Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Are you making the most of this watering hole? Guests, stories, health, humour and other stuff

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

Before we get to the posts, I wanted to summarise the ways that you can promote your blog and your books here on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine.

I wanted to create a watering hole for people to gather.. hence the magazine theme to the blog with columns from some very special contributors and guest posts that are informative, entertaining and thought provoking. It is also for me an opportunity to support authors, who like me are marketing their own books amongst the millions that are published each year.

The regular posts each month are:

The Cafe and Bookstore – new books and reviews (Free)

 The Music Column with William Price King

The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor,

The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye,

Italian Cookery with Silvia Todesco,

Numerology with Annette Rochelle Aben

The Health Column with Sally Cronin

The Cafe and Bookstore has approximately 160 to 200 active authors at any one time. I have two opportunities to promote books. First with a New Book on the Shelves for new releases, and secondly with the twice weekly Cafe Author Updates where I share recent reviews.  I also post my own reviews for books that I have read once or twice a month.

If you are not currently an author in the Cafe.. then here is the information you need:

Posts for Your Archives is a series that has been running for the last three years to promote bloggers as well as authors. The aim is to showcase the blogger or author and encourage more traffic to their own blogs.

In the current series there is a twist. Instead of the blogger sending in four links to posts to share, I am browsing their archives and selecting four posts. The response has been amazing and there are currently 55 bloggers who have signed up. As you can imagine I am doing a lot of reading, and uncovering some gems from the years that deserve to be showcased again.

If you are interested on being added to the list you will find the details here:

Guest Writers are slightly different to the posts from the archives, in as much as they contribute on a regular basis on a number of subjects including memoirs, short stories, health and poetry. If you are interested in a regular monthly slot then please contact me on

I would like to add a note here which is based on my experience over the last seven years of promoting books and blogging.

One of the key elements to any promotion is participation…I notice the difference in both the Cafe promotions and the Posts from the Archives if the person being promoted is active in both commenting and sharing.

For example – In the Posts from the Archives series, when the comments are responded to individually, the number of likes, comments and shares (importantly) increase over the four posts.

The same applies for the book promotions, and this is key, as it relates to sales of a book, as well as readers engaging on social media, following blogs and buying other books that the author has released. If a reader has taken the time to comment on a post then it is important that it is acknowledged individually. It does make a difference.

I also would like to admit that I don’t follow the usual rules about blogging. I will post several times a day, varied content, from contributors and guests plus the regular funnies and videos. I appreciate that if you sign up to be notified about posts, your email will be inundated.

Which is why I do this round up each week, so that you can pop in and read the posts that most interest you.

You can sign up to be notified weekly if you wish but my advice is:

Don’t Sign Up to be Notified…just remember to pop in on Sundays to catch up… that would be lovely.

Now on to the posts that you might have missed during the week.

Thomas the Rhymer

Another post from my archives from Paul Andruss… who shares the shenanigans of the royal court in the reign of Charles II…

Barbara Villiers (National Portrait Gallery)

This month Debby Gies takes us to the island of Cuba in the Caribbean. And island that was blocked off to the outside world and has been through many challenging years. Find out about the history and the tourism to the island.

Winter: Chapter Two – The Messengers of Peace and Desperation and the Storyteller

Winter: Chapter Three – A Place of Sanctuary

The second in the series on the brain and how we can reduce our risk of developing dementia, and it is never too late to begin.

My review for Swimming for Profit and Pleasure: The Port Naain Intelligencer by Jim Webster.

My response to this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills The prompt is about ‘making a big splash…

Joy Lennick with another of her entertaining stories (based on true events) of a date to the cinema with rather an unusual ending….

This week Sherri Matthews shares holiday memories of picnics and windy beaches in the UK and taking the Cuppa to California…

The Wicker Picner Hamper (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

This week Susanne Swanson takes us on a tour of her first visit to Hawaii..


John Rieber shares a unique experience in a hotel in Africa… meet some giraffes.


Writing duo Helen and Lorri Carpenter offer guest spots and here is one by Lainee Cole talking about the wonderful combination of rescue dog and children helping each other.

Image source: HiDee Ekstrom

Marian Wood shares her reasons for blogging..and a guide for those who are just getting started..

So really why write a blog

Enjoy the poetry of Frank Prem about a project he undertook in his garden…

Friends 1

Carol Taylor is on a short break so I have been sharing some posts from her archives..this one is on a subject dear to her heart… conservation and how governments can make decisions that do not have their countries environmental interests in mind.

Great barrier Reef

Tasker Dunham takes us back to his earliest memories and wonders at what age you experienced yours.

Lorinda J. Taylor shares the experiences of her mother as a teacher in the 1930s and living in the dust bowl…

A poignant and fascinating post from Olga Nunez Miret about her uncle who researched the little known family history during the Second World War.. tragic and inspiring.


Jennie Fitzkee shares another story from her pre-school classroom where the focus is very much on the child…

Fraggle Photography with some wonderful images from a vintage fair…

Elizabeth Slaughter shares an influence in her life from childhood and a role model – Meet Rusty.


Kim of By Hook or by Book with a tribute to teachers everywhere.


Gibson Square… a London Cabbie gives us the low down on what is cab and what is not..

Susanne Swanson with a memory from her childhood when a little bribery went a long way…


Balroop Singh shines the light on the issue of domestic violence. However, enlightened and empowered we think our modern society is.. this is still a major problem and in some countries it is the norm.

Domestic Violence


New book on the shelves

Author Update #Reviews

Thank you again for taking the time to drop by and I hope that in one way or another you will share your work here with everyone by being a guest, promoting your books or letting me share your archives. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Joy Lennick – #Shortstory- A Date in the Forties

A welcome back to the entertaining Joy Lennick with a short story about a date in the forties….with an unexpected ending!!  Based on her own experiences I am reliably informed!

A Date in the Forties by Joy Lennick.

Josie looked across at the Heathway cinema where she had arranged to meet Dave. He was there all right, glancing at his watch. If only her parents had a telephone installed, she would have rung him and explained that she had to work late. He was the only boy she knew who had a ‘phone. Lucky sod, she said to herself.

“Hallo! Sorry I’m late…My boss kept me till well after 5.30. I missed the train and had to wait ages for the next one.” She was flushed and out of breath.

“Sall-right,” he said, adding “You look like a ripe peach!” Josie thought that very poetic – even though it made her blush. Dave was clean-shaven and looked as nice as she remembered him when he played his saxophone at her aunt’s wedding the week before. Being a bridesmaid for the second time, had been a groovy experience, and having given her ‘the glad eye’ earlier on, during Dave’s music break, he had made a bee-line for her.

“Hello!” he’d said “Can I get you a port and lemon?” At fifteen, it was her first taste of intoxicating liquor, and it had had the strangest affect – as if she were on a cloud, drifting away from reality – especially after Dave had plied her with a second and third glassful. The next day, still in a ‘floaty haze,’ she just about remembered agreeing to go to the pictures with him the following week.

Josie gave Dave a furtive glance as they approached the cinema; he looked somehow different without his musical instrument she thought – smaller, vulnerable and thinner. He did have attractive, dark, curly hair though…She noticed that he was clutching a brown paper bag filled with something or other. Josie’s curiosity was aroused. People didn’t usually give other people chocolates loose in paper bags, did they?

“Two one-and-nines, please,” Dave asked the cashier at the kiosk, and ushered Josie into the cinema ahead of him, firmly gripping her elbow with one hand – guiding her safely into the twilight zone. She rather liked that. It was polite but masterful…An uncertain beam of torch-light wavered towards them, faltered and changed direction, leaving them to stumble to their seats like blind people.

“The Outlaw” was showing that week, starring the celebrated, sexy and voluptuous Jane Russell. “Mean, Moody and Magnificent” the billboards promised. It suggested unmentionable passion in the straw, and Josie didn’t know if she could handle it…Whatever made her agree to see it! Doubts hovered. The marketing media had done its worst. She felt wicked just sitting there; her virginity somehow threatened by the sight of the actress’s revealing cleavage. The heat from her cheeks flowed downwards, filtering and coursing into every part of her being: more especially into what were called her “erogenous” zones. (Her friend Sheila had told her that’s what they were called only the week before.) The fact that she was seated next to a boy she hardly knew, only heightened her discomfort. Perhaps she had a temperature? She was surely sickening for something!

The anticipation of the action ahead, rather than the reality – wasn’t it often like that? – inflamed Josie until her palms were a sticky mess and she didn’t quite know what to do with her hands. And then, Dave stealthily felt for one of those sticky appendages at the ends of her arms, and she quickly wiped the offensive palm on her skirt and let his hand hold hers. It only made matters worse. Up there on the silver screen, Jane Russell was “smouldering” fit to combust – pouting her lips and casting suggestive glances at her seducer. Suddenly, Josie’s embarrassment was tempered by the proffering of the mysterious brown paper bag. Dave plonked it onto her lap without a word, and she received it with a start.

Ah grapes! (It confirmed her suspicions that she was sickening for something.) At least the thought of devouring them and the overriding problem of what to do with the pips, diluted the promised passion ahead. Still damply clutching Dave’s hand, Josie managed to pass a few grapes to him and also managed – with some difficulty – to lay a handkerchief on her lap, on which to let the grape pips fall. It was a tricky business…

The film played itself out without having quite the impact that Josie had expected. It was enough to steam up your glasses but not enough to crack the lens, she thought – even though she didn’t wear glasses. However, she felt enormous relief when the film ended. Dave turned and gave her a weak smile.

‘Okay.Not bad, was it? Thought it would be different!’

‘Was all right, I s’pose’, Josie replied without enthusiasm.

Dave propelled her to the exit. On the train journey home, Josie chattered away like an over-wound magpie, more to cover up her shyness than anything else. As a conversationalist, Dave wasn’t! Perhaps he too was shy, she mused; but he had acted like a gentleman, not like a few other octopuses (pi?) she could name. She still thought him rather nice. As the front gate clicked open, the curtains of the house next door parted. Nosey old whatsit…Josie felt a sweep of affection for the bushy Old Man tree screening off a portion of the doorstep.

‘Thanks for taking me to the pictures, Dave. It was…’she paused and frowned, searching for a suitable adjective, and came up with ‘er…unusual.’ She gave him a warm smile. In return, he gave her a weak grin, and said ‘Sall-right.’

There followed a long silence in which Josie could have knitted a tea cosy (if she’d had the wool and needles that is). The silence grew awkward, and she was aware of the clip-clop of a shire horse pulling an empty coal-cart down the nearby hill – the lull in the stunted conversation giving her time to wonder why the coal-man was out so late… Dave didn’t attempt to kiss her like she hoped he would, but put an arm around her waist and pulled her roughly towards him.

Then he put what – even in her innocence she knew was not his hand – into hers. It may as well have been a hot chestnut, only it was the wrong shape! With a funny, strangled sort of shriek, she dropped it with alacrity, pushed him into the Old Man tree; showered him with the grape pips from her hankie, and called him ‘A creep!’

Frenziedly rummaging in her handbag for her door key, she then made a hasty retreat. What was that her mum used to say about still waters running deep?! Josie never forgot “’The Outlaw”or Dave…

© Joy Lennick

My thanks to Joy for sharing this entertaining story…… I will have to watch “The Outlaw” again to see if my glasses steam up…..

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 The Moon is Wearing a TuTu

This book comprises of a number of unusual poems that certainly force you to think deeply by Joy Lennick and a few poems, limericks and humorous one-liner jokes by Eric Lennick. There are also two, clever 50-word short stories by Jean Wilson.While the entire book was entertaining to read, I really enjoyed some of Joy’s wickedly humorous poems. She uses her words like little knives to cut into the body of a matter and expose its beating heart in a manner that is humorous but sharply to the point. The one that I related to the most was Think Outside the Box:

“I think out of the box
and why not?
(Are you wary your copybook you’ll blot?!)
I’m fed up with sheep
who seem half asleep
individuals they certainly are not.
To say “aab” not “baa”
is OK.
For a change why not try it today!
The fox you could fox –
confusing his “box,”
just say “aab” and get clean away.”

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon US:

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads:

Connect to Joy


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


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up- Glenn Miller, Roses, Mexico, New Books, Reviews and Guests.

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

Some stand out moments from the week that I would like to make a special mention about.

The first was the nomination for the blog for the Versatile Blogger Award by Brigid Gallagher which I was very honoured to receive. I know that many bloggers are now award free. I quite understand, as when you are at full tilt, it is tough to take the time to respond to an award and also to draw up a list of willing nominees.

However… even after six years, I still get a kick out of awards and I have met so many wonderful bloggers through other people’s nominees, that it is well worth the effort. And also it is an opportunity to showcase newer bloggers who are still finding their feet or deserve to have some promotion.

Anyway.. this was my response with 7 more secrets about me…..and some nominees who are terrific bloggers.

The second highlight is the release of Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events… Compiled and contributed to by Stevie Turner and 18 other authors including myself and quite a few of our blogging community.

The proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Over the next week I will be posing a number of author profiles of those who have contributed and I hope that you will follow those authors and also support their work in this collection.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

In this first post I share the authors who have contributed with a profile on Stevie Turner, D.G. Kaye and in the coming two weeks will feature the other authors in separate posts.

All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research:

You can buy the anthology for only 99c:

And on Amazon UK for 99p:

Now on with the other posts this week.

This week William Price King shares the life and music of the legendary Glenn Miller whose music is still loved over 70 years since his untimely death during the Second World War.

In his final gardening post, Paul Andruss shares the beauty and background to the rose.

In the second part of her posts on Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, D.G. Kaye shares the fundamentals that you need to know about renting, shopping, tipping, exchanging your cash, dining and how to drink safe water.

This week my guest is author Ann Chiappetta who shares where she would love to live in the world, the animal she would most like to talk to and her favourite season.

My review for Small Town Kid by Frank Prem – recommended

This week Carol Taylor and I join forces to share the foods that contain good amounts of Vitamin B3 and the recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

A lovely guest post from Joy Lennick in tribute to her mother…

Sally’s personal stuff

This week in the R’s of Life,  I look at the true cost of retail therapy and the waste associated with our drive to own the latest and the most fashionable.  And also the mountains of food that goes uneaten in most of our countries when millions are starving.

This week I share the abundance of food that you can enjoy as you lose weight… starving the body is not an option, and cutting out food groups is counter productive.

Being the first week of the month… .Colleen Chesebro allowed us to pick our own words as prompts…My Etheree is entitled ‘April’


Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – the Prompt this week is ‘Fire’

Donna W. Hill is a breast cancer survivor and in this week’s inspiring post she shares her motivation and also encounters with butterflies and knitting.

Blue butterfly on milkweed: photo by Rich Hill

This week Jen Moore, shares the delightful character who is her son, and the warm and embracing way that the family manages his dyslexia.

This week Norah Colvin shares all things berry.. which resulted in a lot of discussion about what is a berry and what is not, and how to get hold of our favourites…


A new contributor this week and the first post from the archives of Susanne Swanson who shares her return to her kindergarten school, celebrating its 100th anniversary.

New Book on the Shelves

Author Updates


Thank you very much for visiting this week and for all your support, it is always appreciated.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Joy Lennick – A Tribute to my dear Mama/Mum

In this post from Joy Lennick, she shares the life and cherished memories of her mother.. born in Wales in 1906, who clearly passed on resoluteness, adaptability, love of hard work and creativity to her daughter. A wonderful tribute.

A tribute to my dear Mama/Mum by Joy Lennick

Until I went to school aged five, I called my mother: Lila – named after a Fairy Queen seen in a play! – Elizabeth – mama. It was my God-mother, Aunt Doris,’ suggestion as she had grandiose ideas as to my up-bringing and saw me as a little lady of breeding who would doubtless learn to play the piano beautifully, knit Fair-Isle sweaters, blind-folded… embroider as if to the manor born, and POSSIBLY end up marrying someone higher up the ladder (and I don’t mean a window-cleaner.) As it transpired, while I may have mastered Chopsticks, sewed a fairly neat hem, and even made a peg-bag, I’m afraid I disappointed in all other areas. And, because a strange, deranged little man with a moustache wanted to dominate the world and promote a “Master Race,” I didn’t attend the Convent School my aunt had mapped out for me. Meanwhile, I enrolled at the local, Dagenham village school, before being whisked away to live on a Welsh mountain when war was declared in the September of 1939. Then, realising I just belonged to the hoi poloi, I thereafter called my mother mum.

The Mansfields (my paternal relatives) thought they were a cut above: there was Royal Doulton china and crystal cut-glass in the display cabinet and a framed picture of Churchill on the wall to prove it!! The ladies of the family also bought glossy periodicals which “the toffs” purchased; and shopped in the very best West End stores whenever possible. Oh, and both Dad’s sisters owned FUR COATS. And wore Perfume by COTY…But I mustn’t give the wrong impression as, with the exception of, later (one of their number), they were consistently kind, caring, charitable and generous. But quickly back to Mum…

So, what was she like, my pretty, loving mum? Imagine a blue-skied and sunshiny day, with a soft breeze blowing and birds wheeling in the sky… That was my mum. She epitomized Spring and was blessed with a sunny, happy personality. (On later reading Laurie Lee’s book “Cider with Rosie,” mum sounded like his quirky mother as their sense of fun were similar!) She was a perfect foil for Dad’s no-nonsense, a spade is a spade, sterner make-up, although he had an earthy sense of humour and was as reliable as the clichéd Rock of Gibraltar. Around five feet two inches, with a slender figure, mum belied an inner strength which repeatedly revealed itself.

Born in 1906, she lived to experience the Great Depression in South Wales and helped look after her two younger sisters. Grandad said she had ‘Dark brown hair like fine-spun sugar…’ A brick-layer and later, shop-keeper, he may have been, but he was a gentleman and charmed the ladies. Mum had left school at fourteen and worked selling ribbons and cottons in the market and in her parents’ greengrocer’s shop/and on a pony and trap serving customers living in the mountains. Too soon, everything was ‘on the slate, please, mun’ because of The Great Depression, and money was fast running out. Aged seventeen, mum begged to go to London to work but Grandma was convinced it was worse than Gomorrah:*

‘Duw duw, you could be murdered or worse.’ she cried. But, when feeding her family became critical, Grandma relented. Mum pointed her “winkle-pickers” in the East End of London’s direction and worked as a Nanny for the two children of talented Jewish tailors in Stepney.

Soon Lila was not only a Nanny, but taught how to cook Jewish dishes and do intricate beading work. Linking up with her best friend, Edna, the pair went dancing on their one day off and, as she said ‘The streets weren’t really paved with gold,’ as promised…but the lights were brighter and you could have ‘six-penny-worth of fun’ and watch American pictures. too.

She saved hard and soon had the requisite ten pounds to add to her mother’s hard saved purse. Her family: Mam, Dad and three siblings, caught the train to Dagenham Dock station with packed suitcases and little else and were given a new Council house in Becontree, which her enamoured mother announced, was ‘Like a miniature Buckingham Palace!.’ Mum said that was pushing it a bit… But it had a new roof which didn’t leak and a bathroom.downstairs, three bedrooms up, and a proper garden at the back. ‘Not like that old slum in Dowlais,.’ Grandma was heard to say.

Leaving the Soloman’s employ with regret, Mum then became a cinema usherette, also working part-time in the building’s café with her sister Peggy. She found life fun as she loved to dance and, being pretty, caught the eye of many a would-be suitor. One in particular pursued her and they became engaged, but he spent too much time on his motor-bike and Mum wasn’t cut out to play second fiddle to a bike! The move couldn’t have been luckier for another dancer and natty dresser (first in his crowd to wear plus-fours. it is said… ) called Charles (Charlie) who quickly stepped into the breach. He and Lila won a few prizes for their prowess on the dance floor – including “The Black.Bottom’”- of the Cross Keys public house in old Dagenham and were soon seriously courting.

Eager to show off his new girl-friend to his family, Charles invited her to tea, much to the delight of his father, also Charles: a well-heeled Freemason, who had a penchant for pretty faces… The females in the family, however, on being introduced to an uneducated girl “from the Welsh valleys” almost had them reaching for their smelling salts… but Lila was polite, friendly and possessed a winning smile and they gradually accepted the inevitable. Charles was smitten, but found it difficult to ‘write my own life script’ as he later discovered. The happy pair were married in a – horror of horrors – Registry office, while the Mansfields were staunch Catholics, a fact the Father of the local church found difficult to comprehend and led to harsh words being exchanged. Although to keep the Mansfields’ happy, when I arrived on the scene, I was Christened by a Canon, no less. (Dad said ‘She should have been fired from one!’ when I decapitated his row of red: soldier erect tulips, aged two.) After the birth of my second brother, the Priest visited our house and tried to persuade Mum to marry “in the church,” but went beyond the pale when he suggested all three of us children were illegitimate, and was quickly shown the door.

Like most working-class women then, mum was familiar with the Monday-wash-boiler, the scrubbing board and the outside mangle. Although we had indoor plumbing, we had no central heating until the mid/late 50’s – and only had a gas-fire for warmth on in the bedroom if we were very ill (once with measles…) The stove in our tiny kitchen was much cosseted…as was the rare fire in the lounge fireplace. And the telephone, also installed in the 50’s, was almost revered, as was the “new-fangled” TV set.

Meanwhile, mum – by then a trained hairdresser – crimped and cut hair to help expenses go further, cooked delicious meals for the five of us and was everything a good mum should be. Then – wouldn’t you know – the .lunatic little man mentioned above, started strutting his stuff and war – an incomprehensible state to us children – was declared. When rationing was introduced, Mum made all sorts of filling dishes, using more potatoes and vegetables from our garden, bread puddings and ‘apples in blankets’ (pastry) to fill our corners…she also made sure we had concentrated orange juice, cod-liver oil (ugh!) and Virol to keep us healthy, as –in due course – did dear aunt Sal.

Dad, having been an Air Force Cadet at the end of World War 1, and in love with aeroplanes, re-joined the Air Force and was one of the first wave of airmen to be called up for duty. After hastily digging a huge hole in our pristine, green lawn, he erected an outdoor air-raid shelter, as instructed, and then accompanied us three children and mum to South Wales. We were to stay in the relative safety of her cousin Sarah Jones’– Aunt Sal to us – tall, thin house, set into the side of Mountain Hare, just above Merthyr Tydfil. It didn’t have all mod.cons. like ours, but I was enchanted with gaslight and candlelight…not so with the outside “lav,” with squares of the Merthyr Express on which to wipe ones bottom!

Mum stayed on awhile, but dad had to join his unit in France. Having entrusted brother Bryan to the loving care of another aunt in Ebbw Vale as Aunt Sal couldn’t cope with three children due to a badly ulcerated leg, mum left to stay with her mother and do “war work.” As mentioned above, Mum wasn’t very tall and quite slender, and we were surprised when next we saw her, as she had developed muscles…after working on a moving assembly belt of Army lorries at Ford’s Motors. She later moved to another company, where she was taught welding and became even stronger. Fortunately, during the first part of the war, it was fairly quiet, so we were transported back and forth a few times, especially as dad was given leave from France before things hotted up.

Thereafter, Dagenham, and more specifically: our house became a dangerous place to live in as it was near the River Thames, the Ford Motor works, churning out war machines, a huge drug factory and railway – all likely targets for the German planes. A land-mine fell at the end of our street and demolished many houses and killed several people, but our house was only marginally damaged. In all, we were evacuated three times: to Merthyr, Neath and – with my secondary school, to Derbyshire. Towards the end of the war, dad was stationed near enough to visit our home and mum gave birth to my third brother, Royce (despìte being warned about the aphrodisiac quality of eels to which he was partial). As mum was unwell, the doctor advised her to stay somewhere quieter, and the most generous family, who lived in Neath, Wales – and had two children of their own – took the five of us in, as aunt Sal was ill.

You can imagine our sheer joy when peace was declared and we were all able to return to our own home: shaken and stirred but still intact, and dad was, at last, demobbed.
During our absence, we soon discovered, Mum had re-decorated several rooms herself. There was a shortage of wallpaper, so she had “stippled” the walls with a design in a contrasting colour and I spent many odd times imagining all sorts of animals and magical “objects” floating up to the ceilings…It seemed, Mum was able to tackle most things, and a great advocate of “make do and mend.” She was always darning socks, turning shirt collars and bedsheets, and aware of the hard times, often said “That will do…” if an item of clothing had a vestige of life left.

A keen dancer herself, she encouraged me when I reached my teens and joined the youth club. Mum and her father both won prizes for dancing and she played a mean piano, I recall her pounding the ivories in our Welsh centre during her visits. “Amapola,” “The Seigfried Line” and various popular tunes and songs were requested during her time with us, and she urged me to take ballet and tap lessons, which I adored.

As far as “lessons subtly learned” while under my parents roof were concerned, Mum in particular emphasized that I should ‘show willing and be helpful to others’as she did…and, while sex was never actually discussed….whenever I went out with a boy, she always told me to ‘be good now!’which I interpreted as ‘keep your legs together,’ which I dutifully did, much to their annoyance.

Every week, Mum and I went to the local cinema to see the latest British or American film and lapped up all the glamour and fantasy and she loved reading “Nell’s Books on Wheels” delivered locally every week She was particularly fond of romances and favoured medical tales. Mum had a knack of bringing sunshine into the house with some of her embroidered tales of people she worked with and even when it rained for a few days, managed to lift our spirits. Fortunately, both my parents were able to enjoy several holidays abroad as we children grew older, and still managed to impress on the dance floor!

As time wore on, and after I married, mum took advanced cooking courses and learned “Silver Service Waitressing,”securing an excellent post in the directors’ canteen of a large company nearby: May & Bakers and worked there for several years. When she retired, she hated it, so arranged wedding functions and 2lst birthday celebrations and the like, with the able assistance of one of my sisters-in-law, Doreen; and made beautiful, iced celebration cakes. She also did flower arranging and made bridal bouquets, buttonholes and the like…(and even won prizes for her arrangements at the local Town Show.)

When my parents celebrated their Golden Wedding, as my husband and I were then running a hotel, we were able to entertain them with family and friends, for a fun weekend. It was so good to be able to make a fuss of them for a change! Sadly, as dad approached eighty, his lungs started letting him down – he was a heavy smoker when young and in the war, apart from working for so many years on the river. But he made it to eighty-three. Mum was, naturally, at first desolate at his passing, as were we. But we sold her house for her and bought her another, smaller one, just around the corner to ours.

Her hands were rarely still thereafter. She made delicious petit fours and boxed them up as gifts at Christmas time, still made large and small assorted cakes, and embroidered many pictures which my husband framed for her. She also knitted toys, covered coat-hangers and sewed lavender bags. We were able to take mum and a friend on two continental holidays – which she loved, and we spent many happy hours together. She so enjoyed being in the company of our three sons and her other grandchildren, was alert and keenly interested in them and what was happening in the outside world. She only went on one “Old people’s outings” as she termed them (aged eighty) but said: ‘I shan’t go with them again…Some of them clicked their teeth and talked about their operations all the time’

It was tragically ironic that mum – apart from a worn heart – and comparatively healthy for her age, was struck by an unlicensed car a few inches from a kerb, while out visiting a relative,
suffered a broken hip and lapsed into an unconscious state for six, long weeks before dying.

It was the most cruel blow of my life and I was bereft, but I still carry her treasured memory in my heart, as I will until I fall off my own perch. Mum loved all us four children unconditionally and, despite our faults, thought us “the bee’s knees…” and, as we thought she was too, you can’t ask for more than that. Can you?

*Gomorrah: A House of ill repute in the bible.

©Joy Lennick

What a fascinating story and my thanks to Joy as always for her entertaining storytelling…

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 The Moon is Wearing a TuTu

This book comprises of a number of unusual poems that certainly force you to think deeply by Joy Lennick and a few poems, limericks and humorous one-liner jokes by Eric Lennick. There are also two, clever 50-word short stories by Jean Wilson.While the entire book was entertaining to read, I really enjoyed some of Joy’s wickedly humorous poems. She uses her words like little knives to cut into the body of a matter and expose its beating heart in a manner that is humorous but sharply to the point. The one that I related to the most was Think Outside the Box:

“I think out of the box
and why not?
(Are you wary your copybook you’ll blot?!)
I’m fed up with sheep
who seem half asleep
individuals they certainly are not.
To say “aab” not “baa”
is OK.
For a change why not try it today!
The fox you could fox –
confusing his “box,”
just say “aab” and get clean away.”

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