Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Joy Lennick – A Tribute to my dear Mama/Mum


In this post from Joy Lennick, she shares the life and cherished memories of her mother.. born in Wales in 1906, who clearly passed on resoluteness, adaptability, love of hard work and creativity to her daughter. A wonderful tribute.

A tribute to my dear Mama/Mum by Joy Lennick

Until I went to school aged five, I called my mother: Lila – named after a Fairy Queen seen in a play! – Elizabeth – mama. It was my God-mother, Aunt Doris,’ suggestion as she had grandiose ideas as to my up-bringing and saw me as a little lady of breeding who would doubtless learn to play the piano beautifully, knit Fair-Isle sweaters, blind-folded… embroider as if to the manor born, and POSSIBLY end up marrying someone higher up the ladder (and I don’t mean a window-cleaner.) As it transpired, while I may have mastered Chopsticks, sewed a fairly neat hem, and even made a peg-bag, I’m afraid I disappointed in all other areas. And, because a strange, deranged little man with a moustache wanted to dominate the world and promote a “Master Race,” I didn’t attend the Convent School my aunt had mapped out for me. Meanwhile, I enrolled at the local, Dagenham village school, before being whisked away to live on a Welsh mountain when war was declared in the September of 1939. Then, realising I just belonged to the hoi poloi, I thereafter called my mother mum.

The Mansfields (my paternal relatives) thought they were a cut above: there was Royal Doulton china and crystal cut-glass in the display cabinet and a framed picture of Churchill on the wall to prove it!! The ladies of the family also bought glossy periodicals which “the toffs” purchased; and shopped in the very best West End stores whenever possible. Oh, and both Dad’s sisters owned FUR COATS. And wore Perfume by COTY…But I mustn’t give the wrong impression as, with the exception of, later (one of their number), they were consistently kind, caring, charitable and generous. But quickly back to Mum…

So, what was she like, my pretty, loving mum? Imagine a blue-skied and sunshiny day, with a soft breeze blowing and birds wheeling in the sky… That was my mum. She epitomized Spring and was blessed with a sunny, happy personality. (On later reading Laurie Lee’s book “Cider with Rosie,” mum sounded like his quirky mother as their sense of fun were similar!) She was a perfect foil for Dad’s no-nonsense, a spade is a spade, sterner make-up, although he had an earthy sense of humour and was as reliable as the clichéd Rock of Gibraltar. Around five feet two inches, with a slender figure, mum belied an inner strength which repeatedly revealed itself.

Born in 1906, she lived to experience the Great Depression in South Wales and helped look after her two younger sisters. Grandad said she had ‘Dark brown hair like fine-spun sugar…’ A brick-layer and later, shop-keeper, he may have been, but he was a gentleman and charmed the ladies. Mum had left school at fourteen and worked selling ribbons and cottons in the market and in her parents’ greengrocer’s shop/and on a pony and trap serving customers living in the mountains. Too soon, everything was ‘on the slate, please, mun’ because of The Great Depression, and money was fast running out. Aged seventeen, mum begged to go to London to work but Grandma was convinced it was worse than Gomorrah:*

‘Duw duw, you could be murdered or worse.’ she cried. But, when feeding her family became critical, Grandma relented. Mum pointed her “winkle-pickers” in the East End of London’s direction and worked as a Nanny for the two children of talented Jewish tailors in Stepney.

Soon Lila was not only a Nanny, but taught how to cook Jewish dishes and do intricate beading work. Linking up with her best friend, Edna, the pair went dancing on their one day off and, as she said ‘The streets weren’t really paved with gold,’ as promised…but the lights were brighter and you could have ‘six-penny-worth of fun’ and watch American pictures. too.

She saved hard and soon had the requisite ten pounds to add to her mother’s hard saved purse. Her family: Mam, Dad and three siblings, caught the train to Dagenham Dock station with packed suitcases and little else and were given a new Council house in Becontree, which her enamoured mother announced, was ‘Like a miniature Buckingham Palace!.’ Mum said that was pushing it a bit… But it had a new roof which didn’t leak and a bathroom.downstairs, three bedrooms up, and a proper garden at the back. ‘Not like that old slum in Dowlais,.’ Grandma was heard to say.

Leaving the Soloman’s employ with regret, Mum then became a cinema usherette, also working part-time in the building’s café with her sister Peggy. She found life fun as she loved to dance and, being pretty, caught the eye of many a would-be suitor. One in particular pursued her and they became engaged, but he spent too much time on his motor-bike and Mum wasn’t cut out to play second fiddle to a bike! The move couldn’t have been luckier for another dancer and natty dresser (first in his crowd to wear plus-fours. it is said… ) called Charles (Charlie) who quickly stepped into the breach. He and Lila won a few prizes for their prowess on the dance floor – including “The Black.Bottom’”- of the Cross Keys public house in old Dagenham and were soon seriously courting.

Eager to show off his new girl-friend to his family, Charles invited her to tea, much to the delight of his father, also Charles: a well-heeled Freemason, who had a penchant for pretty faces… The females in the family, however, on being introduced to an uneducated girl “from the Welsh valleys” almost had them reaching for their smelling salts… but Lila was polite, friendly and possessed a winning smile and they gradually accepted the inevitable. Charles was smitten, but found it difficult to ‘write my own life script’ as he later discovered. The happy pair were married in a – horror of horrors – Registry office, while the Mansfields were staunch Catholics, a fact the Father of the local church found difficult to comprehend and led to harsh words being exchanged. Although to keep the Mansfields’ happy, when I arrived on the scene, I was Christened by a Canon, no less. (Dad said ‘She should have been fired from one!’ when I decapitated his row of red: soldier erect tulips, aged two.) After the birth of my second brother, the Priest visited our house and tried to persuade Mum to marry “in the church,” but went beyond the pale when he suggested all three of us children were illegitimate, and was quickly shown the door.

Like most working-class women then, mum was familiar with the Monday-wash-boiler, the scrubbing board and the outside mangle. Although we had indoor plumbing, we had no central heating until the mid/late 50’s – and only had a gas-fire for warmth on in the bedroom if we were very ill (once with measles…) The stove in our tiny kitchen was much cosseted…as was the rare fire in the lounge fireplace. And the telephone, also installed in the 50’s, was almost revered, as was the “new-fangled” TV set.

Meanwhile, mum – by then a trained hairdresser – crimped and cut hair to help expenses go further, cooked delicious meals for the five of us and was everything a good mum should be. Then – wouldn’t you know – the .lunatic little man mentioned above, started strutting his stuff and war – an incomprehensible state to us children – was declared. When rationing was introduced, Mum made all sorts of filling dishes, using more potatoes and vegetables from our garden, bread puddings and ‘apples in blankets’ (pastry) to fill our corners…she also made sure we had concentrated orange juice, cod-liver oil (ugh!) and Virol to keep us healthy, as –in due course – did dear aunt Sal.

Dad, having been an Air Force Cadet at the end of World War 1, and in love with aeroplanes, re-joined the Air Force and was one of the first wave of airmen to be called up for duty. After hastily digging a huge hole in our pristine, green lawn, he erected an outdoor air-raid shelter, as instructed, and then accompanied us three children and mum to South Wales. We were to stay in the relative safety of her cousin Sarah Jones’– Aunt Sal to us – tall, thin house, set into the side of Mountain Hare, just above Merthyr Tydfil. It didn’t have all mod.cons. like ours, but I was enchanted with gaslight and candlelight…not so with the outside “lav,” with squares of the Merthyr Express on which to wipe ones bottom!

Mum stayed on awhile, but dad had to join his unit in France. Having entrusted brother Bryan to the loving care of another aunt in Ebbw Vale as Aunt Sal couldn’t cope with three children due to a badly ulcerated leg, mum left to stay with her mother and do “war work.” As mentioned above, Mum wasn’t very tall and quite slender, and we were surprised when next we saw her, as she had developed muscles…after working on a moving assembly belt of Army lorries at Ford’s Motors. She later moved to another company, where she was taught welding and became even stronger. Fortunately, during the first part of the war, it was fairly quiet, so we were transported back and forth a few times, especially as dad was given leave from France before things hotted up.

Thereafter, Dagenham, and more specifically: our house became a dangerous place to live in as it was near the River Thames, the Ford Motor works, churning out war machines, a huge drug factory and railway – all likely targets for the German planes. A land-mine fell at the end of our street and demolished many houses and killed several people, but our house was only marginally damaged. In all, we were evacuated three times: to Merthyr, Neath and – with my secondary school, to Derbyshire. Towards the end of the war, dad was stationed near enough to visit our home and mum gave birth to my third brother, Royce (despìte being warned about the aphrodisiac quality of eels to which he was partial). As mum was unwell, the doctor advised her to stay somewhere quieter, and the most generous family, who lived in Neath, Wales – and had two children of their own – took the five of us in, as aunt Sal was ill.

You can imagine our sheer joy when peace was declared and we were all able to return to our own home: shaken and stirred but still intact, and dad was, at last, demobbed.
During our absence, we soon discovered, Mum had re-decorated several rooms herself. There was a shortage of wallpaper, so she had “stippled” the walls with a design in a contrasting colour and I spent many odd times imagining all sorts of animals and magical “objects” floating up to the ceilings…It seemed, Mum was able to tackle most things, and a great advocate of “make do and mend.” She was always darning socks, turning shirt collars and bedsheets, and aware of the hard times, often said “That will do…” if an item of clothing had a vestige of life left.

A keen dancer herself, she encouraged me when I reached my teens and joined the youth club. Mum and her father both won prizes for dancing and she played a mean piano, I recall her pounding the ivories in our Welsh centre during her visits. “Amapola,” “The Seigfried Line” and various popular tunes and songs were requested during her time with us, and she urged me to take ballet and tap lessons, which I adored.

As far as “lessons subtly learned” while under my parents roof were concerned, Mum in particular emphasized that I should ‘show willing and be helpful to others’as she did…and, while sex was never actually discussed….whenever I went out with a boy, she always told me to ‘be good now!’which I interpreted as ‘keep your legs together,’ which I dutifully did, much to their annoyance.

Every week, Mum and I went to the local cinema to see the latest British or American film and lapped up all the glamour and fantasy and she loved reading “Nell’s Books on Wheels” delivered locally every week She was particularly fond of romances and favoured medical tales. Mum had a knack of bringing sunshine into the house with some of her embroidered tales of people she worked with and even when it rained for a few days, managed to lift our spirits. Fortunately, both my parents were able to enjoy several holidays abroad as we children grew older, and still managed to impress on the dance floor!

As time wore on, and after I married, mum took advanced cooking courses and learned “Silver Service Waitressing,”securing an excellent post in the directors’ canteen of a large company nearby: May & Bakers and worked there for several years. When she retired, she hated it, so arranged wedding functions and 2lst birthday celebrations and the like, with the able assistance of one of my sisters-in-law, Doreen; and made beautiful, iced celebration cakes. She also did flower arranging and made bridal bouquets, buttonholes and the like…(and even won prizes for her arrangements at the local Town Show.)

When my parents celebrated their Golden Wedding, as my husband and I were then running a hotel, we were able to entertain them with family and friends, for a fun weekend. It was so good to be able to make a fuss of them for a change! Sadly, as dad approached eighty, his lungs started letting him down – he was a heavy smoker when young and in the war, apart from working for so many years on the river. But he made it to eighty-three. Mum was, naturally, at first desolate at his passing, as were we. But we sold her house for her and bought her another, smaller one, just around the corner to ours.

Her hands were rarely still thereafter. She made delicious petit fours and boxed them up as gifts at Christmas time, still made large and small assorted cakes, and embroidered many pictures which my husband framed for her. She also knitted toys, covered coat-hangers and sewed lavender bags. We were able to take mum and a friend on two continental holidays – which she loved, and we spent many happy hours together. She so enjoyed being in the company of our three sons and her other grandchildren, was alert and keenly interested in them and what was happening in the outside world. She only went on one “Old people’s outings” as she termed them (aged eighty) but said: ‘I shan’t go with them again…Some of them clicked their teeth and talked about their operations all the time’

It was tragically ironic that mum – apart from a worn heart – and comparatively healthy for her age, was struck by an unlicensed car a few inches from a kerb, while out visiting a relative,
suffered a broken hip and lapsed into an unconscious state for six, long weeks before dying.

It was the most cruel blow of my life and I was bereft, but I still carry her treasured memory in my heart, as I will until I fall off my own perch. Mum loved all us four children unconditionally and, despite our faults, thought us “the bee’s knees…” and, as we thought she was too, you can’t ask for more than that. Can you?

*Gomorrah: A House of ill repute in the bible.

©Joy Lennick

What a fascinating story and my thanks to Joy as always for her entertaining storytelling…

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 The Moon is Wearing a TuTu

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.”

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

If you would like to become a regular contributor with new or posts that you have already published on your own blog then please contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com. It is an opportunity to promote your blog and books if you an author and to reach a different audience.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Joy Lennick and Sweet Pea Lodge #Humour


This week Joy Lennick shares some shenanigans from her visits to an old people’s home where life was celebrated as much as possible, and sometimes romance overcame the sensibilities…

Sweet Pea Lodge by Joy Lennick

Having joined a ‘Help the Community’ scheme initiated by the local Branford Council, I had changed my usual visiting day to the present one to help celebrate resident Kitty’s birthday, and upon arrival at the ‘House,’ could hear raised voices and singing coming from the lounge….

“Father had a donkey;
stuck it in the yard.
One summer’s day it was snowing effing hard…”

sang Kitty in full throttle, before ‘Matron’ (as I privately nicknamed her) – in fact the head carer – intervened. Her name is Veronica, but I always think and refer to her as Matron as she has a ‘no-nonsense-take-no-prisoners’ persona which masks a kind heart.

“Really, Kitty!” she said, tutting, “ Control yourself…”

Kitty, aged 90 years old on that very day: a tiny, jolly lady with an earthy sense of humour which even Alzheimer’s – somehow or other – hadn’t completely destroyed, had no intention of controlling herself…. I gave her a birthday card and said two of the most over-worked words ever, while giving her a hug. She may have been 90, but Kitty had magically retained or refashioned ‘a little girl’ mentality, and swished the skirt of her favourite cotton dress like a ten-year-old. The effects of her illness were still evident, but her lively personality shone through.

“Is this for me?” she asked, tearing open the envelope. The card was a funny one intended to make her laugh. She duly obliged.

“Yes,” I answered, “What does it feel like to be ninety, Kit?”

“I’m not!” she refuted hotly, ‘I’m seventy!’ Well, whatever age she thought she was, she had worn well and had one of those soft pink and white complexions which now and then endure the ravages of time.

“By the way, I like your hair do!” I said to placate her. She didn’t answer, but patted her newly permed grey curls with a satisfied smirk.

“Tea and cake in the dining room soon, Kitty!” announced Matron. Another voice belonging to a friend piped up: “Goobedly dando!” she said and grinned. A newish visitor to these ladies, I hadn’t met Margaret before that day. Matron had just introduced us. “Bludog verly…” she replied. I had to stop the tears from spilling as she was such a sweet person, quite oblivious of her dysfunctional state. That could be me in the future, I thought…

Before I continue, I must tell you where this worthy ‘establishment’ is sited…

Starting with its name, ‘Sweet Pea Lodge’ is, on consideration, an unfortunate epithet for the sprawling, not unattractive, brick built building, as it houses a motley collection of mature folk of both sexes (mostly female), some of whom are – how can I put it? – well, slightly (and sometimes more so) incontinent.

Someone once wrote on a London wall ‘Harwich for the continent and Frinton for the incontinent,’ but I mustn’t labour the point… I am not being indelicate by pointing this out, as it is a fact of life for some of us unluckier souls. Cans of lavender spray, and bowls of carefully placed pot pourri are not uncommon sights in Sweet Pea Lodge. (The latter placed higher up in case they are eaten by the residents!)

This particular ‘Home for the Elderly & Infirm,’ is situated on the outskirts of Branford in Essex and squats on one corner of an average-sized park, generously planted with various trees and plants, providing a ‘child friendly’ area with swings, slides and so on. (The park, that is!) The building is well thought-out, with airy, private rooms containing a sink unit: bathrooms being separate. Both lounge and dining room have been carefully ‘colour co-ordinated’ and are bright and cheerful. Outside, there is a large patio area with tables and chairs, where the residents are encouraged to take the air, weather permitting. Architects periodically receive a lot of sometimes deserved flak, but whoever designed this place earned a thumbs up.

Branford has a fascinating history for, in the distant past, at least two Kings, with their Queens and retinue regularly visited nearby Havering-atte-Bower, situated a few miles east of the town, during the summer months to escape the steaming London streets, which literally stank to high heaven. Havering-atte-Bower and the surrounding countryside – still lush in parts – and now dotted with attractive, often detached houses and bungalows, was relished for its cleaner air; and trips to the perfumery (vital in those days among the rich); the milliners; glove and parasol-makers; dress.- making and leather-goods shops in Branford – all treats for the royal entourage.

The shopping centre then consisted of two rows of stores facing each other over a cobbled square. Now, of course, hundreds of years later, Branford presents a somewhat different face to the new visitor. Glass and steel edifices pronounce the ‘new religion” (according to some): shopping! Public houses – some of which have out-witted time – stand cheek to cheek with more modern large and small stores, most of which seem to do a fair trade, despite the sad economic situation which prevails today; although ‘Charity’ shops are growing apace. But I digress…Back to Sweet Pea Lodge.

“Come along Kitty! We have lit your candles. You have to blow them out.” (nine to represent the decades) said Matron. En masse, our group shuffled into the dining-room.

Kitty clapped her hands and dutifully blew on the candles: several times… The cake was then cut and tea poured. All very civilized until Maud Canter: a contrarily quiet and moody lady who wielded a walking stick one had to keep clear of… let out a very loud fart which convulsed Kitty (having a lavatorial sense of humour) into enthusiastic guffaws. Matron tried pretending that everything was quite normal, but Kitty said “Phew – that was a corker!” to Maud, who, fortunately, was hard of hearing as well as windy. I passed around the cups of tea and made as sensible conversation as could be understood.

With mouths busy, all became quiet in the pleasantly furnished and decorated dining room until Annie, a whey-faced lady who wore a continual frown – Kitty’s best friend – let out a cry.

“Oh dear,” she said, “I nearly forgot Albert’s dinner….” And she disappeared into her room nearby, reappearing a few moments later, wringing her hands (a constant action). “Someone’s stolen the gas stove!” and she started to weep until comforted by Sally, one of the carers. Poor Albert (who choked on a fishbone in 1990) was soon forgotten.

“Shall we go for a walk, Kit?” asked Annie, brightening. And so, off they set, strolling about twenty paces down the corridor, before returning and repeating the process about four times, until they tired. Kitty reopened the card I gave her – having tucked it back into the envelope – and exclaimed in great excitement.

“Oh, someone’s sent me a birthday card!” I was standing nearest to her.

“Yes, I did,” I said quietly. That innocuous card was opened, tucked away; walks taken and then the envelope re-opened and the card re-admired no less than four times during my time there.

On another visit, it was decided that we were to investigate the ‘Art’ world… The ladies seemed quite excited when given their ‘Gainsborough’ painting-by-numbers pictures and crayons. Water colours had been banned after Matron: oblivious of the art class then taking place – having just arrived back from a trip away – found Annie with her arm covered in blood-red paint, mistakenly thinking she had injured herself!

Kitty set to with vigour – completely ignoring her picture. The stainless steel table surround soon resembled a purple snake and she took great delight in criss-crossing the table legs with yellow crayon. Fearing the nearby wall would be a perfect victim for her busy arm, I suggested poetry reading. Annie completely ignored me, so wrapped up was she on completing her picture. Picasso who? I thought…Torn, and a quarter-painted efforts, were eventually gathered up and exclaimed over.

“Have you ever heard of Gainsborough?” I stupidly asked Margaret, mistaking her for someone else.

At least she shook her head, instead of confusing my ears. “Would you like me to read you one of my funny poems?” I then asked the five ladies: anxious and fidgeting before me. Three nodded; the others were who knew where. Oh well, here goes, I thought…

I enunciated my words slowly and loudly: THIS POEM IS CALLED ‘SOLE MATES’ – S O L E, I spelled out, pointing to my feet. At least Kitty nodded. I cleared my throat.
I MUST TELL YOU OF A ROMANCE
THAT’S SADLY ON THE ROCKS
NOT BETWEEN THE SEXES (Kitty giggled at the word sexes)
BUT BETWEEN SOME CLASSY SOCKS… (I quickly picked up on several frowns on several foreheads) but carried on…
IT STARTED UP LAST CHRISTMAS DAY (“Ah Christmas” said Annie with a smile, before retreating behind her invisible wall.) I continued, nervously…
WHEN AUNT LOUISE ARRIVED TO STAY.
SHE PUT A BOX BENEATH THE TREE
CONTAINING LOVERS, HE AND ME…

Well the last bit completely flummoxed them – I could imagine their poor, befuddled brain-boxes trying to work out who the two lovers were and what they were doing in a box. So I stopped and instead started reciting: I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD.

Amazingly, one of my audience, a lady called Ruby, recited the first line with me and I found that quite touching. She couldn’t remember any more and I only read one verse, deciding that it would be less of a strain on them and me… if we had a sing-song instead.

Carer Sally offered to play the piano, and the four ladies left – Margaret had wandered off – started singing with gusto. ‘Strangers in the Night… DA DA DA DA DA…’ was soon abandoned and we sang ‘The Lambeth Walk’ instead. Both Annie and Kitty knew nearly all the words to that one, with Kitty performing a lively “Oi!” at the end.

Easter arrived, and with it, an announcement that we were to have “An Easter bonnet decorating competition.” said Matron. Sally brought along several straw hats and lots of ribbons, flowers, feathers and fluffy chicks, etc., Four of the five ladies present – Maud Canter having refused to join in – became as engrossed as they could be in the job at hand. Sally, Matron and I assisted where necessary, but encouraged the ladies to do as much as they could themselves. Lots of tongues appeared between lots of lips, plus an expletive from Kitty’s corner “Bleedin’ ribbon..” she was heard to say, untangling it. After about an hour, Margaret’s hat – a veritable farm–yard, with different sized chicks in a nest perched precariously on the crown – was declared the winner. She was so delighted, she curtsied and danced around the room. Her memory may have completely disappeared, but she was the happiest woman present!

One week, an attractive, middle-aged male dancer/singer entertained the ladies and I was surprised to witness the difference in their behaviour. Most seemed to have lost their normal nervousness, and at ninety, Kitty became a sort of ‘mature coquette’ flirting, and – for a brief twirl – dancing, with the handsome stranger. Turning to me, she said “He’s a bit of all-right, isn’t he!” He was a real sport and quite charming. I mused on the fact that vestiges, while minute, of earlier engagements with the opposite sex, still remained!

The weeks and months rolled by, with the staff more than aware of the need to entertain their charges to keep up their morale. I’d be a liar if I said that it was easy…And then, just before Christmas, there were two more birthdays to celebrate. A certain ‘Marion’ – a comparative newcomer, about to have her sixtieth birthday – and a very gentle man, soon to be 79, whose name was Sam. His mind was intact but his physical needs were such that he could no longer live alone. My heart went out to him and we had lots of chats. Marion, on the other hand, while able to sustain a reasonable conversation, had a mental problem of sorts plus a disability. About twenty of us were gathered in the prettied lounge; resplendent with decorations and balloons (the lounge not us), and I was aware of another man they referred to as Stan, who had only arrived the day before. Like Marion, he was much younger than most of the other residents and I had yet to learn of his history. Little did I know what was destined to follow that innocent event…!

Having helped to see that everyone was suitably fed: (sausage rolls, dainty sandwiches and iced cakes) and watered (tea and fruit juice), I had a few words with an entertainer who was providing the music – this time a guitar! He played well and the atmosphere grew quite jolly, with Kitty out front prancing around as was her wont. However, she soon tired and plonked herself down next to Annie, who was looking lost, as she often was. I was humming in time to the music, when I noticed Kitty nudging Annie in the ribs, and moving her head in the direction of Marion and the newcomer Stan, who were seated opposite, next to each other. Seemingly oblivious of anyone else in the room, Marion was caressing Stan in a most suggestive way, while giggling like a school-girl.

He seemed to be lapping up the attention, until Matron noticed and intervened. Defusing the situation, she whisked Stan off to speak to someone else, leaving Marion looking crestfallen. I then checked my watch; the party wound down and it was time for me to go. I left Kitty and Annie still tutting over the amorous incident.

When I returned the following week, Sally took me to one side and told me what had happened after lights out on the party night…Shaking her head, she said:

“You’ll never guess what Veronica found when she checked on Marion last week!” I shrugged.

“Search me!”

“Stan and Marion ‘in flagrante’ on her bed, stark naked!”

“What! You’re joking!” I said, giggling, “Well at least some of them had an extra good time!”

When I approached Kitty and Annie to have a chat, they both said “Hello – are you new?” I didn’t feel particularly new; rather sad actually…and thought how they would have enjoyed the story of Marion and Stan. Both ladies were particularly quiet, when Kitty broke the silence and said:

“Did you hear about that bloke giving that new woman one last week?”

What an amazing organ is the brain!

I have fond memories of the ladies of Sweet Pea Lodge, and knowing how some gossip ‘leaks out,’ I bet many of the inhabitants of Branford had a good chuckle over the last, amorous, episode too!

©Joy Lennick

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 The Moon is Wearing a TuTu

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.”

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.  mewe.com/i/sallycronin

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews #offers – Joy Lennick, Olga Nunez Miret, Diana J. Febry and Richard Dee


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews and news from some of the talented authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is frequent contributor to the blog Joy Lennick and her husband Eric… for their humorous take on life. The Moon is Wearing a Tutu.

About the collection.

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.

A recent review for the collection

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.”

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0784TFVGH

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moon-Wearing-Tutu-Joy-Lennick-ebook/dp/B0784TFVGH

Also 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

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

Connect to joy via her blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/

The next author to receive a glowing review is Olga Nunez Miret for her book 20 things I’ve Learned from my Patients: A psychiatrist’s pearls of wisdom to help you thrive.

About the book. Bilingual edition (English-Spanish). Edición versión bilingüe (inglés-español)

Over the years that I have worked as a psychiatrist, writer, and blogger, I’ve collected common-sense advice and thoughts that I have passed on and shared with many (patients, friends, and readers). As people don’t have much time to read and enjoy images and quotes, I decided to publish twenty of the things I have learned over the years, illustrating each one of them with a picture and a quote. And as I know many people who want to improve their Spanish but don’t dare to take on a long book, I decided to publish it as a bilingual edition, English-Spanish. I don’t claim to have found the meaning of life, but I hope you enjoy this little book.

One of the recent reviews for 20 Things I’ve learned from my patients on Goodreads

Mar 05, 2019 D.G. Kaye rated it it was amazing

A wonderful little book filled with inspiration with quotes to live by on laughter, self-love and so much more. Olga Nunez Miret has compiled a beautiful summation on some of life’s situations taken from the wisdom she accrued from her patients as a practicing psychiatrist. The author shares nuggets of wisdom in short poignant messages with lovely illustrations, sharing reflections on life. A handy little guide for life we can pick up and read again whenever we could use a dose of inspiration.This book is bilingual – written in both English and Spanish – a clever idea, giving us a nice little Spanish lesson if we’d like to learn a few words in a different language. #Recommended!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077R616CV

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Learned-Patients-aprendido-pacientes-English-Spanish-ebook/dp/B077R616CV

A selection of books in Spanish or English by Olga Nunez Miret

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Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/author/olganm

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Olga-Núñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

Read more reviews and follow Olga on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6562510.Olga_N_ez_Miret

Audio books http://authortranslatorolga.com/my-audiobooks/

Connect to Olga via her blog: http://authortranslatorolga.com/

Time now to share the recent review for Diana J. Febry and her first book in her DCI Peter Hatherall Mysteries – The Skeletons of Birkbury which is on offer at 99c/99p until March 21st.

 

About the book

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in Birkbury, the villagers close ranks. Gossip turns to fear and suspicion as they realize the killer is one of them and is prepared to kill again.

DCI Peter Hatherall must fight his past and class divisions to find the killer.
All must decide which secrets are worth dying for.

One of the recent reviews for The Skeletons of Birkbury on Goodreads

Jan 07, 2019 J.J. Hughes rated it Five Stars

The Skeletons of Birkbury is the story of a twenty-year-old mystery in the English countryside. During a storm, a tree blows over on a horse farm, revealing the hidden body, of a young woman, buried there. The subsequent police investigation takes the reader to the inside of an English country village. The characters are many and varied, from the; toffee-nosed land-owners to the hard-working labourers. All the characters have a special fell that is both fascinating and quirky. I think the author’s characterisation is what makes this story stand out. Despite the odd-ball set it is easy to empathise and find common ground with each of her characters.

This is a murder/police mystery that hooked me from the beginning and I think I was as keen to get to the bottom of it as were the main characters. Peter and Fiona. It’s perhaps a bit of a cliché but this was one mystery I couldn’t put down until I’d solved it and was sure I’d solved it correctly. If you like quintessentially English detective novels, you’ll love this one. A great read, for sure.

Read the reviews and buy the book 99p until March 21st: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skeletons-Birkbury-Peter-Hatherall-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07CYQDHHJ

And Amazon US 99c until March 21st: https://www.amazon.com/Skeletons-Birkbury-Peter-Hatherall-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07CYQDHHJ

The other books in the DCI Peter Hatherall series

 

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diana-J-Febry/e/B00J7AG9U4/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00J7AG9U4https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diana-J-Febry/e/B00J7AG9U4/

Read many more reviews and follow Diana on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5989441.Diana_J_Febry

Connect to Diana via her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dianaj.febry.9

And the final author today with a recent review is Richard Dee for his latest release Life and Other Dreams.About the book

“Sci-Fi and psychological thriller fans are in for a treat.”
“…action, adventure, romance and cerebral high-jinks…”

Rick lives here on Earth now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly.

In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.

Dan has no dreams about Rick’s life, he lives on Ecias, loves his life and Vanessa.
When the two worlds overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up.

Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.

Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, in two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?
Richard Dee’s fast-paced, edgy science fiction -cum- psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!

One of the recent reviews for the book

I received an advance copy of this book from the author and this is my honest opinion. This tale doesn’t simply belong in a book, it would be perfect as a movie. The mundane matter-of-fact snippets of two daily lives seem simple at first glance. But, if you pay attention to the fantastic fauna and flora (and technology) of Ecias – I feel that this new world is something I’d love to explore. Preferably on the big screen. The psychological twists and turns are also fascinating; I could not stop reading until the very last page. Definitely a keeper in my collection. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07KVHG384

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KVHG384

A Selection of books by Richard Dee

Read the reviews and buy the books from Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Dee/e/B00CN4TTCG/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Dee/e/B00CN4TTCG/

Read more reviews and follow Richard on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15289756.Richard_Dee

Connect to Richard via his website: http://richarddeescifi.co.uk/

You can find all the talented authors in the Cafe and Bookstore along with over 500 books in this directory with links to buy from Amazon: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – #Poetry – “Mistaken Identity” by Joy Lennick


Today Joy shares the joys of being young at heart at eighty-three years old…

MISTAKEN IDENTITY?

An ‘old’ lady?!
(My birth-paper states I’m eighty-three…)
Eighty-three? That can’t be me.
I don’t smell of moth-balls,
or click my teeth,
don’t have arthritis,
or bunioned feet.
A waft of perfume?
Chanel No. 5…
I’m eager and curious,
and glad I’m alive.
When music rings out
I’m there with a jive!
BUT, first thing in the morning
do I spring out of bed?
No, I regretfully admit
I sidle instead.
And how long takes my ‘toilette’?
I, umm…vaguely mumble…
“It takes quite a while
for me to assumble!”

©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 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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

If you are an author and would like to be part of a group that supports and promotes other authors then please take a look at this group on Facebook by clicking the image.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer #Poetry – Spring by Joy Lennick


Today Joy Lennick shares two poems about spring as it emerges from the frosty winter.

ARBOREAL BRIDES

A dozen arboreal snow maidens
grace our concrete street:
like virginal brides –
some blushing –
confetti at their feet.

Shivering in the early Spring freeze,
genuflecting in the icy breeze,
they bravely bear
Mother Nature’s whims –
and to beauty all are hymns.

AND NOW…

An ethereal curtains rises,
a feathered chorus orchestrates.
Enter Spring – her grand debut –
veiled by dew-dropped, cob-webbed lace.

Crowned with gold forsythia,
yellow trumpets show respect.
Earth’s treasure-chest is opening,
all creatures genuflect.

Each Spring I have a love affair,
wonder at her yearly flair,
and at her feet I leave a prayer
for all the beauty dwelling there.

©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 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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Fifth Day of Christmas with guests D.G. Kaye, Lizzie Chantree and Joy Lennick


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 to get your feet tapping……Mariah Carey with All I Want for 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. In particular the monthly Travel Column which has taken us to warm and exotic locations in the Caribbean and The Lesser Antilles…on cruise ships with all the know-how necessary to get the best value and enjoyment from our holiday. Recently Debby has been keeping an eye open for funnies to enhance the Laughter lines including this recent post

Debby shares her very poignant 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, especially as Toronto is cold and wet at the moment… her month’s trip to Puerto Vallarta in the New Year… Not long now Debby.

Courtesy of DD Food & Travel

Read the reviews and buy D.G. Kaye’s books: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Connect to Debby on her blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com

A recent review for Words We Carry Very insightful read. on September 16, 2018

Once in a while you come across a book that really speaks to you. Reading ‘Words We Carry’ by D. G. Kaye was like having friends over for coffee and revealing our innermost secrets or speaking to your mentor about life and how to make it better. The author, who has natural psychology opened my eyes and made me ponder why I react the way I do to certain things or certain people. I enjoyed author, D.G. Kaye’s writing style––so friendly and warm. This book is well written and is easily one that can change someone’s life. I recommend this book to anyone who ever felt insecure, self-conscious or inadequate. An easy 5 star read.

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, who 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 runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. 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

You can buy Lizzie Chantree’s books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC
And connect to her on her website: https://lizziechantree.com/

One of the recent reviews for If You Love Me I’m Yours

The author obviously has a love for, and knowledge of art in all its forms …and human nature as well. Clever the way she shows the influence of parents on their offspring, who either try to live up to expectations or deny their true selves to fit in. I felt for repressed artistic Maud, who was impelled to express her talent anonymously and leave her works of art to be picked up by anyone who wanted to give them a home. ( I also loved the brilliant descriptions of her amazing bedroom and her hidden ‘shed’. ) And then poor Dot, who only truly found her talent when she found Maud. The interweaving plot carries you along, willing and hoping for a happy ending for all these engaging characters. Another different story from Lizzie Chantree. It’s as funny and compulsive as her Ninja School Mum. More please.

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 taken from last week’s full Christmas menu by 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.

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 Christmas 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.

Discover Joy’s books read the reviews and buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/
Connect to Joy via her blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/

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.

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. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – ‘Disinterrment’ by Joy Lennick #shortstory #writing


Delighted to welcome Joy Lennick back again with another of her stories and this one will resonate with many of us I am sure.

Disinterrment by Joy Lennick..

If you are a writer like me, every now and then you have to practically dig your way out of a wordy mess to make sense of your world. Right? Or maybe you are one of those ultra-organized souls who I envy? Either way, I bet you have files or drawers full of half or unfinished articles/poems/short stories or m/s of books waiting attention. A sort of ‘semi-burial’ place. I find this sad, especially if your work is more or less finished. Obviously, if it stays buried, no other eyes but yours will see it.

What a waste of all the hours you worked and why are you withholding what could give another person much pleasure?! Why not have a ‘Disinterrment ceremony?’ Treat your literary efforts with the respect they deserve. Lift them out of their premature graves and say ‘Hello, my beauties. I’m going to polish you until you shine and publish you too. What do think of that?’ (Make sure you’re alone when this occurs…) A person very dear to my heart fits in the above category. Why, if you have a talent, hide it away? So, all you shrinking violets/procrastinators/lazy/lost-mojo souls lurking out there, GET REAL!

The above said, most of us appreciate that some of our early efforts should, quite rightly, be either buried or destroyed, but – every now and then – it’s good to double check and give promising work a new lease of life. So, is this leading to anything specific you may ask. Well, yes. The following was written for a newsletter and then filed away. See what you think…

A TIME TO KILL?

As we arrived – husband and I – the animals: packs of them, amassed and gathered near the enclosure. They were edgy, eager, impatient and hungry The morning was innocent enough. An already hot sun blazed down and the air was filled with the sweet smell of wood-smoke and the cries and calls of birds in the nearby trees.

In its eagerness to breach the enclosure, a more daring animal tried to push past the larger pack-leader, but its audacity was soon dealt with. There was a savage scuffle and dust rose up to form a small cloud as a great snarling noise erupted at the front of the pack which seemed to further inflame the other animals. Even from my safe distance, I could sense great danger. I grew uneasy and tense. My mouth was dry and perspiration wet my palms.

All at once – almost as if a starter had fired a gun – the packs surged forward as a gap appeared in the enclosure. With the scent of the prey in their nostrils, their eyes grew wild with greed, desire and hunger. At a safe distance, I cautiously followed, with feelings so mixed they are difficult to describe…A curious, unpleasant desire to be in at the kill? Perhaps.

I reached the opening in the enclosure and witnessed something I had never before seen. My eyes grew wide with disbelief as the scene unfolded before me.

A scene somewhere in Africa maybe? No. Bargain morning at a Lidls store near Los Altos, Spain. The ‘prey’? A few, highly reduced TV sets (we were buying one for a friend).

I had never seen human beings acting like that, EVER! About half a dozen human beings – their provenance a secret, lest it start World War 111 – acted like wild beings…Two actually charged each other with shopping trolleys, like rutting stags. It left me speechless!

©Joy Lennick

Thanks to Joy for sharing something we may have all witnessed in such an entertaining way.

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…

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – The House Guest by Joy Lennick #Siamese


House Guest by Joy Lennick

‘He’s very quiet…’ I mouthed to my husband, having checked that our latest house-guest was comfortable in the back of the car. On the journey home, I mused on his Oriental handsomeness…

When we arrived, he looked pensive – nervous even. Hmm. Fortunately, in a short space of time, he seemed to relax, although he refused proffered refreshments. However, he soon found his voice and seemed to find our simple entertainments pleasing.

Later, my husband commented on what a warm evening it was, and getting warmer by the minute. Phew! It was at that point we realised our house guest – unused to our remote control gadget – had inadvertently turned on the central heating. At least he looked bemused!

When we retired for the night, we left the door ajar – with mixed feelings about our new guest. It was around one or two a.m. – my husband was gently snoring – when I was aware there was someone else in the room. Surely not Menez? For that is his name. His movements were stealthy. I lay still, pretending to be asleep, and could hear my heart beating loudly. He wouldn’t, would he? He did…He leapt – there is no other word for his action – on to me.

It is at this stage, I must let the cat out of the bag so to speak…for Menez is as feline as it is possible to be. When he leapt, he was like a whirling dervish and performed several astonishing moves like a professional circus acrobat. And, like a jet-propelled fur-ball, he explored every corner of the bedroom in seconds. Then, temporarily exhausted, he settled on the sheet between us, and the three of us enjoyed one or two hours of welcome slumber.

It must have been between three or four a.m. when our guest decided to have a wash and brush up under my left boob. Enough was enough! I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and remonstrated with a loud ‘No! Naughty boy?!’ firmly placing him on his bed.( As our walls are not renowned for their thickness, goodness knows what our neighbours must have thought!)

Menez good behaviour was all too brief, and he was soon traversing the tops of our heads, bed-head and side-cupboards. Books and photos flew floor-wards. Bereft of my usual ration of sleep, my patience was sorely tried…’Right, into the galeria with you, my lad!’ I said. He meowed pitifully and I felt really mean as I closed the door. But he stopped after a while and curled up on his blanket.

After a few more, fully undisturbed, hours of shut-eye, we found him in deep slumber: a picture of smoky, cream and brown innocence. Aah!

I wondered how we’d cope looking after this five-week old, utterly beguiling but wilful, mischievous little bundle of Siamese loveliness for a whole week for a friend in need? We coped, just about…

PS It proved to be an exacting task and I had the scratches to prove it, but how I missed him when he’d gone!

Image Pixabay.com

True story.

©Joy Lennick

A lovely story..  and thanks to Joy for sharing it with us.

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…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

May 23, 2014 Pat Mcdonald rated it really liked it

Aptly titled, this is a delightful little book, that tells the story of one child’s experience of war and evacuation. It brought back so many memories for me, not of that time period, but of my childhood. So many wonderful similarities around the characters – e.g my grandmother cut and buttered bread in the same fashion. I found myself enchanted by this period in history and descriptions of the blitz and how people survived it in a compelling an human way. Loved it!  

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Poetry – Guest Poet – Celtic Roots by Joy Lennick


Delighted to welcome author and poet Joy Lennick as a guest again with a poem celebrating her Celtic heritage.

Celtic Roots by Joy Lennick

Little, then…did I know, when quietly –
on tippy-toe –
hardly breathing les’ I missed
call of cuckoo –
sight through mist…
of shy rabbit, other nature-kissed…
wonders of ‘my’ wood –
that Druids many years ago,armed with golden sickles,
harvested the mistletoe
from nearby sacred woods.

Little, then…did I know, when noisily –
with jug in hand –
picked fruit, ripe and fat,
juicy, luscious, almost black;
carefree, happy, sun on back,
mesmerized with my task –
that, long ago, warrior bands
fought and bloodied, raped this pleasant land:
Land of my mother

©Joy Lennick

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…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

May 23, 2014 Pat Mcdonald rated it really liked it

Aptly titled, this is a delightful little book, that tells the story of one child’s experience of war and evacuation. It brought back so many memories for me, not of that time period, but of my childhood. So many wonderful similarities around the characters – e.g my grandmother cut and buttered bread in the same fashion. I found myself enchanted by this period in history and descriptions of the blitz and how people survived it in a compelling an human way. Loved it!  

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Life with the Lennicks by Jason Lennick


Please welcome freelance writer, designer and social media specialist, Jason Lennick to the blog, with a witty and entertaining look at being part of the Lennick family.

Life with the Lennicks by Jason Lennick

I was brought into this world by two kind and decent people who wanted nothing but the best for me. Sadly they fell upon hard times and were forced to sell me to Joy and Eric Lennick for ten shillings and a packet of Hobnobs. And things deteriorated further when my brother Damon arrived on the scene some year and a half later, to steal my thunder (and my peace and quiet).

Younger brother Robert completed the picture, a beautiful child with angelic features and a winning smile that would one day conquer the nightclubs of Romford like Attila the Hun, but with better teeth.

Childhood was a confusing time and never more so than when Dad would randomly refer to us as Fred, Bill or George. But he was a kind man and worked hard to ensure our fridge was always filled with at least seven kinds of pickles. My beloved Mother Joy, when not scribbling poetry, could often be found in the kitchen, toiling for hours over vast cauldrons of soup, or exotic delicacies of Welsh-Jewish-fusion cuisine. Dad would torture/regale us over dinner with devastating puns and tales of his life in the army post WW2, and we would bicker and gulp down our food greedily like the little ingrates we were. Children are monsters.

All families have their quarrels and siblings inevitably squabble and scrap at times. Of course not all families deal with it in the same way, and perhaps the full-size boxing ring, complete with seating and judges was a little unconventional. I sometimes like to think I coulda’ been a contender.

My memory is a little hazy now, but I can still recall my parents taking us on long trips in the car: to the coast or the dark woods, far from our semi-civilized Essex home town. And yet somehow we always managed to find our way back, much to their chagrin.

Despite all the rivalry, the tantrums and the tears of family life, we made it to adulthood relatively sane and with most of our teeth. And there were so many happy moments to treasure: watching favourite TV shows together on our eight inch, steam-powered black and white television set; Christmas parties with beloved aunts and uncles and my first taste of alcohol; visits to our kind and loving grandparents; the smell of those roast dinners drifting up the stairs on a Sunday; football in the park and swimming at the Lido; riding our bikes for hours, on those crazy, hazy days of Summer. Where did the years go?

Now, each day, as I kneel before a vast golden altar to the gods of Monty Python, I recite a little prayer: “Dearest Mum and Dad (and the other two), may the gods smile upon you all and keep you safe and well. And may all Dad’s puns be forgiven. Amen, Shalom, Ni!” And somewhere, far off in some exotic distant corner of the globe (actually Alicante, Spain), I can almost hear someone say: “Ni!” right back.

Some might doubt whether my account of life with the Lennick’s is entirely true, or if perhaps a pinch (or a large sack) of salt might be in order. One thing that I can tell you in absolute honesty is this: my parents gave us a wonderfully warm, loving and supportive upbringing. The New Year’s Honours list doesn’t include a category for good parenting, but if it did they’d be a shoo-in.

Joy and Eric Lennick

©Jason Lennick 2018
Jason is halfbananas

About Jason Lennick

It’s tough growing up in the bug and ‘gator infested swamp-lands of Louisiana. So it was just as well that I was born and raised in the relatively ‘gator-free south of England.

When I reached the tender age of forty, my parents callously abandoned me, seeking a life of sunshine and sangria on the Costa Blanca in Spain. Luckily I was able to survive by using my finely-honed skills as a ninja assassin and snake-charmer.

I now have the good fortune to be residing in wonderful Copenhagen, with my long-suffering partner Ann, and a cute but very annoying old cat called Minnie, who seems to believe she is Empress of the universe. Who are we to disagree?

When not blogging, instagramming or comically mangling the unpronounceable Danish language, I can often be found arguing with strangers in Facebook groups, or creeping silently across rooftops in the dead of night with a deadly cobra in my backpack.

Connect to Jason

Freelance Designer, writer: https://www.behance.net/jasonlennick
Blog: https://halfbananas.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jasonlennick/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonlennick

My thanks to Jason for sharing his memories of his life as a Lennick… most of you are already very fond of Joy and her poetry and stories. It clearly runs in the family.  Sally.