Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Spain Chronicles, Part 1 by Darlene Foster


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

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

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

This is the first post from author Darlene Foster and I thought I would share her Spain Chronicles Part 1 and next time Part 2.

It is coming up to six years since we packed up and moved to Spain. Recently at a writing group, we were given the prompt of – Screw it, let’s do it! I decided this would be a good time to write about the trials and tribulations we had as we prepared for this huge move. The group enjoyed my story, so I decided to share it with my blog followers.

Screw It Let’s Do It!

Retirement loomed. My husband and I often talked about retiring to a warmer climate. Many of our friends had bought property in the southern United States, Mexico, Central and South America. But hubby wasn’t keen on living in any of those places. His parents retired to Spain from the UK a number of years earlier, and we had visited them there a few times. We both liked Spain.

This will do.

It was a long way from Canada, but it had the appeal of being in Europe and close to other countries we wanted to explore. I loved the history, the beaches and the weather. It was affordable for people living on a pension., too. Paul imagined riding his Ducati on twisty mountain roads all year round, and I entertained thoughts of writing books and travel articles while sitting in the sun.

We booked a trip, and while in Spain, we found places along the Costa Blanca that could work for us within our price range. Once returning home, we did further research. Retiring to Spain became more of a consideration. When I told my children our potential plans, they said, ‘Do what makes you happy, mom.’ I mentioned to my daughter that I would give her my trusty Honda Civic. Her eyes perked up and she asked, ‘When are you going’?

With the blessings of the family, we began the process of clearing out the apartment and putting it up for sale. Having downsized from a 2500 square foot house to a 1350 square foot apartment fourteen years earlier, we didn’t think it would take much work. We didn’t realize how much we had acquired in that time!

Both of us still working, every weekend was spent clearing out closets, file cabinets and storage spaces, as well as painting and decorating to make the place look fresh and clean. We met with three different real estate agents, and decided to list with the one we felt would represent our place well based on her enthusiasm. There were many showings but no offers. As we had some wiggle room, we dropped the price a bit.

Over the summer, I gave away, donated and sold seventy percent of our belongings. Time was spent with family and friends as it might be awhile until we saw them again once we made the move across the ocean. There was one offer on the apartment. Way too low, we turned it down. There was still time. I knew the right people would come along and love our garden apartment in its great location as much as we did.

Retirement party!

I retired at the end of September and we booked tickets to Madrid leaving the first of November. I made one last trip to Alberta to ensure my mom was settled into her care home and to spend valuable time with my grand and great grandkids. An offer on the apartment came through while I was there. Although low, after some negotiating, we came to an agreement. They were to sign the papers the last week of October. For all intents and purposes, it was a done deal. Things were looking good. We went out for drinks with friends to celebrate.

I sold the rest of the furniture and organized a moving company to pack and pick up the personal belongings we would take with us.

On the last Monday of October, I woke up to a very upsetting message from my son. A good friend of ours had passed away in her sleep at the age of 53. I was devastated. I had just seen her two weeks earlier, a picture of health.

An hour later, I received a call from the realtor. The people who bought the apartment were to sign the papers for the sale the next day. Except, they decided to withdraw from the agreement, forfeiting their deposit.

What else could go wrong! I felt the walls crashing in all around me.

The furniture was all gone except for the bed. The dishes, pots and pans, and everything else were packed, ready to be picked up by the movers the following day. My daughter was coming for my car on Wednesday. Hubby had already sold his car and shipped his Ducati. It was already on the way to Spain!

Even if we stayed until we sold the place, we had nothing but an empty apartment. I was sick to my stomach. We sat on the bed, and in between my incessant sobbing, we explored our options.

Finally we decided. Screw it, let’s do it.

So with very little money and continuing mortgage payments, we flew out to Spain on November 1st, 2014 as planned. Well actually, we ended up flying out on November 2nd, but that’s another story, for another day.

©Darlene Foster 2020

Next time part two of this Spanish adventure for the intrepid Fosters.

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

amandadanubefinal978192676055151pisqlz-zl-_sx309_bo1204203200_

Find out more about Darlene’s books and read the reviews: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman

 

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

Head over to find out how to participate in this series: Posts from Your Archives 2021

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Breakfast Show – 1960s Hits Part One – Special Guests Ann Patras, Darlene Foster


Over the last four weeks we have been featuring the hits in the charts of 1960-1962. We have also included some of the notable events in those years for the up and coming stars who were centre stage at the time. You can find these posts:The Breakfast Show with hosts William Price King and Sally Cronin

We will be sharing the music of the 1960s until the end of May before moving on to the 1970s. Participate in the spin-off shows and share your memories of the music of the 60s. An opportunity to share your work and here are the details: The Breakfast Show 2021

Our first guest today is Ann Patras who shares her love of music from an early age and a track that is close to her heart.

Music in my Life – Ann Patras

This was taken on the veranda of the Atlantic Hotel adjoining Magaluf beach, Mallorca in 1968. I first went there with my grandmother when I was 11, when the Atlantic was the ONLY hotel there. (I wouldn’t go to Magaluf now if you paid me!)

Like you, Sally, my life was filled with music from the year dot. We had a Radio Relay speaker in our living room which played all the BBC channels, but from 7 o’clock at night we had to use the transistor radio to get Radio Luxemburg, which was the only radio source of pop music for years.

We had a cabinet Décor record player in our front room, which was then joined by a reel-to-reel tape player. We played anything from big band crooners and popular soloists to early pop music.

I was seventeen when I recognised the need for quality stereo equipment. I was at my cousin Tony’s house who was/is a ‘sound expert’ and we were listening on his amazing set-up to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band when the track ‘Good Morning, Good Morning’ came on. I couldn’t believe it when at the end of the track I heard a hunt galloping across the room from the left speaker and disappearing off behind the right one. For my 18th birthday I was given a proper hi-fi system.

Apart from regular stuff, we used to buy ‘Sampler’ LP records which contained tracks ranging from soloists, through groups to film theme tunes. I used to love these LPs as they introduced me to so many artists in different genres that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise come across.

Although I have hundreds, there are two songs in particular which remind of those sixties music days. Obviously Good Morning is right up there at the top, but the other is by my dear departed mum’s favourite artist, Tony Bennett. (Who is still singing live, aged 94 at the time of writing!) I absolutely love his original rendition of “A Taste of Honey” Tony Bennett

These days my preferred listening is 70s/80s rock music, although occasionally something current can grab my attention, as proven when I gave my son a lockdown haircut earlier this year while dancing to Uptown Funk. (A must see video)

Ann Patras has written three memoirs of her life in Africa..What started out as a two-year contract in Zambia, resulted in her living in Africa for 31 years.The onset of those 31 years came with some surprises. She didn’t know anything about the place they were moving to (1980 was light years before the internet), if she had known she might not have agreed to go. Within days of arrival in Zambia she was horrified to find they didn’t have English-type pubs, toilet rolls were an endangered species, ants were the size of small cats and there was a fly whose larvae ate you from the inside out if you didn’t iron all your laundry. Yes, even socks!

Maintaining the sunshine theme she now lives in Spain, with the same weird-sounding husband and writes books about all their crazy experiences.

Read the reviews and buy Ann’s books: Amazon UK –  And:Amazon US – Follow Ann:  Goodreads – Website: Ann Patras Author – Facebook: Ann Patras Author

The second guest today is Darlene Foster who shares her memories of music on the radio and listening to Country and Western Music.

A teenage Darlene

I was raised with music in the house. We didn’t have a TV so the radio was on all the time. My cowboy dad loved country and western music so the likes of Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers and Gene Audrey is what he enjoyed. Then Elvis came on the scene, initially as a country singer, and introduced rock and roll to our house. My first album, Blue Hawaii, was a gift from my parents. I was heartbroken when he had to join the army. As a teenager in the 1960s, I became aware of the anti-war movement and felt strongly about it. It was reflected in my choice of music at the time. Where Have All the Flowers Gone, was a favourite of mine. Although many performers have recorded this meaningful Pete Seeger song, Peter Paul and Mary’s version is the one I love the most. I was delighted to see them perform this and many of their great songs years later. This song still makes me emotional when I hear it as it is as relevant today as it was back then.

Here is my choice for the 60s songs. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Peter Paul and Mary recorded in 1962. I could not find a video from back then but here is one from a performance later. I was lucky to see them perform this song, and many others I love, when they were at this age.

 

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

amandadanubefinal978192676055151pisqlz-zl-_sx309_bo1204203200_

Find out more about Darlene’s books and read the reviews: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman

Join us tomorrow for special guests John W. Howell and Jennie Fitzkee with their memories and favourite music of the 1960s

Thanks for joining us today and as always we would love your feedback..you can all the Tuesday Breakfast Shows so far in the directory Here

 

Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews #Travel #Adventure Darlene Foster, #Monarch #Butterfly Bette A. Stevens


Welcome to the Children’s Cafe and Bookstore with New releases and recent reviews for the authors on the shelves.

If you are a children’s author with books suitable up to the age of 12 years old then please check out how you can add your books to the Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – FREE book marketing.

The first author today is Darlene Foster who received a lovely review for Amanda in Alberta on Jennie Fitzkee‘s blog.

About the book

Amanda is delighted to show Leah aaround Alberta during her visit from England. They take in the Calgary Stampede, go on a cattle drive, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, spend time with the dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and explore the crazy Hoodoos.When Amanda finds a stone with a unique mark on it, she doesn’t think it’s important until everyone seems to want it – including a very ornery cowboy. Is this stone worth ruining Leah’s holiday and placing them both in danger?Spend time with Amanda as she explores her own country while attempting to decipher the mysterious writing on the stone and keep it from those determined to take it from her.

The review by  Jennie Fitzkee 30th August 2020

Amanda lives in Calgary, Canada. Her life is in cowboy country and the rugged, beautiful lands of Alberta – prairies, badlands, and the rockies. Amanda’s best friend, Leah, lives in England, and comes to Alberta to visit Amanda.

Amanda and Leah see the Calgary Stampede (a rodeo), go on a cattle drive, visit Buffalo Jump, and the dinosaur museum. These adventures are intertwined with a mystery- Amanda finds a stone, which people seem to want, one cowboy in particular. Amanda is curious about the markings on the stone and is determined to learn more. She is the modern day Nancy Drew, and her sleuthing proves to be both dangerous and exciting at times.

Throughout the book, the reader is engrossed in the story, learning about history and Canada, and solving the mystery of the stone. Amanda and Leah have further adventures in Darlene Foster’s outstanding Amanda series. I am looking forward to reading the newest book in the series, Amanda in Holland, and solving a WWII mystery. If you love Nancy Drew, this book and the Amanda series is for you!

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

Also by Darlene Foster

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Darlene Foster, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/BlogDarlene Foster WordPress – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman

And Bette A. Stevens has another outstanding review for Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale

About  Amazing Matilda

(Ages 4-11 + grownups love it too) Friendship, patience and persistence are among the lessons learned in this gem of a tale featuring an amazing monarch butterfly.

This award-winning picture book adventure follows the monarch butterfly’s life cycle as Matilda embarks on a quest to make her dream of flying come true. Matilda emerges from her egg on a milkweed leaf—she stretches and yawns and knows she wants to fly. Sparrow tells her to follow her dreams. Toad and Rabbit laugh at a creature without wings who wants to fly. You’ll be as amazed as Toad and Rabbit are as you follow Matilda from egg to imago. Science, art and wise lessons for children—all wrapped up in a tale the kids will want to read/hear again and again!

One of the recent reviews for the book

Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Determination and Not Giving Up Easily  Reviewed in the United States on August 24, 2020

Follow Matilda on her journey from egg to monarch butterfly. This delightful children’s book teaches perseverance without being preachy. Matilda enters the world with one dream—to learn how to fly so that she may see more of the world. Along the way, she encounters a brown sparrow, a speckled toad, and a rabbit who advise her to have patience and to follow her instincts. The animals tell Matilda how they overcome adversity by focusing on these traits. Bette Stevens uses rich language throughout. She also drew the illustrations, so that we have a clear understanding of what the author intends the characters to look like.

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

Also by Bette A. Stevens for Children

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Bette A. Stevens, Buy:Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

If you are a children’s author with books suitable up to the age of 12 years old then please check out how you can add your books to the Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – FREE book marketing.

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to take away with you.. thanks Sally.