Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – A tale of many cities by Joy Lennick


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

This series is now closed for new participants but there will be a new series in August sharing posts from the first six months of 2021.

This is the second post by Joy Lennick and she shares her thoughts on the way writers can inspire and bring hope into our lives, even in the worst of times…

A tale

A Tale of Many Cities

The following excerpt from Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” could apply all over our precious planet at present, for while too many innocent bodies are being ravaged by this horrendous pandemic, people are still falling in love; new life is coming into being, and new, vital, medical and other advances are, fortunately, being made.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the Spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

The biggest positive in that paragraph is “the Spring of Hope” for where would we be without it?!

Whatever age we are, many of us have doubts. Some more than others. Despite being enthusiastic and keen to write, for years I never felt good enough and always too aware of successful, top authors. Something we should never do…Then, one day, I read a description which led me to view my efforts in a different light. It stated: “Writers can be weavers of magic and purveyors of exotic tales. They can transport readers to new heights and give them hope and guidance; they can educate, illuminate, as well as shock and open our eyes to the unique, mysterious and exotic.” That gave me heart, and hope, and as long as we write to the very best of our ability and strive to write even better, readers should be mollified and entertained. After all, if we can make someone, somewhere happy reading our words, even for a little while, it is surely worth any effort on our part.

With Christmas very near, whatever our circumstances, we can only hope that we and our loved ones will be able to indulge in a little festive fare, and can at least make sure that our neighbours are not hungry. With food in mind, the following quotations may be apt!

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.” Barbara Johnson (Courtesy Sarah Weinberg)

“Ice cream is exquisite. What a shame it isn‘t illegal!” Voltaire

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food!” Paul Brudhomme

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” Julia Child

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently, is an art.” Francois de la Roche Foucauld

And, an excellent one:

“I cook with wine. Sometimes, I even add it to food!” W.C.Fields

Christmas memory… Lake Garda & Riva

I’m sure we all have festive memories that stay special to us, and – if you’ve never experienced the delights of Italy, do sample them if you can! I’ve written about the alluring sights of Florence, Rome and Venice elsewhere, but the magic of our Christmas Lake Garda holiday remains almost as enjoyable in retrospect as it did physically. Imagine a marginally ‘iced’ town festooned with coloured lights, with welcoming cafes and shops casting pools of light on the winter gloom, guarded by snow-topped mountains as a lure. Then a cosy hotel offering all the traditional delights and day trips to a dazzling, freezing …Venice and the gay market of Verona, where Romeo was supposed (of course he did) to have wooed his Juliet, and the actual balcony: ‘Wherefor art thou Romeo?’ on which she stood! Magic was in the air…It hovers still.

Back to today and reality… whether you are dining alone and spoiling yourself –and why not? – or having (a few) family members or friends over for chow, enjoy every mouthful and raise your glass to HOPE for a much, much better year in 2021. Cheers!

♬ Jingle bells, jingle bells… ♬

© Copyright Joy Lennick 2020

My Gentle War a memoir, is about my paternal and maternal families and some of my experiences as an evacuee, especially to Wales, which still owns a chunk of my heart! Some of my Dad’s diary entries are included as they were such a contrast to mine!

It is the story of a young girl and her family. Ripped away from the home she loved, from her friends, and familiar surroundings, she spends her formative years in the comparative safety of the Welsh Valleys. With the World at War, and her father sent to the battlefields of Europe, her war is fought holding back tears whilst waiting for news of her father, never knowing whether she will see him again. This is the story of a young girl learning to live a new life, holding her family together in unfamiliar surroundings, all the while dreaming of the father that was forced to leave her. My Gentle War is Joy’s story.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach5.0 out of 5 stars A child’s memories of Wales during WWII Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020

This memoir focuses primarily on the years 1939 through 1941 when the author was 9-11 years old, a child living in Wales with her younger brothers during WWII. The children were sent to Wales to escape the more dangerous areas around London.

This isn’t a harsh story. It’s a recounting of life from the perspective of a child and is, therefore, full of fun and imagination and resilience. There are “ear-wigging” glimpses into the adult world, news of the war, and letters from the author’s dad who was serving in France. The sad and confusing realities of war surely intrude on daily life, but the focus is on friends and relatives, memorable gatherings and events. There are new trousers, dance performances, and games of truth or dare!

Lennick’s writing is witty and conversational, and she includes a handful of poems commemorating particular memories. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the brief jump ahead at the end to the conclusion of the war. The feeling of joy is palpable in the pages.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Also by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and by the books : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Thanks for dropping in today and I know that Joy would love your feedback… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Words, Wonderful Words…by Joy Lennick


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the first post by Joy Lennick and she explores the power of words that can bring joy or to tears.

Trinity-College-Library-in-Dublin-1

Words, Wonderful Words…

Every now and then I pontificate on the power and magic of words. Those twenty-six little letters have faithfully served us ever since “Adam” said Ugg to “Eve.” And, in what variety! True and Fairy tales… Sci-Fi and Paranormal, Murder and Mystery, Love and Romance, Historical, et al – all cater to different literary tastes.

What led to writing today’s post was reading about Alan Alexander Milne and his Pooh stories. The House on Pooh Corner (1928), and Winnie the Pooh in particular. Without Milne, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and the rest of the gang, would have been lost to so many fans. Christopher Robin, Pooh’s human companion, was named after Milne’s own son. Sadly, Christopher was not happy about his inescapable connection to the popular books as he grew older. Winnie the Pooh was based on his teddy bear. Also on his infant bed, were a stuffed piglet, a tiger, a pair of kangaroos and a downtrodden donkey. (Owl and Rabbit were added for good measure.) Hundred Acre Wood closely resembles Ashdown Forest near to Milne’s home.

Milne went to Cambridge University to study maths but focused on writing. He pursued a career as a writer and contributed many humorous pieces to Punch magazine, later becoming Assistant Editor at Punch in 1906. Having served in WW11, despite being a Pacifist, he suffered illness and was declared unfit for service at the front, going on to join a secret British Propaganda unit: M17b. He also turned to playwriting. Deemed successful, he changed Wind in the Willows into the acclaimed Toad at Toad Hall.

It seems especially sad that Milne was estranged from his son, Christopher, who rarely saw his father, despite him having a stroke and spending his last few years in a wheelchair. He was ever conscious of his disliked association with the Pooh books. I feel it was his great loss.

When I read the Pooh books, way back, I knew nothing of their creator, but re-quoting some of the content, I can’t help thinking he was a man with his heart in the right place.

I had the warmest glow, when I read:

“My spelling is wobbly. It’s good spelling. But it wobbles and the letters get in the wrong places.”

And “A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey inside.” And

“I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I have been.” And

“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.

“Even longer.” Pooh answered.

And, this one made me cry…

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”

Thank you Mr. Milne. Very much!

Other books by AA Milne: When we Were very Young, Now we are Six, The World of Pooh Collection, The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh.

© Copyright Joy Lennick 2020

My Gentle War a memoir, is about my paternal and maternal families and some of my experiences as an evacuee, especially to Wales, which still owns a chunk of my heart! Some of my Dad’s diary entries are included as they were such a contrast to mine!

It is the story of a young girl and her family. Ripped away from the home she loved, from her friends, and familiar surroundings, she spends her formative years in the comparative safety of the Welsh Valleys. With the World at War, and her father sent to the battlefields of Europe, her war is fought holding back tears whilst waiting for news of her father, never knowing whether she will see him again. This is the story of a young girl learning to live a new life, holding her family together in unfamiliar surroundings, all the while dreaming of the father that was forced to leave her. My Gentle War is Joy’s story.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach5.0 out of 5 stars A child’s memories of Wales during WWII Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020

This memoir focuses primarily on the years 1939 through 1941 when the author was 9-11 years old, a child living in Wales with her younger brothers during WWII. The children were sent to Wales to escape the more dangerous areas around London.

This isn’t a harsh story. It’s a recounting of life from the perspective of a child and is, therefore, full of fun and imagination and resilience. There are “ear-wigging” glimpses into the adult world, news of the war, and letters from the author’s dad who was serving in France. The sad and confusing realities of war surely intrude on daily life, but the focus is on friends and relatives, memorable gatherings and events. There are new trousers, dance performances, and games of truth or dare!

Lennick’s writing is witty and conversational, and she includes a handful of poems commemorating particular memories. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the brief jump ahead at the end to the conclusion of the war. The feeling of joy is palpable in the pages.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Also by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and by the books : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Thanks for dropping in today and I know that Joy would love your feedback… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Archives – #WWII – My Welsh Christmases by Joy Lennick


Over the last seven years there have been some amazing guests in the run up to Christmas who have shared stories about their own memories of this time of year or their festive fiction. In the next four weeks I will be repeating some of those posts, updated with the authors recent books and reviews.

My apologies to Joy as her post should have gone out Monday but the blog administrator!!! had a senior moment..

Today my guest is the witty and entertaining Joy Lennick who wrote a memoir, My Gentle War about her evacuation to Wales during World War II.. This is her recollection of Christmas during that time, and a recent review for the book.

My Welsh Christmases by Joy Lennick.

With no yard-stick to measure my early life and experiences, which were often common-place and repetitive, while happy, when thrust into a different, alien, while fascinating world, all the nuances and happenings sketched themselves more deeply on my mind.

At seven, I had never been in a war before and my innocence painted a different picture to the reality.

Sometimes, I had played ‘war games’ with my two brothers, whereby we shot at each other with brightly coloured lead soldiers, which could be ‘resuscitated’ at will, despite their wounded cries…on a grey, cardboard fort.

As Dad wrote in his diary: September. We are at war with Germany; 9th Leave. Arrived Dagenham at 12.50 am. Left for Merthyr Tydfil at 3.40 pm with Lila and the kiddies until Monday 12th.And then?

As far as we were concerned, we were going on holiday. War was just a three lettered word and Hitler a faceless, far-flung baddie, although we were – later – to ridicule and imitate his goose-step and salute in the school playground-after we saw him in newsreels. But, whatever was happening abroad, we were consumed by excitement. Steam train rides were, after all, a rarity, and the prospect of living on a mountain appealed after pancake-flat Dagenham. (The only frightening thing, talk of a Welsh dragon…)

Separation from our parents was a shock, softened by our aunt Sal’s kindness and cooking…And I found further solace by joining the library and avidly reading Brothers Grimm’s lurid tales, and stories by Hans Christian Anderson, plus countless other authors by candlelight. It was the start of an endless love affair with reading, and eventually writing.
I wrote a memoir about my early life which covers more of the above, but as this is about Christmas, I’ll concentrate on that part of the book, and what children don’t get excited about that special time of the year?!

Although we had seen snow before, we had never seen ‘Welsh’ snow…and, believe it or not, we found it an adventure to practically dig our way through to the outside loo – at first that is!! (Wiping our bots on the Merthyr Express appalled but we soon got used to it…)
Letters informed us that Dad had joined his unit in France (No guns fired…yet!) he wrote, and Mum joined us for the Christmas period.

“Young enough to become overheated at the thought of what the 25th would bring, Terry, Bryan and I spent hours making colourful paper chains and putting up bells, holly and mistletoe, with the grown-ups assistance. When asked to Pop to Powell’s for some sugar, by Aunt Sal, I exited at speed, for I truly delighted in entering his grocer’s shop (a few door down) – my arrival signaled by a bell. My nose was in absolute heaven amid the mingling aromas of fruit: glace and dried, a cornucopia of biscuits displayed in tilted tins with glass tops revealing a mouth-watering selection: temptresses all…iced gems, Garibaldi, custard creams and chocolate fingers, to name but four favourites. Then there were jars upon jars of varied sweets: lemon sherbert dabs which made you cough, strawberry cushions and aniseed balls (which gave the impression you were suffering from mumps), et al. The piece de resistance was gold and silver embossed boxes of ’luxury’ (Christmas) chocolates, embellished with huge scarlet satin ribbon bows, high up on the shelf away from prying fingers….Mr. Powell’s shop was a proboscis paradise and I enjoyed watching him pat huge mounds of butter with fancy, grooved wooden ‘bats.’ I stayed in his shop far too long and Aunt Sal would sometimes scold: Dew, where’ve you been? Timbuktu?

Christmas puddings bubbled under their white cloth covers in the hot oven, and I loved helping Mum place tiny silver balls, miniature holly and Santa Claus decorations on the skating rink surface of the iced cake. Everything was home-made then. We excitedly received parcels from our kind aunts, the contents of which were secreted away until that magical morning, which didn’t disappoint….We children were kept quiet with our gifts: cars and puzzles for the boys, a doll’s cot with enviable bedding, a doll and book for me. Mum said it would be perfect if Dad could have been there and grew pensive, but Uncle Bryn soon had her laughing again.”

We children, of course, woke early on that special day and drew our initials in the frosted glass of the window before rushing back to the warmth of our cocoon, grabbing our net stockings en route. Usually bought in the market or Woolworths, they contained all sorts of treasures. Always present was a silver-wrapped Clementine and a piece of coal for luck, a comic, tin whistle or flute, ‘mock’ cigarettes – which we smoked with panache…and a miniature chocolate bar collection (which gradually dwindled as rationing took hold!) Sometimes, there was a tiny, celluloid doll with garish feathers stuck to her extremities for me and small cars/trucks/aeroplanes for the boys. Our main present(s (when relatives were generous) were downstairs.

We didn’t always have a Christmas tree that I recall. God, and Jesus, played vital roles in early Christmases and we attended various thanksgiving concerts over the years in Chapel and Seion. I prayed each night: For the poor children in Poland! as instructed by Mum and added one for: My Daddy, please send him home and also end the war. But, of course, he did no such thing and I wondered if he was Having tea with Lizzie the Bogie who was a fortune-teller and lived up the Bogie Road. She used to say odd things, like – to her only son: who liked swimming in the lake when the weather was fine: You come ‘ome drowned and I’ll bloody-well kill yew!

Sadly. our second Christmas in Wales was marked by two tragedies. My dear Uncle Bernard, aged twenty-two (Dad’s youngest brother), a navigator in the Royal Air Force, flying somewhere over the Atlantic as an escort, was reported missing and never did come home. And Mum’s second cousin, Islwyn – an only child – was killed in Nant-Y-Ffinn mine nearby, when a ton of coal fell, killing him instantly. He wasn’t even eighteen-years-old. Mum said: What with Uncle Bernard missing and cousin Islwyn dead, as well as your Dad being in France, it’s the worst Christmas I can ever remember. And, although us children were mainly in an ‘ignorant bubble,’ I can recall sobbing into my pillow for Uncle Bernard, and Islwyn had been so full of beans, had a great singing voice and was teaching me the Time Step. The whole mountain mourned his loss. I knew what Mum meant when she said: Coal costs far more than what we pay the coal-man at the door! .

Fortunately, war’s end, and our immediate family emerged Stirred but not too shaken! and most of our later Christmases are recalled for happier reasons. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la la la la la!

©Joy Lennick

My Gentle War a memoir, is about my paternal and maternal families and some of my experiences as an evacuee, especially to Wales, which still owns a chunk of my heart! Some of my Dad’s diary entries are included as they were such a contrast to mine!

It is the story of a young girl and her family. Ripped away from the home she loved, from her friends, and familiar surroundings, she spends her formative years in the comparative safety of the Welsh Valleys. With the World at War, and her father sent to the battlefields of Europe, her war is fought holding back tears whilst waiting for news of her father, never knowing whether she will see him again. This is the story of a young girl learning to live a new life, holding her family together in unfamiliar surroundings, all the while dreaming of the father that was forced to leave her. My Gentle War is Joy’s story.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach5.0 out of 5 stars A child’s memories of Wales during WWII  Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020

This memoir focuses primarily on the years 1939 through 1941 when the author was 9-11 years old, a child living in Wales with her younger brothers during WWII. The children were sent to Wales to escape the more dangerous areas around London.

This isn’t a harsh story. It’s a recounting of life from the perspective of a child and is, therefore, full of fun and imagination and resilience. There are “ear-wigging” glimpses into the adult world, news of the war, and letters from the author’s dad who was serving in France. The sad and confusing realities of war surely intrude on daily life, but the focus is on friends and relatives, memorable gatherings and events. There are new trousers, dance performances, and games of truth or dare!

Lennick’s writing is witty and conversational, and she includes a handful of poems commemorating particular memories. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the brief jump ahead at the end to the conclusion of the war. The feeling of joy is palpable in the pages.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Also by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and by the books : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Thanks for dropping in today and I know that Joy would love your feedback… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Memoir – Another chapter from my life book: Dodgy Guests, Ms. Groves & ‘Dr. Strangeglove’ by Joy Lennick


Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the first post from regular contributor Joy Lennick. This week she shares more adventures from her time of running a hotel with her husband Eric…

Another chapter from my life book: Dodgy Guests, Ms. Groves & ‘Dr. Strangeglove’

After the ‘Doctor Clouseau’ incident (see December’s post), and having sold our successful green-grocery business for several, valid reasons, we bought a very mock-Tudor house in Ilford and lived there for ten good years. During that period, I worked part-time in my most exciting job EVER, for an old established publishing house, based in the City of London, called Kaye & Ward Ltd., As secretary to the two female editors of the ‘Childrens’ and ‘Adults’ books, it was an education and delight. Hooked on words, to make up a ‘mock children’s book’ and meet artists, occasionally writers and illustrators was a treasured bonus. But another ‘life curve’ was on its way when, seduced by the tantalizing idea of running a ‘Tea Rooms’ – for my other half and I both enjoyed cooking and people – we sold our house and bought a business in Bournemouth.

We were to discover that, seemingly, half the population also wanted to run Tea Rooms, and so any decent establishments were very expensive and sought after. PLAN B was then considered. We decided on the hotel business. Bournemouth and surrounds were vetted and combed, and we found “Broughton Hotel,” a splendid Edwardian house, covering three floors with a manageable garden and reasonable parking area. Eleven bedrooms sounded just about right. A genial bank manager was successfully courted and papers duly signed. We were HOTELIERS!!

Our enthusiasm and optimism overcame a few blips…and I soon had an enviable waist-line again… (and muscles where women don’t usually have many…). But, hey, onwards and upwards.

We were, temporarily, a little deflated when a local butcher asked us where our hotel was located and, on learning its position, guffawed and said in a loud voice “Oh, my God, that’s where the Prosies touted for business until recently!!” (It was thickly wooded by pine trees, so understandable from their point of view.) On noting our open mouths…he quickly added that “It’s out of bounds for them now, though…” What a relief, though still food for thought! (We, much later, experienced the secret company of two plains-clothes detectives with powerful binoculars who surveyed the area once our dining room had been vacated after dinner… They declared it “Safe!” while hovering over-long on the shapely figure of one of our female guests waiting for a friend on the opposite side of the road…

It was only when we were moving in, that we realised we had ‘inherited’ a sort of ‘comfortably-off’ (despite claims to the contrary) elderly resident, who was an entrenched Ms! (once in charge of the local telephone exchange.) “I have to pay into a Cremation Fund” she told me, “…so have to be careful with my money! You won’t be putting up my charges will you?” (My husband rattled a large box of matches, with a wicked gleam in his eye when I told him…) We soon realised she almost laid claims to ‘owning’ the building… but she was, at first, polite and manageable, so we acquiesced.

Dungeon-like lighting and dark corners were banned: mirrors; lighting, plants and pictures adorned the walls and suitable areas and the brown cabbage-roses wallpaper removed from the residents’ lounge. Ms. Groves kicked up quite a fuss about our ‘refurbishments’ but we stood firm. When, at a later date, a guest took umbrage at Ms. Groves ownership of the TV set and we offered to buy her one for her room, she nearly exploded! Our ‘dear little octogenarian’ was proving to be anything but…A short period of sulking ensued but she still refused our offer, while grudgingly accepting she had to share the only set.

Life was far from dull for long…. and we survived one or two near mishaps, one mishap (saved for another occasion), and a couple of minor floods…We also managed our first Christmas without a scratch or divorce papers being thrust on either of us… Our bookings were growing pleasingly (despite no ‘Answer-phones’ then) and we had return visits from Travelling Salesmen and weekenders alike. Our prowess at cooking for around 10 to 28 people was steadily growing and we still have the ‘Guest’s book’ with blush-making comments to prove it. (While we didn’t serve pheasant, partridge, pate de foie gras or truffles… we could cook an excellent roast dinner and offer rice and pasta dishes and vegetarian fare, with salads, soups and tasty desserts aplenty. And all for a reasonable sum!) Short-stay and longer-stay guests came and went with little trouble and, to be expected, we had some memorable types who left a more indelible mark. Let me tell you about one in particular…

Dr. Strangelove

One night, at around 10.30, pm, our doorbell rang and I discovered a shortish, long-haired, middle-aged man standing on the step. He was dressed in a three-quarter length, sheep-skin coat and wore jeans and cowboy boots, with a scarf nonchalantly knotted at his neck and a shoulder-bag on one hip. Ummm!

‘Good evening, madam,’ he said with a brief smile…’ I’m a physicist looking for a bed for the night. Can you oblige?’ (Husband later suggested I should have replied ‘Have you split any good atoms lately?’ but my brain’s slower than his…) ‘Certainly, sir.’ I heard myself say, and he was shown a suitable room, then ushered into the lounge where he partook of a round of ham sandwiches and coffee as ordered. Ms. Groves had just vacated her usual armchair and the TV set and he made himself comfortable, as our other guests had left that day.

The next morning – having professed to have ‘Slept like a log.’ and been scrutinized by our resident at the next table, I served our new guest’s breakfast and was requested: ‘Would you kindly cut up my bacon and sausage please!’ and it was only then that I noticed his right hand was encased in a black glove (shades of Dr. Strangelove, later naughtily altered for private consumption to ‘Dr.Strangeglove’ ).

Taking in my slight change of expression, he explained…’ It was badly damaged in the flash-back accident.’ ‘Oh dear!’ I exclaimed, rather lamely. Our new guest later engaged our middle son in a game of snooker (?) and bent his untutored ears with talk of nuclear fusion and the like. I believe he let him win the game so that he could escape…’Mr. Wellington’ as he had signed the visitors’ book, then progressed to the lounge, where he turned the TV channel to a children’s cartoon programme while Ms Groves nearly choked on a mint she was chewing while watching a documentary. I had the misfortune of entering the room at that precise moment, and quickly assessing the situation and not wanting blood shed over our new carpet, (further noting the rolled up Crossword puzzle magazine and the thunderous look on the scientist’s face) commented on what a lovely day it was for a walk in the sunshine.

‘Madam, would that I could…I’m afraid I have to forego the sun since the flash-back accident.’ I believe I uttered something quite inane in reply..

Later that same day, two young nurses were driving through the County, and desirous of stopping halfway through their journey, booked in for the night. Our other visitor was soon conversing with them most animatedly, and they later told me how knowledgeable he was, that he had once been a medical doctor, before taking up science and, further, was a direct descendant of the Duke of Wellington! When one mentioned that her brother had lost two fingers in a firework accident, he offered to operate and replace them (I’d heard of fish fingers, but really?!) What, with one good hand?

Our strange Mr. Wellington stayed on for another two days (during which time he nearly asphyxiated our permanent resident by smoking countless Gauloise cigarettes in the lounge, despite repeated requests that he cease.) Ms.Groves spent the time thereafter either in her room or took several walks and expressed her utter disgust at the situation. Naturally, I was relieved when Mr. Wellington announced that he was leaving. ‘My housekeeper has erased much of my work off the blackboard and I have to return home. Also, my Jaguar is ready, dear lady, so I regret I must leave. I have so enjoyed my stay and shall return in the autumn with a few of my scientist chappies.’ (How did he receive a message from his housekeeper? I hadn’t noticed any pigeons around and there were no mobile phones then?! ) Just after his departure, the telephone rang and a mechanic called Jim asked:

‘Have you a Mr.Campbell staying there? Only his Ford’s now ready for collection.’

‘No,’ I replied, ‘Just a Mr. Wellington who said his Jaguar has been fixed. And he’s just left!’

‘Sounds like him,’ he laughed and rang off.

So, who was ‘Mr. Wellington?’ or should that have been Mr. Campbell? Or was he just another Walter Mitty?

Note: Hard to believe, but the above story is true. Apart from the Duke of Wellington, I have changed the names for obvious reasons. When I later wrote a book about hotel life, the magazine “Good Housekeeping” wrote a short review, but they wouldn’t accept a story about Dr. Strangeglove, as they deemed it ‘too surreal,’ Or words to that effect.

There may be a couple of ‘follow-up’ stories about our hotel life, which could hardly be called ‘pèdestrian,’ and when we finally ‘threw in the towel,’ something quite extraordinary occurred. I was approached by a publishing company (Kogan Page Ltd., of London) and commissioned to write a modest book about running a small hotel! It even went to a reprint.

How about that?

© Joy Lennick 2019

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and the most recent fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

A recent reviews for My Gentle War

Jan 05, 2020 Roberta Cheadle rated it Five Stars

My Gentle War is a delightful memoir about the life on a little girl, aged seven years old when war was declared in 1939, and her family as they navigated the changing landscape of everyday life in war time Britain. Joyce’s family lived a middle class life in Dagenham, London when the war started and her father and his brother, Bernard, signed up with the Royal Air Force to go and fight. Joyce’s parents decide that it will be safer for her mother, two younger brothers and herself to go and live with her family in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The book describes in great detail the difference between her father’s beautifully cultivated garden filled with gorgeous flowers in Dagenham and the wild and lonely beauty of life in the Welsh mountains. Her father’s sadness at having to ruin his garden by building a bomb shelter in the middle of it is the first insight the reader has of the changes that are going to come.

The second insight comes when the author describes the chaos of Paddington Station when her father leaves to go and fight in France and the rest of the family depart for Wales. It is not that easy for an evacuee to fit into life in a rural village, but Joyce and her brothers are young enough to do so without to many problems and, other than one incident when Joyce has a broken glass bottle thrown at her, they all settle into their new life and school. The hard life in Wales is detailed through the memories of the little girl who sees the poverty and learns about the hardship inflicted by the depression prior to the war, on this mining town. The risks of mining are also described through the chronic lung disease suffered by her uncle and the death of a young cousin in the coal mine. The joys of life for children are also expressed with the town arranging concerts staring the children, a picnic and other forms of entertainment. During the early part of the, the bombs do not reach Wales and the food shortages have not as yet bitten.

Throughout the war, Joyce’s family go between places of refuge, initially Wales, and their London home which they return to when her father is home on leave and intermittently while her mother is doing war work in London.

For the last part of the war, Joyce and her brothers become real evacuees are are sent to live with strangers away from London and the buzz bombs. This particular part of this memoir made me realise how fortunate my own mother was during her days growing up in the war. Her family never had to leave their home town of Bungay and were able to stay on their farm throughout the war.

I really enjoyed this memoir which reads like a conversation and tells of life for Joyce and her mother and siblings in Britain and also tells of some of her father’s experiences of the war in France, including the lead up to the evacuation of Dunkirk, through extracts of his diary and letters home. For people who are interested in World War II and particularly every day life for people during this terrible time, this is a wonderful and eye opening book.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on Amazon US: Amazon US

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

 

Connect to Joy

Blog: Joy Lennick WordPress
Facebook: Joy Lennick

My thanks to Joy for sharing another entertaining episode of the joys of running  small hotel and I know she would love to hear from you… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Serious poetry is art but is it too elitist? 2013 by Joy Lennick


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the last of the posts this series, from the archives of author and poet Joy Lennick, although certainly not the first post that we have enjoyed here on Smorgasbord from this entertaining writer. This post by Joy, written in 2013 is on the subject of poetry and explores the distinctions between what is considered serious poetry and that which is written by us mere mortals!

Serious poetry is art but is it too elitist? 2013 by Joy Lennick

While I personally know and have the utmost respect for Migel Jayasinghe and appreciate his intellectual mind and poetry tips, taste is subjective, whether one is reading poetry or a novel.

Unfortunately, not everyone lives on the higher plane more erudite folk occupy, and I have grown up in the knowledge that there are and always have been lesser and greater mortals and minds on our planet, and long may that be the case. Indeed, where would the world be without intellectuals!

However, it must be agreed that many of us, even those with the keenest desire to learn, assimilate and ingest knowledge, can only digest so much. And the point is, do us ‘others’ want to get bogged down in often dense, ‘difficult’ poetry that, even after three readings, remain a conundrum. Regardless of which level of poetry one aims to write or read, the subject is vast, especially for the really serious scholars, and this is where Migel scores.

However – while not quite the village idiot – my own intellect seems to hover somewhere in the middle…Loving words as I do, I am perfectly happy with that and enjoy writing fairly spontaneous, sometimes witty, sometimes serious poetry. That’s not to say that they all ‘just happen’ without thought – be they simple poems or those of a more complicated nature. However, while I always bow to the clever use of words – the poetry I mostly favour has a pleasing rhythm and musicality and either amuses, entertains or informs me.

While my particular poems, which are varied, may not satisfy the elitists or academics in our midst, I have had numerous poems published in newspapers, magazines, anthologies and in book form over the years, so they must have appealed to someone. I dislike distinct ‘divisions’ – after all we share this unique planet whatever bright or low wattage our brains transmit and should all try to work together to make it a better, happier place to live – but it cannot be denied that there are intellectual divisions. When it comes down to it, it’s a bit like an intellectual teaching a dog to dance. The dog may be able to master quite a few steps, but he will never manage the tango. More’s the pity…

Fully aware that we are all as different as night is to day and tastes vary enormously, there is a need and room for IT ALL. But heaven save me from having to constantly thumb through a dictionary (or ‘ask Google’) while I’m dissecting a dense poem! Viva la difference!

Sally here:  On that note here is a poem also written in 2013 that has all the right words in the right order for me…..I watched with shock and horror on that day in 2001, thinking that it was a very strange time of day to be showing a war movie… all around the world people still remember..

Anyone who cares about humanity – and there are, fortunately, billions of people who do – couldn’t fail to be horrified by the terrible acts of terrorism which happened in New York on that dreadful September day in 2001. To all survivors, families and friends of those affected, take heart that many people really do care, and still remember. My own ‘unbelieving’ reaction was to write the following poem”:Joy Lennick

THE AFTERMATH OF 9/11 by Joy Lennick

Long after eulogies have been said;
guilt and recriminations have been put to bed –
cherished memories float on battered minds
that lift the spirit, and a kind
of healing process then begins.
Dry-eyed: the well is spent –
a limerick is found…
a loving note he meant to send.
A breeze-born waft of jasmine
and she is there…
A burnished copper leaf
reminds you of her hair.
A favourite walk, café, a tune…
memories held so dear.
You pray that time will not prune
too much and leave the futile fear
that one day, the memory of their
earthly presence will all but disappear.

©Joy Lennick 2013.

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

I found this book totally enchanting, not just for the way it was written (which was completely original being unfettered by any rules on writing and therefore delivered with great feeling). It evoked some long lost memories from my childhood, of family forgotten or misplaced by faulty memory. I thought of my grandmother clasping a homemade loaf of bread under her arm, giving it a good buttering, then with a large bread knife, sawing it off and setting a ‘doorstep’ sized slice free for jam or honey to follow. I wasn’t born at the time of the war, which doesn’t spoil any of this account and although I know it from history books and oft heard tales, was not a good time to live through, yet I’m left thinking there was another side to these times, told here with great fondness. Sometimes I think we’ve lost a great deal for all our modern ways. This is a lovely book and worth a read. Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

My thanks to Joy for permitting me to share more of her wonderful posts from her archives and I hope you will head over to enjoy many more…Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – The Phrontistery revisited (2017) by Joy Lennick


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the third of the posts from the archives of author and poet Joy Lennick, although certainly not the first post that we have enjoyed here on Smorgasbord from this entertaining writer. This week a post from 2017 on the subject of fascinating and mostly long forgotten words… some I must really work into both conversation and story..thanks Joy.

The Phrontistery revisited (2017) by Joy Lennick

Now and then, you hear of writers’ “drying up” or “burning out,” but, for one reason or another, the older I get, the more ideas arrive…Take this morning – at the early hour of 5.15, damn… there was a wide awake queue of “subjects” (animated like an excitable group of Star Trek conference devotees) suggesting a variety of, mostly, serious topics. Keen to write something in a lighter vein, with maybe a humorous slant, I patiently listened to my babbling muses, but had to refuse their, more serious, offerings. So, what to write? Sometimes, too many ideas are worse than none! They can overwhelm and leave you confused.

The very name of “Trump” (can one word/person be a cliche?) and connections left me cold; “Literary Advice” sounded like preaching – how many more tips can one suggest without boring the pants off people? Eventually, I decided to visit “The Phrontistery.” Again. For newcomers to my – lately – rare posts, The Phrontistery is a haven for words which I enjoy visiting now and then.

A Facebook friend by the name of Aurora mentioned the word CODDICOMPLE :”To travel purposefully toward an.- as yet – unknown destination,” so was quite apt for the occasion, and led me to visit the above virtual learned ‘establishment.’ (Thanks Aurora!) If you enjoy words, it’s always fun.

Quite a few intrigued…AMORETTO: “A cherub or spirit of love” (thought it came in a bottle?!), ABBOZZO: “A preliminary sketch,” Really! ABRA: “A narrow mountain pass.”” (Not to be confused with ”A Bra”: (A feminine undergarment.). The decidedly odd ACERSECOMIC: “One whose hair has never been cut!” AFTERWIL: “Locking the barn after the cows have been let out…”.(always thought it was a horse) .And, my favourite for now: ALLEMAIN: “An enormous pudding, out of which acrobats leap!” So graphic and sounds such fun! Surely, a perfect prop for the amazing Cirque du Soleil.

As expected from such a comprehensive list of words, many are archaic: more at home in a Dickensian story: Words like BANTLING: “Brat, whelp, bastard child,” BASTINADE: “To beat with stick or baton, ESPECIALLY ON THE FEET?!” Then there’s DEBLUBBERED: “Disfigured from weeping.” BICACIOUS: “Fond of drinking,” (timeless!), and last, for now, BLETHERSKATE: “Garrulous talker of nonsense.” The latter group is perfect for including in a Victorian who-dunnit! Ummm, I have an idea…

©Joy Lennick 2017

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

I found this book totally enchanting, not just for the way it was written (which was completely original being unfettered by any rules on writing and therefore delivered with great feeling). It evoked some long lost memories from my childhood, of family forgotten or misplaced by faulty memory. I thought of my grandmother clasping a homemade loaf of bread under her arm, giving it a good buttering, then with a large bread knife, sawing it off and setting a ‘doorstep’ sized slice free for jam or honey to follow. I wasn’t born at the time of the war, which doesn’t spoil any of this account and although I know it from history books and oft heard tales, was not a good time to live through, yet I’m left thinking there was another side to these times, told here with great fondness. Sometimes I think we’ve lost a great deal for all our modern ways. This is a lovely book and worth a read. Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

My thanks to Joy for permitting me to share more of her wonderful posts from her archives and I hope you will head over to enjoy many more…Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Thumbnail sketches – 1950: Hebrew, motzas and ‘Brown Boots’ (2014) by Joy Lennick


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the second of the posts from the archives of author and poet Joy Lennick, although certainly not the first post that we have enjoyed here on Smorgasbord from this entertaining writer. Carrying on from Last week Joy and Eric face challenges as does Joy in her jobs!

Thumbnail sketches – 1950: Hebrew, motzas and ‘Brown Boots’ (2014) by Joy Lennick

Banned from my boy-friend’s flat wasn’t good news…So, what happened next? Once I’d recovered from the shock, I mulled things over. Not having committed any crime I was aware of – except for casting covetous eyes on my ‘significant other’ – I tried putting things into perspective. It wasn’t easy, but being young, besotted and optimistic, we continued enjoying each others company, despite overheard whispers like: “It‘s doomed – she’s a shiksa!” and “Mixed marriages never work…” Of course, not everyone thought that way, and a dear lady: Clara Fresco (her son Ruben was Eric’s friend) welcomed us to their fold. ‘Clara’ was a good cook and introduced me to chopped chicken livers, egg and onion, matzo-brown, chicken soup (a must!), salt beef, fishy dishes, plava and apple strudel – Yummy! (Must have a drop of Jewish blood as I love food!)

Meanwhile, there were livings to be earned. In 1949, I ‘pounded the keys’ for ABC (Associated British Cinemas) in Golden Square, London – best friend Sheila Devo worked there and suggested the interview. I became junior secretary to a Mr. Spalding: an attractive, egotistical man at least twice my age. At the grand Christmas ‘Ball’ he danced with me: holding me too close – I held my ground – as, next danced with the new, very shy actor Richard Todd. Imagine! Wow! Heady stuff for a teenager. Back in the office, the next day, my boss manoeuvred me into a broom cupboard and tried to get his hand in my knickers and worse… You, you…cad! I yelled, battling with a mop and bucket to escape from his clutches: crimson, but with my virginity intact. I left in disgust (no law-suits then!) and secured a post as a junior shorthand typist with a well established firm of solicitors Wilde Sapte in the city. I recall it with affection, for Mr Sapte was a dear man.. Vertically challenged, genial, and balding, he had a penchant for sucking an empty pipe. When speaking, he would stand and rock backwards and forwards: stretching on the forward roll to elevate his height. (Shades of newspaper cartoon character Mr. Bristow). His manner was friendly, unlike male secretary, Mr Marvin’s – whom I grew to dislike intensely. Physically, he was small-boned: scrawny-necked as a vulture, fair-haired, with bum-fluff on his chin. When summoned to attend Mr Sapte, he appeared with the speed of a rocket, rubbed his hands in an ingratiating manner like Dickens’ Uriah Heap, and sometimes fell over his own feet in his eagerness to open doors for his boss. I, however, was treated like something on the bottom of his shoe…He was an obnoxious little man; while Miss Pigg (truly) – Mr Sapte’s female secretary – a confirmed Ms – tall, angular and rather unfeminine – was patient and pleasant. I ‘deciphered’ and typed up court notes and Wills – fascinating stuff. However, having grown weary of Mr Marvin’s disdain and attitude, I left to work temporarily for an agency; eventually plumping for a secretarial role for the American Philip Morris cigarette company in Soho. What an eye opener!! At seventeen, I peeped into the dingy window of prostitution. In Soho and down to Piccadilly, they came out of the woodwork! Their mode of dress varied: ‘tarty’ or ‘mock-lady-like elegance.’ Fascinated, I ear-wigged their ‘chat-up’ lines on my way home from work: “’Allo darlin’, fancy a good time!” was popular, or “’Allo ‘andsome, not in a ‘urry are yer?”(The high-class ones were in Mayfair!) Many a bowler-hatted, pin–stripe-suited man, peered furtively around before succumbing to an offer….It was somehow decadent and exciting at the same time. Low-life lessons writ large!

Meanwhile, I had a future mother-in-law to humour?! Not easy…She suggested in a ramblng letter that I was a gold-digger (?!) …and commented that my dear father probably wore ‘brown boots’ (an insult!) His succinct reply had her flummoxed…But then: malleable and idealistic, I started learning Hebrew (parrot fashion) and attending synagogue – and gradually – she thawed.

©Joy Lennick 2014

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

I found this book totally enchanting, not just for the way it was written (which was completely original being unfettered by any rules on writing and therefore delivered with great feeling). It evoked some long lost memories from my childhood, of family forgotten or misplaced by faulty memory. I thought of my grandmother clasping a homemade loaf of bread under her arm, giving it a good buttering, then with a large bread knife, sawing it off and setting a ‘doorstep’ sized slice free for jam or honey to follow. I wasn’t born at the time of the war, which doesn’t spoil any of this account and although I know it from history books and oft heard tales, was not a good time to live through, yet I’m left thinking there was another side to these times, told here with great fondness. Sometimes I think we’ve lost a great deal for all our modern ways. This is a lovely book and worth a read. Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

My thanks to Joy for permitting me to share more of her wonderful posts from her archives and I hope you will head over to enjoy many more…Thanks Sally.