Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – St. Kitts, Mother Sauces, Family Drama, Music, Short Stories and Humout


Welcome to the weekly round up and October has raced in with high winds and very high seas in the Irish Channel… Thankfully not bringing the devastation suffered by residents in Florida and along that coastline. But in Ireland the weather does not get us down for long and wellington boots are to be found in all our porches, and sometimes put into service around the house.

The nights are drawing in, and just as the sun goes down we are treated to a visit from hundreds of crows who gather on the electricity lines. We had to take out three 30 foot trees that were undermining the outside wall to the garden facing the road, with roots beginning to cause the pavement to crack. We think these trees might possibly have been a roost for many years for one of the murders of crows in the area and they still return to glare through the windows at us.

Unfortunately from a safety perspective we had no choice, and certainly after the hurricane last year when many trees like ours fell across roads and caused damage, it was necessary. However, they have got their own back by stomping around, cackling and picking the moss of the roof and throwing it all over the back yard at sunrise.. which in the summer is about 5.00 am.  Here they are gathering at dusk. In the next week or so this patch of ground, will welcome a brand new lawn and the garden will be finished.

Anyway.. on with the posts from the week. And as always my thanks to the regular contributors and guest writers who have shared their talent. And to you for dropping in and supporting the guests and my posts. It is much appreciated.

Over the last few months the news that the 5.0 WordPress release would include the Gutenberg editing platform, has caused a lot of uncertainty with recommendations to upgrade to be able to install a plug-in so you could still use the Classic Editor etc. I asked for clarification this week and was delighted with the response.. including a screenshot, that for WordPress.com bloggers at least.. there will be the option to choose when adding a new post. Thank goodness for that..

 

Welcome to the October edition of the Travel Column with D.G. Kaye. This month we’re going to another small, beautiful and still developing Caribbean island – Saint Kitts.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-welcome-to-saint-kitts-caribbean/

This week Carol Taylor takes us through the five basic or mother sauces that every cook will find useful.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-the-5-mother-sauces/

Linda Bethea shares the lengths to which her two grandma’s would go to annoy each other…delighted that Linda will be sharing more about her family on a more regular basis.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-linda-bethea-it-was-a-wonder-to-see-my-two-grandmas-in-combat/

Getting to Know You Sunday Interview – Author Jaye Marie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-jaye-marie

A lovely poem from Joy Lennick on the Third Season ( A Poem for Autumn)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/smorgasbord-poetry-guest-poet-the-third-season-a-poem-for-autumn-by-joy-lennick/

Talent runs in the Lennick family, and Jason Lennick shares some entertaining recollections of life growing up.

Jason is halfbananas

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-life-with-the-lennicks-by-jason-lennick/

A short story with a very important message from author Andrew Joyce

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-andrew-joyce-short-story-one-word/

I am enjoying gathering my syllables and participating in Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 105.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebro-weekly-tuesday-poetry-challenge-number-105-haiku/

Smorgasbord Book Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/smorgasbord-book-reviews-the-glowing-pigs-snort-stories-of-atonement-tennessee-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

Smorgasbord Short Stories What’s in a Name? Volume II

Kenneth – A Love for Life

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/13/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-kenneth-a-love-for-life-by-sally-cronin/

Lily – The Collector

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-volume-ii-lily-the-collector-by-sally-cronin/

Houston and Chester 1986/1987 and Dirty Dancing… also requests from Robbie Cheadle and D.G. Kaye.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/the-music-column-houston-and-chester-1986-1987-dirty-dancing-hurricanes-requests-robbie-cheadle-and-d-g-kaye/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-price-she-who-comes-forth-by-audrey-driscoll/

Cafe updates

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-janice-spina-deanie-humphrys-dunne-and-john-quinn/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-judy-penz-sheluk-robbie-cheadle-and-elsie-hancy-eaton-billy-ray-chitwood-and-diana-j-febry/

Blogger Daily and Meet the #Reviewers

Jennie Fitzkee, Balroop Singh and Nicholas Rossis

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-monday-october-8th-2018-jennie-fitzkee-balroop-singh-and-nicholas-rossis/

D.G. Kaye, Carol Taylor, and Jane Bwye.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-d-g-kaye-carol-taylor-mac-and-cheese-and-jane-bwye-with-lucinda-e-clarketuesday-9th-october-2018/

Sue Vincent, Judith Barrow and Lizanne Lloyd.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-wednesday-10th-october-2018-sue-vincent-judith-barrow-and-lizanne-lloyd/

Jean Lee, Shehanne Moore, Beetley Pete and Nicholas Rossis.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-11th-october-2018-jean-lee-with-shehanne-moore-beetley-pete-and-hitchcock-nicholas-rossis-amazon-author-page/

Anne Copeland, Carol Taylor and Evie Gaughan

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-friday-12th-october-2018-anne-copeland-youthful-fashion-carol-taylor-chilli-evie-gaughan-with-review-types/

An immune boosting eating programme to help prevent and recover from the flu.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/smorgasbord-health-column-immune-boosting-diet-to-beat-the-flu/

One of the herbs that may help you ward off the flu and other infections is goldenseal.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/smorgasbord-health-column-influenza-the-herb-goldenseal/

Humour and afternoon video

Cat humour and a joke..Part One.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-funny-cats-and-a-joke/

Cat Humour and a joke Part Two.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-funny-cats-and-a-joke-part-two/

 

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Life with the Lennicks by Jason Lennick


Please welcome freelance writer, designer and social media specialist, Jason Lennick to the blog, with a witty and entertaining look at being part of the Lennick family.

Life with the Lennicks by Jason Lennick

I was brought into this world by two kind and decent people who wanted nothing but the best for me. Sadly they fell upon hard times and were forced to sell me to Joy and Eric Lennick for ten shillings and a packet of Hobnobs. And things deteriorated further when my brother Damon arrived on the scene some year and a half later, to steal my thunder (and my peace and quiet).

Younger brother Robert completed the picture, a beautiful child with angelic features and a winning smile that would one day conquer the nightclubs of Romford like Attila the Hun, but with better teeth.

Childhood was a confusing time and never more so than when Dad would randomly refer to us as Fred, Bill or George. But he was a kind man and worked hard to ensure our fridge was always filled with at least seven kinds of pickles. My beloved Mother Joy, when not scribbling poetry, could often be found in the kitchen, toiling for hours over vast cauldrons of soup, or exotic delicacies of Welsh-Jewish-fusion cuisine. Dad would torture/regale us over dinner with devastating puns and tales of his life in the army post WW2, and we would bicker and gulp down our food greedily like the little ingrates we were. Children are monsters.

All families have their quarrels and siblings inevitably squabble and scrap at times. Of course not all families deal with it in the same way, and perhaps the full-size boxing ring, complete with seating and judges was a little unconventional. I sometimes like to think I coulda’ been a contender.

My memory is a little hazy now, but I can still recall my parents taking us on long trips in the car: to the coast or the dark woods, far from our semi-civilized Essex home town. And yet somehow we always managed to find our way back, much to their chagrin.

Despite all the rivalry, the tantrums and the tears of family life, we made it to adulthood relatively sane and with most of our teeth. And there were so many happy moments to treasure: watching favourite TV shows together on our eight inch, steam-powered black and white television set; Christmas parties with beloved aunts and uncles and my first taste of alcohol; visits to our kind and loving grandparents; the smell of those roast dinners drifting up the stairs on a Sunday; football in the park and swimming at the Lido; riding our bikes for hours, on those crazy, hazy days of Summer. Where did the years go?

Now, each day, as I kneel before a vast golden altar to the gods of Monty Python, I recite a little prayer: “Dearest Mum and Dad (and the other two), may the gods smile upon you all and keep you safe and well. And may all Dad’s puns be forgiven. Amen, Shalom, Ni!” And somewhere, far off in some exotic distant corner of the globe (actually Alicante, Spain), I can almost hear someone say: “Ni!” right back.

Some might doubt whether my account of life with the Lennick’s is entirely true, or if perhaps a pinch (or a large sack) of salt might be in order. One thing that I can tell you in absolute honesty is this: my parents gave us a wonderfully warm, loving and supportive upbringing. The New Year’s Honours list doesn’t include a category for good parenting, but if it did they’d be a shoo-in.

Joy and Eric Lennick

©Jason Lennick 2018
Jason is halfbananas

About Jason Lennick

It’s tough growing up in the bug and ‘gator infested swamp-lands of Louisiana. So it was just as well that I was born and raised in the relatively ‘gator-free south of England.

When I reached the tender age of forty, my parents callously abandoned me, seeking a life of sunshine and sangria on the Costa Blanca in Spain. Luckily I was able to survive by using my finely-honed skills as a ninja assassin and snake-charmer.

I now have the good fortune to be residing in wonderful Copenhagen, with my long-suffering partner Ann, and a cute but very annoying old cat called Minnie, who seems to believe she is Empress of the universe. Who are we to disagree?

When not blogging, instagramming or comically mangling the unpronounceable Danish language, I can often be found arguing with strangers in Facebook groups, or creeping silently across rooftops in the dead of night with a deadly cobra in my backpack.

Connect to Jason

Freelance Designer, writer: https://www.behance.net/jasonlennick
Blog: https://halfbananas.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jasonlennick/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonlennick

My thanks to Jason for sharing his memories of his life as a Lennick… most of you are already very fond of Joy and her poetry and stories. It clearly runs in the family.  Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Andrew Joyce -Short Story – One Word……..


A short story with a very important message from author Andrew Joyce

One Word

I’ve been angry all my life. Everyone was always out to take from me. I’d never had any friends. When I was in high school, the other kids would go out to lunch together while I sat by myself, just off the school grounds, and felt the loneliness that had become my life.

On Saturdays nights, the other kids would go out on dates or pile into a car for a night of adventure. I would hitchhike to the main drag, plant myself on a bus bench, and watch the world go by, wishing I was a part of it.

Things didn’t get much better after I became an adult. I existed in the world, but was not a part of it. I had no use for anybody. My loneliness had long ago morphed into hatred. Hatred for the whole damn human race.

Then one day, I saw a dirty beggar down on 8th Street, by the 7-Eleven. I took great joy in his miserableness. At least someone was worse off than I was. There was no way that he could have any friends. He was both lonely and homeless. I, on the other hand, had a roof over my head.

I tarried to revel in the spectacle. I was enjoying myself.

He held out a plastic cup, imploring me to contribute. Was he joking? Could he not tell from the sneer on my face what I thought of him?

I was turning to leave, when a well-dressed man came up to the beggar and grabbed his filthy hand. He shook it vigorously while saying, “How ya doing, Tim?”

“Not too bad, Jim. Not too bad,” answered the tramp.

“You know, me and the wife still have that room for you. It would do you good to get off the streets and have a decent meal every day. If you’d ever accept one of my invitations to dinner, you’d see what a good cook Ruth is.”

“Thanks. But I’m doing just fine … for now. Let me take a rain check on that. Okay?”

“Sure, Tim. Sure.”

Before he left, the man took out his wallet, extracted a five-dollar bill, and put it into the cracked, plastic cup held by the beggar.

I shook my head in disbelief, turned, and walked into the 7-Eleven to get my cigarettes and a few scratch-offs.

When I came out, the beggar was in an animated conversation with a well-dressed, good-looking woman. I figured that he was harassing her and decided right then and there to go to her aid—if for no other reason than to harass the tramp.

“Excuse me, ma’am. But is this man bothering you?”

She looked at me as though I had two heads. Then she started to laugh.

“Oh my God, no! It’s the other way around.” She turned to the beggar and said, “Tim, would you like this gentleman to intercede on your behalf?”

The beggar smiled and answered, “It’s alright. He’s a friend of mine. And he knows how I get around beautiful women. He was just trying to protect you from my lustful ways.”

The woman broke into a big grin. “Tim McCarthy, if you aren’t the living end. Okay, we’ll finish this discussion later. But I’m going to get you into a decent place to live if it’s the last thing I ever do.”

She dug into her purse and came out with a twenty and into the cup it went. She then wrapped her arms around that disgusting person and gave him a long, tight hug. She patted my hand before she left, saying, “You make sure to take care of our Timmy.”

I have to admit, as she strutted away, I was thinking what a great-looking ass she had.
I was brought out of my thoughts by, “She really knows how to swing that thing to hold a man’s interest.” It was the beggar.

Okay. Hold on one goddamn minute. What the hell was going on? I tore my eyes away from the rapidly retreating woman and her shapely butt and confronted the beggar. “Please tell me … what is it with you? Why do those people have anything to do with you?”

The tramp smiled and asked if I minded if we walked as we talked. He had someplace he had to be and did not want to be late. I shrugged. As long as he didn’t get too close to me as we walked, I had nothing else to do.

I opened the conversation by asking, “Why did you tell that woman I was your friend? I’ve never seen you before.”

He winked, took a few dollars out of his cup, and handed them to a homeless man as we passed by, without saying a word. Finally, he said, “Even though we have never met, I consider you a friend. I mean, here you are, accompanying me to my luncheon engagement.”

“I’m walking with you to get an answer to my question. I’m no friend of yours. So, tell me. Why do these well-off people treat you like a long-lost friend?”

We passed another homeless person and, again, he dipped into his cup and shared his bounty.

I had to know. “Why are you giving away the money that you spent hours begging for?”

“It’s only paper with green ink on it. It doesn’t mean that much to me.”

“Then why do you stand on the street and beg for it?” I had him there. Or so I thought.

“I do it to meet people. Like I met you this morning. I think we’re going to be good friends.”

“You do, do you? I can’t stand your smell, I can’t stand being around you. I think I’ve gone as far as I want with you. I don’t care why people like you. It has no bearing on my life. Forget that I even asked. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a life to live.”

“What kind of life?”

That stopped me in my tracks. I turned and took stock of the slight, skinny, disheveled man who stood before me. With contempt in every syllable, I said, “A hell of a better life than you’re living or are ever apt to live.” I was so proud of myself.

He smiled. “Please have lunch with me. It’s my treat.”

I was taken aback. “What restaurant is gonna let you in?” I mocked.

He held up his right index finger and simply said, “I got a place.”

Strange as it seems, I was starting to warm to the guy. I had hit him with my best insults and nothing bothered him. At the moment, I was unemployed and had the entire day to kill before my nighttime TV shows came on, so, for the second time since I met the dude, I shrugged my shoulders and decided to go with the flow.

“Okay. As long as you can find a restaurant that will seat you—and you’re paying—I’ll have lunch with you.” I thought it a safe bet. No one was going to let him through the front doors of any establishment, let alone a restaurant.

I’d never noticed before, but times must have been rough. Well, I was unemployed, but that was my own fault. I just couldn’t get along with people. But what I mean is, there were homeless people on almost every corner. And every time we passed one of ’em, the little guy passed out money from his cup.

After his last spurt of generosity, I sneaked a peak into the cup; there were only a few bills left and none of them were a twenty. He must have given it away.

At last we came to a restaurant, and I must admit, it was pretty fancy. I doubt if they would have let me in. But my new-found friend walked past the front door and around the corner. Did I say “friend”? That sounded strange coming from me.

“Follow me,” he said.

We went down an alley and stopped at a door. Obviously the back door to the place. A slight knock and we were granted entry. We walked down a short hallway that came out into the main kitchen. The head chef, when he saw us, yelled across the room, “I’m a little busy right now. Your table is ready. We’ll talk if things slow down before you’re ready to leave.”

Tim (I might as well call him by his rightful name; after all, I was going to break bread with the guy) yelled back over the clamor of the hectic kitchen, “I’ve brought a friend. Is that okay?”

The chef smiled a broad smile and waved the large knife he was holding, indicating it was just fine and dandy with him.

Tim steered me to a table over in a corner. Before we could get situated, a busboy came out of nowhere with two glasses of water and a basket of rolls. A minute later, he was back with two glasses of white wine that he placed on the table. He said not a word. But his smile bespoke many words—he was also a friend of Tim’s.

As we sipped our wine, Tim apologized. “I hope you don’t mind, but we won’t be ordering off the menu. My friend over there,” he said, pointing at the chef, “likes to feed me his special of the day. He’s always quite proud of what he comes up with.”

“No problem. I’m impressed. But now that we have a few minutes, please tell me why everyone loves you. I’m almost as old as you. I’m certainly a lot more presentable and cleaner, no offense, but I’ve never had a friend in my entire life.”

“No offense taken. I do have a secret and I will tell you what it is, but first I want to hear about you and your life.”

This was all new to me. Someone cared enough to want to know about me? I took a deep breath and then let out everything I’d been holding in for years. I held back nothing. I told of all the rejections and hurt I had endured. I told that man all my deepest, darkest secrets—all my disappointments.

And when I had finished, I was crying. Nothing loud or out of place, but the tears were streaming down my face. Tim handed me a linen napkin and pretended not to notice.

By the time the food arrived, I was composed and kind of hungry. The plates were garnished, and the presentation was like any of the plates going out the swing doors and into the dining room. Maybe ours were even a little bit better looking. The food was wonderful. It was some kind of French dish, and probably the best meal I had ever eaten.

We didn’t speak much while eating, but as I was mopping up the last of the sauce with a piece of bread, Tim cleared his throat and began to speak.

“You wanted to know what my secret is for having so many friends. Well, it comes down to one word.”

In anticipation, I leaned forward a little. But no secrets were forthcoming. “Hold on a minute. This is better said with spirits in hand.” He held up his empty glass and a busboy, a different one this time, but still with a wide smile, filled our glasses.

Tim raised his glass in salute and spoke these words:

“The one single word that you have to know … that you have to live by … is Love. It’s so goddamn simple. Love every person you meet as you would want to be loved. The more love you put out there, the more love you’ll get in return.”

I waited for more. And after a minute, Tim looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, but that’s it, my friend. Just one simple word. Love … Love with a capital ‘L’ .”

I leaned back in my chair, disillusioned. So there was no secret after all. Well, at least I’d had a good meal.

Tim saw my disappointment and said, “Why don’t you meet me tomorrow at the 7-Eleven? I’ll take you to the park and introduce you around. You’ll meet all sorts of people, and I guarantee you’ll like every one of them. And in time, they’ll be your friends too.”

Long story short … I took him up on his offer. Today I have a new job and I am one of the most-liked persons in the office—and it’s a big office. I have a girlfriend, and on the weekends, we help out down at one of the food banks, or just take long walks in the park and say hello to our many friends.

And when I see Tim on the street with his cup, I always put in a twenty and shake his hand. I don’t offer him a place to stay because I know that’s not in his cards. He has to be out on the streets … meeting new people, making new friends … saving lonely souls.

©Andrew Joyce

My thanks to Andrew for sharing this story… he did not want anything to distract you from the message…. I think we have all got it…. right…..Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Linda Bethea – It was a wonder to see my two Grandmas in combat.


I am delighted that Linda Bethea is going to be joining us on a more regular basis, sharing posts of family, humour and words of wisdom….

It was a wonder to see my two grandmas in combat.

Mettie Knight Swain – Mamaw

It was a wonder to see my two grandmas in combat. Daddy always dreaded seeing Grandma Holdaway, my maternal grandmother, from the start. In his defense, she was inquisitive, intent on getting all the latest on his folks as soon as the pleasantries were done. By way of explanation, I have to admit, Daddy’s family gave her plenty to be nosy about. “How is your mama? Is she still living with Ola Bea?”

Mamaw moved house more than anyone else I’ve ever seen, rarely living in a place long enough to even have to dust the furniture. It was not uncommon for her sons to move her into a place, then get the news she wanted to move again before the rent was due. I was always impressed with the little places she’d find: little duplexes, rooms in houses she’d share with a friend, garage apartments, and tiny cottages. It’s hard to imagine how someone who didn’t drive nor have a telephone could find places so readily. In the event she didn’t move out on her own, she’d move in with one of her daughters or Uncle Parnell, whose wife Julie was like a daughter to her. Uncle Parnell even built a house for her on two places where he lived. She’d eagerly anticipate moving into her new house, then get discontented after a short time and decide to move elsewhere. If he was frustrated, he never complained and moved her back in her little house as often as asked.

  My maternal grandparents Mary Elizabeth Perkins Holdaway and children. The little blonde girl is Kathleen Holdaway Swain, my mother

When the two old ladies got together, they moved in for a hug, but held each other at a distance. After a few brief pleasantries, they got to the veiled insults. They took turns with insults recycled from their last visit.

“Miz Holdaway, you’re looking mighty healthy. Looks like you might’a put on a few pounds.” Mamaw might remark, slyly.

“Lord, no. I’ve taken off weight. I was gonna bring you my nice navy church dress but I run off and left it. It just about falls off me now. I know you could use it.” Grandma retorted. “You’ll probably need if Jenny’s girl gets married. Sure looks like she could use a husband.”

Mamaw changed the subject. “I brought Willie a fresh apple cake. He does love a good cake. I guess Kathleen tries, but she just ain’t much on making cakes. I raised my girls up in the kitchen from the time they was knee-babies. Every one of ‘ems a fine cook, yes, ma’am.”

Kathleen is a fine cook. Bill don’t look like he’s missed any meals. Did Ella May and her husband ever get back together? He seems like a good man. She needs to try to get along with him.”

Me with a gaggle of my first cousins. I am the messy girl in back row standing next to woman holding baby. This was taken on Christmas. That was a new outfit Mother made me for Christmas. It didn’t survive the cousin football game. I got home missing three buttons and most of my skirt hem. Mother was not pleased.

Daddy’s family gathered together most weekends, either at our house or one of theirs. It was a madhouse of raucous adults and screaming, door-banging children, since I had more than forty first cousins. Mamaw was very casual in her affection for the herd of banshees, most concerned about getting trampled or knocked in the head by flying objects. I can’t say that I ever saw her cuddle a baby or hug a child. Please understand, I don’t mean this as a criticism, there were just too many of the little heathens to keep up with. At least she didn’t smack us when we ran by, which probably required a bit of restraint. On the other hand, Grandma only had six grandchildren that she doted on. She showered us with beautifully handmade clothes and whatever inexpensive gifts she could afford on her meager old-age pension, seventy-seven dollars a month. Though Mamaw also got by on her Old-Age Pension, Grandma’s life was probably financially easier since she and my grandpa, who had his own pension, had always lived with family, avoiding the expense of running a house.

However, Grandma did earn her way by keeping house, cooking, doing laundry, and caring for a grandchild. Though Grandma did not get a free ride at all, Mamaw was envious of what she perceived as her “easier life.” I suspect most of Mamaw’s money went toward her frequent moves. According to Grandma, Mamaw wasted a good deal of money buying Cheerios and tiny cans of Green Giant Niblet Corn. I always got the lowdown after Mamaw left. Grandma said it made a whole lot more sense to buy oatmeal and family-sized cans of corn, preferably store-brand. I was with Mamaw on that. Had I had any purchasing power, I would have gone for the Cheerios, assuming I couldn’t get Sugar Smacks. I definitely admired those tiny cans of corn. By the way, I never got a taste of either. Mamaw had way too many grandchildren to be passing out food.

©Linda Bethea 2018

About Linda Bethea.

Linda Bethea brings humour to her stories that are usually set in what was a dire time in American history in the great depression. There is no doubt in my mind that Southerners are tough, resilient and have an amazing sense of fun.

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

Linda has captured the essence of her family history in her book Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

………...as you fall in love with Kathleen’s family.

Bethea’s style of writing as she recounts her mother’s memories has made her one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t put this book down once I started it.

Kathleen (Kitten) takes us through her childhood growing up during the Great Depression by sharing her memories, and we find ourselves cheering for the little girl and her family while we get to know them. Vivid descriptions about unwanted house-guest’s habits are hilarious, while stories of sacrifices made by the family for each other brings tears to the reader’s eyes. We find ourselves cherishing the favorite stories Kitten hears from her Mama and Daddy while she snuggles next to them much as she did at the time of their telling. As Kathleen recounts the difficulties she faced as a young adult, we too want to return home to her parents’ warm home, full pantry, and open arms.

Read the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for sharing her story and she would love your feedback. Thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Book Launch, Birch Maidens, Sausages and Spies by the Sea..


Welcome to the weekly round up and for me it has been an exciting week with the launch of my latest book. And also from a renovation perspective…the weather stayed dry enough for David to paint the outside wall of our garden facing the road. The lawn goes down this week and work will begin on the back patio… it has been two and a half years, so you can see why this is a watershed moment.

I know we are only just into October but I have been making plans for the Christmas promotions starting November 12th.. Primarily to make sure that every author in the Cafe and Bookstore is included, and to that end if you are not in the Cafe and Bookstore yet… here is a post to get you started.  Also if you are in the Cafe already, please let me know if you have a book out in the next few weeks so I can set up your New on the Shelves promotion.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-book-promotion-have-you-a-new-book-available-before-christmas/

As always I am very grateful for the amazing contributions of talented writers who spend time and a great deal of effort to put together posts for us.

Paul Andruss is on a sabbatical at the moment so I am sharing some of his earlier posts from 2017 for you to enjoy. The Birch Maiden is a wonderful legend, and in this post she is brought alive by the illustration by Donata Zawadzka who is the illustrator for my latest book.

picture1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-rewind-writer-in-residence-the-birch-maiden-by-paul-andruss/

Last week Carol Taylor identified some of the unexpected ingredients to be found in some brands off hotdogs. So that you don’t go off the delights of sausages totally, this week she gives us the recipe and spices to make our own.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-homemade-sausages-and-spice-mixes/

Delighted that Jessica Norrie is back with us after the summer break with a post on novels from 1903 to the present day, which feature spies and criminals in a coastal setting. Some classics from authors such as Agatha Christie, Erskine Childers, Graham Greene and in a modern vein…Ian McQuire.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-literary-column-with-jessica-norrie-coasting-with-spies-and-criminals-1903-2018/

Linda Bethea shares the last of her Mixed Nuts family stories… and the good news is that we will see Linda here on a more regular basis as a guest writer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-mixed-nuts-part-3-by-linda-bethea/

Esme gave us her predictions for the coming month….

Hi everyone and I hope you are looking forward to the month ahead. One of the main events, is that Venus is retrograde from this week until mid-November. People assume this means that love is going to fly out of the window… but in fact, what it does, is highlight areas of your relationships that could use some TLC.

October for me is an interesting month, in that I find it a ‘buffer’ month, between late summer, early autumn and winter in the Northern Hemisphere and spring and early summer for the heat of high Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-esmes-predictions-for-october-2018/

This week – what I was up to in 1985, music from Foreigner... and a request from Darlene Foster. This week 1986 and more requests.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-the-charts-1985-and-darlene-fosters-request/

A highlight for me….

This week was very special for me and my latest book was launched with some beautiful illustrations from Donata Zawadzka. I am very grateful to everyone for liking, reblogging and sharing across their social media. It was amazing and I cannot tell you how delighted I am by the response. I was also thrilled to find my first review for the book and that was wonderful. My thanks to Paul Andruss for creating a gif with the new cover and a selection of my other books which I share with you here and it includes some of the illustrations.

And the book’s first review

Appreciative reader 4.0 out of 5 stars Escape from the real world 6 October 2018

Fairy Queen Filigree moves her court from the dry Spanish plains to the Emerald Isle, where she and her courtiers soon need warm tweed clothing and fortifying amber nectar. But romance is on the cards to warm things up too. If you want a gently paced read full of enchanting detail, soothe yourself in the author’s carefully imagined world of fairy feasts, storytellers and ever so slightly petulant princesses. Like going back to childhood… This isn’t my usual thing but made a welcome change from real life – and there are some beautiful illustrations too.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/booklaunch-tales-from-the-irish-garden-by-sally-cronin/

Other personal ‘stuff’

I responded to Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge with a haiku.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-poetry-haiku-colleen-chesebro-tuesday-poetry-challenge-rose-hips/

This weekend’s short stories from What’s in a Name – meet Jane and Jack.

Jane – The Surprise

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-jane-the-surprise-by-sally-cronin/

Jack – A VIP Visitor

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-jack-a-vip-visitor-by-sally-cronin/

I am catching up with my reviews on the books that I have read over the summer… slowly but surely

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-book-reviews-psychological-thriller-lies-by-t-m-logan/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/smorgasbord-book-reviews-the-glowing-pigs-snort-stories-of-atonement-tennessee-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

Part two of my interview with author Leslie Tate… childhood memories of jungles and monkey poop…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-magazine-reblog-part-two-of-my-interview-with-leslie-tate/

New books on the shelves this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-offer-son-of-the-serpent-fantasy-angels-series-by-vashti-quiroz-vega/

Cafe Update – Reviews and News.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-colleen-chesebro-jacqui-murray-and-sacha-black/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-covers-and-reviews-shehanne-moore-janet-gogerty-and-c-s-boyack/

If you are a regular visitor you will know that I consider Vitamin D to be one of the most essential nutrients for our health. More and more research is identifying new health conditions that improve with an increase in Vitamin D through absorption of our skin (Sunshine Vitamin) or in diet in combination with supplementation.

This article appeared last week which would suggest that migraine sufferers could decrease the number of attacks by supplementing with the vitamin.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-health-column-nutrient-in-the-news-vitamin-d-could-reduce-number-of-migraine-attacks/

Starting to appear in the headlines across the media is news that following last year’s high death rates from the flu, and the ineffectiveness of the 2017 vaccine, a new maxi-strain format is going to be available this year.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-health-health-in-the-news-flu-season-vaccination-alert-new-mega-vaccine-available-in-uk-and-boost-your-immune-system/

Humour and afternoon Videos

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-a-few-funnies-and-a-joke-or-two-its-a-dogs-life/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-its-a-dogs-life-funnies-and-a-joke/

A selection of blog posts each day that I have read and enjoyed. Sorry not to mention all that I have visited but I hope I have shared most on social media.

Debby Gies, Leslie Tate, Carol Taylor and Teagan Geneviene

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-monday-october-1st-2018-d-g-kaye-reviews-leslie-tate-carol-taylor-exposes-hot-dogs-and-teagan-geneviene-illuminates-the-1920s/

The Story Reading Ape, Claire Fullerton, Christy Birmingham and Jennie Fitzkee

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-tuesday-october-2nd-2018-the-story-reading-ape-with-claire-fullerton-christy-birmingham-40shealth-and-jennie-fitzkee-reading-preschool/

Sue Vincent, D.G. Kaye and Annette Rochelle Aben

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-october-3rd-2018-sue-vincent-d-g-kaye-and-annette-rochelle-aben/

Charles E. Yallowitz, John W.Howell, Teri Polen, Mae Clair and Beaton Mabaso.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-september-4th-2018-charles-e-yallowitz-with-john-w-howell-teri-polen-with-mae-clair-and-beaton-mabaso-on-websites/

Jenny in Neverland, Pamela Wight and Noelle Granger.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-friday-october-5th-2018-jenny-in-neverland-onlinefriends-pamela-wight-shortstory-and-n-a-granger-review/

Thank you again for dropping in and your ongoing support… it is much appreciated.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – Rationing during World War II by Robbie Cheadle


Today author Robbie Cheadle shares some of the hardships endured by the British people during World War II. Food was rationed but in fairness it did produce a generation of very creative cooks.   You can find out more and enjoy some recipes from that era when you buy  While the Bombs Fell which is written by Robbie Cheadle and her mother Elsie Hancy Eaton.

 

Rationing during the war by Robbie Cheadle

My mother didn’t have a high opinion of her own mother’s cooking. I remember her describing it as bland and unappetizing. During the writing of While the Bombs Fell, I came to understand the extent of the food shortages that were suffered by the British people during World War II. It led me to wondering if it was really my grandmother’s culinary skills that were the problem or whether it was the lack of ingredients to make into tasty dishes.

Image Pixabay.com

The British government implemented food rationing at the beginning of 1940 and it only ended completely in July 1954. As a result of food shortages, British families found themselves eating some unusual dishes such as the following:

• Whale meat – this meat was rather tough and had a fishy taste;
• Snoek – a canned fish (barracoota) imported from South Africa;
• Horse meat – butchers had to relabel this meat as fit for human consumption as, prior to rationing, it had been fed only to dogs;
• Offal – the innards of an animal such as liver, kidneys and tripe;
• Sheep’s head – the head itself wasn’t eaten, it was used to add some flavour to a vegetable stew;
• Spam – a canned meat made of pork that came for the USA;
• Dried egg powder – used mainly for cooking;
• Pom – powdered potato which was mixed with water to make mashed potatoes;
• Dried milk powder

Butter was not available during the war, so people spread dripping, the fat from roast beef, on their toast instead. Of course, dripping was only available after the traditional roast on a Sunday and then only if the family was lucky enough to afford a tiny bit of beef.

Interestingly, fish and chips were not rationed.

©Robbie Cheadle

About While the Bombs Fell

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GZ2NZFK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/While-Bombs-Fell-Robbie-Cheadle-ebook/dp/B07GZ2NZFK

Also by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves.

James rated it it was amazing 25th July 2018

I’m in absolute awe thinking about the creativity within the Cheadle family. Their culinary and literary talents are fantastic. In one of their newer books, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook, Robbie Cheadle and her children take us on an extraordinary journey to the sugar crystal caves which are in danger of melting. Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet save the day showing us how much they love the world they live in. I need to try one of these recipes in the fall… all the creations look delectable. The stories are adorable. It’s the perfect way to bond with children on a lovely weekend where you stay in to have fun! 

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

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

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

Connect to Robbie and Michael

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Website: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
Plus.googlehttps://plus.google.com/105609586198905397891
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Thank you for visiting and I hope you will head over and buy Robbie’s latest book.. thanks Sally

If you would like to promote your blog or books with a guest post then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Reblog – Writer in Residence Paul Andruss – The Cuckoo and Fred


Here is a snippet from the latest post from Paul Andruss on his own blog… I hope you will head over and enjoy the rest… bring some spring and birdsong into your life..

I heard the first cuckoo* today. Its onomatopoeic call signalling Sumer is Icumin In*.

Despite the weather, it lifted my heart and cast me back to the first time I heard Frederick Delius.

The LP, as they were in those days, was a collection of Delius’ short works for orchestra. I had no idea what to expect. Anything I suppose, except waves of unadulterated emotion effortlessly making the eyes mist and filling the heart with an irrepressible longing for the type of languid summer days found only in the idylls of imagination.

In the opening piece ‘On hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring’ an oboe echoes a cuckoo calling over a languid wash of strings playing an old Norwegian folksong ‘In Ola Valley’.

I closed my eyes for ‘A Summer Night on the River’ feeling late warmth of a setting sun, hearing the zip of dragonflies iridescent in the low light, roosting birds squabbling on willow lined banks, golden sunbeams scattered by ripples of greedy fish snatching spent mayflies, the gentle rocking of the boat beneath me as I trailed my hand through limpid water.

Fred (christened Fritz) was one of 14 children born to wealthy German-Dutch immigrants in the Yorkshire city of Bradford in 1862. Fred’s dad wanted him to follow in the family wool business, but Fred wanted to be a composer.

Somehow in 1884, and it is not clear whose idea it was, 22 year old Fred ended up in Florida on an orange plantation. Here began his life-long love of ‘negro-spiritual’ music, burgeoning ragtime, and the earliest forms of what would evolve into the Blues.

The phrase ‘The Blues’ might have originated in an old slang term ‘Blue Devils’ describing alcoholic depression. Later ‘devils’ was dropped and the term denoted general melancholia.

Delius composed The Florida Suite barely 20 years after the American Civil War. During the reconstruction era unscrupulous businessmen called Carpetbaggers (after their form of luggage) came to the South buying bankrupt plantations and businesses for a song. It was a time great social upheaval and hardship for the poor, Black and White alike.

Please head over and enjoy the rest of this harbinger of summer concert: http://www.paul-andruss.com/fred-the-cuckoo/

You can find two directories for Paul Andruss on Smorgasbord – Writer in Residence: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

and Paul’s Gardening Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-gardening-column-by-paul-andruss/

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up- William Price King sings, Paul Andruss and Hellebores and Carol Taylor and Mustard.


Welcome to the weekly round up and I hope that your weekend is going well. We have had a very special visitor from America who arrived on Friday and it did David and I the power of good to be in the company of such a delightful, articulate and successful young woman. We have known her parents for over 30 years and have seen her grown from a beautiful baby into this accomplished adult.. What a pleasure.

Anyway… In honour of the visit, the sun came out on Thursday and I was able to get some of my pots refurbished…the job is not finished yet.. I have some more planting to do next week… provided we get a little dry weather.

Anyway.. time to get on with the week and as always my thanks to William Price King, (look out for a special post in thanks to William for all his amazing contributions… Drive Time this week features two of his own performances). Paul Andruss and Carol Taylor who have, as always provided outstanding columns for music, gardening and cookery.

The Music Column with William Price King – Johnny Mathis up to date.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-johnny-mathis-up-to-date/

The Gardening Column by Paul Andruss – Heavenly Hellebores.. or should that be Devilish?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-heavenly-hellebores/

The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – It is all about the mustard.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-mustard/

The Open House Sunday Interview – Gregg Savage – Daily Tales

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-open-house-sunday-interview-the-daily-tales-by-gregg-savage/

Personal Stuff – Tales from the Garden – The Goose and the Lost Boy.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/smorgasbord-short-stories-tales-from-the-gardenthe-goose-and-the-lost-boy-by-sally-cronin/

Letters From America 1985 – 1987 – Trip to Las Vegas – Part One #Hilton, #Dunes

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-las-vegas-part-one-the-hilton-slot-machines-dunes-hotel/

Sally’s Book Reviews – UK2: Project Renova Book Three by Terry Tyler

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sallys-book-reviews-uk2-project-renova-book-three-by-terry-tyler/

Sally’s Drive Time #Playlist – Music to get the Weekend Started – William Price King.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/sallys-drive-time-playlist-music-to-get-the-weekend-started-william-price-king-roxanne-and-the-show-must-go-on/

Esme’s Party Piece: Prediction for the two weeks April 12th – 26th.. and your Flower Power.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-esmes-party-piece-predictions-and-flower-power/

 

Smorgasbord Guest Post – Leslie Tate – Growing up as an author.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-post-growing-up-as-an-author-by-leslie-tate/

Posts from Your Archives.

Posts from the Archives… new series… travel themed blogs posted before October 2017. And to kick the series off.. traveller and author Darlene Foster with a surprise visit to the home of Jane Austen..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/smorgasbord-new-series-of-posts-from-your-archives-visiting-jane-austen-on-a-motorbike-by-darlene-foster/

Smorgasbord Poetry – Dorothy Cronin – Tuffy

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/smorgasbord-poetry-dorothy-cronin-1949-2006-tuffy-a-much-loved-family-pet/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Final post

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-spring-showcaseterri-webster-schrandt-jann-weeratunga-pamela-s-wight-charles-e-yallowitz-yecheilyah-ysrayl-and-victoria-zigler/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updatereviews-for-sandra-j-jackson-d-g-kaye-and-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves

 https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-war-of-nytefall-loyalty-by-charles-e-yallowitz/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-new-book-on-the-shelves-holding-the-lines-book-2-the-first-level-of-hell-by-joelle-legendre/

Smorgasbord Health Column

Nutrients A-Z  that we need to be healthy.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/smorgasbord-health-column-nutrients-we-need-vitamin-b3-is-also-known-in-different-forms-as-niacin-nicotinic-acid-nicotinamide-and-nicinamide/

Part three of the Brain series… this week a brief overview of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/smorgasbord-health-column-the-brain-part-three-dementia-and-alzheimers-disease/

Turning Back the Clock – Chapter Ten – Maintaining your Health Advantage.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/smorgasbord-health-column-turning-back-the-clock-chapter-ten-maintaining-your-health-advantage-by-sally-cronin/

Aromatherapy – Eucalyptus oil – usage and safety.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/the-medicine-womans-treasure-chest-aromatherapy-eucalyptus-essential-oil-origins-uses-and-safety/

Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-bathtime-for-dogs-is-just-a-bundle-of-joy/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-a-multi-international-cast-two-cats-a-dog-and-wi-training/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-words-of-wisdom-from-the-head-of-the-household-dear-kitten/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-in-the-courtroom/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-dancing-dog-size-does-not-matter/

Thank you very much for all your support this week and look forward to seeing you again soon.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – Growing up as an author by Leslie Tate


Delighted to welcome author Leslie Tate back to the blog with a guest post. Most of us who have been writing books for many years recognise the process of growing up as an author. As we evolve and develop through the decades, our life experience results in a change in the way we share our stories.

Growing up as an author by Leslie Tate

The author in me has a lot of bad habits. He writes for hours a day, only taking breaks to shop and cook and hang out the washing, so he’s always on task putting work before pleasure. He gets up in the night with a headache or leg cramps, takes paracetamol and writes again. He re-reads his own writing, obsessively, with the eye of a critic, trying to rate it as minor, middling or a waste of time. He dreams of winning the Booker – or of being shortlisted or longlisted or getting a mention somewhere – of being discovered after he dies and becoming a classic, taught in schools as the first in a new line of writers.

Everything he does has an eye to his writing – memorising detail to reuse on the page, carrying pen and paper to jot down lines, going to places that feature in his drafts, and analysing himself and the people around him as if they were characters in his latest book.

Is it that bad, you ask?
Oh yes, I reply, and more.
But surely, you say, having that achievement – isn’t that good?
Well, let me tell you…

My first novel, ‘Purple’, was a rewrite of another with a second timeline added. I thought the subject was bound to interest people – Matthew, a 60s’ innocent, goes up to university and learns about relationships – especially because it showed how vulnerable the hip generation really were. In the words of the blurb: ‘Matthew Lavender, starting college in 1969, has embraced a student underworld of drugs, image and cooler than thou. But behind his wild and witty persona lies a shy, sensitive romantic – a ‘feeling type’ bullied at school and restricted by his parents – who knows absolutely nothing about sex…’ The timeline I added was a first-person narrative told by his gran, Mary Lavender, whose account of family conflict prefigures Matthew’s battles with his parents.

And how did your bad-boy author react?

He learned things. For instance, how to use contrast (Matthew’s story is a long guitar break, Mary’s is traditional and acoustic) the power of location (the characters behave differently when they’re by the sea) and how good detail counts.

In my second novel, ‘Blue’, my author-avatar learned about inserts. When I first wrote it, ‘Blue’, was the story of how Vanessa and Richard try to ‘cure’ their problematic marriage by joining a 90s feminist collective, sharing childcare and open relationships. What I inserted was their connection to ‘Purple’ – Richard became Matthew’s cousin giving a spoof lecture examining modern relationships – a sexual politics article written by Vanessa and Richard, some freestanding dialogue, as well as a programme from a feminist exhibition featuring Vanessa’s photographic art.

And how did your author-persona react?

His teenage-self was growing up fast. He was finding his feet, practising his moves, learning how to ‘mix it’.

In my third novel, ‘Violet’, we follow Beth’s late-life love affair with James Lavender, establishing what the blurb calls ‘an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith’. The book shows Beth and James: ‘exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister…’ It builds on the other two novels, going deeper into character, developing a wider range of narrative voices, and taking risks at the end as the story moves into the afterlife.

So what, if anything, has your author-character learned?

· A book is never finished. The first version of ‘Purple’ came out in 2009, the rewrite in 2015. I’d still revise it, given half a chance.

· A book is a thought experiment. So ‘Blue’ is a test of character. Vanessa and Richard become part of an experimental group whose relationships push the boundaries. The pressures build and we find out what they’re really like.

· Books are larger than life – because once you’re inside them the mind takes over, stepping through time and choosing an angle that opens the heart and changes everything. So my intention in ‘Violet’ was to keep the story grounded in the nitty-gritty of Beth and James’s world, while pointing towards the next. To quote the blurb again: ‘Beth’s own passion for giving and commitment is pushed to the limit as she and James struggle with her divorce problems, each other’s children, and life-threatening illness. In the end, tested by pain, they discover something larger than themselves that goes beyond suffering and loss…’

And what about the author habits?

They’re still around but my mindset has changed. I’m grateful, now, that I’m published, and no longer write as if all eyes were on me. I do it all the time but it doesn’t eat me up. And I write as I write – slowly like a draftsman, a walker in a garden or a snake shedding skins.

©Leslie Tate 2018

About Leslie Tate

 

On my website I post up weekly creative interviews and guest blogs showing how people use their imagination in life, in many different ways.

I studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and have been shortlisted for the Bridport, Geoff Stevens and Wivenhoe Prizes. I’m the author of the trilogy of novels ‘Purple’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Violet’, as well as my trans memoir ‘Heaven’s Rage’, which has been turned into a film.

I run a comedy club, a poetry group and a mixed arts show in Berkhamsted, UK.

Books by Leslie Tate

About Violet

The passionate, late-life love of Beth and James begins in 2003 on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s cheerful openness, Beth is drawn into an unlikely encounter between his larkiness and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister.

Telling stories runs in Beth’s family, so she keeps up with her friends, following their efforts to find love in a soulless, materialistic world. But Beth’s own passion for giving and commitment is pushed to the limits as she and James struggle with her divorce, problems with each other’s children, and life-threatening illness. In the end, tested by pain, they discover something larger than themselves that goes beyond suffering and loss.
Violet, with its in-depth portrait of contemporary relationships, gallery of characters and links to Purple and Blue, is the climax to the Lavender Blues trilogy, and a powerfully observed, realistic account of modern love.

One of the recent reviews for the book

They picked at the contents, one by one. The nuts came in all sizes; they were whole, lightly roasted and unsalted. Dipping and munching, they shared what they had.”

When fifty-year-old café owner Beth Jarvis, divorced and with children, finds herself on a blind date, she wonders what it is she’s doing. Due to her nervousness she’s arrived at the restaurant far too early and now can only watch and wait while other diners arrive, staring at the door, wondering when—and if—James will show up. Biding her time, Beth sips her wine as she sifts through the letters he’s sent her. Will the real-life version of James be as good-natured and charming?

After James arrives, they share stories over a platter of Indian food. Later that night, Beth is, quite literally, swept off her feet as they dance. Not wanting the evening to end, they draw it out for as long as possible. When it finally comes time for them to part, they promise to meet again, and soon.

As Beth and James are getting to know each other, they realise that they share very different pasts. James was raised in Chester-le-Street, in Durham, to working class parents. His father worked on the railways and considered himself a revolutionary, of sorts. Later James moved to London, where he married and had children. He works as a gardener and prides himself on seeing the beauty in life. Beth, on the other hand, had an almost idyllic rural childhood, and later married a minister with whom she has two daughters. Her gentle, caring nature means she follows her heart. While this tendency has led her into James’ arms, it’s also meant that she’s sometimes been taken unawares in life. How Beth and James come together as a couple is the focus of the story.

Violet is an empathetic and skilfully crafted exploration of modern day love. It is also a study in character, and the ways in which a character changes, and is changed by, their experience of relationships. The story is written in a non-linear fashion, moving backward and forward through time, showing Beth from different angles and points in her personal history. The narrative is experimental in style, with some sections written in text-speak and including the letters James and Beth shared. This challenged my perceptions, making me pay closer attention to the writing. Tate’s in-depth exploration of Beth’s character allowed me to draw my own conclusions about her past and present. This made for an enjoyable and refreshing reading experience.

You can read the reviews and buy all the books by clicking on the covers or visiting: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leslie-Tate/e/B07BL5L23B

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Leslie-Tate/e/B07BL5L23B

You will find other reviews and follow Leslie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6043204.Leslie_Tate

Connect to Leslie Tate

Website: https://leslietate.com/
Author page for interviews: https://www.facebook.com/leslietateauthor/
Author page for ‘Violet’ pre-publication material: https://www.facebook.com/Violetnovel/
Personal page :  https://www.facebook.com/leslie.s.tate
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LSTateAuthor

My thanks to Leslie for his post today and I am sure that he would welcome your comments and questions.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Another Rainy Day in Seattle means MOHAI by Susanne Swanson


Welcome to the final post in the current series of posts from the blog of Susanne Swanson which she published in 2016. Seattle is a wonderful city and I have been a couple of times.. but it does rain a lot.  But if you are visiting and it should be a wet day, Susanne has a great suggestions to occupy you.

Another Rainy Day in Seattle means MOHAI by Susanne Swanson

Here’s one for starters: MOHAI. No it’s not some exotic island in the Pacific. And it’s not the Smithsonian either. It’s Seattle’s own humble Museum of History and Industry at its new location on the shores of Lake Union.

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The Grand Atrium

One recent rainy day we made the trek into Seattle to visit the museum. First up was the Grand Atrium where we saw colorful icons from Seattle’s past. Soaring overhead – Boeing’s first commercial aircraft, the 1919 B-1 flying boat (the only one made) which provided international airmail service between Seattle and Victoria, B.C. for eight years. Also on display: the Rainier brewery sign, Slo-Mo-Shun IV the legendary hydroplane, and the original Lincoln Toe Truck with its big toe reaching 11 feet into the air.

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Enterprising Seattle!

Before continuing to the next floor I sat through a short film and was reminded of the many companies (and entire industries) that got their start in Seattle beginning with the granddaddy of them all, the Boeing Airplane Company. Did you know that a Boeing 737 takes off or lands somewhere every two seconds? And Starbucks opened its first store in 1971 at the Pike Place market and changed America forever by making strong, delicious (and over priced) coffee drinks available on every corner. And how about Microsoft, started by local brainy teenagers (now billionaires) Bill Gates and Paul Allen. And lets not forget that other billionaire maker, Amazon. And that’s just to name a few.

My oh my, as Dave Niehaus would say. Seattle you’ve come a long way!

Of course there’s too much in the museum to cover in a single post, just as there’s too much to cover in a single museum visit. Especially if you read everything, which most people do not, including me. So I will just mention a few things of interest, starting with the landing at Alki.

Denny Party arrives at Alki

In November of 1851 twenty-two white settlers known as the Denny Party come ashore at Alki Point in the dreary cold and icy rain. How fitting. Chief Seattle and his tribe welcomes them and eventually the new town is named after the accommodating chief. Henry Yesler starts up a lumber mill on Elliott Bay and logs are dragged to the mill down “Skid Road.” The town grows and there seems to be a shortage of women who might teach and perhaps marry the loggers. What to do? Import them!

Here Come the Brides

Asa Mercer goes east in search of educated and adventurous women who are willing to come to Seattle. The journey was a long one from Massachusetts to New York, through the Isthmus of Panama and San Francisco to finally reach Seattle. In 1864 the first small group of women arrives with more to follow. Remember the nineteen sixties TV show that tells the story? I do!

The Big Fire of 1889

The town continues to grow and prosper until like any big city worth its salt in history, it burns to the ground. On June 6, 1889 the main business core of Seattle (mainly built of wood) burns down when a glue-pot tips over. The volunteer fire department shows up but alas there is no water to be had anywhere. As the singing exhibit will tell you, “The tide was out and the hydrants were dry!”

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There was no loss of life but the town was turned into rubble, leading to rebuilding with brick and mortar under new building codes.

(By the way it is a fact that much of the new town was rebuilt on top of the old one giving rise to today’s tours of Underground Seattle in Pioneer Square, which most locals never take; but hey, don’t let that stop you!)

Fast forward to the 20th Century and Music, Music, Music!

Yes, Seattle has a vibrant music history! Ray Charles moves to Seattle in 1948 and cuts his first record in his adopted city. He meets Quincy Jones who grew up here. Jimmy Hendrix also grows up in Seattle and teaches himself guitar. And grunge rock takes off in the eighties led by the likes of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

The Seattle World’s Fair

And how can I fail to mention the 1962 Century 21 Exposition otherwise known as the Seattle World’s Fair that helped shape Seattle’s future and brought the Space Needle to our skyline? You can learn all about it at MOHAI.

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So why don’t you come and see the exhibits for yourself the next time the rain is falling? And don’t forget to take in the views of Lake Union from the Maritime Gallery on the 4th floor and peer through the WW2 Periscope.

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And now I leave you with this Happy Ending: Elvis Presley parading through the Seattle Fairgrounds in front of the Coliseum in, ‘It Happened at the World’s Fair.”

So long for now and …. Mohai!

Thanks to Susanne for another terrific post and for the guide to what to do on a rainy day in Seattle.

©images Susanne Swanson

About Susanne Swanson

Hello! This is Susanne. After years of working in accounting and technology where rules are clear and numbers add up, I decided to explore the other side where roads are meant to be traveled, memories unfurl slowly and cats have been known to talk.

The name of my blog is Cats and Trails and Garden Tales for ‘these are a few of my favorite things.’ Here you will find tales from my favorite felines, Tiger and Benji; and stories and pictures from the Pacific Northwest where I live and other places I visit. Add in my garden, some rain (lots of rain it turns out), a few sunsets and reflections on life, and you have an idea of where we are headed. I hope you come along for the ride.

Susanne shares a post from one of the bloggers who has supported her and is one who is familiar to you… John Rieber who has contributed several of his travel posts in the last six months.

Here is a recent post of John’s that Susanne recommends: https://johnrieber.com/2018/03/26/cinemas-strangest-movie-titles-sex-witches-dustin-hoffman-slimeballs-too-2/

You can connect to Susanne through her blog and discover her current posts: https://catsandtrailsandgardentales.com/

Thank you for dropping by and there will be a new season of Posts from Your Archives after Easter… a great way to share your older posts with a new audience.