Smorgasbord Christmas Celebrations Rewind – The Fifth Day of Christmas with guests – D.G. Kaye, Lizzie Chantree, Joy Lennick, #Food Carol Taylor, Bread sauce and Snowballs


Welcome to the rewind of the series from 2018 which features not only the food and traditions of Christmas but also some special guests who it would be lovely to share Christmas dinner with in person. In the series my guests shared their best Christmas gift ever…and there will be food including from our resident foodie Carol Taylor, my favourite drinks for the holidays, and of course music to get you into the spirit of the season..

Welcome to the fifth day of Christmas, and today my guests are D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies), Lizzie Chantree and Joy Lennick. We will find out more about their most favourite Christmas memories later.

As I continue to reflect on Christmas Past… I came across some pictures of Saas Fee in Austria the Christmas of 1995, here is a mountain shot that I found on Pixabay which is far better than the ones I took with my old camera. It was to be a memorable festive break for more than one reason… We stayed in a lovely hotel which was family run and the guests were mainly German speaking. There was one other English couple and the management kindly put our two tables close together in the dining-room. We actually got on with them very well and over the course of the 10 days we went on some excursions as a foursome. The other thing that the management did to make our stay more enjoyable was to translate their morning newsletter and guide to the day’s menu from German into English.

These were the days before Google Translate was offering such a useful service and I know that the two pager must have taken considerable time to convert especially as there were only four of us who could not speak German. That is true customer service.

However, it unfortunately did lead to some hilarity at the breakfast table despite our best efforts to maintain a stiff British upper lip. There were a number of ‘moments’ including our confusion over the ‘Cancer Butter’ to be served with the salmon at dinner (Crab butter) and the title of the Version Original film to be shown at the local cinema ‘The Hard with a Vengeance’ (Die Hard with a Vengeance).

David was hitting the ski slopes every day whilst I explored the trails around Saas Fee by foot. However, between Christmas and New Year the four of us decided to try out the very long toboggan run from the top of the tree line down into the town. Luckily there was a ski lift up to the top where we collected our individual sleds. I was not very proficient to begin with and the other three were soon on their way as I trailed tentatively behind. The route took two hours normally and by the time I got to the last down hill stretch David and our two companions were gathered enjoying a mulled wine and waiting for my arrival. That last slope was both steep and lengthy and I perched over the lip prepared for a fast ride.

At that moment the three of them turned to face the slope and began waving.. as did most of the other spectators. I was quite chuffed by the attention as they all waved both arms over their heads and shouted encouragement. Taking a deep breath I launched myself off and gathered momentum very quickly…. too quickly and barely keeping the sled under control I hurtled downwards towards the waiting crowd. The end of the run ended in a gradual slope upwards to slow the progress of over eager tobogganers.

It was obvious to those watching that I was not going to be stopping anytime soon and the crowd parted as I rushed through them and I heard what they had been shouting to me on the way down as they waved their arms in the air “Ice, Ice, walk down on the edge – don’t do it.

I took off from that ramp like Santa and his sleigh and thankfully landed in a snow drift positioned as a precautionary measure…. As I rose to my feet unharmed I turned to find anxious faces peering over the edge. I was laughing with adrenaline overload and with that everybody began clapping and slapping each other on the back… It was obviously the best entertainment in town….

On a lighter note here is some music from The King… If Every Day Could Be Like Christmas

Time for my first guest and it is D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies who is not just a wonderful friend and supporter of the blog but also a much valued contributor. Over the last 5 years Debby has written informative, entertaining and inspiring columns on travel and Relationships as well as scouring the internet for funnies to share with you.

Sadly Debby lost her wonderful husband ‘G’ in April this year which makes her best Christmas gift ever she shared in 2018 all the more poignant.

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

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

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.

I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:

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

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

Debby shares her  best Christmas Gift ever.. the first year that she was married.

My best Christmas gift was marrying my husband in October 1999. One week after our marriage I became almost fatally ill and spent the first few months of marriage in and out of hospital. The steroids I was put on made me gain a bunch of weight and my face wasn’t spared with the often talked about ‘moonface’ many experience on that drug. I was sick, depressed and couldn’t stand looking in a mirror. My husband caught me secretly crying in the bathroom and asked me what was the matter. I tried to explain how I felt through my fit of tears and here was his response: “I love you to the moon and back. You will always be beautiful to me and that’s all that counts.” If I hadn’t already known I married a prince, I knew in that moment.

My Christmas gift to Debby is a reminder of something I know she is very much looking forward to next year, a trip to Puerto Vallarta in the New Year… Not long now Debby. Courtesy of DD Food & Travel

Books by D.G. Kaye

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Debby: Goodreads – Connect to Debby Gies – Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye – Twitter: @pokercubster Linkedin: D.G. Kaye – Facebook: D.G. Kaye

Traditionally on Day five of the Twelve Days of Christmas (29th December), the life and death of St Thomas Becket was remembered. He was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century and was murdered after questioning the ethics of the then King Henry II and his interference with the Church. Unusually St. Thomas Becket is saint and martyr revered by both the Catholic and the Anglican faiths.

Five Gold rings would be welcomed by everyone but over the years there have been various theories on the interpretation of this particular gift. One theory is that all the verses refer to birds in one way or another that were eaten in the 18th century – Partridge, Turtle Doves French Hens, Colley Birds, and the five rings referring to gold ringed pheasants, Geese, swans but then we hit the maids so some work needed on this hypothesis! I would say that it was more about how the lyrics fitted the song and in all the versions that were illustrated it was clearly in the form of actual gold rings.

Time to meet my second guest today and that is award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree.

About Lizzie Chantree

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a trending networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex

Lizzie shares her most treasured Christmas gift ever…

On Christmas day, the scent of pine needles and mulled wine are usually enough to bring a smile to my face, but I’ll always remember my children dipping their heads under the tree and giggling in excitement, at giving me what has turned out to be my favourite gift. As I opened the wrapping paper their faces peeped up at me through tissue paper and I turned page after page of photographs of family memories that they had spent hours and hours collecting, and presenting in a photo album, for me. It’s a gift that I will always cherish.

As I would Lizzie… lovely…..

As Lizzie is an award winning inventor, my Christmas gift to her is to virtually try out some of the lastest inventions for work and leisure.. my personal favourite the Orange Screw….courtesy of Quantum Tech HD

A selection of books by Lizzie Chantree

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And:Amazon US – Follow Lizzie: Goodreads – website:Lizzie Chantree – Twitter: @Lizzie_Chantree 

Since we were in Austria for Christmas that year, it is appropriate that we look at some of their Christmas traditions. According to Why Christmas Austria shares many Christmas traditions with its neighbor Germany, but also has many special Christmas customs of its own. This includes an Advent Wreath made from evergree twigs, with ribbons and four candles for each of the four Sundays in Advent.. when a candle is lit you might hear carols being sung.

Austria and Germany are well known for their Christmas markets with visitors from all over Europe arriving to enjoy the decorations, food and Glühwein (sweet, warm mulled wine).

There will be a large Christmas Tree in the town squares and at home most trees are decorated in gold and silver with straw stars. As in some other European countries December 6th is also celebrated in some homes for Saint Nicholas and children might be lucky to get an extra gift. Otherwise they will have to wait until 4pm on Christmas Eve for the festivities to begin.

The main Christmas Eve meal is Fried Carp for those who are Catholic and observe the day as a Fast, and for others it might be roast goose or turkey which is becoming more popular. Dessert might be the famous Austrian Sachertorte.

As Stille Nacht (Silent Night) was written in Austria in 1818.. here is a wonderful version by the Dresden Choir. Courtesy of Brent Postlethwaite

One of the accompaniments for our traditional Christmas dinner is bread sauce and here is the recipe courtesy of the Christmas menu from Carol Taylor.

Bread Sauce

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use (I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…

Ingredients:

About half loaf of good quality stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.
• I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
• 2 bay leaves.
• Salt & Pepper.
• About half pint milk.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves. This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

You can find some great recipes for Christmas starters, mains and desserts with vegetarian options over at Carol’s Blog: Carol Cooks 2

And for my final guest today, the lovely poet and author Joy Lennick who is enjoying retirement in sunny Spain, but she is not spending all day at the beach as she supports her fellow authors and continues to publish books and blog posts.

Here is Joy in her own words….

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 fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…including a humour filled book called The Moon is Wearing a Tutu…

And here is Joy’s most precious Christmas gift ever….

Was it the ‘Coronation coach’ filled with iced gems in 1938? Or that ‘war-Christmas’ when we toboganned down an iced hill in Wales……Or appearing in “Mother Goose” at the Theatre Royal? And, one year, I had a new brother like an animated doll. A yuletide party in 1957, singing carols in a beautiful house in Toronto, Canada was special too. But the winner was the Christmas gift of 1959. Having returned to the UK, my doctor said those two magical words:: ‘You’re pregnant!’. Having dreamed of this for six years, it was the best Christmas present EVER.

It is tough to follow that precious a Christmas gift, and it took me some time to find the perfect  present for Joy..

I worked in a hotel in the Snowdonia National Park, at Bontddu on the Mawddach Estuary and love it. There is now a coastal path along the entire length of the Welsh coastline and I thought Joy might like a virtual tour.

Books by Joy Lennick

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

 

A Snowball is a cocktail made with advocaat and lemonade in equal quantities with a dash of lime juice to cut some of the sweetness.

Advocaat comes from Holland and is made from eggs, sugar and brandy. It looks and tastes like a very luxurious custard and is similar to eggnog but whereas you can enjoy a non-alcoholic eggnog a snowball is not for all the family…..There are a number of variations using egg yolks, aromatic spirits, honey, brandy and sometimes cream. The best commercial brands on the market are Bols and DeKuyper.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting my guests, the music, food and of course a snowball or two.. thanks for dropping in and please let us know what your most favourite Christmas Gift of all time is in the comments. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday September 14th 2021 – Jessica Norrie, D.G. Kaye, Joy Lennick, Carol Taylor, The Story Reading Ape


A small selection of posts I have enjoyed this week so far and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full…thanks Sally.

The first post is from Jessica Norrie with an interview with one of the authors in her writing group who has recently published a new novel.

News from the writing group

Some authors roam their keyboards alone, but many like the comfort of a writing group. I found mine when, after weeks critiquing each others’ work on a Writers & Artists course, four of us decided to continue.

When the world was normal we met in an art deco cocktail bar in Holborn. Sometimes we’d emailed extracts in advance, sometimes it was more ad hoc. Then in lockdown we read each others’ entire books and commented, raising our glasses on Zoom. It really has been invaluable.

One of us, Sofia Due, has just published an earlier novel. Ed and Lily is a cleverly constructed story of the dangers of “couple fatigue”

Head over to find out more about the book by Sofia Due: Jessica Norrie with news from the writing group

The next post is from D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) and is her monthly look at the blogs posting on writing..

Writer's Tips

Welcome to September edition of Writer’s Tips. In this edition it’s chock full of goodies for authors. Author Marketing and a new series open for writers from Sally Cronin. Anne R. Allen keeps us up to date on scams against authors. Ruth Harris on writing the danged blurb. How to structure memoir using storyboard. Harmony Kent on writing in 2nd person, and a warning to check your Google extensions so you aren’t auto-opted in to their exploitive policy.

Head over to check out all the posts as some very helpful information provided: Writer’s Tips – Publishing Scams, Google Caveat, Writing the Blurb, #Scammers, Author Marketing

The next post is by Joy Lennick with a wonderfully detailed tour of the home of the Brontes and the background to their tragic lives and their iconic writing.

house_large

The sun slunk behind a threatening cloud as we trudged, slightly out of breath, up the winding, steep hill, past a tea shop which registered and whispered as we passed…My hitherto excited mood, dampened slightly, but I was determined to enjoy the experience. After all, I was about to visit Haworth Parsonage, where a tragic, literary family doggedly wrote their way through too many illnesses and deaths, and a slender-built young woman literally penned one of my favourite books, JANE EYRE.

Head over to read this delightful post and enjoy the photographs: The Brontes World with Joy Lennick

Carol Taylor shares her packed week in the round up with some sobering facts about rainfall.. something we take for granted here in Ireland.. but in some parts of the world there might only be 3 days a year…there is also an update on plastics, a recipe for coconut cookies how to use neem oil, banana flowers and Saturday Snippets…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of postsEspecially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…Time is marching on…

 We are now just into the month of September time just fliesYesterday was a sad day of remembrance around the world, particularly in the USA…my thoughts and prayers were with you yesterday as was the rest of the world…for those who lost their lives and for those left behind with memories of the horror…God bless you all xx

Head over to catch up with Carol’s busy week and enjoy her informative and entertaining posts: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…September 5th-September 11th 2021…Culinary A-Z, Coconut Cookies, Ants, Neem Oil and Banana Flowers…

Now time for some words of wisdom from Aunty Acid that are also very funny, courtesy of The Story Reading Ape, Chris Graham…

Head over to enjoy all the funnies: The Monday Funnies with The Story Reading Ape

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy all the posts in full… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday 8th January 2021 – Carol Taylor, Joy Lennick, Patricia Furstenberg


Welcome to the blogger daily and I hope you will head over to check these posts out in more detail.

The first blog is from Carol Taylor who like most of us after the festive overindulgences, looks to get back to a more balanced diet. In her post she shares a wonderful recipe that fits in with that aim..

Time to start again…at this time of year most of our thoughts turn to our waistlines…There are no quick fixes though…they may work in the short term that is one thing I have learnt over the years…I have tried most quick fixes and now I have accepted that I can safely keep the pounds at bay by being sensible…by accepting that at certain times of the year I will indulge BUT I shelve the guilt and enjoy my indulgences and guilty pleasures but without the guilt…Hey, this is real life…

I have decided to repost my Healthy Eating posts with a few updates as my thoughts on eating and cooking have changed in some ways…

I will never be vegan or a full vegetarian HOWEVER I do believe that we should cut down on our meat consumption…I also love my veggies as do my family…We WILL be having a Meatless Monday in our house and one clever clog said oh we will be having fish then…with a smile as he ducked…haha…

Head over to find out more about meatless Monday and the recipe for Prawn(shrimp) stir fry with beansprouts: The first Tuesday of the New Year…2021…Carol Taylor

My next post is an interview by Joy Lennick of author Seumas Gallacher who shares his thoughts on various topics including writing, relaxing and bucket lists.

I pondered long and hard on the best way to introduce renowned author Seumas Gallacher, and the first word which came to mind was Charismatic (full of charisma and charm) and – as he calls me ‘m’Lady’ – thought it entirely apt and fitting.

Like most inhabitants of the planet, we can only fervently hope that 2021 is hugely improved on last year. Surely, from many viewpoints, there has never been a more tumultuous twelve months since World War II!

So, we can do no better than respect the obvious and kick-start the year with someone as interesting, capable, talented and entertaining as Seumas, who is known to many users of the internet and a myriad other souls scattered all over the planet, more especially those who read! Naturally, some folk know more about our author than others, so I’ll now switch to first person and ask Seumas some direct questions.

Me. Hi m’Lord. First off, the warmest welcome to my home in sunny Spain. Please make yourself comfortable. May I offer you a tipple, or would you prefer tea or coffee?

S. Diet Coke is my poison of choice, thanks, with ice – lemon not necessary…

Me. What is the most enduring memory you have of childhood, and where was it spent?

Head over to enjoy the rest of this interview with Joy and Seumas: Joy Lennick and Seumas Gallacher

The final post today is a short story from Pat Furstenberg with a wonderful history note on the background to some incredible horses.

Dacian Horses of Bronze Age

Dacian Horses of Bronze Age is part of the 100 words story series and is a tale inspired by the taming of the first free horses that roamed Transylvania’s lands, in Romania.

Discover more about the Dacian horses at the end of this narrative, as well as some horse-related folklore from Romania.

Dacian Horses of Bronze Age

Stories of white shadows chasing soundlessly over the land at first light were as old as hills.

Tales, never witnesses.

Read the rest of this lovely 100 word story and the background to the horses: Dacian Horses short story and background by Pat Furstenberg

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord at Christmas – Festive Short Stories – Jemima’s Christmas Stocking by Eric Lennick


For the last of the festive stories in the lead up to Christmas, a special treat from one half of the humorous writing team of Joy and Eric Lennick. Joy is a frequent visitor to the blog but I am delighted to welcome Eric with sharing a story.  Nothing like a surprise on Christmas morning….

Jemima’s Christmas Stocking by Eric Lennick

Jemima Barton was a lady of seventy-six years and a spinster. She lived alone in a small, terraced house ever since her mother, Alice died.

Jemima had many quaint habits, and one of these was to hang up a stocking every Christmas Eve. She, of course, had no expectations of finding it filled but – to make the occasion more cheerful – she placed a small gift inside addressed to herself.

On this particular Christmas morning, Miss Barton made herself a breakfast of muesli, toast and coffee, as usual and opened her Christmas cards; placing them around the room, like friends. She then approached the stocking and stared in amazement at the contents, for not only was there the gift she had bought herself, but also a small box of chocolates and an envelope. With trembling fingers, Jemima opened it and found a note which read,

“Dear lady, While shopping in the supermarket earlier this year, as you know…your handbag was stolen. I take full responsibility for its theft and am thoroughly ashamed of the act. It must have caused you much distress. Soon after my ignoble deed, my mother suddenly collapsed and died. I was heart-broken, and after the tears, did much soul-searching. What sort of a man had I become, I asked myself. My late mother was an honourable woman and certainly didn’t bring me up to be a thief…I even recalled her words: “Remember son, everyone is someone that counts!” Late, I readily admit, but the penny dropped and I am now a better, improved person, and intend staying one.

Hoping you can find it in your heart to forgive me, I look forward to a happier Christmas, and hope the same for you. As you will see, I have returned your keys and enclosed enough money to buy a new handbag. Use it in good health.

Yours sincerely,

Noel Hawkins”

©Eric Lennick 2019

About Joy and Eric Lennick

Joy and Eric have retired to Spain where they enjoy sunshine most of the year round. Having read many posts about their lives, it is clear that life has been an adventure particularly when running their hotel. Apart from  The Moon is Wearing a Tutu which they wrote together, Joy is also 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 her Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and her most recentfiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

About the Moon is Wearing a Tutu

A little book, full of jokes, Limericks, poems, short stories and one-liners, from husband and wife team, Joy and Eric Lennick. Both authors in their own “write”, they have collaborated to bring you this fun read.

One of the reviews for the book

This book comprises of a number of unusual poems that certainly force you to think deeply by Joy Lennick and a few poems, limericks and humorous one-liner jokes by Eric Lennick. There are also two, clever 50-word short stories by Jean Wilson.

While the entire book was entertaining to read, I really enjoyed some of Joy’s wickedly humorous poems. She uses her words like little knives to cut into the body of a matter and expose its beating heart in a manner that is humorous but sharply to the point.

The one that I related to the most was Think Outside the Box:

“I think out of the box
and why not?
(Are you wary your copybook you’ll blot?!)
I’m fed up with sheep
who seem half asleep
individuals they certainly are not.
To say “aab” not “baa”
is OK.
For a change why not try it today!
The fox you could fox –
confusing his “box,”
just say “aab” and get clean away.”

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

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 and Eric

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

My thanks to Eric for make sure I bolt the front and back doors from now on in case someone wants to return my keys to me as a suprise…..as always you comments are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Sunday Interview – Author Joy Lennick


Please welcome my guest this week, author Joy Lennick who shares her love of the 20th century, her adventures she has encountered during her 30 years as an author, her favourite colour and music.

Before we find out more… a little bit about Joy.

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.

Given a choice of centuries to live in which would it be and why?

As I’m fascinated by Georgian architecture and dress, plus something indefinable about the period, I decided -. as I’ve tried Time Travel before (don’t ask…) – to visit the 1700s. I found it most interesting for a while and even witnessed the writer Jane Austen stepping from her carriage in front of her home in………………. Then as luck, or rather bad luck, would have it, I suffered gnawing toothache and headed for a dentist. The screams emanating from a terrified patient in the surgery had me quaking in the waiting room, so I decided to – post haste –return once more to the 1930s, where I knew I could have my tooth painlessly removed. The relief which followed this strategy was immense, so I decided to re-experience the 20th century-

In 1932, the year of my birth, the United Kingdom was between two wars, so peace reigned. My parents worked hard and were loving; our garden was an oasis of flower-adorned green, and Sunday roasts boasted peas, beans and carrots from our treasured patch of earth.

Into this idyllic scene, came my brother Terence, two years later. He was such a quiet baby and child, Mum said “He’s there when he isn’t, and isn’t when he is!” which totally confused me. Two years afterwards, I helped the midwife bathe second brother, Bryan.
Life was sweet. The Ink Spots sang on the wireless, Mum danced to the music of Edmundo Ross while dusting and we played Snakes & Ladders, flicked cigarette cards down the hallway, made ‘objects’ out of Meccano, and read books..

Dad joined the Royal Air Force Reserves, while a lunatic with a silly moustache raved in Germany in 1938/9, and Dad fumed as he had to dig up his rose-beds and erect an ugly outdoor air-raid shelter when war was declared.

Mum, being Welsh, it was decided that Wales would be a safer haven, and we found ourselves in Merthyr Tydfil living with ‘The Jones family:’ relatives who were wonderfully kind. Hitherto not allowed to play outside the confines of our garden in flat Dagenham, in Esssex, the ‘great outdoors’ yawned, inviting, and blackberry-loaded bushes had me salivating… .

With Dad in France and Mum working in a munitions factory, we children had different, and many, fun adventures.

I joined the library: burning the candles to stubs at night, reading the Brothers Grimms’ (so what I had nightmares!) and Hans Christian Anderson tales, plus anything else with words on…

The freedom of movement in Wales was liberating, and I enrolled at a dancing school, which was what dreams were made of, until circumstances changed after my third, dear brother, Royce was born.

When in Wales, Mum’s young cousin Islwyn was killed by a coal-fall at the age of seventeen and my Dad’s youngest brother, my Uncle Bernard, a navigator in the Royal Air Force, was declared ‘missing’ at the age of 22. He never did return from the war.
Despite such tragedies, eventually, peace brought relief from the threat of bombs, and the celebrations on London Bridge were euphoric.

The 40’s and 50’s were a fabulous time to grow up, despite no central heating or TV sets…We were entertained by Big Band sounds via Glen Miller and Harry James, the cool jazz of Ella Fitzgerald, with crooners Sinatra and Crosby, et al, singing understandable lyrics….

Gradually, such boons as fridges, washing machines and central heating, brightened our lives too.

The strides forward in medicine were astounding. In my infancy, thousands died of tuberculosis; now almost eradicated, and the surgical advancement is mind-boggling. The last decades have been a time of revelation and the refinement of technological advancement has left me speechless. And that’s saying something!

What adventures have you had publishing your work?

“Life’s path has many twists”   Anon

In 1983, my husband and I sold the small hotel-business we ran in Bournemouth, and I received a letter from Kogan Page Ltd., of London ASKING ME (?!) to write a book. (The editor had approached my former boss, asking did she know anyone who could write about hotel life. .Bingo!) Right place, right time, or what? The book was accepted, and I was paid an advance fee and another on publication and had to pinch myself. Defying belief, it sold extremely well and was reprinted due to demand. My eldest son, being an artist, designed the covers and I received regular royalties. The company then asked me to update two of their books, and write another on Jobs in Baking & Confectionery.. This entailed interviewing young people in colleges and doing research, all of which I enjoyed. The first book was titled Running Your Own Small Hotel (1984/5).

I then ran a postal poetry group called Odes for Joy which was fun. (The five pound yearly fee was given back in prizes.) After winning a couple of poetry prizes myself, I had Celtic Cameos & Other Poems published.

‘Life’ then intruded, and eventually…my husband and I retired to the Costa Blanca region of Spain.

I joined The Torrevieja Writing group and won first prize for Worth Its Salt in the First International Short Story Writing Competition held in Torrevieja in 2005, and was a judge for the following two years.

And now a sour note…Well, life is not all buttercups and roses, is it?. I was introduced to an epileptic sailor, and immediately succumbed to his plea for a writer to pen his on-going sea adventures. The BBC had already given him coverage when he rowed, single-handed (strapped in) across the Atlantic in a small boat. He tried to row the Pacific but nearly died, and I had his salt-stained log books, scribbled in in pencil, smothered with expletives and bad English to decipher…While I frowned and typed, he was attempting to cross the Pacific again! He had to be rescued in a very bad state, but recovered and had quite a tale to tell…

Meanwhile, I eventually covered all three rows and took a draft copy of the book to show his mother who lived in Clacton, UK (a much nicer human being than her son!). I spent the next two years…trying to find a publisher (the BBC declined) which cost me a penny or two. Repeated assurances he would pay me, never materialized. I eventually found an excellent publisher in Spain: Libros International: and the book Hurricane Halsey become a reality. I was delighted, despite an empty pocket…as the photographs and covers were superb. Then Libros went out of business before a book-signing could be arranged! I sold several copies to friends and family (which I had purchased) after which I received threatening letters from said sailor that he would SUE ME?! (For buying and selling the books!!) Of course he had no grounds as I had signed on his behalf when the book was published, so I retained the copyright (not that I wanted it!). And there the matter rested. I put it down to just another of life’s experiences, bitter pill to swallow that it was.

(PS Because my early education was so abysmal (I attended seven schools!) I didn’t receive my A level English Lit. certificate until I was 66…)

What kind of music do you listen to and who are your favourite musicians?

“If music be the food of love play on Shakespeare.

Where to start? My husband and I both love an eclectic mix of music. We met at a ‘Jazz session’ held in the upstairs room of a public house in the East End of London, called ‘The Hayfield’ (he jokes he’s had the needle ever since…) I recall they played ‘Intermission Riff,’ ‘The Sabre Dance’ . to which we jived at half tempo…and one of Glen Miller’s latest hits. (As it was 69 years ago this autumn, I’m surprised I remembered.) We spent some of our courting time in the ‘Eleven Club’ in London and Ronnie Scott’s, plus The Lyceum ballroom, and Hammersmith Palace, cutting many a rug over the years. We admired Johnnie Dankworth’s playing and adored Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and a whole talented group of singers and other musicians like Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. My favourite instruments are the saxophone, piano and violin, and Ben Webster played a mean sax…while Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington were no slouches either. We also grew to love modern jazz.

I hope that Joy will enjoy this… Feeling Good… with Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine

I recall my parents playing records way back when and hamming it up – dancing a mock tango to Jealousy, and Dad played the powerful Bolero a lot, while one of my aunts played the piano beautifully. Her Rustle of Spring was memorable .During the war years, when on leave from the munitions factory, Mum pounded the ivories ‘by ear’- an expression I always found amusing. She played Roll out the Barrel and another war-time favourite: Kiss me Goodnight Sergeant Major.

I recall, as a child dancer, my teacher having excellent musical taste, and tap-dancing to the haunting strains of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, dressed to kill in silver and pale blue satin.

After marriage, we bought a smart radiogram, and apart from the delightful Nutcracker Suite , purchased several near soul-searing, beautiful recordings. We spent many lazy evenings listening to favourites like Scheherazade,and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; and I was soon familiar with the music of masters like Shostakovich, whose 2nd piano concerto, in particular, is heavenly, with Tchaikovsky twanging the heart-strings in the wings…

In later years, I listened to several riveting concerts at The South Bank and adored musicals. I actually appeared in Carousel as a dancer (in an amateur production I hasten to add), and saw many West End productions such as Candide, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, et al. And who, with blood in their veins, could not swoon with joy at the dancing and music from West Side Story?! Another treat was seeing The Gypsy Kings in London. Few people were seated once they got going! The atmosphere was electric.

It’s pleasing to note that, while each of our three sons has his own particular taste in music, they all appreciate a lot of the classical and jazz music we played to them over the years. At times though, my ears were ‘tortured’ by Punk, gently massaged by middle of the road stuff and excited by Reggae, which I enjoyed, and to which I ‘skanked’ (Oh MOTHER!) on occasion … ..

We have been extraordinarily lucky to have been fed such varied, fabulous music over the years. I was a great fan of the Three Tenors, and what an ear for music John Williams has, and Leonard Bernstein had! Nigel Kennedy also deserves a mention, and now we have settled in Spain, I love to listen to the passionate, soulful sound of the Spanish guitar. We have a delightful, small theatre in Torrevieja, and I heard the local youth orchestra play there, who were brilliant. During the last few years, another, larger theatre with excellent acoustics was built on the perimeter of our town. A cliché now – last but not least – a piece that ‘wrings me out emotionally:’ Joaquin Rodrigo’s The Concerto de Aranquezz, arguably one of the best guitar compositions of the 20th century.

What a gap there’s been since I played the triangle and tambourine at Infant’s school. Time is such a self-serving cannibal.

What is your favourite colour and why?

My favourite colour is blue, and on the world stage, BLUE stands tall and proud. One of the three primary colours of pigments in painting, it has been important over the years in art and decoration. In The 8th century in China, artists used cobalt blue and woad was used in clothing, until replaced by indigo from the United States in the 19th century. In the Renaissance period, the most expensive pigment was ultramarine. Dark blue was favoured for military uniforms, and because of its association with harmony, the colour blue was used for business suits in the 20th century, and for the flags of the United Nations and the European Union.

As a writer, I delight in all five senses, and despite maturity (lucky me), mine are still going strong. My hearing is so sharp, MO half calls me a bloodhound, and even my eyes are not too bad. As mentioned above, my favorite colour is blue, and on our modest, family stage -for are we not all minor players in the great play?? – the colour blue features markedly in our make-up. One side of the family is of Celtic origin: Ireland and Wales, and a larger proportion have bluey-grey through to deep blue eyes. Both parents had blue eyes, as do my surviving two brothers and myself. Two of my three sons also have blue eyes; the eldest having brown like his Dad.

And so, when it comes to what I wear: blue, MO half’s choice too, it’s often in the picture. From ‘powder’ to ‘baby, ‘‘petrol,’ through to ‘navy,’ ‘cobalt,’ or ‘Prussian,’ you’d find them all in my wardrobe at one time or another. I also love turquoise and lapis lazuli, the deep blue shade found in metamorphic rock used in semi-precious jewellery..

And then there are stained glass windows in churches and cathedrals. How many times have I stood, transfixed, as the light shone through one and the depth of the blue – often ‘Madonna’ – almost took my breath away in its rich and vivid splendour.

At school, I recall the particular smell of crayons as I coloured in a sky – always blue – of course, and the difficulty encountered trying to get the sea to look natural…And, on our various travels, I remember comparing the different skies and plumping for the Mediterranean ones…We lived in Canada for eighteen months before our children arrived, and – however cold it became – and it did… the sun shining against a brilliant blue back-drop always lifted the spirits. No wonder we love our Spanish skies so much!

Prussian, azure and cobalt blues again featured when I took up art in my fifties and struggled to make the sea look natural with my water colours, although my skies were passable. And looking in master Pablo Picasso’s direction, he had a very ‘Blue’ period between 1901 and 1904, at which time he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only now and then warmed by other colours.

What a rich, colourful, planet we live on. It’s a tragedy we don’t give it as much love as it deserves!

Tell us something about your work in progress.

On the back.burner… The Highs and Lows of Leticia Dombrowski

Being of the Jewish faith, the Dombrowski family are fated for the same, horrific treatment meted out to many others of their ilk. The head of the family: Daniel, an art restorer, is arrested and murdered by the Nazis when they march into Poland in 1939. His daughter, Rebecca, is sent to the safety of the UK, but the repercussions of her experiences affect her life and that of her illegitimate daughter, Leticia. The story follows Leticia through childhood to adulthood and highlights her strengths and weaknesses. She proves to be feisty, intelligent and something of a rebel, while having an innovative talent for jewellery design and art. Being wildly attractive often lures the wrong type of attention, but she battles on and – after a surprise ‘inflation of funds’ – and the fulfilling of a charitable desire, wins the day.

Joy’s latest book was released in November 2017

About the book

A little book, full of jokes, Limericks, poems, short stories and one-liners, from husband and wife team, Joy and Eric Lennick.

Both authors in their own “write”, they have collaborated to bring you this fun read.

One of the reviews for the book.

I had the privilege and pleasure of reading this book pre publication and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was full of fun – jokes, poems, silly one liners – just the thing for popping in a Christmas stocking, or buying for one’s own amusement. Excellent read for Boxing Day!
I hope Mr & Mrs Lennick collaborate again and bring out another little book of fun. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moon-Wearing-Tutu-Joy-Lennick-ebook/dp/B0784TFVGH

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Wearing-Tutu-Joy-Lennick-ebook/dp/B0784TFVGH

Other books by Joy Lennick

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

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 sharing her childhood memories and her publishing adventures. We would be delighted to receive your feedback and thank you for dropping in today.. Thanks Sally

If you would like to be a guest on the Open House then here are the question choices and details: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/the-return-of-smorgasbord-open-house-interviews-for-all-writers-and-other-creative-artists/