Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round up 18th – 24th October 2020 – Streisand, Seasonal Affective Disorder, War Poets, Authors, Books, Reviews and Funnies


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

Ireland is back in level 5 lockdown until December 1st, and then depending on progress, we might be let out again for Christmas, although not entirely sure that allowing more interaction will not result in another upsurge in January. I wonder if they will extend the restrictions until the New Year and have just chosen the 1st December to keep us hopeful?

I do feel very sorry for the small businesses who have spent time and money putting in social distancing measures and were only just gaining ground after the last lockdown. At this time of year especially, most will be relying on the seasonal trade and I just hope that they will come through it. Some are offering their products on Amazon for example and it would be great to think that people will choose to buy local.

We have not really come out of lockdown as I go out just once a week for  fresh produce and since June I have been for a trim to the hairdressers twice. I was just working myself up to making a new appointment for this week when the restrictions were announced. So I trimmed the front and David trimmed the back in the garden.  I did tip him of course.

Last week I shared some good news stories and this week I thought you might like this photograph that demonstrates not just the connection we have with wild animals but that some have a sense of fun. This whale enjoys playing with the tourist boats by pushing them around his patch of the ocean. I would love to have been a passenger.

Gray Whale Plays Pushing Tourists’ by Joseph Cheires – Baja California, Mexico

My thanks to William Price King and D.G. Kaye this week for their musical and humorous contributions.. and to you for dropping by and liking, commenting and sharing..

Life and Music of Barbra Streisand Part Four 1980s/1990s and films

For the next few Sundays I am sharing some of the interviews with regular visitors to the blog dating back to 2015 onwards.

Guest Interviews 2015 – A Funny Thing Happened, #Relationships D.G. Kaye

My Parent’s visit – Part Three – The Alamo and Natural Bridge Caverns

– Chapter Twelve – Car Rides and move to Spain

Milestones Along the Way – #Ireland #Waterford 1950s – The Sea Angler’s Club by Geoff Cronin

#Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Fashion Department and Shoplifters

#Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Cut Glass Crystal and a Smashing start

#Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Telesales and Helping Farmers pick the right Bull

#Mystery #Paranormal – Harbinger (Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3) by Marcia Meara

Past Book Reviews 2018 – #Thriller – Lies by T. M. Logan

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In Remembrance – The War Poets – Vera Brittain

UnSeasonal Affective Disorder #Lockdown #Elderly – Part One

UnSeasonal Affective Disorder – The Missing Link – Vitamin D

Chamomile Essential Oil

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Share your review – Darlene Foster reviews The Jigsaw Puzzle King by Gina McMurchy-Barber

 

Author updates – #Wartime D.L. Finn, #History Barbara Ann Mojica

#Mythology – King of the Asphodels by David Jordan

-#Vaudeville Elizabeth Gauffreau, #DieselPunk Teagan Riordain Geneviene, #Pilgrims Noelle Granger

New #Poetry Balroop Singh, Reviews #Mystery Lizzie Chantree, #SouthernContemporary Claire Fullerton

#Family James J. Cudney, #WWII Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Haney Eaton, #Fantasy D. Wallace Peach

October 20th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Fatbits and Ducks.

October 22nd 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Rabbits and Replacement Windows

Some old favourites and a joke or two host Sally Cronin

Thank you so much for visiting today and I hope you have a great weekend.. Stay safe…Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – 20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Telesales and Helping Farmers pick the right Bull by Sally Cronin


It is 20 years since I put pen to paper.. of fingers to the keyboard and wrote my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. I am delighted that it still gets the odd recent review, but I thought to celebrate the anniversary I would offer it FREE for the next few weeks.

As an indie author on Amazon I don’t get to do free giveaways, so I would ask you to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or an Epub version of the book for other devices. I promise I won’t share your email with anyone else. You can find out more about the book and its most recent review at the end of the post.

1984 – Advertising Sales and Artificial Insemination Marketing!

1984 turned out to be a year of two halves. As we headed into 1984 we both were settled into our jobs. I was doing more travelling with responsibility for two more shops in York and Nottingham as well as the retail marketing side of the crystal company in Ulverston. I was away a fair bit of the time but so was David as his career began to move towards the new entertainment possibilities of cable television. However we did manage to head off to Wales from time to time and headed up some of the amazing tracks on Snowdon.

One of his previous bosses took over the cable TV division and David moved with him. This meant a house move as well and we put our house in Southport on the market. With little equity and higher house prices further south in Tring, Hertfordshire we needed to downsize and bought a small three-bedroomed semi-detached house.

We were closer to my family in Portsmouth and so visits home were more frequent. I found myself a part-time job locally with the editor and owner of the Friesian Breeder’s Handbook. A farmer’s ‘must have’ if he kept a dairy herd of these beautiful black and white cows.

As you can imagine quite a change from retail marketing manager for cut class crystal but I soon settled into selling advertising, editing copy and on occasion accompanying my boss to the large agricultural shows around the country.

I really enjoyed these shows but this is where my retail experience took a slight change of direction. As well as running the handbook, my boss was also a broker for bull semen. Whilst he would be around the show taking photographs for the next edition and drumming up advertising, I as set up with a table in a stall between two of the exhibition Friesian dairy cows.

I had a front row seat and insight into the grooming required to prepare a supersized momma ready for the show ring, including liberal baby powdering of already creamy coloured udders. Pristine and pampered they would await their turn to be led away by the proud owner. Unfortunately, from time to time I also had a front row seat when nature took its course and the udders became less than creamy white!

If that was not educational enough; I also was expected to sell a certain number of straws of bull semen to the farmers that drifted in and out of this fragrant bower. I had some very interesting discussions with prospective buyers as we perused the stud book and discussed the attributes of each of the macho looking specimens pictured. I actually could be quite persuasive and I like to think that 30 odd years later there are some fine herds of Friesians who are the result of my matchmaking!

As you can imagine this led to some very interesting dinner party conversations and included one with my father who asked if I collected the samples myself! Thankfully that was done by more experienced hands than me and the straws were safely frozen and stored in a laboratory awaiting my order to send onto to the new owner. Not sure how impressed the cows were at this rather truncated mating ritual but they probably dreaded seeing he vet arrive with his cool bag and rolling up his sleeves.

As you can imagine I loved my job! However, fate was to take another hand in our lives and the new unit that my husband had moved to join was suddenly closed by the parent company leaving David redundant. With a large mortgage and not much coming in from my part-time job, we were facing a bleak run up to Christmas. One night the phone rang whilst I was in the bath. I heard mumbled talking and David was on the phone for several minutes. He then shouted up the stairs. ‘Do you want to go to Texas?’

His previous boss had offered him two years in Houston selling optical fibre to the telecommunications industry. Of course we said ‘Yes’ in a nanosecond.

We hurriedly put the house on the market, arranged to put our furniture in store for two years, piled both David’s parents, his uncle, my parents, and my brother in to our little house for a last snowy Christmas. We had a ball with two barrels of homemade beer, good wine and a cramped turkey dinner followed by charades.

The first week in January 1985 we packed two suitcases each and boarded a flight to Houston.

©Sally Cronin

Thanks for joining me in this nostalgic look a some of the odd jobs that I undertook and if you are a regular to the blog you will know that I pick up the story with my weekly letters from Houston to my parents back in the UK from 1985 – 1987. They are usually posted on a Wednesday.

About the book

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 12, 2020 Gwendolyn Plano rated it it was amazing

Just An Odd Job Girl is an entrancing read. The spirited writing of Sally Cronin quickly captures readers and draws them to the utterly delightful character of Imogen. One challenge after another emerges, only to be surmounted by Imogen’s ingenuity and good luck.

I laughed through much of the book, shed a few tears, and otherwise enjoyed the literary ride. This is an inspirational novel, one that will warm your heart, resonate with past experiences, and bring you to the realization that all is possible, and all is purposeful.

At a time when chaos appears to rule our lives, this book shows us otherwise. I strongly recommend it

The ending is most satisfying, but I don’t want to spoil that for you.

To get your FREE copy of Just An Odd Job Girl for Kindle or in Epub please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com – your email will not be shared and whilst a review would be most welcome it is not expected.

Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK  –  Follow:Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58

Thanks for dropping in and .. and I hope you will join me on Wednesdays for Letters from America.  Thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – 20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Cut Glass Crystal and a Smashing start by Sally Cronin


It is 20 years since I put pen to paper.. of fingers to the keyboard and wrote my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. I am delighted that it still gets the odd recent review, but I thought to celebrate the anniversary I would offer it FREE for the next few weeks.

As an indie author on Amazon I don’t get to do free giveaways, so I would ask you to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or an Epub version of the book for other devices. I promise I won’t share your email with anyone else. You can find out more about the book and its most recent review at the end of the post.

Car Crash and Crystal and meeting Sherlock Holmes

After I left the department store in the middle of Liverpool, I was appointed manager of a crystal and gift shop in Lord Street, Southport, which is where we had bought our first home.

It was at the north end of this mile long main street, and we sold high end gift items such as Moorcroft pottery, and our own cut glass crystal glassware from the factory in the Lake District. All the glass was classified as ‘seconds’, even though there would only perhaps be a small bubble in the glass, or the cut might not be completely standard. However, the prices were terrific, with at least 40% of the normal retail price. I still have some of the glasses that I bought 38 years ago, and I was lucky enough to get another 10% discount making them very affordable.

Going to work was very easy. I walked out of our gate, then a brisk five minutes down the road, and unlocked the shop door. I really enjoyed the next 18 months, but was then offered the opportunity to manage the three shops that had now been opened, with the other two being in York and Norwich. I would also spend time in the Lake District as marketing manager to oversee the running of the factory shop, and to develop a tour around the glass works for visitors. This meant that I was away most of the week in one capacity or another, and I was given a large estate car to carry stock between the various shops.

On one occasion I had brought down a consignment of crystal to the Southport shop, picking up David from home, with the intention of delivering stock to the York shop; then spending the weekend exploring that very old and lovely city. We had set off down the motorway, which was busy with a Friday getaway. Because there was a great deal of commercial traffic, I was in the centre lane doing a steady 60 miles an hour and overtaking the trucks. I was just in the process of passing a large articulated lorry, when it suddenly veered out into the middle lane without signalling, and hit my car.

I was being pushed out into the fast lane, where traffic was moving considerably faster and there was nowhere for me to go but forward. I hit the accelerator and managed to disconnect from cab of the truck and pull in front of it; then on to the hard shoulder, where I came to rest in a state of shock. It was only then that the driver realised what he had done, and he too pulled onto the shoulder behind me. Thankfully David was not hurt despite the passenger side door being badly damaged. Once I had established that, I was out of the car and heading back to the lorry where the driver was hanging onto his wheel, waiting equally white-faced for one very angry woman charging up the hard shoulder towards him.

It was probably just as well, the police arrived shortly afterwards to make sure none of us needed treatment, or that other road users were impacted. David by this time had managed to open his passenger door and join the discussion.

The car was still legally road worthy, although only having had it a couple of weeks; I was not looking forward to having the upcoming telephone conversation with my boss. After we had exchanged insurance details, and given our statement, which to be fair the lorry driver corroborated, we continued on our journey. However, we could hear the tinkle of broken glass from the back of the car.  I knew it was going to be interesting unpacking several boxes of expensive glassware and removing it from its tissue paper wrapping. Thankfully it was insured, and we were unhurt, but it made me paranoid about overtaking trucks for a very long time.

I loved the job, especially in the summer months in the Lake District when I would tour most of the other tourist sites to deliver leaflets and take theirs to display in our own factory. The tour was now set up, and we were about to begin accepting visitors, when I got a phone call from a gentleman who requested a private tour of the factory. It was unusual, but since we were not officially open for a few days, I agreed, and he made an appointment the next day.

It was 1984 and a new series of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes had been recently released on Granada Television, but I had not seen any of the episodes. However, I immediately recognised the man who arrived for the guided tour as the actor Jeremy Brett, because he had played Freddie in one of my favourite musicals… My Fair Lady.

We spent an hour watching glassware being blown, cut and put through the acid baths, before ending up in the crystal shop attached to the factory where he purchased one or two items. I could understand now why he wanted a private tour, as he was very well known and unlike today, stars tended to be a lot less keen to be photographed and approached by fans.

It was one of those encounters that you always remember, and I went on to watch several episodes of the series before we left to spend two years in Houston, Texas…Where I am ashamed to say I name-dropped shamelessly.

I have not as yet used Jeremy Brett as a character in one of my stories, but he is tucked away for a rainy day. As for the car crash… some events are better forgotten.

©Sally Cronin

On Friday David is transferred to the south of England and I get a job working to a cattle breeders handbook… with interesting excursions and sales opportunities..

About the book

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 12, 2020 Gwendolyn Plano rated it it was amazing

Just An Odd Job Girl is an entrancing read. The spirited writing of Sally Cronin quickly captures readers and draws them to the utterly delightful character of Imogen. One challenge after another emerges, only to be surmounted by Imogen’s ingenuity and good luck.

I laughed through much of the book, shed a few tears, and otherwise enjoyed the literary ride. This is an inspirational novel, one that will warm your heart, resonate with past experiences, and bring you to the realization that all is possible, and all is purposeful.

At a time when chaos appears to rule our lives, this book shows us otherwise. I strongly recommend it

To get your FREE copy of Just An Odd Job Girl for Kindle or in Epub please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com – your email will not be shared and whilst a review would be most welcome it is not expected.

Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK  –  Follow:Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58

Thanks for dropping in and .. and I hope you will join me on Friday for the next episode.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – 20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Fashion Department and Shoplifters by Sally Cronin


It is 20 years since I put pen to paper.. of fingers to the keyboard and wrote my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. I am delighted that it still gets the odd recent review, but I thought to celebrate the anniversary I would offer it FREE for the next few weeks.

As an indie author on Amazon I don’t get to do free giveaways, so I would ask you to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or an Epub version of the book for other devices. I promise I won’t share your email with anyone else. You can find out more about the book and its most recent review at the end of the post.

Odd Jobs and Characters – Fashion Department Manager and Shop Lifters by Sally Cronin

After six months of sheep farming in Dolgellau, we returned to Liverpool to live. I needed to get back into full time employment if we were to save our deposit for our own home. David continued to go back and forth to Wales a couple of days a week, but we were now officially city dwellers.

David already had a flat that he rented, but his landlady told us that we would have to leave as it was single occupancy only. What she really meant was single sex occupancy, as she didn’t have a problem with the two girls living together in the top flat. But she assumed no doubt that the first thing we would do is to have a baby. Anyway, we were not going to argue, although there was nothing in the lease to indicate this condition of tenancy.

We found a flat in Tuebrook, which is a suburb of Liverpool, and closer to the city centre where I was applying for jobs. At this time we were pretty broke and the flat had seen better days. The fact that the corner shop protected its assistants behind security bars, should have been an indication of what we might expect. However, we reckoned that with me working we could be out of there in a year. Our lady was Chinese and charming, collecting the rent each Friday and also emptying the electric meter that we were convinced was rigged. It ate two shilling pieces as though they were chocolate buttons, and I was paranoid about running out of coins with us being plunged into darkness. Anyway, I always knew when she was coming up the bare uncarpeted stairs, as she had a wooden leg which was a bit of a giveaway.

I attended a couple of interviews and was offered the position of manager for an expensive women’s fashion brand, which rented space in a large department store in the city centre. I was only 27 and found myself responsible for a team that had been holding the fort for longer than I have been alive. Still they were very welcoming and happy to show me the ropes, although one aspect of the job I had not expected, was to be the only one young enough to chase shop lifters. If you have read my story of my first job along the seafront, you will know that this was actually listed as one of my skills!

Every three months we would receive the new season’s clothing range. This included skirts, tops, jackets, suits, dresses and coats that were the favourites of the shorter, middle-aged woman. They were classy, and we sold many outfits for the mothers of both bride and groom, and for the 1980s, they were quite expensive. This made them very popular with another kind of customer; the ones who were more interested in not paying anything for them.

There were a number of ways that our clothes were liberated from their hangers without detection. For example, a young mother with a child in a pushchair, would wend her way through the rails and then walk away seemingly empty handed. Except that the child in the push chair would somehow be now hanging over the front bars with its bum in the air. You have to be quick to grab a jacket off a hanger, fold it and tuck it under your baby or behind it.

Another way to shoplift merchandise required the assistance of the escalator up to the next floor. In their wisdom, the shop fitters had placed two rails along the wall beneath the escalator to hold jackets and suits. Three young males would get on the escalator with a couple of steps between them. The middle one would duck down, as the one at the back would grab a hanger with a suit on, throwing it to him to stuff in a black bin bag; the one in front acted as look out. Give them their due, they were well practiced at the manoeuvre; blink and you missed it.

Every morning the team and I would conduct a stock take of the garments on the racks and shelves, and again at the end of the day. We would then compare this against incoming stock and items sold. If there was a discrepancy, we would double check, but it usually meant we had been robbed.

You only lost so many items before head office was on your case, so we had to become smarter that the thieves, as we were sustaining quite big losses. The team would split up in the department; only one person would take payment for sold items at the cash desk, leaving as many staff on the floor as possible at all times. Women with babies in pushchairs were greeted and escorted until they left the department. Despite this increased vigilance we were still losing more items than we should. Until one day, when I was helping a lady on with a spring coat, and happened to look up to see three stooges on the escalator, helping themselves to one of the new suits.

With a rapid ‘excuse me’ to my customer; leaving her in the capable hands of one of my team. I legged it over to the escalator, running up the steps behind the thieves, who were busily stuffing my expensive suit into their bin bag. I think possibly it was my colourful language that alerted them to their pursuer, and they all turned to stare down at me as they reached the top of the moving staircase. By this time I was almost upon them, and as a distraction they threw the bag with its stolen suit at me. I caught it deftly, throwing it in turn to a member of store staff, approaching to see what the kerfuffle was about.

The lads rushed over and leapt onto the descending escalator, taking the steps two at a time. They were daft if they thought I was giving up. I shot after them and down the next escalator to the ground floor. They had to cross the expanse of the cosmetic department to make it to the outside and safety, but looking around, I couldn’t see any of the security staff to call on for assistance.

The customers who were busy shopping, looked up to see these three itinerants making their escape, pushing through the crowd, and also at an obviously irritated woman giving chase. I decided to make best use of the audience, and proceeded to announce in a loud voice that I was chasing shoplifters. The crowd began to laugh as the boys finally reached the exit, pushing through the swing doors with much blasphemy and red faces. What was quite interesting, was with my announcement, several other customers also made for the exits hastily!

I turned to find three store detectives standing behind me; arms crossed and disapproving looks on their faces. Apparently they wouldn’t apprehend groups of thieves, as they were usually armed with knives. My adrenaline was still up and I gave them a piece of my mind; after all it was not their jobs on the line when stock went missing. I approached the escalator to head up to the first floor and my department, only to find the general manager of the store at the top, waiting for me; also with his arms crossed.

Anyway, I of course was told off, mainly because for fears for my safety, but also for telling the customers we had a shop lifting problem. However, I did get the fixture changed next to the escalator by getting rid of the top rail, and word must have got around about the mad woman, as thefts from our department dropped dramatically.

©Sally Cronin

On Wednesday I swap fashion for cut glass crystal and nearly get a smashing start to the job……… and I meet Sherlock Holmes.

About the book

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Feb 08, 2020 Pete Springer rated it Five stars it was amazing

Sally Cronin has written a delightful book with Just an Odd Job Girl. The central character, Imogen, is most likable and must return to the workforce after her husband, Peter, falls for a much younger woman. At age fifty, Imogen has not only lost her husband but faces the reality that she must find a job after more than two decades. What Imogen has going for her is a rich and varied employment history from when she first became employed at age fourteen.

What follows is extreme hilarity as Cronin skillfully recaps all of Imogen’s unexpected employment adventures. From chasing after shoplifters to unexpectedly filling in as a dental assistant when the regular hygenist faints, there are plenty of laughs. Every employment opportunity forces Imogen to acquire new skills with the most entertaining stint as a hotel assistant manager. Along the way, Imogen realizes that she can tackle any problem or situation that life throws her way. The ending is most satisfying, but I don’t want to spoil that for you.

To get your FREE copy of Just An Odd Job Girl for Kindle or in Epub please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com – your email will not be shared and whilst a review would be most welcome it is not expected.

Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK  –  Follow:Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58

Thanks for dropping in and .. and I hope you will join me on Wednesday for the next episode.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 11th -17th October 2020 -Jazz, Elephant’s Ears, Pumpkin Flower Fritters and Rennaisance Festival


Welcome to the round up with posts that you might have missed during the week on Smorgasbord.

I hope that despite the increase in cases in most of our countries, you are staying safe. With politics and Covid-19 it is hard to find some good news headlines but tucked away you can find a gem or two.

Canadian Researchers Gave Homeless People $7500 Each And The Results Are So Uplifting

Challenging the stereotypes of homeless people in Canada, a research project from a Vancouver-based charitable organization found that simply giving money to homeless people isn’t as bad an idea as some people might think. Read more: Good News Network

New Fix-It Clinic is Using Zoom and Global Community to Help You Repair Items For Free

How many YouTube tutorials does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One—if that many.

Fixit Clinic

But when you need to fix something that’s beyond your level of DIY expertise, with nearly a bazillion videos offering differing and sometimes conflicting repair advice, it can be hard to know where to turn—or, at least it was until the advent of Fixit Clinic Read more about this great initiative: The Good News Network

So if you need a bit of a lift and a change from the daily litany of pessimism head over to The Good News Network

On the home front the last couple of days I have been moving pot plants around, taking some around the back of the garden to see out the next few months and setting out the winter flowering plants. Not a very bright day but with rain coming in for the next ten days I took the opportunity to take some photographs…

Time to get on with the posts from the week….

William Price King with American Jazz drummer and bandleader Art Blakey

‘T’ for Tea and Toast, Turmeric, Tobasco, Tahini, Tamarind and Elephant’s Ears (it is a T)

how a pumpkin flower fritter looks like

Pumpkin Flowers Fritters: at the Pumpkin Patch

Life Changing Moments – I knew that there was a book inside me waiting to be written by Joyce Hampton

#Thriller – Skeleton Run by John L. DeBoer

#Afghatinstan #MilitaryDogs Patricia Furstenburg, #History #Tudors Tony Riches

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

Poetry – In Remembrance – The War Poets – Rupert Brooke

Photograph by Cris Saur @crisaur

Pot Luck – Poetry Friday ~ Wild Fire by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Milestones Along the Way – #Ireland #Waterford 1950s The Saga of Selby

Chapter Eleven – Favourite Walks in Ireland

#Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Hotel Senior Receptionist

#Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Hotel Assistant Manager

#Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs -The Sheep Farm

#Reviews Dawn Doig, Emily-Jane Hills Orford and Wanda Luthman

#ParanormalThriller – This Last Chance by D.L. Finn

#Memoir Brigid P. Gallagher , #Sci-fi Richard Dee, #Mystery Diana J. Febry

#Pre-Historic Jacqui Murray, #Fantasy Deborah Jay, #Mystery Amy M. Reade

#Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Fantasy A. J. Alexander, #MurderMystery Jessica Norrie

Image wikipedia.

Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Essential Oils and Aromatherapy – Bergamot essential oil

Omega 3s

The endocrine system and hormones Part Two

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Oct 13th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

October 15th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

October 16th 2020 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp

Thank you very much for dropping and all your support, have a great weekend and I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – 20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs -The Sheep Farm by Sally Cronin


It is 20 years since I put pen to paper.. of fingers to the keyboard and wrote my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. I am delighted that it still gets the odd recent review, but I thought to celebrate the anniversary I would offer it FREE for the next few weeks.

As an indie author on Amazon I don’t get to do free giveaways, so I would ask you to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or an Epub version of the book for other devices. I promise I won’t share your email with anyone else. You can find out more about the book and its most recent review at the end of the post.

 The Sheep Farm – Indignant Rams and Black Sheep by Sally Cronin.

When my husband and I were first married, we had to stay in Wales for another six months, whilst he completed a research project in the mountains. We needed somewhere to live and being November and out of season, he managed to find us a flat to move into on the hillside above Dolgellau. The flat was part of an old farmhouse owned by a couple who I knew as regular dinner guests to the hotel, and it was a great arrangement.

After a few weeks of idleness and enjoying being a new wife, I decided that perhaps there might be a way to pay our rent and get some exercise. The rent we saved would be put towards a deposit of our own home; very high on our priority list. I approached my friend and landlady, asking if I might help out on their hill farm, where they kept a flock of several hundred sheep. She was more accustomed to seeing me in long dresses and heels, showing guests to their tables in the hotel, than walking up Cader Idris, but after she stopped laughing, she agreed to give me a trial run.

I went out and bought suitable clothing, which bearing in mind the time of year, involved waterproof boots and fleeced wet weather gear. It was early December and snow was not unexpected, and you did not want to be caught up at altitude inadequately dressed. I will admit that the first two or three days left me breathless, resulting in me giving up cigarettes (no bad thing). It also served to remind me how unfit I was. However, by the second week, I was hitting my stride.

We could take the Land Rover almost as far as the sheep who had moved down from the top grazing to avoid the worst of the weather. By this time, and with some snow on the ground, they needed some additional feed, and we would carry the bales of hay from the vehicle up to them, spreading it out on the frozen ground. It was time nearly time to bring the flock down for a very important event.

Not the sheep of my day.. but you get the idea..

The rams in the flock were fitted with a special device that marked the backs of the female sheep as they impregnated them, each with its own specific colour. This told you which sheep had been covered and was likely to be pregnant, and also if a ram was disinclined to breed and therefore needed replacing (mutton). But now it was time to separate the rams from the flock as their job was done. To do this the entire herd was brought down the mountain with the help of one sheepdog, to a large barn which was separated into two areas. A large one and then a smaller part that was fenced off where the rams would be penned away from the rest of the flock. They having done sterling service they would be taken to another part of the farm, to a field where they would have to amuse themselves for the next six months.

My boss said she would head back to the main farm to collect the two other sheepdogs so they could help separating the rams from the flock, which numbered a couple of hundred sheep. I was left to twiddle my thumbs, but being keen to help and save time, I spotted the rams as they jostled amongst the ewes, and decided that I might as well get started. I did have the benefit of watching some Australian sheep shearing documentaries and using a technique I had observed, I managed to manhandle the rams out of the flock using their horns and a helping hand up their backsides (I was wearing gloves). In about an hour, rather sweaty and not a little exhausted, I had the rams safely barricaded in their own bachelor quarters.

A little while later my boss arrived with two very eager sheepdogs that stood with their owner, completely bemused by the fact that they were now redundant. Apparently, this was not the traditional way to split the rams from the flock, but by the look on the faces of the watching ewes, they found the spectacle more than satisfying.

I discovered a great deal more about sheep during the winter months and their tough lives on the Welsh mountainsides. With the snow down even on the lower slopes where the sheep remained, it was difficult to find them against the white ground covering. This is where the black sheep of the flock comes in handy. Not only is she an older and wiser matriarch who knows where the best grazing is to be found, she is also a beacon to locate her flock who always stayed close to her.

In the spring came the life-affirming task of lambing, and it certainly is a miracle of nature. To protect the newborn lambs from crows and foxes, we would mark their foreheads with a smear of tar; hoping its offensive smell would deter predators. This odd job of mine created some lovely memories and I used my experience in one of my short stories in my first collection.

©Sally Cronin 1999

On Monday I swap wellington boots for stilettos as I take on the job of running a women’s fashion department in Liverpool.

About the book

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 12, 2020 Gwendolyn Plano rated it it was amazing

Just An Odd Job Girl is an entrancing read. The spirited writing of Sally Cronin quickly captures readers and draws them to the utterly delightful character of Imogen. One challenge after another emerges, only to be surmounted by Imogen’s ingenuity and good luck.

I laughed through much of the book, shed a few tears, and otherwise enjoyed the literary ride. This is an inspirational novel, one that will warm your heart, resonate with past experiences, and bring you to the realization that all is possible, and all is purposeful.

At a time when chaos appears to rule our lives, this book shows us otherwise. I strongly recommend it

To get your FREE copy of Just An Odd Job Girl for Kindle or in Epub please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com – your email will not be shared and whilst a review would be most welcome it is not expected.

Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK  –  Follow:Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58

Thanks for dropping in and on onday I swap country life for the city back in Liverpool… and I hope you will join me then.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – 20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – Hotel Assistant Manager by Sally Cronin


It is 20 years since I put pen to paper.. of fingers to the keyboard and wrote my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. I am delighted that it still gets the odd recent review, but I thought to celebrate the anniversary I would offer it FREE for the next few weeks

As an indie author on Amazon I don’t get to do free giveaways, so I would ask you to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or an Epub version of the book for other devices. I promise I won’t share your email with anyone else. You can find out more about the book and its most recent review at the end of the post.

Last week I shared my late night arrival at the hotel in Wales where I was to spend the next two years.

 Hotel Assistant Manager – Swashbuckle and Romance.

Last week I wrote about my cross country journey of many hours by train, to reach a hotel in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. My time there was filled with adventures, and in this post I would like to introduce you to a couple of memorable guests. To spice things up a little, and since I am the guest of a bestselling romance author, I have included a little love interest.

The hotel boasted an award winning restaurant which overlooked the Mawddach estuary. In the summer months in particular, guests could eat outside on sunny days and evenings, enjoying the spectacular mountains that dominated the landscape. This attracted international visitors as well as those closer to home, as well as the rich and famous. This included Denis Thatcher, husband to the newly appointed prime minister, Maggie Thatcher, and several actors and BBC television presenters who used our hotel as a base when filming in the area.

One lunch in particular stands out in my mind as it involved the head of one of the most prestigious Champagne houses.

One of my boss’s best friends was an importer and businessman in the area, and he would frequently drop in with lunch with his clients. Normally when my boss and his friends had lunch there was a fair amount of alcohol involved, and I would be kept busy bringing bottles of wine and spirits out to the table on the terrace. The guest that day was the head of one of the largest Champagne houses who was on a business trip to Wales. He had brought some bottles of the really good stuff with him. Pre-chilled and stored in a special case in the trunk of his car.

Wine flowed and the trio enjoyed lunch which included our speciality lobster dish. Our French guest left the table for about 5 minutes and arrived back with a sword in a very ornate scabbard. He asked me to line up the remaining two full Champagne bottles on the stone balustrade of the terrace. Bearing in mind the amount of alcohol consumed by this time, it was with some trepidation that I did as requested, and then stood back; well out of the way.

With a great deal of flourish, the sword was removed from the scabbard, and the hilt was clasped in two hands. It was announced that any further champagne would be drunk from bottles opened in the traditional way. With that the sword swept through the air missing the first bottle completely. Without missing a beat, a stance was taken again and silence fell upon the watchers as there was another wide sweep of the weapon. This time the neck of the bottle was removed and champagne cascaded all over the gravelled balcony. I do believe there was about half a bottle left to be consumed by the admiring lunch guests.

However, other guests made their mark in a more permanent manner. An Irishman booked a room by telephone, arriving a week later and was given the key to room 40. He caught the eye of more than one member of staff due to his good looks and his lovely accent, but apart from booking meeting rooms and business lunches or dinners, he kept mainly to himself. It was therefore quite a surprise on his last night when he asked me to join him for a drink when I finished for the evening. He apparently knew that I was off the next day and asked me out to lunch and then dinner. We did a lot of talking and perhaps a kiss or two! He was due to leave the next morning and came down to my flat to say goodbye; or so I thought. Instead he asked me to marry him.

I didn’t hesitate and said yes, and we were married five weeks later in the small registry office in the nearby town. Just my parents and his parents attended and we had a small reception with lunch and champagne of course. However, swords were kept in their scabbards. As they have been for every anniversary since for the last forty years.

©Sally Cronin 1999

On Friday I spend 6 months sheep-farming to help pay the rent… 

About the book

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 12, 2020 Gwendolyn Plano rated it it was amazing

Just An Odd Job Girl is an entrancing read. The spirited writing of Sally Cronin quickly captures readers and draws them to the utterly delightful character of Imogen. One challenge after another emerges, only to be surmounted by Imogen’s ingenuity and good luck.

I laughed through much of the book, shed a few tears, and otherwise enjoyed the literary ride. This is an inspirational novel, one that will warm your heart, resonate with past experiences, and bring you to the realization that all is possible, and all is purposeful.

At a time when chaos appears to rule our lives, this book shows us otherwise. I strongly recommend it

To get your FREE copy of Just An Odd Job Girl for Kindle or in Epub please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com – your email will not be shared and whilst a review would be most welcome it is not expected.

Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK  –  Follow:Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58

Thanks for dropping in and more about life on a sheep farm on Friday and I hope you will join me then.. thanks Sally.

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shakespeare and Traditional Fencing Methods

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

Pub landlady Cowes Isle of Wight

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Poetry – In Remembrance – The War Poets – Edmund Blunden

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

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

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

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The endocrine system and hormones Part One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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