Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Bette A. Stevens, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones, Sally Cronin


First an author with a book that continues to receive outstanding reviews is Bette A. Stevens and Pure Trash: The Story

About Pure Trash: The Story

It’s PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story), a Compelling Prequel to the novel DOG BONE SOUP. The year is 1955. Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ‘60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too. Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing!

In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going to be a great day. Shawn is sure of it. No school and no bullies to remind him that he’s not one of the crowd. This is a story about bullies and what it’s like to be bullied (and not just by kids). It may redefine your definition of bullying. If you were a child who was thought of as “different” in some way, you know what bullying is about: torment, persecution, intimidation, to name a few of its synonyms. For Shawn and Willie, their difference was based upon the social status of a dysfunctional family and the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Poverty and Prejudice on December 2, 2018

Stevens takes us back into the 1950s, depicting the Daniels family – a poor and dysfunctional family. This very short story introduces us into the life of two brothers, Shawn and Willie, indicating a snippet of what their lives entail living in not the most idyllic of situations.

We get descriptive bits of background sprinkled through this story, indicating the poverty these boys live in and small insights into their parents’ lives. The father is an alcoholic and doesn’t leave an impression that family needs come first when we learn he has bought himself a television, while the home sounds like it could use some financial investment to bring it up to modern day living. I don’t think I had enough to read to get emotionally invested in the story, but I did feel for the boys who seemed so far, not to complain about their meager lives and looked forward to weekends where they could get away from chores and out bike riding and fishing.

In this particular story, the boys are riding when little Willie get’s into a biking accident and is hurt. Big brother Shawn runs to a close by home to seek help for his injured brother as he remembered a woman from his church lived nearby. Despite the woman showing some compassion and helping out Willie with his wounds, she didn’t hesitate to show her prejudice for poverty by letting us know with words she felt these children and their family were beneath her.

I haven’t read the full book version yet of Dog Bone Soup, so I really didn’t grasp the whole essence of the story, merely a short glimpse into the theme of the story – family dysfunction, poverty and prejudice, based on description of the boys’ home, their passions and the reaction of one towns woman when confronted with having to help the boys out. Based on the theme of the story, I’m sure I’d enjoy learning more about these boys and how they manage to get on with their lives despite their upbringing and the stigma of poverty that surrounds them.

Read reviews for the book and buy: https://www.amazon.com/PURE-TRASH-Bette-A-Stevens-ebook/dp/B00EH0RV6K/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TRASH-Historical-Fiction-Short-prequel-ebook/dp/B00EH0RV6K

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

Connect to Bette via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

The next authors with a recent review for their 60s, music and romance Only One Woman are Jane Risdon and Christina Jones.

About the book.

Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

One of the recent reviews for Only One Woman on Goodreads

Dec 29, 2018 Michele rated it Five Stars

What a great read for me, specially, as it brought back many memories being aged 14/15. Remembering the music and fashion mainly. The two authors really worked hard on this and made me feel as if I was back there amongst everyone, and have very cleverly put this book together. R enza and Stella are two fabulous girls, but im not going to spoil this for you, but can highly recommend you purchase, read and enjoy the book. Congratulations ladies, very well done with this book.

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

Read more reviews and follow Jane on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

Connect to Jane Risdon via her blog https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/

A small selection of books by Christina Jones.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y/

Connect to Christina via her blog: https://christinajones-writing.blogspot.ie/

And thrilled to receive another new review for my latest book is Tales from the Irish Garden – posted byOlga Nunez Miret on her blog.

About the book

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature.

Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.

As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell.

This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

Please meet Queen Filigree as created by Donata Zawadzka

One of the recent reviews for the book

I have followed the author’s blog Smorgasbord Invitation for quite a while. She is an expert on many topics, including health, media, publishing, and she is a great supporter of other writers and artists. She has also published a large number of books, non-fiction and fiction, and she has shared many of her short stories in her blog. I read and reviewed her book Tales from the Garden a while back (you can check my review here) and had been looking forward to this book since I heard about it.

While the original book contained pictures from the author and her relatives’ gardens, for this book she counts with the collaboration of talented illustrator Donata Zawadzka, who provides a black and white ink illustration for each one of the stories/chapters of this enchanting book. The style of the illustrations suits this wonderful realm perfectly, and the images helped bring the stories to life more fully.

The book follows on from the stories of the fairy realm of Magia. Queen Filigree and her subjects have to leave their garden in Spain due to a new property development. Although some of her stone guardians cannot follow to the new location, in Ireland, we get to meet some fantastic new characters, like the Storyteller, a man with his own magic, who helps our friends in need. We have a prince charming for the queen, magical dressmakers; we also learn more about how the palace works, from the royal pigeons and their carer, to the magical spiders, Queen Bee and her subjects, and the frogs who also help with pest control and building work. Some of our old acquaintances are up to no good, and we also learn more about the queen’s daughters (pretty but not always wise).

The stories follow the seasons of the year, and we have many occasions to join in their celebrations, with new musicians and banquets, and we can enjoy stories set in particular times of the year, from local fairs to Halloween. I cannot choose a favourite because I enjoyed them all, from the piglet races to the touching story of the Storytellers’ daughter.

The style of writing is accessible, fluid and suitable to all ages. These fairy-tales contain gorgeous descriptions of places, costumes, foods, and also characters that go beyond the standard cardboard cut-outs we have come to expect. We have witches suffering from age-related aches and pains, princesses who care for each other but can get into serious trouble, fairy queens concerned about their age, foxes that refuse to kill other animals, jealous bulls… Only some human beings are allowed into the magical realm, and I felt privileged to be one of them.

Another magical book from this author, suitable for anybody who is a child at heart and needs a little inspiration to recover the sense of wonder. Queen Filigree has a magical fountain, and we have Sally Cronin’s books to ensure our imagination keeps us forever young. Highly recommended to everybody.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

A selection of my other books

You can read all the recent reviews for the books: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Thank you for dropping in today and hope you have found a book or two to your liking. Have a good weekend.. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Short Stories for Christmas – You’re Never Too Old for Love by Sally Cronin


You’re Never Too Old for Love

He was getting on a bit in years, his eyesight was very dodgy, and his hip was definitely causing him gyp. His teeth were still okay; he still enjoyed his meat slightly chewy, instead of that pap that they gave the real oldies in this residence. And if truth be told, despite his advanced years there was still a little fizz left when it came to the ladies. In fact there was a rather saucy looking old gal in the residence four down from him, who despite the silver threads through her glorious mane of hair, still had a twinkle in her eye.

Making his mind up to make more of her acquaintance later when they were all out in the garden enjoying their daily exercise, he closed his eyes to have a quick nap before lunch. He dreamt of a luscious garden full of the scent of flowers, as well as the laughter of children as he chased them around the apple trees. Two hours later he woke with a feeling of sadness, knowing that he would never see those children again. They were grown now and had no thought of him as he sat alone in this place.

There were visitors who came from time to time, but this was a residence for the elderly, and whilst they were well taken care of with amusements laid on, and so called enrichment programmes, they all felt the loss of being part of a family. They would talk about it amongst themselves when they were resting in the shade of the garden; out of breath from their recent exertions. They had to accept that they were not going to see the outside of this place again and had better make the best of it.

One day they woke up to see the garden covered in snow and some of the more elderly residents declined the invitation to go out for their usual daily exercise; choosing instead to huddle under the blankets and watch through the windows of their rooms. He, however, was made of sterner stuff. He remembered the fun he had enjoyed with the children; lying in the snow whilst they covered him from top to tail until only his head could be seen. He was not sure if he lay down in the soft snow now, that he would be able to get up again with his dodgy hip.

Tired from his time in the winter wonderland, he returned to his room and settled down in the old chair in front of the window. For some reason he felt incredibly sad; for once his normally sunny disposition was overshadowed by grief.

The next day the staff could be seen rushing around putting up shining decorations, and the residents perked up knowing turkey and all the trimmings were imminent. You have to give credit to the woman who ran the place; she was a kind soul who was committed to giving her elderly charges the comfort and care they deserved. They all enjoyed her frequent visits to their rooms for a chat and a hug or two.

Somehow this year he found it difficult to get excited, despite loving the taste of turkey, ham and those little sausages wrapped in bacon. But his dreams each night of children’s laughter lingered throughout the day, and he felt incredibly sad.

The day before Christmas, he woke to hear people talking outside in the corridor. Not unusual certainly, but he kept hearing his name mentioned and there was something familiar about one of the voices… He moved closer to the door and tried to understand what was being said about him. He heard the click of the latch and hurriedly moved back into the room; watching as the woman who ran the place entered with a tall young man.

“Hello Jack is that really you.” He stared at the stranger who seemed to know his name. He edged forward to get a better look and a hand reached out towards him.

“We’ve been searching for you since Mrs Jones died and we didn’t know where you had gone, I cannot tell you how happy we are to have found you.”

We, what’s this we bit?

Suddenly two very young children pushed themselves into the room and rushed towards him, throwing their arms around his neck. After a moment’s fear he surrendered to the wonderful emotions that surged through him as he heard their laughter; feeling their small arms choking the life out of him.

He looked up through rather bleary eyes as the young man knelt down and stroked the fur around his neck, a familiar smell immediately unlocked the memories he had tried to suppress during his waking hours. Memories of this man as a teenager living next door to his mistress, coming over when he was a puppy and playing with him, rolling around in the snow and teaching him how to make snow angels.

“You’re coming home with us Jack, would you like that boy, would you like that?”

To say that he was out that door like a whippet up a drainpipe, despite his dodgy hip, was an understatement. He was helped into a large box that hummed, sitting between the two small children strapped into special seats. They both reached out to touch him; reassurance that it was going to be safe as they set off at an alarming rate.

So here he was on Christmas Day having just eaten a meal of chicken, basmati rice and vegetables with special gravy, no salt his new mistress said in her soft caressing voice. He had a lovely new bed in the same room as his two young friends, Billy and Grace. He lay there in the warmth listening to them breathing gently in their sleep, knowing that he was now their guardian. He was filled with new purpose and strength; even his dodgy hip didn’t hurt as much.

More than anything he felt young again and loved… You’re never too old to feel loved.

©Sally Cronin 2018

At the moment I am offering a free ebook from this choice of five of my books to find out more about them and read a review please click on this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-the-last-author-to-be-self-promoted-and-free-giveaway-sally-cronin/

How to get your free e-book version of these books.

Please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and let me know if you would like a mobi version for Kindle or epub for other devices.  I have no expectation of a review but if you do enjoy the book a quick email to let me know would be fantastic.

Look forward to hearing from you.

The offer runs from today 18th December until Midnight Christmas Eve 2018 wherever you live

 

Smorgasbord Posts Revisited – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol – Salmon – Omega 3 on a Plate


Carol Taylor is taking a break this week due to a laptop breakdown so I had decided to share the first of the Cook from Scratch posts that we collaborated on last year.

Some of you are familiar with my Medicine Woman’s larder and Carol and I have teamed up to provide you with recipes to make the most of these amazing foods.

I am providing the ingredients and sharing their nutritional and medicinal properties and Carol is taking them to a whole new level with her delicious recipes. You can find out more about Carol at the end of the post.

Today we are going to be looking at salmon and because most of these foods are very nutritious the posts with the recipes will be even longer than my usual offerings. I suggest you bookmark for a time you can put your feet up with a libation and enjoy at leisure.

Salmon – Omega 3 on a plate.

Much of the salmon available today comes from fisheries and conditions and feed of these farmed fish have improved through regulation in recent years. However, I am not convinced by the publicity and prefer to eat fish that has been caught in the ocean and to me there is definitely a difference in the taste of this salmon. You can buy ocean caught fish frozen or fresh, but be prepared as Salmon prices have been higher in the last couple of years due to longer winters and shorter fishing seasons in the north.

There is always some concern about the levels of mercury in fish and studies indicate that ocean caught salmon from the northern seas and rivers have levels that are considered to be low and safe for more regular consumption.

There are a number of health issues apart from heart function that eating salmon benefits including weight loss, bone health, a healthy immune system and brain health. The nutrients in this important source of protein are also helpful in preventing cancer and diabetes.

I will begin with Omega 3, which is abundant in fatty fish such as Salmon. Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen. It is important that your overall cholesterol is kept to a normal level but it is equally important to ensure that the balance between the LDL (lousy cholesterol) and the HDL (healthy cholesterol) is maintained with a lower LDL to HDL ratio.

Omega 3 appears to maintain that correct balance. LDL (low density lipoprotein) has smaller particles than the higher density lipoprotein and when oxidised becomes dangerous. Because it is smaller it is able to clump and attach to the walls of the arteries and cause a dangerous narrowing. Pieces can also break off and travel in the bloodstream to major organs like the brain and the heart. An added bonus in eating salmon muscle is that it contains peptides that may also lower blood pressure.

Omega 3 is linked to brain health in a number of ways. The brain contains a large amount of fat especially Omega 3 fatty acids in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). In studies DHA levels determined levels of brain activity and cognitive function and is thought to be essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in babies. This ability is not limited to young humans as it is vital that this brain activity and function is maintained into old age. Including Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet therefore may well decrease our risk of developing degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Carrying additional weight can certainly contribute to strain on the heart muscle and the salmon has a rather unusual property that whilst yet unproven may help in weight loss.

There is a protein that is released when we begin to eat called amylin. This protein travels to the brain where it is measured and the brain then decides when we have eaten sufficient food and should stop eating. Unfortunately we have got very adept at overriding this message from the brain and consequently we tend to eat more than we actually need leading to weight gain.

The salmon produces a hormone called calcitonin, which has the same effect on animals as amylin does in humans. There is no conclusive proof but it is felt that this hormone when eaten might result in us consuming less food.

As we get older the risk of bone fractures increases with many women particularly suffering from hip joint disease after menopause. Omega 3 may be instrumental in decreasing bone loss and therefore osteoporosis.

Salmon is high in selenium,which is a very important trace mineral that activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. It is vital for immune system function and may help prevent prostate cancerin particular.

Overall, the salmon contains many nutrients in the flesh and also in parts of the fish such as bone that is often included in canned fish. It is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, manganese, copper, phosphorus and zinc, some of which are of particular benefit for the cardiovascular system and the heart.

You can read more on the health benefits of Salmon at this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/medicine-womans-larder-salmon-fresh-from-the-sea-or-wild-is-an-amazing-food/

Now I will hand you over to Carol who is sharing some wonderful salmon recipes to whet your appetite for this versatile and nutritious fish.

Fish one of my favourite foods and cooked with fish sauce, chilli, lime and coriander it’s to die for….. so yum. My favourite is Loch Fyne Salmon Trout which I can get it here but when I do it is a welcome treat.…Salmon is so good for you in many ways and Sally explains that very well so between the two of us Sally will give you the astounding health benefits of Salmon and I will provide some easy to follow healthy recipes all cooked from scratch.
Firstly we have Salmon done the Thai way very tasty, very easy and wherever you are you should be able to easily obtain all the ingredients.

Ingredients:
180gm Salmon Trout or Salmon fillet.

For the topping:

  • 1 spring Onion finely chopped.
  • 2/3 stems Coriander chopped finely…i use stem as well.
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli finely chopped.
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce.
  • A cheek of lime.

To prepare

  1. Put fish on foil and spoon topping on. I reserve some of topping to add when serving. Seal foil and put in oven on 180 for 10/15 mins until cooked.
  2. This of course depends on thickness of fish.
  3. When cooked remove from oven and serve with rice.

Enjoy!

Another favourite is Salmon with Linguine.

Ingredients

  • 180gm Salmon
  • 2tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/4-1/1/2 tsp of red chilli flakes. or 1 fresh chilli finely chopped. (you can omit this step)
  • 2/3 large cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 2 small shallots finely chopped.
  • The zest of 1 lime or you can use lemon.
  • 3/4 tomatoes chopped.
  • Chopped parsley.
  • Fresh parmesan as desired.
  • 400gm of Linguine or pasta of your choice.

To Prepare

  1. I lightly steam my salmon and set aside to cool.
  2. At the same time cook your pasta in boiling salted water as per the packet instructions.
  3. Heat your oil in a pan, add the garlic and the shallots and chilli if you are using cook for 2-3 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. I often just add a small piece of butter to this…it stops the olive oil burning.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for two minutes then add the flaked salmon, the lime zest and parsley and cook for a further 2/3 minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta and reserve 70 ml of the cooking water.
  7. Add pasta to the salmon mix and gently combine.
  8. Season and add some freshly grated parmesan cheese…this is where I can get a bit over zealous as we love parmesan, also adjust seasoning if required.
  9. Stir in all or some of the reserved pasta liquid and sprinkle with parsley to serve…with a lovely green salad or some lightly steamed vegetables and of course a glass of your favourite vino.

Enjoy!

Snacking

Sometimes you just want a little snack and this one is quick and easy to do…Most of us have a packet of rice cakes in the cupboard don’t we?…Well lets jazz it up a little and take it from the boring to the sublime.

Just mash an avocado coarsely add some black pepper, lemon juice and a little mint if liked or maybe a little crumbled feta.

Spread on the rice cakes and top with a little smoked salmon…divine.

Having a BBQ?

Then skewer the salmon with some small onions and lemon slices if doing chunks or cut salmon length ways and thread on to the skewer and then brush them with this lovely dip when you turn them on the BBQ or grill.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 smashed garlic cloves
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Large pinch of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil preferably light as extra virgin tends to burn.
  • 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice

Salmon is very versatile and goes with lots of combinations of sauces with oil, white sauces or burnt butter sauce there are many ways you can dress up that lovely salmon

I hope you enjoyed this selection of recipes and reading about the health benefits of the Salmon.

I will be sharing more Cook from Scratch in coming weeks

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

My thanks to Carol for these wonderful recipes and I hope you will join us again next week another Food and Cookery Column….Please feel free to share thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle – Part One by Sally Cronin


Welcome to another story from Flights of Fancy .. this is novella length so I will be spreading it over several days. I hope you enjoy.


The Sewing Circle – Part One

The sewing circle met at Betty’s flat on the ground floor of Malcolm House, every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. There were six regular members, and the odd person who dropped in, who appreciated the group was the source of gossip and information about the Redgrave Estate.

Copious cups of tea were provided with members taking it in turn to produce homemade cakes that were judged critically during the course of the afternoon. Recipes were swapped and toppings envied as the ladies knitted and embroidered the hours away. All of the members were over eighty and had lived varied and sometimes tragic lives. They had been born and brought up in this deprived area of South London, and the fact that they still participated so fully in their lives, was a testament to their strength of character.

The tenant of the flat, and gracious hostess, was Betty Smith. She had been lucky in as much as her husband had lived long enough to enjoy ten years of retirement with her. They had lived in the annexe of their son’s lovely house near Chelmsford, but after Arthur’s death, Betty felt lonely and isolated, especially with her son and daughter-in-law out at work every day. She moved into the flats five years ago, and was delighted to find that several of her old friends were not only still alive, but resident on the estate. She was now eighty-six and a firm favourite with the younger children on the Redgrave; eager recipients of her cupcakes.

Mary Jones was eighty-three, had lost two husbands in the Second World War, three children as babies, and had toiled into her seventies as a cleaner at an office block in the heart of the City. Her wrinkled face identified a life-long affair with nicotine and her skin had the patina of a well-polished piece of walnut. Mary was the matinee-jacket expert, having knitted for four generations of the offspring of her two surviving daughters. Her eyesight was not all that it used to be but her loving family forgave her the odd dropped stitch. Arthritis made it difficult for her to get out on her own. The other more mobile members of the circle would walk with her to the post office to collect her pension on Thursdays and to the convenience store on the corner of the estate. She had recently started using a wheeled stroller and was very pleased with her new-found independence. With the help of her neighbour, she had even made it down to the Red Lion pub for the pensioner’s special one week, and was planning to make this a regular outing.

Sylvia Ross, the youngest member of the circle, was a bit of a mystery as she always changed the subject when asked about her early years. She had no family it would seem, and even when firmly pressed, refused to give details of where she was born or brought up. She once let slip that she had been married, but then changed the subject, which of course elevated the curiosity of her fellow members to extraordinary levels. This resulted in a certain amount of behind the scenes digging, and once or twice snippets of an enticing nature were ferreted out, only to fizzle away from lack of information. She was just eighty and extremely elegant. She always wore a smart suit to the sewing circle, although it was obvious that the classic clothes were decades old.

Her blonde hair was touched up every month by the hairdresser in the high street and her nails were the envy of all the teenage girls in her block. The circle marvelled at her ability to embroider with her extended, red talons, but liked her too much to pass comment. They doubted that they would ever get to the bottom of the mystery, but Sylvia was a lively and generous member of the group who was always there if one of them was ill or needed assistance. She truly had a heart of gold.

Maggie Baxter was originally from Jamaica, and had married a seaman from Hackney in the fifties. She had the most wonderful laugh and her generous spirit was well known throughout the estate. A trained nurse, she had acted as the community midwife for over twenty-five years, and even now, at eighty-five, was called upon regularly by the young mother’s on the estate, for help and guidance during and after their frequent pregnancies. Nothing shocked Maggie, and she could be relied on to keep a secret. She was not above giving some of the younger, more obnoxious, residents of the estate a quick smack if they got out of hand on the stairwells, but on the whole even the toughest of adolescent boys who roamed the estate, jobless and bored, knew that Maggie Baxter would be there any time of night or day.

Her friends in the sewing circle warned her that she needed to be careful when out and about in the area. In recent months, several new families had been housed on the estate and their rowdy kids were an unknown quantity. In fact, petty crime was on the increase, despite the fact that they had their own community police presence, and on two occasions recently elderly residents had been mugged and injured on their way back from the local shops.

The frailest of the group was Flo Miles, a tiny little woman who had amazingly borne twelve children, all of whom had survived wars and sickness. She had thirty-six grandchildren, fifteen great grandchildren, and at ninety years old was considered the queen of the Redgrave. She had lived there since it was built, twenty years earlier, and knew every little bit of gossip there was to be had about the residents. The other members even suspected she knew more that she was telling about Sylvia Ross, but on this subject, she was strangely close-mouthed. She was also fearless, and despite her fragile appearance, walked herself to and from the local Bingo Hall; despite her friends’ insistence that she go by taxi. The fact that she was a prolific winner also worried the members of the sewing circle. She did make the compromise, that on nights that she won money; she would get a cab home, getting the driver to walk her to her ground floor flat, conveniently close to the parking area.

Sarah Dempsey, or big Sal, as she was known to her friends and neighbours, was a gregarious and fun loving Irish woman, who had come over to London as a spinster of thirty-eight, in the late 1950’s. She had cared for her parents until their death and then found herself evicted from her family home by her brother who had inherited the lot. He had begrudgingly given her forty pounds and bought her a one-way ticket to England. Luckily, Sal found a job as a waitress in a large department store in Knightsbridge, and being the hard worker that she was, she remained in that job for over thirty years. She had a lovely little pension as well as her state benefits, and she adored giving unusual and unexpected gifts to every one of her acquaintance. She was treasured by everyone, especially when she burst into song at quiz nights, and other functions held in the community centre.

So, here was the sewing circle, a group of friends who were independent and who took care of each other lovingly. All very different, but all intent on one thing, ending their lives with dignity, and in the company of people they cared for.

There was just one problem, and that was the Jackson family. The Jacksons had moved onto the estate after being moved from two other communities because of their unreasonable behaviour. Archie Jackson was in prison for violent offences more than he was out, and his wife Sharon was a loud-mouthed harridan who could be heard through the thin walls of the flats, shouting and swearing throughout the day and long into the night. They had five children; although it was a mystery to everyone, how she had so many, bearing in mind that Archie was inside most of the seventeen years they had been married. The more uncharitable amongst the residents speculated on the difference in look and colour between the offspring, and there were certainly enough suspicions to cast doubts on Archie’s participation in some of their conceptions.

Everyone on the estate gave the Jacksons a wide berth. Since their arrival, petty crime on the estate had risen dramatically, and the residents’ committee had even requested a meeting with the Police representative, to try to stem the tide of thefts and muggings that suddenly affected the area. The police did what they could, and in fact, they did catch the older Jackson boy, Darren, red handed shoplifting from the corner shop. But because he was only fifteen he was let off with probation. Next, the committee tried the council who said that having moved the Jackson’s twice already they were running out of options. There were suggestions from some of the residents, that a prison ship or deserted island would be a suitable place to move the family, but in the end, the council promised to try to find alternative accommodation away from the Redgrave.

Hoping that a resolution was only a matter of weeks away everyone on the estate held their collective breath, trusting that not too much damage would be inflicted on property, or themselves, in the meantime.

This wish was not to be granted, and for one of the members of the sewing circle, life was about to take a desperate turn.

©sallycronin Flights of Fancy 2009

Other short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Thank you for dropping in and as always I value your feedback. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Odd Jobs and Characters – The Steak House


This series shares some of the jobs I have turned my hand to over that fifty years, and some were very odd. Not many have sat at a table between two teams of champion dairy cows, selling bull semen!  Over the years I have accumulated a massive dossier of characters and events that now take centre stage in my short stories.

If you have read my novel Just an Odd Job Girl you will have met some of them but over the next few weeks I hope to bring you some of the others that inspired and stimulated my imagination.

Not all these posts appeared on Smorgasbord as some fantastic blogging friends allowed me to guest post. If that is the case of course I will include their books and links.

You can find the previous odd jobs here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/short-stories-odd-jobs-and-characters-2018/

This episode was kindly hosted by John W. Howell and you can find out more about John and his books later in the post.

I began my training as an assistant manager in a steak house in Kent in 1974. For the six months, I would rotate around through the two bars and two restaurants that served a simple menu of steak, chicken, and fish. Most dishes came with either French fries (chips) and peas. For the more health conscious there was a jacket potato option, but by the time several pats of butter had been added, it was as fattening as the fries. Dessert options were ice cream with chocolate sauce and sprinkled nuts, or apple pie and cream. The wine menu was short and featured the German white wines so popular at the time, with much touting of the young French red wines with alleged body and clarity.

However, despite not being a Michelin starred establishment, the training was considered to be one of the best in that particular area of the hospitality industry. It was certainly intensive, and when you consider the hours we worked daily, six days a week, the six months training was actually something you would normally complete in twelve months.

The building itself had been built in 1812 and sported the red flocked wallpaper so fashionable in the 1960s and 1970s. Smoking was still in its hey day and the ceiling was a curious shade of tobacco after 150 years of nicotine exhalation. The smell that greeted you in the morning was ‘eau de tabac’ laced with beer overtones. When you had been working until after midnight, had barely six hours sleep, you found yourself declining anything but black coffee until lunchtime.

I have to say that I loved it, despite the hard work and long hours. We had some very interesting regulars, and the locals embraced the concept of the steak house with gusto. It was cheap and cheerful, and as music blared out on a Friday and Saturday night, both downstairs and upstairs bars and restaurants were packed. The waiting list for a table could be an hour or more, but beer and schooners of sherry (lethal), dulled the senses sufficiently for the wait to be quite jovial.

During the day, only the downstairs restaurant was in use and was consistently busy. This offered the assistant managers time to do the usual administrative work needed to run the steak house, such as ordering food and spirits and cleaning the bars after the night before.

In the evenings it was my job to run the upstairs restaurant, with a team of waitresses waiting on the tables, and two bar staff, who alternated between serving pre-dinner drinks and after dinner liqueur coffees with assorted spirits (this is pre-drink-driving laws!).

The waitresses were rushed off their feet as they juggled three or four large plates laden with steak, chicken, and sides. My job to help in reducing the waiting list was to clear the tables as soon as the diners had paid, and re-equip with cutlery, glasses, and napkins as rapidly as possible. I would then dash back to the bar and announce the name of the lucky party over the tannoy system, who could now stagger after me into the restaurant.

One Saturday night in the middle of a very busy service, I had to handle a potentially difficult situation that could have ended up in the papers (thank goodness there were no mobile phones in those days). As you will remember this building was old, and there were dark recesses within the walls and ceilings, that you would have been wise to avoid for what might reside there.

I was checking the state of play on progress at a number of tables where the patrons were wiping away the evidence of their chocolate sundae. I noticed a man at a table with a party of six, bend down to retrieve his napkin. Instead, he came up with something smaller and definitely furrier than the paper serviette. I suspect that as a natural reflex, he stood with his arm held straight out from his body, clearly amazed at his catch. From my vantage point at the entrance to the restaurant, I identified the rotating body of a dead mouse.

There is a split second between shocked discovery and the public announcement of the find. Although never great at school at the 100 metre dash, I now excelled myself. Dropping the waiting list on the bar, I rushed through the restaurant and snatched the unfortunate deceased rodent from its captor, continuing on to the kitchen at warp speed. I deposited the mouse in the bin and turned and raced back the other way to find the patron staring at his hand and looking around in confusion.

Lighting in the restaurants was provided by dim wall lights in order to provide a romantic and intimate feel to the experience. It also served to conceal the tobacco infused ceiling and rather dodgy carpet. It also thankfully managed to befuddle the diner, who thankfully had not only consumed four pints of beer in the bar beforehand, but also a bottle of our best Liebfraumilch. I added to the befuddlement, by handing him his fallen napkin, and asking if the party would be interested in some liqueur coffees on the house, to compensate them for their long wait before dining.

An exterminator was called the next day and traps were hidden in all the usual haunts. But there was a postscript to this story.

One of the waitresses was a bit of a madam and was always giving the chef grief. As part of the staff’s pay, supper was included before the restaurants opened in the evening. The day after the incident, this particular waitress retrieved her indicated supper from the hot plate, and on sitting down, removed the cover. She issued a piercing scream that probably cleared the rodents from the building far more effectively than the traps. I came over to find out what the problem was, to discover her staring at her plate of battered mouse, French fries, and peas.

©Sally Cronin – 2017

 Next week – The Steak House Part Two – originally hosted by Sue Vincent.

Short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

About John Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Books by John W. Howell.

One of the recent reviews for the first book in the series – My GRL.

My GRL pulled me in from abrupt murder at the start of the story and didn’t let go until the spectacular unexpected ending.

I enjoyed the writing style and humor. The plot had enough twists to keep me guessing and engaged in the story.

If you are looking for an unpredictable thriller to get lost in for a day or two, I’d recommend you giving this book a try. I’ll be picking up the other books in the series

You can read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John.

Blog: http://www.johnhowell.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HowellWave
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed finding out about the background to some of my characters.

Smorgasbord – Letters from America 1985 -1987 – Birthday, New Car, Galverston and Houston Zoo


Welcome to the next post in the series Letters from America 1985 -1987. Last week we went on a road trip to Dallas and an encounter with a creepy crawler common in Texas… and another post on our Driving Test.

You can find previous posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/letters-from-america-1985-1987/

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

Dear M and D,

Just dropped David off at the airport on his way to Kansas, We now have a new car, a Mercury Marquis which is a 3.8 litre version of the Granada and is pretty swish. Very easy to drive and has all the bells and whistles including the cruise control that I told you about in one of my earlier letters. I wondered why you could see drivers on the freeway with their bare feet hanging out the window.. now I know!

As you can see from the above address we have found an apartment. We move in on Saturday. It has two bedrooms with bathrooms en-suite and a large living come dining area. It also has a balcony overlooking a wooded exercise area with the pool opposite. It is on the second floor and quiet.. Having been in this temporary apartment for the last month right next to the children’s pool and play area, it made us realise that it might be a better position away from the public parts of the complex.

This place sounds quite swinging (in the nicest possible way). They are having a Hawaiian Evening soon which made David’s eyes light up!!! However, he is fairly resigned to the prospect, as it will give us a chance to meet our new neighbours. (I will have to go out and buy him a brightly patterned cotton shirt to wear.. that will really make his eyes light up!)

With George Washington’s birthday yesterday, we had a nice long weekend. On Saturday we went exploring up to Lake Conroe, north of Houston. We discovered a wealthy resort on the lake with enormous houses and a marina. We would have given our eye teeth to rent one. They are about 3,000 a month or more but fabulous.

Sunday we went to Galverston, south of the city, on the coast. We walked miles along the promenade, full of machos on rollerskates! It is obviously the pick up place…. We had lunch in a hotel on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico, I had a shrimp platter which turned out to be huge king prawns. Nothing like the tiny things we call shrimp in England.

Yesterday we went to Houston Zoo, the sun shone and it was about 75 degrees and beautiful. It is free to go in and we spent three hours walking around the park and were very impressed with it all. We followed this with a belated birthday dinner and after a very hectic weekend I was in bed by 10.30. No stamina at 32.

 

David is away now until Friday but has left me the new car as I need to buy things for the apartment. It is unfurnished, but when we walked around their show flat, I mentioned that I would like identical set up for our apartment. They are being very obliging and transferring it all across to our new place. Normally it would cost 180 dollars a month to rent the furniture but I managed to negotiate it to 105 dollars. I am obviously getting the hang of things!

Thank you for the photographs and everyone looks in good spirits (whisky and water no doubt) Once we are moved in I will invest in some photo frames.

Will write again in a week. Love from us both as always.

©sallycronin 2018

I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane…….I would love your feedback as always. Thanks Sally

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Pre-diabetes, Blood Sugar Control – Chromium


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

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

Chromium.

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. A deficiency of the mineral can lead to diabetes and this is where the primary research into this mineral has been directed.

Chromium first and foremost is a component of the ‘glucose tolerance factor’ which is required for maintaining a normal blood glucose balance. Chromium works with insulin to ease the absorption of blood glucose into the cells and it may also play a part in other activities that involve insulin such as the metabolism of fats and proteins.

This last activity has opened a line of research in the effect of chromium on weight loss, building muscle and decreasing body fat and has led to a lot of chromium based products being put on the market in recent years. There is no definite proof that it works although some studies do claim that in a study that people on chromium lost more body fat over three months than those who did not take it.

It is more important to look at the role of chromium as we age, as there is an increasing numbers of patients who are diagnosed with late onset diabetes. This is nearly always related to dietary deficiency and the concern is that with our current trend towards eating processed foods and excess weight are responsible as we are automatically taking in less chromium in raw and unprocessed foods.

Chromium is very easy to lose from the body in urine, sweat and if we engage in excessive physical activity without the appropriate diet. However, chromium is very easy to include in any healthy diet and should not be needed in supplement form.

Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Levels.

There are still a number of studies looking at the effect of Chromium Picolinate on high blood pressure and the reasoning is that increased blood sugar does increase blood pressure. Additionally high levels of LDL or low density lipoprotein, which has small particles and when oxidised clumps and blocks the arteries, resulting in high blood pressure, may also be reduced by taking Chromium Picolinate. Hence the use of it in this form in supplements especially as it is more easily absorbed by our digestive tracts.

We do not manufacture or store chromium in the body so it is necessary to eat foods regularly that contain it. One concern however, is that the foods that we eat that contain chromium, might not be as rich in the mineral as they used to be. It depends on the levels of the mineral in the soil they are grown in which is variable, dependent on the area and farming methods in use.

Foods rich in dietary chromium.

vegetablesBroccoli has the highest levels of chromium followed by other dark green leafy vegetables, romaine lettuce, onions and tomatoes. Wholegrains, potatoes, oysters and other seafood, liver, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef and lamb also contain. As you can see there is plenty of foods that are usually included daily in our diet but only if we are cooking from scratch. If your diet is primarily industrially produced in a packet you may not be getting the chromium you need.

Just taking a supplement is not the answer and if you are pre-diabetic. The body is used to processing foods to obtain the nutrients that it needs and the first place to start is a review of your diet.

If you have a severe sugar craving then you might then look at taking a chromium supplement to work alongside your diet. Do buy a high quality supplement as they are not all as good for you as you might think.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/absorbing-the-nutrients-and-avoiding-the-additives/

If you are a diabetic then you must make sure that you work with your medical advisor before taking any chromium supplement, as it will affect the dosage of any insulin you may be taking.

If you have any questions then please put in the comments section or if you wish to ask me something privately then please email me. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair Extra… I nearly forgot to promote my own books!!!


Here are my some of my current books that I would like to share today.  I have also included some of the reviews for the books on Amazon and by bloggers.  The icing on the cake..

All except for Just Food for Health are available in E-versions for most readers. You can buy all my books from my own bookstore at the links beneath the titles below but also on

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

My latest book was published on July 27th 2017 – What’s in Name – Volume Two – Stories of life and romance. The print version of combined volumes one and two is available in the UK and Ireland

About What’s in a Name Volume Two

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.

Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.

Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.

In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.

The most recent reviews.

What’s in a Name? Book 2 is a wonderful collection of short stories that will touch your heart. You will find romance, tragedy and heartache. Each story is titled with a male or female name which continues alphabetically from Book 1.

Sally Cronin is a consummate storyteller who has the innate ability to weave a fascinating tale that grips the reader from the first sentence. This reader felt lifted when the characters were exuberant and crushed when they had heartache. If an author can enable a reader to feel the joy and angst along with the characters she has created, she is an exceptional writer!

My favorite was the first story about Kenneth. This story touched me deeply as Kenneth watches the love of his life dancing on New Year’s Eve. I don’t want to give anything away by saying too much. Each story tells an unforgettable tale with a twist at the end. Surprises and twists abound in these fabulous stories. I couldn’t put the book down.

Sally Cronin has many other entertaining books to offer. Several of them I have read and highly recommend them all.

 You can buy What’s in Name- Volume Two: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0748MLZ1W/

and: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W

What’s in a Name – Volume One – Short Story Collection.

Twenty colourful stories of people who have been given the names of the great and legendary and find it a challenge sometimes to live up to them.

The latest review for the collection

What’s in a Name by Sally Cronin is an absolute gem of a book. Cronin is a gifted storyteller, and readers are sure to be moved and intrigued by this collection that was inspired by real-life occurrences. These are stories that will move you and stay with you long after you finish. I read through this collection in one day and have revisited it many times since. A book so enticing is a true testament to the skill of an author. To keep a book near, allowing one to relish in the many emotions it is sure to evoke, ultimately speaks to the treasures held within.

The characters come to life, and it’s impossible not to think of similar people we have met along our own journeys. I laughed and cried, found solace in heartfelt reflection.
A highly recommended read. This is a gift for the soul.

 You can read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

Also now in print available in the UK and Ireland only.

Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Volumes-1-2/dp/1905597797

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Sam – A Shaggy Dog Story – for dog lovers

Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.

If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

One of the recent reviews for Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Brigid Gallagher rated it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Sally Cronin fell in love at first sight with Sam, a collie puppy. I must admit I too fell in love with Sam from the moment I saw his photograph on the cover of Sally’s book!

“Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” is a delight from start to finish. Sam recounts meeting Sally and her husband David for the first time, finding his forever home with them, and settling into life as an “only child”.

He meets Henry a feral cat, who fathers three fine kittens with his lovely partner, and Sam tells us many tales of their friendship in his own doggy style. He enjoys long beach walks where he befriends Abby a white terrier, plays in deep snow on his second winter ” like young puppies getting soaked and exhausted in the process,” and enjoys road trips with Sally in her sporty car.

Sam eventually moves to Spain, where he enjoys chasing water hoses and amusing guests with his party piece of asking for more or “mawgh.” One day Sally is busy with work and tells Sam “You are beginning to sound like Oliver Twist, and if you don’t stop pestering me I will call you Oliver in future.” Sam replies! “Oh, Ee, Va” which becomes more emphasised as “ORH,EE,VA.” He earns a favourite food reward.

Sally’s writing style is gentle, warm and full of humour. Sam’s photographs will delight you, and his words will leave you feeling blessed that you bought Sally’s book

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Size Matters – Especially when you weigh 330lbs

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If I could communicate just a single message to you it is that
obesity, and the misery attached to it, need not be for life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tina rated it 5 stars

Size Matters is Sally Georgina Cronin’s no-holds-barred, true-life story of her journey from near-death obesity to vibrant health.

I first was struck by the author’s willingness to share so many personal things most of us would hold to dearly as private; things that would humiliate; things we’d be hard-pressed to look in the mirror and admit even to ourselves. I knew anyone willing to bridge this gap must be someone with integrity and a deep concern for her fellow human beings.

I wasn’t far into the book before finding the encouragement I needed. The last paragraph of chapter one said it all: “What began as a painful journey into my past became an exciting adventure in the present with expectations of a much brighter future.” Above all else, I wanted a bright future. And Ms. Cronin’s approach proffered that hope.

I’m not going to detail the specifics of this book, because a peek inside on Amazon will show you the table of contents and highlight the details of the program she developed. What I want to shine a light on is the inspiration she exemplifies and offers to all those battling a weight problem.

She knew almost any help given by the medical/scientific/etc. communities would offer template approaches to weight reduction, approaches she and many others have tried and failed at miserably. Because her health was in such jeopardy, she needed not only to urgently change her eating habits, but also to have the results be permanent. Thus began her journey within and her search for a sustainable healthy future.

It’s difficult enough to put one foot in front of the other on a daily basis in this fast-paced technological age. Everyone is multi-tasking and running fast to stand still. So when we find ourselves faced with a life-threatening condition, fear leads us to seek a quick fix. But quick fixes are almost never permanent and almost always detrimental. The author recognized this and strove instead to find her own way back home to herself.

Although despairing and contemplating suicide, she reached deep inside and found a way to kindle her common sense, which provided the ladder needed to climb out of the pit into which she’d dug herself. Admitting her weaknesses and acknowledging her strengths, she put the totality of herself into turning her life around. Plying patience and dogged determination, she climbed out of the suffocating abyss and surfaced into the fresh air of a promising and vibrant life.

I have never been obese, but I have carried extra weight at different times throughout my life. Taking off 10 or 15 pounds is hard enough. I can only imagine the devastation one must feel when facing the necessity of a 150-pound weight reduction. And I use the word “reduction” rather than “loss,” because I think the mind always seeks to find that which has been lost.

In my opinion, this book is not only a comprehensive text for permanent weight reduction, but also a “how to” guide for breaking the shackles of destructive behavior and tenaciously moving forward.

When asked in grade school to name five people who inspire us, most children look to either their families or noted figures in the world. And yet there are so many working humbly behind the global scenes who seek neither notoriety nor acclaim. I believe they’re referred to as unsung heroes.

This review is as much an acknowledgement of the author’s positive contribution to the world as it is of her all-inclusive approach to weight reduction in this outstanding book, which I highly recommend. Shed an ounce of weight, gain a pound of self-confidence. Sally Cronin is an inspirational example for all

 Turning back the clockAn anti-aging programme.
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Living forever is not an option!

However, feeling younger and looking younger is an option available to all!

The maximum lifespan a human being can currently expect today is around 120 years. However, not many of us really want to be even 90 or 100 years old, if it means that we are going to end up filled with medication and tucked away in a corner in some nursing home, unaware of our surroundings.

Making healthy diet and lifestyle choices as early as possible will help you get as near as possible to your maximum age whilst enjoying good physical and mental vitality. In my latest book I not only take a look at the physical aspects of aging but also the mental and emotional issues that we should address earlier rather than later.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Flights of Fancy – Short Story Collection

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A few years ago I produced an audio CD of 6 short stories and today these stories and another five stories plus my novella The Sewing Circle are published in Flights of Fancy.

Ghosts hint at a chance of coming back to say goodbye, exact a little payback, or simply to help someone else carry on living. Romance is not just for the young and nor are second chances. As for revenge, well … never underestimate a group of elderly ladies with contacts from the past!

One of the reviews for the collection

Sally’s lovely little collection of short stories and even a novella offers a variety of everyday life situations and then some. From romance to insecurities (body issues, anyone else?) and even a psychic bird, Cronin’s writing is sharp and edited to perfection. Perfect for a quick read or a great way to pass a few afternoons. This is the first I’ve read of hers, it won’t be the last.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Just an Odd Job Girl

 Imogen was fifty!

 

Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.

For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.

Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.

One of the recent reviews for the book

on 11 October 2017

Her husband of over twenty-five years announces he has found himself a new and younger woman; a fast-tracker, as Imogen dubs her. This is a girl who is out to get man who has already established himself and made money, rather than marry someone of her own age and have to struggle their way to the top together.

Not only does Imogen lose her husband, she is left with no choice but to move from the family home and re-jig her life completely. It’s a daunting task; the children have flown the nest and she hasn’t worked in years.
Alone in her new little home on the edge of Epping Forest Imogen browses the local newspaper and comes across an ad from an employment agency. She telephones, makes an appointment, cobbles together something to wear and, for the first time in a very long time, compiles a CV.
The adventure begins.
From here the story takes Imogen to her interview, where Mr Jenkins ( call me Andrew) invites her to talk him through all the jobs, and there are quite a few, that she has previously undertaken.
Each chapter then describes unlikely and varied forms of employment. There is a lot of humour in the writing, but also some pathos too.
I won’t reveal the ending but, though it came as no surprise, it was just what was needed for this story, with a little comeuppance for the dastardly husband thrown in.

Reading a book like Just an Odd Job Girl by Sally Cronin reminds me that I should do this more often -I love thrillers and dark stories but a little lightheartedness, occasionally, goes a very long way.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Forget the Viagra – Pass me a Carrot… Men’s Health Manual –

51X6tXcHZRL._UY250_The latest headlines in the Media recently are constantly highlighting the fact that men are at risk as they ignore early symptoms of life threatening disease. Cardiovascular and Prostate disease if caught in the early stages can be treated and managed but surveys indicate that men do not know what symptoms they should be looking for.

Despite the title, Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot! is not just about the physical causes of sexual dysfunction and the dangers of taking a drug that is bought without medical consultation, but about men’s health in general. A workshop manual takes the working parts, describes how they function, what can go wrong and how to prevent problems in the future. This men’s health manual – does just that – takes all the major organs, illustrates how they work, the symptoms to look for and also how to avoid the problems in the first place.

It is never too late to make changes that can give your body a great chance at a long and vital life.

Review – J.E. Spina September 2016.

This book was chock full of information on the workings and processing of the human body. Sally Cronin, the author, has produced an incredible resource for all. Everything you ever needed to know about diet, exercise, super foods, vitamins, what’s good and bad for your body and even how to breathe more effectively to keep your body working better.

There is a lot to take in but I felt that I gained an enormous amount of essential information that I always wanted to know.

Sally is a wonderful nutritionist who takes her profession seriously and is always available to answer questions or lend a hand to her clients. She also has a fabulous blog which I follow religiously. I love her books and look forward to more from this talented and articulate author.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

 Tales from the Garden

Newsflash: Tales from the Garden will be available in Spanish in the next few days!

tales-from-the-garden-cover

Fairy Stories for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden, forever.

With over 80 photos/illustrations, “Tales from the Garden” by Sally Cronin,reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees.

You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

One of the reviews

Magical!  on April 1, 2017

Author Sally Cronin mixes imagination, whimsy and magic to create this charming collection of short stories. Each tale takes place in the garden and lovely photos contribute to the enchantment.

First, we meet the Head Guardians of the Magic Garden. These powerful stone creatures introduce us to the fairy kingdom that lies under the old magnolia tree. According to the Guardians, which look like magnificent Lions to me, once every 500 years some very special people are allowed a glimpse into the magical world of fairies.

The Guardians let us peak at the inhabitants and learn more about their lives, which are quite entertaining. We meet the Dwarves Stoned Band, the King and Queen of the Fairies, the one-eyed pig, and other friendly creatures, and we watch them all cavort and celebrate birthdays and hold summer balls.

My favorite fairy tale story told how the garden folk fought against the Winter Fairy, thanks to the help of the Dragon, who has his own internal combustion system. But, the story that I loved the most is about Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman. Author Cronin’s mother tells about her favorite gardens through the years. Mrs. Coleman liked pink flowers, and believed in being dressed and ready for her say by 9:00 each morning. She closes her recap by saying, “If you catch sight of me perhaps you could do me a great favour and pop a large cut-glass tumbler of whisky and water, no ice thank you, on the table beside me.”

My pleasure, Mrs. Coleman. I would have loved to chat with you and savor a whisky in your lovely garden.

Sally Cronin writes with a warm, friendly voice and creates fairy tales with a modern feel to them. I highly recommend this delightful collection. Readers will enjoy relaxing in their own gardens, as they read these pleasant tales and gaze at the photos. This would also be a wonderful book to read to the youngsters in your life.

My mother read fairy tales to me and I believed in the wee folk. I did look for them under flowers and under the forsythia branches. Tales from the Garden continues the delight!

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Thank you for dropping and if you have any questions about the books please do not hesitate to contact me..If you live outside of Ireland and the UK and would like a copy of the print edition of What’s In a Name with both volumes then we can make arrangements.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Merry Christmas.

Smorgasbord Posts from MY archives – Short Story and FREE Ebook – Three Mince Pies by Sally Cronin


Here is one of the stories from my first short story collection released in 2003. Flights of Fancy and if you like this story you are most welcome to have a FREE ebook.. either Mobi for Kindle or Epub for other devices.

All you have to do is email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and ask for the format of your choice.

Three Mince Pies by Sally Cronin

mince piesThe little girl lay in bed asleep, long blonde hair spread over her pillow. From her restless movements it was obvious that she was in the grip of a disturbing dream; dark rings beneath her eyes gave her small face a pinched and unhappy look.

Downstairs, Jenny looked at the Christmas decorations and cards around the room. In the corner, the tree lights sparkled and flashed through the tinsel; presents for Sophie were piled beneath its green spiky branches in a colourful heap. Family and friends had rallied round, determined Sophie would have everything her father would have bought her this Christmas.

Jenny rested her hands on the mantelpiece and stared at the photograph in front of her. It was the last that was taken of them all together. They smiled out of the picture, brown and happy on their holiday in the south of Spain at the end of October. It had been their first family holiday in three years; business had been tough and there had been no extra money for vacations or other luxuries. Ironically, she now had more money than she knew what to do with, but she would give it all back in a heartbeat.

Jack had inherited his father’s building business and although initially work had been plentiful, there had been more and more competition for fewer contracts. He had worked seven days a week and she could see from his face that this was taking its toll. Just after their holiday in Spain, Jack began to experience chest pains that he dismissed as indigestion after eating and drinking too much while they were away. Jenny had grown more and more concerned, begging him to go and get checked out. To keep the peace, Jack had begrudgingly taken a couple of hours off one evening and gone to the surgery. The next day he was in hospital undergoing tests, and that afternoon he was taken to theatre for an emergency operation.

It had all happened so fast they had barely time to talk about the situation. Jenny had been unable to take Sophie in to to see her father before he was rushed away from them by concerned medical staff. She had called out to him as he was wheeled away; but she had no way of knowing if he had heard her soft “I love you.”

She and Sophie had sat in the family room, playing with coloured bricks and a jigsaw to pass the long hours into the night. There had been other families in the room; all looking nervously at the clock until doctors or nurses entered to reassure them that their loved ones were safely recovering from their operations.

They were alone when finally a tall man in a green scrub suit entered the waiting room, loosening the mask from around his face. Jenny took one look at his eyes and knew from their bleak directness that there would be no visit to the recovery room for them.

She allowed the tears to fall; here in private where she could grieve. Away from the eyes of her small daughter who could not understand why Daddy was not coming home from work every night. She tried to be strong for Sophie’s sake, but she had watched her normally lively child lose weight, become silent and withdrawn. Tomorrow was Christmas Day how could they face it without him?

She heard a noise from upstairs. Sophie would be having one of her nightmares, crying for her daddy, tossing and turning, and reaching out into the dark. Wiping the tears from her face, Jenny walked upstairs to her daughter’s bedroom. She opened the door quietly and was startled to see Sophie sitting up in bed, clutching her teddy bear and staring across the room.

Jenny followed the direction of her daughter’s eyes, to the toy cupboard with a plate of mince pies and a glass of sherry on the top. As she stared across the room, she felt warm air flow over her. She blinked and stared at a glowing light that grew brighter and brighter. Clamping a hand over her mouth, she darted a glance over at Sophie and was amazed to see her daughter smiling and holding out her hand to the light. Jenny’s eyes were drawn back to the other side of the bedroom and she gasped, as in the incandescent glow, she saw her husband’s body materialise.

Riveted to the spot she watched Jack reach out a hand, take a mince pie from the plate and raise it to his lips. Taking a bite he grinned across at her. She felt the warmth of his gaze as it rested on her eyes and her mouth and an overwhelming sense of peace passed through her. Jack nodded once and then walked across to his daughter’s bedside where he reached out and touched Sophie’s outstretched hand. A radiant glow spread across the child’s face and laying back against the pillow her breathing settled into a gentle rhythm; she was peacefully asleep.

Her father left Sophie’s bedside and walked to the door where Jenny stood absolutely still as his body passed in front of her. He stopped and she looked into his eyes and felt a gentle touch on her shoulders. He smiled at her and all the love that they had shared was in that too brief moment between them; she knew that he was saying goodbye. He moved out into the hall and turned for one last glance over his shoulder. Gradually the light faded and the figure disappeared, but the warmth of his presence remained wrapped around her like an invisible cloak.

She stood for a few minutes with head bowed, absorbing and taking strength from that feeling before crossing to her daughter’s bedside. She kissed her forehead gently and moved over to the toy cupboard where she stared at the plate with its two mince pies. She always put three of the treats out for Father Christmas. This year he really had come to visit.

©sallycronin Flights of Fancy 2009

I hope you have enjoyed the story and if you would like a copy of one of my earlier books FREE then please email me and let me know if you need mobi for Kindle or Ebub for other devices.. Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

If you feel so inclined.. my other books are available in print and in Ebook. My latest What’s In a Name volume 1&2 is in print for the UK only at the current time.

My books and Reviews 2017

Here are my current books available on Amazon and  Smashwords. 

All except for Just Food for Health are available in E-versions for most readers. You can buy all my books from my own bookstore at the links beneath the titles below but also on

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

My latest book was published on July 27th 2017 – What’s in Name – Volume Two – Stories of life and romance. The print version of combined volumes one and two is available in the UK and Ireland

This is one of the reviews for What’s in a Name Volume Two.

One of my most FAVORITE reads of 2017 September 5, 2017 by

Carmen Stefanescu

It is the first fiction book written by Sally Cronin that I’ve had the opportunity to read. I was drawn into What’s in a Name collection and went on reading until the last story was done. I would call most of them ” tales with a twist.” I really did enjoy this book…you may need some tissue at times. You will love the unexpected and won’t think to put the book down. I found it hard to put down

The motives and emotions of the characters in all of the stories were well defined and expressed. I really liked the fact that each story came to a satisfying ending and the next story quickly engaged me with the new people and place. It’s undoubtedly one of my most FAVORITE reads of 2017, in my TOP 5. Sally Cronin creates stories that will keep you flipping pages and loving it!

I won’t tell you what they are about because being short stories I would reveal important details and I want other readers to live themselves the emotions I experienced. What I can tell you is that each story is as touching and compelling as the next one. The thread that links them all stories or characters is sacrifice and romance. Children, parents, lovers, life being lived.

These stories are for me like a fragrant flowers bouquet, each flower having its own special color and scent.

If you are short on time, What’s in a Name allows you to read something start to finish, which I love. Great for airplanes or a one hour mental break, beside being just great for personal “escape from the world.”

Thank you for dropping in today.. Sally

Please connect to me on

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin

 

Smorgasbord Pet Health – Christmas dinner for four legged Family and a FREE book from Sam, A Shaggy Dog


My usual Christmas post with some recipes for the fur family but this time Sam would like to share his story with you. If you would like a FREE Ebook of Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, then please email me and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or Epub for all other devices.

If you have already read Sam’s autobiography then perhaps you might like to send a gift to another member of your family who might love dogs.  Offer is available from today through to midnight December 24th. Please email sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Here is one of the recent reviews for the book.

Do You Speak Dog? on October 2, 2017

Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story is one of the most delightful books I have ever read. Sally Cronin gives her Rough Collie a voice, allowing him to narrate his own tale.

A few of the things Sam tells us about are his friends (cat, dog, and human alike), his favorite things (sausages, cheese, ice cream, snow), his job as security consultant, car rides while singing along with Sally, and walks along the beach.

Sam is very observant and intelligent. He learns to understand both cat and human vocal sounds. He also learns to speak a few human words! Mawgh is more; heyoo is hello; and Orh, Ee, Va is Oliver. ‘More’ and ‘Oliver’ are interchangeable, as they both indicate he would like ‘mawgh’ of a delicious treat he had just enjoyed.

Sam’s introduction to cats is very positive. When he is still a puppy, Sally and her husband David – the alpha humans in Sam’s pack – adopt a feral cat whom they dub ‘Henry.’ Henry teaches Sam many worthy things about life, and they become great friends. Also, a feral mama cat has kittens on Sam’s property, and he dubs himself their guardian. These experiences prepare Sam for when Sally brings home two kittens. He readily steps up to the plate, nurturing and protecting them.

Sam’s story is heartwarming and humorous, sure to amuse and delight adults as well as children. I read this book in one sitting and was disappointed when it ended. I wanted more, and so will you.

What I appreciated most about Sam’s story is that it leaves the reader with a heightened respect for nonhuman animals. They think and feel as we do; and anyone who thinks otherwise will be hard-pressed to hold on to that opinion after meeting Sam. I would like to see this book offered for sale through animal rights and humane organizations around the world. And for me, that is the highest praise…

You can read more reviews by clicking the cover.

I thought that we could not talk about Christmas without preparing something for the pets in the family. In the old days, and that was in fact only about 30 years ago, pets were fed on scraps as they had been for the thousands of years as our companions.  I appreciate that most of the animal foods available today may be rich in nutrients and full of vitality but I am afraid that I steer clear of dried food and prefer to go the natural route.

Sam our Collie established as soon as he came through the front door at 8 weeks old that the pellets that had been supplied by his breeder were inferior and he was now prepared for the good stuff.

He was not motivated by food in general, just specifically.  Mature cheddar (only the best), chicken giblets (crunchy and with a hint of corn) Ham (unsalted but roasted) and of course sausages (any variety, any temperature, any time)  I still find the occasional desiccated remains of a sausage tucked down deep in a sofa which probably says more about my housekeeping than his food storage habits.  He also in his last couple of years developed a taste for warm, peeled hard boiled eggs and would stand for minutes holding it in his mouth, whining lightly. He would make for the door to the hall in preparation for stashing for later but then he would return and sit with the egg between his paws.  He would nibble off the top of the egg and then suck the yolk out.  The look of bliss on his face remains in my mind today and I miss the old codger.

He never did take to dried food – he would deign to eat the very best of it in a small bowl beside his water.  He finally settled on Basmati rice (any other variety of rice that did not have that distinctive aroma was rejected) chopped cooked chicken and giblets, some carrots and green veg with a little salt free juice from the chicken.  I know some may say he was spoilt rotten but he was bright, intelligent and healthy his entire life and he always politely waited until we had started our meals before beginning his.  A perfect dinner guest.
Here are a couple of favourites that we prepared for Christmas – we fostered some cats in our time and had a small feral family in our garden in Ireland that also partook during the festivities as payment for the rats caught and left on my doorstep!

It is tempting to give pets the same treats that we enjoy but I am afraid that at Christmas treats like human chocolate are extremely dangerous. Chocolate is poison to dogs and can cause them to fit.  You can buy pet friendly chocolate treats at the pet store although I have never found cats too interested in it.

Too many high fat and sugary tit bits can also have a detrimental effect on a dog and cat’s digestion – and their first instinct is to vomit before producing rather evil smelling poop. To be on the safe side, only give your dog different foods infrequently. Having said that, most dogs and cats are used to turkey and chicken so the following recipes should be fine.

Spread the food over a couple of days, as you can store cooked turkey for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Give your pets a small amount on day one; say Christmas Eve, a little more on Christmas day and Boxing Day.  This is particularly important if your dog is only used to dried food as their digestion may not be able to cope with too much of this richer dish.

These days there are a number of ways to buy turkey all year round, not just at Christmas. You will need minced turkey for your dog’s treat and turkey breast for the cat (nothing but the best). In case you are wondering about the addition of a little seasoning to taste, both these recipes are perfectly good for humans with a little tarting up!

sam-and-babies

Christmas Turkey Loaf for the Dog (and his guests)
Enough for 6 servings for a small dog and 4 servings for a large dog.
2 lbs. of minced turkey.
4 oz. of cooked and minced mixed vegetables (left-overs)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder (anti- worms and fleas – and good for humans too)
1 egg
8 oz. of oats
3 oz. of cooked rice
Mix the turkey, vegetables, garlic powder, egg, rice and oats together thoroughly. Put into a greased pan (use a little butter) and pat down the mixture until level. Stand in a roasting dish of water in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook for around 1 to 1½ hours and then cool. Cut into portions and serve with a little salt free gravy. You will probably be asked for second helpings and third with a small piece of cheese to finish off!

three cats
Turkey Surprise – For the Cat  (The cat is likely to be very surprised if it is not out of a tin!)  This is my Irish lot queuing up for lunch……

Should provide 4 servings if you can hide from the cat. If not it will probably disappear very quickly.
1 turkey breast cooked and finely chopped.
3 oz. of cooked carrots finely diced.
2 oz. of finely chopped cooked spinach
3 oz. of finely chopped green beans
3 oz. cooked rice
Unsalted chicken broth.
Mix everything together with enough chicken broth to bind the ingredients. Serve when lukewarm and watch your fingers.

sam photographs 239

Happy Christmas to all my furry blogging friends out there.. look forward to you dropping in to see me in 2018