Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – November 15th – 21st 2020 – Aretha, Alexander Technique, Christmas Book Fair, Reviews and Funnies


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

Nothing really new to report this week on the home front as we have both been getting on with projects. I have been completing the first few rounds of editing on my new collection due out we hope in December, and also working on a couple of projects next year. It is the 25th anniversary of my weight loss and I will be releasing a new edition of my weight loss book Size Matters, updated and with new material. I also have a novel on the go which has been so long in the writing it will need completely updating to be current.. so plenty to be getting on with.

I did give myself a haircut this morning..I take care of the front and David tidies the back. One of the benefits of having very short hair. Our lockdown ends on December 2nd but we don’t know what restrictions will be in place in the run up to Christmas. My hairdresser is likely to open for extended hours but I am sure will be slammed to get everyone who needs colour and highlights in during that four weeks.

The days of popping in to have a wash and blow dry are gone, at least around here so that they can fit in the cuts and longer appointments. I don’t think my hair looks too bad but there again I had to do it without my glasses on and haven’t dare look in the mirror since!!!

Anyway.. with a mask and a hood because of the weather, only David is seeing my haircut these days and it is something he will just have to live with……

As always my thanks to William Price King for bringing music into our lives and Debby Gies, D.G. Kaye for her wonderful funnies to brighten our days. I am also grateful for all your support and comments during the week. They certainly keep me motivated.

William Price King with Soul singer Aretha Franklin – The Early Years

Life’s Rich Tapestry – #Dogs – An Ugly Mutt by Sally Cronin

Milestones Along the Way – #Ireland #Waterford – The American Connection

January 1986 – New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns and Halley’s Comet Part One

#Fantasy – Allies and Spies (Unraveling the Veil Book 2) by D.Wallace Peach…

Past Book Reviews 2019- A Bit About Britain’s History by Mike Biles.

Past Book Reviews 2019 -#Romance – Skating on Thin Ice (The Men of Warhawks #1) by Jacquie Biggar

Past Book Reviews 2019 -#Verse – Doggerel: Life with the small dog by Sue Vincent

Guest Interviews – Open House 2018 with Author Sharon Marchisello

#Space Eloise de Sousa, #Fantasy Paul Andruss, #Teddybears Frank Prem

#Paranormal #Romance Mateo’s Law by Sandra Cox

#Release – Post-Apocalyptic Murder Mystery Terry Tyler, #Reviews – Writers Lizzie Chantree, Memoir D.G. Kaye

New Author in the Cafe – #Family – The Sum of our Sorrows by Lisette Brodey

Christmas Book Fair – #Africa Ann Patras, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens

YAParanormal A.J. Alexander, #FamilyDrama Judith Barrow, #Urbanfantasy Anita Dawes

5 Exercises to Test the Age of Your Body

Alternative Healing Therapies – The Alexander Technique – Part One – #Backpain #Flexibility #Headaches

The Alexander Technique – Part Two – #Posture, #Backpain #Ergonomics

#Aromatherapy -Versatile Lavender – Skin care, headaches, insomnia, first aid and fleas

November 17th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Hibernation and Doctors.

November 19th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Cocktails and Weird Facts..

Guest presenter D.Wallace Peach – The Love of Dogs

with host Sally Cronin – Cats with attitude and notes to the teacher…

 

Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the round up.. As always your feedback is much appreciated.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up 1st – 7th November 2020 -Interviews, Streisand, War Poets, Short stories, Reviews, Books and funnies


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

Well this week has certainly been a rollercoaster ride. Televisions around the world have been overheating and the screens shouted at as the American Election took place and lockdowns and further restrictions were announced to try and harness the rampaging virus. So many lives in the balance for one reason or another and after months of this, it would be really amazing if next week starts to see a de-escalation of hostilities on all fronts.

All we can do is watch and stay safe.

It has been the usual week here on Smorgasbord, but I did get out and about earlier in the week for an interview which was great fun and did me the power of good. A link to that post further down the page.

I am also working on the Christmas promotions. I will be starting the Christmas Book Fair in a couple of weeks as I will be featuring all current authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and in the Children’s Cafe too and that will take several weeks.

William Price King will be sharing some wonderful international carols in two special posts in December. And I am planning on having a Christmas Tea Party for bloggers and authors closer to the holidays.

All the regular posts will be featured with plenty of music and funnies.

I hope that gives you something to look forward to and that you will join us when you can.

Time for the posts from the week and as always my thanks to William Price King and Debby Gies who are this week’s contributors, and to you for all your support.

This week I was delighted to be the guest of author Marcia Meara... I was sharing my thoughts on the gift of blogging and my gratitude for the contributors who bring such interesting and entertaining content to the blog, and those who have supported Smorgasbord for the last 7 years: Marcia Meara Writes Guest Post

Life and Music of Barbra Streisand Part Five – The new millennium..

Chapter Fourteen -Teeth Cleaning and Reflections on Life

Guest Interviews 2015 – #Proofreading and Volcanos with Wendy Janes

Bedroom, Window, Curtains, Dark

#Wartime #Romance – Curtains

Getting ready for Christmas 1985 – Houston, Texas

In Remembrance – The War Poets – Isaac Rosenberg

Past Book Reviews 2019 -Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 2) by James J. Cudney..

#Dystopian #Elderly – Acts of Convenience by Alex Craigie

Past Book Reviews – #Non-Fiction Words We Carry by D.G. Kaye

#PostApocalyptic – UK2 – Project Renova Book Three by Terry Tyler

#WWII – While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton

Common Conditions A-Z – Working from Home – Backache

Feeling sluggish and fatigued? Dehydration or the wrong fluids!

#Aromatherapy – #Eucalyptus – Respiratory, Fevers and Pain

New Books – #Turtles Cynthia Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange, #Redhair Joyce Murphy

#Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Reviews #Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens

New #Release Judy Penz Sheluk, Diana J. Febry, #Reviews John Howell, Linda G. Hill

FairyStory Cathy Cade #Reviews #Poetry Geoff Le Pard, #Sci-Fi Richard Dee

November 3rd 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin –Decluttering and the Demon Drink

November 5th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Evolution and Killer Food

Hosted by Sally Cronin – If nothing else makes you smile today!

 

Thanks for dropping in today and thank you for all your support during the week. Have a great weekend and may we all wake up on Monday morning with good news on all fronts.. thanks Sally.

Letters from America – 1985- 1987 – My Parent’s visit – Part Four Sam Houston Museum and #Galveston by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the next post in the series Letters from America 1985 -1987 that I wrote home to my parents in the UK. My father kept them all in a folder and on his death they came back to me with a note to publish them.

Last time we visited San Antonio and my father fulfilled a lifelong dream to visit The Alamo Museum.. and we also introduced them to Mariachi music..

My Parent’s visit – Part Four Sam Houston Museum and Galveston

My parents spent over three weeks with us in November 1985, and having visited San Antonio and The Alamo museum, I took them up to Huntsville to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum during the following week, whilst David was at work.

Huntsville was about an hour way north on I-45 which was only a block away from our complex. My father in particular was very interested in finding out more about Sam Houston and my mother was looking forward to seeing the mock up of the house, furnishings etc in the various buildings at the museum. I didn’t take any photos whilst we were there but did buy some postcards to send home to the family and to keep as a memento of the day.

The museum today, judging by the website Sam Houston has not changed much and there is certainly plenty to see and enjoy.

Gough Photo services

Gough Photo Services

Gough Photo services

Gough photo services

The following weekend as a last night away we took my parents to Galveston since so far we had not shown them the coast. Although they had enjoyed some seafood locally in Houston we wanted to introduce them to shrimp at a restaurant recommended to us by our friends. Gaidos Seafood had been serving customers since 1911 and we certainly had an amazing meal. Here is a current day sharing platter… and if I could teleport I would be there frequently. Of you are lucky enough to live close by.. here is the website: Gaidos Seafood

Following that blow out dinner, we took a stroll along the sea walk……the end of a lovely day with more to follow…

Having spent 37 years in the Royal Navy, we thought my father would appreciate a visit to the Tall Ship Elissa moored in Galveston. He obviously had not been a sailor in the same era of the Elissa but he certainly appreciated the wonderful design and the way the ship had been immaculately preserved.

Here is a description of the ship and well worth visiting the Maritime Heritage Galveston

My parents being piped aboard…well we whistled anyway!

Elissa is a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland by Alexander Hall & Company. She carries nineteen sails covering over one-quarter of an acre in surface area. Tall ships are classified by the configuration of their sailing rig. In Elissa’s case, she is a ‘barque’ because she carries square and fore-and-aft sails on her fore and mainmasts, but only fore-and-aft sails on her mizzenmast. From her stern to the tip of her jibboom she measures 205 feet. Her height is 99 feet, 9 inches at the main mast and she displaces about 620 tons at her current ballast. But, she is much more than iron, wood and canvas…

WHO IS ELISSA?

According to the Marjorie Lyle, granddaughter of Elissa’s builder, Henry Fowler Watt, the name was taken from the epic Roman poem The Aeneid, in which the tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage, is the unifying theme of the first four books of that tale. Dido was originally a Phoenician princess named Elissa, who fled from Tyre to Africa and founded Carthage.

Unlike some tall ships of today Elissa is not a replica, but a survivor. She was built during the decline of the “Age of Sail” to fill a niche in maritime commerce. Over her 90-year commercial history she carried a variety of cargos to ports around the world, for a succession of owners. Her working life as a freighter came to an end in Piraeus Harbor, Greece, where she was rescued from the scrap yard by a variety of ship preservationists who refused to let her die. The story of Elissa’s discovery and restoration is nothing short of miraculous, and is beautifully retold in photographs and a video presentation at the Texas Seaport Museum.

Today Elissa is much more than an artifact from a bygone era. She is a fully-functional vessel that continues to sail annually during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to Galveston Historical Foundation and its commitment to bring history to life, combined with the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who keep her seaworthy and train each year to sail her, Elissa and the art of 19th Century square-rigged sailing are alive and well.

Elissa’s wake is over 135 years and counting… Come experience her magic at Texas Seaport Museum, Pier 21, Galveston, Texas. Courtesy of the Galveston Attractions Maritime Heritage Website

Like me, my father was a food magnet and he could sniff out good coffee wherever we might find ourselves.

The following Wednesday my parents flew back to England and it would be March 1987 before we would see them again. In the meantime I kept up my weekly letters until August of the following year when I returned for a week’s visit to the UK and we then began to call every Sunday and talk in person.

Next week, back to my letters home and more of our travels around America.

Letters from America – 1985- 1987 – My Parent’s visit – Part Three – The Alamo and Natural Bridge Caverns by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the next post in the series Letters from America 1985 -1987 that I wrote home to my parents in the UK. My father kept them all in a folder and on his death they came back to me with a note to publish them.

Last time Our fifth wedding anniversary party and I have a far too close encounter with fire ants before we head to San Antonio.

The Alamo and Natural Bridge Caverns.

After the drama of the aftermath of our anniversary party Fire ants and nearly lights out…we headed to San Antonio for a visit specifically for my father.

My parents enjoyed going to the cinema and they passed their love of movies on to us. My mother was more into romantic dramas, and my father loved thrillers and westerns, so we got introduced to a great mix. My first real memory of going to the cinema was my fifth birthday, which was in February and usually cold and wet. My mother told me we would catch the bus and go to Portsmouth and go to the beach. I think she actually had a day’s shopping planned at the then Handley’s (now Debenhams) department store. However, it tipped down with rain and instead she took me to Fareham, our nearest town to the cinema.

I can remember the film vividly, even if I did not understand a thing about it. The Key was set in 1941 and starred Sophia Loren, William Holden and Trevor Howard. I remember wartime action at sea, and also Trevor Howard banging on the door to Sophia Loren’s apartment and shouting loudly. I never did like him as an actor from then on!  Following this, during our time in South Africa from the age of 10 to 12, my father, in addition to his other duties at HMS. Afrikander, was film officer. This meant that my brother and I would go to all the Saturday morning children’s movies (Lassie etc), and he would also bring home a projector and the latest film doing the rounds to bases and ships. It was usually either a musical or western and would be the after dinner entertainment for my parents and their friends. I would sneak up the corridor and sit cross legged outside the door to the lounge which was left slightly open to allow the cigarette smoke to dissipate! If someone got up to visit the bathroom I would scuttle back down to my bedroom and then resume my position when safe to do so. This meant I watched a lot of films, but missed chunks!

Later on back in  England Saturday afternoons were reserved for my father to watch a football match on television. This clashed with the musical or Hollywood epic on BBC 2 that my mother wanted to watch. We would all settle down to watch the football, with my mother and I nonchalantly sat on the sofa. About ten minutes into the football match, my father who had enjoyed his steamed steak and kidney pudding and apple crumble with custard, would drop off in a post carbohydrate slumber, snoring away happily in his recliner. With that my mother would give me a nudge, and I would dash across to the television, switching it to BBC2 and the musical (no remotes in those days). A sign that my father was stirring, was usually indicated by a change in the snoring tempo. My mother would nudge me again and I would dash across and turn the TV back to the football. It was a lucky day when we got to watch most of a musical, and I would turn back the television to the end of the match, a few minutes before my father woke up and remarked what a great game it had been!

This was unless there was a Western showing on BBC2 instead, particularly if it had John Wayne, in which case my father would forgo the football and watch the film instead, remarkably staying awake for the entire movie. His passion for cowboy films included the film The Alamo released in 1960, produced, directed and starring John Wayne (his idol). We must have seen that film ten times, and I knew that taking my father to the actual Alamo would be very special for him. We kept our destination a surprise and just told my parents to pack for a night away in a hotel.  Once he saw the sign posts to San Antonio he cottoned on to our surprise and was thrilled by the prospect of visiting the museum. They were also blown away by the Marriott with its magnificent atrium with part of the river diverted through the foyer. A stunning location and I am sure equally so today.

When we visited the The Alamo museum in 1985 it was not as extensive as it is now, and I do recommend that you take a look at their website and try and time your trip to when they have one of their re-enactment weekends.

However, we spent two hours there with my parents and it was extraordinary for me to see the look of wonder on my father’s face as he stood in front of the museum for the first time and during his slow and studied tour of the exhibits . Over dinner that night in one of the Mexican restaurants along the river walk, he could not stop talking about it, and seeing his animation and delight was such a treat for us. It was also their first introduction to Mariachi music and seeing their enjoyment still makes me smile 35 years later.

On the way back from San Antonio on the Tuesday we stopped off at the Natural Bridge Caverns 30 miles north of the centre of the city. My mother was a bit claustrophobic (well a lot) and had no wish to go underground. But my father was definitely up for it, so we left Mollie at the coffee shop (I think it was not very big at the time unlike today) and we went into the bowels of the earth.

An amazing experience and one I can recommend for all the family. I seem to remember it being pretty basic then but it has been expanded and is now well lit and offers a great many more experiences and tours.

Not sure I have this photograph the right way up.. I am sure someone will tell me!!

Thanks for coming along on this trip down memory lane.. next week we head to the coast during the last week of my parent’s stay.

Letters from America 1985-1987 -My parent’s visit – Part Two – Rennaisance Festival, Anniversary Party and nearly lights out! by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the next post in the series Letters from America 1985 -1987 that I wrote home to my parents in the UK. My father kept them all in a folder and on his death they came back to me with a note to publish them.

Last time my parents arrive and are given a warm welcome by friends as we introduce them to cocktails and Mexican food.

My parent’s visit – Part Two – Rennaisance Festival, Anniversary Party and nearly lights out!

After the welcome party we had a day of relaxing before taking my parents to one of the spectacular events held every year in Texas. The Rennaisance Festival was started in the mid 1970s, on an abandoned strip mining site at Todd Mission about 50 miles Northwest of Houston. By the time we visited in 1985 with my parents, the festival had grown considerably, and was packed with great stalls selling crafts and food, as well as parades of street performers dressed in medieval costumes. Thankfully not an overly hot day and we did take plenty of opportunities to sample iced tea and delicious BBQ.

My father loved his food, and he made a beeline for the turkey drumsticks on one of the stalls, and despite evidence to the contrary… he is not being greedy, just holding David’s drumstick so he could take this candid shot. He does however look like the cat who got the cream, whilst my mother was trying to retain her ladylike demeanour whilst chomping down on this outsize snack!

It was quite a long day, and as I look at this photo, I realise that my parents at the time were only a year and two years older than I am today! We enjoyed our time there, but unfortunately the rest of the photographs from the day, including the parade are somewhere safely packed away in the attic.

The rest of the week saw us pottering locally as David was away, but it gave Mollie and Eric a chance to relax, enjoy the pool and for my father to experiment with making his own Chi Chis…

We also were invited out to dinner at our friends Bill and Sylvia and my father definitely approved of Sylvia’s cooking.

It also gave me time to prepare for our 5th anniversary party on the Friday night. Most of our friends were coming with assorted courses organised between them. We had got into the habit of sharing the menu between us so that no one person was landed with either the cost or the labour, and it worked really well. It also offered us the opportunity to sample different dishes we might not cook ourselves. David arrived back on the Thursday and after a last shop for the starters we were providing, beer and wine we were ready to go.

I managed to get a quick shot of David and my parents before the guests arrived.

Because of the number of guests we had a menu that either involved a fork or a spoon and as you can see the place was packed with seats at a premium.

The complex was keen that people were not disturbed after 11pm, but after most of the guests had left and my parents had gone to bed, David and one of our friends decided to go for a run to clear their heads, whilst three of us opted to sweat it out in the hot tub in the recreation area just outside our block. Although November was a little nippy at night, it was pleasant enough sitting chatting on the side of the hot tub with our legs dangling in the water, whilst we waited for the others to return from their run.

Suddenly I felt movement over my thighs and up my back. I immediately reacted by jumping into the middle of the very hot water up to my waist which resulted in the most agonising stinging across my upper body. The reason for my panic was a severe allergic reaction to wasp and bees stings as a result of a childhood encounter with jellyfish.

When I was seven, and living in Malta, we kids used to swim at the naval station lido, jumping and diving off a wooden raft, attached to four oil drums for buoyancy. We could also dive under the raft and come up under the decking into an air gap between the drums.

Great fun until a swarm of jellyfish had the same idea. I got very badly stung and diving back and out into the clear water, I started swimming to shore screaming my head off. There was a hessian covered plank that was used to haul yourself out of the water and onto the rocky shoreline. Unfortunately, as I swung under the plank before hauling myself out, I met up with the rest of the jelly fish who were clinging underneath. My screams had alerted one of the naval fitness instructors who doubled as lido attendants. He came running with a first aid kit luckily, along with my mother, wondering what mischief I had got myself into this time.

This was long before the epi-pen(epinephrine) but I seem to remember being given an injection of adrenaline fairly quickly, which my mother told me saved my life.

Back to 1985, and within a few minutes, it was clear that I was going into anaphylactic shock and my friends with me recognised my attackers as fire ants and got me out of the tub and onto the path. My husband and other friend arrived back thankfully at that point. Nobody had mobile phones in those days and a rush up to an apartment to call an ambulance would take too long. We had also all been drinking, were dressed in either bathing costumes or running gear. Except for our friend Monty, who could not drink and despite being in his bathing costume, had his house and car keys on the side of the hot tub. His car was parked close by next to our block, and with David and the others holding me up, we piled into the car and we raced out of the complex onto the main road. Monty knew that there was an emergency centre about a mile away in one of the strip malls that was open 24 hours, but by the time we got there two minutes later, I was in a critical condition.

David tells me that one of our friends dashed in and returned with a gurney and doctors who raced me into resuscitation. This is where it gets a little weird, because I do clearly remember watching the activity from above, as they pumped me full of epinephrine and tried to keep me breathing.

Once I was in the clear, they wanted to keep me for a few hours to make sure that I would not have more problems. Our friends went home, and David stayed with me until I was discharged about 7.00 in the morning. Although not having any means of identification or credit cards they had treated me anyway, which I am eternally grateful for, and David returned later that day with details of our company health insurance.

My lower legs and back were not a pretty sight as the bites developed, and I felt incredibly sore and tired. We went home, and I went to bed and left David to explain to my parents what had happened,downplaying the details.

I had anti-histamines to take for a period of time, and it was recommended that I rest for several days. However, we were booked into the Marriott in San Antonio from Sunday to the Tuesday on a very special surprise for my father, which was to visit The Alamo. My parents knew that we had planned time away, but not where, and were all for cancelling the trip, but I was determined that a few fire ants were not going to ruin things. By Sunday morning I was still groggy, but I covered myself in calamine lotion, and took some pain killers and we headed off. I slept the entire 200 miles, except when we made a short stop for coffee, and then went straight to bed on arrival at the hotel. Thankfully by the next morning I was much improved, and eager to take my father on his adventure.

P.S. The exterminators were called in to deal with the large fire ant nest that they found under the decking of the hot tub on the Sunday morning, and there was an upside to my attack that night. That day, a children’s party was going to be held in the recreational area, and the kids would have been in and out of the tub for several hours and things could have got very much worse.

Next week – San Antonio, the Alamo and the Natural Bridge Caverns.

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed… see you next time ..thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – October 4th – 10th 2020 – Streisand, Narcissism, Dog Sitting, Mending Fences, books, reviews and funnies


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

So here we are all again and how quickly time flies when you are enjoying yourself…I say that without a trace of sarcasm honestly… if it were not for the blog and for the daily visits from all of you I think I would have found the last 8 months very difficult.

Not that there are not things that need to be done! – I have not got anymore housework done that I do normally (which is not a great deal). There is the matter of the short story collection due out in November to finish, two novels, a large tapestry of an elephant and her baby, the summer clothes as yet unworn to be put away back in their winter quarters, and winter clothes to be ironed and put back on hangers. I will leave the sequin jacket and dancing shoes where they are as we won’t be doing any partying anytime soon…although a quick shuffle around the dining room is not out of the question to the right music.

I do have 35 books awaiting reading and reviewing and I am trying to do that in a timely fashion. I know that at the end of the month I will be heading off to Amazon again to buy another ten or twelve that have been recommended by others here or I have spotted on others’ blogs. One of the downsides of promoting authors and reading through their reviews to showcase but I am not complaining, just my TBR like most of yours.

I have also been doing some updated research on a number of health conditions and despite the Covid – 19 focus on getting a vaccine and treatments, there are still some interesting advances in other areas of medical research.. I will be putting together a new Health in the News in November.

The author spotlight ends tomorrow, but I went through my files and unearthed some author interviews from 2015 onwards for authors who are very much a part of my community and I will be repeating those on Sundays up to the end of the year. I have updated with their current books and reviews and I hope you will enjoy again after all this time.

I hope you have enjoyed the week as much as I have and my thanks as always to the contributors who take time and a great deal of thought to put together interesting and entertaining posts.. this week William Price King shares part three of the Barbra Streisand story and you can find William’s own posts and also very kindly a selection of Smorgasbord’s on his  Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr

Also this week D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies shares her wisdom on narcissism in the family and some of the reasons behind this insidious and damaging mental issue. Also thanks to my guest Jane Sturgeon for her entertaining life changing moment…

And a special thank you to author Judith Barrow who has kindly set up a directory on her blog to share posts from Smorgasbord.. a huge honour thanks Judith Judith Barrow Blog

Thank you for supporting all of us and it is much appreciated.

Life and Music of Barbra Streisand Part Three -collaborations in the 1970s and 1980s

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships -October 2020 -Envy, Jealousy, Bullying – A Path to Narcissism?

Life Changing Moments – Dog Sitting with a twist or two by Jane Sturgeon

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Ten – Sleepovers with new friends

Shakespeare and Traditional Fencing Methods

20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – The Steak House Part Two by Sally Cronin

Pub landlady Cowes Isle of Wight

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Poetry – In Remembrance – The War Poets – Edmund Blunden

-My parents arrive – Part One – Stetsons, Yellow Roses, Pappasito’s and Chi Chis

Western #Horror #Thriller – Guns of Perdition – The Armageddon Showdown Book 1 by Jessica Bakkers

Past Book Reviews – #IrishHistory Andrew Joyce, #Shortstories Mary Smith

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The endocrine system and hormones Part One

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy – Oils, origins, uses and Safety – Part Two

Summer 2020- Pot Luck- Book Reviews by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

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Share your Children’s book reviews – #PictureBooks with Jennie Fitzkee Part Two

Sam the Speedy Sloth by Matthew Ralph reviewed by Barbara Ann Mojica

#Fantasy D. Wallace Peach Reviews #YAFantasy Heather Kindt, #Contemporary Carol LaHines, #ShortStories Elizabeth Merry

#Poetry Geoff Le Pard, Reviews -#Dystopian Harmony Kent, #WWII Marina Osipova

#Poetry Frank Prem, Reviews #Crime Jane Risdon, #Thriller Gwen Plano

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Oct 6th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

October 8th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Protests and Clean Plates

Host Sally Cronin – What do you mean I can’t park here?

 

Thanks again for dropping by and as always your feedback is much appreciated… Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Letters from America 1985-1987 – October 1985 – Have a Nice Day… In the Big Apple by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the next post in the series Letters from America 1985 -1987 that I wrote home to my parents in the UK. My father kept them all in a folder and on his death they came back to me with a note to publish them.

This week one of my articles that I wrote and sent to the family about our first trip to New York.  I hope you enjoy the trip and the photographs I have managed to dig out.

Have a Nice Day… In the Big Apple

As with any flight the best part is reaching your destination. The final ten minutes of my flight from Houston was definitely spectacular, passing over the city of New York with its millions of lights that reminded me of a lady’s sequined evening dress. It was a slight anti-climax, to then have to wait for three hours in LaGuardia airport, for David who was flying in from Kansas, but I spent the time people watching, one of my favourite pastimes, and drinking airport coffee, which is not.

However, by 11p.m. we were on our way by taxi; through the city that never sleeps. It was a rather rapid transit, and slightly hair-raising experience, as I am sure our driver was a moonlighting Kamikazi pilot. We arrived at the brand new Marriott Marquis on Broadway with a flourish and a sigh of relief. In my teenage years, I did have aspirations to one day be a musical star and headline on Broadway… I fear this is the nearest I am going to get! We registered and retired to the bar for a much needed sedative.

The hotel is certainly impressive, from the outside it really looks like any other skyscraper in New York, but once inside you are greeted by the amazing sight of a forty-five storey atrium. A central column dominated the view, carrying brightly lit glass elevators; a ride to the top was not for those suffering from vertigo.

The revolving piano bar, which took you out over Broadway once an hour, was certainly the ideal place to start our first visit to the Big Apple…

Of course, like any good New York tourists, we set out after breakfast the next morning, intent on seeing as much as possible of the city. Street life was quite a shock at first, and the traffic was horrendous. We were very pleased that we had decided not to hire a car for our stay, but our decision to use the Yellow Cabs was probably equally as hazardous! We walked to the Empire State Building and were duly impressed by both the building and the fantastic view over Manhattan. From ground level, the aspect is very much one of a concrete Grand Canyon, but from the top of the Empire State Building, you get the impression that you are looking down into Lilliput.

If you want to buy a camera, New York is certainly the place to buy one. There are camera shops on every block, but watch out for the salesmen. They are on commission only, and we saw several who dealt with time-wasters in a very abrupt way. Service with a smile was obviously not part of the deal, more service with a snarl. I have to say it rather took us by surprise as our experience so far had always been very different. We have had a fair amount of practice now at negotiating when buying expensive items and I don’t think we got rooked too badly, and we did try to do it in good humour!

Of course I did persuade David that I needed to visit the famous Macy’s, just to look you understand!

Saturday night is show night on Broadway, and after 3 p.m., half price tickets can be bought for the evening performances from a makeshift ticket office right in front of the Marriott. Unfortunately, the shows we were interested in, 42nd Street and Cats, were sold out. After consulting our guide books over a great coffee and salt beef sandwich, we decided on the French Revue and dinner at the Cafe Versailles. With its small stage and ornate decoration, it certainly gave you the impression of being in a Paris nightclub and the show was certainly entertaining. The showgirls of course were beautiful but the best part for me was a rather aged female impersonator who mimed to Madame Butterfly, while fortifying herself with every drug and drink under the sun, unusual but very funny. A quick revolve around the piano bar on our return to the hotel, ended a very tiring but fascinating day.

With out time being limited, we deposited our bags at the hotel and took a cab to the pier, where we embarked on a three hour river tour all around Manhattan. It was very good value for $12 each and I kept my new camera busy recording the truly impressive sights of the Statue of Liberty and the famous skyline. After the trip we treated ourselves to lunch in a small Italian cafe before returning to collect our luggage.

One thing to remember if you are leaving by air from New York on a Sunday afternoon, is that everybody else is leaving by air from New York on a Sunday Afternoon! The road to LaGuardia was packed and the trip took over an hour, so leave plenty of time.

I am sorry that we didn’t have more time in New York, but I don’t think I could live there all the time. Stamina and nerves of steel are essential, and you know what? All those and films and cop stories you see on television about the Big Apple, they’re all true!

©images Sally Cronin 2018

I hope that you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane… some photographs have got lost in the moves or packed away in the attic, but I was delighted to find this handful. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 20th – 26th September 2020 – Community, #Streisand, #Canberra, #Waterford, Books, Reviews and funnies.


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

Well what a week.. from the headlines to the weather it has been one rollercoaster of a ride with nobody quite sure where the ride is going to end.. even those holding the reins!

Thankfully things around our virtual world seem to be maintaining normality however I would like to mention two people who are firm favourites here with guest posts and their books.

Mary Smith and Sue Vincent were due to meet up in the last few weeks in Scotland but for both of them shock medical news has become a priority for the present. Both of them have posted about their diagnosis and I link to them here. Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions they cannot enjoy the level of physical support so necessary during their treatment. Both are wonderfully strong and resilient, but you can never have too many friends, even in the virtual world on your side. If you too are friends with them please head over to keep in touch and let them know we are there now and as they continue to blog during their treatment. Two amazing women.

Sue Vincent – A bit more than a break

Mary Smith – Cancer Diary

On the home front.

I am still in the middle of getting my next release ship shape… longer than I intended as I have been, like most of you lacking in some focus on the creative side in the last few months. I have however begun to apply myself more and I am scheduling a couple of weeks ahead at the moment which gives me some breathing room. I am so grateful for William Price King, Debby Gies, Carol Taylor and Silvia Todesco for their weekly and monthly contributions and whilst I am not accepting individual guest posts at the moment, I hope to do so in the New Year.

If you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore it would help me enormously if you could let me know as soon as you have a date for any new releases so I can include in the Cafe Updates in a timely fashion. Either on pre-order or available is fine.

My intention is to increase my reading time which is as important to me as writing.. and hopefully you should see more book reviews each week on a more consistent basis. I have just ambitiously added another 10 books to my TBR and looking forward to some great reading.

Thank you very much for all the support you give every week and it is much appreciated as it keeps me motivated.  Just heading into my 9th year of blogging and 8th year as Smorgasbord Blog Magazine.. doesn’t time fly when you are having fun….

Time for the posts from the week….

Barbra Streisand part Two 1960s and 1970s

#Australia – The Great Fire of Canberra by Toni Pike

#Ireland #1930s – The Yards of Waterford

Chapter Eight – Human Language Lessons

It is 20 years since I wrote Just an Odd Job Girl and to celebrate I am giving away FREE Ebook copies and sharing the background to the real odd jobs that litter my career. This I am 14 and start my first paid job.

20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs

Dental Surgery Part One

Dental Surgery Part Two

October 1985 – Trip to Seattle – Mountains and State Park

#Humour – In Search of McDoogal by Mae Clair

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past Book Reviews – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #Dystopian Terry Tyler

New Author on the Shelves -Age Group 7 upwards – #Ghosts Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (The Piccadilly Street Series Book 1) by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Share your Children’s book review – The Case of the Mystery of the Bells: Davey & Derek Junior Detectives, Book 6 by Janice Spina reviewed by Victoria Zigler

New Release #Fantasy Jemima Pett, #Review Robbie and Michael Cheadle

#Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz #Reviews #HistoricalRomance Christine Campbell, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens

#Writers Pre-Order Lizzie Chantree, #Writers P.C. Zick, #Romance Jacquie Biggar

#Family Stevie Turner, Reviews #Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Crimethriller Don Massenzio, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack,

#NewReleases -#Dieselpunk Teagan Riordain Geneviene, #Crime Sue Coletta

Elements Collection Soap Bars

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy – An introduction to the therapy

Blood Pressure and the #Salt debate

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – September 22nd 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Skinny Jeans and Anagrams… Posted on September 22, 2020 by Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life.

September 24th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Police dogs and Eye Tests

Host Sally Cronin- It’s all about Love…and laughter

 

Thanks very much for dropping by and I hope you will join me again next week… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Letters from America 1985-1987 – October 1985 – Trip to Seattle – Mountains and State Park by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the next post in the series Letters from America 1985 -1987 that I wrote home to my parents in the UK. My father kept them all in a folder and on his death they came back to me with a note to publish them.

This week our first trip to Seattle, long before the long-running series Grey’s Anatomy and certainly after the still clammy warmth of Texas, it was a shock to the system to feel the autumnal chill and all the rain. We are also preparing for my parent’s three week stay with us in November. As I type this up it is hard to believe that my mother at the time had just turned 68 years old, just a year older than I am now.

 Trip to Seattle – Mountains and State Park

9th of October 1985 – Marriott Seattle

Dear M and D,

I hope my birthday card arrived safely Mollie and that you had a wonderful birthday. I am sure that you enjoyed your dinner dance and weekend away. A great way to celebrate and we have organised a welcome combined with birthday party with all our friends when you arrive. We have scheduled for a couple of days later so that you are over your jet lag.

As you will see this is written from the Marriott hotel in Seattle. As usual we managed to have a few hiccups getting here, with delays at the airport and then waiting to get our hire car. We arrived eventually at midday rather than 10.00 a.m, but we drove to the hotel and dumped our bags before heading for the mountains. David’s first meeting is not until tomorrow morning and we want to take full advantage of our short time here.

Whilst San Francisco is my favourite city so far, this has to be the most beautiful state we have seen next to Hawaii. Of course it is the right time of year being autumn, the trees are magnificent and the scenery breathtaking. Back in Houston the weather is still quite warm and muggy and I am still swimming every day. Here is it cold with snow on the upper slopes and I had thankfully dug out my winter clothes that have not seen the light of day since we arrived in Texas in January.

We drove about 150 miles and ended up in a state park. It was amazing to watch salmon and trout cleverly evading the solitary fly fisherman up to his waist in the freezing water. They did say that we might see bears but thankfully we were the only spectators. We also found a shop selling the most beautiful semi-precious stones that you can scoop out of a barrel and buy by weight. A natural reminder of this amazing place rather than some of the souvenirs also on display. I bought a handful to remind us of this stunning place.

David’s meeting is over by lunchtime hopefully leaving us another four hours to explore Seattle before heading to the airport. Certainly a place that I would like to return to at some point and spend more time in the wilds.

Your visit is getting closer and perhaps in your next letter you could confirm your flight number and arrival time. It can be a little confusing on arrival as there are a number of stages to go through – Immigration, collect baggage, go through customs, deposit luggage again and then go downstairs to pick it up again.

I will be waiting for you when you have been through customs. We can then go down together to reclaim your luggage.

In my next letter I will enclose David’s business card and our home address as you have to fill in a form on the plane. The immigration people will ask you the length of your stay, whether it is business or pleasure and where you will be staying. They will also ask to see your return ticket. I will enclose some dollar bills for the luggage cart from immigration to customs. I will send several as they are notorious for not accepting some bills that might be torn or damaged.

It is all very straightforward really but less stressful if you are prepared. Get that over with and we can get on with enjoying ourselves. All our excursions are planned and booked and one of the treats that I am looking forward to is going to the Renaissance Festival which I have heard is spectacular. Also Daddy… hopefully we will fulfil one of your boyhood dreams…

A week on Friday I am flying to New York to meet up with David and his boss in the middle of their grand tour touching base with their potential customers. Another iconic city to add to the wish list and I am excited by the prospect of seeing the Empire State Building etc.

Well that’s about it for now, under four weeks to go and we are looking forward to seeing you both very much.

Take care and all our love Sally and David. X

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me next week for our trip to New York.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – September 13th – 19th 2020 – Jazz, Ricotta Cheese, Risotto, Collies, books, reviews and funnies


Welcome to the weekly round up with posts you might have missed on Smorgasbord.

I hope that you are all well and thanks for dropping in today. I am taking full advantage of the sunshine this weekend as the nights are drawing in and the temperatures are already dropping. Still grateful for the quick blast and a good book.

As in most places our infections are on the rise which in not unexpected after the restrictions were lifted. Although here in Ireland the government has been very cautious about moving through the various stages. There are still clusters in the major cities such as Dublin and Cork. We are grateful for our rural location and without the influx of visitors this summer (despite the devastating effect on small businesses) we have been relatively free of infections.  All we can do is continue to be careful and stay positive.

I hope the posts this week will have kept your spirits up and this week William Price King, Carol Taylor and Silvia Todesco provided us with great jazz entertainment and wonderful recipes to ensure we don’t waste away in isolation.

Colin Guest joined us last Sunday to share his life changing moment which resulted in him meeting his lovely wife and finding great happiness.

My thanks to you for all your support during the week….

William Price King with #Jazz Saxophonist and Composer Michael Brecker

R’ for Rice, Ras el Hanout, Rhubarb, Ricotta Cheese and Rice Noodles

#Italian Cookery with Silvia Todesco – Butternut Squash and Porcini #risotto

A complete lifesaver by Colin Guest

Chapter Seven- Snow and Favourite Things

Newly wed Geoff gets some unwanted advice about how to cultivate his back garden of the house…neighbours and cabbabe plants.

#Waterford – 1940s – The Hundred Plants by Geoff Cronin

September 1985 – Curry Parties and Booze buys

Thriller – Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1) by Suzanne Burke

#Fantasy – Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1) by D. Wallace Peach

Past Book Reviews – #Children Cynthia S. Reyes, #Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts

The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Herbal Medicine – A little health insurance with Echinacea

Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid Guidelines in 2020 ...

Cholesterol and Fat Myths Part Three, Vitamin K2 and Healthy Fats

New Author on the Shelves – 5 to 9 years – 6 Six Minute Bedtime Stories by Doug Parker

#Reviews #Travel #Adventure Darlene Foster, #Monarch #Butterfly Bette A. Stevens

Share your Children’s book reviews – #Nature #Humour The Earthkeepers by Shawn Underhill reviewed by Jemima Pett

#Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello

#Psychological Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke #Reviews #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #Italy Valentina Cirasola

#Photography – Lens-Artists Photo Challenge#99: Old and New by Miriam Hurdle

#BookReview – A Snowflake in July by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Friday Flash Fiction 575 – Bonfire by Janet Gogerty

September 15th 2020 Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Speed Limits, Yoga and the last Bad Dad Jokes

September 17th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Stress relief and Heaven and Hell.

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September 18th 2020 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp

 

Thank you for visiting and please stay safe…. hope to see you again next week.. thanks Sally.