Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – The Thirteenth Apostle – Constantine the Great Part Two by Paul Andruss.


Today part two of the story of The Thirteenth Apostle (and his mum) from Paul Andruss. 

As with any legend, there is usually some variations on the origins and plenty of embellishments by later historians, that need to be resolved. Paul takes on the task and unravels the stories to reveal the probable truth behind Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor.. and his mother Helena.

Part one can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-thirteenth-apostle-and-his-mum-by-paul-andruss/

The Thirteenth Apostle – Constantine the Great Part Two – by Paul Andruss.

Statue of Constantine the Great at York (source: schoolworkhelper)

If Constantine’s attitude to religion was ambiguous, the same could not be said for his choice of Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. Rome had long been abandoned by the emperors. It was too out of the way for armies constantly on the move. Plus emperors were usually upstarts. The ancient snobbish Roman nobility had a far stronger claim. Better to leave them squabbling among themselves as they would over the Papacy all through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Byzantium was a perfect choice. Already a thousand years old it was in the heart of Rome’s richest provinces and close to the Rome’s traditional enemy, the Persian Empire. It straddled the continents of Europe and Asia and was an easily defensible peninsula with a deep natural harbour controlling trade between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Although we think of this period as the beginning of the Byzantine Empire, its inhabitants always referred to themselves as Romanoi.

Constantine set about making it the glory of the world, the new Rome and the Mother of Cities. Its modern name Istanbul originated from a Medieval Greek phrase meaning ‘in THE CITY’, for as the largest metropolis in the classical world for a millennium it needed no other name.

Leaving nothing to chance Constantine consulted pagan soothsayers to determine an auspicious day to mark out his new city with the tip of his spear. The limit of the city walls enclosed an area more than five times greater than the existing town of Byzantium. With no doubt his entourage paling, Constantine announced he wanted it complete for his silver jubilee, a year and a half hence.

At the heart of the city was the Milion, the milestone from which distances all over the empire were measured. Within the surrounding structure, of four triumphal arches supporting a cupola, he placed the true cross recently sent from Jerusalem. To the east rose his first great church, still standing today, dedicated to the Holy Peace of God or the Hagia Eirene (St Irene). Ironic really considering the Empress Irene, some four centuries later blinded, imprisoned and then murdered her son to retain power.

Constantine’s Church of Hagia Eirene (Source: the history hub)
By his Imperial Palace Constantine built a chariot racing track, the Hippodrome. He decorated it with the ancient bronze serpent column from the shrine of the Oracle at Delphi, the most sacred place in the pagan world. And it did not stop there. Every city in the empire had its statues and artworks looted to beautify the new capital.
 Serpent Column reconstructed from public domain photos (Wikipedia – Andruss)

Hippodrome of Constantinople 1727 showing the Blue Mosque, Serpent Column & Obelisk of Theodosius (Aubry de la Mottraye. Source: Wikipedia)

From the Egyptian holy city of Heliopolis came a 100 foot high porphyry column. It stood on a twenty foot high marble base that held the pot of oil Mary Magdalene used to anoint Jesus, the baskets from the miracle of loaves and fishes, the hatchet Noah used to build the ark, and the Palladium, an ancient wooden statue of Athena that Aeneas had brought from the burning ruins of Troy: it was the most sacred object in ancient Rome. Topping this remarkable confection stood a statue of Constantine dressed as Sol Invictus.

Constantine Column (1912) reconstructed with original sketch (Photos in Public domain Wikipedia- Andruss)

In 337 AD, Constantine died after a reign of 31 years. His was the longest reign since the original Emperor Augustus three centuries before. He was placed in a gold coffin draped in purple and lay in state in his palace for three and a half months.

Constantine had planned his funeral down to the last detail. He was carried in procession around his beloved city; his funeral cortege headed by his son and heir with an army in full battle dress. Then came the gold coffin flanked by spearmen and infantry and after followed by the court and citizens in deepest mourning.

Constantine was laid to rest in his gorgeous new Church of the Holy Apostles. The interior was richly inlaid with coloured marble, while the outside was clad in polished brass and adorned with gold, to reflect the sun and dazzle the beholder. The emperor was put in a huge ornate tomb in the centre flanked on each side by 6 sarcophagi each containing the relics of one of Christ’s apostles, scoured from the four corners of the earth.

In life Constantine revelled in the title he had awarded himself ‘Equal of the Apostles’, in death the position and grandeur of this tomb seemed to suggest that rather than an equal, he was, in fact, their superior.

Two hundred years later Constantine’s Church of the Holy Apostles was entirely remodelled by the Emperor Justinian. It stood until it was looted by crusaders in the fourth Crusade. Today not a trace remains of Constantine’s tomb or the surrounding sarcophagi of the apostles.

Sic transit Gloria mundi. (So passes worldly glory.)

My foot!

Colossus of Constantine fragments in the Courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Musei Capitolini, (source: LegionXXIV)

©Paul Andruss

About Paul Andruss

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Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – The Thirteenth Apostle (and his mum) by Paul Andruss


I thought over the weekend I would share a two part series from Paul Andruss posted originally in November 2017…

As with any legend, there is usually some variations on the origins and plenty of embellishments by later historians, that need to be resolved.

Paul takes on the task and unravels the stories to reveal the probable truth behind Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor.. and his mother Helena.

The Thirteenth Apostle (and his mum) by Paul Andruss

Statue of Constantine the Great at York (source: schoolworkhelper)

This is about an illegitimate boy, who grew up to inherit a shattered empire and changed the world; who overthrew pantheons of gods for the one his old mum worshipped.

Although he was not baptised until on his deathbed, he claimed to be Christ’s most favoured disciple. At one time he was believed to be a British king who became emperor of the Romans; and his mum, Helena, a British Princess who found the true cross of Jesus and became a saint, which ain’t too shabby for a barmaid.

Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor, was once considered British born and bred. The legend went something like this. His dad, Constantius, was a Roman senator who came to Britain to meet old King Cole in Colchester. Yes, that old King Cole, although he wasn’t such a merry old soul when he thought the Romans were coming to knock him off his throne. When Cole died, Constantius took the throne for himself and married Cole’s daughter, the beautiful Princess Helena. In due course their son Constantine became king and sometime later took his army off to the continent to thrash the perfidious Romans and ended up becoming Emperor.

Head of the Colossus of Constantine in the Courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Musei Capitolini, (source: jacabook.it)

As with all legends, there are nuggets of truth mixed with fool’s gold. There probably was an Old King Cole (in legend called Coel Hen meaning Old Cole), but nothing is known of him except he wasn’t king of Colchester, which is named from the Roman words for ‘colony’ and ‘fort’. He probably was a warlord working for the Romans beyond Hadrian’s Wall, around 350 AD: a quarter of a century after Constantine died.

Part of Constantine’s legend is mixed up with another Roman General who left Britain to become Emperor almost a century later. Magnus Maximus, which modestly translates as Greatest of the Great, was married a British Princess called St Helena of Wales, and they had a son named Custennin (Welsh for Constantine).

Constantius Chlorus (Source: Alchetron)

Our Constantine’s dad was Constantius Chlorus, meaning pale or literally green. He may have been suffering from chlorosis: a pernicious anaemia, or even leukaemia. He was a member of the emperor’s bodyguard who worked his way up to Caesar. At this time the Empire was divided between four rulers: the Eastern and Western senior emperors called Augusti and their juniors named Caesars. Constantius came to stop the Scottish Picts raiding the Roman province of Britain.

Constantine’s mum was not a princess. She was an inn keeper’s daughter from the Black Sea and probably his common-law wife as the army did not approve of soldiers marrying.

By the time Constantius became Caesar he had dumped her for a political marriage to his Augustus’ daughter.

Constantius recognised Constantine as his son and heir meaning the lad grew up as a hostage to his father’s loyalty in the Emperor Diocletian’s court, where he became a favourite due to his military prowess. When Diocletian abdicated in May 305, rather than take his chances in the bloodbath that invariably accompanied a new Emperor’s reign, Constantine fled to his dad in Britain.

When his father died at York six months later, the soldiers elected the 32 year old Constantine to the rank of Caesar. While this was by no means unusual, you still had to fight for it. Constantine spent the next 20 years killing off his rivals to emerge as sole emperor.

His first major battle, and miracle, was at Milvian Bridge outside Rome, in 313 AD, against his rival Western Emperor. Details are sketchy. The story goes he had a dream before the battle advising him to make his soldiers paint their shields with the Chi Rho (two Greek letters X=CH & P=R) used as an acrostic for Christ. Later, this became a vision of a cross in the sun with the words ‘by this conquer’ witnessed by Constantine and his army. That story first appears in his biography written by Bishop Eusebius long after Constantine’s death.

The Chi- Ro Source: (clker .com)

The story is a good example of the propaganda obscuring Constantine’s reign. As the first Christian Emperor instead of history we have hagiography (holy-writing), usually reserved for the miraculous lives of saints. In part, this might be due to Constantine’s own influence.

Eusebius also states a year later Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, recognising Christianity as a legal religion. This is another gloss. The edict did not promote Christianity but merely affirmed the previous Edict of Toleration ending Diocletian’s Christian Persecution. It had been rescinded by the Eastern Augustus, enemy of Constantine and his Augustus Licinius. Although Constantine may have been responsible, the edict was issued in Licinius’ name. Yet when Eusebius wrote Constantine’s biography, Licinius’ was demonised.

After their victory, Licinius made Constantine the Western Augustus; taking for himself the more prosperous East. Constantine carried on the civil war. In 323, at the age of 50 he emerged as sole ruler after his sister had persuaded her husband Licinius to surrender in return for his life. Two months later Constantine had him murdered: no one knows why.

During his struggle for ultimate power, Constantine was careful to avoid any mention of Christ. Instead he used Sol Invictus – the Unconquered Sun (whose holy day was Sunday) – as the symbol of the supreme god. Yet while he was careful not to upset the Senate or citizens of largely pagan Rome, he refused to attend a victory sacrifice to Jupiter and spent a lot of his own money restoring Rome’s damaged churches.

Once Constantine was sole emperor he issued a proclamation, in the name of Christ, saying all citizens regardless of religious belief, should be able to enjoy a life of peace and concord. Despite this he had no compunction consulting pagan oracles or displaying himself as Sol Invictus when it suited.

It is often said Christianity’s appeal for Constantine was its unity and organisation. Different peoples united in belief are easier to control than those divided by a plethora of gods. Christians were obedient to the elders and priests, who were in turn subject to an Overseer (the original meaning of Bishop). Christians also willingly paid church taxes.

Paganism was certainly nowhere near as organised, as evidenced some 50 years later when the emperor Julian the Apostate was ridiculed and possibly assassinated for trying to reintroduce the old gods. Yet the words vicar and diocese originally came from pagan Roman politics. (Pagan is a Christian word meaning a sort of country bumpkin.)

After almost a century of civil war Constantine’s main priority was an empire united by one church and one god, under one emperor. Yet he found Christianity riven by schism. The latest dispute concerned whether Christ had the same or a similar nature to God.

Constantine wrote to the bishops concerned asking them to bury their trivial differences for the sake of the empire.

When he was ignored, he summoned all the bishops to a Synod at Nicene to thrash out their differences. Constantine flattered them, pandered to their arrogance and in the end threatened them into agreeing a common creed. Although he thought he succeeded, Christians have continued to be at each other’s throats ever since. A millennium later Roman and Greek Orthodoxy split. Soon afterwards Protestant dissidents split from Catholicism.

In 326 Constantine had his wife and eldest son executed amid rumours they had an affair. Constantine was jealous of his son’s popularity with the army and people, and may have feared for his life. Constantine’s wife, and mother of his 5 children, was killed a few weeks later in bathhouse sauna. It is unknown if she was stabbed or locked in to be suffocated by the steam and broiled alive.

One of Constantine’s first acts as Emperor was to send for his mother. He renamed her birthplace Helenopolis and awarded her the title of Augusta Imperatrix instead of his wife. It was no empty title. An Augusta could issue her own coinage, wear imperial regalia, and rule her own courts. No wonder his wife was furious; perhaps this is what prompted her, possibly real, and certainly alleged affair with his son. Finally he gave his mother unlimited access to the imperial treasury to locate holy relics.

At the age of 72 Helena enthusiastically set off to Jerusalem where, according to legend she discovered the crosses of Jesus and the two thieves and was able to distinguish the true cross when a dying woman recovered after touching it. Strangely, the normally sycophantic Bishop Eusebius fails to mention this.

Helena sent the true cross, along with some thorns from the crown of thorns, and nails from the crucifixion to aid her son; who allegedly placed one nail in his helmet and another in his horse’s bridle. She took full advantage of the imperial treasury by endowing churches at Bethlehem, in the Sinai Desert at the place of the burning bush, and the Holy Sepulchre after having the area levelled and cleared.

It is not certain what happened to Helena, some historians report she brought the treasures back in person. Others, by their silence, indicate she died in the Holy Land on pilgrimage. I rather hope it was the latter and she died enjoying thoroughly herself. Helena was declared a saint.

The Relics of St Helena were on loan in Athens from the Vatican in 2017 (Source : http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com)

Part Two Tomorrow.. same time.

©Paul Andruss 2017

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul is the author of two books and you can find out more by clicking the image.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks

You can find all of Paul’s previous posts and gardening column in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/paul-andruss-myths-legends-fantasy-and-gardening/

Thank you for dropping in today and as always please leave your questions and comments for Paul… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Easter Parades, Short Stories, books and guests.


Welcome to the posts you might have missed during the last 8 days… a little later than usual as I have been taking advantage of the wonderful weather over Easter and have been away from the screen for most of each day.

The two Easter parades have been great fun for me to put together and I am thrilled with the wonderful behatted guests who have participated. A little music, dancing, funnies and genuinely lovely people who are all very supportive of me and the blog.

It is not too late to pop in and add the link to your latest post and your Amazon Link.

How many of these guests or their representatives do you recognise?

Easter Parade Saturday.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/20/smorgasbord-easter-parade-blog-party-part-one-eggellent-time-to-add-your-links-music-dancing-food-and-behatted-guests/


https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/smorgasbord-easter-parade-blog-party-part-two-music-dancing-food-behatted-guests-and-time-to-drop-you-links/

And here are the other posts from the week.

William Price King shares the life and music of jazz pianist/electric keyboardist and composer Chick Corea.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-jazz-pianist-electric-keyboardist-and-composer-chick-corea/

The House by the Sea  by Paul Andruss – The final three episodes

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/20/smorgasbord-blogs-from-my-archives-the-house-by-the-sea-part-three-by-paul-andruss/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-house-by-the-sea-part-four-by-paul-andruss/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-house-by-the-sea-final-part-by-paul-andruss/

This week Carol Taylor and I share the foods you need to include in your diet to ensure you do not become deficient in Vitamin B5.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/17/smorgasbord-health-column-cook-from-scratch-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiency-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-vitamin-b5-pantothenic-acid/

This month Silvia Todesco shares a recipe for a special sugar glazed pie that uses up your fruit that is going squishy…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-italian-cookery-with-silvia-todesco-fresh-fruit-pie-with-sugar-glaze-dessert/

My review for Survival of the Fittest (Book 1 of The Crossroads Trilogy) by Jacqui Murray

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/17/smorgasbord-book-reviews-survival-of-the-fittest-book-1-of-the-crossroads-trilogy-by-jacqui-murray/

A Haibun – The Circles of Life

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/17/smorgasbord-poetry-haibun-circles-of-life-by-sally-cronin/

This week in the R’s of Life I look at the billions of dollars spent in regulated and non-regulated cosmetic surgeries and procedures in an effort to look young.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/smorgasbord-something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-survival-in-the-modern-world-rejuvenation/

Donna Hill shares the retirement process for guide dogs and how they can be absorbed into the family or extended family.

Hunter, Donna's black Lab guide dog, on Hill's Pond-Berm Trail with blooming yellow Birdsfoot Trefoil, Showing his Gray in Summer of 2013: photo by Rich Hill.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-retiring-guide-dogs-no-one-size-fits-all-solution-by-donna-w-hill/

Miriam Hurdle shares the story of her brother-in-law and the challenge of waiting for a perfect match.

P1020092

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-kidney-transplant-a-good-match-by-miriam-hurdle/

This week Susanne Swanson introduces us to Benji – the runt of the litter who soars in his dreams.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-cats-in-my-dreams-i-soar-by-susanne-swanson/

Patty Fletcher shares a difficult time during her first experience of Seeing Eye Dog training school being away from home at Easter.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-the-easter-bunny-came-after-all-by-patty-fletcher/

I share more of the contributors to this anthology of interviews with fellow authors who have experienced significant life events.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/smorgasbord-special-feature-understanding-an-anthology-of-true-and-significant-life-events-contributors-lucy-v-hay-miriam-hurdle-phil-huston/

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/smorgasbord-special-feature-understanding-an-anthology-of-true-and-significant-life-events-contributors-pamela-jessen-lynda-mckinney-lambert-and-jaye-marie/

New Book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-delilah-and-the-dark-god-the-eternal-realm-book-2-by-fiona-tarr/

Author Update – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-deborah-jay-julia-benally-robbie-cheadle-and-elsie-hancy-eaton/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-sue-coletta-james-j-cudney-and-lucinda-e-clarke/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-what-were-they-thinking-part-one-and-a-joke-from-the-archives/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-what-were-they-thinking-part-two-and-a-joke-from-the-archives/

 

Thank you very much for dropping in through the week and today, I hope that you had a peaceful Easter and that the tragic events in Sri Lanka did not touch your lives.  Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – The House by the Sea – Final Part by Paul Andruss


Yesterday Patrick Noone discovered the joy and freedom of life beneath and in the waves of the sea with Muireann. Sadness enters his life however and his swimming lessons are put on hold. Will this mysterious woman wait for him? Paul Andruss takes us into the final chapter.

THE HOUSE BY THE SEA –Final Part by Paul Andruss

A month short of being twenty-one, Patrick was summoned home from work to meet a fancy lawyer from the country town. Biddy, with a deference Patrick had never seen before in his life, showed him into the parlour, previously only used for Pat’s funeral, and meekly poured tea, served in her best china. She indicated Patrick to sit down in one of the good armchairs; and him in his rough and shite and all.

The lawyer began without preamble. ‘Patrick Noone, on reaching your majority, you will inherit your father’s share of his business, this house, freehold and without lien, and a capital sum standing at a little over two thousand five hundred pounds, representing invested profits. As you are probably aware your aunt was able to draw on this for your support over the years, however it must be said, she has behaved admirably.

‘I have been instructed to inform you by your father’s old partner, a Mr O’Leary, now of Cork, he would like you to take your place in the firm. I believe he was kept abreast of your upbringing by your aunt.’

Biddy nodded.

‘Is it to do with my father’s fishing boat?’ Patrick asked Biddy.

The lawyer answered. ‘I believe that was the original company. However Mr. O’Leary subsequently built up a successful business of three merchant cargo steamers. He is making a very generous offer.

‘I do understand this is a lot to digest, young man; hence my early announcement. As I am affiliated to the company’s legal firm, I am instructed to offer whatever guidance you require over the coming month.’

Picking up his satchel, the lawyer took out a sheaf of papers. ‘I would suggest you review these and that we meet in my office in a fortnight to discuss your questions. I will send an appointment letter.’ He looked Patrick up and down. ‘I also suggest I introduce you to my tailor.’

He put out his hand for Patrick to shake and rather awkwardly Patrick stood to take the proffered hand in his own dirty paw. The lawyer’s expression did not change at all.

‘Delighted, I will see you in two weeks then.’

‘So what are yer thinkin?’ Biddy asked after the lawyer left.

‘I’m not too sure what I’m thinking.’

‘Give it time,’ Biddy answered.

After telling Ron the foreman, Patrick asked if he could carry on working, until they replaced him. He had wanted to say until he had decided what to do but thought Ron would not believe him. He barely believed himself. He said he would have to go home each night rather than sleeping in the camp. There were papers to look at, and things to think about.

In truth, the only thing Patrick wanted to think about was Muireann. He wanted to know if he had lost her forever. Each evening he’d stand on the beach, looking forlornly out to sea, praying she’d appear. When it got too dark, he’d reluctantly head off home. One precious night, he saw a solitary dark head break the waves. Carelessly he ran into the surf, calling out her name; slapping the water, shouting himself hoarse. By some miracle she came, swimming through the wine dark sea under a violet sky.

Peering through the deepening gloom, his heart sank every time he lost her in the swell and surged as she reappeared. Suddenly the head appeared so close he could clearly see it was a curious seal. For a few long seconds, it stared at him with large dark eyes, before diving underwater.

He swore there and then in his anguish if he could but see her one more time. Mermaid, fairy; no matter what she was, he would declare undying love and put his life in her hands. Declare it while he could: before his whole life changed and she was forever lost.

Walking back to the house Patrick thought he heard singing on the wind, faint but unmistakeable, like the song that haunted his childhood dreams. That night he prayed. He who never prayed, who had never asked anyone for anything, prayed to God and Jesus and the Holy Mother, to Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, to his mother in case she was in heaven, and his Uncle Pat and his father who already were.

The next day, at twilight, Patrick’s prayers were answered. Muireann waited on the beach wearing her antique green dress. Heart singing, he ran to her. All he wanted to do was sweep her up in his arms. To kiss her, and to have her kiss him back. She stopped him before he could touch her.

‘I tried to stay away’, she told him, ‘but seeing you unhappy…’

‘I knew it was you.’

She hushed him. ‘I am not what you think.’

I don’t care what you are. I love you.’

‘And I love you too. I always have, for your whole life. ’ she replied. ‘Patrick, I am your mother.’

He felt as if the whole world was falling in. He couldn’t speak; couldn’t look at her.

Her voice was gentle. ‘We of the Selkie live in the sea, only casting off our seal skins to come ashore. If our skins are taken we remain prisoners on dry land.’

‘My father?’

‘I loved your father Patrick, loved him so much I gave up everything. We hatched a plan to keep my seal skin locked securely in a chest. He said he would always wear the key over his heart, as a sign of our love. I returned with you one day to find his sister in the house. The chest dragged from its hiding pace with lid flung open. My sealskin, draped over a chair, had lost its sheen. It looked stiff and dry as old leather. It brought tears to my eyes. I was filled irrational longing.

‘He told me to tell you he doesn’t love you any more,’ his sister told me as I stared at my unloved skin. ‘Said, I should burn that auld thing.

‘How could it not be true? She knew our greatest secret. He must have given her the key to open the chest. Madness descended on me. I was afraid she would take my skin and throw it in the fire. I snatched it up. She grabbed you. ‘Go’, she snarled, ‘he wants you gone.’

‘All I could think was to save my skin; to bring back its gloss and shine. As soon as I felt the cold caress of the waves, felt my two skins bond, my form change, I remembered she had you. But what could I do? You were born without a skin. And I was unable to step on land until a year passed for each year spent in mortal form.’

His mother’s large brown eyes filled with tears. ‘I used to sing to you. Did you hear me?’

He nodded slowly, blubbering, ‘He never stopped loving you. He thought you left him; was terrified you’d come for me.’

His mother hugged him, tenderly pulling down his head to nestle in the crook between her shoulder and neck, gently stroking his hair. Although Patrick was taller and broader than she, he instinctively knew these were the arms he remembered caressing him as a child.

‘I know he loved me. I was the one who found him,’ she gently told her son. ‘He swam too long, too far, searching for me. The key, our key was still around his neck. And then I knew she lied. And he did too. Knew she’d betrayed the secret he shared with the sister he loved.

‘I brought him home to the strand in front of the house, waiting with him all night until the sky grew pale. I saw you leave for school, with her waving you off at the door. I waited until you were gone and called out.

‘Although she only heard the bark of a seal, she knew it was me. She seized the axe from the woodpile and came charging down the beach. When she saw him, she knew. I saw it in her face; all her schemes born from bitterness unravelling.

‘She dropped the axe, falling down in a heap, weeping and keening over what she’d done.

We stayed until the sun rose high, wife and sister with the man they loved, who had each thought in their own way to make him happy and between them destroyed him.

‘When she stopped crying she looked up, blowing her nose on her sleeve. It seemed as if some part was broken, or something inside had died. I turned back to the sea leaving her alone with her sin.’

When he got home, Patrick told Biddy he had met his mother on the beach. Biddy said nothing, putting out the dinner in silence. When he was in bed she knocked on his door and came uninvited into his room.

‘It wasn’t what you think,’ she began. ‘I was at me wits end with yer poor Uncle Pat shivering in two damp rooms an her, that godless creature, throwing the fact she wanted for nothing in me face; what with yer father, and you, and this fine big house.’

Patrick said nothing, pretending to be asleep until Biddy stumbled to a halt and left. Unable to sleep he got up before first light and made his way to work. Taking foreman Ron to one side he asked for his due wages. With none to be had until Saturday, the lads had a whip round scraping together what they could. A passing cart gave him a lift to the station up the line. From there took the train to the country town, where he told the lawyer he would like to take up Mr O’Leary’s offer. He then instructed the lawyer to sell the house by the sea and settle an adequate sum on his aunt.

Arriving in Cork Patrick lodged with Mr O’Leary and his wife. In time he fell in love with and married Mr O’Leary’s eldest daughter Kathleen. An arrangement, that must be said, suited all parties. His aunt did not come to the wedding; although his cousin did.

Patrick’s cousin was a pretty young thing. Some might call her beautiful with her thick dark curls and large soulful eyes that turned many a young man’s head at the wedding party. Although some young women cattily remarked, as some will when alone together at social gatherings where they feel ignored, that the darkness of her eyes, hair and brows left her skin looking pale as ivory and her generous lips quite pinched and bloodless.

©Paul Andruss 2018

© Image The Colour of Life Geoff Cronin

I am sure that you have enjoyed this story as much as I have and a huge thanks to Paul for the enormous amount of time spent in writing it for us.

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul is the author of two books and you can find out more by clicking the image.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks

Thank you for visiting and enjoy the rest of the week. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – The House by the Sea – Part Four by Paul Andruss


In yesterday’s chapter we meet a woman who seems impervious to the cold as she swims naked in the sea. Patrick Noone is enthralled by her exotic behaviour and agrees to meet her and learn how to swim….Paul Andruss continues the story.

THE HOUSE BY THE SEA – Part Four – Paul Andruss

Biddy wanted to know why he was soaking wet. He could not tell her about the woman. No, he did not want to tell her. So he made up some tall tale about falling in the woods, getting covered in mud from head to foot, and washing himself in the sea. Biddy stared gimlet-eyed like she didn’t believe a word.

‘Yer stupid get,’ she said eventually. ‘Now get outta them wet things an get some aul newspapers stuffed in them boots to dry them out by the stove.’

That night all Patrick thought about was the strange woman. He wasn’t stupid. He knew no ordinary woman could swim naked in a storm-ripped winter sea. It came as no surprise her name was Muireann. He knew the story of Muireann from school; a mermaid caught long ago in Lough Neagh in the North, who became a woman when baptised by some old saint.

All his life Patrick had heard the old stories of mermaids drowning sailors or bad fairies dragging children down to the green weeds of the river bed. But if she’d wanted him dead, she could a done it there and then. She didn’t need to offer to teach him to swim. No, whatever she was, he was sure she meant no harm.

Saturday afternoon found Patrick on the beach. He had taken off his boots and socks, along with his jacket, trousers and shirt, to stand shivering in the wind off the sea, naked except his oldest patched pair of long underpants. The ones he knew Biddy would never miss.

Muireann did not come from the sea, but walked along the wind whipped sand in an faded dress of spoilt green satin and forlorn lace. It looked as if it might have once been worn by a fine lady a hundred years ago. Its long full skirt swept the sand smooth. Its trace washed away in turn by the tide.

The dress was wet and clung to every curve. He thought it strange as her hair and skin were dry. Her thick dark hair curled unbound to the waist. Sleek and glossy, it looked as if it had been brushed until it gleamed. Eyes, dark and lustrous as he remembered, left her skin pale as ivory; her full lips looked bloodless with the cold. He thought her beautiful.

‘Don’t you look handsome,’ she remarked.

Handsome or not he found himself lost for words, and felt his face colour. He stood watching her watching him, as the cold spray plastered the thin fabric of his underpants to every muscle. Without a word she reached out to take his hands and walking backward drew him into the sea.

‘Do not be afraid,’ she he told him.

‘I’m not afraid.’

‘It feels cold at first but that is the wind on the waves. Take a deep breath and fall to me.’

He closed his eyes and squeezing her hands fearfully, did what he was told. There was a moment of panic as his feet went from under him, but her grip held firm. Under the waves it felt warm, or at least not cold. He felt light as air and just as free. He put his head up to take another breath and plunged it back underwater, opening his eyes to a brief sting of salt. He laughed. The air bubbling from of his mouth forced him to find his feet and stand with the waves crashing from waist to chest.

‘Do you like it?’ she asked.

He nodded, eager; greedy; happy as a child on his birthday.

‘A deep breath,’ she instructed.

He breathed and together they plunged beneath the waves.

They say everyone favours one of the four elements. Some breeze through life with laughter in their heart. Some light up the world around them, though they may be changeable as the day is long. Others, solid and dependable, will not be moved if they know they are right. They thirst for justice and are good to have standing at your side in troubled times. Then there are those, often the quiet ones, who run still and deep. Whether they be calm or tempestuous, they do not give love easily. But when they love… ah, when they love, over time that love of theirs will erode mountains.

On Monday Patrick saw Muireann walking along the beach in another antique dress. As luck would have it, or maybe it was a premonition, he had packed his old underpants in his knapsack. After this they met for an hour each evening on his way home to swim together. With the lengthening days and bursting buds, Patrick realised he dreaded the return of spring. Sleeping under the trees night after night seemed a poor substitute with his new taste for the sea.

In his heart he knew this is what his father felt in his fishing boat: the call of the sea; in all her moods. And perhaps there was more. A dark sinister thought crept in, growing like a worm gnawing at his heart. Perhaps his father had known his own Muireann. Perhaps this was this why he drowned, searching for one such as her? Perhaps this was why his mother left?

Day after day he steeled himself to ask Muireann if she knew of his father. Each time he quailed, afraid of what it would mean. If her people were responsible for his father’s death or his mother leaving; where would that leave them?

One Thursday morning, no more than couple of hours after starting work, Sam the Undertaker’s son burst into the logging camp looking for Patrick. His Uncle Pat was dead. Ron the foreman told him to take what time he needed and he’d try not to dock his wages if he could. Although wages were the last thing on Patrick’s mind.

Biddy later told him Pat had died in his sleep. He knew Biddy and Pat slept in different rooms. Pat’s cough kept her up all night leaving her good for nothing. She’d seen him when she took in with his early morning tea. He was so peaceful; not a peep out of him. She thought it would be a kindness to let him sleep; not realising he was already gone.

As darkness fell Patrick grew fretful. Muireann was expecting him. What if he didn’t show? Would she ever come again? But how could he leave Biddy? She had no one else. Reluctantly he closed the curtains, knowing they would not be opened again ‘til after the funeral. There would be no swimming now, no dalliance, at least for a while. It was no comfort to know he was doing the right thing.

The funeral was Saturday afternoon so friends from the logging camp could act as pallbearers. Patrick was not in work but sat with Biddy night and day watching over the body. Friday night everyone turned up for the send-off. Biddy laid on a spread, with a barrel brought from the pub in the drayman’s cart.

It was a good turn-out. There was lots a laughing and singing round the coffin with two fellas from the pub on fiddle and banjo. Near midnight, when the songs were getting maudlin and people shifting uneasily, looking ready to leave, it was time for Pat to go. Biddy went over and opened the window, while respectfully the mourners formed an avenue for his spirit to pass between them out into the night.

The funeral went without a hitch. Everyone came round after. They were subdued for a while, probably nursing hangovers. Some brought a bottle or two by way of commiseration. Wives drifted by with a stew-pot, a spare pie or something else they’d baked. Before anyone knew, it was midnight again and the barrel was finished and the bottles empty and everyone was saying what a great aul fella Paddy was. Though by Jeasus, they’d bothered with him little enough before. And that was that. The man was laid to earth. Biddy and Patrick were expected to get on with it.

After Church on Sunday, there was cold-cuts for dinner and a slice of pie. Claiming a blindin’ head, Biddy went to bed. At a loss Patrick went to the sea. When Muireann wasn’t there, he stripped himself naked and swam until his arms and legs burned. Coming out he realised his eyes were running with tears and he thought it must be the bloody salt water.

For the next week he went to the sea each evening on his way home from work. Muireann had gone. Sometimes he stripped himself and swam. But his heart wasn’t in it. By the month end he was back to work proper and sleeping under the stars, or more often than not under a stretched tarpaulin with the rain drip, drip, dripping off the branches onto the oiled canvass above his head. He missed the sea. But on them nights he missed the sea least of all.

©Paul Andruss 2018

© Images The Colour of Life Geoff Cronin

My thanks again to Paul for this compelling episode in this story and I hope you will pop in tomorrow for the final part.

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul is the author of two books and you can find out more by clicking the image.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks

Thanks again for dropping in and hope to see you tomorrow for the final part of the story…Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogs from My Archives – The House by the Sea Part Three by Paul Andruss


Welcome to the third chapter of The House by the Sea. We left Patrick Noone coming to terms with life with his Aunt Biddy and Uncle Pat. At seven years old he took over the chores for his ill uncle and has learned the value of hard work. Paul Andruss picks up the story.

THE HOUSE BY THE SEA – Part Three – Paul Andruss

At the age of fourteen, Biddy put a word in and Patrick got the gardener’s boy’s job up the big house. The gardener, an amiable old chap who headed a team of ten good natured fellas, took bright eager Patrick under his wing, intending to teach him all he knew. Perhaps he felt sorry for him because he was quiet. At the end of his second year the old man sat Patrick down, knocked out his pipe on the heel of his boot and slowly shook his head.

‘By the holy Jeasus an all o’ his saints lad, you’ve a aul rare gift. No matter what I gives yer, by Jeasus, if it don’t curl up an die. I might as well save meself the trouble an dip it in saltwater. Now I likes yer, I do, an there is no doubt yer can graft, but it can’t go on. I’m supposed ta be fillin the place like the Garden o’ Eden, not leaving it scorched as the hobs a Hell.

‘Now Paddy lad, don’t be lookin at me like a dog off to be whipped, I spake to Danny, that’s Mr McEnery ta yer, an yer fixed ta join is timber gang, if he likes the cut of yer jib. It’s a good life lad, an yer gift for killin plants ain’t such a handicap to them, what with the business the’re in,’ he chortled.

That afternoon the gardener took him to be looked over by the Estates Manager Mr McEnery, or ‘that miserable aul’ get’ as everyone else referred to him. The estate had a logging team and its own timber mill, each run by a foreman under McEnery. At first Patrick was put in the timber mill, which he hated; especially with McEnery living up to his nickname, barking out his orders with a puss on him like he’d been slapped round the face with an aul kipper.

Lucky for Patrick within a fortnight one of the logging men had an accident and he was sent to the team, temporary mind, to help load and drive the cart. It was a wet cold miserable week. None of the other fellas were keen on moving out of the comfort of the factory.

Patrick loved the freedom, loved no one checking on you every five minutes. Most of all, he loved being in the woods with the scattered diffused light breaking through the dark green canopy and the rain on his face. He thought it was the closest he’d ever come to being underwater. It was like living in the sea.

Before long he was wielding an axe as good as any of them and loving every minute. The rest of the lads were like Uncle Pat, except fit and full of laughter. Even the foreman Ron, only got stiff when aul McEnery came sniffing round, which wasn’t that often as long as you got your quota to the mill on time.

In summer they would stay out for days on end, working dawn ‘til dusk and sleeping on canvass cots under tarpaulins stretched between branches like tents. They kept a roaring log fire on the go, cooking up a big aul frying pans a bacon, sausage, eggs n bread, n spuds roast in the ashes. With a big aul billie a tea, strong n sweet with condensed milk, stewing away night and day.

He worked six and half days, and it was hard, hard labour, but it filled him out. By the age of twenty he was weathered as seasoned oak, with muscles like ripcords, a strong back and broad across the shoulders. A quiet man, each Saturday afternoon instead of staying in the pub with the lads, he’d head back to Aunt Biddy to turn over the bulk of his wages and help out with the chores. On the way home he always made sure to pick up a couple a pint bottles of the black stuff from the pub and a pack of ciggies from the tobacconists for Uncle Pat along with a bag of boiled sweets for Biddy.

There was Mass on Sunday morning followed by a slap up breakfast and a slap up dinner. By suppertime he was heading back to camp with a week’s worth of clean clothes and a couple of large meat and potato pies in his backpack to share with the lads.

Winter was different. It was too cold to be sleeping rough. With the short days the lads headed off early to their homes or lodgings in the town. At one point, Patrick even suggested Auntie Biddy take in a few for the extra money, but by this time Big Pat wasn’t well enough. The poor aul sod looked like death, propped up in the big aul armchair by the grate day and night; asleep more often than not, with a burned down ciggie hangin’ from his lips.

He’d joke the doctor told him to stay away from the ciggies. ‘But I said to him,’ he’d say, ‘by Jeasus Doc, and where am I goin’ a get one a them fancy ciggie holders when I’m buggered walking ta the privy?’

Then he’d laugh, which would start the hacking cough, which wouldn’t stop. Biddy or Patrick would have to bend him forward and rub his back trying to loosen the congestion. Sometimes after a bad attack, Patrick saw Biddy bent over the stove, or doing the ironing, quietly crying. He knew better than to say something.

It was an early spring afternoon, one of them days with just a promise of what’s to come in the air. Patrick was walking home before twilight. There had been a filthy big storm the day before that left the logging camp like a sea of mud, with nothing movin’. The foremen sent them home saying they’d get an early start tomorra.

As Patrick hit the coast path leading down to the house, didn’t he see the strangest thing on the beach? At first, he didn’t know what to make of it. Then thought his eyes was deceiving him. There was something black and white caught in the surf. It couldn’t be; but it was. Jesus Christ and all his saints in heaven! There was a body washed up, all white, broken and naked: a woman judging by the long dark hair tangled by the crashing waves.

His first thought was she must have drowned. There were stories he’d heard, what with living by the sea all his life, how the riptide could strip a body naked. Holy Mary Mother of God, what a hideous way to go! He was debating what to do when he saw her move. He knew it wasn’t the waves, when she moved again. Jesus Christ she was alive!

Yelling like a mad man he tore down the cliff path. Within twenty or thirty wards there was a way down to the beach: he knew it well. He hit the sand running so fast he went tumbling arse over tip. As he struggled to his feet, he looked again. He was too late. She was gone.

A cry of anguish was ripped out of the heart of him. Patrick pelted into the crashing white surf, looking right and left, hoping to find some trace. Anything!

He was shocked to see the top of a head appear from beneath the waves. A slim pale hand wiped away the long dark hair plastered across her face to reveal large brown liquid eyes looking at him, full of curiosity.

He stared back uncomprehending.

‘You’re alive?’ he muttered after a moment.

Slowly the rest of her head emerged, a delicate nose and full lips, pinched and blue with the cold.

‘I heard you coming, I had no clothes.’

‘I thought you was dead!’

‘Me? No.’ she laughed.

‘You looked dead’, he protested, biting his lip, scared to offend her. But she had looked dead; lying white and broken; cast up like flotsam.

Slowly she rose from the water, her long sleek hair sticking like a pelt to her narrow shoulders as she broke surface. Under the water it floated like strands of kelp, obscuring the swell of her breasts.

Patrick blushed to see her rising naked. He turned away. He had never seen a woman and was desperate to look. But not like this. It wasn’t decent.

He felt a peck on his cheek. ‘You are gallant,’ she said, sounding as if she was laughing at him.

Before he could stop himself, he’d looked. She was holding something to protect her modesty, lank and dark like a wet blanket, or perhaps wet leather, or maybe moleskin, for it looked slick and glossy.

‘I was swimming.’ She took his hand in her icy one and led him from the water. ‘You will catch your death.’

‘And what about you?’

‘I never feel the cold’.

She saw him puzzling over this. ‘I swim every day.’

‘It must be marvellous… to swim’

‘Can’t you?’

He shook his head.

‘Perhaps I could teach you. Would you like that?’

They were out of the swell now. The waves crashing no more than calf deep still wanted to drag him under. She began to adjust her blanket, draping it over her breasts and torso, leaving her white arms and shoulders bare.

He must have been staring for she was laughed. ‘Go home. I have a long swim a head of me and you will catch your death.’

Obediently he waded out of the cold grey water. Reaching the beach he heard her say,

‘When?’

He looked back.

‘Your swimming lesson. When?’

Saturday,’ he hesitantly replied, ‘afternoon. Two?’
‘I am Muireann.’ She smiled. ‘And I will wear something more appropriate.’

‘I’m Patrick.’ He returned her smile.

‘What a lovely name.’

He walked up the beach, feeling her eyes on him. Reaching the dunes he turned to wave goodbye. She was gone.

©Paul Andruss 2018

©Images The Colour of Life Geoff Cronin

The mystery deepens.. who is the strange woman who is brave enough to swim in such wintery seas…. pop in tomorrow to find out more.

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul is the author of two books and you can find out more by clicking the image.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks

Thanks again for dropping in and hope to see you tomorrow for the next episode…Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Easter Parade Invite, Bloggers Bash Voting, And all the fun of the fair.


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

One thing that you probably have not missed, since Easter Eggs have been in the stores since January is that next weekend is the religious festival and also a time for families to get together and celebrate the extended holiday weekend.

As you know I do like to throw a party occasionally and this Easter I have decided to hold a traditional parade.. well two to be exact as they will be posted on Saturday and Monday.  To be in the parade you need to send me a photo… several already have so I only have a handful of places left on the floats...All the details are in the post and it is easy to enter…..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-easter-parade-blog-party-saturday-20th-april-and-monday-april-22nd-2019-party-time/

The time for the Blogger’s Bash in June has come around very quickly and as part of the event is the annual blog awards. There are some amazing bloggers included in the categories as there are every year. Very honoured to have been nominated along with so many from our community. Now it is your opportunity to vote for your favourites.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/the-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-2019-vote-is-live/

As always I am very grateful for your support and delighted to hear from you every week. Also my thanks to Paul Andruss and Carol Taylor this week for their input which is appreciated…

And here are the posts from the week….

With Easter next week I thought that you would enjoy this five part short story over the two weekends from Paul Andruss, first published in January 2018… Set in Ireland in the 1930s it follows the life of a young man with a mysterious past who lives in The House by the Sea.

Part One.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-house-by-the-sea-part-one-by-paul-andruss/

Part Two

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-house-by-the-sea-part-two-by-paul-andruss/

Carol Taylor and her sous chef, granddaughter Lily give us two recipes for a cake and biscuits for Easter…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-food-and-cookery-column-rewind-easter-treats-with-carol-taylor/

Sally’s Personal Stuff

This week’s One Hit Wonder is the Halloween favourite.. ‘Monster Mash’.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-one-hit-wonders-monster-mash-by-bobby-boris-pickett/

This week a look at Revenge…in the R’s of Life…. and it is never really sweet…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/something-to-think-about-new-rs-of-life-survival-in-a-modern-world-revenge-never-really-sweet-sally-cronin/

Colleen Chesebro is on hiatus as she house hunts but she asked that we continued to share our poetry.. Here is my weekly contribution… and etheree  ‘Age Defying’

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/smorgasbord-poetry-etheree-age-defying-by-sally-cronin/

This week’s prompt for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction was ‘Beggars Can’t Be Choosers’

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-beggars-cant-be-choosers-by-sally-cronin/

 

Two parts this weekend in the updated version of Size Matters… measurements, motivations, portion sizes and good fats.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-putting-your-eating-plan-together-part-one-measurements-and-motivationby-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/14/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-putting-your-plan-together-fats-portion-sizes-part-two-by-sally-cronin/

 

This week L.T. Garvin shares her memories of her best friend in Junior High School and their aspirations to enter the talent contest with the classic Proud Mary by Ike and Tina Turner….keep on rolling and enjoy.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-melanie-and-me-by-l-t-garvin/

Welcome to the third post from the archives of Donna W. Hill and this week Donna shares the workings of a canal and the period of transition between water levels as an analogy for the times in our life when we are in limbo between events. In this case the treatment for her guide dog’s chronic disease.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-symbolism-of-the-locks-on-the-erie-canal-an-authors-dog-fighting-ibd/

The last in the present series from the archives of Norah Colvin which is actually reflections on learning by her daughter Bec, and written when she was 26 in 2013

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-reflections-on-learning-by-norah-colvin/

Susanne Swanson takes us on their camping trip to Mora and Rialto Beach Olympic National Park in Washington State.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-mora-and-rialto-beach-olympic-national-park-by-susanne-swanson/

Special Feature

Author Stevie Turner asked 18 authors questions about significant life events that would inform and inspire… and over the week or so I will be featuring the contributors. The anthology’s proceeds are being donated to Cancer Research, and at 99p/99c it is very good value.

You can buy the anthology for only 99c: https://www.amazon.com/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

And on Amazon UK for 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-special-feature-proceedscancerresearch-understanding-an-anthology-of-true-and-significant-life-events-compiled-by-stevie-turner-and-18-other-authors/

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-understanding-anthology-contributors-alienora-browning-dorinda-duclos-scarlett-flame/

happydebbie

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/smorgasbord-special-feature-understanding-an-anthology-of-true-and-significant-life-events-contributors-bernard-foong-darlene-foster-janet-gogerty-and-debbie-harris/

New book on the shelves.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-rivalry-war-of-nytefall-book-3-by-charles-e-yallowitz/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-the-adventures-of-little-miss-history-volume-i-adventure-books-for-all-ages-by-barbara-ann-mojica/

Author update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-ritu-bhathal-natalie-ducey-mae-clair-and-c-s-boyack/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-janice-spina-terry-tyler-and-marina-osipova/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-somethings-cannot-be-unseen-and-a-joke-or-two-from-the-archives/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-life-observations-and-a-joke-from-the-archives/

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – The House by the Sea – Part Two by Paul Andruss


We continue with part two of the story of Patrick Noone whose life is bound inextricably with the sea. Tragedy has already struck with the loss of his mother, whose large and beautiful eyes are one of the few memories he has of her.  Paul Andruss shares more of Patrick’s childhood.

THE HOUSE BY THE SEA – Part Two by Paul Andruss

After his father’s death, the years rolled on; the last much the same as the next with little to choose between them. Patrick grew into a fine strong lad, wiling and polite, if a little withdrawn, but with something that made people warm to the ‘poor orphan’.

At seven he made his first Confession and Holy Communion before becoming an altar boy at the Blessed Virgin with Father O’Malley. He got new clothes at Whitsun and Christmas, but for the rest of the year Biddy patched and made do. In the years of his First Holy Communion, and later, his Confirmation, the new clothes were saved up for the big day, so Biddy could make a good impression on the parish.

Patrick remembered his Confirmation Sunday because everyone went up in a charabanc to the big church where the Bishop marked them with chrism, filling them with the Holy Spirit by whispering a secret name in each child’s ear that only God and the angels knew.

Over the years, Patrick came to learn his Aunt Biddy was not a cruel woman. True, she had a fierce temper on her and little suffered shenanigans; what, with the washing and the ironing she took in, keeping house and putting meals on the table. Patrick had his fair share to do, especially as his uncle’s health grew worse. As Biddy informed him one day when he was about eight, you’re the man now.

Each morning he cleaned out the grate, set the fire, and fed the chickens, before running down the farm for a pitcher of creamy new milk, essential, so Biddy claimed, for someone with contagion on the lungs, and to pick up a loaf from the bakery. After school he chopped wood and brought it from the woodpile to the house, saw to the chickens and weeded the small garden where his uncle grew cabbage, potatoes and leek.

Every six months, spring and fall, he used the old yard-brush to paint the inside of the privy with lime-wash to keep out infection. Brought up by Biddy, Patrick never feared hard work and cheerfully did every task she dished out. The one he liked best was the first job he did every day after school: running down the alehouse with a stone jug for a quart of black porter for Uncle Pat.

It would have been a couple of years after his father died Patrick asked if his mother drowned too. Was that was why his father hated the sea?

‘Yer mother didn’t drown’, Biddy snarled with the face on her screwed up ‘til lips and eyes were no more than gashes. ‘She ran off and left him. Broke his heart she did; the bloody fool!’

She looked at Patrick with something like a cross between pity and contempt; staring so long he wished he could turn invisible. He looked down at his feet, but could still feel her eyes burning into the top of his head. At last she snorted and spat on the iron. And with the hiss, the heat in his face evaporated.

Biddy was not a talkative woman. Usually she barked orders and stood gimlet eyed as he scurried to carry them out to her satisfaction. But that day Biddy talked and talked.

Perhaps it was the long firm strokes of the iron that soothed and left her in a sort of trance. Maybe it was the odd, sly, encouraging word from Uncle Pat. Whatever, Patrick had the sense to stay frozen; aware the smallest movement would break the spell. He learned more about his family in one afternoon than he had in his whole short life.

‘Yer father never hated the sea,’ Biddy told him. ‘Even had a boat, handsome Knox it was with a sail as well as an engine. Happy as a sand-boy; spent his days fishing for crab an lobster for them grand hotels down the coast what cater for the tourists who come down from Cork, an even far away as Dublin. He was mammy’s youngest an so handsome; the apple of her eye.’

Biddy worked in one of those hotels.

‘Housekeeper mind, not one of yer scullery maids, second only to the under-manager I was. But that was before I met yer Uncle Pat.’ She nodded to her husband in the big armchair by the fire, cradling his pewter pint pot. ‘He was under-manager for the next hotel on the bay. We met at the big staff Christmas party.

‘By this time I’d given up on walking out with a fella an was resigned to goin’ to me grave a dried up aul spinster, til the Holy Mother of God had mercy on me. One thing led to another an before we knew where we was, me an Pat was wed.

‘Well, married women weren’t like girls and widows; working wasn’t for us. Anyway in them days, I thought I’d soon have me hands full with a house full of me own. Not long after, we moved to Dublin. It was when yer got that job Pat wasn’t it. But the filthy air didn’t agree with yer did it?

Pat nodded and coughed pathetically to demonstrate exactly how it hadn’t agreed with him.

Biddy carried on speaking about her husband as if he wasn’t there…

‘It was his poor aul lungs. Shot thru thee was. Well I tell yer, it was hand to mouth for a couple of years, ‘til we came back an I got a job charrin’ for Doctor an Missus Lowther. By this time you’d arrived. Yer was about three or four by then.

‘Our Micky, yer dad, had built this fine big house by the sea for her; cos she liked the sea did yer mother. But I never warmed to her. A right cold fish, she was. Miserable as the day was long. You’d think she’d lost a half a crown an found a sixpence. I didn’t see your father much in them days, but he seemed happy when he came down with a nice bit of fish or a few shillin to help us out.’

After that day, Biddy gradually seemed to soften towards Patrick, as if whatever passed for a heart was slowly melting. Big Pat, always fond of the lad, became almost like a father.

As his health worsened, on fine afternoons Biddy sat her husband outside under the veranda in a wicker chair, with a blanket over his knees, to get the benefit of the sea’s ‘salubrious ozone’. But she took care to keep him out of the wind.

After chores Patrick liked to join his uncle. Big Pat smoked his Players Full Strength hawking and coughing so hard it would seem a mercy if he dropped down dead. When he nodded Patrick topped up his uncle’s pewter pint-pot with the thick dark beer in the jug.

They never spoke much, but enjoyed the company. Sometimes, not often, Biddy would stick her head out and on cue Patrick ran to fetch a chair from the kitchen. Biddy would let him pour her a half mug of porter and the three sat in comfortable silence until the evening turned chilly.

©Paul Andruss 2018

©Images The Colour of Life Geoff Cronin

Thanks to Paul for another amazing chapter and the remaining three chapters will be posted over Easter..

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul is the author of two books and you can find out more by clicking the image.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks

Thanks again for dropping in and hope to see you next week for the remaining three episodes..

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – The House by the Sea – Part One by Paul Andruss


In early 2018 Paul Andruss wrote a delightful five part story and over this weekend and Easter I am going to share again. Good things are worth repeating…

THE HOUSE BY THE SEA by Paul Andruss

Patrick Noone had liked the sea ever since he could remember. He liked the way its wildness stirred restlessness in his heart. His earliest memories were of yearning to plunge into the world beneath the waves; to hold his breath and let the current sweep him where it would.

Those memories came unbidden as he lay in bed, or at twilight watching a red bloated sun sink into grey. At such times, he remembered sitting in someone’s lap with protective arms wrapped around him. He believed it was his mother; although he remembered nothing of her. He imagined if he could only turn his head to look into her eyes he would see everything. But of course, he could not.

Sometimes when he had fallen into these reveries, he thought he heard low singing in a feminine lilting voice. Never words, just a soothing noise on the edge of hearing, like the whisper of waves on the beach below the house. At such times, he remembered large, dark, liquid eyes revealing his reflection and a wide expanse of seamlessly joined sky and sea. They were his mother’s eyes he supposed. They were certainly not his father’s.

His father hated the sea. His earliest memory of his father was of a bright day. Left to his own devices young Patrick wondered down to the beach and stood letting the water lap around his toes. He was entranced, lost in the sound of distant singing. Suddenly he was snatched up. Thrust face first into a musty corduroy jacket smelling of cigarettes, and carried roughly away.

His father did not say a word as he dropped him in a heap on the kitchen floor. He made to take off his belt; then stopped. He stood staring at his son for minutes. Or was it hours? Patrick did not know. When you are a child, time seems frozen and sometimes in memory, time is frozen too.

He remembered his father’s face crumpled as he let out an anguished cry. It left Patrick shaking and he burst into tears. His father knelt down and hugged him. Patrick remembered being held so tight he could not breathe. He fought as children do when feeling smothered. Without warning his father let go and walked out the house. Patrick must have been about 5 years old.

Patrick always thought his father died that night, although he knew it was not true. For some time they lived in two rooms, the kitchen and parlour next door with all the furniture pushed back to make room for a large cold bed where Patrick and his father slept. Not though his father ever slept in the bed, he always fell asleep in the chair with a bottle on the table and a pewter mug in his hand.

In the morning Patrick would creep around, looking for a crust. Perhaps he’d find scrapings of a leek and potato soup from Aunt Biddy, or scraps congealed on last night’s plates of cold boiled bacon and colcannon. Patrick did not wake his father. Not because he was afraid, but because when his father slept he looked almost happy.

He remembered Aunt Biddy in a blustering rage accusing her brother of not loving Patrick. She claimed he was afraid of him. Even at that young age Patrick knew not a single word coming from Biddy’s mouth was true. Even she did not believe it. Biddy had her eye on his father’s handsome house; neglected and forlorn as it was.

A crying shame she scolded, with no fire in the grate and filth in the corners piled high as the dirty dishes in the sink. This was no way to live, with a poor wee mite running round filthy and bare arsed as a heathen. And didn’t she make a great show of wanting to be a sainted mother to him, lunging at Patrick with her great white arms in which to smother him. A fate Patrick avoided only by hiding behind his father’s chair.

Biddy rubbed her eyes with the edge of her pinnie. Rubbed them in the exact place tears might appear, had there been any. Upon her life she sniffled, all she ever wanted was wee ‘uns of her own. But she couldn’t yer see. Not with Big Pat’s lungs shot through with the consumption. Her voice already a hoarse whisper dropped to inaudibility at the thought of any indelicacy passing her lips. The malarkey, she mouthed, not possible yer see. Over the years Patrick often wondered if Biddy had wanted wee ‘uns of her own why she never treated him better.

Biddy was the type of woman any man would struggle to best, never mind his father with all the fight gone from him. As Patrick could testify from experience, her powerful white arms and raw rough hands could land a clout to send you spinning clean across the room; if she had a mind, which she often did.

Not long afterwards, Biddy moved in with her husband, Big Pat, a small mean-built man, skinny and pale as Biddy was large and red. Before night fell, the whole house smelled of carbolic and damp washing, a smell even the tempting aroma of a mutton stew could not overwhelm. By the end of the week she forbad Patrick’s father from drinking in the house, which meant he went out drinking in the pub. Then she forbad Big Pat from going with him, which meant he carried on drinking in the house. From then on Patrick saw his father less and less. Which was good in a way, for when he drowned Patrick never really noticed he was gone.

Once the house was as she liked it, Biddy turned her attention to Patrick. Biddy took in washing and ironing for the big house, the doctor and the priest, and wanted him out from under her feet. Announcing she couldn’t have him running round the house all day long like a wild heathen, she scrubbed him, head to foot, with gritty soap on an itchy rag and inspected his head for nits by wrenching a fine-toothed comb through his tangled locks.

He was dressed in his Sunday best, a shirt with a starched collar that chaffed his neck, short trousers creased so sharp he might do someone mischief and black books so shiny he could see his face. Biddy inspected him critically and after a final scrub round the ears with spit and the edge of her pinnie, pulled on her good coat and dragged him, screaming every inch of the way, to the nuns for schooling.

‘Jeasus, Mary and Josef, what was yer thinking?’ she roared at his father. The woman could hardly believe her ears when Father O’Malley came round to tell her little Patrick was a real heathen and if she wanted him in school he would have to be baptised. Baptised he was that very day and started school the next; the youngest in the whole place, which was really just two classes.

©Paul Andruss 2018

©Images The Colour of Life by Geoff Cronin

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul is the author of two books and you can find out more by clicking the image.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks

Thank you for dropping in today and part two of the story is tomorrow… as always we would love 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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/smorgasbord-and-the-versatile-blogger-award-nominated-by-brigid-p-gallagher-7-things-you-may-not-know-about-me/

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: https://www.amazon.com/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

And on Amazon UK for 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-special-feature-proceedscancerresearch-understanding-an-anthology-of-true-and-significant-life-events-compiled-by-stevie-turner-and-18-other-authors/

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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-glen-miller-trombonist-composer-big-band-leader/

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

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-only-a-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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-puerto-vallarta-mexico-part-two-renting-shopping-tipping-and-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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-ann-chiappetta

My review for Small Town Kid by Frank Prem – recommended

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/smorgasbord-book-reviews-small-town-kid-by-frank-prem/

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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/smorgasbord-health-column-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiencies-vitamin-b3-niacin/

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

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-joy-lennick-a-tribute-to-my-dear-mama-mum/

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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-survival-in-a-modern-world-retail-therapy-the-true-cost-by-sally-cronin/

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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/06/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-weightloss-all-the-delicious-foods-you-can-eat-by-sally-cronin/

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

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-poetry-challenge-etheree-april-by-sally-cronin/

 

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

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/06/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-fire-by-sally-cronin/

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

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-butterflies-me-an-authors-breast-cancer-survival-story-by-donna-w-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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-the-funny-thing-about-dyslexia-by-jen-moore/

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…

mulberries

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-berry-delightful-by-norah-colvin/

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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-frank-b-cooper-school-refrain-by-susanne-swanson/

New Book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-amie-savage-safari-amie-in-africa-book-5-by-lucinda-e-clarke/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-special-pre-order-price-99c-99p-the-mayhem-series-book-3-silent-mayhem-by-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-trudys-diary-libraries-of-the-world-mysteries-book-1-by-amy-m-reade/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-shortstories-a-box-of-memories-by-allan-hudson/

Author Updates

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-d-wallace-peach-barb-taub-and-mary-smith/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-jean-lee-paulette-mahurin-pamela-s-wight/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-a-mixed-bag-and-some-observations-on-life/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-another-odd-assortment-and-more-observations-on-life/

 

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