Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Silvia Todesco #Italian Cookery – Ricotta and beef meatballs. An Italian classic!-


Last week Silvia Todesco created a delicious appetizer for us and you can find the recipe: White Onion, bacon and blue cheese savoury pie

This week we move on to the main courses with an Italian classic recipe – Ricotta and beef meatballs. 

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In the collective mind of Americans, spaghetti with meatballs is one of the most popular Italian dishes.

Actually, this is partly true, considering that in Southern Italy they do dress spaghetti with meatballs and sauce.

But since I come from Northern Italy, I grew up eating just the meatballs as a main dish, possibly accompanied by mashed potatoes. The meatball recipe I’m excited to be sharing with you this week is one of my grandmother’s “classics”!

She used to make a lot of meatballs all at one time, and then she cooked part of them immediately by simply frying them in olive oil. The rest were cooked in a tomato sauce, and eaten in the next few days. This is why I give you the quantities for a big pan of meatballs; they are just as delicious as left-overs, or you can freeze them, without loosing any of the taste.

Meatballs are a simply delicious meal, and like many other dishes that I’ve already described in my past posts, this one also finds its roots in the tradition of the Veneto Region.

Ingredients for the meatballs

  • 2 lbs. ground beef (1 kg. carne macinata)
  • 1 lb. plain Italian sausage- without fennel seeds (1/2 Kg. salsiccia)
  • 1 lb. ricotta (1/2 kg. ricotta)
  • 3 eggs (3 uova)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (1 pugno grana)
  • sea salt to taste, I suggest about 3 pinches (3 bei pizzichi di sale)
  • 2 pinches nutmeg (2 pizzichi noce moscata)
  • 1 pinch dry rosemary (1 pizzico rosmarino)
  • 1 tsp. fresh or dry parsley (1 cucchiaino di prezzemolo)
  • optional: a clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (1 pugno pan grattato)
  • all purpose flour for breading (farina per la panatura)
  • olive oil or vegetable oil for frying (olio d’oliva per friggere)

Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce

  • 5 tbs. olive oil (5 cucchiai d’olio d’oliva)
  • 30 oz. (2 cans) tomato sauce (2 barattoli di polpa di pomodoro)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped (mezza cipolla tritata)
  • 1 clove of garlic (1 spicchio d’aglio)
  • salt and pepper to taste (sale e pepe qb)
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (1 cucchiaino peperoncino)
  • 1 tsp. rosemary (1 cucchiaino rosmarino)
  • 1 tsp. basil (1 cucchiaino basilico)

Directions for the meatballs:

In a big bowl mix the ground beef, Italian sausage, ricotta, eggs, parmesan, and spices/herbs (all ingredients except breadcrumbs).

When all the ingredients look amalgamated, add the bread crumbs, and keep mixing.

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Put the mix in the refrigerator to chill, and meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce.

Directions for tomato sauce:

In a large pan, brown the chopped onion and the garlic clove in olive oil.

When the onion looks golden, add the tomato sauce and all the herbs/spices.

When the tomato sauce reaches boiling, turn the burner to low heat, and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, covered.

If the tomato sauce becomes too dry before 15 minutes, add a couple tbs. of water.

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While the tomato sauce is cooking, take the meatball mix out of the refrigerator and start to make small balls.

Back to the Meatballs.

Each meatball should be made with about 1 tbs. of meat mixture (remember that the smaller your meatballs are, the taster they will result).

Then flour each meatball evenly.

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Into a large pan pour about 5 tbs. of olive, switch on the heat, and when the oil is hot, start to brown the meatballs all around.

Cook at medium heat for about 10 minutes. They have to become brown slowly, so they don’t stay raw inside.

Considering that you will obtain plenty of meatballs, you’ll probably run out of olive oil in your pan. So, I suggest to rinse and wipe out the pan when the oil in the pan begins to burn, and use new oil to brown the remaining meatballs.

You can eat the fried meatballs immediately, or mix them in the tomato sauce.

Once the tomato sauce is ready, take the garlic clove out of the pan, mix the browned meatballs in it, and let them cook together at medium heat for about 5 minutes, to allow the tomato to get the meatballs’ taste!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips:

– I’ve never made spaghetti and meatballs because to me meatballs are already rich enough, but if you want to make them to dress your pasta, you’ll get a really great entree!

– As I told you in the header, if you make the meatballs before dinner, you can just fry them and enjoy them without tomato sauce.

– As side dish, I suggest mashed potatoes or any other veggies. Of course with french fries the combination would be perfect… if you just don’t care about calories 🙂

– If you have meatballs leftover, freeze them only once they are cooked and mixed with the tomato sauce.

My thanks to Silvia for another wonderful dish and I am sure that it tastes as good as it looks.

About Silvia Todesco

I’m Silvia, I come from Veneto Region (from Bassano del Grappa precisely, one hour by car far from Venice), and I moved to Iowa in 2011, because of my husband’s job necessities.

I’ve grown up watching my great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother cooking for my family every day, searching carefully for ingredients and preparing fresh food. That was their way to show us how much they cared (and care) about us, and to carry on a tradition. I cannot recall a festivity without relatives everywhere and tons of delicious food to eat!

But my way was different I graduated with honors at the University of Law of Padua, and (obviously) I became a lawyer. As a professional, I used to work 14 hours a day, and, of course, the time I could dedicate to my family (and cooking) was almost none.

Then fate brought us here, and finally I’ve found myself. All my background came up, and I realized that taking care of my family is the most satisfying job I could do, especially because it entails cooking healthy and good food!

So I started to practice what I learned when I was young, and surprised myself in making all those meals that characterized my youth.

Integration in a new society is not easy, but it was nice for us to discover how much Italians are loved abroad! And since every new person we have met asked me if I was a good cook, and told me that they love Italian food, well, I decided to share my Italian cooking culture and recipes with you!

Of course, you won’t need to be an expert to follow my recipes! What I’m writing about is our daily menus- recipes made with simple and few ingredients, most of the time cheap and healthy (because the food is not processed).

Plus, considering my passion for cooking, I will also share with you new recipe I discovered in magazines, websites, or shared by friends, and in this case I will always describe you the origin of my posts objects.

In addition, I promise not only to write about Italian food, but especially to give suggestions related to where and how to find the right ingredients and tools you will need. I really hope that you will enjoy my tips!

Connect to Silvia

Website: https://italiangoodness.net/about/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/italiangoodness.net
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beautyandfourkids/
Mix: https://mix.com/silviatodesco81
Twitter: https://twitter.com/silviatodesco81
Pinterest: www.pinterest.it/silviatodesco/

Silvia would love to receive your comments and it would be great if you could share the post.. thanks Sally.

Next Sunday….tune in for oven baked, bacon wrapped cod….

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users including no sale of data. Just click the image to find us.

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Silvia Todesco – White onion, bacon and blue cheese savory pie: the ultimate recipe for a magnificent appetizer.


Delighted to welcome Silvia Todesco to Smorgasbord for a series of guest posts about Italian Cookery. Over the next four Sundays, Silvia will share a recipe for an appetizer, a meat dish and a fish course, and a dessert. I love all food, but Italian food is probably my favourite, from freshly made pasta dishes to handmade pizzas. I have no doubt that you will enjoy the experience.

White onion, bacon and blue cheese savory pie: the ultimate recipe for a magnificent appetizer.

I like using puff pastry very much (especially for an appetizer), because it is so versatile and it is very easy to use… This new recipe with puff pastry will for sure not leave you disappointed!

This savory pie is as simple as it is, but has a flavor so special that everyone (even for those who don’t like blue cheese) will love it! I’ve made it twice since I found the recipe on Pinterest few weeks ago and I couldn’t manage to get a picture of the pie once cut, because it just disappeared from the table in few minutes! It is so delicious!

I have to tell you that I was sceptical about using the balsamic vinegar and all that onion, but at the end, those two ingredients are just the perfect touch to this super tasty appetizer which is a cheesy heaven with a delicate vinegar and onion aftertaste. Although it is not a finger food, this pie it’s an appetizer I would absolutely suggest you to try because it is so delicious and appealing that your guests will be amazed!

Ingredients for 1 puff pastry sheet

  • 1 frozen puff pastry sheet
  • 3 regular sized white onions peeled and finely cut
  • 7 oz. blue cheese (200 gr. formaggio verde) cut in small cubes
  • 3.5 oz little stripes of bacon (100 gr.)
  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil
  • 1 handful grated parmesan cheese
  • few tbs. crumbled bread
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 egg yolk to brush the pastry

Method

A few hour before arranging the pie, take out of the freezer the puff pastry sheet and let it thaw in the refrigerator until it is easy to roll out.

For the filling: pan fry (or saute’) the onions and bacon in a large pan with some olive oil for about 10-15 minutes stirring every now and then to avoid burning. Once cooked, adjust with sea salt and add the balsamic vinegar. Let cool off.

In a separate bowl combine the cheese, eggs and parmesan and mix very well. Add to the mix the cooled onion and bacon.

Preheat the oven at 420 F. In a clean surface, roll out the pastry, giving it a round or rectangular shape, according to the shape of your baking dish. Lay the pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, fill the pastry with the mix evenly, and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Be careful to close inward the sides of the pastry so the filling doesn’t run out while baking. Brush the edges of the pastry with some beaten egg yolk. (as you can see I’ve tried both options using the regular rectangular puff pastry sheet and both time it turned out great!).

Bake at 420 F for about 20 minutes or until the pie rises and starts getting colored.

Serve still warm… it is sooooooo scrumptious!

TIPS: – the Blue cheese I buy comes in packs of 150 gr. so I add to the filling 50 gr. of brie cheese and the result was wonderful;

– I’ve tried to add stripes of salami together with the bacon, and again, the result was absolutely amazing.

– Considering the two previous facts, I would definitely consider this recipe as a way to use up a few ingredients that sometimes are in our refrigerator for days and usually ends up going bad (I am talking of small pieces of cheese or few slices of bacon…).

My thanks to Silvia and this is a dish that I will be making very soon… looks delicious

About Silvia Todesco

I’m Silvia, I come from Veneto Region (from Bassano del Grappa precisely, one hour by car far from Venice), and I moved to Iowa in 2011, because of my husband’s job necessities.

I’ve grown up watching my great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother cooking for my family every day, searching carefully for ingredients and preparing fresh food. That was their way to show us how much they cared (and care) about us, and to carry on a tradition. I cannot recall a festivity without relatives everywhere and tons of delicious food to eat!

But my way was different I graduated with honors at the University of Law of Padua, and (obviously) I became a lawyer. As a professional, I used to work 14 hours a day, and, of course, the time I could dedicate to my family (and cooking) was almost none.

Then fate brought us here, and finally I’ve found myself. All my background came up, and I realized that taking care of my family is the most satisfying job I could do, especially because it entails cooking healthy and good food!

So I started to practice what I learned when I was young, and surprised myself in making all those meals that characterized my youth.

Integration in a new society is not easy, but it was nice for us to discover how much Italians are loved abroad! And since every new person we have met asked me if I was a good cook, and told me that they love Italian food, well, I decided to share my Italian cooking culture and recipes with you!

Of course, you won’t need to be an expert to follow my recipes! What I’m writing about is our daily menus- recipes made with simple and few ingredients, most of the time cheap and healthy (because the food is not processed).

Plus, considering my passion for cooking, I will also share with you new recipe I discovered in magazines, websites, or shared by friends, and in this case I will always describe you the origin of my posts objects.

In addition, I promise not only to write about Italian food, but especially to give suggestions related to where and how to find the right ingredients and tools you will need. I really hope that you will enjoy my tips!

Connect to Silvia

Website: https://italiangoodness.net/about/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/italiangoodness.net
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beautyandfourkids/
Mix: https://mix.com/silviatodesco81
Twitter: https://twitter.com/silviatodesco81
Pinterest: www.pinterest.it/silviatodesco/

I am sure that you are now as hungry as I am….. and Silvia would love to receive your comments. She will be back again next week with Ricotta and beef meatballs…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Jazz, Chicken Poop, Chopped liver, Old Age, Australia and Sheep farming!


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

Despite some grey and misty starts to the days, there has been a trending upward curve in the temperatures and the hedgerows and gardens locally are beginning to show signs of spring. For someone who does not do short days, devoid of sun, and usually wet, this is a great shift in the weather. All my years as a child and adult living in sunnier climates makes it a challenge. I must admit to becoming a bit of a hermit from October to March and guess in a previous life I must have been a bear!  I can be be grumpy enough at times, especially when I wake from a long sleep and am hungry and thirsty.

Thankfully there have been some offline activities this week that have been great fun and people and laughter make all the difference.

Apart from that…. it has been a great week here online with a new job for me, having been invited to be an administrator for The Literary Diva’s Library on Facebook, alongside Colleen Chesebro and D.G.Kaye… and Colleen has added me into the group banner and if you click that, it will take you to the page where you can share book reviews for yourself and crucially for others, and also author interviews and news. The more members we have the more effective the group will be in supporting authors.

If you are an author and would like to be part of a group that supports and promotes other authors then please head to Facebook by clicking the image.

As always I would like to thank the contributors to the blog who inform and entertain you. This includes those participating in the new Posts from Your Archives series which is all about the family.. If you click on one of the posts it will give you the details on how to share your posts to a new audience. You can also become a guest writer with any new material that you would like to share… you can email me for details if you are interested sally.cronin(at)moyhill.com

Welcome to the music column with William Price King and this week the featured artist is Ted Nash, Saxophonist and Composer  and his work Portrait in Seven Shades.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-jazz-ted-nash-with-portraits-in-seven-shades/

In this week’s re-run of Paul Andruss’s gardening column, he promotes the beneficial properties of chicken poop for the garden…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-the-best-thing-to-come-out-of-a-chicken-by-paul-andruss-3/

A new series of Cook from Scratch with myself and Carol Taylor. This time looking at nutrients and the symptoms that you might be deficient in them.. I share the signs and the foods to include to avoid becoming deficient, and Carol turns them into delicious meals for all the family. This week Vitamin A..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/new-series-smorgasbord-health-column-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-cook-from-scratch-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiency/

In this week’s chapter I look at the amount of sugar that is hidden in our diet and how Candida Albicans thrives on this food, fueling the overgrowth in our gut.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-eliminating-its-favourite-food-sugars-by-sally-cronin/

My guest today is author Sheila Williams who lives in France, but in the past has enjoyed several careers, including that of sheep farmer (more about that later!). Sheila shares a mortifying experience in a restaurant, her fashion sense, the contents of her handbag and a tussle with a persistent romeo ram (of the sheep variety!)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-sheila-williams/

This week Linda shares ‘Family Talk’ the expressions that become a code that every member of the family understands.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-linda-bethea-family-talk/

Australian author Frank Prem shares his love of his hometown, and the inspiration behind his recently released collection of poems and stories.. Small Town Kid.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-frank-prem-welcome-to-beechworth-victoria-australia/

Joy shares a poem that expresses the joys of being young at heart at eighty-three years old…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-poetry-mistaken-identity-by-joy-lennick/

As a follow on from the Valentine’s Day post of romantic ballads, here are some of the requests with more to come on Tuesday.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/smorgasbord-music-column-the-romantic-ballad-request-show-part-one-becky-ross-michael-d-g-kaye-abbie-taylor-cindy-knoke-sue-vincent/

My guest today is poet Miriam Hurdle who wrote a post in 2017 at Thanksgiving. It was an eventful time with Miriam in recovery from an operation for cancer and her daughter about to give birth.

9

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-thanksgiving-2017-by-miriam-hurdle/

D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies, shares the signs that you are in an abusive relationship, and from personal experience, she inspires those who are trapped in a cycle of abuse to break free.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-memoir-bytes-the-10-red-flags-i-didnt-pay-attention-to-domestic-abuse-by-d-g-kaye/

Delighted that author Sue Vincent is sharing a post from her archives, particularly as it is all about dogs that have been a part of her family, going back generations.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-a-family-of-dogs-by-sue-vincent/

In respect of this series, where I explore some of the key elements of our modern lives, I take a light-hearted look at love and romance. Well partly light-hearted, as there are some elements of this universally sought after state of bliss that can be from the dark side. 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-romance-a-modern-fairy-story-by-sally-cronin/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-swimming-for-profit-and-pleasure-the-port-naain-intelligencer-by-jim-webster/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-wings-of-prey-book-6-the-gift-legacy-by-j-p-mclean/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-sci-fi-thriller-life-and-other-dreams-by-richard-dee/

Author updates

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-james-j-cudney-paulette-mahurin-and-jean-lee/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-reviews-deborah-a-bowman-olga-nunez-miret-and-vashti-quiroz-vega/

This week my etheree is on the Joys of Spring….in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 124

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-poetry-challenge-124-etheree-the-joys-of-spring-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-debby-gies-and-a-joke-from-the-archives/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-the-thrill-of-the-chase-and-senior-dating-ads/

Thank you for all you support and look forward to seeing you again next week.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – #Poetry – “Mistaken Identity” by Joy Lennick


Today Joy shares the joys of being young at heart at eighty-three years old…

MISTAKEN IDENTITY?

An ‘old’ lady?!
(My birth-paper states I’m eighty-three…)
Eighty-three? That can’t be me.
I don’t smell of moth-balls,
or click my teeth,
don’t have arthritis,
or bunioned feet.
A waft of perfume?
Chanel No. 5…
I’m eager and curious,
and glad I’m alive.
When music rings out
I’m there with a jive!
BUT, first thing in the morning
do I spring out of bed?
No, I regretfully admit
I sidle instead.
And how long takes my ‘toilette’?
I, umm…vaguely mumble…
“It takes quite a while
for me to assumble!”

©Joy Lennick 2019

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

I found this book totally enchanting, not just for the way it was written (which was completely original being unfettered by any rules on writing and therefore delivered with great feeling). It evoked some long lost memories from my childhood, of family forgotten or misplaced by faulty memory. I thought of my grandmother clasping a homemade loaf of bread under her arm, giving it a good buttering, then with a large bread knife, sawing it off and setting a ‘doorstep’ sized slice free for jam or honey to follow. I wasn’t born at the time of the war, which doesn’t spoil any of this account and although I know it from history books and oft heard tales, was not a good time to live through, yet I’m left thinking there was another side to these times, told here with great fondness. Sometimes I think we’ve lost a great deal for all our modern ways. This is a lovely book and worth a read. Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

If you are an author and would like to be part of a group that supports and promotes other authors then please take a look at this group on Facebook by clicking the image.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Frank Prem – Welcome to Beechworth, Victoria, #Australia


Today Australian author Frank Prem shares his love of his hometown, and the inspiration behind his recently released collection of poems and stories.. Small Town Kid.

Hello and welcome to my hometown of Beechworth in north-east Victoria, where we nestle in the foothills of the Victorian Alps within easy reach of snow and skiing.

The north-east is awash with pretty and charming small towns and interesting villages, but Beechworth is a special place. It sits in the centre of an historical golden triangle of interest to visitors and tourists alike. The beauty of the scenery through the seasons has to be seen to be believed and won’t be easily forgotten (particularly the gorgeous foliage on display in the autumn), and immaculately preserved honey-granite-constructed buildings of historical significance occur all through the town.

Beechworth traces its roots to the late 1850’s, when it rapidly became one of the richest goldfields in Victoria, and was recognised as a centre of some influence in colonial Victoria. In total, some 212,500 ounces of gold were produced.

Relating directly to the gold rush period, you might like to look out for a few of the significant buildings, such as the original prison and telegraph office on Ford Street (where you can send an old-fashioned telegram), the post office located on the main intersection in town, and the old Gunpowder Magazine located in the bounds of the Gorge that looks across at the town and was the source of the granite hewn to make these buildings. Guided walking tours of Beechworth cover many of the points of interest mentioned so far.

A consequence of the early success of the town was the advent of bushrangers in the district, the most famous being the notorious Kelly Gang comprising Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne, who pillaged in and around the district during the late 1800s. Kelly himself was held in a cell in Beechworth, while his mother, Ellen Kelly (née Quinn), was imprisoned at one time in the local gaol, and former friend turned police informer Aaron Sherritt was murdered by the gang member Byrne at the locality of Woolshed, just outside Beechworth.

I and all of my childhood mates were of course, at one time or another, the one and only ‘real’ Ned Kelly – marauders through the wild bush around the township, growers of voluminous amounts of imaginary facial hair, holders-up of tourist vehicle traffic trying to circumnavigate the Gorge on the tourist road.

More contemporary points of interest would have to include the Beechworth Bakery , which is now well-known in many parts of Australia, the Beechworth Brewery, a multi-award-winning local microbrewery, and the Beechworth Sweet Shop Company. These are particular favorites for me in my life around the town – the bakery for early morning coffee before I start work, the brewery for gourmet pizza lunch when my wife and I want an informal lunch out, and the sweet shop… well, whenever the yearning for hand-crafted dark chocolate calls.

The town holds more festivals and gatherings than I can recount in full, but a few of them come to mind. The The Golden Horseshoes Festival is perhaps the main draw card for visitors and takes place every Easter. The story goes that a horse was shod with golden horseshoes by an election candidate in 1855 and ridden through the town.

Goodness knows what that would have done to the horseshoes, but it suggests there was a lot of wealth about the place. This festival culminates on Easter Saturday morning with a massed parade of exhibits on floats that often seems to go on forever.

Other festivals include the Harvest Festival, the Celtic Festival, the Kelly Country Pick  and of course the Ned Kelly Festival. There are definitely plenty to choose from, and the town fairly bursts at the seams with tourists whenever a festival weekend arrives on the calendar.

But why am I living here? What does this town mean to me?

I grew up in Beechworth, the son of an immigrant family that settled here in the migration wave that took place in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I have memories that curl around my mind rising from every street corner, particularly from the schools, the state and catholic primary schools as well as the local high school. But the wilderness calls me too, recalling my youthful solitary adventures whenever I glimpse the forested Gorge that surrounds the town.

And the old Mayday Hills Psychiatric Hospital reminds that it gave me my career as a psychiatric nurse, each time I step onto the grounds to wander the wooded parkland surrounding the old buildings. It amazes me to see the ‘For Sale’ signs on dilapidated wards where I and my family before me used to work. Privatisation is an amazing thing when places like an old lunatic asylum, as it once was, can be repurposed into hotels, accommodation and private housing. Who would have thought?

This is my home town, I wrote my first poems here, and I bid you….
…welcome to Beechworth.

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

An extract from one of the recent reviews for the book

This delightful book of poems by Frank Prem is packed with interesting poems about his childhood, growing up in a small town in Australia. I love history and also enjoy learning about people and how they live so this book appealed to both of these interests of mine.

There are poems about a small child being cared for by both of his grandparents while his own parents work and the little pleasures such as eating home made poppy cakes, and peeks into the lives of close relatives such as an aunt who had a very lively spirit that showed through at certain times in her live belying the prim and proper exterior she was expected to display as a married matron.

The author clearly grew up in an old fashioned society where people were careful with things and tried to stretch a penny:

“sixpence
for a couple of pounds of paper
and the news
becomes the wrapping
for another feed
of tender young chops.”

My favourite of all Frank’s poems, a tricky place (the annual fete) was a superb insight into small town life at the time. I am not going to give you a peep into that poem, you will have to purchase the book and read it for yourself.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Find more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure you have enjoyed this lovely nostalgic post from Frank about his home town… he would love to receive your questions and feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Bloggers Bash Nominations, Winter Warmers, Arizona, Spring Bulbs and all that Jazz


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

We are actually enjoying some sunshine despite very cold temperatures and we are hoping it is a sign spring is on its way. I know for many of you in the UK and USA, this has been a very tough couple of weeks with snow and storms, so hopefully you too will have a more settled week ahead.

It is hard to ignore the turmoil going on in the world, especially as the press is having a field day with fake news, assumptions, predictions, fear-mongering, pot-stirring and allegations. There may be a reason that we as yet have not been invaded by an alien species. I suggest that they have popped in from time to time, to the excitement of the UFO buffs, and exited rapidly when they see what they might be getting into.

The actions of those in power are completely at odds with the promises made in their wonderful election speeches, and at the very least they should be prosecuted for false advertising and misrepresentation.

Meanwhile, in the real world, all we can do is keep doing what we are doing and try to stay as positive as possible.

If all else fails………..

My thanks to my regular contributors who continue to spread a positive message and to your for dropping in and liking, commenting and sharing..

And on that note……

I was very honoured to be nominated for the Best Book Blog award, and my thanks to those who put my name forward. Voting begins at the end of March and you still have time to nominate your favourite bloggers in the new categories. The links are in the post.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-bloggers-bash-awards-2019-nomination-best-book-blog/

This week William Price King shares the life and music of legend Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-jazz-charlie-bird-parker-saxaphone/

Paul Andruss with some suggestions to bring colour to your garden with early spring bulbs.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-rewind-light-up-your-life-with-brilliant-bulbs-part-1-early-spring-bulbs/

Carol Taylor shares some recipes that are easy to prepare and that will warm the cockles of your heart…..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-winter-warmers-stews-and-casseroles/

Debby Gies is still on vacation in Mexico and busily creating future travel posts about this fantastic vacation spot, but in the meantime, she gives us a guided tour of Jerome, Arizona which is a preserved copper mining town that generated billions for investors.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-jerome-arizona-mining-town-with-d-g-kaye/

Joy Lennick shares two poems that bridge the end of winter and the start of spring.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-poetry-spring-by-joy-lennick/

Welcome to the blog for the first time to romance author Laura M. Baird who shares her love of country, music and tattoos, as well as one of the craziest and most detailed dream

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-romance-author-laura-m-baird/

I am now participating in is Diana Peach’s monthly speculative fiction challenges and this month she had a delightful photo prompt. My story is called ‘The 1812 Overture”

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/smorgasbord-short-stories-diana-wallace-peach-februarys-speculative-fiction-prompt-the-1812-overture-by-sally-cronin/

Another of my weekly challenges is the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/03/smorgasbord-short-story-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-sea-mist-by-sally-cronin/

It is that time of the week when I get my syllables in lines in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 122.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/smorgasbord-poetry-colleens-weekly-poetry-challenge-122-poets-choice-etheree-metamorphosis-by-sally-cronin/

It is February 1986 and we are preparing for my birthday and I get a new car.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1986-birthday-party-and-new-car/

Relationships – So far I have covered respect, recognition, relations in Previous Chapters, which leads me very conveniently into relationships. In this first part, I am looking at the socialisation of children before and during school that form the basis of their relationship skills in the wider world.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-relationships-in-a-modern-world-part-one-childhood-by-sally-cronin/

Author Updates and reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-bette-a-stevens-fiona-tarr-and-jan-sikes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-miriam-hurdle-linda-g-hill-and-mark-d-giglio/

Every year, 4.2million people die worldwide within 30 days of surgery. This is a staggering 1.23million more deaths than HIV, TB and malaria combined makes up 7.7% of all fatalities – with only heart disease and stroke killing more. You can make a difference to this statistic by preparing for elective surgeries in the weeks before the operation.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/smorgasbord-health-column-new-statistics-on-surgery-recovery-that-are-shocking-and-preparing-for-an-operation/

The next chapter in my rollercoaster weight gain and loss history, with a pattern emerging that linked a number of physical events in my life, antibiotics, candida albicans and stress together.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-morbid-obesity-a-physical-rollercoaster-anti-biotics-candida-hormones-yo-yo-dieting/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-some-funnies-and-things-kids-say/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-3/

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have an amazing week……

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer #Poetry – Spring by Joy Lennick


Today Joy Lennick shares two poems about spring as it emerges from the frosty winter.

ARBOREAL BRIDES

A dozen arboreal snow maidens
grace our concrete street:
like virginal brides –
some blushing –
confetti at their feet.

Shivering in the early Spring freeze,
genuflecting in the icy breeze,
they bravely bear
Mother Nature’s whims –
and to beauty all are hymns.

AND NOW…

An ethereal curtains rises,
a feathered chorus orchestrates.
Enter Spring – her grand debut –
veiled by dew-dropped, cob-webbed lace.

Crowned with gold forsythia,
yellow trumpets show respect.
Earth’s treasure-chest is opening,
all creatures genuflect.

Each Spring I have a love affair,
wonder at her yearly flair,
and at her feet I leave a prayer
for all the beauty dwelling there.

©Joy Lennick 2019

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

I found this book totally enchanting, not just for the way it was written (which was completely original being unfettered by any rules on writing and therefore delivered with great feeling). It evoked some long lost memories from my childhood, of family forgotten or misplaced by faulty memory. I thought of my grandmother clasping a homemade loaf of bread under her arm, giving it a good buttering, then with a large bread knife, sawing it off and setting a ‘doorstep’ sized slice free for jam or honey to follow. I wasn’t born at the time of the war, which doesn’t spoil any of this account and although I know it from history books and oft heard tales, was not a good time to live through, yet I’m left thinking there was another side to these times, told here with great fondness. Sometimes I think we’ve lost a great deal for all our modern ways. This is a lovely book and worth a read. Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – Weekly Update – Christmas parties, guest posts, books, Traditional Christmas menu and music.


Welcome to the weekly round up and I am sure that you are all in the middle of getting your own Christmas or holidays sorted. We have family staying this week and a dinner planned with visitors which we are looking forward to.

We actually tend to hibernate from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day and it has become a tradition to drop whatever we are doing online (except for an hour a day – otherwise I get cranky)… and spend time together enjoying movies, meals out and laughing. Christmas is for family and we will be Skyping my sisters on the day, as they will be together for dinner in Portsmouth.

With just the two of us, we tend to not get a turkey and will be having aged sirloin steaks, chips, onion rings and ice-cream for our dinner. We might start with some scallops and prawns if I can find some fresh ones and any other of our favourite foods I can locate. A glass or two of good Spanish red and then a power nap I think before Quality Street and a rerun of one of the classic Christmas movies.

It has been a busy week with the Christmas book promotions and parties so I will stop chatting and get on with it.

As always very grateful to my regular contributors and you will find a couple of your favourites popping in over Christmas to entertain you. Including a four part story set in Japan by Writer in Residence Paul Andruss, who has taken time out from his writing sabbatical to share.

And thank you too for visiting, liking, commenting and sharing the post, it is much appreciated.

This week William Price King introduces us to the magical Alice Coltrane pianist and harpist.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-alice-coltrane-pianist-harpist/

Last week Carol Taylor delighted with her Vegetarian Christmas Menu.. and this week she created a feast for those of us who like some turkey for our dinner… with all the trimmings. An amazing amount of work and I am so grateful for all her efforts in the last 18 months.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-food-column-carol-taylor-traditional-christmas-menu/

Geoff Le Pard entertains with the second of his guest posts this Christmas…Traditions Le Pard Family Style

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-guest-post-hristmas-traditions-le-pard-family-style-by-geoff-le-pard/

Delighted to announce that from January Annette Rochelle Aben will be writing a new column for the blog.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-coming-in-january-2019-your-monthly-universal-energy-numerology-with-annette-rochelle-aben/

This week there are three prompts as part of Colleen Chesebro Poetry Challenge no. 114, 115, 116 as Colleen is going to be taking a well earned break.. So no recaps until early January. But Colleen has left you the prompts for those three weeks if you would like to continue with the series. I felt like going off piste this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-poetry-challenge-off-piste-with-season-of-goodwill/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-fascinating-new-yorkers-power-freaks-mobsters-liberated-women-creators-queers-and-crazies-by-clifford-browder/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-alchemist-gift-alchemist-series-book-1-by-mark-d-giglio/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-romance-forgetting-my-way-back-to-you-by-karina-bartlow/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-collaborations-kim-blades-and-robbie-cheadle-john-w-howell-and-gwen-plano-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-thrillers-short-stories-luna-saint-claire-jan-sikes-and-kristina-stanley/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-mystery-adventure-fantasy-andrew-joyce-daniel-kemp-teagan-riordain-geneviene-and-linda-g-hill/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-mysteries-and-satire-anita-dawes-christoph-fischer-sue-hampton-allan-hudson-and-ian-hutson/

Jessica Norrie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-relationships-italy-scotland-mystery-with-leslie-tate-patricia-salamone-john-quinn-and-jessica-norrie/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-doglovers-romance-fantasy-poetry-patty-fletcher-miriam-hurdle-sandra-j-jackson-and-deborah-jay/

The First Day of Christmas with guests Mary Smith, Jacquie Biggar and John Howell sharing their most memorable Christmas gifts, with music, food and traditions from around the world.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-first-day-of-christmas-with-guests-mary-smith-jacquie-biggar-and-john-w-howell/

The Second Day of Christmas with special memories from Darlene Foster and Miriam Hurdle.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-second-day-of-christmas-with-guests-darlene-foster-and-miriam-hurdle/

The Third Day of Christmas with their most favourite Christmas gifts Jennie Fitzkee and Lisa Thomson

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-third-day-of-christmas-with-guests-jennie-fitzkee-and-lisa-thomson/

The Fourth Day of Christmas with guests Norah Colvin and Amy Reade sharing their most favourite gifts ever.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-fourth-day-of-christmas-with-guests-norah-colvin-and-amy-reade/

It is the season for Christmas parties and family gatherings and at this time of year there is the additional pleasure of getting kissed under the mistletoe – of course it all depends on who is doing the kissing, but having fresh breath before embarking on this lovely activity is essential.  Reach for the Peppermint

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/smorgasbord-health-column-heading-under-the-mistletoe-indigestion-reach-for-the-peppermint/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-time-to-get-the-party-started-christmas-funnies/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-christmas-fun-from-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-festive-joke-from-the-archives/

Thank you very much for visiting and hope you have enjoyed the Christmas celebrations.. more to come next week.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Guest Post – Christmas Traditions Le Pard Family Style by Geoff Le Pard


Welcome to the second Christmas guest post from Geoff Le Pard and this week Geoff shares some of the traditions that were observed at Christmas in his family.

My Christmases as a child were what we called traditional but everyone’s Christmas traditions have their own quirks, imposed by the characteristics of the participants. These are mine.

1. My father enjoyed a pint. Or several. He was an active member of the local rugby club and Christmas eve would often involve a social element. Mum wasn’t any less inclined to join in and since my grandmother (mum’s mum) would be staying there was baby sitting… The inevitable aftermath, however meant my mother had to get Dad to bed without waking us; my grandmother had plenty of fuel for folded-arm-tutting the next day; and woe betide we two boys if we woke the original bear with a sore bonce too early or the Christmas spirit would rapidly drain away down the plughole marked ‘hangover’;

2. Consequently there was never any sherry left for Santa – Gran didn’t think it prudent to intoxicate a man in charge of a sleigh, nor it later emerged, add to my father’s already considerable quantity of ingested Christmas spirit;

3. Christmas mornings were quiet affairs; after we emptied our stockings – dad’s rugby socks which had the unfortunate habit when stretched of covering our beds in the embedded grit that mum’s careful washing didn’t remove – we would repair to the living room to open our presents that had been carefully positioned under the tree. At this point the Archaeologist came into his didactic own – he would organize the presents into piles each gift having already undergone a fairly severe forensic analysis; back then no one x-rayed parcels or hand luggage but had they thought about doing so they might have first investigated my brother’s uncanny ability to ascertain the nature and cost of the wrapped present merely from judicious poking, prodding and shaking. As he handed the gift to the recipient he would tell them what they were getting which amused the adults and pissed me off no end;

4. For reasons I thought odd, but later realised were down to the alcoholic content of my father’s blood, we had breakfast after we had opened the presents; Christmas breakfast usually comprised a soft boiled egg and soldiers which again was portrayed to this gullible child as a simple fayre prior to the monstrosity that would later be served, but was also, and this was an incidental by product naturally, effectively hospital food;

5. Mum would now be tied to the kitchen with gran in tow while my brother and I would be dispatched to either play with our new presents, set up the model railway (there would often be a new train or coach or something) or start watching the marathon amount of Christmas TV. In the sixties the only days of the year, pretty much, when you could see programmes that might interest a pre teen were Christmas Day, Boxing Day (before the sport kicked in) and New Year’s Day. And unusually, given my father’s fixation with ‘no day time TV’ we were allowed to watch some of these shows. Later, as I developed a taste for pop music and culture I wanted the Top of The Pops Christmas special. The Archaeologist did not. Ever. And the duplicitous cad that he was, he would play a winning card with my parents: the educational card. Since the Beeb only had two channels they would try and alternate something fluffy and young on one with something drear and uplifting on the other and, if put to the Judgement of Solomon my parents would come down on the side of the improving. Grrrr

6. Sometimes people would come round. Usually that included my other grandmother – my nana. To a naïve and shallow and eternally optimistic (save when it came to TV programme selection, of course) child, that meant everyone in the family must love everyone else as I did. And to be fair they maintained that charade pretty well… until the two women had had enough sherry, port and lemon and gin and tonic to found a distillery and the dentured smiles slipped (often with the dentures) into barbed asides. My mother would play eternal peace keeper, my father would find ‘something’ to do somewhere else and my grandmothers would use my brother and I as surrogate battle grounds, one supporting one again the other until my brother lost and went and found Mum. If the guests included either or both my uncles my father saw it as his bounden duty to get them out of my mother’s hair, and away from their mother, by dint of a trip to the pub (pubs back then opened on Christmas lunch time but not in the evening). These hairs of a not so much the dog as of whole slavering pack of hounds would have the desired emollient effect on the male branch so that, by the time they returned for lunch, they would be unhung, mellow and ready for some serious grease and carbs to be delivered via an enormous roast turkey, heaps of roast potatoes and all the usual trimmings.

7. The aftermath was both narcotic and fissile: narcotic in the speed with which the grandmothers and the men folk were rendered insensible – British Christmas afternoon TV which generally involved a rerun of some well trodden film (What a Wonderful Life, The Sound of Music or The Great Escape, discern a theme if you can) aided this process; and fissile in the quantity of global warming components being released into the contained atmosphere of our living room: given we had an open fire back then you have to wonder that there was never an explosion.

8. At some point in the early evening, people would stir and hunger pangs, brought on I guess as much by the amount of alcohol that needed to be processed as by lack of food, meant the introduction of one of the best bits of Christmas: the turkey and stuffing sandwich. Why were these so great? Maybe it was the setting. By then my father, uncles, grandmas and mother were beyond moving very far. They were happy to watch any TV put in front of them and my brother and I were by now in agreement over the latest comedy special, be it Morecombe and Wise, It Ain’t ‘Alf ‘Ot Mum, The Good :Life or whatever; or they were up for some Christmas games like monopoly or charades. Or sometimes they might stir enough to rebuild the trainset, this time on a board on the dining room table and we would play with this for hours, imagining scenarios that could sway from the mundane commute to some war time escape. The men would do the washing up, to much hilarity and we boys were banned from joining in, possibly due to the ribald nature of the story telling that went on.

9. And so, too early for our liking but because we were deemed ‘tired’ by omniscient parents we were dispatched to bed leaving the adults to their interminable games of cards and snifters of scotch and assertions that this had to be the best Christmas ever.

PS I should perhaps add that the Archaeologist sussed the implausible non-Newtonian nature of Santa at about three but entered a pact with my parents that he would still benefit from the gifts if he didn’t break the spell for me. It was a treaty that involved a domestic balance of terror, uneasily kept each year: on the one hand he so wanted to be the one to break the bad news to me; yet on the other he saw little merit in risking sanctions. I have no idea why he didn’t end up in politics.

©Geoff Le Pard

About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

Good news for Geoff Le Pard Fans…..Coming in the New Year.

About Life In A Conversation

Over the last few years, I have written a lot of flash fiction, often in response to a prompt. These pieces are mostly 500 words or less (with a few longer pieces thrown in) and cover pretty much every major genre apart from YA, MA or children’s fiction. A lot are purely dialogue, or contain a lot of dialogue – hence the conversation.

Now a look at Geoff’s other books

Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010  is a memoir about an extraordinary woman.

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

One of the reviews for the book

Jul 27, 2018 Darlene Foster rated it Five Stars

A wonderful heartwarming book that will leave you laughing and crying, sometimes on the same page. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words and gives us a delightful glimpse into the lives of his parents. Sprinkled in between amusing episodes of his life as the youngest of two sons, are poems brilliantly composed by his father, most written for his wife, the love of his life. The stories paint a picture of past times in a lovely part of England, where issues are resolved with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake. Barbara Le Pard is a delightful character, strong-willed, tough and with a huge heart. This book is well written, entertaining and most important, it is written with love.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

My thanks to Geoff for his lovely tribute to Christmas and also to his family who sound like a wonderful clan…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Guest Post – #Poetry ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Geoff Le Pard


Welcome to the first of two guest posts from Geoff Le Pard today.. we all know that Geoff has a way with words….. and this poem is no exception.

‘Twas the night before Christmas by Geoff Le Pard

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
The only sound to be heard
Was the old man, who’d grouse

‘Why is it my job
To play Santa each year
And eat the raw carrot
That’s left out for his deer?

While you get the sherry
And another mince tart
Knowing they’ll wake me
Before a sparrow can fart.’

‘You are such a whinge,’
Said the lady in charge,
‘For tomorrow we know
You’ll give it so large.

And over indulge
On turkey and stuffing
And after the Queen
You’ll be good for nuffing.’

‘That isn’t quite fair
Oh light of my life
Since I will shoulder
My share of the strife

That having your mother
To lunch will entail
As we all know that
By five and without fail

She will surely hold court
In front of the fire
Airing complaints
Of which she’ll not tire.’

‘Now hang on a mo,
Your dad ain’t much better.’
‘At least his moaning
Is confined to a letter.’

‘Oh husband, my love
Let’s us try and stay calm
And ride out the worst
Of these Christmas storms.

It’s only one day
Out of three sixty five
That one way or another
We just have to survive

And then we’ll go back
To life as before….’
‘And before we know it
It’s Christmas once more.’

©Geoff Le Pard

About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

Good news for Geoff Le Pard Fans…..Coming in the New Year.

About Life In A Conversation

Over the last few years, I have written a lot of flash fiction, often in response to a prompt. These pieces are mostly 500 words or less (with a few longer pieces thrown in) and cover pretty much every major genre apart from YA, MA or children’s fiction. A lot are purely dialogue, or contain a lot of dialogue – hence the conversation.

Now a look at Geoff’s other books

Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010  is a memoir about an extraordinary woman.

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

One of the reviews for the book

Jul 27, 2018 Darlene Foster rated it Five Stars

A wonderful heartwarming book that will leave you laughing and crying, sometimes on the same page. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words and gives us a delightful glimpse into the lives of his parents. Sprinkled in between amusing episodes of his life as the youngest of two sons, are poems brilliantly composed by his father, most written for his wife, the love of his life. The stories paint a picture of past times in a lovely part of England, where issues are resolved with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake. Barbara Le Pard is a delightful character, strong-willed, tough and with a huge heart. This book is well written, entertaining and most important, it is written with love.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

51gmjki4zul-_uy250_

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

My thanks to Geoff for his contribution to party week… starting Thursday with the First Day of Christmas….