Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Dulwich Floods 2004 by Geoff Le Pard


In the last of Geoff’s archive posts, he shares his dare devil rescue of a damsel in distress whilst up to his hollyhocks in murky water in a torrential downpour in 2004.

Dulwich Floods 2004 by Geoff Le Pard

It was unusual for a Tuesday in April. Hot and muggy with a sky that couldn’t make up its mind between white and blue. Work was dull – 2004 wasn’t an exciting year, work wise. About six o’clock I gave up trying to struggle with a report written by a worthy if verbose junior and pulled on my cycling gear.

If London becomes intolerable – and I’m very patient with my city and its many failings – it is when it becomes so humid that the pavements sweat, the tarmac on the roads shimmer like black jelly and the passers by develop the complexion of flu victims – pallid, pasty and puce.

Wheeling my bike up the slope to the security gates I stopped to strap on my helmet and breathed in the air – like a mouthful of uncooked dough. I freewheeled down the one way street (the wrong way) and turned into Tudor Street, heading for Blackfriars Bridge. You knew a storm was coming but it was only as I eased out onto New Bridge Street and saw the yellow, apocalyptic sky to the south over Elephant & Castle that I realised it was going to be a humdinger.

April 27th 2004 and my part of South London experienced a 100 year deluge – 4 inches in 90 minutes. The whole of April’s average rain while a chicken roasted.

The first spots hit me as I left the death traps of the roundabout at Elephant and headed due south along the Walworth Road. The spits became drops became dollops as I pedalled the three miles to Denmark Hill and King’s hospital. Hail joined in as I rose from my seat and narrowed my eyes to climb the hill past Ruskin Park. Leaves and branches flooded back past me. The road had disappeared under the tide and the street lights strained to penetrate the gloom.

A point came when the water was so much that I couldn’t see; like I was underwater and blinking it away no longer worked. By now my clothes were soaked, my trainers full and my skin that slick oily texture you get if you spend too long in the bath. At least I wasn’t cold.

Once I’d crested the hill and turned onto Sunray Avenue things improved – the tree cover helped let me see at least – and I began to enjoy the novelty of skimming through a continual ford. No doubt it wasn’t safe; no doubt at any moment my wheels could have aquaplaned and I could have joined the flood.

Through the Village the roads were empty of people and traffic. At the entrance to Dulwich Park I stood, amazed as the sand from the horse rides was washed, like London’s own long-shore drift into the road. By now I really wanted to be home, under cover, watching this event remotely.

The last part of my journey takes me under a railway bridge. The dip down is some ten foot to give enough clearance for the many school coaches that pass by. The dip was full of water and in the middle sat a car, the water halfway up the door. I had no other way home and I was so wet I thought, ‘sod it’; I climbed off and waded into the grim lake to push my bike to the farside. I thought momentarily about the car owner, wondering where they were. I soon found out. The driver, a women of about thirty, sat inside, staring ahead. She jumped when I tapped on the window and wound it down a crack.

‘You ok?’

A nod that told a different story.

‘You sure you don’t want to get out?’ I’m no engineer and I guessed the water would never reach a dangerous level but even so.

‘I can’t. The water will ruin the car.’

‘You could climb out of the window.’

‘Into that?’

The ‘that’ was of course what I was standing in, a murky brown syrupy soup that swirled and eddied around my legs; it was oddly warming.

‘I’ll wait for my husband.’ The window went back up.

I stood there, up to my thighs in both dirty water and a dilemma. On the one hand, it seemed safe enough to leave her. I doubted the water would rise so far as to reach the windows and anyway the seals must be fine or she would have said. On the other there is a pub, the Alleyn’s Head just past the bridge. If I could get her out she could shelter in the dry and safety. And it did seem a bit mad to stay outside when you weren’t sure what the weather might throw at you next.

Sometimes I get these mad ideas, a mix of showing off and altruism. The car was a small one – Nissan Micra or something and I’m a big strong boy (in my head at least). I tapped again. ‘Let the handbrake off and I’ll try and push you out of the water.’ I remember her looking at me for the first time. Not exactly pity, not exactly gratitude. More a sort of ‘well, there’s nothing else on the telly tonight’ look.

I took part in a competition once, as a boy scout when we had to lift a dead weight, a car I think and prop it up with bricks. Someone – the Archaeologist probably – knew the only way we would be strong enough was to put our backs to the car, and push with our legs. It worked. So I did the same. I had a number of doubts – I wanted to be called Thomas when I was a child – my parents gave the Archaeologist a middle name and omitted to give me one and to assuage my jealousy and hurt they added in Thomas for a few years until I decided I didn’t care (I did, I just hid it well). Doubting Thomas of Dulwich, that was me: would my footing slip? What exactly was in the water that had collected here? It was opaque and things brushed past my legs constantly, which might be twigs and leaves or even the flotsam and jetsam of schoolboy littering, but might equally be something less attractive.

The car began to move and the water gurgled and sucked at my legs. I felt good. This was going to work. Slowly, inexorably me and the car climbed the slope as one, until the water dropped below my calves and I could make out my socks. I heard the window go down and called for the driver to put the brake back on.

The driver’s door was clear of the lake and the woman climbed out, unfurling a brolly. I still don’t think she trusted my motives because she backed away quite quickly, albeit with a couple of hastily expressed thank yous and made for the sanctuary of the pub. I smiled and ‘no problem’ed after her.

With her gone and the car safe, I took a deep breath and turned for my bike. As my feet came free of the water, I looked down; sitting on the top of the laces of my trainers, glinting in the sodium glow of a street lamp sat a slick, apparently freshly-minted turd.

Was that what the woman saw? Is that why she didn’t want to stay? I flicked it off and headed home. At least there I could bath in clean water.

All this came back to me today, walking around Dulwich and Belair Parks with Dog. Both parks are currently a mess due to the flood alleviation works being undertaken in part as a response to the 2004 floods but also the Herne Hill Floods of 2013, albeit their cause was man made – a Thames water main gave way. At least this disruption might save me from a repeat of that wet night and its fecal aftermath.

©Geoff Le Pard 2014

About Geoff Le Pard

71oyplm6zdl-_ux250_Geoff Le Pard (not Geoffrey, except to his mother) was born in 1956 and is a lawyer who saw the light. He started writing (creatively) in 2006 following a summer school course. Being a course junkie he had spells at Birkbeck College, twice at Arvon and most recently at Sheffield Hallam where he achieved an MA in Creative Writing.

And what did he learn?

That they are great fun, you meet wonderful people but the best lessons come from the unexpected places. He has a line of books waiting to be published but it has taken until now to find the courage to go live.

He blogs at http://geofflepard.com/ on anything and everything. His aim is for each novel to be in a different style and genre. Most people have been nice about his writing (though when his brother’s dog peed on the manuscript he was editing, he did wonder) but he knows the skill is in seeking and accepting criticism. His career in the law has helped prepare him.

Geoff’s Latest Book

About Life in a Flash

Life is fast, life is short. In a series of short fiction pieces, most under 500 words, we explore the world, its inhabitants and their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs and sideways shifts, all with humour and decent grammar. You’ll find something to amuse and intrigue here and if, unlikely as it is, one piece isn’t for you, well, turn the page and start again.

A recent review for the collection

Geoff Le Pard’s book is a collection of 157 pages filled with short stories. Each one has 500 words or less. Geoff Le Pard is a master in bringing out the irony of life in his special way. He has this dark British humor, adds twists, and always leaves something to ponder. What I loved most are the stories in which he combines Greek Mythology with the modern world.

This is a book made for those who like to be into the story quickly… but you won’t stop with one story because it makes you want more!

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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

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

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

Connect to Geoff

Blog: http://geofflepard.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/geofflepard
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/+GeoffLepard01/posts

My thanks to Geoff for sharing his adventures today and his other three archive posts.

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – An Art Museum For Book Lovers by Jennie Fitzkee


Today Jennie Fitzkee shares a visit to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art… a treasure trove of images from some of the classic children’s books of the last fifty years.

An Art Museum For Book Lovers by Jennie Fitzkee

People think of an art museum as… art, single standing pieces on their own right. Imagine masterful, award winning art combined with the best literature, in one museum. Exciting? You bet! A hidden gem in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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What is your favorite childhood book? Madeline? Perhaps it is Make Way For Ducklings. There are so many. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is dedicated to the art of children’s book illustrators. I thought this was interesting, then I visited the museum. Oh, my!

The exhibit way back then featured Ezra Jack Keats, author of The Snowy Day. I am a preschool teacher and have read this wonderful book to my class hundreds of times. Yet, I never expected to come face-to-face with his art. I did. To my great surprise it was made from cut-out linoleum. I couldn’t walk away or let that go. I was witnessing the real art of his award winning book.

Much like seeing the ocean for the first time, I was stunned.

I love and appreciate art, and I’m passionate about reading children’s books. There I was, staring at both. Every visit to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has been equally powerful. Yesterday was no exception. But first, let me back up and tell you about Eric Carle.

One of the staples in children’s books is Brown Bear, Brown Bear. No, Eric Carle did not write this book; it was the first book he illustrated, his big break into the world of children’s book illustration. At the time Eric Carle was the art director for an advertising agency in New York. His life, before then, is the most powerful story of an artist. Ever!

He was born in New York in 1929 and moved with his family to Stuttgart, Germany in 1936 to be with relatives. 1936 in Germany? Not good. His father was drafted into the German army, and Eric and his family fled to Stollen in the Black Forest.

His schooling is fragmented, but he continues to draw and paint and looks forward to an occasional class with his high school art teacher Fridolin Krauss.

Aware of Carle’s promise as a young artist, Herr Krauss invites him to his home one day. He shows Carle a box of “forbidden art” by so-called degenerate artists like Picasso, Klee, Matisse, and Kandinsky. “Their strange beauty almost blinded me,” recalls Carle. His teacher warns him not to tell anyone what he has seen. “But, for his act of defiance,” says Carle, “Herr Krauss…opened my eyes to the beauty of German Expressionism and abstract art.”

Eric Carle saw modern art, “forbidden art” of the great masters, for the first time in his life. His teacher risked his own life to show Carle the art. The seed was planted. Every time I look at a Kandinsky or a Picasso, I think of that moment. Art can change the world. It did for Eric Carle.

That first book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, is fifty years old. It is a beloved classic throughout the world, having been translated into 31 different languages with 16 million copies sold. Happy anniversary! Here are world-wide covers of the book:

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My preschoolers made a Brown Bear that we gave to the museum (which they displayed).

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Fast forward to the museum. They have displayed the original art of Robert McCloskey and Make Way For Ducklings, and the original art of Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline. Up close, very close. Every pencil line and brush stroke were visible. I was inches away from the pictures I had only seen in picture books. For a book lover, this is as good as it gets.

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I recently saw the art of Hilary Knight’s Eloise, a beloved book from my childhood written by Kay Thompson. As a child, every Sunday afternoon I would act out Eloise. She was my first introduction to New York, and to bravery. Eloise was brave. She was a bit of a hero.

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When real, award winning art is combined with the best literature, it is win-win, a grand slam. Reading the picture books, time and time again, and seeing the pictures ‘live’ is grand, indeed.

There is more! The best bookstore by far (coming from me- someone who knows good children’s literature) is right there in the museum. A piece of heaven.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts is a treasure.

Jennie

©Jennie Fitzkee 2017

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie

Blog: https://jenniefitzkee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennie.fitzkee

If you are interested in joining Jennie and the other writers who are sharing posts from their archives….. here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Bad Bentheim: Castles, Dungeons and Apple Strudel by Darlene Foster


Sadly we have come to the end of the current series of posts from the archives of Darlene Foster, but hopefully she will share more with us in the future. This week a trip to Germany to the town of Bad Bentheim.. a spa town.

Bad Bentheim: Castles, Dungeons and Apple Strudel by Darlene Foster

On our recent visit to Holland, we took a day trip to Germany to the charming town of Bad Bentheim, just across the border. Bad in German means bath, and this is a popular spa town. In the middle sits a fabulous medieval castle. You know how much I love castles, and this was a great one to explore. Castle Bentheim is the largest hilltop castle in northwest Germany with a recorded history from 1050. For the past five centuries, it has been owned by the Counts and Princes of Bentheim and Steinfurt.

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Burg Bentheim

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The castle keep called the Pulverturn or powder tower

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As we approach the entrance to this massive fortified castle, we are greeted by sheep grazing on the grounds.

Kronenburg Castle

Kronenburg Castle

No one resides in Kronenburg Castle anymore, but it is now a museum depicting how the lords of the castle lived. Both Otto von Bismarck and KaiserWilhelmI once stayed here as guests.

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The Hall of Knights

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A guest bedchamber

My favourite part included the castle keep which holds the dungeon. One of the oldest buildings in the castle, it dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries.

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In the interior of the tower is a small opening in the floor called “the hole of fear.” It is the only entry to the windowless dungeon 12 meters below. In the Middle Ages, this was the Castle jail. Entrance to the dungeon is only accessible by means of a rope winch installed above the “hole of fear”. A bit creepy!

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At the top of the tower are panoramic views of the town and countryside.

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The simple Gothic chapel features a two-sided Madonna, carved in 1503, hanging freely from the ceiling. Both sides depict the front of the Madonna.

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In the courtyard is an early Romanesque stone cross of the Crucified Christ discovered in 1828. Called the “Herrgott of Bentheim,” it was created around 1000 A.D. and is considered one of the earliest portrayals of Christ in Central Europe.

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The library holds copies of old books, Bibles, and music sheets. Fascinating.
Happily exploring a medieval German castle

Happily exploring a medieval German castle

Happily exploring a medieval German castle

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Schlosspark

Schlosspark sits beneath the castle with well-manicured gardens and a lovely fountain in the middle. The entire setting is from a fairy tale.

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We couldn’t leave Bad Bentheim, and Germany, without sampling the apple strudel. It was as good as it looks! A great day trip and a chance for me to practise the little German I know.

©Darlene Foster 2016

Thanks to Darlene for sharing some of her amazing travels with us and I am know she would love to receive your feedback.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Here is Darlene’s latest book –  Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.

About Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

One of the recent review for Amanda in New Mexico

Quiet Riley 4.0 out of 5 stars Psychospookalicious! December 28, 2017

Amanda in New Mexico is a young adult novel about a world-traveling student named—you guessed it—Amanda. Her 10th grade teacher (and most suspect chaperon ever), Ms. Bowler, leads her class on a haunted field trip to Taos, New Mexico. Here, Amanda’s eccentric friend, Cleo, has many encounters with “ghosts.” Then, Amanda starts having many encounters with “ghosts.” Trying to enjoy her time in a foreign land, Amanda shrugs off these hauntings as coincidences and carries on, snapping photographs and writing travelogues for her site, Kidsblog. In the meantime, Cleo is going through serious psychological distress and is on the brink of a mental breakdown while their suspect chaperon keeps checking boxes off their itinerary (how about a box for mental clinic, Ms. Bowler? Your student has major issues!). From here, the narrative turns into a spooky whodunit filled with mystery, mayhem and dialogue straight out of a Saved by the Bell episode.

Amanda in New Mexico is the perfect read for teenagers interested in any of the following: ghost stories, adventure, southwestern history and geography. Author Darlene Foster portrays past and present life in New Mexico with great vibrancy and accuracy, even using Spanish terms to draw the reader into Amanda’s charming and elaborate surroundings. Overall, I like Amanda in New Mexico and give it an 85/100 on the Quiet Scale.
 

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels/dp/1771681209

Also by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

If you are interested in joining Darlene and the other writers who are sharing posts from their archives and showcase your books or blog….. here is the link to the new series beginning in March: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

 

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Ringing Around by Janet Gogerty


Remember the days when it was a weekly telephone call home or a chat with a friend once in a blue moon. As Janet Gogerty points out, the email has taken over for convenience sake as well as to avoid those awkward silences…

Ringing Around by Janet Gogerty

When I was in my last year of The Brownies and aiming to get my Golden Hand badge, part of the test was to make a phone call; a far cry from this week’s news of a major revamping of badges with Rainbows, Brownies and Guides encouraged to take part in new challenges involving app design, entrepreneurship, “speaking out”, upcycling or vlogging.

But my little task was still a big challenge for me. We did not have a telephone at home and it was about this time that my friend and I were sent up the road to the phone box with some coins, a set of instructions and a mission; to phone my father at the office. To this day I have no idea what was so urgent that could not wait till he came home from Waterloo with all the other commuters. My friend was sensible and two years older than me, but still we did not achieve our task; the mysteries of Buttons A and B defeated us.

Meanwhile, back at the house of a complete stranger, a respectable middle aged woman, my task was to phone Brown Owl. I was as terrified as anyone going for a driving test or important job interview; I failed, probably the only Brownie in history to have to do a re-sit for her Golden Hand.

A letter in the paper the other day suggested we had forgotten how intrusive the telephone was, how wonderful emails are and how infuriating people are who refuse to use them. I heartily agree, emails were made for me. I have never liked phone calls; they always come at the wrong moment, or the phone stops ringing just as you race in from the garden with muddy hands. Hands free phones are a help, but still interrupt your favourite programme.

I admire people who efficiently get on the phone the moment something breaks down or a letter arrives in the post requiring action; I’m more inclined to write on my list of things to do – phone insurance co. ring boiler repairs. When it comes to personal calls I procrastinate… they might be cooking/eating their dinner, feeding the baby, making love, watching Eastenders, I’ll call later… later they might be having an early night… I’ll call tomorrow…

Emails can be written any time and the receiver can read them when it suits and not be caught off guard; with time to think of a good excuse not to come to your coffee morning. The other advantage is to message all your friends, club members etc at the same time, but there is always one person in every club or group who does not do email and constantly complains ‘Why can’t you just ring round.’ We should not rush to judge; how many decades passed between the phone being invented and everyone having a telephone in their homes? Even people who are on the internet forget to check their emails and miss important messages.

Technology rolls on rapidly; we don’t use our mobile phones as phones, but to read our emails. Emails themselves are being superseded by What’sApp and Facebook Messenger. How easy it is to message six people at once on the other side of the world and send them photos. On your computer you can follow Facebook and have several message boxes open in the corner of your screen…

And then there’s Skype and FaceTime etc which bring us round full circle to actually talking personally to someone. Ironically ‘Televisionphones’ have been invented, but they are not the screens attached to our immovable house phones that we once imagined. Now we can wander around in our pyjamas showing relatives on the other side of the world what our new house looks like.

But emails are so useful if you wish to avoid eye contact or awkward conversations.

©Janet Gogerty 2017

Books by Janet Gogerty

About Times and Tides

Twenty five stories starting with a blind date and ending on Xmas Eve, with no clue as to what you might expect in between. In this third collection of short stories are some real places and experiences plus much that could happen or should never happen.

One of the reviews for Times and Tides

Yet another delightful collection of short stories from the irrepressible Janet Gogerty. This time twenty five stories on almost every subject imaginable.

The variety of themes are astounding and I will only mention a few in this review.
The opening story, Blind Date tells of just that, a blind date between Michael and Jessica accompanied by Michael’s guide dog Bella. Not a dog to tangle with.

I loved ‘Solar Power’ with its idea of a solar powered hat for elderly Daphne. It certainly put a spring in her step. I chuckled over Ms Gogerty’s comment of ‘Burger Syndrome Spectrum thingy.’

‘Up, up and away’ was an eye opening story involving a hot air balloon disaster – the method of dealing with the rogue balloon was quite shocking. ‘Making an Entrance’ Wow!

Never upset a fellow thespian.
‘Restoration Project’ had a very spooky ending…I loved it.

The last story, ‘Christmas Eve’ has all the elements of just how traumatic Christmas can be especially when guests descend with little warning.

I have only mentioned six of the total twenty five stories but all were very enjoyable reads. A highly recommended collection.

Find all of Janet’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

Read more reviews and follow Janet on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7236471.Janet_Gogerty

About Janet Gogerty

I have been writing frantically for 10 years and still enjoy being part of two writing groups. I am inspired by anything and everything and enjoy writing about ordinary people; but usually they find themselves experiencing strange events! When I was encouraged to tackle a novel my daughter suggested I use my short story ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ as she wanted to know what happened to Emma, whose fate had been left in the air at the end of the story.

The novel became a trilogy, Three Ages of Man and finally Lives of Anna Alsop, published in March 2015.I enjoy writing fiction of any length and have had many short stories published online. I have just published my fourth collection of short stories Someone Somewhere which includes two novellas. I also write a regular blog ‘Sandscript‘ at Goodreads. My website long ago took on a life of its own with new words and pictures regularly; visit to read short stories and other items.

Connect to Janet

Blog: https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/
Websitehttps://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beachwriter/

My thanks to Janet for sharing the posts from her archives and I do hope you will head over to her blog to follow her more current articles. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – How Are You Spending Your Most Valuable Time on #Social Media? by D.G. Kaye


D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies is going to kick the week off with one of her archive posts this morning. Today Debby explores the various options open to us as writers to build a brand or platform for our work. If they don’t know you are around, how will they know about your books?

Social marketing

How Are You Spending Your Most Valuable Time on #Social Media? by D.G. Kaye

As writers and authors, many of us use various social media channels to help brand our names and blogs. The age old question that seems to plague many of us is, what’s working for us in terms of gaining more following and readership?

The question may seem simple, but the fact is, different platforms seem to be more and less effective for each one of us. I’m no SEO expert by a longshot, but from what I’ve gleaned from my own experience, and from reading about some experiences of others, certain platforms just seem to work better than others, depending on the type of posts made and sometimes depending on the genre we write in.

The first step to success in gaining followers is to engage with readers and commenters when they do visit our posts. Depending on the genre we write in, and the particular social site we’re posting in should dictate what types of things we should post. We can all try out different sites to see what the feedback is, but keep in mind the more sites we’re on, the more sites we have to babysit.

There’s nothing wrong with posting on many sites and weeding out where we’ll find our most engaged readers are. From there we can decide where to focus more of our attention. Remember, readers want informative information, entertaining posts, and posts pertaining to writing. And when posting about our books, we should be focusing on an interesting element of our book, or perhaps a promotion we’re running to inform readers about the opportunity. Also keep in mind that social media works by informing and sharing. This means, sharing posts from others too because that will bring us more connections with others, and in turn, these people will eventually become willing to share back our posts on their channels.

Every platform seems to have their own niche and focus. The main thing to keep in mind is not to push people by constant posting to ‘buy our books’. Nobody wants to be sold to. If we put out good info and engage with our readers and they like what they see, then we can talk about our books, share a promo on our pages and gain more interest because once a follower enjoys our posts they may very well be interested in our books and letting them know our books are on sale is a good thing.
What and where should we post for effective engagement?

Linkedin
I recommend posting things that are relevant to the things we write about, and gear the posts to the type of social media we’re posting on. When I say this, I mean, take Linkedin for example, Linkedin is a site to make connections with others in our field, ie: writers, editors, publishers, artists, promoters, etc. Linkedin is also a place that anybody can look at our resume and works and take opportunity to contact us for a potential job or interview related to our expertise, etc. So I post my blogs there and articles of interest related to the writing field that I come across. You can also write, post and publish your own articles on your page there. There are numerous groups we can join and interact with others there. I’ve met many new interesting people on that site. Another important aspect of Linkedin is that connections can endorse us for skills. That can look attractive to someone who is sniffing out our profile. When I first began learning about self-publishing, I spent a lot more time on Linkedin participating in group forums with other writers, and I can say I learned a lot from them. I find now that I don’t have the time to spend in forums, but I still check in every day, as new people request to connect with them frequently, and I also receive messages from connections, sometimes asking to participate in a group or an invitation to connect or to an event. Linkedin should be a site that all professionals join. One never knows what opportunity may be offered us from there.

Twitter
Twitter is great for sharing posts to bring blog traffic over to our site. It’s a great site to gather like-minded followers who like to read what we’re putting out. We can link to anything from there and using the appropriate hashtag to gain specific readers to the type of content we’re posting is just one way of gaining new readers of our content. We can advertise our books sales, post quotes and add links to our websites for those who like the meme or quote we posted the link to, to draw them over to our blogs, just to name a few things to do there. The point is to respond to tweets, share back by tweeting posts of others who take the time to retweet us and follow. I spend 20 minutes every morning catching up on notifications and checking out new followers and sending out tweets. That’s all I can manage in my busy days, but there are apps such as Hootsuite and Buffer that allow you to pre-schedule posts at various times. Those are apps I haven’t mastered very well because I’m not a pre-planned tweeter. But throughout the day and evening, when I’m reading an article or blog of interest, I’ll always hit the ‘twitter’ button to tweet out the post I’m reading, so in essence, I still tweet intermittently through the day and night, but I only go there once a day to respond and check out new followers, and after looking at their profiles, decide if I will follow back. I say this because, we all get those ‘followers’ who sometimes have no connection to our writing world. We’ll all learn how to sniff out these followers by clicking on their profiles and most of the time they have no avatar, no website, and an ‘egg’ is representive of their avatar. That’s usually a flag for me not to follow.

Facebook
Facebook is an interesting platform. Before I began writing books, I had de-activated the app because I didn’t enjoy the world seeing my posts, but that all changed when I wanted to start selling books and had to put myself out in the public eye. If we’re writing books, we should have a Facebook author page, and in order to get that you must first open a personal page. Personal is a word I now use lightly because once upon a time, that’s what my page there was for, personal friends and family to share family photos, events, milestones, etc. I opened my author page to post my blogs, articles pertaining to writing, promotions, anything to do with my books, you get the picture. What happened? Well it seems that many of my followers from my author page had found my personal page and began ‘friending’ me and I felt I had to friend them back. So ultimately, over time, my postings have changed on my personal page to more posts related to the things I believe in, and things I write about. I post memes that are funny pertaining to women, aging, menopause, etc. And I post many quotes and memes on kindness and justice. I usually go there in the evenings when I have some time after blog reading to check out other posts, see who has ‘liked’ my posts and thank them, and scour around to some of my favorite pages on Facebook to find some inspiring or funny post to post on my page. I also tend to use my page as a sounding board for little incidents I encounter occasionally that I want to rant about or share a laugh with others about. Facebook is also good for creating an event page when we’re running a promo, and you can pay for ads where they will ‘boost’ your post to get more eyes on it. The ad thing isn’t always a success for everyone. Some authors say it was a waste of time, some like it. From what I gather, depending on the genre we write in and the audience following us is what makes those ads more or less successful. I haven’t tried it yet, so I’m no authority.

Instagram
Instagram, I feel, is a more personalized type of site geared toward people’s passions. I am by no means a pro on that site but I was curious to join because I’d heard that many writers like that site to post personal pictures, book photos, quotes from their books, and snippets of personally liked things there. Apparently, many readers love to get to know more about their favorite authors and snippets from their everyday life. I believe Instagram has recently begun allowing us to make short little videos now we can post there as well as letting us post live links. I haven’t tried the videos yet. Instagram is mostly a mobile based app. So it’s quick and easy to add a photo from your phone or a video you’ve made on your phone, add a caption or a link to your post or book, or your website, etc. to gain more followers of your work and make friends. I often send a photo from my Facebook page over to Instagram and write a caption with a hashtag because just like Twitter, if you hashtag your posts, people who follow those hashtagged categories will be able to see them. I don’t go to Instagram nearly enough to use it to its full potential, but I am there and so are hundreds of my photos. Once or twice a week I go there to see how many ‘likes’ I’ve received and to check for messages.

Pinterest
This is another interesting app I use. Again, I don’t spend much time going to my actual site but I have 40 boards set up there with categories I like to post in. When I come across a blog post I enjoyed and think it would fit one of my boards, I always ‘pin it’ to one of my Pinterest boards. I send all my own blog posts there. I have a board where I send all my author friend’s book covers to, and a board with everything to do with my own books: excerpts, interview links, book covers, etc. There is a myriad of things you can pin there, and other people who enjoy our pins sometimes invite us to be able to pin articles to their boards. It’s great because we can create our own boards of interest and those who are interested in our board topics will see our posts. Again, don’t forget to edit before pinning with your website or a link, it’s just another outlet to draw readers to our work.

Google
I send all my posts and many blogs I read to Google. Besides being another place where readers can find us, Google is one of the biggest search engines in town, and the more you feed it, the more discoverability you will have on the web. When I Google my name, D.G. Kaye, I come up on the first 19 pages of Google, that’s good stuff!

So these are the sites I use to send my posts and other interesting articles I come across, to. There are many other social sites around, but I have my hands full keeping up with these, and for now, I have my time allotment system in place for all of them. But I know in the near future I am going to want to revamp my system and probably delve a bit more into getting more out of social media than I’m currently taking from it. At least I’m linked up and gathering followers in the mean time and that’s a big plus for us to keep building our platforms.

What’s working for you?

If you aren’t already connected with me, please visit me at any of my sites and let’s connect!

Author Page:   http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
Goodreads:      http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye
About me:        http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter:            http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin:          http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook:         http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google:              http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram:        http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest:          http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Thank you Debby and I hope you will head over and connect to her on all her platforms. She is very generous when it comes to sharing other peoples blog posts and books, so don’t miss out.

This is D.G. Kaye’s latest release in December 2017.

About Twenty Years: After “I Do”.

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

Here is one of the recent reviews for the book

“Twenty Years After I Do” is a love story, all the more compelling because it is true. Kaye shines a light under the table, exposing those things many of us prefer to keep out of sight. For all of the unpleasant topics in the book, this is not a depressing journey. She doesn’t say that love concours all, but she shows us, through her own life, that it so often does. More accurately, she explains that love will help us face whatever outcome life gives us.

The author is one of the decreasing number of people who understand that marriage is “ti deathl do us part.” Staying together is not optional, it’s not a choice to be made. That choice was made with the speaking of the words, “I Do.” She shows us that love and humor are tools we can use to overcome obstacles we would have thought unsurmountable.

This is a good read. Reading it has made me feel like I’ve made a friend.
 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077V386TL

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077V386TL

Other books by D.G. Kaye

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

About D.G. Kaye

d-g-kayeDebby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

My thanks to Debby and if you would like to participate in this series of posts from Your archives then here are the details.https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – St. Valentine’s Day Culinary treats, poetry and music.


Welcome to the round up of posts from the week and a very big thank you for dropping in and sharing the articles.

It has been a busy week getting the blog sitting posts scheduled for my time offline. I will be posting a calendar of posts tomorrow but I promise you have some treats in store from some of your favourite writers and some new contributors.

There will be some of the regular posts too, but the one real change is that the blog sitters will be in charge in my absence and I know that they will do an amazing job.

I have mentioned before that I am leaving David at home (he is looking forward to peace and quiet) whilst I join my two sisters for a joint birthday celebration.

This means that if you do send an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com between Thursday 15th and 21st of February, you won’t get a reply until my return. I also will not be responding to comments on the posts either but promise to catch up as soon as I can.

As always a thank you to the regular contributors to the blog who write amazing columns and this week William Price King, Paul Andruss and Carol Taylor have shared music, poetry and a St. Valentine’s Day feast.

Next week there will not be a round up on Sunday but I will do a blog sitting round up on Wednesday 21st.

On with the posts from the week and again, thank you for stopping by…Sally

The Music Column with William Price King

William Price King  and I are taking a break from the music series the next couple of weeks as I prepare for my trip away. But we begin a brand new one on Wednesday 21st with the life and career of the pop legend Madonna.  I hope you will join us.

In the meantime I would like to share the creative artist interview from last year in case you missed meeting William Price King in person.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/smorgasbord-creative-artist-interview-jazz-singer-musician-and-composer-william-price-king/

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss

This week Paul Andruss shares a conversation between a Muse and a Pilgrim on the subject of poetry…..and its various forms. With examples from some of the most revered poets of all time. Part two in a few weeks. According to the Muse – A Dialogue in 2 Halves – What is Poetry

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/smorgasbord-writer-in-residence-according-to-the-muse-a-dialogue-in-2-halves-part-1-what-is-poetry-paul-andruss/

Carol Taylor’s Food Column

This week Carol shares a Valentine’s Dinner that you can prepare for your loved one… providing just the right romantic vibe and privacy in the comfort of your own home. Staying in for Valentine’s Day by Carol Taylor

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-column-with-carol-taylor-staying-in-for-valentines-day/

The Open House Sunday Interview

Today’s guest is author Debra Purdy Kong who will be sharing the background to why she writes mysteries, her publishing adventures, her viewing preferences and favourite quote. We will also find out more about her work at then end of the interview.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-open-house-sunday-interview-author-debra-purdy-kong/

The New Series of Posts from YOUR Archives begins in March with a slight twist.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/new-series-of-posts-from-your-archives-beginning-march-1st-2018-your-chance-to-share-past-gems/

Personal Stuff

Letters from America – 1985- 1987

My first birthday in Houston was my 32nd on February 13th and a lot of things came together around that time as we found both our new home for the next two years in the Chancellor apartments, Parramatta Lane. Here is my letter to my parents announcing the good news and sharing a photo of our new car on February 23rd 1985.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-birthday-new-car-galverston-and-houston-zoo/

I thought I would share one of the stories from my WIP – Tales from the Irish Garden to prove that I had actually been working away in the background… This story is based on the bedtime stories we told to my younger brother..called Jeremy, and is about a little donkey who finds himself on the wrong side of the hedge… because of a mean bull called Gerard.

Donata Zawadzka has created six of the book’s illustrations and I think you will agree the one for Jeremy is delightful. I hope you will pop and see it.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/tales-from-the-irish-garden-a-sneak-preview-jeremy-the-donkey-by-sally-cronin/

Sally’s Drive time playlist

This week two pieces of music that have always emotionally moved me. The theme song from The Last of the Mohicans and the hugely successful theme from Beaches.. The Wind Beneath My Wings sung by Bette Midler.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/sallys-drive-time-playlist-movie-music-to-get-the-weekend-started-the-last-of-the-mohicans-and-wind-beneath-my-wings/

Posts from MY archives.

To promote the upcoming Blog Sitting Special whilst I am away with my two sisters for a few days.. I shared some of the posts from last year at the same time. Last year Linda Bethea entertained us with the story of the moral ambiguity attached to a suitcase!

Linda will be joining the blog sitting team again with a wonderful tale of her mother’s spending strategies.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-blog-sitting-february-2017-the-sinful-suitcase-and-the-common-law-cows-by-author-linda-bethea/

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I was delighted that my lovely friend and talented author Tina Frisco leapt into action when I invited writers to blog sit whilst I am away with my two sisters last year. Tina is hugely supportive of all her blogging friends and in this post she explores our perception of time. Time is an illusion

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-blog-sitting-february-2017-2/

Last year whilst I was away with my sisters in Portsmouth, Mary Smith shared a photograph and memories of her time in Afghanistan. A wonderful post to revisit and also a reminder of Mary’s books and recent reviews.

Mary Smith - web ready

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-blog-sitting-february-2017-afghan-ceilidh-by-mary-smith/

Last year when I was away on my annual family reunion, Colin Chappell entertained us with some funnies. You can find out more about Colin and his book after you have had your laffs.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-blog-sitting-february-2017/

The Saturday Meet and GreetWatering Hole for Bloggers.

As it is St. Valentine’s Day next Wednesday I thought that today we should feature some of the elements that have played a part in the celebration traditionally. Featuring Colleen Chesebro, Dolly Aizenman, and Mairi from Citrus and Cinnamon.

The first poetry written about romance was probably slipped into an epic poem at some point by some lovesick Greek or Chinese scholar. The earliest recognised written poem was written in Hieratic in around 2,500 BCE.  Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor and I am sure there must have been a line in there that formed the toast of all sailors since then ‘To our loved ones, and may they never meet’! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_poetry

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/smorgasbord-saturday-meet-and-greet-valentines-day-special-poetry-chocolate-and-champagne/

Posts from Your Archives

D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies kicked the week off with one of her commonsense guide to working with social media. There is nothing more pleasing, having composed a blog post than to receive feedback in the form of likes and shares.

d-g-kaye

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-shout-outs-and-sharing-by-d-g-kaye/

There has been a publishing revolution in the last twenty years and more recently with the advent of eBooks. Janet Gogerty explores the options now open to us with this format and also Print on Demand. A way to print a limited number of books at a time to order. Reinventing The Printing Press

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-reinventing-the-printing-press-by-janet-gogerty/

Darlene Foster gives us a guided tour of the port of Messina with its stunning architecture and history.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archive-madonna-of-the-letter-and-236-steps-in-messina-by-darlene-foster/

Another Time, Another Place by Geoff Le Pard  People know the Angel of the North, that scary be-winged man that startles the unsuspecting motorist on his way north, but I’m not sure how many people have made it around Liverpool to Crosby Beach and three kilometres of sculpture.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-another-time-another-place-by-geoff-le-pard/

This week Jennie Fitzkee shares with us one of the teaching experiences which resulted in a wonderful suprise. A small child who noticed something in a masterpiece that Jennie has not noticed before….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-starry-night-ii-by-jennie-fitzkee/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-adele-marie-park-don-massenzio-brigid-p-gallagher-cynthia-reyes-and-teri-polen/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-balroop-singh-jack-eason-toni-pike-amy-hoff-and-lynn-otty/

Smorgasbord Health Column

Gender-bending chemicals found in plastic and linked to breast and prostate cancer are found in 86% of teenagers’ bodies

Almost 90 per cent of teenagers have gender-bending chemicals from plastic in their bodies, according to a study. Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in plastic containers and water bottles, on the inside of food cans and in till receipts. The chemical, used since the 1960s to make certain types of plastic, mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen, and has been linked to low sperm counts and infertility in men, as well as breast and prostate cancer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/smorgasbord-health-column-health-in-the-news-the-hormone-mimic-in-plastic-and-inside-food-cans/

Welcome to part three of this series on Irritable Bowel Syndrome.. In the last two posts I covered the new research showing the involvement of Vitamin D in our gut health and also some of the strategies you can put in place to minimise the symptoms. I also looked at the impact that chronic stress can have on our digestive system and our gut welfare.

The two previous posts can be read here at these links.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/smorgasbord-health-column-nutrient-in-the-news-vitamin-d-and-irritable-bowel-syndrome/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/smorgasbord-health-column-irritable-bowel-syndrome-nutrients-and-strategies-to-manage-the-condition/

The six week programme.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/smorgasbord-health-column-irritable-bowel-syndrome-the-six-week-recovery-programme/

Over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing my book on anti-aging.. Turning Back the Clock. This is a natural anti-aging programme. We all age but many of us are assisting the process with diet and lifestyle choices. This book takes a look at the physical, mental and emotional aspects of aging and how a little attitude adjustment goes a long way!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/smorgasbord-health-column-turning-back-the-clock-revisited-anti-aging-without-the-botox/

Last week I posted about the epidemic levels of Pre-diabetes and today I am following up with a mineral that is contained in sufficient foods to include on a daily basis in your diet that helps to control blood sugar levels. And in my experience help to curb sugar cravings. Chromium

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/smorgasbord-health-column-pre-diabetes-the-epidemic-that-goes-unreported/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/smorgasbord-health-column-pre-diabetes-blood-sugar-control-chromium/

Humour and Afternoon Video

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-an-official-pain-and-palliative-care-consultant/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-presents-for-teacher-mums-and-dads-all-the-fun-of-the-fair/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-a-clydesdale-love-story/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-chinese-dinner-auctions-and-chewing-gum/

New series of Posts from Your Archives beginning March 1st 2018 – Your chance to share past Gems.


We are now about to start a new four week series of posts from your archives that you would like to share with a new audience, mine.

The idea behind the series was to share your previous posts, perhaps from your early days of blogging, that you feel deserve another airing to a wider audience.  Not only that they will encourage readers to head over and read your current posts.

They should be 12 months old at least or 6 months if you are a new blogger.

The posts are a showcase for your blog, your writing style and you personally so please send links to posts that you feel reflect this.

The theme is LIFE and POSITIVITY in all its glory. Family, travel, short stories, non-fiction, poetry, history, food, recipes, pets, health, relationships, music, photography, art.

New for this series your post from your archives and a link to someone special’s latest post to say thank you for their support.

This is a chance to perhaps recognise others who have been very supportive of you since you began blogging. Not only regularly dropping in and liking your posts, but commenting and sharing.

As you will see you will have an opportunity to promote your work, such as books, at the end of the posts.

If you just wish to promote your books without contributing posts, then that comes under a separate set of promotions. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

How to submit your posts.

  • Email me Four links from your archives of the posts you would like to share with a new audience…  Sally.cronin@moyhill.com
  • Also include a link to a recent post of a blogger who you would like to thank for their support.
  • You have four posts so you can send me up to four bloggers links.
  • Please also include – your three main social media links (in full please). Your Amazon link for books. If there is no bio on your blog or photo (both should be really) then please send those separately attached to the email. (If you have previously been featured on Smorgasbord I will have these already on file.
  • All posts and images are copyrighted to the original blogger on the archive posts and if you do not have a credit for the images you use in your posts it would be helpful if you supplied those. If they are your own images I will include that in the copyright statement.

I hope that you will enjoy this opportunity to share your writing and blog. The only thing that I ask is that you share on your own social media and respond to comments.

It does make a big difference to the number of interactions you receive and also the number of people who will head over to your blog and follow you.  If you are an author this is yet another way to promote your books and is a selling opportunity.

 I know that some of you are very modest.. so if you would like to participate but not sure which posts to submit… let me know and I will pop into your archives and pick four.. and run by you for approval.

 

N.B Please note that if you email between 15th and 20th February I will be offline and will respond on my return. Thanks and look forward to hearing from you.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Blog Sitting February 2017 – Afghan Ceilidh by Mary Smith


Last year whilst I was away with my sisters in Portsmouth, Mary Smith shared a photograph and memories of her time in Afghanistan. A wonderful post to revisit and also a reminder of Mary’s books and recent reviews.

Mary Smith - web readyAbout Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

Afghan Ceilidh by Mary Smith

an-afghan-ceilidhOf all the many photos I brought home from my years working in Afghanistan, this is one of my favourites. I call it Afghan Ceilidh.

Though nowadays a ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is often a night of (sometimes wild) Scottish dancing, traditionally, it was an informal social gathering in someone’s house. Whenever and wherever a group of Scots folk came together in an evening, songs and storytelling, especially after a few drams had been taken was inevitable. An Afghan ceilidh is exactly the same, though instead of whisky, tea is drunk.

This photo was taken on one such occasion and when I look at it, memories flood back. On the left of the photo, Tajwar’s sewing machine has pride of place on top of the family’s tin storage trunks. When she sewed, she placed it on the floor and complained loudly about how much her back ached. We sit on toshak (mattress) arranged around the room on the Afghan rug. On the right of the photo I’m leaning on a bundle containing bedding. At bedtime, the mattresses are re-arranged and blankets – imported, colourful blankets emblazoned with peacocks – are distributed. The thermos, one of many, contains black tea.

The children love these occasions and have a wide range of games they play. The littler girls dance and sing songs. The bigger ones, like the one with the gleaming smile in the centre, might start to dance but then be overcome by shyness, giggle and sit down. A favourite game of the boys is cor-jangi (blind fighting). Two boys are each blindfolded and kneel facing each other. Each is provided with a rolled up patou (a man’s heavy wool shawl) with which each tries to wallop the other, but must, all the time, keep hold of a cushion in one hand.

If you think the woman sitting below the sewing machine and the other to the right of her don’t look happy you’d be right. They are terrified of the ‘devil’ wearing the mask – with a cushion stuffed up his jumper. I was always astonished at how fearful they became during this game even though the boy was a family member. He comes in, usually when the lamps are burning low, and adopting a hoarse voice ask if anyone has seen ‘Deyo’. The bigger children give cheeky replies but the smaller ones and some of the women pull back in fear. Later, they laugh – shamefaced – but still not wholly convinced there was nothing to fear out there in the dark.

I look at this photo and remember stories and songs, silly games and so much laughter – and so much black tea. We drank gallons of it so I always had to make a couple of trips out in the dark to the latrine later in the night. I look at my son – my filthy son – sitting on my lap and think of the freedom he had as a small child roaming the mountain with the boys herding the sheep and goats, coming home when hungry. I remember friendship and the joy of being accepted.

Afghan ceilidh

At an Afghan ceilidh
instead of whisky
we drink tea, black, no sugar
from small Russian glasses,
eat dry roasted ‘baqale’ –
spit their slipped-off skins
on the floor ‘til the rug’s
rich reds are covered
by a new carpet of greenish grey.

A hurricane lamp’s pool of light
projects small girls’ dancing shadows
on bare mud walls.
Songs, stories, laughter ripples
while outside is black dark silent.

(baqale – broad beans)

©MarySmith 2017

About the collection

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse

A Recent review for the collection

This is a fascinating collection of short stories, set in various places with a wealth of diverse characters, all wonderfully rounded. The author has a talent for setting the scene and giving a sense of place with few well-chosen words.

I read each of these unusual stories slowly, taking in the way each situation unfolded, savouring the reactions of the characters to each problem they faced, enjoying the touches of humour, poignancy, empathising with the great sadness in some of the tales.

Not sure I had an overall favourite, they are all easy to read, but these are the ones that stayed with me long after I’d read them:

The story in the title, Donkey Boy. The protagonist, Ali, should be in school but instead drives a donkey cart for his father. His resentment is palpable from the very start. The dilemma he faces exposes the way different cultures live; not only their values and ethics but the differences in the child and adult in these societies. This is well deserving as the title story.

Trouble with Socks. Set in a care home with the character George; patronised by one of the carers who really is in the wrong job.

Accidents Happen. Set in Pakistan; the story of a young girl with a step father she detests.

Asylum Seekers. One of the monologues (I did like this way of writing/reading a short story). Though ironic, this reveals unpleasant bigotry and prejudice,

There is a whole gamut of human emotions in Donkey Boy and Other Stories and I thoroughly recommend this collection by Mary Smith to any reader. Whatever your favourite genre you’ll be sure to find one that will linger with you long afterwards.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075VC1XNX

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075VC1XNX/

Also by Mary Smith

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Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith

Connect to Mary via her website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

Facebook addresshttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000934032543
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/marysmithwriter
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith
New Blog: https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/
Blog:   https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/2014/07/

My thanks to Mary for sharing this very special time spent with her friends that she made when working in Afghanistan.. Please show your appreciation by sharing far and wide. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – “Starry Night” II by Jennie Fitzkee


This week Jennie Fitzkee shares with us one of the teaching experiences which resulted in a wonderful suprise. A small child who noticed something in a masterpiece that Jennie has not noticed before….

“Starry Night” II by Jennie Fitzkee

I will never underestimate children and art. This story is why.

I have been introducing a variety of styles of art to children as we prepare our annual Art Show for the community. Currently we are learning about France, and that’s a perfect opportunity to highlight art. We are creating ‘masterpieces’, allowing each child to work on his or her piece multiple times until they feel it is just right.

Each piece in itself holds a story, because the end result is often far more than what the child imagined, or what I expected. Sometimes a story is so remarkable, or so startling, that it needs to be told. This is one such story:

“It happened like this…” I use a record player to play record albums, thus bringing music to life in a tangible way for children. I wrote about this in a March, 2015 post. It is the best thing I do to introduce music, all types. Music inspires art, as music in itself fills the soul and the mind. At Morning Meeting I played Mozart (who inspired Einstein, by the way). Then we were ready to paint.

This day our art style was Early Renaissance. I stained wood panels and supplied plenty of gold acrylic paint, plus other colors, and sequins. This was the ‘real deal’. Liam carefully watched the first two children paint. He was anxious to paint, yet he was looking rather serious. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the plate, much like a ball player who had an important job to do. He asked for black paint. “Liam, I don’t have black paint. Here are the dark colors.” He looked carefully and picked navy blue. Hmm… Then he asked for ‘regular blue’ and a little gold. I asked him if he wanted any sequins. He said “No” in a firm voice, then looked directly at me as he pointed to the loft and said, “I’m painting THAT.”

image

“THAT” is Starry Night, our poster above the loft. No wonder he needed dark colors and ‘regular blue’ and some gold. Liam wanted to paint Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, not Early Renaissance art. Liam went to work, and I had the pleasure of watching him create with determination. I never said a word, except to offer more paint. He knew the colors he needed, and he wanted to make the brush strokes; the swirls, circles, and the serpentine strokes. Combining the right colors with the right brush strokes was his mission. Yes, Liam was determined in the best of ways. After his initial round, I knew this was destined to be a masterpiece.

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Those eyes said, “I like what I’m doing, but I’m not finished.” And, he was not finished. Later, I took the poster off the wall and put it directly in front of Liam. As he studied the poster he asked for red paint. Red? Liam said, “There’s a red house at the bottom. I have to paint that.” In my decades of looking at Starry Night I never noticed the tiny red house at the bottom. Liam did. I gave him red paint, and he painted it.

Two children walked by Liam independently as he was finishing his masterpiece. They both remarked in a matter-of-fact way, “Hey, that’s Starry Night”. And, it is! I held the painting at a distance for Liam, as if people were looking at it in a museum. In Liam’s words, “Perfect. It’s finished.”

image

This is the pinnacle; listening, learning, wanting, trying, and achieving.

Jennie

©Jennie Fitzkee 2016

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie

Blog: https://jenniefitzkee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennie.fitzkee

If you are interested in joining Jennie and the other writers who are sharing posts from their archives….. here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Another Time, Another Place by Geoff Le Pard


Another Time, Another Place by Geoff Le Pard

People know the Angel of the North, that scary be-winged man that startles the unsuspecting motorist on his way north, but I’m not sure how many people have made it around Liverpool to Crosby Beach and three kilometres of sculpture.

We took time out on our way to Glasgow to visit the sandy sculpture park – Another Place  – and were totally absorbed by it. At first you wonder how they stay in place against the North Sea’s winds and currents. Then you wonder at the corrosion from the saltwater, the surfaces unexpectedly smooth and unflaky – well those that aren’t barnacle encrusted.

And then you see the stylised penises – the sculpture is modelled in Gormley himself – and no longer wonder why they were controversial. I mean, such a lot of fuss about such a tiny thing

Stopping to see these sculptures wasn’t originally on our itinerary but we were given this lovely book for our 30th – Sculpture Parks and Trails of Britain and Ireland – and our route north became more, well, convex and complex. Here’s another.

If you look closely… if you want to that is.

Neither the Textiliste and I are great drivers – we’d use Floo Powder by preference – so breaking the journey wasn’t a difficult decision.

Here we are therefore in Chester, that most unusual of Roman-cum-Medieval towns. The main streets, Eastgate and Northgate, have what I believe is a unique set up, stemming from its medieval roots with the shops at street level being set a few steps down and with the shops at upper level a few steps up and back (The Rows‘). I could become a nerdy property lawyer and tell you about the Chester Improvement Act 1845 and why this should be extended to the whole of England and Wales and how this would remove the farce that is the 99 year lease at a stroke – but I won’t (and it probably wouldn’t).

I’ll end with a poem. When I was studying these sculptures my mind turned to some other men and women, trapped in the sand on a North-West beach – the Morcombe Bay Cockle Pickers. This awful tragedy occurred some seven years after Gormley’s statues were erected which I only found out later.

This is my little tribute to those poor souls.

Iron Men

Sharp shapes stand sentinel

Guards of the horizon

Canutes in iron

Broody? Or dreaming?

No feature reveals their mood.

Just an illusion of calm

As the tides approaches

and laps at their feet.

Inexorable, the flood covers

all, slowly, powerfully

Obliterating.

A cry is heard

from Morecombe Bay

floating along the Mersey coast.

Another time, another group

trapped by the self same tides.

Brooding? Thoughtful?

Hardly. Frozen by panic, concreted

into their glutinous prison.

The sea is not a muse

but a curse, death, a cruel deceiver.

Finally the surface is still.

Nothing disturbs the calm,

reflective pacific sea,

lapping my shoes.

I still hear cries, now seagulls

and untamed children.

I turn for my car, carefully freeing my feet

with each step.

© Geoff Le Pard 2014

Thanks to Geoff for sharing these images and his trip to Morecombe and Chester.. I lived near Chester and it is a great place..

About Geoff Le Pard

71oyplm6zdl-_ux250_Geoff Le Pard (not Geoffrey, except to his mother) was born in 1956 and is a lawyer who saw the light. He started writing (creatively) in 2006 following a summer school course. Being a course junkie he had spells at Birkbeck College, twice at Arvon and most recently at Sheffield Hallam where he achieved an MA in Creative Writing.

And what did he learn?

That they are great fun, you meet wonderful people but the best lessons come from the unexpected places. He has a line of books waiting to be published but it has taken until now to find the courage to go live.

He blogs at http://geofflepard.com/ on anything and everything. His aim is for each novel to be in a different style and genre. Most people have been nice about his writing (though when his brother’s dog peed on the manuscript he was editing, he did wonder) but he knows the skill is in seeking and accepting criticism. His career in the law has helped prepare him.

Geoff’s Latest Book

About Life in a Flash

Life is fast, life is short. In a series of short fiction pieces, most under 500 words, we explore the world, its inhabitants and their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs and sideways shifts, all with humour and decent grammar. You’ll find something to amuse and intrigue here and if, unlikely as it is, one piece isn’t for you, well, turn the page and start again.

A recent review for the collection

Geoff Le Pard’s book is a collection of 157 pages filled with short stories. Each one has 500 words or less. Geoff Le Pard is a master in bringing out the irony of life in his special way. He has this dark British humor, adds twists, and always leaves something to ponder. What I loved most are the stories in which he combines Greek Mythology with the modern world.

This is a book made for those who like to be into the story quickly… but you won’t stop with one story because it makes you want more!

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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

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

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

Connect to Geoff

Blog: http://geofflepard.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/geofflepard
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/+GeoffLepard01/posts

Thanks for dropping in and there will be more from Geoff next week.  Thanks Sally