Takin’ a break

Hello to all who are kind enough to read my posts. I’m taking a week off from all media. I really have to put more time into The Red Petticoat – my poetry collection. I want to add in photographs – where appropriate – only ones I have taken myself. And I have two novels for children I need to have a look at too. And some half-written posts to complete.

In between times I shall tackle my TBR list and watch Netflix and drink coffee and knit dolls’ clothes for my granddaughter.

Until next week so . . .

Two poems published

I’m happy to say I’ve had two poems published in the Qutub Minar Review, Volume 3, Issue 2. They will form part of the collection “The Red Petticoat” which I hope to publish on amazon early next year. They’re short so I’ll include them here:

Unholy Things

Your eyes have shut themselves away

I watch them glance and bounce and spin

Deeper into alien things

Alien to me, my friend

Although you think I travel with you

I shrink from where you’ve gone

But still, a sting of envy

Your head is filled with beating wings

Bearing you high, and higher yet

Above unholy things

Too far from sweat and blood

From wormy worms and fleshy flesh

I’ll let you be.

Almost Whole

The punch is spiked with glory

My senses leaping and alive

For tonight to listen is enough

And through the music of the music

Runs an old familiar voice

A thread of scarlet joy, moving

In my blood, weaving through my heart

And lungs and lights, pulling tighter

Ever tighter ‘til I scarcely breathe

Caught like a bunch of doe-eyed pansies

My eyes are dark and wild with wonder At such intensity

That I must weep for being almost whole.

Percy Bysshe Shelley | Ode to the West wind

Every year at this time I quote this poem to anyone who will listen to me. I learned it off by heart at school when I was sixteen and still remember most of it. And this is my old school book – A Pageant of English Verse. The poem is quite perfect. I’ll just quote a few verses here, to give you a flavour of it – it’s very long in its entirety.

O wild west wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,

Pestilence-stricken multudes – O thou

Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds . . .

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.

Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!

I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O, wind,

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

A review | Broken Heart Attack by James J Cudney

Broken Heart Attack is the second in the Braxton Chronicles Series. When I read the first one, it was my first look into the world of Cosy Mysteries and I enjoyed the book very much. But this second one I loved.

The plot centres on the death of Gwendolyn Paddington, a friend of Kellar Ayrwick’s grandmother, Nana D. It’s a classic whodunnit involving several relatives and a will. Or were there two wills? And what about the rumours of an unknown child? Nana D insists that Kellar investigate as he has solved mysteries successfully before.  

Kellar is the main character and the story is told in the first person which always makes any  story more immediate. He comes across as warm and witty, a college professor and a family man, but also someone who doesn’t take life too seriously. His tone is jocular but as the story unfolded I began to wonder if this was all a front, if it was Kellar’s way of keeping the world at arm’s length. He has terrible problems to deal with in his family life and impossible decisions to make and I worried about him a lot.

His grandmother, Nana D is my favourite character; in fact she’s my new role model! When faced with situations in future I shall ask myself – what would Nana D do? (But I hardly ever get faced with situations!) Kellar also has an ex-wife and a little daughter, and parents and siblings.

(You hardly ever hear about a hero’s family. Who were James Bond’s parents? Did he have siblings/cousins/grandparents? It’s as if heroes arrive on earth wearing tuxedos and drinking martinis “whole and entire unto themselves”.

The other characters in this book are distinct and easy to remember. There’s a handy who’s who at the beginning of the book but I only used it a couple of times. There are plenty of plot twists and turns and the narrative rolls along with ease, keeping the reader on edge but making you smile at the same time:-

“Hints of a ferocious dog came to mind when his alarming expression and cold, dark pupils centred on his unsuspecting mother.”

“… and kept her short, spiky grey hair perfectly styled. I’d suspected at one time it was a wig, and if I ever had the chance I’d rip that sucker off to test my theory.”

 The dialogue was terrific especially between Kellar and Nana D:

“This better be important. I love you to pieces, Nana D, but I was dreaming about a warm, sunny beach full of calming waves and palm trees.”

“Get your patootie out of bed. The sun is on its way up and you’ve got a nurse to grill . . . “

They teased each other but they also relied on each other, not least for Nana D’s delicious desserts which Kellar relished.

The story is well paced and shaped, and I believed every word of it. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. It’s great when you enjoy a book and really like the characters, to know that you can spend more time in their very pleasant company.

WARNING by Jenny Joseph

I came across this poem a long time ago when I was fairly young and loved it. I found it inside a book the other day and thought I would share it, since now I AM that old woman! I expect a lot of you have already read it.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me,

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too surprised

When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.

Re-launch of “We All Die in the End”.

I had to republish the paperback edition as the first one looked awful. My own fault but I have learned now how to do it properly with the help of some knowledgeable friends. It will be available from Tuesday 13th October in its new improved form. Here is an excerpt from Scene 9: “Siblings”

“We’ll have to tidy up, girl. I mean – look at the place. Could you not have washed up the dishes or – “

            He stared around, helplessly.

            “And did you get the ham? I thought you’d have done something by now. Dicky bird said evening. What’s evening? What time is evening? Six? Seven? Eight? And do you know what I thought of as well, they might want to use the new bathroom.”

            “But – ” Sarah turned to the stairs. “But – oh . . . “

            Barney moved quickly, went up and pushed at the stiff door of the bathroom. He heard Sarah coming up behind him and he pushed harder.

            “There’s something in here,” he said.

            “Push it, push it,” Sarah said, pushing at his back.

            And then the door gave way and they tumbled inside. Barney sniffed, raising his eyebrows at Sarah. The sink and toilet and bath were black with dust. Sarah touched a tap and quickly withdrew her hand.

            “Here, look at this,” Barney said.

            In the corner behind the door was a roll of wallpaper, brown along the edges, black across the top, and sticky when Barney tried to open it.

            “Do you mind, Sarah? Do you mind I bought that when we got this put in?”

            “Well, they can’t use it, so they can`t, and that’s all about it.”

            Barney dusted his hands on his trousers.

            “They’ll have to use the downstairs like everybody else. It`s good enough for us, isn`t it?”

            The door of Martin’s room was shut and they could hear him sniffing and moaning.

            “What’ll we do about him?” Sarah nodded towards the door. “He’s been crying since you left. I couldn’t get a thing done with him like that.”

            “I’ll give him a drop of whiskey maybe. Look.”

            Barney took a half-bottle from his pocket.

            “I got it today – it’ll come out of my wages – for Dicky bird, you know. Nobody can say we don’t know how to treat our visitation. I’ll give Marty a drop in hot water and he’ll go asleep.”

            Sarah sighed and followed him downstairs.

            “We’ll have a drop ourselves, Sarah – what do you say? Sure isn’t there plenty? Dicky bird won’t want all of it.”

            Sarah filled the kettle, her eyes beginning to gleam.

Thank you for reading this. If you enjoyed it you might check out the 5 star reviews on Goodreads.