Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Marriage – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Pete Johnson (Beetley Pete)


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now – Marriage by Pete Johnson

When I was a teenager in London, I took it for granted that I would get married. After a long relationship that started in my early teens didn’t work out, I started seeing someone else when I was 22, and that developed well. We got married in 1977, when we were both 25. We had good jobs, sufficient disposable income, and bought a nice flat in a desirable area of South-West London. Both of us owned cars, and we enjoyed at least two foreign holidays a year. Crucially, neither of us wanted to have children until we were older, so we enjoyed a busy social life instead.

There was an underlying problem though, one that I was blissfully unaware of. I had entered into marriage embroiled in the male-dominated, working-class traditions I had been brought up with. My wife changed her surname to mine, as was the norm. I never did any cooking or housework, as I had never expected to have to. Instead, I worked hard, ten or eleven hours a day, six days a week, and did those ‘male-role jobs’ like putting up shelves, carrying heavy things like suitcases, and driving whenever we went out together in a car.

I didn’t know how to do much more than fry an egg or make a bacon sandwich. I had never used a washing machine or an iron, and had no interest in doing so, or even bothering to know how they worked. Unlike some men of my generation, I did not go to the pub on Friday nights or Sunday lunchtimes. I never watched sport on TV, or went to a football match. I thought, genuinely thought, that I had a ‘progressive’ attitude. After all, I had got married because I loved my wife and wanted to spend time with her when I could. So why would I go out and leave her?

Two years later, we moved to a nice terraced house in Wimbledon, close to the park and the famous tennis courts. We were going up in the world, as I saw it. The mortgage was affordable, so we still had the cars and the holidays. My wife had a teaching position as a lecturer at Putney College, and enjoyed all the usual holidays and days off provided by working in education. I changed jobs to become an EMT in the London Ambulance Service, and although I lost my company car and suffered a drop in salary, we managed well. I bought a motor cycle to commute to work on, and we traded in both of the older cars for a brand new VW Golf.

Life was good, I was happy.

But I was doing a stressful job, and working shifts. Not only was my routine disrupted, but my wife’s too. Being quiet while I slept during the day, spending time alone when I was on a week of night duty, and having to decline numerous social invitations from our wide circle of friends, because I was working two weekends out of four every month.

One day, my wife talked about having children. We had been married for five years, and had both passed our thirtieth birthdays. I listened to her for a while, then concluded that our life was very comfortable, so having a baby come into our world might be a pressure we didn’t need. I said I would think about it, but I knew I wasn’t going to.

Over the next two years, my wife started to expand her interests. She became a runner, and also started to go windsurfing with a local club that travelled down to Cornwall some weekends. As well as that she took students on field trips, and visited foreign countries as part of a British Council educational mission. I was spending more and more time alone on my days off. But I still didn’t know how to use the washing machine, or iron a shirt. Before she went anywhere, she would do all that, and leave everything I needed in a wardrobe. I bought food that I could heat up in the oven, because I had no idea how to cook, or desire to learn.

In early 1985, she was due to travel to India for three months. I presumed I would be going too, and started to talk about asking for a long period of unpaid leave from my job. Even though she would be working in an educational role during the day, we would have evenings and weekends to explore that fascinating country. I sent off for information from the Indian Tourist Board in London, excitedly planning lists of some of the wonderful things we would see. Then one evening, the bombshell was dropped. I wasn’t allowed to travel to India as a spouse. I said that was no problem, as I would travel independently and book hotels near where she would be working. She then told me she didn’t want me to go, and that when she came back we had to have a talk about our future.

Almost eight years into our marriage, and she wanted us to separate.

She listed her reasons, and I sat quietly listening to them. After I had heard them all, I had to agree she was right. So what I wished I had known in 1977 was very basic, quite normal, and had simply never even entered my head. But it was too late for us by then.

*A marriage is a partnership, and a woman is not just ‘a wife’.
*Couples have to constantly work together to have a happy marriage.
*The opinions of both people in the marriage matter, as do their wishes and desires.
*Being married is not just about being a provider and living out a traditional male role.
*Couples need time apart to appreciate what they have together.
*You don’t have to have the same interests, but must allow the interests of each other.

I learned my lesson the hard way, and have never forgotten it.

©Pete Johnson 2022

You can find Pete on his blog: Beetley Pete – Twitter: @beetleypete

About Pete Johnson

I retired in 2012, then aged 60, and moved from a busy life and work in Central London, to Beetley, in rural Norfolk. I thought I would start this blog to share my thoughts about life in general, and my new life in Norfolk in particular. My wife Julie is still working, so I am at home most of the day, accompanied by my Shar-Pei dog, Ollie.

My interests include local and global history, politics, and cinema and film. I also enjoy music; Motown, Soul, Jazz, along with many modern singers and styles.

After 22 years as an Emergency Medical Technician in the London Ambulance Service, followed by 11 years working for the Metropolitan Police in Control Rooms, it took some adjustment to being retired, and not working shifts.

As of 15th of February, 2022. Ollie is now ten years old, and slowing down considerably. But he is still a great dog to own, and my constant companion. The blog has continued to grow, and I have now posted over 4,690 articles. I currently write a lot of fiction, a bit about films and cinema, mostly short reviews and suggestions; and I did write a lot of anecdotes about my years in the Ambulance Service. I have written a lot about past travel and holidays, and also about architecture. I post a lot about music and songs, those that have a significance in my life for one reason or another. The core of the blog remains the same though; my experiences of my new life in Norfolk, walking my dog, and living in a rural setting.

Over the past few years, I have been adding a lot of photos, and they are always popular.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Pete Springer


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Pete Springer shares his experiences in high school following a move to California in response to the prompt.

What I Wish I Knew Then by Pete Springer

Sometimes I feel like one of the luckiest people on Earth. I was born into a stable family with great parents and three terrific older brothers. I married a great lady, and we have an adult son who is making his mark in the world. We’re proud of the man he has become.

My career as an elementary teacher was rewarding, and I’m filled with pride as I watch many of my former students doing extraordinary things.

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself is that I tend to be more philosophical as I get older. Maybe that’s a symptom of having more time on my hands. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m any smarter, but I do find myself thinking about some of the lessons I’ve learned.

If I could have one do-over in life, it would be my high school years. After a happy childhood, we moved cross-country to California when I was starting high school. Maybe it was the combination of being at an awkward age, moving to a new place, and not having the self-confidence to embrace new challenges at the time, but those years weren’t a particularly happy time. I wasn’t depressed, but I wasn’t joyful either.

High school was cliquish, and for a guy who didn’t fit in any of the groups, I found that I kept to myself more and didn’t have a lot of close friendships.

Around the time I turned eighteen, I made a thoughtful decision to expand my horizons and to get out of my comfort zone. No more playing it safe and always resorting to only familiar and comfortable things.

I found my true self during college. I tried new things with enthusiasm and put forth the best version of myself. Not every unique experience turned out the way I hoped it would, but I was no longer living in fear. Those feelings of empowerment made me feel better about myself, and people accepted me for me.

I went from a scared teenager to a confident adult—someone who could stand in front of a group of people and command their attention with an outgoing and fearless persona. Don’t get me wrong—I still am fearful in many situations, but I’ve learned that we feel best about ourselves when we embrace new challenges.

Why am I thinking about this today? Perhaps it’s because I’ve just accomplished one of my goals—the completion of the first draft of a middle-grade chapter book.

While I was teaching, one of my favorite things to do during a typical school day was to read to my students. Each day I got to be a performer and act out the voices of the authors’ characters. I could be brash, silly, humble, mean, or any other characteristic that I imagined the author intended. It was a rush to hook the kids into the plots and the characters. I always tried to leave them begging for more. “Don’t stop! Keep reading!”

Those phrases were music to my ears.

Pete didn’t just read to his class he also took his new baby son in for them to meet

When I was teaching, I made a decision that I was going to try and write a children’s book to recapture that feeling. Having taught many ages, I decided to target those children I was most familiar with—middle grades. After first writing a combination memoir/advice book for new teachers, I decided the time was right. I went to a writer’s conference, found a critique group, and I’m going for it. What started as a vision of 30,000 words became 50,000 when I finished the first draft.

I’m a realist—maybe this will never come to fruition, but I’m proud of myself for having the courage to go for it. Now I’ve moved into the rewriting and editing phases, and there’s still a ton of work ahead. While I self-published my first book, I’m inclined to try and go the traditional publishing route this time. I know—much longer odds and a lot more time to make it happen. (But hey, I’m retired.) If it doesn’t happen, at least I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I didn’t stand on the sidelines, and I gave myself a chance. Perhaps this will be too preachy for some, but my advice as a sixty-year-old to that scared teenager is, “Don’t let fear hold you back.”

©Pete Springer 2022

My thanks to Pete for sharing his thoughts about this prompt and I am sure many can relate to his experiences of those formative years and how unsettling they can be.

About Pete Springer

My name is Pete Springer. I taught elementary school for thirty-one years (grades 2-6) at Pine Hill School in Eureka, CA. Even though I retired over three years ago, my passion will always lie with supporting education, kids, and teachers.

When I came out of the teaching program many years ago, I realized how unprepared I was for what was in store for me in the classroom. My college education focused mostly on learning theory rather than the practical day-to-day challenges that all teachers face. Thankfully, I had some great mentors to lean on to help support me in the early part of my career.

I have made it my mission to pay it forward to the next generation of teachers. I was a master teacher to four student teachers, and I have several former students who are now teachers, including one who teaches at my former elementary school. That is pretty cool!

While I was teaching, I decided that one day I would write books for children. That ship is now in the harbor. I took some writing workshops, found a writing critique group, joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and I recently finished writing my first middle-grade novel. I’ve always connected with kids, and this is my new way of teaching.

My debut MG novel, Second Chance Summer, just got professionally edited, and I will be querying in the coming weeks.

One of the reviews for the book that I can also recommend

Pete Springer’s memoir about his first years teaching is a delightful story for new teachers and will have experienced educators nodding along with him. His early experiences remind all of us of the joy inherent in teaching:

“This job required about as much brainpower as my tree planting experience.”
“This is the story of how I fell in love with teaching and the joys and challenges that this noble profession provided to me over the course of thirty-one years.”

He breaks the book into chapters every teacher will understand:

How did i get here
Setting up your classroom
Working with students
Working with colleagues
Working with your boss
Discipline

…and more. Aside from grading, parents, lunch duty, conferences, and yard duty, these are the biggest issues we teachers face. I’m a veteran teacher of thirty years and still I couldn’t wait to read Pete’s take on these timeless issues.

“Instead of saying, “Do everything my way, and you can become a successful teacher,” she was giving me her permission to find my way.”
“…storytelling was one of the most successful methods to get my students to pay attention.”
“…when we lose our calm, we are teaching them that it is okay to behave in this manner when something is not going right.”

Every new teacher will benefit from Pete’s daily experiences of what in the end results in a journey well traveled with more importance than most of us would car eto admit. Educational philosophies change. Favorite tools like iPads and Chromebooks change. What never changes is the fundamentals that Pete covers in this book:

“…tell the kids when I made similar mistakes growing up.”
“I do think that it is possible for parents or schools to provide too many rewards for kids.”

Overall an excellent book. If you’re a new teacher, I’d call this an essential read prior to your first day.  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Read more reviews:Goodreads – Website: Pete Springer WordPressTwitter: @OfficerWoof

 

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share Pete’s post.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! ‘Home’ by Claire Fullerton


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Claire Fullerton shares her memories of the home that her mother grew up in and returned to with her own family when Claire was ten years old.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! ‘Home’ by Claire Fullerton

79 Morningside Park

The house in which I grew up anchors me in the larger world as a frame of reference, although while I was growing up, this was an unrecognized fact. Youth takes given things for granted. I had no way of perceiving the snail-pace of change, that one day I’d walk out the door of the place I’d always called home and close it behind me forever.

The house had familial history. Built in 1901, it had eclectic features— intricate wrought-iron over a series of cathedral doors, a black-and-white tile entrance hall, a lattice-roof gazebo accessed by throwing open the doors of the card room. People in Memphis are mindful of the extreme summers, and fashion their homes accordingly. In the winter, area rugs ran throughout the house, and in the summer they were put away in storage.

Family lore is my mother’s parents went for a Sunday drive and left my then seven-year-old mother with her nanny. Pulling in the driveway of 79 Morningside Park, my general physician grandfather turned towards the passenger seat and said, “I hope you like this house because it’s yours.”

My mother, an only child, grew up in that Midtown, Memphis, four-bedroom house. She kept a Shetland pony in the backyard and rode it along the wooded trails of East Parkway. It was the home she returned to whilst away at boarding school in Simsbury, Connecticut. When she became engaged to my father, it was the setting of their lavishly orchestrated engagement party.

As a child, I visited the house every summer, when my mother took us home to see her mother. We lived up North in those days, my father being from the lake area outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The yearly trip my brothers and I took to Memphis opened our eyes to a disparate culture. To my young eyes, there was an austere tenor to my grandparent’s Southern home, an all-encompassing, echoing formality anchored by serious gravity. Because my grandmother, whom I am named for, loved collecting antiques, my brothers and I minded our footfalls when we visited, well aware that most things in the house were breakable.

I was ten years old when my family moved permanently into that house in Memphis, Tennessee. When my grandparents went to heaven, my mother inherited the house and everything in it. It was as if someone flipped a switch during that first year of occupancy, threw the doors open wide and ushered in new energy. My brother, Haines, played guitar and added weekly to his record collection. My brother, Joe, practiced every game ever played with a ball. And even though we had two Scottish terriers, six months into our residency, I waged a full-frontal campaign and ultimately acquired a cat.

My mother, taking the house’s new dynamic in stride, rolled with the changes, but then again, she was conveniently blessed with a delightful sense of humor. I look back now and realize the finesse she brought to the act of balancing the small details of domestication. Through the years, 79 Morningside Park retained a certain antiquated elegance, but throughout my youth, the energy within remained abundantly and vibrantly alive.

One counts on a place they’ve lived in for years. Adolescents put down roots and mark their turf in the interest of security, and much of my coming-of-age security came as a byproduct of knowing my homes’ history, in tandem with whom I could rely on that lived down the hall. Family is the nucleus of a home’s identity. With enough years strung together, they become one and the same to the point where location is an overarching sense of belonging made of complimentary elements. Where one begins, and the other ends is all but immaterial, when it comes to the concept of home.

Which is why I felt like the rug had been pulled out from beneath me when my mother called me with the news she’d be selling the house in which I grew up. I was thirty-six years old, living in California with no plan of ever returning to Memphis but that wasn’t the point. Only one of my siblings lived in Memphis at the time, and I clutched the phone, fighting back immediate tears as my mother explained the house was too big for her to live in alone as she rattled towards her dotage. She had a good point when she declared she wouldn’t be one of those poor unfortunates having to make a bedroom downstairs in their infirmity, having lost the mobility to navigate the stairs. She’d found a charming, one level, zero lot-line house in East Memphis and was excited about her new lease on life. And of course, I supported her, even as I wrestled with my own fear of change.

It’s been many years since my mother sold the house in which I grew up. Most in my family have passed on, and I’ve long lived in the wilds of California. They say home is where the heart is, and what I now know is how well the heart stores memory. When I think of home, my heart leaps to that 3rd generation house in Memphis, which will serve as my home’s frame of reference for all the days of my life.

©Claire Fullerton 2022

My thanks to Claire for sharing this wonderful trip down memory lane through her memories of the home that meant so much to her.

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Little Tea, set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the Goodreads, 2021, July Book of the Month, the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, 1st place winner in the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award, a finalist in the International Book Awards, and the Independent Authors Network 1st place in Literary Fiction winner and 2nd place winner for 2020 Book of the year.

Claire is the author of 12 X award winning Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Claire is also the author of 3X award winning, Dancing to an Irish Reel, set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary

Books by Claire Fullerton

My review for Dancing to an Irish Reel February 12th 2022

This is a love story. Not just between a man and a woman. It is also the slow falling in love with a culture rich in history, language and music, which can be confusing to the uninitiated who arrive expecting only to be there for a short visit.

The Irish have a way of embracing and drawing you into their way of life, and the author clearly absorbed all this richness during her time in the country in her twenties.

Traditional music is at the heart of communities throughout Ireland and Galway is the perfect setting. Nothing quite like dark smoky bars late on in the evening, when the musicians pick up their instruments and the magic begins.

The characters are beautifullly embellished with little details that immediately bring them into focus. Handsome enigmatic musicians, dapper elderly gentlemen imparting wisdom, free spirited craftsmen who have poetic souls, family dynasties where music runs in the blood.

Add in a young American conscious of being an outsider, trying to find her way through the complexity of adapting to the ebb and flow of this cultural colour, and you have a delightful reading experience.

The pace of the story is not rushed, for you would lose much of the detail and richness of the descriptions in the book. Life in Ireland is meant to be savoured. That can be an interesting and sometimes disconcerting concept for those who arrive for a quick holiday.

Expect to make some assumptions of how the relationship between Hailey and Liam will evolve through the story, but according to the cards all will be well, someday.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Twitter: @Cfullerton3

 

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Claire’s guest post.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Writing by Jane Risdon


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Jane Risdon reflects on the message she might have offered to her younger self to reassure her that one day, she would be a writer..

I Wish I’d known Then What I Know Now. – Jane Risdon

Writing is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first read Enid Blyton, Robert Louis Stephenson, and similar authors, but I never imagined I’d actually achieve my goal. I dreamed about it and authored stories which I never shared.

I recall mentioning I wanted to be a war correspondent during a school career evening and being firmly put back in my box by the woman ‘advising’ me on various ‘suitable’ careers for the eldest daughter of parents with six children. ‘You can be a teacher, a nurse, a secretary etc…’ she told me. She made it clear that men were journalists, not women. ‘Besides, you’ll be getting married and having children…’ That really annoyed me then and it does now.

My father was a military man who later worked for the Ministry of Defence. Mother was a dispenser in various pharmacies until she retired. My mother was (is) a person in her own right. As well as being a wife who worked, she was a mother too. When we were overseas she didn’t work, but as soon as we returned to England she went back to her profession. Women could have careers, I knew that.

We lived all over the world, experienced many cultures and peoples, and I wanted to cover their stories, especially during any conflict. That was not to be. My family moved to Germany and there I remained for two years until I managed to apply for a job at the Office of Information (British Government), in London, where I could write press releases and articles. Long story short; I didn’t get the job. I was recommended and approved for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office instead, and I escaped from Germany to an amazing job where my writer’s imagination was inundated with a deluge of material to file away in the hope that one day, when I became a writer, I could possibly use all I learned and experienced.

At that time, I hadn’t a clue what I’d write about if ever given the opportunity. Possibly something about spies like the Krogers — Soviet husband and wife spies, part of the Portland Spy Ring — or the kidnapping of Geoffrey Jackson, Ambassador to Montevideo, as well as the various tit-for-tat expulsions of Soviet diplomats accused of spying in London, and the British diplomats sent home from Moscow in retaliation, whilst I worked in Whitehall — great material, but I’d no idea what I’d do with it, if I ever got to write.

It seemed an unattainable dream whilst I worked as a public servant for many years. Marrying a professional musician, having a son, we mostly lived overseas travelling the world, eventually working in the international music business where we were constantly on the move with recording artists, singers, songwriters, and record producers. Writing was a distant fantasy. When? Which genre? How? I just couldn’t envisage it ever happening. My life had been set on its path and authoring books couldn’t be factored in, I thought.

But life has a strange way of throwing one a curve. Opportunities can and do cross our paths and we have to grab them when we can. We eventually retired from the music business. Time was suddenly my (our) own. What to do with it? Big question. Back in England we downsized, moving to a new home, and during the move we spent time throwing things out. It was a difficult undertaking; what to keep or not. It was emotional at times, going through all our things — our life.

Throughout my life I’ve kept diaries, sometimes very personal jottings, and of course, working in the crazy, unreal world of music, we kept diaries of our work schedules and activities. We had memorabilia, photos, tour schedules, fan letters, posters, etc., from the 1960s to the day we retired. Suddenly, I was inspired. The time had come. All those years I thought I’d wasted, when I’d grieved at the ‘loss’ of a writing career, were not in vain after all.

My diaries held the secret, and once unlocked I found I had the beginnings of one of the first stories and books I wanted to write — have now written. I gave myself permission to use the material, to unlock my (our) life experiences in music and my career working for various government departments, to tell those stories. I’ve since realised I can write anything, not just what was inspired by the diaries.

If only, all those years ago as a teenager and young adult, I’d have known that one day I would be able to write, and that all the years in-between had not been wasted but were leading to this time, now, here, I wouldn’t have felt such an emptiness and loss. I think that had I been given time to write long ago I’m not sure I’d have been able to write anything decent, readable, or interesting to anyone else. I hope I’ve achieved some level of readability, and I can only trust that I am a better writer for having let a lot of water flow under the bridge before putting my efforts into print. How can I know? But I do wish that I had known, then, that one day my dream would come true, and I wish I’d taken more notice of what was going on around me at times, both in public service and in my dealings with the entertainment industry, especially in Hollywood! I never got to be a war correspondent. I no longer grieve over it. Looking at the state of journalism these days, I think I had a narrow escape.

I wish I’d known back then that my older self would be glad I took the path I did, although if there’d been a way to have all my life experiences as a younger me, I may well have written sooner. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course…if only!

© Jane Risdon 2022

About Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies. She writes for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine, Electric Press, and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.

Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet podcasts including UK Crime Book Club (UKCBC), Donnas Interviews Reviews and Giveaways, and on radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradio.com, and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show.

Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used by Western Kentucky University, Kt. USA, in an Introduction to Literature Class, for second year students from Autumn 2021 for the foreseeable future.

She is the Lead Panellist, March (2022), for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature at LitCon, an author’s conference out of New York USA.

Jane’s latest 100-word piece of Flash Fiction entitled Payback, was read by her for Showboat TV Equinox Online Festival on 25th September as part of the event’s Spoken word segment.

Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series. They were based mostly in Los Angeles and Singapore.

Earlier in her career she also worked for the British Ministry of Defence in Germany, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell.

Jane is represented by Linda Langton of Langton’s International Literary Agency in New York City, New York USA. You can contact Jane via Linda at

Books by Jane Risdon

One of the reviews for Undercover Crime Shorts

Oscar McCloud4.0 out of 5 stars Cosy Crime with a bite  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 January 2022

The common theme of these short stories is murder, where the victims apparently deserving their fate as the perpetrators justify their actions.

All the main characters in each of the stories have psychopathic tendencies, but the short narration of the events does not allow their characteristics and backgrounds to be developed. An example is the paranoid diplomat who believes he is the victim of a ‘honey trap.’ I, as the reader, felt he was more of a misogynist and opportunist who covered up serial murders.
I liked the premise of the stories, and found them imaginative and entertaining, all with a bite of incredible plotting.

Murder by Christmas was my favourite. The idea of deciding to murder before you can collect an inheritance is a dilemma. What gives the story intrigue is that the deceased, in her will, had decided she wants rid people in her life whom she disliked. Equally interesting is how easily the perpetrators have no remorse and meticulously kill their victims before they start a new life with their new wealth. The ending left me wondering if I could do the same. (Probably not).

I enjoyed this collection of short fiction. Although on the surface a grim subject, each tale has a mischievous tone, with the narration like cosy crime providing a sense of justice in most cases. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USBlog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread – Twitter: @Jane_Risdon – Facebook: Jane Risdon – Bookbub: Jane Risdon – WNB Network: Channel 6

 

 

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Jane’s post… Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! ‘Dad’ by Sue Wickstead


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today teacher and children’s author Sue Wickstead who shares her thoughts about her dad and her family.

I wish I knew then what I know now! ‘Dad’ by Sue Wickstead

I wish I knew then, that you would die so young dad.

I never thought that you would be gone so early in our lives.

I thought you would be there to meet your grandchildren.

I thought you would play and laugh and enjoy their lives.

I thought you would have enjoyed holidays and playtime in their company and they in yours.

But you didn’t live and you didn’t see them.

I know they would have known the love you could have given if you had been given the time to live.

Your legacy was love.

The love you gave us we passed on to our children. With nine grandchildren and even more great grandchildren – the numbers are growing.

But they will always know you because we remember you.

When your son was born how proud you were.

Not just because he would carry on your name but he was a kindred spirit, ‘a boy’ amongst your family of girls.

How your son changed the lives of us girls and we loved him too.

But if you had ever worried about carrying on your legacy and carrying on your family name you should never have worried.

We loved you and when you were gone and the grandchildren arrived, they were all given your family name as a middle name in homage of how much we valued and loved you.

Maybe the name will be lost in time and maybe the name will disappear but never the love.

I wish we had realised and enjoyed the little time we had together.

Mum and 5 children

P.S. My married name is Mrs Susan Riddick. My father’s name was Thomas Wickstead and my mother, Elizabeth Wickstead (nee Powell).

My son Thomas was the first of my father’s nine grandchildren. He was born a year after my father died, 1983, and arrived on my parents wedding anniversary, 30th September.

When my son was born, he opened his eyes and I suddenly felt I had known him all of my life.

My son was named Thomas, Andrew, Wickstead, RIDDICK.

My family

My mum was a keen family historian and researched the WICKSTEAD name (in all spelling variations) as a one name study.

She found I was not the first WICKSTEAD girl who had carried on the name in this way and that it had been done in the past before.

My sisters followed suit when their children were born.

My children may not have known my dad, their grandad, but they knew he was a lovely well thought of man because they knew how fondly he was spoken of.

My mum Elizabeth

I never thought my mum would grow in herself to be so resilient and her love of history, together with her sister Rose, helped her get through such a trauma. Something that was never acknowledged. She is now 94 and going strong.

My brother suffered emotionally, having lost his dad, he was only 14 at the time, again the support and understanding was not there at that time. But then again, as a war baby, my mum’s opinion was to just get on with life and not dwell on the negative.

My brother lived his life a proud godfather to a few of dad’s grandchildren but never had any children of his own. However, he is a crazy and lovely uncle who was loved equally.

My daughter, Eleanor, Jayne Wickstead, RIDDICK, was finally married in lockdown. It had been cancelled and ended up as a very small affair.

She asked me if she could drop the ‘Wickstead’ from her name. After a moments concern, I gladly gave my permission. I had wanted dad’s name to carry on somehow but my son has it, not my grandson.

In my involvement with the Playbus and now my writing, even in my teaching I was ‘Sue WICKSTEAD’ and I realised his name will carry on.

A bit of an odd turn of events how that happened. ‘What’s in a name?’ that’s certainly a different story.

©Sue Wickstead 2022

My thanks to Sue for sharing her poignant response to the prompt and her lovely family with us. Since these days it is almost impossible to remove your presence from the Internet, the name Wickstead is going to be carried on for a long time to come.

About Sue Wickstead

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author with Award winning books.
Shortlisted in the Wishing Shelf Book awards. and has written children’s picture books with a bus theme. In addition, she has also written a photographic history book about the real bus behind her story writing.

Her bus stories are about a playbus. Have you ever been on a Playbus?
When Sue’s two children were young, they attended a playgroup on a bus, but not an ordinary bus taking you on a journey, exciting though this is, but a Playbus stuffed full of toys to capture their imagination!

For over 20 years, alongside her teaching career, she worked with the charity, the Bewbush Playbus Association.

As part of the committee she painted the bus, worked in the groups, helped raise the profile of the project and its work and was part of the team involved in raising funds to replace the old bus with a newer vehicle. This led her to write a photographic history book about it.

‘It really was a fun journey to be involved in’, said Sue. The bus really got into her blood and became a work of the heart.

Having written the history book Sue soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. So, she decided to write a fictional tale, his number plate JJK261, gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original project and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continues.

A small selection of books by Sue Wickstead

My review for Barty Barton February 5th 2022

A lovely story about how even when old and worn out there is still love to be given and received. Very hopeful for those of us of a certain age, who like Barty Barton the bear, are showing signs of wear and tear.

Barty and his fellow stuffed toys have been rather neglected after their young owner grows up and leaves home to start a family of his own.

Luckily his mother comes to the rescue and Barty and his collection of friends go through several rejuvenating processes. They are a delight to read about, offering useful suggestions to those who have favourite worn toys that might enjoy being pampered, and passed along to younger members of the family.

As with all children’s books that I read, I like to see the underlying messages of kindness, love and hope being embedded in the story for a young reader to absorb.

The illustrations are perfect and any child reading, or having the story read to them, will be tempted to stop and discuss in more detail.

Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – More reviews: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Sue Wickstead – Facebook: Stories Sue – Facebook: Teacher Page – Twitter: @JayJayBus – LinkedIn: Sue Wickstead

 

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share Sue’s post.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – June 6th – 12th 2022 – Chart hits 1996, Puerto Rico, Phosphorus, Reviews, Poetry, Health, Podcast, Stories and Humour


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed during the week..

I hope you have had a good week and are enjoying the weekend. There has been some more work on the house and it is really beginning to take shape… Ironic that we will get it looking great only to pass on to someone else lol.. Anyway that is a month or so away but I am already looking at property pages in the areas we are planning to look at seriously in the coming months. I am trying to be sensible about downsizing!!!  Apart from anything else with heating oil having almost tripled in the last three months, heating a large house becomes an expensive luxury.

I am hoping that are luck with finding just the right house for us will hold, and whilst I am not looking forward to the packing up process, I am excited about finding our next home, intended to be our last. And also to finally welcome a new dog into the family, long overdue.

This week my friends William Price King, Debby Gies and Carol Taylor have given us music, sunshine and sea in Puerto Rico and wonderful recipes and I cannot thank them enough for their wonderful contributions. They are also busy on their own blogs and I hope you will head over to check them out.

William Price King joined me on The Breakfast show this week for the second part of the hits from 1996 and for the fianl part of the series about Aretha Franklin.  Next Friday a new series featuring Roberta Flack… You can also find William – Blog– IMPROVISATION– William Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies took us to San Juan on Monday and found some great funnies. It was also her birthday this week… on facebook it shows up as 107.. always a talking point as she certainly does not look her age lol..Over on her blog you can you can catch up with her posts including her Sunday book review for the compelling thriller Where There’s Doubt by Terry Tyler…. D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor joined me on Wednesday with her recipes to include sufficient phosphorus in our diets… and as always a busy week on her own blog including her Monday Musings and the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, Store cupboard Basics, Green Kitchen Bread Rolls and strawberry stems, Saturday Snippets all about ‘Spin’. You can find all her posts Carol Cooks2

Thanks too for all your visits, comments and shares this week… they mean a great deal..♥

Coming up this week on the I Wish I Knew Then series are Sue Wickstead, Jane Risdon and Claire Fullerton.

On with the show…..

 

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1996 Part Two – The Wallflowers, Alanis Morissette, Take That, Eric Clapton

William Price King meets the Music Legends – Aretha Franklin – Greatest Hits

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column Rewind with D.G. Kaye – San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Phosphorus – Dairy, Poultry, Pork, Nuts, Wholegrains

Food Therapy Rewind- Make the most of Summer – Homemade #Fruit Salad and Smoothies by Sally Cronin

Chapter Sixteen – Killbilly Hotel – A promotion

Killbilly Hotel – The Opening Weekend Party

Tuesday Weekly Challenge #Colour #Etheree – Strawberries by Sally Cronin

The Royal Banquet – Preparation and Menu by Sally Cronin

 

 

#Children’s – Make Believe: Bedtime Stories for Children by Janice Spina

Advance Review – #Malaya #1950s – Have You Eaten Rice Today by Apple Gidley

#Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Carol Taylor

#Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Diana Peach

#Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Sharon Marchisello

First in Series – #Family Saga Judith Barrow, #Mystery N.A. Granger

#Thriller John W. Howell, #Mystery #Romance Marcia Meara

#Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Age and Skipping

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Street signs and Diet Pills

 

Thank you for joining me this week and look forward to seeing you again soon  Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Sharon Marchisello


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Sharon Marchisello looks back to her teens and shares her thoughts on how she might have made different choices.

I wish I knew then what I know now! by Sharon Marchisello

Sharon in 10th grade

If I could travel back in time and have a chat with my sixteen-year-old self, I would have told her to focus. Make a plan and execute it. Planning doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t make changes along the way, but at least you know where you’re going and have a reasonable idea how you’re going to get there. If you don’t know what success looks like, how will you know when you’ve achieved it?

Not having a plan means you drift through life, letting it happen to you rather than making things happen. Like you’re watching a movie written and directed by someone else. And one day, you’re in your sixties, still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.

I had dreams, but they were just that. Not goals. I had no idea how to turn my dreams into reality. For a while, I thought I wanted to be a model—never mind that I was too short, and not thin or pretty enough. And I had no concept of what the work entailed, no way of knowing whether I’d even like it. I also thought I wanted to be an actress, but I was shy speaking in front of people and couldn’t project my voice to be heard in a crowd. It never occurred to me to take acting lessons or actively pursue parts in school or community plays. I figured I’d just move to Hollywood someday and wait to be discovered.

If I’d had some career counseling, maybe I’d have directed my energy toward more realistic pursuits: journalism, business, international diplomacy. These days, there are so many interesting courses of study and career paths—fields I never knew existed.

My parents encouraged me to go to college, but their purpose for educating a female child was to ensure she’d meet a college-educated man with great prospects, and that she’d develop an appreciation for education that she’d pass on to her children. So her sons could find lucrative careers and her daughters could snare good providers.

They encouraged me to prepare for a “fallback career,” such as teaching. Something I could do to help support the family if my husband died or we fell on hard times. Even though I had no interest in running a classroom full of high school students, I earned a teaching certificate—but then never sought a position as a teacher. I also didn’t get married and start a family.

If I could have counseled my young self when I entered college, I would have said: 1) Don’t try to finish too fast. (I took the maximum number of classes each semester and then went to summer school so I could graduate in three years.) Slow down, stretch it out over another year or two, enjoy the experience. Have fun, get involved in extracurricular activities, maybe join a sorority. 2) Dump him! Don’t spend your college years dating a jealous and controlling boyfriend (who prevented me from making friends, having fun, and participating in after-class activities). I did finally dump him, but about five years too late. At least I didn’t marry him.

All my life, I wanted to be a writer—a bestselling author, of course—but didn’t know how to parlay my skill with words into a career. I was arrogant enough to believe I had a great talent the world would someday discover, not realizing that even if you do have talent, you need to hone your craft, get feedback from others, rewrite and discard many precious words. I was an adult before I discovered writing classes and critique groups. And then I still thought getting published was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—instead of the beginning of an uphill battle to reach readers. (And not even the beginning; I’ve learned that marketing and networking needs to start long before publication.)

Although my friends and family told me I had talent, they scoffed at the idea that I’d ever be able to make a living with my writing; they considered it a cute hobby. I’d have to get a “real” job to support myself.

Over the years, I had little trouble finding employment, but because I considered writing my real career, these positions were just jobs, trading time for a paycheck. I never took the steps necessary to climb the corporate ladder, like applying for entry-level supervisory roles, paying my dues. Consequently, I was later passed over for promotion because I didn’t have leadership experience. If I’d known I was going to spend 27 years working at an airline—a job I took mainly for the wonderful travel benefits—I would have done things differently, followed a more judicious career path.

Celebrating 25th birthday at a Renaissance Faire with a musician boyfriend.

I often think about what my life would have been if I’d made different choices at critical junctures. But if I’d gone down a different road, I’d have missed out on many of the experiences I did have; I might never have met the most important people in my life. Maybe my life would be better, but maybe not. Maybe I wouldn’t have been happy with the responsibility of a corporate executive; it might have taken too much time away from writing and travel—the things I enjoy.

There are probably many paths I could have taken that would have resulted in a satisfying life; it was impossible to choose them all. Anyway, there’s no use dwelling on what might have been; happiness is appreciating what is. 

©Sharon Marchisello 2022

My thanks to Sharon for her look back at her teenage years and college and the advice she would have given herself at that time…I am sure I can relate and  I know Sharon would love to hear from you.

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Also by Sharon Marchisello

My review for Going Home 30th September 2021

This is a well written and thought provoking story that combines a care crisis that many of us face with elderly parents who have developed dementia, and the unravelling of the mystery surrounding a murder in a family home.

It is clear the author has experience of the challenge of communicating with someone who has short term memory loss, and brings in a cleverly crafted murder plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.

There are flashbacks to the past and events which have a bearing on the present, and the reader is witness to the fallout that revelations result in as the search begins for a viable suspect amongst the outsiders who have access to the family home. It would seem that the authorities have only one suspect in mind, and without the ability to communicate coherently, an elderly woman must rely on her extended family to prove her innocence.

The author does a great job in keeping all the various strands of the plot running smoothly in parallel and brings the story to a satisfactory climax.

I recommend to those who enjoy well written murder mysteries and family sagas.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Diana Peach


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Diana Wallace Peach shares her thoughts on the prompt and how low moments and the high points in our lives are all part of the journey.

I wish I knew then what I know now by Diana Peach

Diana in 1977

The invitation from Sally to share our reflections on “I wish I knew then what I know now” has delivered some wonderful and personal responses from the blogging community.

Most who’ve submitted have confessed to taking some time to reflect. That’s true for me too.

I tend to look at life as a journey, each experience a stepping stone to the next. The low moments—giant mistakes, costly ones, personal ones where my heart was shredded, ones where I left a wake of hurt—they’re part of that journey that also led me to the highlights. My best moments wouldn’t have happened if I’d turned off the path and taken a different route. All my decisions, thousands and thousands of them, large and small, good and bad, delivered me to where I am today. In hindsight, I wouldn’t want to change them.

But… there are some things I know now, that I wish I’d known then.

I was a depressed, moody teenager with poor self-esteem which led to poor boundaries. I wouldn’t want to change that for all the reasons above, but it was tough. During my formative years (as well as today) many women were raised to be pleasers and fixers and compliant baubles. I wish I’d understood that cultural pressure, expressed myself with more confidence, and demanded that others treat me like a valuable human being.

Change required growing up, growing into my skin, and not caring anymore about what other people thought. Those are some of the wonderful things about getting old.
What I know now is that having boundaries makes me less timid, and ultimately a kinder, more compassionate, and more present person.

Another thing I wish I’d known then is that my brother was going to die young, at the age of forty. I just assumed that we’d all live to be old and gray and that we’d have years ahead of us to enjoy each other’s company. Years when we weren’t so busy, busy, busy, where we’d see each other more than just at Christmas. Years to connect as life slowed down and time opened up. All those assumptions were snapped away in an instant without a chance to say goodbye.

What I know now is to gobble up every opportunity to love. Making time and putting our energy into the people we care about is essential, because at some point, those relationships will be gone, and there’s no way to get them back.

And, I must include a thought about writing, of course! I started writing later in life and was utterly clueless. Like many authors, I was determined to find a publisher and I did that, publishing my first 6 books through a small press. I wish I’d known in the beginning how frustrating I’d find the traditional route, and how much I love the immediacy and control of self-publishing. My career wallowed for 4 years before I made the switch, one I haven’t regretted.

That does it for me, Sally. Thanks so much for the opportunity to contemplate and share my thoughts!

©Diana Peach 2022

My thanks to Diana for her thought provoking response to the prompt and the reminder to gobble up every opportunity to love. I know she would love to hear from you.

 

About D.Wallace Peach

Best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

For book descriptions, excerpts, maps, and behind the scenes info, please visit:
D.Wallace Peach Books

A selection of books by D.Wallace Peach

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My review for The Ferryman and the Seawitch 16th October 2021

Wow. This stand alone fantasy novel from D.Wallace Peach is fantastic. The author is known for her world building and creation of memorable characters, and does not disappoint with the worlds above and below the sea, and those who struggle to survive within them.

Deals have been made following a dreadful incident. Innocents must suffer to fulfil the terms of the agreement. A floating derelict world with a queen intent on survival, and a rich and fertile land with an unrelenting king, are connected by one ship and the Ferryman. He bears the burden of keeping to the bargain made to the Sea Witch for free passage between the two realms, and he has sacrificed much over the years to maintain this fragile peace between them.

There is deceit, side-deals and an undercurrent of violence that races towards a deadline set many years ago. Young lives are at risk, as are those who sail the dangerous waters ruled by the Sea Witch. There are heart-stopping moments when it seems that all is lost, and heart-warming interactions between humans and those beneath the sea that demonstrate the power of trust and love. However, those seeking their own version of justice will stop at nothing to to achieve satisfaction.

This is a love story, adventure, mystery and thriller rolled into a compelling and page-turning fantasy. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: GoodreadsAuthors Website: D.Wallace Peach Books – blog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

 

Thank you for joining us today and it would be great if you could share Diana’s guest post.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Carol Taylor


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

I wish I knew then what I know now! by Carol Taylor

When Sally invited me to partake in this prompt, I racked my brain for days and just couldn’t think what to write… but how could I get to my age and not “Wish I knew then what I know now”

We have all had those moments when we wish we had the knowledge and insight we possess now a few weeks, months or years ago…

Would I have remained footloose and fancy free…I guess not…

I was a 50’s child and my father thought all girls got married and raised a family…my mother did just that and when I wrote copious pages for homework and got A grades she said” very nice dear” …my sisters played with dolls…

I should have… could have followed my dream to be a journalist…I didn’t…but the truth is there has been ups and downs over the years but all of that has made me what I am now… I am happy with that…

I came to blogging and writing late in life and a part of me wishes I had applied myself to that sooner…although I always loved English in school both language and literature and passed my exams with good grades, I do wish now I had taken that further it would make my life so much easier now when writing…

This writing game is not easy at times I seem to go around in circles and see everyone around me doing so well …

My second biggest regret is that I am passionate about the environment and I wasn’t passionate enough when I was younger and I wish I had been and had achieved far more in that world…made my voice heard…really heard…

I wish I had taken environmental studies… Would I have been a real activist…probably not as I believe in talking but not the extreme actions, I see playing out now …I think that alienates people who sit in the middle and could or would have taken more action in their own homes and may have supported a cause if their lives weren’t disrupted by someone glueing themselves to the motorway and prevented them from getting from A to B…

Or I wish I could have been a scientist…I love research and to be able to realise my dream and be able to spend the time researching and writing up that research…testing it out and if successful I can but imagine the buzz… but also know that a scientist observes and asks questions relating to the subject of the research, measures and communicates the idea and then makes a prediction now comes the really exciting part… to test and record each and every step systematically so it can be re-created.

Testing ideas, not all of which work, but what a buzz when it does…to a point I do this with my recipes as I have learnt the hard way if I tweak a recipe, I write it down…I learnt that lesson when watching a programme, a while ago where chefs wrote out a recipe and then gave it to another chef to cook it…

The commentary and the results were so different from the original recipe…basically the chef’s testing the recipe didn’t have a clue what the writer meant and they were chefs…

These chefs were watching the other chefs create their recipe and soon realised that what they had written wasn’t sufficient for another to understand the process…

It made me realise that although I know what I am doing the person reading my recipe has also to know and I have to make it super clear…so barring oven temps and all ovens are different it should turn out the same…

The conclusion is maybe I am a scientist of sorts…

I’ll leave you with this song…by one of my favourite singers…in this track Rod sings about “I wish I knew then what I know now” Rod Stewart

I wish I had taken more risks when I was my younger self…I wish I knew that I was smart…

You can’t however go back and would I have listened to anyone when I was younger …the young don’t …

©Carol Taylor 2022

My thanks to Carol for sharing her thoughts on the prompt, and having been lucky enough to enjoy Carol’s amazing recipes she shares here on the food column and her green kitchen, I can say without a doubt she is an alchemist…I know she would love to hear from you.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Carol’s post… thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 30th May – 5th June 2022 – Home Renovations, Hits 1996, Summer Book Fair, Shortstories, Reviews, Blogger Weekly, Health and Humour


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

I hope you have enjoyed a good week… We have been busy with getting the new dining room up and running and our office established in the kitchen diner.. That is all done but my studio piece still needs some fine tuning and my podcast stories will be back again next week.. I thought you might like to see some before and after photos on the dining room which had to be stripped, ceilings and walls painted, floor sanded and varnished and new curtains.

There are some other jobs to get on with now upstairs and outside but we are getting there. We christened the new dining room with a visit of our niece over from England which was a lovely way to celebrate.

On the blog front

This week on the series by guests are Carol Taylor, Diana Peach and Sharon Marchisello and I am sure you will find them as fascinating as I did…

The Summer Book Fair begins this week and through to September with all the authors on he Bookshelf being featured with their books.

If you have a new book being released either on pre-order or available on Amazon in June or July, I would be very happy to promote. If you are already a featured author on the blog then I just need the date available and title. If new to the promotions please provide me with your Amazon author page and we can talk about anything else I need. My email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am working a couple of weeks ahead so please get the information to me as soon as you can. Thanks Sally.

As always a thank you to the amazing contributors who share their expertise and entertain us every week.

William Price King joined me on The Breakfast show this week for the first part of the hits from 1996 and for the next part of the series on Friday featuring the legendary Aretha Franklin. You can also find William – Blog– IMPROVISATION– William Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies  found some funnies and a video to share with us this week. Debby is taking us to San Juan on Monday… so grab your suncream. Over on Debby’s blog you can you can catch up with her posts and Sunday book review D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor joins me on Wednesday with her recipes to include sufficient phosphorus in our diets… and as always a busy week on her own blog including her Monday Musings, National Cheese Day with the difference between natural and processed cheese products, Basics in the store cupboard such as dried beans, lentils and peas, Chicken four ways and an exploration of the cuisine of The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 29th May -4th June 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “Real food v Processed Food” and Saturday Snippets where “Star” is my one word prompt.

And thank you for your visits, comments and sharing of posts.. they mean a great deal.

One with the show

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1996 Part One – Tracey Chapman, George Michael, Los Del Rio, Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen

William Price King meets the Music Legends – Aretha Franklin – 1970s Hits

#Humour – Chapter Fourteen – Mayhew School for Boys and Girls by Sally Cronin

Chapter Fifteen – Killbilly Hotel in Cornwall and a Gothic welcome – Sally Cronin

#RoadTrip Pete Springer and Jim Borden, #Writing D. Wallace Peach, #Spring D.G. Kaye and Valentina Cirasola, #Communitylife Noelle Granger, #RoastedCod Dorothy New Vintage Kitchen

#Supernatural Audrey Driscoll, #Thriller Alex Craigie, #Romance Toni Pike, #Flashfiction Annette Rochelle Aben

#Multigenre – Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

The Dynamics of Change – Part Three – Emotional Being by Sally Cronin

#Watercress – More Iron than Spinach by Sally Cronin

#Travel – Caravanning with #Dogs – It Never Rains But It Paws: A Road Trip Through Politics And A Pandemic (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs Book 4) by Jacqueline Lambert

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Dentists by Stevie Turner

#Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Pre-historic #Publishing by Sandra Cox

– #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by D.G. Kaye

#Life #Poetry – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Balroop Singh

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Crocs and Interesting Professions..

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Kissing and Useful Hints

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week.. stay safe.. Sally.