Smorgasbord Health Column – Some Health Hacks for everyday niggles such as Pins and Needles by Sally Cronin


Sometimes we get little health niggles that annoy and it is useful to have some hacks handy to ease the irritation..

Some Health Hacks for everyday niggles such as Pins and Needles

Ear, Auricle, Listen, Hearing

 

How to cure a tickling throat

When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm,” says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty centre in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. “This spasm relieves the tickle.”

You can use an ear bud but do be careful about pushing too far into the ear and causing damage. Just enough to cause a cough reflex.

Woman, Smile, Tooth, Health, Mouth

How to ease a toothache

I you begin to experience toothache and are unable to get to the dentist immediately you might try this interesting technique.

Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger. A Canadian study found that this technique reduces toothache pain by as much as 50 percent compared with using no ice. The nerve pathways at the base of that V stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.

Nose, Dog, Fur, Macro, Details, Nose

Clearing a stuffed nose –

A good way to relieve sinus pressure is by alternately thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you’ll feel your sinuses start to drain.

Curing your one drink too many dizzy head.

Whilst not recommended to get to this point!! Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance — the cupula — floats in a fluid of the same density as blood.

“As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises,” says Dr. Schaffer.

This confuses your brain. The tactile input from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance. Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional foot-on-the-floor wisdom.

Run, Workout, Fitness, Training

How to cure that stitch when running

Thankfully not my problem anymore as I walk fast but you can still develop a stitch. If you’re like most people, when you run, you exhale as your right foot hits the ground.

This puts downward pressure on your liver (which lives on your right side), which then tugs at the diaphragm and creates a side stitch, according to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Men.

The fix: Exhale as your left foot strikes the ground.

Curing that Ice-cream headache

We’ve all been there, eating your Ben And Jerry’s while watching lost and suddenly at the end of the bucket you realized you ate too fast and too much and an Ice-cream headache starts

Press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can.

“Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too,”

“In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache.”

The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will subside.

Pins, Colored Pins, Scattered, Sewing

How to cure a sleeping limb (“pins & Needles”)

If your hand falls asleep, rock your head from side to side. It’ll painlessly banish your pins and needles in less than a minute, says Dr. DeStefano. A tingly hand or arm is often the result of compression in the bundle of nerves in your neck; loosening your neck muscles releases the pressure. Compressed nerves lower in the body govern the feet, so don’t let your sleeping dogs lie.

Stand up and walk around.

Party, Party Hats, Fruit, Fruit Hat

A Party trick

Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He’ll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that’s a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat.

This time his arm will cave like the French. By misaligning his hips, you’ve offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body’s ability to resist.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

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

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here::Sally’s books and reviews

 

Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – July 18th – 24th 2021 – The Three Degrees, Podcast Round Up, Relationships, Interviews, Reviews and Funnies.


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed over the last week.

It has been summer here this week and like many of you very high temperatures. Even I have had to wait until early evening to sit out but that has been lovely.. Australia however has been enduring the lowest temperatures for a very long time with – 4 expected in the Sydney region.. That is cold for Australia.  Certainly the weather is very unpredictable at the moment.

Opportunity Knocks

A few things going on at the moment and here is an opportunity for poets and flash fiction writers from Judith Barrow and here is her facebook link to DM her if you are interested..Judith Barrow Author

“Hi Everyone, I’m putting feelers out for poetry readings ( your own work ,any subject) and a hundred word flash fiction pieces (subject “Harvest”) for an online festival to be held by Showboat in September. Showboat is an online TV company I sometimes volunteer at. It would be on Zoom and pre-recorded in a couple of weeks’ time. You’d be dealing directly with them, but I said I would ask those of you I know here. Anyone interested can DM me on FB and I will pass on your details and what you would like to do. It would be a great place to showcase your writing” Judith Barrow Author

I have been out and about this week with the lovely Marcia Meara, who has a series running ‘Ten things you may not know about me’  and if you have not seen the post you might like to pop over to discover a few more of my quirks and past shenanigans.

Head over to  join us Marcia Meara – Then things you may not know about Sally Cronin

I have also released my latest poetry collection this week. The 50+ poems have accumulated over the last year, with some that share memories of my childhood and teen years lying in a drawer for many moons. I have a number of writing projects on the go at the moment but I felt the need to finish one and get it out there.. I must admit I did take a screenshot of my orange flag #1 release in poetry and nature… I am sure fleeting but a little boost.

You can find out more about the collection here: #Poetry – Life is Like a Mosaic: Random Fragments in Harmony by Sally Cronin

This week I have uploaded the audio for some of my current and previous reviews plus my new book promotion as an example as I will be adding new books in the Cafe and Bookstore to the podcast menu soon.

Also a Short Story from Flights of Fancy – The Psychic Parrot.

You can select the track you would like to listen to by going to my profile page: Sally Cronin on Soundcloud

Or on my recording platform: Anchor FM Sally Cronin

William Price King is on his summer break until September with grandchildren but he has left his selections for the Breakfast Show and sends his best wishes. This week D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies is back with a new Realms of Relationships about Kindred Spirits who enter our lives at times when they are needed most. On Friday Daniel Kemp added his special brand of humour to the Laughter Lines.

My thanks to William, Debby and Danny for their wonderful contributions and to you for your support during the week..

Chart Hits 1974 Part One – Barbra Streisand, Barry White, The Three Degrees, ABBA-

– July 2021 – The Universe Brings us Kindred Spirits

What’s in a Name? Volume One – Fionnuala – The Swan

Tales from the Spanish Garden – Chapter Eleven – The Last Summer Ball and the Winter Fairy – Part Two

#Salmon #Scotland – A Speyside Odyssey by Norman Matheson

Book Reviews Rewind – #Poetry – Minus One: With Haikus and Other Poems: The Story of a Life by Elizabeth Merry

Book Reviews Rewind -#Cancer #Journal – Apple Blossom: my Hope…my Inspiration by Jaye Marie

Author Sue Wickstead brings Elizabeth Wickstead and Rose Powell -#100th Birthday Celebrations.

Neutering – The side-effects including to longevity

Calcium Oxylate dihydrate Kidney Stone -2

The Kidneys – Function – Disease – Kidney Stones

– Thank you Mrs Miller – luv Sally age four ‘n’ haf – #Influencers by Sally Cronin

Monday 19th July 2021 – #Handwriting Robbie Cheadle, #ALS Pete Springer, #Interview Allan Hudson

#Funnies The Story Reading Ape, #Canoes #Invitation Rebecca Budd, #Salad Dorothy New Vintage Kitchen

#Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz, #Crime Fiona Tarr, #Family Christa Polkinhorn

#Romance Linda Bradley, #PsychicThriller GG Collins, #OrganisedCrime John L. DeBoer

#Poetry Leon Stevens, #Shortstories Pamela S. Wight, #Thiller #Romance Jane Buckley, #Biographical #Fiction Roz Morris

Meet the Authors 2021 – #Childrens Norah Colvin, #Horses Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

#Shortstories D.L. Finn, #Safety Miriam Hurdle

#Reviews – #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Horses Jan Sikes, #Romance #Paranormal Marcia Meara

July 20th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Summer Water and Exam Answers

July 22nd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Variety and Icelandic Nights

July 23rd 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Football and Tech repairs

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health – The Kidneys – Function – Disease – Kidney Stones by Sally Cronin


Organs of the body – The Kidneys – Function – Disease – Kidney Stones

The kidneys are major organs that can have a dramatic effect on our overall health. As they are linked closely, I am also going to take a closer look at urinary tract health for both men and women in upcoming posts.

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease is a major health problem for both men and women. Kidney and urinary tract diseases together affect hundreds of thousands of people a year. Some may be affected by minor infections while others may suffer kidney failure.

Not only are your kidneys affected if they are infected or damaged. Kidney disease can cause a host of other systemic problems such as high blood pressure, anaemia and unhealthy cholesterol levels. One of the most common problems is kidney stones, which are incredibly painful and usually result in a hospital stay.

Today the prospect is far brighter than it would have been, say, 40 years ago. We now have dialysis and kidney transplants for patients whose disease has progressed too far for dietary or medicinal support. However there is a waiting list, despite the fact that this is one of the rare organs that can come from a live donor. Although there are some congenital or hereditary kidney problems that are beyond our control, many can be prevented by following a healthy diet – and it is never too late to change.

Why are our kidneys so important?

The kidneys are the ‘Ringmasters’ of the body. They keep a varied number of crucial elements in balance. When the kidneys do not function, several other major organs will be compromised.

The kidneys operate like a chemical filter which blood passes through in order to remove waste products and any excess amounts of minerals, sugars and other chemicals. About a quarter of the blood pumped by the heart passes through the kidneys so it is important to note that they play a part in controlling blood pressure.

The balance of minerals and water in the blood is carefully managed and either discarded or saved to maintain blood pressure in the correct range. For example; the balance of salt, potassium and acid is a critical function of the organs.

In addition to this vital role, kidneys also perform other crucial functions. They produce a hormone (erythropoietin) or EPO that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are absolutely crucial to our survival and anything that compromises their healthy production is dangerous. Other hormones that the kidneys produce help regulate our blood pressure and the metabolism of calcium (I will cover this in the piece on kidney stones). They also make hormones that control the growth of tissue within the body.

When kidneys are damaged and unable to get rid of the waste, this builds up resulting in swelling and a condition called Uraemia (an overdose of toxins) can develop, which if undiagnosed and untreated can lead to kidney failure. The difficulty is that other kidney functions, like regulating urine flow, can be unaffected – which means diagnosis is not easy.

Where are the kidneys in our body and how do they work?

Kidney - macroscopic blood vesselsEach kidney is bean-shaped and about the size of an adult’s fist. The kidneys are located below the ribs and toward the back.

They contain nearly 40 miles of tubes, most of them tiny; processing some 100 gallons of blood each day. The kidneys filter and clean the blood, and they produce urine from excess water and dissolved solids.

The ureters carry waste, as urine, from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder, located in the lower abdomen, is a balloon-like organ that stores urine. A bladder can hold over a pint of urine. During urination, the urethra carries urine from the bottom of the bladder out of the body.

An important thing to remember about the bladder is that it is very elastic. It is not a good idea to go all day without emptying it as it will stretch and sag around the entrance to the urethra. This causes urine to collect and is a breeding ground for bacteria and also an ideal environment for stones to collect. If the problem is not rectified it may result in having to use catheters to empty the bladder, which is both inconvenient and can lead to further infections.

Are there different types of kidney disease?

Kidney diseases, which usually involves both kidneys, fall into three main categories. Hereditary, congenital or acquired.

  • Inherited kidney disorders usually begin producing symptoms during the teen to adult years, and are often serious.
  • Congenital kidney diseases typically involve a malformation of the genitourinary tract that can lead to blockages, which, in turn, can cause infection and/or destruction of kidney tissue. Tissue destruction may then lead to chronic kidney failure.
  • Acquired kidney disorders have numerous causes, including blockages, drugs, and toxins. However, diabetes and high blood pressure are by far the most common culprits.

As I am covering urinary tract and cystitis in a separate article we will concentrate on kidney stones, as they are one of the more common problems we might encounter, particularly as we get older.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are varied in shape and size and form when certain chemicals in the urine crystallise and stick together. Some can grow to the size of a golf ball and others remain absolutely minute and pass through the urinary tract quite easily.

If the stones get too large to pass through, they block the opening to the urinary tract or else they try to pass through and cause intense irritation in the lining of the tract.

Some people never even know that they have kidney stones when the stones are very small, but usually there are some very obvious symptoms.

Who is likely to get kidney stones?

Anyone can get kidney stones, but some people are more likely to develop them than others. Typically, a person with a kidney stone is a man 20 to 60 years old. Although 4 out of 5 sufferers are men, women can also develop the condition.

Often, there is a family history of the condition. Chronic dehydration (lack of body water) can lead to kidney stones. Very hot weather, heavy sweating, or too little fluid intake contributes to the formation of stones. For example, people who work outdoors in hot weather and who do not drink sufficient fluids are in a higher risk category.

There is evidence to suggest that a diet very high in animal proteins and fat can contribute to the formation of stones and kidney problems in general, which is why the Atkins diet or other diets that promote high protein intake is not healthy, in my opinion, for long periods of time if done at all.

People who lead particularly sedentary lifestyles may be more prone to getting stones than someone more active.

Are there different types of kidney stones?

Calcium Oxylate dihydrate Kidney Stone -2There are two main types of stone, Oxalate and Uric Acid. Calcium oxalate and phosphate stones are made up of a hard crystal compound.

These stones have become more common in recent years with about 70% to 80% of all kidney stones currently made up of calcium oxalate and phosphate. The problem is too much calcium in the urine. This can be caused by diet, a metabolic disorder that causes build up, or taking certain drugs such as diuretics, antacids and steroids.

There is also a substance called purine that is in meat, fish and poultry – I have covered purine before in reference to arthritis. But it really should only be a concern if you are eating very large amounts of food containing it.

Uric Acid stones are rarer and are caused when the body breaks down certain foods – especially in a diet very high in animal protein – and produces too much uric acid. Gout sufferers again covered in relation to arthritis – are more prone to getting this type of stone.

These are a common problem with animals; particular dogs that have a high protein diet and are prone to kidney disease and stones.

What would someone notice if they have this problem?

Kidney stones - locationWith the larger stones that are trying to force themselves through very narrow openings there is severe pain with nausea, and vomiting; burning and a frequent urge to urinate; fever, chills, and weakness; cloudy or very strong smelling urine; blood in the urine; and a blocked flow of urine. Serious infections can result from a blockage.

It is very important that if you start to suffer any of these problems even in a minor way such as a pain across your lower back then you must go and see your doctor immediately.

Take a look at the samples of kidney stones of various types, (shown left) and you can see why they are painful to pass.

What sort of treatment will a doctor or hospital provide?

  • That will vary according to the severity of the problem but usually a patient will have an ultrasound to identify where the stones are and how large they are.
  • Luckily, most are small enough to pass through the urinary tract on their own and so lots of water is drunk to flush out the system.
  • Sometimes medication will be prescribed, especially if there is an infection, which is not uncommon.
  • Obviously pain killers too.
  • They commonly use shock waves (sound waves) to break up the larger stones these days. All of this in non-invasive, which is great -as surgery can be avoided.
  • The most important thing you can do to prevent stones forming again is to change your lifestyle and of course take a very long, hard, look at your diet.

Coming up in the next posts on the Kidneys – Urinary tract infections – one on Cystitis and then a healthy eating approach to avoiding kidney stones and these very painful conditions.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

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

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here::Sally’s books and reviews

 

Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Poetry – Life is Like a Mosaic: Random Fragments in Harmony by Sally Cronin


Delighted to share the news of my latest release which went live yesterday. A little light summer reading…

About the collection

 “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Arthur Brisbane 1911.

An image offers an opportunity to see endless possibilities depending on the viewer’s perspective. Where some might see beauty and joy, others imagine sadness and loss of hope.

In this collection, images and syllabic poetry are brought together to tell a story based on the author’s perspective. The poetry explores our human experiences such as love, happiness, hope, aging, friendship, new beginnings, dreams and loss.

The world around us is an amazing playground and source of all our essential needs as well as sensory experiences that bring wonder into our lives. What lies beyond the horizon? What surprises will we discover as a garden bursts into bloom? Where do the night creatures live?

At the end of the collection there are some longer poems celebrating memories of the author’s life of travel, teenage exploits and love of food!

Buy the book £3.50 : Amazon UK – And for $4.79 : Amazon US

A selection of other books by Sally Cronin

One of the recent reviews for Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries

Short story and poetry anthologies are all the rage now, and Sally Cronin’s “Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries” does not disappoint. This eclectic mix takes the reader through a gambit of feelings that revolve around the themes of love, loss, humor, revenge, and life’s second chances.

A few of these tales brought tears to my eyes, such as “Long Lost Love,” which tells the story of Tom and Elaine, a pregnancy, and a visit from beyond the grave. However, the poetry is as exceptional as the short stories. The butterfly cinquain, “Ritual of Mehndi,” shares a glimpse into the traditional wedding custom of painting symbols in henna on the bride’s hands.

This author is known for an empathetic approach to her writing. She writes what she senses, sharing the ups and downs of her characters with love and compassion. A true storyteller, Sally Cronin’s stories will leave you wanting more feel-good moments.  

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Sally  :Goodreads – Blog: Smorgasbord Invitation – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

About Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin is the author of fifteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb first published in 2001. This has been followed by another thirteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry. Her latest collection, Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet, reflects on the absurdities and sometimes tragedies that drop into our lives.

As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities in the Café and Bookstore on her blog and across her social media.

Her podcast shares book reviews and short stories Soundcloud Sally Cronin

After leading a nomadic existence exploring the world, she now lives with her husband on the coast of Southern Ireland enjoying the seasonal fluctuations in the temperature of the rain.

 

Thanks very much for dropping in and it would be great if you could hit the reblog or social media buttons to share the news of my new book… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Challenge – #Choka – Spices by Sally Cronin


This week for Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Challenge 233 it is poet’s choice. Something a little personal this week..a Choka…

Spices

Scents upon the air
and tastebuds are awoken
a recognition
of a long lost memory
the childish laughter
during play in the hot sun
spicy aromas
drifting out from the kitchen
promising curry for lunch.

©Sally Cronin 2021

There is still time to participate in this challenge:  Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Challenge 233

 

Thanks for dropping by and as always your comments are very welcome… thanks Sally.

 

Sally Goes Out and About – Interview with Rebecca Budd – Tea and Trivia – Life, Writing and Book Marketing


I was delighted to be invited to join Rebecca Budd on her podcast Tea and Trivia to talk about memories, writing and book marketing. It was a wonderful experience and Rebecca did a wonderful job of making it seem like a chat between two friends. Her husband Don is also a technical genius who edits and produces the broadcast.  I hope you will head over to join us.

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for listening in!

I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

I am delighted and thrilled that my blogger friend and writer, Sally Cronin and I are connecting Ireland and Canada, a distance of over 7,000 kilometers. What would take 10 hours flight time has taken 10 seconds in the magic of WIFI time.

Sally is a storyteller. As a child, she used poetry, song lyrics and short stories to bring narratives to life. She is an indie author and proud to be one. Her greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy her take on health, characters, and twisted endings… and of course come back for more. Sally’s support and encouragement of the indie community is legendary. Today, we will be exploring writing, marketing, and telling your story.

I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia: Sally Cronin on Writing, Marketing and Telling your Story.

 

I hope you will head over to listen in to our chat.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Short stories Rewind – What’s in a Name? Volume One – Elaine – A Shining Light by Sally Cronin


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

Elaine – A Shining Light

Elaine lay under the warmth of the duvet and her hand crept across the mattress to touch her husband’s hand. Not enough to wake him but just a gentle touch to remind her of his presence. Jack’s even breathing and gentle snore was comforting and Elaine smiled to herself, savouring the delicious secret that she was desperate to reveal.

She had been saving up the news until today as a gift for Jack’s birthday. They had been married for two years and she knew that his greatest wish was for them to have a baby. His large family had already provided his parents with six grandchildren, and whilst he might not talk about his desire for a family; he wanted to hold their child in his arms almost as much as she did. She had remembered the look on his face when she had thought that she might be pregnant but it had turned out to be a false alarm. This is why she had waited until she was absolutely sure; today would be the perfect time to reveal the secret.

Jack stirred beside her she turned her face in anticipation of his usual morning kiss on her brow and lips.

‘Good morning my darling,’ he gently stroked some stray hairs out of her eyes. ‘How are you today?

Elaine smiled at him lovingly and touched the tip of his beautiful nose. ‘Happy birthday my darling,’ and she leant over to kiss his mouth.

Over breakfast they discussed the final details of the birthday party that afternoon. Jack’s family lived too far away to attend, but he had asked one of their neighbours from down the street to join them. Jessica was always in and out and would pop in for coffee most mornings when Jack was at work. Sometimes she would also bring her children in at the weekend and they had a wonderful time playing scrabble and cards.

Elaine had butterflies in her stomach as the urge to blurt out her special secret became too much to bear. It had to be the right moment, when Jack was cutting his birthday cake that Jessica had kindly made for him. She was a much better baker that she was and it looked amazing. Jack had been in the navy when they met, and on top of the white and blue cake, a figure in a sailor’s uniform posed with an anchor. Elaine bet the inside of the cake would be delicious and would taste all the better when she announced her news.

After a quick sandwich for lunch and whilst Jack tidied the living room ready for the party, Elaine popped upstairs quietly to their bedroom and sat at the dressing table. She smiled to herself as she viewed her reflection in the mirror. There was no doubt about it; her skin had a definite glow. Artfully she brushed her blonde hair into a smooth bob and applied her makeup carefully. Not too much, but just enough to enhance her youthful beauty. Laid out on the bed were three outfits and Elaine was having problems deciding which to wear. Jack would always laugh about her preparations for an evening out. He knew she would try on all the options a couple of times before making her final choice.

This kept her busy for the next half hour and eventually she headed downstairs in her favourite cream dress with pearls at her neck and in the lobes of her ears. Jack took her hands and stepped back for a better look.

‘You look stunningly beautiful sweetheart,’ he gently straightened the string of pearls around her neck; they had been his wedding present to her.

Elaine almost gave the secret away at that point but held the temptation in check. Her plan was perfect and she must wait a little longer until it was time for him to blow out his birthday candles.

Jack left her sat in the lounge, surrounded by plates of neatly cut sandwiches and a pile of festive napkins. In the corner on a cabinet sat the cake surrounded by the birthday cards that had arrived over the last two or three days.

Just then the doorbell rang and it startled Elaine as the sound intruded into her secret daydreams. She pushed herself out of the chair and headed for the hall. Jack was coming down the stairs and held out his hand to her.

‘Don’t worry love I’ll get it,’ and he opened the door to find their three guests on the doorstep.

In they came, bearing brightly coloured bags of gifts and contributions to the birthday tea.

There was much hugging and chatter as overcoats were dispensed with and they all headed into the living room. Jack and Jessica took the food she had brought into the kitchen and put the kettle on. Sophie and Ben, who were in their early teens, entertained Elaine with tales of their antics at school during the week.

The food disappeared rapidly and two pots of tea later it was time to cut the cake. This was Elaine’s moment and she stood up to join Jack at the cabinet as he prepared to slice into the blue and white icing.

‘Darling, I have a very special birthday present for you,’ she held out the envelope that clearly contained rather bulky contents. Jack smiled at her eager face and proceeded to open the envelope carefully. He drew out the birthday card that had a huge heart on the front and carefully opened it to reveal the surprise. In his hand were a pair of knitted baby booties decorated with white satin ribbon.

Tears formed in the corners of his eyes as he pulled Elaine to him. ‘Thank you darling for the best birthday present I have ever received.’ Over her shoulder he smiled at their guests and they nodded and smiled in return.

Jessica’s children helped clear away the plates and carried them into the kitchen whilst their mother sat on the sofa holding Elaine’s hand. ‘That is wonderful news and I am so happy for the both of you.’ she smiled gently at the woman at her side. ‘We can talk about it on Monday when I pop in for coffee and we’ll get the baby knitting patterns out to look at.’

An hour later and Jessica kissed Elaine on the forehead and gently stroked her cheek. She headed off to the hall and gathered up the coats and handed them out to Sophie and Ben.

When she reached the front door, she turned once more and gave Jack a warm hug and whispered in his ear. ‘It was a wonderful birthday tea Dad and I will come in as usual on Monday when you go out to do the shopping.’

Jack went back into the lounge and stood for a moment looking at his wife, sitting calmly watching the flames flickering in the fireplace. The outfit that Elaine had finally chosen was her wedding dress, and she looked as radiant today as she had forty years ago. He sat beside her and gently moved some stray silver hairs from her forehead and took her face in his hands. He looked into her sparkling blue eyes that no longer recognised her daughter or grandchildren.

The most precious birthday present he had received today, was that his beautiful Elaine still knew him, and that even in the darkness, her light continued to shine brightly.

©Sally Cronin 2017

One of the reviews for the collection.

Aug 16, 2018 Colleen Chesebro rated it five stars it was amazing

I love short story collections. There is something about the brevity of words that appeals to my senses, especially when there is a theme that we all can relate to. Think about it. We all have a name, but many of us have no idea why our parents chose that name or the possible stories behind that name.

Sally Cronin tackles this naming issue. In “What’s in a Name,” each chapter is titled by the name of its main character, leading the reader on a journey of discovery. Every name has a tale to tell, and under the brilliant creativity of this author, each name takes on a personality of its own.

My favorite story was that of “Diana,” a kind woman who choose a husband that proved to be a scoundrel in every sense of the word. With a little help from her family, Diana reaches into her heart and finds the courage to stand up to her husband’s abuse. The pacing of this story is marvelous and carries the reader to a satisfying end.

This compilation of stories covers a wide range of genres. There is something here for everyone. I read these stories a few at a time, savoring the emotions the stories evoked within me. This was my first read by this author, and I look forward to more of her writing. I was thrilled to find that the second volume of “What’s in a Name ~ Tales of Life & Romance,” had already been written. Needless to say, I’ve already purchased my copy.  

You can find out about my other books and their most recent reviews: :Sally’s books and reviews

I hope you will join me next Sunday for the next story in the collection… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Short stories Rewind – What’s in a Name? Volume One – David – In Remembrance by Sally Cronin


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

David – In Remembrance

David stood beside his comrades as they waited in the village square for the parade to begin. Despite their advancing years, the men stood as tall as possible, often with the aid of a stick. Two of their number were in wheelchairs, and had been guided across the cobble stones by their fellow old soldiers.

It was a typical chilly November morning with dark skies and clouds laden with imminent rain. Whilst inappropriate perhaps for this solemn occasion, the men standing huddled against the cold wind; wished for a few rays of sunshine. Their overcoats were shiny with age, but their shoes were burnished to a brilliance, thanks to the loving attention the night before. A reminder of a time, when the action of rubbing in polish and then shining the boots for the sergeant’s approval, was used for reflection. A time to remember all the nights many years ago, when comrades would sit on camp beds talking quietly as they prepared their kit for inspection and parades.

Beribboned pins, holding silver and bronze medals, lay proudly against the material on their chests and nobody really noticed the frayed cuffs that peeked out from the sleeves of the worn coats. Their pride was clear to see by all who passed; many of whom smiled in recognition or tipped a hat. They were the old soldiers and heroes of the village and despite their dwindling numbers were respected and honoured. Not just today, but every time they were met in the shops and lanes of this small community that had given up so many of its young men to war.

David did not feel the cold and felt content to be part of the camaraderie and fellowship of being amongst those he had served with. He caught little snippets of conversation as he stood, head bowed waiting for the order to form into the parade.

‘My Elsie has had another grandson… Who would have thought it…? I’m a great granddad….’

‘That new doctor looks like he’s just left school… Told me that I had something called heemaroids… Used to call them bloody piles in my day…’

‘I’m sorry that Jack didn’t make it this year… Miss the old codger… We will have to find a replacement for the cribbage night…’

David smiled as he listened to his friends talking about their lives and raised his head as he heard the sound of the local brass band strike up.

He had been part of this ceremony for the last fifty years since the squire had erected the memorial in the centre of the village. Lord Roberts was a good man and had been devastated by the loss of his own son in the last few weeks of the war. Out of respect and loyalty to those other families in the village and surrounding area who had lost fathers, husbands and sons, he had paid for the monument himself.

That first November as the group of survivors had stood in the rain to commemorate the loss of their brothers and friends, many had still relied on crutches, and as today, one or two had been in wheelchairs. It was a far cry from the day that they had stood in this same square waiting for the horse drawn carriages to take them off to basic training.

The call had come, and from the surrounding farms and isolated cottages, men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-eight, who were not exempt because of occupation, health or marital status, walked proudly into the recruitment centre in the village hall. David was just nineteen when war was declared and was swept along by the patriotic message and fervour that swept the nation. There was talk down the pub of places outside of their small community that might be visited.

‘Blimey, a chance to see the other side of the hill lads…’ and ‘Do you think those French girls are as friendly as they say?’

The thought of glory and adventure had been foremost in their young minds. It certainly did not hurt that the girls in the village became very attentive when they arrived back for leave after basic training in their uniforms. The day that they had formed up into a parade to march to the square and climb aboard the transports was frozen in time. Mothers weeping as they clung to their sons and fathers slapping them on the back and proudly straightening their caps. Couples embracing for one last kiss and whispered words of love.

It had been very different when David returned to the village a year later. Although now only twenty he felt that he had aged a lifetime. As he stepped down from the train in the nearby town, carefully favouring his injured right arm and struggling with his kitbag, it was without glory. The sight of his parents waiting from him in the evening sunlight had reduced him to tears, and as the horse and cart made its way to the farm; his mother had held him tightly as he sobbed against her best coat.

Over those first few days of calm and peace; David had spent hours alone walking the fields and hills desperately trying to find any meaning behind the senseless carnage and sacrifice he had experienced. He knew that once his injury was fully healed he would have to return and the thought of this kept him awake at night in his room in the rafters of the farmhouse.

Then one day, as the sun shone as he helped his father harvest the wheat, he saw his mother heading towards them swinging a laden lunch basket. Beside her with golden hair that gleamed in the sunlight was a tall and very beautiful young woman.

‘Here you go pet,’ his mother handed off the basket to David. ‘You remember Cathy from the Black’s farm don’t you?’

David looked into bright blue eyes and was then drawn down to the perfectly formed red lips that smiled at him.

Six weeks later they were married in the village church, and had walked out into the sunshine to a guard of honour of fellow soldiers, home on leave or who had been injured. The reception in the hall in the square had been packed with well-wishers and David and Cathy had danced and celebrated until midnight. Then they had slipped away unnoticed to their room above the pub.

Every year since the memorial was erected, David had marched with his comrades, and then stood with them as wreaths were laid around the base. And each year his breath would catch in his chest and his heart would skip a beat as he watched his Cathy carry a wreath and lay it amongst the rest. That first year she had also held the hand of a little girl, his daughter who unlike all others somberly dressed, was wearing a beautiful handmade coat of blue. His favourite colour.

He had watched Cathy and his daughter every year since then, as they would both walk proudly to the memorial and lay their tribute. But this year his daughter walked with another by her side, and there was no sign of his darling wife. He slipped through the ranks of his comrades until he was standing in the front row. He could hear his daughter saying something to the tall young man by her side.

‘You lay the wreath David; your grandmother wanted you to do it for her this year.’

The lad reverently laid it down amongst the others and he stood back by his mother’s side.

Together they turned and walked solemnly back towards the waiting villagers where they were greeted with hugs and the boy was patted on the back.

A tear rolled down David’s face with sorrow at the loss of his beautiful Cathy. As he stood bereft at the front of his silent comrades at attention, but with their heads bowed, the clouds parted and rays of sunshine spread across the square. As they did so, his eyes were drawn to a young woman with golden hair and blue eyes who walked over the cobbles to stand by his side. She slipped her cool hand into his and he smiled down at her with joy.

Unseen by all those who had gathered to remember him and all the others who had not returned; they slipped away hand in hand. The long wait for them both was over.

©Sally Cronin 2017

One of the reviews for the collection.

Jul 29, 2017 Robbie Cheadle rated it Five Stars

What’s in a name? is a collection of short stories, each about a different person with a name starting with a specific letter of the alphabet. This first book of two covers the letters A to J with each letter having two stories, one about a male character and one about a female character. The stories are all different and unique and Sally writes in the most beautiful and fluid manner so that you feel completely absorbed by the specific character and the life situation they are dealing with. I read some of the stories to my sons, Gregory and Michael, but others I read to myself as they were a bit adult in content for Michael, who is only eleven years old.

Two of my favourite stories in this collection are as follows:

1.Grace – A heart warming story about a five year old orphan who has lived in an orphanage all her life. Grace has had a companion and best friend, Hope, ever since she can remember and together they are able to face the rigid and strict life in the orphanage. The girls are not mistreated in any way but they rely on each other for love and support in a situation where they have no families of their own. Grace is heart broken when Hope is adopted and goes away to live with her new family. What will happen to Grace and Hope now?

2.Celia – This is a tale about a woman who has spent the last twenty years of her life in a convent. Her life has been very austere but she has been happy until now. Celia is named after her grandmother’s much loved older sister who had lived in this same convent for sixty years after entering the order at the age of fourteen years old. Her namesake had become the Mother Superior of the convent and had been happy and fulfilled in her chosen life. What about Celia though? She wants to leave the convent and strike out on her own again but after twenty years but can she find the strength do it? Who will she turn too?

You can find out about my other books and their most recent reviews: :Sally’s books and reviews

I hope you will join me next Sunday for the next story in the collection… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – June 20th – 26th 2021 – Helen Reddy, Short stories, PR for Authors, Pet Health, Book Reviews, Funnies and much more.


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

Another week that has flown by and cannot believe it is July next week. Our Met office has promised another tropical air mass and I excitedly checked the ten day forecast for our part of Ireland…I am sure you can see why I am not getting over excited…

Today is windy and 15 degrees although it does promise bright sunshine from 6pm this evening.. luckily we have two extensions at the back of the house which is a little sun trap and offers some protection from the wind, and I will attempt to top up my Vitamin D this afternoon with a good book.

I invested in another seed tray to create another bird bath for our garden birds which is proving popular. When the sun is out the starlings in particular enjoy a bath but do tend to be like a bunch of teenagers, trying to achieve a Guinness Book record. The sparrows are much better behaved and the second pool has been a quieter place for them to frolic.

Even though the sun was not out during the week I did manage to snap this shot off to give you an idea of what life is like at Sally’s Spa and Bird Cafe.  I did not even have time to move the hose before there was a dash for the pool.  Sorry it was not a sunny day but they don’t seem to mind.

They are great entertainment as are the antics of the crows who try but fail to get to the seed tray in the middle of our purpose built bird feeder..

I have been out and about again this week as the recipient of a lovely feature by Diana Wallace Peach.. Diana has always been a supporter of my books and in this post she shares all her reviews over the years.. ending the week on a high..  I hope you will head over to say hello..

My 5 Star Reviews of books by Sally Cronin: D. Wallace Peach feature

My thanks to William Price King, Debby Gies (who is moving this weekend and hard at work) and Danny Kemp.. the place would not be the same without them..

And of course to you for dropping in, liking, commenting and sharing…it is much appreciated.

Chart Hits 1972 Part One – Roberta Flack, Don McLean, Elton John, Helen Reddy 

Chapter Seven – Little Girl Lost

What’s in a Name? Volume One – Clive – The Debt  

Part Four – Social Media – The Pros and the Cons as an Author  

#Mystery #Thriller- The Vanished Boy by Harmony Kent. 

#Fantasy #Supernatural – The Ballad of Mrs. Molony (The Hat Book 3) by C.S. Boyack 

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Western #Romance – Gwen Slade: Bounty Hunter by Sandra Cox 

Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Challenge 231 – #Choka – Discovery 

Mosquito season and the dangers of Heartworm in dogs 

bronchitis

Family Health – Bronchitis 

#Thriller Mark Bierman, #Fairystory Cathy Cade, #Family Alex Craigie 

#Scifi #Shortstories ACFlory, #Historical Noelle Granger, #Poetry Jude Itakali 

#Southernculture Claire Fullerton, #Shortstories Joy Lennick and Jean Wilson, #RussianHistory Marina Osipova 

Thursday 24th June 2021 – #Environment Carol Taylor, #AuthorQuirks Marcia Meara with Harmony Kent, #Floral #Syrups New Vintage Kitchen 

Meet the Authors – #Travel #Mystery Darlene Foster, #Travel #Puppy Patricia Furstenberg 

#Poetry Pawfect Pet Poems and Born from Stardust by Victoria Zigler 

Historical – Jealousy of a Viking (A Family Through The Ages Book 2) by V.M. Sang 

Prehistoric #Adventure – Laws of Nature (Dawn of Humanity Book 2) by Jacqui Murray 

#Dystopian #Scifi – Megacity (Operation Galton Book 3) by Terry Tyler 

#Wine Linda Sheehan, #Fantasy Barbara Spencer, #Fantasy Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

June 22nd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Anti Chew Toys and Book Titles. 

June 24th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Texts and Eye Tests 

June 25th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel  

 

Thank you for your support and I hope to see you again next week….Sally.

Smorgasbord Poetry – – Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Challenge 231 – #Choka – Discovery by Sally Cronin


This week in Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday Challenge 231 Jules has chosen the theme prompt ‘Discovery’ – as my garden has thrown up some surprises this year…(I tend to forget where I have put the bulbs!)  I have created a Choka..

Discovery

Mysteries are solved
of what lies beneath the soil
as dormant bulbs stir
eager to feel the sunlight
reaching for the sky
to reveal their true colours
power of nature
an inspiring renewal
of spirit and of beauty.

©Sally Cronin 2021

You still have time to participate in this week’s challenge:  Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday Challenge 231

And if you have time to browse: Sally’s books and reviews

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the poem… Sally.