’ ghosts, I will never know.

However, on this particular night something extraordinary did happen, something that neither I nor my family can explain to this day.

South Walsham Broad at dusk – Norfolk Broads
(Not having one handy of Barton Broad, but it sets the scene!) (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Here then is my ‘bite’ for this week, in 150 words exactly:

Moored up in a cosy inlet, the winds that earlier had provided a full day’s sailing had died to a breath and Barton Broad lay as smooth as glass.

Orange skies darkened and a light mist danced across the waters. Conversation and laughter echoed beyond the riverbanks, then silence.

I don’t know who saw it first, but in seconds we were all standing on the gunwale, watching.

It was almost dark now, no wind and boating after sunset was forbidden, if not impossible without navigation lights.

A yacht, in full sail as the waters lapped at its bow, forged ahead in the darkness, the moon giving the merest hint of reflection in the water. No helmsman in sight, yet the sails billowed.

We gaped in hushed disbelief, not comprehending this eerie encounter. Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, the yacht vanished, swallowed up by the mist.

Just like that.

A very eerie note to end on… my thanks to Sherri for sharing another wonderful post with us… I have been on the broads and it is a great holiday… spooky apparitions aside…

©Sherri Matthews 2014 

About Sherri Matthews

While bringing her memoir, Stranger in a White Dress, to publication, Sherri is published in magazines and anthologies. Blogging at her summerhouse, Sherri writes from her life as a Brit mum of three twenty years in California, her misadventures with her jailbird dad, and as Mum and carer to her adult, Aspie youngest. As in life, telling the story one word, one day at a time, Sherri believes that memoir brings alive the past, makes sense of the present and gives hope for the future. Today, Sherri lives in England with her hubby, Aspie and menagerie of pets fondly called, ‘Animal Farm’ and advocates that laughter is indeed the best medicine

Memoir Book Blurb

Stranger In A White Dress

‘We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’
~E. M. Forster~

Set against the backdrop of the late 1970s, the story of a chance meeting one summer’s night between two eighteen year olds unfolds: Sherri, an English girl living in rural Suffolk, and Jonathan (Jon), an American G. I. from California newly posted to a USAF base nearby.

They fall in love fast, but Sherri, delighted to show off her homeland to this “new boy”, soon discovers that although growing up thousands of miles apart, they share dark similarities, which quickly threaten to unravel their relationship.

Their mothers divorced from alcoholic fathers, both were raised by abusive step-fathers. Jon’s increasing drug use and resulting paranoia clash with Sherri’s insecurities as hopes of “fixing” him and of the stable family life she dreams of slip away.

Los Angeles and lust; obsession and rage; passion and the power of love: theirs is a love affair defined by break-ups and make-ups, and then a shattering revelation explodes into this already volatile mix, altering the course of both their lives profoundly and forever.

A tale of darkest tragedy, yet dotted with moments of hilarity and at times the utterly absurd, this is a story of two young people who refuse to give up, believing their love will overcome all.

Not until decades after their chance meeting, and during a return trip to Los Angeles in 2013, does Sherri discover that Jon’s last wish has been granted.

It’s then that she knows the time has come to tell her story.

Sherri’s Memoir is in the final stages of editing and will be available later this year.

Here are the anthologies that Sherri has contributed to. Click the covers to buy.

Connect to Sherri.

Blog A View from my Summerhouse: sherrimatthewsblog.com
Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/aviewfrommysummerhouse
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterSherri
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sherri-matthews/60/798/aa3

I know that Sherri would love your feedback and thanks for dropping by… Sally.

Smorgasbord Letters from America 1985 – 1987 – June 1986 – Kittens, sit ups and water volley ball!


By this time in our time in America, I was speaking to my parents much more frequently by telephone each week, but I was still writing two or three letters a month.

19th June 1986.

Hi M & D,

Thank you for your letter which arrived this morning and so pleased you are happy with the new arrangement to the flat.. it sounds great and looking forward to seeing them on my trip home in September.

This has been a busy week with one thing and another including an upping of my training. If I am going to keep up with a 15 year old for three weeks next month, I need to get in shape. I mentioned that I would like a six pack to my trainer at the gym and she promptly had me on the floor doing 300 half sit ups.. I actually meant a pack of beer!  I also make the mistake of saying I would love a 36 – 26 – 37 figure but I reckon I will have to steal one.. In any case I have hit my latest target and here I am with a little way to go yet.

Earlier in the week David had some business visitors and we took them to Pappasitos of course, and they were intrigued when the guitarist came over and asked after Mollie! You made a lasting impression there.

As you know Sutherland went missing several weeks ago and despite some sightings he has not returned. Walter was obviously devastated but he has gone out and got a kitten. Very sweet and its name is Farley, after the author Farley Mowat. He is coming over to us regularly when Walt is on a long shift and we have been training him to a cat carrier so that we can take him back and forth safely.. He loves it but I am missing one table mat and two clothes hangers.

David seems to be coping with his cat allergy which is just as well as Farley follows him everywhere and is on his lap at the first chance. When David is at work, I find myself fighting for the pen when writing, and oops here it goes again. Farley will not be able to roam as Sutherland did, as we don’t want to lose another.

Sonia and I have been in touch with instructions for Emma on arrival at Houston, but she will also have an escort from the plane through customs and immigration. I am sure that Emma is more than capable to handling it herself but want to make it as stress free as possible. I have booked the beach house in South Padre for four days and Debbie and I will enjoy the break too. We get back the day before she travels home so she should be lovely and tanned.

We also have tickets for a James Taylor concert

Last Sunday there was a match with another apartment complex water volley ball team and I was playing for the boys.. this week at least the injuries were fairly minor, one bloody nose, 1 mild concussion, and one black eye (mine). One of the members of the opposing team spiked the ball across the net onto my face, it bounced off and one of my teammates hit it back and we won the point. Some justice after all. We played for four hours and I was wiped out but I do enjoy and it is great exercise. A little make-up around the eye should conceal the bruise. David was not impressed and suggested I might play for the girls team instead… I pointed out that they can be even more vicious!

Tomorrow Debbie is intelligence testing me at Sam Houston University in front of her professor. She is taking a summer class towards her private counselling licence, and it should be enlightening. I am not sure that I want her to tell  me the results. She is a great friend and I shall miss her very much if we have to leave here next January.

A week on Saturday we are going to New Braunfels near San Antonio and are renting rafts to float down the Guadalupe River (including the rapids). We have two condos with eight in each and as David is in Austin until Friday, he will drive to meet us. Apparently it is another of those experiences we need to get in before we leave Texas. I am sure that they make half of this up just to see us (me) petrified.

I will give you a full report if I survive…

I hope this has been more legible than usual, having been typed on the word processor on David’s new computer. Much as I have loved being here in Texas and taking full advantage of the freedom to travel around America and enjoy days in the sun, I am ready to go back to work. I have not been out of work since I began that part time job at weekends and holidays when I was 14. I intend to get as familiar as possible with David’s machine so that I can be up to date with new technology if we come home next year. If we do stay it will be on a different basis and I will have a visa that enables me to work, and being able to understand computers will be great.

Anyway.. before that more fun to come and I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity….take care and love from us both.

S & D.

©Sally Cronin

If you would like to read any of the other letters from the two years we lived in Texas and our travels you can find them in this folder: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/letters-from-america-1985-1987/

Thanks for dropping in and your feedback is always welcome.. Sally.

 

 

Colleen’s 2019 #Book #Reviews – “The Silence of the Stones,” by Author, Rebecca Bryn, @RebeccaBryn1


I will leave you with the latest book review from Colleen Chesebro for The Silence of the Stones by Rebecca Bryn.
About the book
Alana determines to escape her past and opportunity beckons when she’s left a run-down cottage in a West Wales’ village by an aunt she didn’t know existed, but her past is catching up on her, and someone is out to get her. Strange runes painted on her door and carved onto ancient stones in a stone circle, hint at a dark undercurrent of tragedy and intrigue, and she is caught up in the village’s conspiracy of silence over a thirty-year-old crime.

An eccentric old woman who casts runes, an ambitious young female investigative journalist, a two-year-old girl, a good-looking male busker, and an ex-lover make unlikely bedfellows but combine to send Alana on a voyage of self-discovery that blows her world apart. Can she discover the truth hidden in the stones in time to save those she loves?

Set in the fabulous Welsh countryside, the story takes you on a journey of injustice, revenge, lies and madness, rune-casting, murder, arson, splashing paint about, and general mayhem.

The Faery Whisperer

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS

Alana determines to escape her past and opportunity beckons when she’s left a run-down cottage in a West Wales’ village by an aunt she didn’t know existed, but her past is catching up on her, and someone is out to get her. Strange runes painted on her door and carved onto ancient stones in a stone circle, hint at a dark undercurrent of tragedy and intrigue, and she is caught up in the village’s conspiracy of silence over a thirty-year-old crime.

An eccentric old woman who casts runes, an ambitious young female investigative journalist, a two-year-old girl, a good-looking male busker, and an ex-lover make unlikely bedfellows but combine to send Alana on a voyage of self-discovery that blows her world apart. Can she discover the truth hidden in the stones in time to save those she loves?

Set in the fabulous Welsh countryside, the story…

View original post 1,055 more words

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Reminiscences about Old Libraries from an Old Librarian, Part 1 by Lorinda J. Taylor


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the third post from the archives of fantasy author Lorinda J. Taylor who has two blogs for me to choose from. In this post I share some of the libraries that Lorinda values…The original Coburn Library became the Tutt Library in 1962.

Reminiscences about Old Libraries from an Old Librarian, Part 1 by Lorinda J. Taylor

I have worked in really old libraries and in brand new libraries and in some of a middle age, and while the new ones were more roomy and convenient, it’s the old ones that I have the fondest memories of, and also some of the weirdest. All libraries have their eccentricities, but the old ones are like pixillated little old ladies and gentlemen. You never know what they will do next.

The first library I ever worked in (and the one where I studied as an undergraduate) was the one below. I attended Colorado College from 1957 through 1961 and during that time I worked as a student assistant for the summer after my sophomore year (the summer after my junior year I took beginning German and I never tried to work and go to school at the same time — I’ve never been a multitasker). Then I worked again as a circulation assistant the summer after I graduated, before I went to Cornell to study for my MA. In 1962 CC’s brand spanking new Charles Leaming Tutt Library opened and I worked there that same summer (starting only a few weeks after the building opened — they were still laying carpet) before I headed to UCLA for my library science degree. I was to return ito the new library in 1963 as Catalog Librarian, but that’s a whole different story.

Tutt Library, Colorado College, 1894-1962
A Postcard View
From https://libraryweb.coloradocollege.edu/library/specialcollections/Colorado/EarlyViews/F10.html

More information can be found: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/library/about/index.html

The building was constructed of “peachblow sandstone quarried near Aspen.” It’s a beautiful red stone and several of the early buildings on the campus were constructed of that material. “Coburn cost about $45,000 to build. The major donor was the Hon. N. P. Coburn of Newton Massachusetts, a childhood friend of CC President Slocum. In 1940, to make room for the growing collection, a four-story addition with room for 60,000 volumes was built for $20,000.”

Interior View of Tutt Library, ca. 1895

“The building, judged inadequate even after the addition, was razed in 1963. The statue of Winged Victory of Samothrace, seen here in an interior view ca. 1895, disappeared around that time. We hold out hope that it will come back home to roost one day.”

This interior view may be from 1895, but when I was in college, it looked exactly like this, except the addition at the back had done away with that half-moon window. Everything was decked out in beautiful warm-hued, polished woodwork. The rare book collection was housed in a locked closet in the upper left hand of the picture, reached by a metal circular staircase. Nike was still there in my time — when I was pondering my reading at a table, I used to look up at that statue in some fascination. The circulation desk was always over there at the left, and I presume the small card catalog seen at the left in the picture included all the books the library contained in 1895. By my time the library had maybe 100,000 books (I honestly have forgotten, so I don’t swear by this figure) crammed into that small space.
You see those balconies at the upper right? By my time bound periodicals were shelved there, and sometimes a little old lady would ask you so sweetly to get a volume down for her.

What can a student assistant do but comply? You had to climb up a really tall ladder while dangling halfway out over the edge of the balcony. Honestly, it was scary!

Not seen in this picture (which looks north) is the balcony at the southern end of the main room. It housed the materials in the historical ranges of the Dewey Decimal system and it seems like I was always stuck with shelving books there. Of course there were no elevators.

You had to load up a tray of books (you know how heavy books are) and carry them up a steep, cut-back staircase, and then keep going up and down a ladder with a few books each time. Maybe that’s why I have so much arthritis in my shoulders now! I’ve hauled books around all my life!

The 1940 addition was bare-bones — just metal stacks in about four levels — but at least the ceilings were low and it was supplied with carrels with slit windows, so you could look out over the quadrangle when you were studying.

Do any of you remember the smell of old libraries? New libraries smell like fresh paint and plaster and carpet chemicals, but old libraries smell like musty, unsunned storage caves — paper dust and old crumbling leather bindings and book glue and a touch of printing ink and furniture polish and maybe some disintegrated bookworms thrown in for good measure. A wonderful, nostalgic smell that I can still conjure up for myself!

Now, the spookiest and most aromatic part of Coburn Library was the basement. It contained storage for government documents. I presume you all know that many libraries are repositories for government documents; they automatically receive at least a selection of everything printed by the GPO. You know how much paper the government produces. Any academic library worth its salt has a librarian solely in charge of government documents, and those materials take up a heck of a lot of space. In Coburn it was the basement. It was lit only by drop lights and they didn’t stay on all the time. There were no centralized switches for the lighting, so in the evening when the library closed up, somebody had to sweep the building, turning off the lights. If somebody requested a document in the daytime, you would have to go down there and find it for them, turning the lights on as you went. Some of the aisles were piled with overflow from those sections of shelving.

There is a cartoon that I think came from the New Yorker, but I’m not sure. I’ve been trying to find it online but without any luck, alas, so I’ll describe it. It shows a female librarian between two stacks with a bunch of books piled on the floor just like I used to see in the Coburn basement. Sitting on top of the books (with a drop light overhead) is a skull draped with cobwebs and the woman is regarding it with the most horrified expression. I used to feel just like that when I had to go down there. It wouldn’t have surprised me at all to find a mummified body! Murder in the Library! I think that’s been done in more than one mystery novel!

It pained me that they demolished this quirky old building. I would have liked to see it preserved and put it on the Register of Historic Buildings. But the college needed the land for a new administration building and auditorium, so … Coburn is gone never to return.

And by the way, if anybody out there knows the location of that Winged Victory, please get in touch with me!
 

About Lorinda J. Taylor

A former catalogue librarian with two graduate degrees, Lorinda J. Taylor was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and worked in several different academic libraries before returning to the place of her birth, where she now lives. She has written fantasy and science fiction for years but began to self-publish only in 2011. To this point, she has published fifteen science fiction/fantasy novels, including seven volumes of a series retelling myths in terms of her intelligent termite civilization. Her writings combine many aspects of science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, future history, off-world adventure, psychological fiction, and even a love story. She always strives to engage readers emotionally and give them something to think about at the end of each book.

A small selection of  books by Lorinda J. Taylor

One of the reviews for part five of the series – Phenix Rises

To ensure I don’t inadvertently add any ‘spoilers’, I have decided to write this review when I am only two thirds of the way through Ms Taylor’s latest ‘block-buster’. Once again, the author has produced a large and satisfying chunk of intergalactic travel, spiced with inter-related struggles between the friends and colleagues of Captain Robbie. I have read all of the series and this time the ‘atmosphere’ has mellowed, so (I hope and suspect) all will be nicely resolved by the end of the book. Such empathy from the writer with her characters, can only have been created by ‘living’ the story (in her imagination) through them. I am still not overly fond of ‘our hero’ but his friends are a wonderfully rich mixture of interesting and varied personalities which keep me coming back for more. The author must be a keen observer of human nature to have included so many different guises so seamlessly within the narrative. Another tour-de-‘force – which I hope will be with her’, for many more stories to come.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lorinda-J-Taylor/e/B007AKHZW4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lorinda-J.-Taylor/e/B007AKHZW4

Read more reviews and follow Lorinda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5429943.Lorinda_J_Taylor

Connect to Lorinda

Blog: http://termitewriter.blogspot.ie/
Blog 2: http://termitespeaker.blogspot.com/
MeWe: Lorinda J. Taylor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TermiteWriter

My thanks to Lorinda for allowing me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over and enjoy exploring yourselves. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #Memoir – Research Before The Internet by Tasker Dunham


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the third post from the archives of Tasker Dunham. The blog is a personal memoir about growing up in Yorkshire in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and later. It is not always about Yorkshire, nor is it entirely memoir, but most of it is. I have selected this post, because I am sure that if you are around the same vintage (66) you to will have memories of before and after the Internet.

Research Before The Internet by Tasker Dunham as evoked by
A.S. Byatt – Possession: a Romance (5*)

The novel, Possession, evokes for me exactly what it was like to carry out research before the age of the internet, when we had to go to libraries to look things up in books and journals, and even use primary sources. More on this below.

It may also be the cleverest novel I have ever read: in fact I read it twice, partly because I enjoyed it so much and partly because a lot of it went over my head the first time through.

To describe the book first, the plot concerns two nineteen-eighties scholars who discover correspondence between two fictional Victorian poets revealing a previously unknown love affair. It is a discovery of immense historical significance, akin, say, to finding revelatory private correspondence by major literary figures such as Alfred Lord Tennyson or Christina Rossetti. As the two present-day scholars investigate the lives of the poets, they themselves are drawn into a relationship echoing that of the two Victorians. The two stories are revealed in parallel through five hundred pages of narrative, fictional poetry, letters, journals and diaries. So as well as the two love stories, and a cracking mystery story, A. S. Byatt has created substantial bodies of work attributed to the fictional poets and numerous pieces of writing attributed to other characters.

I struggled the first time through because: (i) the Victorian setting is rich in classical, biblical, literary and contemporary references of the kind with which educated Victorians of the time would have been very familiar but most of us today are not; and (ii) the nineteen-eighties setting alludes to numerous arcane and specialist approaches to textual analysis and criticism; e.g. we learn one of the scholars is trained in post-structuralist deconstruction. It found my own education sorely lacking.

Some might say the author is simply showing off, but essentially she is poking fun, and is abundantly able to do so because of her sweeping knowledge of Victorian and modern scholarship, poetry and literature. Some might say this is self-indulgent, but surely that is what all writers are. Her descriptions of beautiful things are dazzling, be they Victorian bathrooms, snowfall, the North York Moors or libraries. The 1990 Booker judges were clearly impressed.

That she put this sumptuous book together before 1990, before the internet, makes the achievement all the more impressive. She has not simply googled a tapestry of ideas and stitched them in, it stems from a lifetime’s study and expertise.

And that is what Possession strongly evokes for me: the pleasure and excitement of academic work before the age of abundant electronic resources and the internet. Anyone whose university days predated the turn of the century, perhaps researching a thesis or dissertation, or a final-year project, will find Possession brings it all back. You feel as if you are researching the Victorian poets yourself.

For me it was the light and quiet in a corner of the  top floor of the Brynmor Jones Library at Hulltop floor of the Brynmor Jones Library at Hull, looking through the raked windows across the city to the distant Humber where bogies high above the river crossed slowly back and forth spinning the Humber Bridge suspension cables. Later it was the darkness and claustrophobia of the open stacks deep in the bowels of the John Rylands Library at Manchester.

The silence; the decades of collected journals; the Dewey Decimal index; the chance discovery of a promising book next to the one you were looking for; deliberately mis-shelving books so that no one else can deny you them the next day (I plead guilty, but I never stole anything, unlike one of the scholars in Possession); pages of handwritten notes from volumes piled six or seven high on your desk; coloured pens and paper clips, sore fingers; treasure-trails through the impenetrable Science and Social Sciences Citation Indexes (the SCI and SSCI); flip-lidded index card boxes; inter-library loans; journal offprint requests; scratchy, smelly, chemical photocopies; microfilm readers; hours following leads and loose ends which led to nowhere; puzzling new words and terminology in need of clarification; flashes of insight on encountering new ideas and making what you hoped, but rarely were, entirely original associations. More than anything else, the Csikszentmihalyian  sense of flow: the buzz of your own thoughts, total immersion in the task at hand, suspended in time so that nothing else seemed to matter.

Through the nineteen-nineties things gradually changed. It became possible to research whole topics instantly and with plausible thoroughness through just a screen in an austere book-free room. Things were never the same again. I was still recommending books for my courses into the new century, but in rapidly changing subject areas such as computing, and even the social sciences, some of the university lecturers I knew stopped using print sources completely.

I hung on to my collection of academic books until retirement when they had to go. I kept a few that no one wanted, and ones that had once been especially useful and dear to me.

Key to book ratings: 5* would read over and over again, 4* enjoyed it a lot and would recommend, 3* enjoyable/interesting, 2* didn’t enjoy, 1* gave up.

What are your memories of pre-Internet research… and do you still hang on to your old reference books?

© Tasker Dunham 2019

About Tasker Dunham

I grew up in Yorkshire and worked in Leeds before going to university late, and then lived in various places around the U.K. before moving back to Yorkshire where I now live with my wife and family. I have worked in accountancy, computing and higher education, as well as in temporary jobs in factories. This memoir is based on people, places, things and events I knew, with some names and details altered to avoid difficulties. I tend to post two or three times each month.

Some items recall people and experiences, others try to give things a humorous slant, and some are of the “look how the world has changed” kind.

Connect to Tasker

Blog and post links: https://www.taskerdunham.com/p/blog-page_10.html
WordPress: https://taskerdunham.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Tasker-Dunham/100008418042071
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaskerDunham
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/taskerdunham/

Thank you for dropping by and I hope you will head over and check out the rest of Tasker’s archives … and as always love to get your feedback.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Challenge. – #Haibun – Life Lessons by Sally Cronin


This week Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 132  has the prompt words ‘Influence and Perception’ and I have chosen ‘ Mould and Sense’ for my Haibun and I have had a little fun with this one….

Life’s Lessons #Haibun by Sally Cronin

As I think about my life, I remember fondly those who have taught me important lessons. Their endeavours to mould me into a civilised individual. To domesticate and remove feral inclinations. To instil in me a sense of moral decency. How to enjoy life to its fullest. Imagine my surprise to determine, that the greatest teacher of all was a dog.

Their eyes have evolved
to look deep within our souls;
better to know man.
Little do we comprehend
how much they have to teach us.

©Sally Cronin 2019

I hope you have enjoyed.. and that you too will participate in this week’s challenge: https://colleenchesebro.com/2019/06/18/colleens-2019-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-132-synonymsonly/