Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – A Family of Dogs by Sue Vincent


Delighted that author Sue Vincent is sharing a post from her archives, particularly as it is all about dogs that have been a part of her family, going back generations.

A Family of Dogs by Sue Vincent

There have not always been dogs in my life, but there have always been dogs in my heart. All of them, except the setters, who were family and Echo, who was a gift, were rescue dogs. And all of them have known how to smile.

The first was a dog I never even knew. His name was Paddy and his life ended before mine began. My mother wrote his story once and sent it off to her publisher. It was returned with a note saying that it was a beautiful tale… it had made the office smile and weep in turn… but it was ‘too far fetched’ to be suitable for publication.

It told of a stray dog who had wandered into the lives of my grandparents when they were a newly married couple. They had bought a neat little house in which to set up home and, in spite of the onset of war, they soon became a family. My mother was born, Grandad was sent to fight in Burma and Paddy moved in to take over the care of the family.

In spite of the hazards of war, the world was, in many ways, safer and simpler. Paddy would take the basket to the shops and bring home the necessities. He would watch over my mother and, in later years, collect her from school. During the war years, he made it his business to make sure she was taken safely to the air-raid shelter when the sirens sounded and stayed by her side until the all-clear. Even so far north of London, this was not an empty precaution… in March, 1941, an incendiary bomb fell on the house and the scars, like the shelters, still remained into my own childhood.

There were dogs around when I was born… my great grandparents had a house full of Irish setters. Rory was a great, gorgeous creature always ready to laugh and play. Bonnie, his sister, was a pretty, delicate fairy of a girl, while Meg, their mother, already touched with grey around the muzzle, mothered us all impartially.

My own first dog was Kim, a German shepherd. Kim was not really ‘mine’ as I was tiny at the time, and we did not have him for long. My mother was devastated when he was killed by the number 77 bus. After that, and with married quarters, it was not until after I started school that Sandy came into my life. By this time, we were living with my grandparents. Sandy was a collie/labrador cross who became my friend on the day my grandfather picked me up from school with the soft little puppy in his arms. Sandy did not have an easy time, and had to be nursed through months of illness, but he lived to a ripe old age.

My first real experience of grief was when Rory died. I had lost my great-grandmother, but had been too young at the time to be aware of more than the grown-ups reaction to her passing, though I remember the scene vividly. She was someone I barely knew, but Rory was my friend. I will never forget great-grandad coming to tell us in person, his handsome old face streaked with tears. Meg went soon afterwards and Bonnie did not survive them for long… I don’t think they knew how to live without each other and, at the time, I felt equally lost without their presence.

There were no more dogs for a good many years, not until I was thirteen and came home to an offhand comment from my mother. “There’s a fur on your bed…” Thinking it was a new ‘fun-fur’ coat that was all the rage, I dumped my school bags and ran upstairs… and found the German shepherd pup we named Sheba. I cuddled her all night… and we deflea’ed the pair of us next morning.

We moved to an isolated property where Sheba was joined by Cindy, a lurcher. By this time, Sheba was a huge, menacing creature, who stood almost as tall as me on her hind legs. She would attack the fence to warn any passers-by to stay away… and yet would let my two-year-old brother drag her in my the tail. Cindy was found bound, starved and discarded… my mother put her in the pushchair with my little brother and brought her home. We did not think she could survive the wounds and starvation, but Sheba lifted her and made her eat. The two were inseparable until tragedy struck. Sheba was shot by boys playing with a pellet gun. The pellet lodged in her brain and her fits were dangerous. The vet said we had no choice.

There was no chance to have a dog for a good many years after that as I married and left home. There were occasional cats, Fred, the guinea pig, the odd bird… but no dogs. My mother always had dogs, my boss in France had a dog, Bilbo, who filled the gap until he was kidnapped, and my mother-in-law had a poodle who changed my opinion of the breed for the better. But it was not until my sons were in their teens that I was able to share a home with dogs again.

Molly, rescued from the most appalling circumstances, and Echo, my laughing girl…a gift of love given in grief… joined us after the death of my partner. Their presence healed my heart and their loss broke it. I never thought I would have another dog.

And then, unexpectedly, there was Ani…

Ani is the latest, and perhaps she will be the last, to bring the gifts of love, companionship and simple joy into my home. She was acquired from a rescue to be an assistance dog for my son, following Paddy’s lead. But my son recovered far better than we could ever have hoped and Ani stayed with me.

I have learned so much from loving and living with dogs. Their presence has filled my days with laughter and an example of joyful living in this moment. Watching some of them recover from the most appalling treatment has taught me how to accept and how to forgive. I learned from them how to grieve and how to live with happy memories instead of the weight of loss. And, perhaps most importantly, I have learned that the love that wants nothing for itself can heal almost anything.

Appropriately here is one of Ani’s book – Laughter Lines – Life from the Tail End.

About the book

Take a life with a small dog in tow, add a dash of red hair dye, a selection of crumbling biscuits and a passion for recitable verse… The result is a recipe for laughter. Sue Vincent shares her world in verse.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This novel by Sue Vincent is a wonder. It will make you laugh and cheer you up in the darkest Winter nights. A treasure to read and read again.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Laughter-Lines-Life-Tail-End/dp/1910478091

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Laughter-Lines-Life-Tail-End/dp/1910478091

A selection of books by Sue Vincent and with Stuart France

Read the reviews and buy the books from the following links: UKUSAFranceGermany

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6551588.Sue_Vincent

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer, esoteric teacher and Director of The Silent Eye. She has been immersed in the Mysteries all her life. Sue maintains a popular blog and is co-author of The Mystical Hexagram with Dr G.M.Vasey. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there some years ago due to an accident with a blindfold, a pin and a map. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion, the hidden country of the heart. She is currently owned by a small dog who also writes at http://scvincent.com/

The Silent Eye School of Consciousness is a modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. With students around the world the School offers a fully supervised and practical correspondence course that explores the self through guided inner journeys and daily exercises. It also offers workshops that combine sacred drama, lectures and informal gatherings to bring the teachings to life in a vivid and exciting format. The Silent Eye operates on a not-for-profit basis. Full details of the School may be found on the official website, http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk.

Connect to Sue

Blog: http://scvincent.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scvincent
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-C-Vincent/17967259931?ref=hl
Silent Eye Website: http://thesilenteye.co.uk/
Website (books) : http://www.franceandvincent.com/
Silent Eye Authors FB: https://www.facebook.com/silenteyeauthors?ref=hl

Thank you to Sue for this lovely post from her archives and if you would like to share your stories about family, including our fur babies.. then please take a look at the details.

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

If you are an author who would like to share book reviews and interviews on Facebook then please click on the Literary Diva’s Library image

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Mister Fox: Winter’s Tail by Stuart France and Sue Vincent


For Sue Vincent and Stuart France fans, and Mister Fox... then latest book has been released. Mister Fox – Winter’s Tail

About the book

Where is Mister Fox? The night howls in triumph… pale eyes watch from the shadows… It is the night of the Hunter’s Moon and the dancing ground should be alive with flame as the Foxes dance in the dark. But the dancing ground is deserted. They are gone. No earthly light pierces the gloom, only the sickly glow of a veiled moon. Don and Wen stare in disbelief. Whispers in the shadows, a faceless voice, a tale of ambush and betrayal… of Foxes driven from their home and scattered, condemned to wander far from their ancestral lands. Charles James Fox wounded… none has seen him since that fateful night. Will the Hunter’s Moon pass in darkness? Have the Demon Dogs succeeded in their mission to bring eternal winter to the land? Or will their celebrations be short-lived? …For none may mar the Dancing Ground Nor add their darkness to the night, Nor stand against the Silver Fox, The wielder of the Staff of Light…

The book is available Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mister-Fox-Winters-Tail-4/dp/1910478199

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Mister-Fox-Winters-Tail-4/dp/1910478199

A selection of other books by Sue Vincent and Stuart France

One of the reviews for Mister Fox: The Legends.

In almost every culture from the very earliest records we have, there are stories of the tricksters who use brains to triumph over larger, stronger, richer foes, frequently to aid people around them. Tricksters from ancient Prometheus—who tricked Zeus, stole fire, and gave it to mortals—to Loki, Anansi, Kokopelli, Lugh, Coyote, Crow, and so many more worked their clever, funny, and often helpful schemes.

Sue Vincent and Stuart France have added a page to that legend. But instead of simply retelling, they’ve pulled together the mystery and the dance, combined it with firelight and magic, and graphically presented an experience rather than a story. “I have seen them write in fire on the darkness…and heard the drums beaten with flaming brands.”

I can’t review this like a regular book, because my normal benchmarks—plot, pace, character development—are irrelevant. Oh, sure there are words—a new Trickster legend for Crow, and a tale-within-a-tale legend told appropriately by Punch, that most British of Tricksters. There are even inside jokes like the one in which the ancient Fox manuscript is lost when the original Sir Rufus Foxx has to flee the country after “disaster is visited on the family” by younger brother Guido Foxx (Guy Fawkes?).

But ultimately, all I can tell you is that this little book is more than the sum of its parts. The glowing artwork, with its puzzles and hints at so much more, is a much a part of the voice and the magic as the spare words. You can’t read this book as much as experience it. But if you do, you’ll know how art and fire and dance can combine to make magic. And just maybe a sky-full of stars too.

Read the reviews and buy the books from the following links.

Sue VincentUKUSAFranceGermany

Stuart FranceUKUSAFranceGermany

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6551588.Sue_Vincent

About France and Vincent

The writing partnership of France and Vincent has a peculiar alchemy of humour, scholarship and vision that has given birth to many books, including the The Triad of Albion and Doomsday series’ as well as a number of unusual tales presented as graphic novels.

Stuart France – writer and mystic; author of The Living One and Crucible of the Sun. Stuart has a deep and practical knowledge of the Western Mystery Tradition, having followed a Path that has taken him hopping through the branches of the Trees of Knowledge and Delight. His astonishing work with symbolism and the interpretation of myth comes from a profound understanding and love of life and humanity. After gaining his BA in Philosophy and Literature, and his MA in Writing, this Child of Light studied with OBOD, AMORC, and the Servants of the Light and is a Director of The Silent Eye School of Consciousness. Stuart blogs at somethingferal.com.

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer, esoteric teacher and Director of The Silent Eye. She has been immersed in the Mysteries all her life. Sue maintains a popular blog and is co-author of The Mystical Hexagram with Dr G.M.Vasey. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there some years ago due to an accident with a blindfold, a pin and a map. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion, the hidden country of the heart. She is currently owned by a small dog who also writes at scvincent.com.

The Silent Eye School of Consciousness is a modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. With students around the world the School offers a fully supervised and practical correspondence course that explores the self through guided inner journeys and daily exercises. It also offers workshops that combine sacred drama, lectures and informal gatherings to bring the teachings to life in a vivid and exciting format. The Silent Eye operates on a not-for-profit basis. Full details of the School may be found on the official website, http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk.

Connect to Sue and Stuart through their book website:  http://www.franceandvincent.com/

Thank you for popping in today.. I am on a ferry at the moment off to house and dog sit.. so I would be very grateful if you could share the post.  I will be back online in a couple of days to respond to comments.. Thanks Sally.

Sally’s Drive Time #Playlist – #Music to get the weekend started – The Requests – Sue Vincent, Jacquie Biggar, Mary Smith and Tina Frisco


Since the beginning of this series, I have asked you to share your favourite music with links in the comments. I thought I would create a special playlist, sharing the track and link to the latest post of those requesting the song.

The first track is requested by Sue Vincent  Eric Clapton and ‘Bad Love’ Apparently Sue cannot hit the road without this blasting out.

We have some country coming up from Charlie Pride with ‘Kiss an Angel Good Morning‘, requested by Jacquie Biggar and if you head over you can read Jacquie’s review of Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs.

Billy Joel and ‘Uptown Girl’ was the selection by Mary Smith to keep her company when hitting the road.

The stunning voice of Loreena McKennitt and the song ‘Santiago’ was selected by Tina Frisco which I am sure you will enjoy. If you head over you can catch Tina’ recent guest post on The Story Reading Ape.

Tune in next week for part two of the requests from the series. Thanks for dropping by and have a wonderful weekend. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives -Christmas Past by Sue Vincent


Welcome to the second of the posts from Sue Vincent’s Christmas Archives… and today a look back at her vivid memories of a Christmas in Paris…………

Christmas Past by Sue Vincent

There are some things we don’t forget. Times, places, memories that stay in that special corner in our hearts where treasures are kept. There are many Christmas memories, from childhood, of course. There are those precious moments with my children when they were small and their eyes sparkled brighter than the lights on the tree. The one we knew would be the last with my late partner which was full of love and laughter, friends and silliness.

There are times and places we see as pivotal in our growth into who we are and will become. And there was Paris 1981.

And of course, I have the Diaries.

I had been in France for a year and had made some wonderful friends, mainly amongst the resident artists who stayed there all year round and took their art seriously. Others came and went chasing the concentration of summer tourists and francs. My friends were the ones who had made it their home. I modelled for them and fed them when they were broke, and when they sold a painting, we partied. They were some of the best friends you could wish for and we took care of each other.

We congregated in the bar on the corner of the square, “Au Clairon des Chasseurs”. I could arrive for coffee on a Saturday morning and still be there sipping wine in the wee small hours of Sunday. Just talking. The artists would come in between clients to warm their hands and have a coffee or a beer, and as one left another would arrive. Actors, writers, diplomats…all came and joined the conversations at the bar. Mini, Tahar and Thierry the waiters joined in as they could when a moment allowed, and we discussed and debated just about every subject under the sun and then went further, delving into the mysteries of the inner universe.

All nations, all languages, all faiths seemed represented and the only rivalries I ever saw were in jest.

This particular Christmas stands out for many reasons. It was my first in Paris and it was beautiful with the lights and the powdering of snow. How I love that city! It was my first, too, away from home, just divorced from a violent marriage and finding my feet in the world. I had never lived as myself before, having gone from my mother’s shadow to my husband’s control and the year had been one of growing confidence and self-discovery.

It is a curious feeling when a fully formed adult can stand back and observe themselves.

Had I been asked I would have told you I was self-assured and competent at life. Yet as I watched myself in this new environment I was surprised at how small I seemed, how afraid of life, how insecure.. I saw myself as the mouse I had been called and felt myself worth little. I had been under my husband’s control for so long I had lost sight of who I was supposed to be and seemed to have failed to grow into myself. I could see myself hiding behind a false personality, but you could not do that for long in Montmartre.

Gradually, over the course of the year, it had dawned on me that the friends I was making must actually like this person for some reason. Here, I was just me, not my mother’s daughter or someone’s wife. Just me. It was a novel feeling. It fed my confidence a little.
I bought myself a bright red outfit, I who had always dressed in colours that hid me. My friends nicknamed me ‘la Tomate’ affectionately, or called me ‘Yorkshire’ in heavily accented tones. I really felt I had come home. When they give you a nickname, they explained, you have been adopted into the family.

 

My closest friend was Tom Coffield, a brilliant Glaswegian artist. He was a small, wiry Scot with a deep love of Burns and a gift for holding up the mirror of the soul. We had met after I had been sitting on the pavement talking philosophy with Big Boris in broken French. He handed me a portrait but I shook my head. It was spring, the early transient artists had arrived and I wasn’t buying. “An I’m no’ sellin’!” Boris introduced us and wandered off to paint and Tom joined me on the pavement. We must have talked for six hours straight.

He became my friend. And conscience. Advisor and confidante, protector and in many ways a teacher. He was well read, well educated, a challenging conversationalist and damned good fun. More importantly for me, he stripped back every layer behind which you could hide and made you look at yourself. We spent most of the summer talking. He promised me a proper portrait, but it never materialised. Each time he tried to paint he saw something new, knowing me so well, and tried to capture it all.

But that Christmas he gave me something better. He gave me a memory.

We had dined chez Denise on the Rue Lepic and Tom introduced me to Thierry Arnault, who introduced me to his bizarre work and his cats, Snoopy and Pigalle. Armed with a bottle of 1978 Chateauneuf from Mini at the Clairon, we descended on Montparnasse.

Thierry Arnault art.

There was a party at a friend’s apartment. It was snowing and the city was magical in the moonlight. Next day I was heading home for England for a family Christmas, but tonight was for laughter.

I have no idea what possessed me to join Vince in ‘Ilkley Moor bah’t ‘at’ to drown out Tom’s Gaelic. I may be obliged to plead the fifth… not amendment, but Chateauneuf. There was dancing, I was officially renamed ‘La Princesse’, and my diary records, “ …and that was a good day. So many friends I have made! I am a lucky woman.”

The evening ended with Tom kissing me merry Christmas and telling me to come back soon as I was loved by many and would be missed. It was the first time I felt that I really mattered in the world. One is born into a family, but the loves that find and cherish us for who we are, they are very special.

Tom also gave me a Christmas gift which hangs on my wall today. The Clairon and all my friends. Tom is the small guy with the beret on the left talking to Monsieur Steve and old Marcel who loved the light in my hair… I am gazing the long way up at Big Boris and his beard. Alain, gazes soulfully across the room… but that is another story. I knew them all.

Even the pigeons on the glass roof…

…once upon a time.

©Sue Vincent

My thanks to Sue for sharing what was clearly a magical year in Paris and wonderful Christmas.

About Sue Vincent, her collaborations and her books.

One of her most important collaborations is with a small black dog with a delightful mind of her own!  Meet Ani..

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Sue is a prolific author and has also co-written a book with Dr. G. Michael Vasey and over recent years a substantial number with Stuart France.  Here is a small selection.

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About An Imperious Impulse: Coyote Tales – the latest release from Sue and Stuart.

“Couldn’t you make me into a Bull?” asked Coyote. In a time before Man walked the Earth, the Great Spirit breathed life into the land. Coyote was the First. Playful, subversive, curious and sometimes comical, he and his fellow creatures shaped the world for those who were to follow. Coyote is a Native American Trickster and hero of many adventures.

Tales of Coyote were passed down and shared with the young to illustrate the dangers of being human. Wilful, headstrong and always in trouble, Coyote journeyed through the spirit worlds, stealing fire and outwitting Death. When the Earth was loved as a living being, the rocks sang and the trees danced. Animals uttered Nature’s wisdom and the sun rose and set upon a wondrous world. The echoes of this magical landscape can still be found in the myths and legends of many cultures. They represent the weaving of the human spirit and the silent lore of creation.

‘Be careful, Coyote, never perform this trick more than four times in any one day.’ ‘An Imperious Impulse’ is the first book of the Lore Weavers, a collection of ancient tales retold. All traditional cultures evolved stories through which the natural and supernatural worlds could be explained and approached. Beyond their entertainment and humour is a deeper layer of mystery and symbolism through which the wisdom of the people could be transmitted. Telling of a time beyond human experience or memory, these tales meld a knowledge of the natural world with the spiritual and moral code of their creators. The essence of the human quest for an understanding of our role within creation has changed little over the millennia.

From the Dreaming of the Australian peoples, to the Great Mystery of the Native Americans and the ancient Celtic myths, there is a common thread that unites humankind across time and distance. It is in the rich tapestry of folk tales that we glimpse its multi-hued beauty. Long may they continue to be enjoyed.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Imperious-Impulse-Coyote-Tales-Weavers/dp/1910478172

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Imperious-Impulse-Coyote-Tales-Weavers/dp/1910478172

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer currently living in the south of England, largely due to an unfortunate incident with a map, a pin and a blindfold. Raised in a spiritually eclectic family she has always had an unorthodox view on life, particularly the inner life, which is often reflected in her writing, poetry and paintings.

Sue lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born. She began writing and teaching online several years ago, and was invited to collaborate with Dr G Michael Vasey on their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power” (Datura Press).

51sl-a2xhyl-_uy250_Stuart France and Sue Vincent are also the authors of the Doomsday series.

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Find out more about their work together: http://www.franceandvincent.com/

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Sue, along with Steve Tanham and Stuart France, is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, an international modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk

Also by Sue Vincent

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Discover all of Sue Vincent’s books: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W

Read more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551588.Sue_Vincent

Connect to Sue Vincent

Blog: http://scvincent.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scvincent
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-C-Vincent/17967259931?ref=hl
Silent Eye Website: http://thesilenteye.co.uk/
Website (books) : http://www.franceandvincent.com/
Silent Eye Authors FB: https://www.facebook.com/silenteyeauthors?ref=hl

Thank you for dropping in today and I am Sue and I would both love your feedback.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Christmas Lights by Sue Vincent.


Hard to believe that we are only 15 days away from Christmas and this weekend we are putting up our tree. It is a six foot artificial variety that you won’t find in any botanical reference, but it has been with us for twenty years and is part of the family.

Sue Vincent shares one of the posts from her Christmas archives and as always with her stories, it will leave you with a warm glow. Tissue alert………

Christmas Lights by Sue Vincent.

“I must be mad.” A wry smile played amongst the wrinkles as she heaved the top half of the faded tree into place. Not a large tree… about the same height as its owner. Taller, probably, these days, she thought. She had always struggled with the damned thing. Why today? She cursed herself for an idiot, laughed at herself… a fine picture in her nightie putting up a Christmas tree no-one would see. Except her, of course. She would know.

So many times she had dressed this tree and carefully packed it away again. Every year for over half a century. Gawd but that sounded a long time. Somehow, at this end of life it didn’t feel it. But the children had grown and had homes of their own now… trees and children of their own. There had been the year when no-one came… and there is nothing sadder than a Christmas tree no child will see. She hadn’t bothered with the tree after that; not for a long time. Why she had decided to drag it out this year she would never know.

Boxes littered the floor; scraps of tarnished tinsel, the inevitable sparkle of old glitter and dust motes. She straightened the branches, bending their ageing wire into some semblance of order. The thing looked a sorry specimen, after all. Years of use and longer years in the cupboard under the stairs had taken their toll. “Should have left it there.” Her voice broke the silence that hung in the air. Too much silence, she thought.

In the bottom of the box she spied the old CD in its dog-eared sleeve …old favourites. Would it still work? They would make her cry… they always did… but what the hell. The machine groaned and creaked as she pressed ‘play’ and the crooner oozed into the familiar song. She could never hear it without tears welling unbidden; even in the supermarket. That and the damned chestnuts roasting … got her every time, they did. Ah well, she had memories for every note … she pressed repeat. It could keep playing.

She sniffed and wiped her eyes on her sleeve, smiling. Then, eyes narrowed with determination, she bent her knees. Joints protested at the unaccustomed movement; it took a while and a fair amount of cursing to make it to the floor. She had forgotten what the world looked like from down here. The tree looked taller, more imposing. A child’s eye view… Mind you, they had been proper trees then, smelling of pine and shedding needles everywhere that turned up all year in the strangest places. There had been trees so tall they’d had to saw the bottom off to get them in the room… and the ceilings were high in the big old house. She remembered Grandad wrestling with the biggest of them, fighting his way in. It took up half the room. The whole place had smelled like Christmas, garlanded with holly and mistletoe. She’d never liked killing trees though…

They’d always decorated the laburnum outside the French windows too… stringing monkey nuts together to make garlands and making fat balls and coconuts instead of baubles for the birds to have Christmas too. That was where she’d learned their names. So long ago now…

The lights were all tangled, of course. “Sod’s law”, she thought, “I’ll sort ‘em out and then they won’t work…” Even so, her fingers began the long, fiddly job, untangling the wires. She remembered tiny candles on the tree as a girl. Little golden holders with clips on the end. “Gawd, what a fire hazard that must have been. I suppose that’s why we only lit them Christmas Eve.” She plugged the wires into the socket, astonished to find herself surrounded by pinpoints of multi-coloured light. “Bloody hell…” She winced as she climbed to her feet once more, catching her breath as she straightened the stiff spine before winding the little lamps around the tree. Somehow, they seemed to bring it to life.

Tinsel should be next, she thought, picking up the crumbling mass. The tarnished strands looked drab and brittle. Maybe not… She’d always liked the tinsel. Even the plain silver stuff they’d had back then… thin and sparse. Not like the big, thick garlands of it she had bought when the children were small… emerald green. They had spent one December making big, shiny bows to hold the top loops of the draped tinsel that ran around the picture rail. Faded green now, almost silver. Full circle…

The icicles were okay though. She loved those… clear and iridescent, they had always looked good. Garlands of small ones to drape through the branches… big individual ones to hang alone… they looked almost new, like the day they had bought them. Their first Christmas together with the kids… Woolworths, she recalled. They had been expensive back then… they could only afford a few and by the next year the icicles were frosted twists. Not the same at all.

There had been icicles on the real tree too… glass ones. She remembered the care with which they had been packed and unpacked each year from the sectioned cardboard boxes. Each one wrapped in tissue paper… and still there were always broken baubles; shattered piles of gilded shards amid the treasures. The caps went missing too… and the little sprung pins that went through them to hang on the tree. It was always a time of wonder for the little girl, unwrapping the magic of Christmas, discovering old friends… all the baubles were special and had their stories that wound back through the garlands of time and family. Plastic now. Safer. But not the same.

Adeste Fideles… Grandma used to love that song. She sang along with the Latin carol. Her mind went back to the merry old lady in the paper crown, scraping the brazil nuts she loved against her few remaining teeth. Granny had hated the false ones. “Yeah…. I can understand that now.” Paper crowns… and turkey and Christmas pudding…. And Great Granny needing the commode halfway through Christmas dinner every year… “And I’m older now than she was…”

She found a few crackers… squashed and battered. They wouldn’t bang, not now. But then, she wouldn’t be pulling them. They’d had to help great granny pull them too. Still, they had the paper crowns and corny jokes inside. Grinning with remembered mischief, she teased the crimped end apart, tipping the little plastic toy into her hand. Utter rubbish of course… but she had been adept at peeking to see what was in them when she was little. She put the cheap puzzle back in the cracker, crimping the ends so you couldn’t tell… she could still do it… not that anyone would look. They probably never had…then she placed the crackers on the tree. The magic was always there for children… they didn’t care that the toys in the crackers were rubbish. It was the laughter.

She was near the bottom of the box now. Were they really still there? Those little parcels, neatly wrapped… their very first Christmas when they couldn’t afford baubles so had wrapped all manner of things… mainly matchboxes…to hang on the tree. Then there were the little knitted toys her own granny had made… a snowman, an angel and a Santa. The star was missing though… the big, shiny star for the top of the tree. She had made a hole in the back so she could light it up… but it had gone, who knew where… He was still there though. She smiled, reaching down to the bottom of the box… the robin was a little moth-eaten and threadbare, but he still seemed to smile back at her. Could robins smile? He would be the star. She placed him on top of the tree and stood back. A bit wonky, but suddenly it felt like Christmas.

There was still something missing though. Rooting around in the screwed up paper she found the little bag… the nativity figures. She set them out around the base of the tree. Crudely carved, she loved the lines of the tall Magi… and especially the little wooden donkey. She was still holding him as she sat down, breathing in harsh little gasps… she needed a rest. Getting old was no fun…

Rheumy eyes travelled across the tree. She’d always had good taste, always been at war with herself over the Christmas decorations. On one level she saw them as a little overblown and tawdry… but they held memories. Lifetimes of them, not just her own. Every bauble held a story… and they would all be forgotten one day. She was their custodian. For now. Did it matter? Probably not, not any more. The children had their own memories… no-one else would care, not really. They wouldn’t even know they didn’t know, would they?

Half a dozen Christmas cards on the mantle… old friends far away, one to Grandma. That made her smile. She’d kept them, the special ones… the ‘I love you’s, the ones the children had made… they were there. She remembered long strings of cards filling the walls once upon a time, hundreds of them. Never enough room. Such a lovely thing… paper thoughts that had fallen on the doormat, bridging miles and bringing friends and family close to the heart with each opened envelope. She was tired now. “…Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Let your heart be light…” Said it all that song… The room blurred as the tears came. They always did.

Gentle tears, greeting each memory with love, grateful for their presence. Setting them free like snowy doves, saying farewell to the memories that would not return to her ageing mind. There had been love, so much love. And laughter. Silliness and games, tears and longing. Empty places, missing faces, new brides, new babes…There had been Life. And every year of it, there had been Christmas. “…Through the years we all will be together, if the Fates allow…” Would they come, she wondered? Would they be waiting? She stroked the rough lines of the cockeyed wooden donkey… she’d have to put him with the others. Let him go. Not yet though… a few more minutes…

Outside she could hear children playing in the August sun…

The young woman watched from the corner of the room, silent and unseen. She was filled with love for this little old lady. Her heart ached for her, wanting to reach out and wipe the last traces of tears from the withered cheeks… yet she smiled too, knowing they were not tears of regret for loves that were lost, but joy for the love she had known.

She watched as the eyes closed and the mouth fell open, saw the arthritic fingers relax and the little wooden donkey fall to her lap. He would stay with her till they found her.

Unseen, unfelt, she studied the quiet figure, moving closer, dropping an ephemeral kiss on her brow. Where had the years gone? How quickly they had flown… what had she learned and what would come next?

She turned to say a last goodbye to the faded glory of the Christmas tree… a present of Christmas past. A final gift. A Christmas feast of love and memory illuminated by fairy lights. The lights filled the dark corner of the little room. Lights filled with Love and the promise of a greater Light beyond.

Light that drew her like open arms, waiting… drawing her… onward.

There was always Light and Love at Christmas.

©Sue Vincent

My thanks to Sue for this delightful story that illustrates how powerful the memories of Christmas and love of families can be.

About Sue Vincent, her collaborations and her books.

One of her most important collaborations is with a small black dog with a delightful mind of her own!  Meet Ani..

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Sue is a prolific author and has also co-written a book with Dr. G. Michael Vasey and over recent years a substantial number with Stuart France.  Here is a small selection.

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About An Imperious Impulse: Coyote Tales – the latest release from Sue and Stuart.

“Couldn’t you make me into a Bull?” asked Coyote. In a time before Man walked the Earth, the Great Spirit breathed life into the land. Coyote was the First. Playful, subversive, curious and sometimes comical, he and his fellow creatures shaped the world for those who were to follow. Coyote is a Native American Trickster and hero of many adventures.

Tales of Coyote were passed down and shared with the young to illustrate the dangers of being human. Wilful, headstrong and always in trouble, Coyote journeyed through the spirit worlds, stealing fire and outwitting Death. When the Earth was loved as a living being, the rocks sang and the trees danced. Animals uttered Nature’s wisdom and the sun rose and set upon a wondrous world. The echoes of this magical landscape can still be found in the myths and legends of many cultures. They represent the weaving of the human spirit and the silent lore of creation.

‘Be careful, Coyote, never perform this trick more than four times in any one day.’ ‘An Imperious Impulse’ is the first book of the Lore Weavers, a collection of ancient tales retold. All traditional cultures evolved stories through which the natural and supernatural worlds could be explained and approached. Beyond their entertainment and humour is a deeper layer of mystery and symbolism through which the wisdom of the people could be transmitted. Telling of a time beyond human experience or memory, these tales meld a knowledge of the natural world with the spiritual and moral code of their creators. The essence of the human quest for an understanding of our role within creation has changed little over the millennia.

From the Dreaming of the Australian peoples, to the Great Mystery of the Native Americans and the ancient Celtic myths, there is a common thread that unites humankind across time and distance. It is in the rich tapestry of folk tales that we glimpse its multi-hued beauty. Long may they continue to be enjoyed.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Imperious-Impulse-Coyote-Tales-Weavers/dp/1910478172

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Imperious-Impulse-Coyote-Tales-Weavers/dp/1910478172

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer currently living in the south of England, largely due to an unfortunate incident with a map, a pin and a blindfold. Raised in a spiritually eclectic family she has always had an unorthodox view on life, particularly the inner life, which is often reflected in her writing, poetry and paintings.

Sue lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born. She began writing and teaching online several years ago, and was invited to collaborate with Dr G Michael Vasey on their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power” (Datura Press).

51sl-a2xhyl-_uy250_Stuart France and Sue Vincent are also the authors of the Doomsday series.

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Find out more about their work together: http://www.franceandvincent.com/

inner-temple-three

Sue, along with Steve Tanham and Stuart France, is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, an international modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk

Also by Sue Vincent

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Discover all of Sue Vincent’s books: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W

Read more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551588.Sue_Vincent

Connect to Sue Vincent

Blog: http://scvincent.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scvincent
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-C-Vincent/17967259931?ref=hl
Silent Eye Website: http://thesilenteye.co.uk/
Website (books) : http://www.franceandvincent.com/
Silent Eye Authors FB: https://www.facebook.com/silenteyeauthors?ref=hl

Thank you for dropping in today and I am Sue and I would both love your feedback.. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List – Living the Dream with Sue Vincent.


Welcome to the Sunday Interview and the theme is The Ultimate Bucket List.

In this interview series I would love to know what your top TWO items are on your bucket list and if you have not written one yet, then perhaps it is time to get your thinking caps on.

 

Here is more about how you can participate here:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/new-sunday-show-interview-series-the-ultimate-bucket-list-a-test-run-with-sally-cronin/

My guest today is Sue Vincent whose popular blog offers a wide range of topics and themes for us to enjoy from poetry and challenges to ancient monuments and churches. Sue takes us on a journey through a much older Britain when paganism was the religion of the day and as early Christianity began to surpass the old ways. She has a constant companion in the shape of a small black dog, Ani, who also writes occasionally posts on the lack of play-time and missing tennis balls. You can find out more about Sue’s books and collaborations later in the post.

Living the Dream – Sue Vincent

Sally says that the top items on the Bucket List can be taken for granted. That may be so, but if we all wish for world peace, to live in harmony with each other and the earth, and see our children and grandchildren grow as happy, healthy and fulfilled human beings, I sometimes wonder where we are going wrong.

Be that as it may, this feature requires that the top two items should be taken from a personal Bucket List… and that is easy. Once upon a time, Egypt was at the top of that list… a lifelong ambition that never came to pass. Others, such as living la vie Bohème and living in Paris, did happen. I have had my fair share of dreams come true… but that is no reason to stop dreaming.

These days my dreams are closer to home. Top of my list is a camper van. As I would have to submit this request to a fairy godmother, while she is waving her wand, the van would come with several years of insurance and a guaranteed pass on its MOT, an unlimited supply of fuel and, while she is at it, a magic cauldron to keep us fed. It would be big enough to live in for an extended period and small enough to get down the tiny country lanes that lead to every stone circle and ancient site in Great Britain and Ireland.

Okay, the godmother might have to extend my lifespan a bit to see them all, but I would give it my best shot!

I am no fairy godmother Sue.. but perhaps something like this?

In return, I would photograph, explore and research every site… and then write books about them, preserving their history, folklore and stories for future generations and sharing this land that I love with others.

While we are in the realm of impossibilities, my first dream would finance my second.

These books would then prove to be so popular and successful that, when the road ceased to call so vociferously, I would be able to settle down in a cottage, miles from nowhere… a place I already seem to spend a lot of time… with a couple of dogs and a tame raven.

The cottage would need a mountain behind it and a stream of iron-rich water tumbling through the heather that surrounds it… a stone circle close by would be nice too, but I’d hate to seem greedy. It can be as simple as you please… as long as it has decent plumbing and an internet connection. To be practical, it should probably be somewhere the local supermarket will deliver to too.

I found this on Pinterest Sue… would this suit?

Dreams and Bucket Lists are all very well… it is good to dream and have something to work towards, even if you are aware that, in reality, those dreams may never come true.

But it is good also to take stock of where you are…and how close those dreams may be. I currently live with the small dog, in a place far from hills and heather…but with fields full of ravens on my doorstep. I spend as much free time as I can manage exploring the ancient sites of these islands with Stuart France and our books share our love of the land and its stories.

And, if we never reach international bestseller status…in so many ways, we are already living the dream.

My thanks to Sue for participating in this challenge.. and I hope that the images turn into a reality one day.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer currently living in the south of England, largely due to an unfortunate incident with a map, a pin and a blindfold. Raised in a spiritually eclectic family she has always had an unorthodox view on life, particularly the inner life, which is often reflected in her writing, poetry and paintings.

Sue lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born.

Books by Sue Vincent and Ani

41irlk3aanl-_uy250_ 51eltwi-cal-_uy250_

Sue is a prolific author and has also co-written a book with Dr. G. Michael Vasey and over recent years a substantial number with Stuart France.  Here is a small selection.

41j6menjpbl-_uy250_ 41lardqnpnl-_uy250_ 41rbtzowjbl-_uy250_41pohqnoakl-_uy250_51xri-fkwfl-_uy250_

Sue began writing and teaching online several years ago, and was invited to collaborate with Dr G Michael Vasey on their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power” (Datura Press).

51sl-a2xhyl-_uy250_Stuart France and Sue Vincent are also the authors of the Doomsday series.

41g1rltc0wl-_uy250_ 41mb7ais2l-_uy250_ 510ubnb19ql-_uy250_

Find out more about their work together: http://www.franceandvincent.com/

inner-temple-threeSue, along with Steve Tanham and Stuart France, is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, an international modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk

Also by Sue Vincent

41wlzm7ejdl-_uy250_ 413l6tp2v-l-_uy250_

Read the reviews and discover all of Sue Vincent’s books: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W

Connect to Sue Vincent

Blog: http://scvincent.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scvincent
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-C-Vincent/17967259931?ref=hl
Silent Eye Website: http://thesilenteye.co.uk/
Website (books) : http://www.franceandvincent.com/
Silent Eye Authors FB: https://www.facebook.com/silenteyeauthors?ref=hl
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551588.Sue_Vincent

Thank you for joining us today and we look forward to your feedback. And if you would like to share your top two ultimate bucket list items then head over to the post and check out what I need. Thanks Sally

:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/new-sunday-show-interview-series-the-ultimate-bucket-list-a-test-run-with-sally-cronin/

 

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Sue Vincent and Barb Taub


Welcome to the first of the posts where you can air your latest reviews either from Amazon, Goodreads or from a blog post. This is an opportunity to crow a little about your work.. don’t miss it.. email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

The first review is for Sue Vincent’s Laughter lines on Robbie Cheadle’s blog : https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/my-review-of-laughter-lines-life-from-the-tail-end-by-sue-vincent/

About the book

Take a life with a small dog in tow, add a dash of red hair dye, a selection of crumbling biscuits and a passion for recitable verse… The result is a recipe for laughter. Sue Vincent shares her world in verse.

Robbie and her son’s review for the book.

Michael and I are firm Ani addicts so another whole book about Ani’s antics is a real treat. The goings on of Ani’s two legs, sets Michael off into gales of laughter so we are really happy to read about the trials and tribulations of “Her” too.

The book is written in rhyming verse and tells all sorts of tales. To coin a phrase, Ani says:

“The time has come,” the doglet said,

“to talk of many things;

Of tennis balls and squeaky ducks,

and sneaky bees with stings; …”

In this book, Laughter Lies, Life from the Tail End, you will meet some of Ani’s friends, OR NOT:

The cat likes to sit on the roof of the shed

While the dog views this as an intrusion,

It’s all fur and teeth

As the dog growls beneath

And the birds flutter round in confusion.

We get some insights into Ani’s diet:

Its cream cheese and crackers for me and the dog,

While I’m more the epicure… she’s just a hog…

AND

Me and the dog had a sandwich for brunch

(Well, for me it was breakfast, for her it was lunch.)

NOT TO MENTION

The ham disappeared without leaving a trace

Except for the grin upon one small dog’s face.

So if you like to enjoy life and have a good giggle, pick up this delightful book of light-hearted poems and jump right in. There are also some lovely photographs in the book for the reader to enjoy.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Laughter-Lines-Life-Tail-End/dp/1910478091

A selection of books by Sue Vincent

Find out more about Sue Vincent and her books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W

The next featured author is Barb Taub and her book Do Not Wash Hands in Plates. She received a glowing review on Goodreads from poet Ritu Bhathal.

About the book

Once upon the Land Before Time (or at least before mobile phones), my two best friends and I decided to leave the US from separate locations and meet up in Europe. To everyone’s shock, Janine, Jaya and I pulled it off—mostly because we went to Luxembourg, a country so small the odds in favor of chance street encounters were almost 100%, but also because Jaya was carrying the BS, a blue suitcase so enormous it took up approximately a third of the country’s square footage and was visible on satellite images. We couldn’t possibly miss.

It took over thirty-five years before—in a combination of optimism and failing memories— we recklessly decided to repeat this feat. Hey, we reasoned, now we’ve got smartphones, better credit ratings, wheeled suitcases, medical insurance, and the ability to drink legally. Just to make it more interesting, this time we chose to meet in India, where the odds against the three of us actually linking up were approximately a bazillion to bupkis.

This is the story of three women eating our way across India in search of adventure, elephants, temples, palaces, western toilets, monkeys, the perfect paratha…and the kindness of Indian strangers.
The review from Ritu Bhathal who rated it  5 stars

What a delicious recount of what was a most memorable trip to India by Barb Taub and her friends. Being an Indian myself, I relished in the thoughts of many a situation that we consider normal, but which, for Taub, would have been most alien!
Saying that, as an British Indian, I have seen far less of my Motherland than Taub and her friends!

Taub’s recounts are hilarious, and each page is peppered with the delicacies that they encountered along the way, proving, once and for all, that India is one of the most hospitable countries out there, with an abundance of yummy food at every corner, literally. Parathas…? YUM!”

Reading about how they encountered the driving there (I too travel in a car with my fingers in front of my eyes when we visit family there!) and crossing roads in busy Mumbai (same in Delhi and Ludhiana!) brought back funny memories of past trips.

If you are looking for a quick pick me up, with laughter at every turn, this is your book!

Read the reviews on Amazon and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Not-Wash-Hands-Plates-strangers-ebook/dp/B01A34USEA

Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28430082-do-not-wash-hands-in-plates

Also by Barb Taub

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Barb-Taub/e/B00EZP9BS8/

Follow Barb Taub on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7267656.Barb_Taub

Thank you for dropping by today and it would be great if you could spread the news about these authors and their new reviews.. Let me know if you have one to share. Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Music That Means Something Challenge – Day 2 – Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones


Sue Vincent kindly nominated me for this challenge.  Music that Means Something to You which entails posting a song a day with the reasons behind your choice… this might include the lyrics or the style of music or perhaps an event that this piece reminds you of.

To read how it should be done here is Sue’s Day 1 – with the music and profound lyrics of Leonard Cohen.  https://scvincent.com/2017/04/08/music-that-means-something-day-1-leonard-cohen/

The rules of the challenge are simple:
Post a song a day for five consecutive days.
Post what the lyrics mean to you. (Optional)
Post the name of the song and a video.
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge.

Finn Mac Cool

Today I nominate Paul Andruss who writes fabulous posts on some of the iconic music legends such as David Bowie.. I am hoping that he can handle five posts along with his massive work load but if not one or two will be more than sufficient!  http://www.paul-andruss.com/the-rise-of-ziggy-stardust/

Paul is my guest tomorrow in the book reading at the cafe and will be looking forward to all your questions..

The twist in the challenge is that the lyrics should mean something….

I was looking for an excuse to recycle some of my Music Memories from 2015.. so the following may be familiar to some of you.

Last week I paid tribute to my first full time boss Roland Phillips who instilled in me a very robust work ethic. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/thank-you-roland-phillips-dds-for-teaching-me-about-work-ethics/

1972 had been a challenging year at work as we were without electricity frequently during the miner’s strike. However, I worked hard I also played hard and dancing was very high on the agenda and I was blessed with amazing friends and social life.

Having gone through a tough breakup of my first serious romance by mid-year I was not interested in having a boyfriend. Luckily for me, the crowd that I socialised with included quite a few really charming young naval officers who were good friends. They were happy to have a date for functions and head out to meals and dances as a group.

Apart from Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Nuffield Club, which is now part of Portsmouth University, there were opportunities to don evening dresses and attend mess functions and Summer Balls. I remember that summer as being very therapeutic.

Music of 1972 was a strange mix. In the UK, one of the top tracks of the year was Amazing Grace by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards followed by Mouldy Old Dough by Lieutenant Pigeon, Without You by Nilsson, I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing by the New Seekers and Mother of Mine by Neil Reid.

Great songs but I was into dance in a big way and loved nothing better than flinging myself around the dance floor with abandon. This led to a rather unfortunate incident whilst I was dancing to my all-time favourite track Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones.

One of the new hair fashion trends at the time  was the forerunner of today’s extensions. A long half wig was attached to a wide black velvet band and turned you into a blonde siren in about five minutes… I saved up and bought one of these early fascinators and proudly walked in to the Nuffield Club one evening.

Part way through the night and Brown Sugar begins to belt out and a tall good looking young man saunters over and invites me to dance. I was delighted to accept and prepared to do justice to the music.

At this point I need to describe the dance floor. Not overly large but the ceiling was supported by a number of posts that were positioned at the edges of the space, which by now is heaving with Rolling Stones fans.

I was giving it all I had, flinging my new, long blonde locks around as I twirled and shimmied. Suddenly, I noticed that my dance partner was looking rather strangely at me. This gave me pause for thought and I looked around to see what might be the cause of his consternation. Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of something attached to one of the aforementioned posts.

Caught halfway up the pillar was my hairpiece hanging limply from a nail protruding from the wood. The fact that my long blonde hair was no longer on my head had ramifications. It meant that I was standing on a crowded dance floor with my own hair enclosed in a rolled up stocking held on with hair clips.

There was a hasty dash across the dance floor to the dying notes of the Rolling Stones, a quick grab of the hair and off to the ladies for a good cry and a regroup. Needless to say I flogged the hairpiece the next day to an unsuspecting girlfriend for £1.

I still have Brown Sugar on my playlist and is on my treadmill programme. I cannot help but burst out laughing whenever it comes up.

You can buy Rolling Stone Music from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/The-Rolling-Stones/e/B000APYW40

Previous posts in this challenge.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/music-that-means-something-challenge-day-1-younger-than-springtime-south-pacific/

Thank you for dropping in and hopefully see you tomorrow with another of the songs that mean something to me. Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Book Reading and Interview – Sue Vincent


Sally's Cafe and BookstoreWelcome to this week’s Book Reading and Interview that features the authors on the shelves of Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore. After setting the cafe up last year I intend now to use as the focal point for all book promotions here on Smorgasbord. Once in the cafe, authors can be updated in the twice weekly posts with their new releases and also excellent reviews… but they can now also do a book reading and interview as they might do in a real bookstore.

This is intended to be an interactive interview with you the reader and it would be wonderful if you could therefore ask guests your questions in the comments section.

Sue Vincent

My guest today is Sue Vincent who has supported my blogging and writing efforts almost from the beginning of my life here online. Very supportive of other writers, you will find guest posts as well as wonderful features on some of our spiritual and ancient parts of Britain. Ably assisted by her office manager, a small black dog called Ani.

41irlk3aanl-_uy250_ 51eltwi-cal-_uy250_

Sue is a prolific author and has also co-written a book with Dr. G. Michael Vasey and over recent years a substantial number with Stuart France.  Here is a small selection.

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Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer currently living in the south of England, largely due to an unfortunate incident with a map, a pin and a blindfold. Raised in a spiritually eclectic family she has always had an unorthodox view on life, particularly the inner life, which is often reflected in her writing, poetry and paintings.

Sue lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born. She began writing and teaching online several years ago, and was invited to collaborate with Dr G Michael Vasey on their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power” (Datura Press).

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Stuart France and Sue Vincent are also the authors of the Doomsday series.

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Find out more about their work together: http://www.franceandvincent.com/

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Sue, along with Steve Tanham and Stuart France, is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, an international modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk

Also by Sue Vincent

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Discover all of Sue Vincent’s books: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W

Now it is time for Sue to join us with the three questions she has chosen from the menu and her three personalised questions I have asked her.  Please add your questions in the comments section and Sue will be delighted to answer them in the next couple of days.

Do you have a favourite quote? What does it means to you as an individual?

A few years ago I would have said that my favourite quote was one that is generally attributed to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” When I first read those words, they put pretty much everything into perspective. These days, I’ll credit my co-author, Stuart France, with my favourite quote and say simply, “Find the path and stay on it.” Whatever path speaks to your heart, what else is there to do but follow it from the heart?

If you were offered three wishes to change the world, what would they be?

Three wishes to change the world? I would wish that humankind would look into the mirror of their own being, collectively and as individuals and see ourselves as we truly are, the good, the bad, our origins in earth and our origins in spirit. I would wish for us to have the courage to acknowledge what we see in ourselves and each other… and for the clarity of vision that lets us see ourselves looking out from every pair of eyes that we meet. I think that would change humanity’s perspective and shift the focus towards compassion and understanding.

What is your definition of success?

Finding the path and staying on it. We all know, in our heart of hearts, who we should be. We all have dreams… as well as the responsibilities that come with living in society. Success, to me, cannot be counted in terms of fame and fortune, but only in whether or not you have been true to yourself. Most of us spend a large part of our lives in casting around for the path we need to take, making side-trips, hitting dead ends…and making a lot of mistakes along the way, if we are honest with ourselves. Success, to me, is the ability to learn from that journey enough to recognise the right path for you… then allowing it to lead you forward.

41s1s2a7bnl-_uy250_Has your style as a writer changed since your first book Sword of Destiny and if so how?

I started writing Sword many years ago. I would like to think that my ‘formal’ writing style is now more confident, less wordy and more open. The less formal style that I use with most blog posts is the biggest change. I stopped writing how I thought I ought to write and started writing as me instead. This has found its way into everything that I write; even writing as a character, you have to write from the centre of yourself. I must have written more than five million words in the past five years; the words soon add up when you write every day. With that kind of volume, you can’t pretend to be something you are not for long and expect to get away with it!

You have co-written several books with Stuart France – what are the key elements of working with another author?

I have never found it difficult to work with other writers. My first collaboration was ‘The Mystical Hexagram’ with G. Michael Vasey, a project very close to his heart.

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Working with Stuart is easy; we talk a lot and share many of the experiences about which we write. If I had to name the qualities you need to write with another author, they would be respect, trust and communication. I cannot see how such a collaboration could work without them. I have the utmost respect for Stuart’s knowledge and abilities as a writer, trust him absolutely and … we talk a lot.

It is clear that you have a huge amount of respect for the natural world and our ancient heritage. Is there a specific time in our history that you would have liked to have lived and if so why?

Only if I could remember it now! Ancient Egypt would be a must, Paris in la belle époque and here, at the time the great stone circles were built. There are scenes in my mind that feel like memories and I am a believer in reincarnation, so who knows? Perhaps they are no more than dreams and images crafted by the imagination around acquired facts and ideas. Perhaps the memories are genetic, as recent research suggests we carry many of our ancestral memories at that level of being. Or perhaps I already did. If so, I wish I could remember more!

Sue has chosen to share this poem with us.

Tall the cliffs of stone
That mark the entry to my heart’s domain,
Wild and empty in its vastness
The solitude of living earth.
The wind lifts the heart
And bears it through the storm
Where the lichen crusted rocks
Cling to the clouds.
Part of my heart remains there
Scattered with the ashes of a lost love,
Mingled with the joy and pain of memory,
Of childhood wonder and a lover’s kiss.
Deep the roots which bind me to that land,
As weathered pines that cling for life
To the purple hillside…
Genuflecting, but standing, still,
Naked in the mist.
Great stones,
Ice carved in aeons past
Into a landscape of dreams,
Marked by ancient hands
With figures of Light,
That I may stand beside them,
Millennia apart,
And recognise my kin.

A reminder of where you can discover all of Sue Vincent’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Sue Vincent/e/B00F2L730W

Connect to Sue Vincent

Blog: http://scvincent.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scvincent
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-C-Vincent/17967259931?ref=hl
Silent Eye Website: http://thesilenteye.co.uk/
Website (books) : http://www.franceandvincent.com/
Silent Eye Authors FB: https://www.facebook.com/silenteyeauthors?ref=hl
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551588.Sue_Vincent

Thank you for joining us today and I am sure you must have some questions that you would like to ask Sue about her life and work.. Please leave your questions in the comments section and Sue will answer them when she is popping in. Thanks Sally.

If you would like to do a book reading and interview you will find the details in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/