#weekendcoffeeshare: It’s been a mixed week



I am delighted to be able to invite you to join me for coffee in my kitchen in the brand new virtual home of Nerd in the Brain. We must all thank Emily for taking over the reins and Part Time Monster for founding this society back in January 2015 and keeping it going for so long. Thank you both!

wineWhen I say that it has been a mixed week, I mean that it has included a few challenges but I am coping. That’s why I have added the option of a glass of Merlot to the usual choices of tea, coffee, ginger snaps and pastries. I just feel like I need a bit of indulgence, and I’d like to share that with you. There should be enough to go around.

My sport and fitness has gone well this week. Last weekend I was able to tell you that my veterans’ hockey team, Andover Diamonds, beat high-flying West Wilts eight-one with the final goal being slotted home by yours truly. A glowing report appeared in the Andover Advertiser on Friday and I was delighted with the final paragraph. Take a look.


Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite follow that performance this week when we visited Chichester. Although we suffered a four-nil deefeat, we accounted well for ourselves and felt that a more reflective score would have been a draw or a 2-1 defeat. To make matters worse, somebody locked the gate to the car park, not realising that my friend and I were still in the changing room. We had to wait about half an hour for release.

I have also enjoyed my running this week, and I just love Andover parkrun. I am addicted! I feel great if I can jog around the 5 km course with over 200 friends on a Saturday morning, and follow that up with a hockey game with fourteen or so even older, in both senses of the word, friends in the afternoon.


Andover Diamonds – February 2017 (I am fourth from the left in the back row)

So far, all positive. So why was my week “mixed?”

Well, my father and my grandson, Taran, are both in dire straights.

Those of you who have follwed me for a while will remember me telling you about how my Dad left my step-Mum and eloped at the age of 83. I had mixed feelings about this at the time. I still do. He is now 85 years old and is living in a residential home which is run by the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind. His macular degeneration has made him almost blind. His Parkinson’s Disease has made him almost immobile and has affected his memory. He finds it difficult to concentrate. He becomes irrationally angry because, having once been a globally respected and eminent professor of medical statistics with many active interests, he is now incapable of the most trivial tasks and he struggles with intelligent conversation at times. This is understandably frustrating. What annoys me slightly, is that he cannot remember anything of his elopement, not even the name of his lover nor the time that he was homeless and I was helping him to find temporary accommodation and dealing with his hospital visits. He blames my Step-Mum for his predicament, “because she did not want to look after me any more.” This is unfair.

At least he is being well looked after in the residential home, even though is is expensive and I don’t know what we will do when the funds are all gone.

Taran has been suffering from mental has suffered from menatl health problems since he was fourteen years old, and has been sectioned several times. He has not recieved the best of mental healthcare services, to put it politely, but things have been looking up for him. He met a lovely young lady, who understood his problems, and moved in to a house in Southsea with her and her Mum, and even became engaged to her. He acquired a beautiful dog who has become his best friend. Unfortunately, my son, Taran’s Dad, shirks all responsibility for him.

This week, Taran and his fiance split up and he found himself out on the streets at midnight, crying down a phone line to Joy, my wife and his Nan. He had no money and was hungry. His dog was locked in the house with his fiance. I won’t bore you with the details but, despite him losing his phone while we were trying to deal with the problems, we have come to som sort of temporary resolution. The worst of it is that, having found local mental healthcare professionals who were actually helping him in Portsmouth, Taran may end up back in Basingstoke, where the mental healthcare services are literall worse than useless. I say that from experience. They actually make matters worse rather than provide support.

So there has been good and bad in the past week. Life will improve for all of us.

So settle down with your tea, coffee or wine, and tell us all how your week has been.


pingback: http://www.nerdinthebrain.com/weekend-coffee-share-in-a-new-home/


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The Voice UK – The Best is Over


Or is it?

My view is that the best part of The Voice is stage one: the blind auditions. This is what makes the competition unique.

Once the coaches-cum-judges have had sight of the contestants, the rest of the competiton becomes much like all the other protracted, television talent shows. I concede that there are minor differences but you have to admit that there are more similarities.

I was very excited by the very last act to perform in stage one, Ruth Lockwood singing Toxic. She is so refreshingly different and she has a wonderful voice and excellent control. The coaches who were unable to select her because their teams were already full, were visibily excited and rather envious that Gavin had been lucky enough to reserve his last pick for the woman who I believe could win it.

This is her performance from last evening.

I have looked her up on YouTube and found many other performances. I love her rendition of Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins. She is very versatile. I feel that Gavin will bring out the best of her and if he can get her up there singing some original numbers, she will smash the opposition out of the park.

One more point in her favour is that she comes from South Yorkshire, which is where half of me comes from [on my Dad’s side. My other, Mum’s, half is a Highlander].

Good luck Ruth! You are my Number One!

#ruthlockwood #teamgavin #thevoiceuk

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An Interview with William Horwood

Simultaneously, I am intensely jealous and hugely happy.

I would have loved to spend a few hours in the company of William Howrwood, listening to his views on writing and how he got into it. In my opinion, Horwood is one of the greatest storytellers ever, and is in the same class as Kipling anf Tolkein. He is the author of one of my favourite books of all time, Skallagrigg. I can understand how some readers could not get into this work but, for me, it has all the intricacy, depth and history of a finely woven Persian rug.

I am very happy, because Ash has shared this interview with us. I only wish that it could have been longer. William Horwood is such an interesting character. Thanks for this Ash.

Fabulous Realms

I’m delighted to post today an exclusive interview I recently conducted with William Horwood, author of the Duncton Wood series. Dedicated followers of this blog will be well aware of the high regard in which I hold William and his Duncton novels in particular, so it was a real pleasure to chat with him about a range of topics, including what got him into writing in the first place, inspirations for his work, the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of being a writer and, perhaps most interestingly, the potential forthcoming re-publication of the Duncton novels with Unbound, an award-winning crowdfunding publishing company. As you’ll see from the interview William was very open and incredibly generous with his time, giving answers that were sincere, full, interesting and, often, quite amusing! Read on for more…

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Guest author: Erika Kind – Finding meaning

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

pre dawn 147Image: Sue Vincent

I feel absolutely thankful and honored that our wonderful Sue kindly asked me to write a guest-post for her blog. Her request came out of the blue for me and I am happy and excited! I asked Sue what she would like me to write about. She said, “It would be lovely if you could write a little about your books and what led you to write them… but if something else ‘wants’ to be written, that is fine too.”  So, this is what happened 😃:

What is it that makes someone write a book? I believe – no matter what book it is – that behind it is a personal story. It may be a love of communicating, an escape into different worlds or life stories, a wish to experience more which is possible when diving into another reality, or simply our own development which…

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Guest author: Olga Núñez Miret – Apropos of nothing

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

_dsc7711Thanks to Sue Vincent for asking me to be a guest and write something for her blog. Oh, Sue, you don’t know what you’ve done.

Since you asked me, several weeks ago, and I told you I was taking a break from blogging and you said you weren’t in a hurry, I’ve kept thinking about it. In that time I’ve: read several books (fiction and non-fiction. More on that, later), completed the first round of corrections of one of the books I’ve translated (that one into Spanish), completed the draft of another translation (that one from Spanish to English), have written several chapters of my WIP (in Spanish and English. This time I’m trying to do it at the same time, see how it goes) travelled back to the UK from Barcelona, went back to volunteer at Penistone FM (my programme is on Thursdays from 1 to 3 pm, just…

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How learning French made me appreciate the countryside. Win Win situation.

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Originally posted on Lucie Muses:
I am a city girl. I grew up in the centre of Prague, and wanted to stay there. Trips to my parents’ country weekend cottage bored me. I was happy to sit indoors and read. They…

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#weekendcoffeeshare: In which I remember my Mum


It was a novelty to spend a week in my home country after three weeks of travelling on business. I concede that a week in Naples, Florida, followed by a a week in Barcelona and then another week back in Naples might sound idyllic to you, but it was hard work and tiring. We had some fun too, and that was also tiring.

So this week, I have been working from home, catching up on all the tasks that were neglected to some extent while I was away. Lots of coffee has been consumed but I still ahve plenty left to share with you all.mum_55

I also spent a day remembering my Mum, who passed away exactly eighteen years ago. She was a beautiful and very talented lady and I will never forget her. My thanks to those of you who shared my memories and sent me kind and thoughtful messages. Follow the link and take a look.

lmjb-20170211The weekend has started well. I ran the Andover parkrun this morning at a steady pace, and enjoyed it despite the freezing conditions and a spattering of sleet. This afternoon I played hockey for Andover Diamonds, the veterans’ wing of the local hockey club. We were up against tough rivals, West Wilts, who beat us 4-2 earlier in the season. Today, we well and truly turned the tables on them, running out 8-1 winners. Better still, I scored the eighth goal and was runner up in the vote for Man of the Match!

tilley-20170211After the game, I made friends with a beautiful dog that belonged to one of the visiting team. It is a Bacardi Shepherd or Berger Picard called Tilly. I have never encountered this breed before. Isn’t she lovely?

Tomorrow, I’ll be running again. This time in the Longparish 2nd Sunday of the Month 5 km handicapped race. It is a fun and social run around the village of my wife and many generations of her ancestors. It is a scenic route that takes in the River Test in Hampshire.

After the run, we share tea, coffee and flapjacks. Join us!


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