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/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – C.S. Boyack, Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Sally Cronin, Lucinda E. Clarke and Sandra J. Jackson

Welcome to the first of the Author updates this week and the first author with news is C.S. Boyack with a novella, The Hat released on January 11th.

About The Hat

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

One of the early reviews for The Hat

Kindle Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Story with Intriguing Characters! January 13, 2018

This new book by C. S. Boyack is very creative in approach. His characters are highly engaging as the story unfolds. There are several twists along the way Lizzie discovers her hat is more than it appears and she’s then drawn into an adventure with her new companion. Boyack, holds your attention and keeps you turning pages with this entertaining story and intriguing characters. This book won’t disappoint readers.

Head over the buy The Hat: https://www.amazon.com/Hat-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B078YYCNSF

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hat-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B078YYCNSF

A selection of books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Connect with Craig via his blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

The next authors with a new review are Robbie and Michael Cheadle with the Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook.

About Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Deborah A. Bowman, author 5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art; Sweet Treats of Magical Creatures; Recipes; and a Darling Story in Verse! January 11, 2018

This is the most creative children’s and bakers’ heavenly book I’ve ever experienced! This is definitely a one-of-a-kind treat!

There are no illustrations, just incredible photographs of “… visions of sugarplums that dance in their heads …”; made of chocolate with vivid colors and totally edible.

What an amazing collection of literature with uniqueness I’ve never encountered before, and I’m a collector of classic and unusual books as well as an avid reader and reviewer!

This little book is a treasure of mixed art for all ages. This BOOK is for families and generations to come. An incredible, delectable keepsake.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Sugar-Dough-Story-Cookbook/dp/1911070649

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chocolate-Sugar-Dough-Story-Cookbook/dp/191107064

Other books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael via their blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Now time to blow my own trumpet.. well Sam’s trumpet really since this book is his autobiography. Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story.

About Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

The true story of Sam, a rough collie, written from his perspective. A tribute to a true friend and a genuine family member. Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right. From the first moment that I met Sam, when he was just three weeks old, his personality and charm shone from his button eyes. Like many pet owners, we were convinced he understood every word we spoke and he actually could say one or two himself. Rather than tell his story from our perspective I have given him a voice and let him tell his own. I can only imagine what he really thought about his two and four-legged friends but I do hope he loved us as much as we adored him and the time he spent with us shining brightly in our lives. If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Since reading Barca’s Rufus and Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain (click to see the reviews)–both told through a dog’s voice–I am always on the hunt for stories told from the dog’s perspective. I’ve read many and found most without the empathy and confidence that makes we humans so love our dogs as companions, not as mastered creatures. Sally Cronin’s Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story (Moyhill Publishing 2013) is one of those books. Sam is a sheepdog, considered one of the smartest of the dog breeds, and Sam doesn’t let us down. I’m honored that through Sally, Sam shares his life with me, takes the time to tell me his dreams, his mistakes and victories. Sam is wise, loving, understanding, and most important, as good a friend as any human could ever have. In this book, readers see how Sam separates from his pack and adapts to his two-legged replacements. We see how he trains his humans and models a life filled with companionship, respect, trust, and loyalty. In the end, all I wanted (besides a sequel) was to be more like Sam.

Enjoy the pictures the author included. Sam is gorgeous!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin/dp/190559741X

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin/dp/190559741X

A selection of other books by Sally Cronin


To read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

The next author with a recent review to share is Lucinda E. Clarke for her latest book Amie: Cut for Life

About the book

They told Amie it was a simple look, listen and report back mission, but from the beginning everything went wrong. She is stalked across borders, the aid workers act suspiciously, she’s assaulted, and abandoned in a rural African hut miles from anywhere. What has happened to her partner Simon and can she trust the charismatic Frenchman who befriends her? The discovery of an ancient tribal tradition and a group of young children to rescue, test her skills to the limit. For the first time, she is prepared to kill to protect the innocent caught up in an international sex trade with an extra horrifying twist.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’ve read others in the Amie thriller series and this one must be one of the best. As with each of the books, the author creates a great feeling of the presence of primal Africa and its exotic beauty. This episode reflects on an old but brutal tribal tradition of FGM and the sex-trafficking danger facing vulnerable young women. A fascinating story unfolds that twists and turns to produce surprise after surprise especially when it’s not clear who is trustworthy and who is not. Well-plotted suspense, fast-paced, with engaging characters who are brought to life by disarming and vivid writing. The main character, Amie, has developed in so many ways over the series and even more so in this episode in which she crosses a significant line, which would have been unthinkable for Amie in the first book. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amie-LIFE-Lucinda-E-Clarke-ebook/dp/B07545M9DB

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amie-CUT-LIFE-Lucinda-Clarke-ebook/dp/B07545M9DB

Also by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7996778.Lucinda_E_Clarke

Connect to Lucinda via her website: http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Now time to catch up with Sandra J. Jackson and her book released late last year, Playing in the Rain ( Escape Series Book 1).

About Playing in the Rain

There’s nothing harder than pretending to be unaware, robotic even, but that’s exactly what A2 has to do once the drug starts wearing off. Constantly being followed by the camera’s red eye, A2 is mindful of her every move as she tries to understand where she is and why. Things get more complicated for her when she is introduced to another robotic girl.

Who is she and how did they both get there?

A recent review for the book

The Indomitability of the Human Spirit
Playing in the Rain by Sandra Jackson features a protagonist, CECIL, with political nihilist leanings who seems to be advocating for destruction of the current social system as a condition for future advance of the species. Well intentioned or not, there is no free will in the contrived colony of his creation. Instead social advancement, in his “Utopia” is to be gained by subjecting the young and intelligent to mind bending, identity suppression and reprogramming and even death. It is in the very artificial world where this aging protagonist makes aliens of real people that he ironically mutates into a sinister alien. However as he becomes trapped in the destructive inescapable reality of his own making, the remaining survivors hear the rain and develop a new determination to free themselves.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Rain-Escape-Book-1-ebook/dp/B075NN3HQ4

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075NN3HQ4

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sandra-J-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

Read many more reviews and follow Sandra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Connect to Sandra via her website: http://www.sandrajjackson.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these authors and their books further. You will find over nearly 150 authors in the cafe and bookstore with books across most genres.





Smorgasbord Health Column – Painkillers – Prescribed and Over the Counter – Side Effects and Addiction.

Over the last twenty years, the USA has been on a downward spiral with regard to opioid addiction.

In 2002, 5,000 people died from overdosing with prescription opioids such as extra strength Oxycontin – Pure Oxycodone  ( a semi-synthetic opioid loosely related to morphine and originally based on elements of the opium poppy) and from others such as Percocet, Percodan which are usually oxycodone mixed with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Other opioid drugs include Fentanyl, Hydrocodone and codeine in various strengths and mixed with NSAIDs or paracetamol.

In 2015 these deaths caused by opioid overdose had increased to 52,000 per annum.

The UK has also seen an increase in addiction. However some of those who are afflicted go unreported, such as when associated with the very elderly. I have personal experience of this with the prescription of Tramadol in excessive doses, and also Oramorph which is a liquid opioid, to my mother in her late 80 and early 90s. And then with the safe withdrawal from those drugs over several months after taking issue with the prescription.

via Smorgasbord Health Column – Painkillers – Prescribed and Over the Counter – Side Effects and Addiction.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Painkillers – Prescribed and Over the Counter – Side Effects and Addiction.

Over the last twenty years, the USA has been on a downward spiral with regard to opioid addiction.

In 2002, 5,000 people died from overdosing with prescription opioids such as extra strength Oxycontin – Pure Oxycodone  ( a semi-synthetic opioid loosely related to morphine and originally based on elements of the opium poppy) and from others such as Percocet, Percodan which are usually oxycodone mixed with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Other opioid drugs include Fentanyl, Hydrocodone and codeine in various strengths and mixed with NSAIDs or paracetamol.

In 2015 these deaths caused by opioid overdose had increased to 52,000 per annum.

The UK has also seen an increase in addiction. However some of those who are afflicted go unreported, such as when associated with the very elderly. I have personal experience of this with the prescription of Tramadol in excessive doses, and also Oramorph which is a liquid opioid, to my mother in her late 80 and early 90s. And then with the safe withdrawal from those drugs over several months after taking issue with the prescription.

It is hard not to be cynical when our elderly are being given addictive opioids, that can severely impact breathing, and who may be only interested in the pain relief they offer, rather than the very small print on the leaflet enclosed.

The UK has a public health system which is far more regulated than in the US, and the pharmaceutical companies do not have such a lucrative market place. However, we have still managed to become a nation of pill-poppers at a cost of around £16 billion per year to the NHS.

In the USA, the prescriptions for Oxycontin had risen to 6 million a year by 2009 but the use of the pills became big business on street corners and became part of the overall drug problem facing the nation. Also there is often a transition to the use of illegal drugs such as heroin, when the prescribed source of the painkiller dries up. It is no longer the stereotypical junkie who is on the front pages of newspapers, but young mums and sometimes both parents passed out in cars with children in the back seat.

Here is an interesting statistic that caught my eye when reading various reports on opioid addiction.

“Other developed countries, including the UK, have been grappling with a rise in opioid addiction, too, although Britain’s public health system means the issue of massive over-prescription is less acute.

But the US is the epicentre and the origin of the crisis, consuming more than 80% of global opioid pills even though it has less than 5% of the world’s population and no monopoly on pain.”

Read more of this very informative article: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/25/americas-opioid-crisis-how-prescription-drugs-sparked-a-national-trauma

There is no doubt that there are life saving drugs developed that are beneficial to mankind, and that for short term relief of extreme pain, opioids are one of the few options. But unfortunately once the body is no longer in pain, and the drugs are continued to be taken, the neurotransmission in the brain is disrupted.

This is the way that neurons (nerve cells) communicate in the brain and they determine the way we feel, think and behave.

Each of our neurons produces one or more neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine. For example, dopamine is mostly found in areas of the brain that determine feelings of reward. Prescription opioids produce effects similar to the neurotransmitters such as dopamine as well as endorphins (creating the feel good factor) effecting pain relief but when production of the neurotransmitters is disrupted, it can also result in lack of focus, lack of inhibition and become life threatening by inhibiting the ability to breathe.

Withdrawal from these addictive prescribed painkillers after long term use, is not easy at all, and can be dangerous. It takes professional intervention and help to rid the body of the toxins and to also normalise the functionality of the neurotransmitters in the brain.

What about over the counter painkillers.

It is easy to assume that if a drug or painkiller is available over the counter then it cannot be harmful. Unfortunately this is not always the case, especially with the class of drugs known as NSAIDs or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which includes Ibuprofen and Aspirin (Disprin).

Millions of us will walk into a pharmacy and buy both these painkillers to reduce the inflammation of certain common conditions such as arthritis. However, there is increasing concern about the long-term use for chronic conditions.

Even the low-dose aspirin taken as a preventative against heart conditions, can contribute to some of the side effects that have been recorded.

Increased risk of Heart Failure.

NSAIDs encourage the body to retain sodium. The body then hangs on to water to dilute the concentration. You then have more fluid around individual cells and additional volume of blood in the cardiovascular system. This results in a lot of additional work and pressure on blood vessels which can harden, which in turn leads to high blood pressure, heart attack or a stroke. If you find yourself becoming breathless easily, developing puffy ankles, suffer from indigestion more frequently, tight feeling in the chest, nausea and sweating and a persistent cough, please go to the doctor immediately.

Kidney damage.

The anti-inflammatory and sodium retention properties of these drugs can lead to damage to the kidneys, and if after prolonged use of Aspirin of other NSAIDs you notice that you have poor energy levels, dry itchy skin, pain both sides of your lower back, frequent urination or blood in your urine, you should go to a doctor immediately.

Internal bleeding from stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal damage.

Although the 75mg preventative dose of aspirin has been thought to be less of a risk in relation to internal bleeding, there is growing evidence that in some people it can still result in damage throughout the digestive tract including the esophagus. Taking full strength aspirin for extended periods has been associated with stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding. If you smoke, have a family history of ulcers of have other medical problems you should seek medical advice before taking this painkiller.

Allergic reaction.

My mother was allergic to aspirin and so am I. Possibly because we have the asthma gene from my grandmother. Asthma sufferers should be very careful about taking NSAIDs without medical advice and should be monitored carefully.. This is particularly important if you have children who have asthma, and in fact it is not recommended for under sixteens to take NSAIDs at all.

Paracetamol is generally considered safe as it does not have the same anti-inflammatory properties, select age appropriate dosages such as in children specific products, but again it is wise to ask the advice of the pharmacist.

You should also never give NSAIDs like aspirin to children with chickenpox or with influenza as it can result in damage to the liver and the brain.

What are the alternatives.

That is really tough because when it comes to acute short term pain such as following injury or post operative, it is difficult to beat NSAIDs, and in extreme cases opioids.

However, chronic pain management needs to be approached in a holistic way that maximises the effect on the pain, but minimises the damage to the whole body and its major organs.

Diet and exercise is very important as sitting all day and not using the body does not release natural endorphins that help with pain.

Eating sufficient good fats, vitamin C rich foods to help the production of collagen (for joint pain) and a wide range of anti-oxidants with a reduction in refined sugars.

Here is my basic nutritional shopping list and if you are eating these foods regularly you should see some benefit. Those with particular anti-inflammatory properties are tomatoes, green vegetables such as spinach, nuts, fatty fish and berries.


Sometimes diet and exercise is not sufficient, in which case it might be worth exploring acupuncture, which is a therapy that I have used for chronic knee pain successfully.

Physiotherapy can also help relieve muscle and join pain as can certain forms of exercise such as swimming.

Personally I use a daily turmeric spray as it has anti-inflammatory properties when used over an extended period of time.


At the end of the day, pain needs to be managed. If it is acute pain from an injury or post operative, then you may require prescribed medication in the short term. In which case you should work with your doctor to reduce the painkillers over a period of time as the pain becomes manageable with non-opiate alternatives.

If you suffer from chronic pain then also work with your doctor and pharmacist to manage with both physical therapies and the right pain medication that does not cause any serious side-effects. Do not be afraid to ask questions about any prescribed medication and read the leaflet carefully to maximise safe usage. For example taking with food to help prevent damage to the stomach or intestinal tract.

Also review your diet, lost weight if that might relieve joint pain in hips and knees and explore alternative health products that may work for you. Talk to a qualified assistant and check out online first. If you have any questions them please do not hesitate to ask. sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

For more information on Opioids and NSAIDs here are some links.




I hope you have found this of interest and I look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up. – Irish Folklore, Debut Authors and U2….

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts and thank you for popping in to check them out.

I have been busy this week offline getting my next project on its way and will be doing the same next week. Thankfully there are plenty of contributors offering a wide range of subjects from their own archives and also some terrific original articles. I have also scheduled the usual health and humour posts whilst I am manipulating plots and characters and I hope you will enjoy again next week.

Next week sees the start of three new columns for the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine. On Wednesday Carol Taylor debuts her new Food Column and I am sure that you will enjoy her take on ingredients and recipes after sampling them in the Cook from Scratch series in 2017.

On Friday our Writer in Residence, Paul Andruss will be showcasing his other talent which is horticulture in his new Paul’s Gardening Column. Expect an introduction to exotics and less common plants to turn your garden into an award winning exhibit.

On Saturday author Jessica Norrie will be joining us once a month for her Literary blog and for her first article will be starting at the beginning with children’s books.

William Price King will be in his normal slot on Wednesday with his Music Column and part two of the life and music of Bono and U2.

I hope that you will enjoy the new features, and in addition to the Health Column and book promotions, I hope to introduce more experts to the blog in the coming weeks.

If you feel that you could contribute a column and share expertise on the following topics then I would love to hear from you. Photography,  Alternative Therapies, Film reviews and Astrology then please get in touch. There is no pay involved I am afraid but you will have the opportunity to promote your blog, books, other creative work that is for sale.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Now time to look at the posts from this week.

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed and to you for dropping in and liking, commenting and sharing. You are a very important part of the blog and have helped it grow and evolve over the last four years.

Return of the Open House Sunday Interview beginning on January 21st.

Delighted to say that I have already filled the several slots for the new season of Open House. I schedule when I receive your answers to your questions, so please get them to me as soon as you can.. This is your showcase so when choosing your questions, select those that you can give a 300 to 500 word response to. If you are an author it is an opportunity to demonstrate your skill in engaging the reader and encouraging them to head over and buy your books.


William Price King Music Column

William Price King debuted his new Music Column with part one of the life and career of Bono and U2. This week and introduction to the band members.


Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss

This week Paul Andruss entertained us with a five part story – The House by the Sea. It was clearly enjoyed judging by the comments and you can read all five parts in this directory. My thanks to Paul for this monumental effort and wonderful story.


Sally’s Book Reviews.

This week I review Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire by Tina Frisco and I am sure that reading this book will change your perspective about vampires.


New Series – Debut Author Starter Pack.

Delighted that Dolly Aizenman and her debut cookbook Kool Kosher Kitchen kicked this series off in style.  Aimed at first time authors the pack includes a pre-post review of the writer’s social media and Amazon entry as well as a pdf copy of my Media Training for Authors.


I am only featuring one author a week so if you are interested please contact me after reading the submission post.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Updates



Posts from Your Archives

If you would like to participate in the Archive post series then please read the following post.


Jane Risdon with a reminder of the dancing etiquette and music of the 1960s and 1970s and reminds us that zimmer frame or not… we can still get up and dance.


J. Hope Suis encourages us to let go anything that is tethering us and move forward to accomplish whatever we wish.


Christy Birmingham shares some strategies for women who find meetings in business or in their personal lives a challenge.


The second part of the short story by Allan Hudson – Reaching for the Pinnacle.


Frank Parker takes us through the events surrounding the arrival of the fleet of Henry II in Waterford, Ireland.


Judith Barrow relates one of her adventures running a holiday let.. In this it would appear that not all was as it seemed!



Lori Bonati shares her thoughts on our position in the centre of the universe.


Chris, The Story Reading Ape has archives full of great creative writing infographics and also guest posts from authors sharing their experience and expertise. This article is from Eric J. Gates from 2014 which is just as relevant today.


Karen Ingalls shares the story of a very brave young boy whose legacy was a pay-it-forward movment of random acts of kindness.


Elizabeth Lloyd will be sharing extracts from her mother Betty’s diaries from 1944 to the end of the war during her service with the ATS.



Health Column


As we get older our perspective on many things begins to change. Our brain function may not be as sharp as it used to be, but with a healthy diet and plenty of stimulation you can remain mentally active your entire life.



At this time of year the lack of sunlight can result in a deficiency of Vitamin D which leads to a drop in levels of other essential chemical elements in our brains and bodies.








Sally’s Drive Time Playlist

Two of the tracks on my playlist.. one from Peter Sarstedt from the 1960s and a current one from the Nashville television show.





Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Betty’s War #WW2 1944 by Elizabeth LLoyd

For the next four Sundays I will be sharing posts from the archives of Elizabeth Lloyd. They introduce us to her  mother Betty and share extracts from her diary  as she served during World War II in Europe in the ATS from 1944.


Betty was born in 1922, in a croft on the Gareloch in Scotland. She had two brothers, one older and one younger. Her father, Alec, was 30 and her mother, Lizzie, was 22. There was no electricity or gas at the croft and Alec worked long hours every day on his uncle’s farm. When Betty was 4 they moved to the farm where she and her brothers grew up doing their chores, like collecting eggs and calling in the cows for milking.

via Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Betty’s War #WW2 1944 by Elizabeth LLoyd

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Betty’s War #WW2 1944 by Elizabeth LLoyd

For the next four Sundays I will be sharing posts from the archives of Elizabeth Lloyd. They introduce us to her  mother Betty and share extracts from her diary  as she served during World War II in Europe in the ATS from 1944.


Betty was born in 1922, in a croft on the Gareloch in Scotland. She had two brothers, one older and one younger. Her father, Alec, was 30 and her mother, Lizzie, was 22. There was no electricity or gas at the croft and Alec worked long hours every day on his uncle’s farm. When Betty was 4 they moved to the farm where she and her brothers grew up doing their chores, like collecting eggs and calling in the cows for milking.

Doing well at school, especially at maths, Betty left after completing her Highers, age 17. She found employment at the Clydesdale bank but she had to help milking the cows every morning before running down to catch the bus into town. War with Germany had been declared in Britain six days before Betty’s 17th birthday. In September 1942 she would become eligible for conscription and she feared that she would be assigned to the Land Army, working on someone else’s farm, so to avoid that, she volunteered to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).

Leading up to D Day on June 6th 1944, Betty worked on supplies for the Normandy invasion, Operation Overlord, although she had no idea whereabouts in France it would be, or the specific date. In August, she and her colleagues set off from Portsmouth to Arromanche. She was part of the vast 21st Army Group, established in London during July 1943.

After she died in 2010 I found many years of diaries written in tiny untidy writing and gradually I have transcribed some of them. These are some of her entries for the period around D-day leading up to her journey first to France and then on to Brussels and Germany.

These first entries were while she was billeted at Oxted, Surrey.


               Elizabeth                                                  Greta

4th June 1944

Went to Church of Scotland service in the chapel at St Paul’s Cathedral. Met Elizabeth and Ana and sat in St James’s park. Visited Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. Met Mary, Greta & Greta’s boyfriend.

Like many in the forces, Betty knew invasion was imminent as her work involved supplies.

6th June 1944 (D-Day)

Couldn’t sleep for the noise of planes in the early hours. Waited expectantly for news. D-Day things went very well. Heard the King’s speech in WVS club lounge. Rang Greta & Elizabeth.

8th June 1944

Went to concert in Assembly Hall at Charing Cross. Looked after a poor Canadian on the train on the way back & was touched when he held my hand wishing me luck.

9th June 1944

David Niven “The Way Ahead” & newsreel of the Invasion.

11th June 1944

We have a new SSM, very pernickety, we will have to watch our steps

12th June 1944

“Gone with the Wind” for the 2nd time.

On 13th June the first V1 flying bombs, often called doodlebugs in Britain, were launched from Calais over south-east England.

15th June 1944

Sirens and gunfire. Pilotless planes (V1) above. Very tired in morning.

16th June 1944

Reached West Kensington and the siren went off. During the night had to go to the Shelter- hardly slept again.

17th June 1944

Bought some cornflowers to brighten up the bedroom- had to bargain for a good price. Saw “Fanny by Gaslight” (Stewart Granger & Phyllis Calvert). Siren & guns kept us awake but we didn’t get out of bed -3rd night no sleep.

18th June 1944

Pilotless plane came down 50 yards from our billet- shook us up. Slept together in the Recreation Room.

19th June 1944

More explosions. First aid lecture boring so I darned my stockings.

20th June 1944

Spent most of the day in the office calling out figures as usual. Fed up with sleeping in Rec. Room.

22nd June 1944

Went to visit friends in Purley (Surrey). Glorious walk along avenue of Lombardy Poplars and then Rose Avenue. Wild flowers and gardens so beautiful. Spent the night in the Shelter.

Saturday 24th June 1944

PT this morning which nearly killed me. Busy at the office but left at 5.30. Came up to Kensington, walked up Notting hill & through Holland Park.

Sunday 23rd June

Worked till 4 pm then went up to Victoria & sat in St James’s Park. Walked along Embankment, past Big Ben to Trafalgar Square & then Piccadilly.

In July, Betty was posted to Wentworth, near Virginia Water, but she had volunteered to work overseas, as women were not sent abroad if they didn’t volunteer.

Betty on far left.

11th August 1944

Rose at 2 am to pick up my Kit and board the truck.

Mulberry harbour at Arromanches

12th August 1944

Arrived in Arromanches on board an LST (Tank, Landing Ship) which took us to shore. Beautiful sunset- ships silhouetted against it. Men cheered us as we travelled in the truck to our camp.

13th August 1944

Sunbathed. Tea on Tommy Cookers. Walked into Bayeux with Hazel. Beautiful architecture

14th August 1944

Office till 8.30. Found a tent with a wireless so we listened to the news.

15th August 1944

Finding it rather strange under canvas, everything so damp.

The office at Vaucelles near Bayeux

18th August 1944

Browned off with such long hours in office & no time to read, sew or write.

22nd August 1944

Mobile baths a good laugh.

23rd August 1944

Bayeux festooned with flags to celebrate the Freedom of Paris.

26th August 1944

ENSA show Kay Cavendish, Florence Desmond, Sandy Powell and Flannigan & Allen.

8th September 1944
My birthday (22) Day off with Pat & Hazel. Met 3 fellows in the afternoon & hitched into Bayeux. Got into the theatre for an amusing ENSA show, autograph from Alice Delysia. Wandered round the cathedral. Found a hotel where we were able to get dinner. I must hand it to the French, they know how to cook meat. Didn’t think much of their Calvados. Walked back to Billet by 9. Had tea & biscuits at NAAFI.

In September, Brussels was liberated and many of the ATS were posted to HQ 21st army group.

Caen September 1944

29th September 1944

Reveille at 4.30 am. Quick breakfast & on lorries by 6.30. A bumpy journey which made me feel sick. Passed through Caen & Rouen. Saw some awful sights on the way. Night in hostel at Amiens.

30th September 1944

Left at 8 am and arrived in Brussels at 5 pm. We are so impressed by our block of flats. Luxury after tent life. After tea we settled into life in Avenue Louise. There is a marvellous view from the balcony overlooking the whole city. Wonderful by moonlight.

Sunday 1st October 1944

Trotted along the Avenue to the office at 10. It is lovely, just like a Civie (Civilian) one. The chestnut trees in the Avenue are wonderful. Our Mess is in a school, polished tables and panelled walls. It all seems too good to be true.

This was to be the best part of her time in the ATS.

©Elizabeth Lloyd images 2016

About Elizabeth Lloyd

I had an interesting childhood due to the travels of my parents. Born on the west coast of Scotland, I then lived in Surrey for 10 years. From there we rapidly moved to Dorset, Yorkshire and then Singapore, which I adored. Sadly, I had to return to England to go to university.

I have always loved history and literature equally, so I enjoyed teaching 9-10 year olds as I could teach those subjects as well as French, Maths and latterly IT. I set up two school libraries from scratch and believe they are still very important places.

After 35 years as a primary school teacher and school librarian, I am even busier now I’ve retired. My interest in genealogy has resulted in writing articles for family history magazines on researching 19th century soldiers like my great great grandfather who lived in Barbados, Gibraltar and Nova Scotia, about my Victorian great grandfather’s experiences as Chief Constable of Kings Lynn and on my large collection of old postcards.

I also volunteer as a researcher at a local workhouse museum where we set up an exhibition “Workhouse to Hospital” focusing on the First World War Hospital which was established there. http://www.hospitalproject.co.uk/

A few years ago, my husband and I bought a holiday home in the Algarve where we spend several weeks each spring and autumn. This gives me the opportunity to read and review more books, at least until my children and grandchildren come to stay!

Connect to Elizabeth.

Blog: http://somerville66.blogspot.ie/
Book Blog: https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LizanneLloyd
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ie/somerville66/
Google + : https://plus.google.com/110180630682065119707

My thanks to Elizabeth for sharing this fascinating glimpse into Betty’s life in 1944 and please join us again next Sunday for more of life in Brussels at that time.

A walk in the past… the prehistoric landscape of Cresswell Crags

I will leave you with this post from Sue Vincent about her visit to Cresswell Crags, a hidden valley on the border between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire where there is evidence of very early man living alongside mammoths and other extinct creatures. There is a visitor centre with time defying exhibits and a walk through the valley to see the caves, famous for their cave paintings. Away from the bustle of the cities… how wonderful to get in touch with our early ancestors and marvel at their art. #recommended

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Way back in summer, we took a trip to a place I have long wanted to visit… Cresswell Crags, a hidden valley on the border between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The folder of photographs has sat on my desktop for months, and each time I have decided to write about it, another visit has taken precedence. Yet it is a place of great beauty… and has a longer known history than almost anywhere we have visited to date.

You start at the visitor centre, and as you walk through the door you get your first glimpse of the landscape. Not in reality, but on a large screen where an artist has painted the changing fauna of this enclosed valley, going back to the Ice Age and beyond. It is beautifully done;  a  little English valley, graphically populated with hippopotomi, hyenas and woolly mammoths. Watching the display gives you a vague inkling…

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Life Scripts, Bipolar & Childfree

The link to this post was left by Barb in the Meet and Greet today, and she looks at the self-care that is needed when you have been diagnosed as Bipolar, and how it influences many life decisions. Very upbeat and down to earth. Well worth reading. #recommended..

Bipolar Barb

Daily Prompt: Funnel via The Daily Post

NOTE: This is a pre-written piece in which I was able to include today’s prompt.

8676002030_6576f87af0 My parents were married and had me by the time they were 23. I thought this was a life script I had to follow. So when I was 24, I felt behind schedule, and married the bass player in my band who I’d been dating for a few months and with whom I moved in almost immediately (pre-diagnosis). My parents didn’t like him and didn’t approve of the marriage, so we were married in City Hall with 2 friends as witnesses.

The marriage lasted about 3 years. Although he was supportive when I was diagnosed, our relationship was volatile, mainly because he couldn’t/wouldn’t get a job. He half-heartedly looked, but never got interviews.

He went back to school for one course (he had about a year left to…

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Paying it Forward by Karen Ingalls.

Welcome to the second of archive posts from author Karen Ingalls. A young boy lost his fight with cancer but his legacy is a chain of events prompted by one random act of kindness.

PAYING IT FORWARD by Karen Ingalls.

“God needed me more” were the last words spoken by a boy of 9 years old, which he said to his father shortly before he passed away On November 27, 2012, he lost his 2-year battle with cancer. That young man was Jayden Lamb, whose short life has had a profound effect on people around the world. The parents found that reaching out to people helped them cope with their loss. So, they paid for the order given by the car behind them at the fast food restaurant. They wanted to “pay it forward.” Their kind gesture was repeated again and again by the cars in line; and like an uncontrolled wildfire, acts of kindness spread. These actions reflected the true nature of Jayden.

I direct you to the following links to learn more about this remarkable young man and his family:



Perhaps God needed him more, but we humans need his legacy of love and kindness.

Last week I shared my new year’s resolution of “At least once each day I will be a bright spot by giving someone a compliment.”

In the Bible, it says “As we sow so shall we reap.” Let’s be generous, polite, helpful, and minister to all. Many people need to be hugged. Pay it forward with those in your home, your neighbors, and spread your kindness to strangers.

Even animals need for us to pay it forward.

©Karen Ingalls

My thanks to Karen for sharing another inspirational post that shows the power of random acts of kindness.

About Karen Ingalls

I might be a retired RN, but I am an active and enthusiastic writer of non-fiction and fiction. It took a few years before I was willing to show that deeper part of myself. I love to get lost in the world of my novels and let the creative juices flow. I have written several articles for medical and nursing journals. I enjoy researching and discovering new information.

I enjoy writing for my two blogs (www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com and http://www.kareningalls.blogspot.com). The first one is about health/wellness, relationships, spirituality, and cancer. My second blog is for authors and avid readers who wish to be interviewed, do a guest blog, and be promoted. I have “met” so many interesting and enchanting people, who have done guest posts for me; or those around the world who follow my blogs and leave comments.

I was thrilled and honored to be recognized as a runner-up at the Midwest Book Awards and then receiving first place in the category of “women’s health” at the National Indie Excellence Awards. The greatest reward is when a reader shares how my book(s) inspired them, taught them something, or brought a deeper awareness about life.

One of the many excellent reviews for Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir on Goodreads

Sep 08, 2017 A.M. Manay rated it Five Stars.

This memoir focused on the author’s battle with cancer really touched me. I appreciated her honesty about the fear that accompanies a life-threatening health problem. Her work to balance both western medicine and alternative therapies was also a wonderful thing for her to share. Her words about the spiritual component of her battle were most encouraging. It was nice to read about someone who is strong in her faith as well as open-minded about eastern spiritual practices. I’ve had my own health scares, and I identified a lot with her story. The writing was also of excellent quality. Overall, I was quite impressed.

Read all the reviews and and buy the book:https://www.amazon.com/Outshine-Ovarian-Cancer-Karen-Ingalls-ebook/dp/B00KI1HGZI

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outshine-Ovarian-Cancer-Karen-Ingalls-ebook/dp/B00KI1HGZI/


My first novel, Novy’s Son is about one man’s search for his father’s love and acceptance. It is based on my father and those men I counseled when I was a nurse therapist.

Davida is my second novel which is a fictionalized biography about the love affair between Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his model. He was the premier sculptor from 1880 through the early 1900’s. These two people just happen to be my great-grandparents.

A recent review for Davida.

Lots of care to detail  on November 7, 2017

Davida is the story of a young girl coming to America from Sweden in the late 1800’s. She and her mother worked at an inn until Davida is offered the chance to model for the artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Augustus and Davida fall in love and embark on a long relationship. They have an illegitimate son.

The story is told in a touching and romantic manner, albeit tragic. I really like history and appreciate the amount of work that goes into research and understanding the customs and nuances of another time period. This is well-done in this novel with lots of care to detail.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Ingalls/e/B009KT5QWY

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karen-Ingalls/e/B009KT5QWY

Read more reviews and follow Karen Ingalls on Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/kareningalls

Connect to Karen

Blog: http://kareningalls.blogspot.ie/
Website: http://www.outshineovariancancer.com
Website: http://www.kareningallsbooks.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KIngallsAuthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Ingalls

Thank you for dropping in today and Karen will be with us at the same time for the next two weeks.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sally’s Book Reviews – Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire by Tina Frisco

Welcome to one of my own reviews for the books that reside in a very special place. My TBR is a treasure trove of books that I have bought or have received as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I no longer wish for things to dust or to wear, and a book brings many hours of pleasure, several times over as they are never discarded.

This week I read Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire by Tina Frisco in print version. The book traveled a long way to reach me via California, Toronto, England and then to Ireland. A wonderful gift and all the more treasured for being signed by the author.

About Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire

What if vampires were not the undead, but rather the dying? What if there were two factions among vampires: the sustained and the unsustainable? And what if those factions were at war with one another over the life of a young woman who promised them a future? Vampyrie brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility. Phoebe Angelina Delaney is a reluctant genius and compassionate hothead. She finds herself in a pitch-dark underground and doesn’t remember how she got there. Did she drink too much alcohol and wander off in a stupor, or was she kidnapped by a malicious element determined to make her life a living hell?

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sally’s Book Reviews – Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire by Tina Frisco