Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Lessons from the past?

On my way home from the sea festival I passed this plaque about the Kindertransport.

My grandad worked on the SS Prague which brought the first 196 children over to Harwich on 2nd December, 1938. Most of those first children were from an orphanage. Thousands more followed.

“The oldest were 16 years. A few were babies carried by older children. None were accompanied by their parents.”

The other day my 5 year old granddaughter was playing in the park. She met a little boy who had a pair of nunchucks and it turned out they were both huge fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The nunchucks had been broken and the little boy gave one to her to play with.

The little boy was Danish and didn’t speak a word of English. But they played together for over an hour. I can remember my children playing with children of other nationalities without any of them understanding a word of what the others were saying.

You can’t turn on the news now without seeing more atrocities, more children being killed. You can’t go on Facebook without someone or other posting that this side is in the right or that side is in the right.

As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to killing children there is no right.

Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

I am not posting this to get in an argument with anyone. I just feel that those in power seem to learn nothing from the past and it saddens me that people are falling out over which side to “support” while children die and those that survive learn to hate.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sea Festival and more Jellyfish!

Popped down today to see the beginning of the Sea Festival but didn’t stay long. I’ve got a couple of really nasty mosquito bites and one of them has made my hand and wrist swell up like a boxing glove. My wrinkles have disappeared, but so have my knuckles!

The other big one is on my neck right next to a big scar which is sensitive at the best of times. I always react badly to mozzie bites.

Although the day is overcast, it is still warm. The water must be very warm too – there were dozens of jellyfish in the weed by the sea wall. Some of them, I kid you not, were as big as dinner plates which I think is about as big as they get. Fortunately they are moon jellyfish – absolutely harmless – and rather beautiful to watch when they are swimming through the water on their sides.

I wrote about jellyfish in a recent post here.

I love the atmosphere at the Sea Festival, the boats, the history, the wonderful Mayflower Pipes and Drums, and the brilliant Golden Rivets with their sea shanties. Oh and this year there was a regal visitor! Not sure if you'll notice him as he was a rather shy, retiring type!

Hang on a minute.... Oh well, it wouldn't be much of a post without Dusty poking his nose in!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy... Procrastinating

I spent last weekend updating some of the book covers for my Kindle books. I was in that sort of a mood.  

Then I played around with extra pages for my blog. There are now tabs at the top with links to the books I’ve put on Kindle. I added a little info about each one because you know me, I do tend to go on a bit. I had fun doing it though and it wasn’t at all difficult.

I’m thinking of adding more pages eventually, but not sure what to use them for! Any ideas?

I think all of the above is otherwise known as procrastination. It is something that seems to afflict a lot of writers and you can read about the science behind it and a possible solution here.

Must admit I like the time travel aspect – if only we could do that for real!

Now to get on with some writing… But wait, isn’t there a drawer somewhere that needs sorting out?

Oops, how did Dusty and Poppy slip in there?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Water and Jellyfish

I took these photos when we had the thunderstorms and heavy rain a few days ago.

Dusty’s turned into a real water baby. He can’t pass a puddle without lying down in it. But it helps keep him cool in the current heat. You can see from the ripples in the water that he's wagging his tail, but what you can't see is that he's chewing the fuzz off his tennis ball!

He had his six month check-up last Friday which our vet practice does free for all puppies and kittens registered with them. A young lad doing work experience was in with the vet which I thought was lovely.

I mentioned to Jo that a couple of people had remarked that Dusty is very skinny. She laughed and said he is perfect in weight and size and to take no notice! And he’s going through a “leggy” stage. 

Saw this chap stranded on the beach today.

He’s a Compass Jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella) – have to admit I looked it up! It was low tide and he must have been on the beach for 4 or 5 hours, but my husband picked him up carefully and placed him in the water. NOT advisable – didn’t know they were stingers till I looked them up when we got home.

We’re more likely to see the Common Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita).

When I was a child, I was never allowed to swim in the sea until we saw jellyfish in the water. My mum would say it was a sign that the Gulf Stream had given up its filth and the water would be warm enough. We kids used to patrol the beach, desperate to find a jellyfish so we could go swimming.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Remembering Oakley

A week before we got Indy, just over fourteen years ago, my daughter and son in law brought a puppy home. They called him Oakley. And when they were at work, Oakley would come to our house.

He became Indy’s protector. He kept him warm when he was ill and lost all his weight and when he played with him, he was always gentle. He rescued him from tricky situations and helped his confidence grow. 

When Tilly came along, he took her under his wing too. He was only a week or so older than Indy and Tilly, but he was always their Big Brother. And he was always respectful and kind to our older dog, Sweep.

When my first grandson was born Oakley looked after him too. They shared an extra special bond.

Oakley’s been a protector of children, puppies and kittens. He’s been a friend and loyal companion. I fell in love with him from the very moment I saw him and I called him my Dreamboat.

He certainly liked his home comforts as well as his long walks!

For the past three years his constant companion has been Poppy.

Earlier this year he had a stroke and despite the odds, he came back from that. But other problems surfaced over the past few months and yesterday they did the last kindness any of us can do for our beloved companions.

We are all heartbroken, but my thoughts are with my daughter and son in law and their three children. I know in time the hurt will heal and they will remember the good times, but I know right know it must feel like the end of the world.

Rest in peace beautiful dreamboat – we will all miss you so much.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Not Such A Big Secret and An Opportunity!

If you have a question about writing for The People’s Friend, Shirley Blair, the fiction editor will answer it via the Fiction Blog here.

When I first started writing cough-cough years ago, I could only dream of an opportunity like this. So if you have any questions, now is the time to ask.

I’ve also decided to copy Wendy and Keith and write about my inspiration for a particular story. This isn’t always easy, because sometimes stories present themselves from nowhere, but I know exactly what the inspiration was behind The Big Secret in the July 12th issue (illustrated beautifully by Mandy Murray) and I know exactly when I wrote it.

Earlier this year I took my granddaughter to her friend’s birthday party which was being held at a soft play area. While she ran round with her boyfriend (my future grandson-in-law I’m told) I sat with my notebook and pen and wrote the outline for the story. The process involved a lot of looking at people and wondering, what if…? But as is often the case, the main inspiration came from the children.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you so much Jan Baynham for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

I have to tell you 7 things about myself.

Well here goes…

I am terrified of speaking in public, but as a teenager I wrote a comedy sketch and performed it with my friend on stage twice in front of a hall full of people and what’s more I enjoyed doing it. Small potatoes I know, but still something I’m proud of.

I collect crystals and my most valuable one was a small piece of Moldavite (formed 15 million years ago when a gigantic meteorite hit near the River Moldau) – I say was… I seem to have lost it.

I am scared of thunderstorms. Very scared. Very very scared.

My love of dogs began with a brindle Boxer called Zulu. He was a beautiful and incredibly gentle dog. My mum got him when he was 18 months old and I was around the same age.

I am a Trekkie. My favourite series is the original one. At present I am re-watching DS9 for the umpteenth time.

I bought my first single when I was eleven. It was Xanadu by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch and it remains one of my favourites.

When I started work, the first thing I bought myself was a blue faux suede coat with white fake fur all round the hood, down the front and round the bottom. It cost me £17 and wasn’t lined so it didn’t keep me at all warm, but I loved it! I wore it with white lace up boots and thought I was the bee’s knees.

Now for the best bit – to nominate 15 more blogs for the award and I will leave it to my nominees to decide whether they accept or not as it's not everyone's cup of tea, but anyway, all are worth a visit :

What I love most about these awards is pointing you towards blogs you may not yet have discovered. 

Oops, I seem to have slipped in a photo of Dusty there. How did that happen?

And there's a beautiful Harleybird in her tissue box nest.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

July Giggle Blog - A Day in the Life of a Ditz!

I have added lots of photos to this post in the hopes you will be distracted from the words!

So there I was, on the beach, throwing the ball into the sea for Dusty. It’s his favourite game. He loves being in the water. If the tide is out, he finds a rock pool to jump in.

These photos were taken today. Dusty's not in the second one, but I wanted a photo of those pretty clouds. The tide was out. On the day in question, the tide was in. Well in.

I threw the ball into deeper water – I like to give him a bit of a challenge. In he went and dived right under. He came up, didn’t see the ball bobbing about behind him and went under again. And he stayed under. For ages. Occasionally I’d see the hair on his back just below the surface.

Well what would you have done? I threw his lead on the sand and ran in – by which time he’d surfaced, grabbed the ball and was on his way back.

He gave me such a look as he swam past me. You stupid woman! If you've got my treat biscuits all wet - grrrh!

So I went home with soggy clothes and water-logged trainers feeling very stupid.

My foray into Ditzdom doesn’t end there. I got home, showered and changed and then I got a call from my son in law. My granddaughter had left her glasses at home – hanging up where they hang the keys - and needed them at school.

So I went round and looked for the glasses on the shelf below the keys and on the top of the little pegs where the keys hang.

I searched the house. Looked again at the key pegs. Searched the house again. I even looked in her bed for them! I must have looked at those key pegs a dozen times as I rushed past. I checked the shoe store under the key pegs in case they had fallen in there.

In the end, I went outside and phoned him to say I couldn’t find them anywhere. “I could have sworn I saw them HANGING up with the keys this morning,” he says. Hanging! I’d heard him say that the first time, but somehow it hadn’t registered in what I laughingly call my brain.

So I went back in and as soon as I walked in the door I saw them hanging from a peg, bold as brass, laughing at me. You stupid woman, they said. They laughed at me all the way up the road to the school and I swear they were still laughing after I’d handed them to the school secretary.

Anyway enough of that…

Dusty met the newest member of the family on Sunday – my daughter’s kitten, Tess. He was so good with her. My camera battery died just after I took this or there would have been more when she came out from under the table and rubbed noses with him.

And he’s been going for walks with my daughter’s younger dog, Poppy. Look at those smiles. He adores her!

But Harley is still his best mate. And he still likes to perch on her cat climbing tower even though he is much too big.

Happy July!