Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Home schooling and how it has impacted my attitude towards teachers


Robbie Cheadle shares her experience of home schooling and the challenges facing students, their teachers and parents. I do recommend that you head over to read and I am sure Robbie would love to hear your own experiences.

Home schooling and how it has impacted my attitude towards teachers

Gregory in a school concert when he was 8 years old

My sons have been home schooling since our schools first closed on 18 March this year. That equates to four and a half months of my having to drag my youngest reluctantly from his bed each school day, feed him and force him to sit in front of his computer for at least some of the day. It also involved me having to try to get to grips with all his Google classrooms, on-line tasks and their submissions and even his school email. It has been hard work to say the least.

I had no such issues with Gregory, my older son. Greg is exactly like me, hugely driven and determined. Nothing was going to stand in the path of his personal goals and success. Greg simply got stuck in and spend most of my 8 hour working day, sitting next to me at the table working away. He battled with maths problems, hammering away at IT concepts until they made sense and filled work books with detailed and copious notes for every subject. In fact, Covid-19 and the lockdown seem to have resulted in Greg really coming into his own. His mid-year examination results are rolling in now and so far he has achieved 3 subjects with overall mark percentages in the 90%s, two in the high 80%s and one mark in the 70%s which is his second language and quite tough.


Please head over to read and add your thoughts.. thanks Sally.


via Home schooling and how it has impacted my attitude towards teachers

The Delta Pearl 42 — Prance


Teagan Geneviene with this week’s episode of The Delta Pearl and a recovering Émeraude recovering from her adventure in the sky. The young inventor is determined to impress her with a bejewelled gift but unfortunately it might be a bit of a trojan horse.. to discover why head over to enjoy.

Saturday, July 25, 2020 

Javier Rodrigues at Pixabay
Javier Rodrigues at Pixabay

Hello, my chuckaboos. I’m glad you could come back to my sanctuary.  Yes, this blog is my sanctuary.  I am the gatekeeper of this place.  It’s a safe haven not just for you, but for me too.  It’s safe from vitriol, religion, politics, and negativity.  Remember that.

Random Reader Things.  It gives me great pleasure when someone thinks about my stories after they’ve left my blog.  Last week, GP Cox did that and made a comment at his own blog, mentioning a Clockwork Horse.  I was captivated by the thought, and it changed what I had in mind.  That became my random thing for this short episode.

When we stopped last time, with Agate and Victor fussing over Émeraude, after her ordeal.  You know what a matchmaker the Cook is, especially where Émeraude and Victor are concerned.  We’d best not leave her with our filly and foal for too long.  She might get out of control.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 42 — Prance

Enrique Meseguer at Pixabay
Enrique Meseguer at Pixabay

Victor jumped up in dismay.  He tried to run to the door, but Agate was in his way.  The young inventor gave a groan when the thump-thump-thud sounded at the door again.

“It’s gotten loose again,” he muttered just as the cabin door banged open.

The Cook began to coo all sorts of pleased, encouraging sounds.  I couldn’t see around her, so I started to get out of bed.  Agate gave a sharp glance over her shoulder at me.  I swear the woman had eyes in the back of her head.  I leaned back against the pillows.

Light clumping sounds reached my ears.  The way Victor and Agate moved and bent and spoke reminded me of people with a frisking puppy. Victor’s movements showed that he was still distressed.  He had been trying to hide something, I was sure of it.

“And look at Amethyst here on top of the wee barra!  Careful there, spider.  He’s quite a bampot.  You’ll land on your little purple bahoochie!” Agate warned.

The Cook gave a surprised yelp as the clockwork spider suddenly hopped to her head, and from there pounced to my bed.  I still couldn’t see what was happening.  Although I gathered that whatever it was had been the source of the thump-thump-thud sound I had heard several times of late.

Altered Spider jewelry pin Starbright Pixabay


Head over to enjoy the post in full…thanks Sally

via The Delta Pearl 42 — Prance

Thank You to the Eric Carle Museum, and Kate DiCamillo’s New Book.


Jennie Fitzkee shares wonderful news.. she was asked to write an article for a prestigious museum and she also introduces us to a phenomenal children’s author.

Thank You to the Eric Carle Museum, and Kate DiCamillo’s New Book.

Just before the pandemic hit, the Eric Carle Museum asked me if they could include in their quarterly newsletter my story, my blog post, about visiting the museum and hearing author Kate DiCamillo speak.

Yes!  Of course, yes!


They enjoy reading my blog posts about my visits to the museum.  Well, how can I not write about a visit?  Every one is remarkable.  When I heard Kate DiCamillo speak, the blog post flowed.  She is one of my favorite authors- for many reasons.

Little did I know that my inclusion in the newsletter would be a full page.  What an honor!  Thank you Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art!  Their write-up was terrific.


Good News!

The museum is opening this week for members only (I snagged my reservation right away) before it opens in August for the public.  Yes, the protocol procedures will be strictly enforced.  I will have two (wonderful) hours to visit.

Head over to find out more about Kate DiCamillo and her new book thanks Sally.



via Thank You to the Eric Carle Museum, and Kate DiCamillo’s New Book.

Those who can, teach and translate


I know that there are a number of teachers in our writing community who are still working full time despite the lock down.. Children of essential personnel have still been going to school, there have been online classes and currently the schools are undergoing refits so that all children can return eventually. I am sure that parents who have been home schooling this last few months will have an increased awareness of what is entailed when their two, three or four children are multiplied by 10.  Please head over and comment on Jessica Norrie’s post and also she has some good news to share about her new French version of The Infinity Pool.

Those who can, teach and translate

Did you ever go to school?

As many of you know, I was a teacher for 33 years. I posted a lot about it when I started this blog, because I was still in harness. Then I retired and with gratitude in my heart for a fascinating career that at last I was leaving (when I started I only intended to stay a few years), I blogged a farewell.

Four years later, what a lot of crap we’ve seen, and even more this week. Nurses, porters, paramedics and hospital cleaners have been refused a pay rise. They’re supposed to live on clapping and rainbows, I suppose. Teachers did get one (from existing money, so something else will have to go), and immediately teachers are blamed for it. Why have they got a pay rise? They haven’t even been in school! Lazy, workshy – and so on.

Right then, today the class task is 5 minutes silent reading which you’ll find here. It’s a heartfelt plea from a practising English teacher. Authors who read this: we need English teachers. They read our books and teach the readers of tomorrow! So head over and read her POV, please, and I want to see you back here in as soon as you’ve finished.

Now spend 5 minutes writing your answer to Susan English. How are you going to help put things right for this teacher and her colleagues? (You at the back – if we don’t get this done today we’ll all be staying in until we do!)

This possible model answer is more or less what I commented on her blog:


Please head over to read Jessica’s thoughts on this…thanks Sally


via Those who can, teach and translate

Out Walking


Like all of us Claire Fullerton is concerned about this ‘New Normal’ that is being spouted by all and sundry…we are in new territory and this includes businesses such as mainstream publishing. However, Claire admits she lives in the perfect place for a lock down with the wonderful Pacific Ocean stretching for miles with beaches and trails..She shares her morning walk and a Youtube link where you can join her to get the full effect.

Out Walking

California is currently experiencing the “Stay-at-Home” order. We’ve been in and out of this state of affairs for months, and to tell you it’s disorienting is my idea of a full confession. Life feels constricted, pared down its least common denominator and being as it is that I’m on the downswing of the 90 day mark since my 4th novel (Little Tea) released, I’m in between projects. Kind of. I’m still promoting Little Tea, but not with the fervor I had seven months ago. I have the first draft of another book completed, but perhaps it’s the second. Quite possibly it’s the third. It’s hard to say, I tend to revise as I move forward. The draft is finished, but at the moment, I’m not motivated to rush through the project. I’d rather wait until the world rights itself– whatever that will look like–  and see how the pause inflicted on the world will influence how we move forward. Word on the street is things will change. Business as we know it may alter. There will be a “new normal” and how this pertains to my little universe leaves me deeply concerned about the new normal of the publishing business. I’m biding my time, and thinking about a line I wrote in my 3rd novel, Mourning Dove, when Finley looks at his sister, Millie, and says, “Mastering the ambiguities of life is the hardest task any of us will ever be called to do.” I believe this is true in my bone marrow.

One thing that occurred to me at the start of the pandemic is the necessity of a daily schedule. I’m well aware that I live in a desirable location by anyone’s standards– no extreme weather, I’m in somewhat of a rural area, and before me as far as the eye can see, the Pacific Ocean stretches forever. So, I’ve been out walking every morning. Setting my feet to the sand sets my mind aright and my world in order. Suffice it to say, I don’t take where I live for granted, and many has been the time when I’ve wished I could share the view. It now dawns on me that I can. I’ll begin with my walk this morning.



Head over to enjoy the guided tour of this wonderful (and currently deserted) coastal walk.  thanks Sally.


via Out Walking

The Delta Pearl 41 — Swim


Another action packed episode of the Delta Pearl and we get the details of the dramatic rescue of our heroine and some of the shenanigans her companions got up to in the aftermath.  There is still something afoot as one crew member in particular is out of sorts and feeling the pressure.. Head over to enjoy the full episode..


The Delta Pearl 41 — Swim

Saturday, July 18, 2020 

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene, source Pixabay
Composite of Pixaby images by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome, my chuckaboos. I know everyone is sick of me talking about my pathetic excuse for Internet from TDS Telecom. So, I’m only bringing it up to apologize for my absence from other blogs.  It’s hard to stay online long enough to read or even comment.    Despite the lack of service, I’m back with another all new episode of my steampunk serial, The Delta Pearl. I’ll drop the subject now.  I just hope you understand that I can’t visit if I can’t get online properly.

Random Reader Things.  I’ve brought back the papyrus, from episode 39Olga Núñez Miret gave us that.  Great minds think alike and GP Cox, and Deborah Zajac both left a Gramophone.  This episode brings back the Agate, the Cook.  Since she’s Scottish, it was the perfect time to add the Clootie Dumpling from Barb Taub.

This episode ties up the triple cliffhanger from last time.  While it is not as long as I used to make serial chapters, it is longer than I’ve been writing them this year.  So, don’t complain ― you’ve been warned.

Where did Randall Needleman and Émeraude land?  What happened to Eliza when she turned that dagger on herself?  What about the two young women lovers running away from persecution? “Alex” may have exposed herself as Alison.  Let’s not forget the newest gemstone name character, Jet Fischer, the librarian who has always been infatuated with the Delta Pearl.  Will he be left standing on the dock when the riverboat leaves?  Plus we weren’t even certain that Sid, the Cadet got safely back into the launch from his precarious place on the roof.  Read on to learn the answers to these questions.

Now, let’s tie up that bunch of hanging threads.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 41 — Swim

Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
Rudy & Peter Skitterians at Pixabay

Soft music from the Captain’s gramophone surrounded me when I woke.  I murmured something unintelligible.

Nen mate, whatever you just mumbled, it’s a mite better than the last thing what came out of yourn mouth.  That scream near deafened me.  But I knew thez summat up wee ye the minute I looked at ye,” Blue John Boulton, the Mate, commented wryly.

Sitting up in my bed, I moved my shoulder carefully.  My mind was hazy, but I vaguely remembered Jazpe “adjusting” it, as he called the way he could deftly manipulate a joint back into place.  Then I had fainted.

“Mr. Needleman!” I exclaimed, remembering my rescuer.

“He’s on the mend.  That milquetoast inventor boy got that contraption he used on the Captain after that cloud attacked us during your birthday party.  Anyhow they got the thing around his afternoonified head and pumped some good air into his lungs.  Lucky for him that he didn’t suck up as much of the poison as the Captain did,” Blue John went on distractedly.

Kirk Douglas as Blue John Boulton
Kirk Douglas as Blue John Boulton

“Eliza is with her husband?” I made it more of a statement than a question, but to my surprise, Blue shook his head.



Head over to read this action packed episode of the Delta Pearl…thanks Sally


via The Delta Pearl 41 — Swim

Your Values and Living by Your Truth #values


A thought provoking post from Toni Pike that highlights the importance to have core values and also so important to pass them along to others.. Also when we have defined what our personal truth is, usually based on our core values, how challenging can that be to put into practice?

Your Values and Living by Your Truth #values

This is a series about authenticity, validation, self-belief and personal power.

You’ve probably already heard about values, the basic key principles that underpin your life. Harder to understand is the concept of your truth, and how to live by that. It took me quite a while to come to terms with what that really meant.


Values are those principles that you believe are the most important and fundamental to the way you live your life. They might include concepts such as honesty, loyalty, responsibility and fairness. There are, of course, many more of them.

If you search for the term “values” on the Internet, it’s easy to find quite a few long lists of values with up to a hundred terms – and many of those sound very worthy. But they are a good starting point.

What are Your Values?

Please head over to read the post in full and leave your thoughts in the comments for Toni.. thanks Sally

via Your Values and Living by Your Truth #values

MarySmith’sPlace – lessons in cultural (un)awareness -Afghanistan adventures#44


Another riveting episode from Mary Smith​ about her time working in a leprosy clinic in Afghanistan in 1989. Culturally challenging to ensure that respect for customs and etiquette are maintained and that relations between the various elements of the community are maintained effectively. Please head over to read the post in full.

MarySmith’sPlace – lessons in cultural (un)awareness -Afghanistan adventures#44

Lal-sar-Jangal – early winter 1989

I’ve included a selection of random photos in this post.

IMG_0048 (Custom)

On the ride home from the school visit Ibrahim complained about Qurban’s absence, saying this was typical of his behaviour with the people in Lal. ‘He does not understand it is important to keep these people happy – the teachers, the Commanders, the Mullahs. If they are happy the work will go well but if we upset them they can make trouble for the clinic. They care about their position being respected and Qurban should understand this.’

I decided to talk to Qurban. He was unrepentant about not turning up at the school, ‘Ibrahim behaves as if he is in charge, always talking to the people at the paygar (local government office), being friendly to the Commanders.’

‘Qurban, it’s called public relations. It is important. If the headmaster is upset with you and complains to the Commanders they could make problems for you and for the clinic. It’s surely not asking too much to spend some time now and then to keep them smiling. They know you are in charge of the clinic, not Ibrahim, and if you don’t accept their invitations they feel insulted.’


Please head over to enjoy the post in full..thanks Sally.


via MarySmith’sPlace – lessons in cultural (un)awareness -Afghanistan adventures#44

CarolCooks2…weekly roundup 12th July -18th July 2020…Climate Change, Recipes, Health, Whimsy, and Plantain…


This week Carol Taylor tackles thought provoking subjects such as climate change and the environment, with an informative A-Z of the culinary alphabet.. so if you don’t know what Asafoetida(Hing), Aquafaba are then you should head over to read more.. not to mention some plantain recipes and some music in the Saturday Snippets…


CarolCooks2…weekly roundup 12th July -18th July 2020…Climate Change, Recipes, Health, Whimsy, and Plantain…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…I hope you are all staying safe and well…and social distancing…I know many of you are on lockdown once again as cases are on the rise again a second phase…Let’s hope it is for the last time, stay safe and strong…Here’s something to take your mind of what’s going on…Let’s take a pew and have a read… I hope you enjoy it!

Relax and Enjoy! (1) Weekly Roundup

Monday always starts with Climate change as there is always something new to discover…This week was no different…Recycling and Climate Change… 13th July 2020…

Tomorrow well I had it all planned and then I watched “The Story of Plastic” tomorrow night I will be attending the virtual webinar…

The film has given me much to think about I will of course update you on what I have learnt over the next few weeks as it touched on many aspects and I can see how Climate change and plastics are not two separate entities they must be tackled simultaneously.

The plastics manufacturing industry has after so long of laying the responsibility solely at the consumer’s door take full responsibility and if a plastic they produce cannot be recycled then it shouldn’t be made and they must make those changes.

Monday…Recycling and Climate Change… 13th July 2020…


Head over to enjoy…thanks Sally.

via CarolCooks2…weekly roundup 12th July -18th July 2020…Climate Change, Recipes, Health, Whimsy, and Plantain…

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