Funny Of The Week

Mashed Potato….
WARNING – contains potato 😀

Esther Chilton

This week’s funny was sent in by Lance Greenfield. Many thanks, Lance 😂

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Your Title Matters

The title that you put on your work can make a huge difference.

Who would believe that simply rewording the title of that famous 1970s Martini advert could win it seven Oscars?!

Headline – “Oscars 2023: Everything Everywhere All At Once cleans up with seven awards”

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Funny Of The Week


Esther Chilton

You’ve got to love a church bulletin.

Image credit: Pinterest

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A Limerick for Today

I am always very grateful to my good friend, Esther, for her regular challenges which she bases on one-word prompts. On Mondays, the challenge is Laughing Along With A Limerick. On Thursdays, the challenge is Can You Tell A Story In . . . [five words].

Today, I am particularly grateful to Esther, because her prompt set me up beautifully to not only meet her challenge but to write a rhyme that could not be any more topical in UK current affairs.

Her word of the day is PET.

Larry is a fearsome pet.
Four household tenants, he’s already ate.
Rishi’s his fifth.
Who’ll be his sixth?
Well that, dear reader, is anyone’s bet!
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Join Me!

Esther Chilton

I’ve been teaching a series of Zoom courses with The Writers Bureau which I’m absolutely loving. Join me for the next one. Here are the details:

Improve your powers of description by learning how to draw your readers right into the scene by using the senses effectively. Two session Zoom workshop starting on Tuesday 4th October 2022 (7.00pm). Spaces limited to 10 – Sign-up now:

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Book Review: Of Vice and Virtue by E.B. Brown

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Of Vice and Virtue (Time Walkers, #3)Of Vice and Virtue by E.B. Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series gets better and better!

Every element of this story draws me in as if I am being sucked in by quicksand. The character development is wonderful, so that you cannot stop yourself from becoming involved with each and every one of them. I suppose each reader will become attracted to their own favorites, but I can tell you that mine is Makadewa. He is a tough brave, but he has his vulnerabilities. He is emotional, and sympathetic to those around him. But he will kill, if necessary. I really empathize with him, and I love him.

As you read through, you will try to second guess where the various strands of the story are going. I did, anyway. I was already calling the author a murderess on her blog, because I was convinced that she was going to kill off some of my friends: characters whom she had built in my mind. Mainly, I was wrong, although ONE of my friends did die.

It is worth mentioning that the sensual and erotic element is much more arousing than the previous two books in the series. In fact, there was one particular scene which was such a turn on that I had to take a break from reading to cool off. Seriously!

As you can already tell, this book will really captivate you. I had it well down my to-read list, but I had to get into it as soon as I had finished Return of the Pale Feather. Now I have reached the end of the third in the Time Walkers series, I cannot wait for the next one. There is a taster included, and it makes me want number four even more. The trouble is, as I write this review, A Tale of Oak and Mistletoe is yet to be published.

The Time Walkers Series is tremendous. I thoroughly recommend it to all my friends: historical fiction, time travel, North America, native Americans, Norse exploration, even erotica. This series has it all.

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Half-baked Soufflé

My grandson has suffered a variety of mental illnesses since, at the age of fourteen, he fell off a rope swing and landed on his head. Prior to that accident, he was the sweetest child you could ever wish to meet. His character changed completely.

I won’t list his every diagnosed and undiagnosed condition here but, if you list your idea of the top ten most prevalent mental illnesses, you probably have it.

He is twenty-seven now. Over the years, he has been in and out of hospital, often on an enforced, secure section. Sometimes, he was the victim of what is now called ‘inappropriate out of area placement’, which meant that we had to travel miles to visit him. You can imagine how much distress this caused, both for him and for his family. At one point, he was held in a distant remand prison, alongside murderers, because there were no available beds in NHS mental health facilities.

Before he was released back into society, often with minimal support, the psychiatric team would hold an assessment meeting. I attended a few.

Memories of one such an occasion still trouble me.

The lead psychiatrist was very arrogant. Only her opinion mattered. Despite many conversations that I’d had with the nurses who treated my grandson on a daily basis, they kept silent in the meeting as I challenged the psychiatrist’s opinion. They had agreed with me and had informed me, before we entered that room, yet they refused to back me up. It was obvious that they were scared of her.

The main reason that was given to us for that particular section was so that his medications could be stabilised. In my opinion, and the opinions of his nurses outside of that room, the job had not been completed. He had only been there for ten days and was still showing many alarming signs of his illness.

I dared to tell the psychiatrist, “The problem is that he is a half-baked soufflé. Just when you are doing a great job of producing a satisfactory result, you remove him from the oven and he collapses in a horrible heap. This is a cycle of dismal failures.”

Her response was, “No! The real problem is that this is the difference between the opinion of a layman,” pointing at me, “and an expert,” pointing at herself. How arrogant!

With that, she excused herself from the meeting as she had another meeting to get to.

Incidentally, in the same meeting but no less relevant, that psychiatrist brusquely informed me, when I proposed that my grandson exhibited the majority of the well-documented symptoms of adult ADHD, that “There is no such thing as adult ADHD.”

# # # # #

A few years on, and I am suffering my own mental health problems.

For most of my life, I have been considered to be inspirational, a great motivator and the person to go to with any problems that required empathy and resolution. I would always be able to help. You only need to look at the recommendations on my LinkedIn profile to confirm that this is true.

I have also always been massively self-motivated. I would wake up early in the morning, full of enthusiasm for the coming day. I was excited about my work, my running, my writing, my interactions with the people who would fill my day, and many other things. I couldn’t wait to leap out of bed to get on with my day.

Now, I lay awake, worrying and thinking too much. I sometimes cry before I get up. During the day, when everything seems to go well, I suddenly feel sad and start crying for, apparently, no reason. I have panic attacks, but I have learned to control them.

Recently, I have started talking therapy with a very experienced and capable psychologist. She is wonderful. We struck up an instant rapport. She is very kind and is able to talk through my issues without making me feel under pressure of interrogation. He understands me and is non-judgemental. She has taught me some coping techniques which work. We have talked through the traumas and issues in my life, going all the way back to the beginning. I never knew that I had so many! It is a long list.

After about eight sessions, when I thought that we might be getting to the most significant issues and might soon start to address them and get be back to being the man that I once was, she has decided to refer me to a specialist. She believes that the most significant factors in my dark depression are related to sexual abuse and traumas that I suffered in my early life and in my adult life. She could be right. This is not her speciality.

So my sessions with the therapist who was my great hope for recovery have suddenly stopped. My company’s private healthcare insurance will find me a psychosexual therapist. It could take weeks. Then, I am going to have to start therapy from square one. It will be difficult for them, as my therapist has to be female. Because of what happened to me as a child, I can only speak with a female therapist. Even the thought of speaking with a male therapist makes me feel ill. 

I am scared!

I have fallen over the edge of a cliff. I am a little boy lost, I want to curl up in a dark corner and cut myself off from this horrible world. Having descended the snake to square one, I don’t know how long I can wait to start climbing the ladder again. My hope has evaporated.

Today, I am not even a half-baked soufflé. I am a sloppy, cheesy, eggy mess, sitting in the bottom of a cold baking dish in the middle of an oven which the chef forgot to turn on. Eventually, somebody will come and scrape me out and tip my mouldy remains down the waste pipe.

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Angels on the Beach

This is difficult for me to comprehend and even more difficult to describe. I am inhabiting my body, as usual, yet I am also standing a few feet away, observing myself lying on the beach in the shade of a tall palm tree.

I should be in agony, yet I am not. My belly has opened up to reveal a bucketful of long, thin, albino worms. They are wriggling in their own slime. I feel no physical pain. Mentally, I am tormented. I am confused by my predicament but that is not the problem. I am swamped in a cacophony of disturbing emotions. I feel happiness and sadness. I feel grief, which is making me cry, tears streaming down my cheeks and dripping onto the sand. I am terrified, my blood running cold, yet my body is buzzing and on fire.

Two figures glide, noiselessly, towards me. They are in the shape of very tall humans, at least nine feet tall. They are both female. They are translucent, mother-of-pearl, and have a serene calmness about them. Like me, they are naked. They crouch beside me. I feel their kindness and love as they examine me.

Their lips do not move and I hear no sounds, but their words, their communication is clear to me.

We must fetch Grace. She will save him.

Yes. I agree.

Don’t move, child. Stay calm. We will fetch help.

They turn and move, gracefully back down the beach.

Moments later, another beautiful being appears by my side. Neither my internal nor external being saw her approach. She kneels at my side and places her hands on my belly, on the writhing mass of slimy worms, which immediately begin to subside. The storm of my emotions also begins to diminish in its ferocity. The sun is shining and the sea is flat calm; a silver mirror.

My tummy is as smooth as the water. I am calm. I am relaxed. I am comfortably warm.

Grace is an angel. Out of the blue, I ask myself why she is not wearing a white cassock and sporting a halo and a pair of large, white wings. In a flash, I answer my own question. Why, in Heaven, if that is where these angels reside, would they have a factory full of tailors, manufacturing clothes for their fellow angels? Of course, they wouldn’t. They would be naked, just as we, in our earthly form come into the world and as we leave it.

Lay still and breathe deeply. You will know when it is the right time for you to rise. The swans will need your help.

Grace rises to her feet and drifts off, leaving me to relax in the shade of the big palm tree. I close my eyes.

# # # # #

Much later, I open my eyes. For the first time, in my recent memory, I feel totally relaxed. I have no stress.

When I say, “much later,” it could be weeks, hours, or even seconds but, to me, it feels like MUCH later.

I slowly rise to my feet and head of along the beach. I notice that, cruising alongside me, is a giant swan. It is absolutely beautiful. It is connected to me. She is my sister. She must be at least four times the size of a normal swan. She loves me and I love her back, equally.

I hear screaming: high-pitched shrieking. I look out to the source of the frantic sounds and I can see the foam being whipped up in a patch of turbulent water which is swirling angrily in the middle of the flat calm sea. My heart leaps into my mouth. There are children out there, drowning!

Without hesitation, I launch myself towards them. There are six giant swans swimming around the perimeter of the troubled waters, in pairs. I reach the children and I pass them, one by one, to my guardian friends. I never feel that I am in any danger. The swans ferry the children to the shore. They are all saved. Every single one of those frightened children is saved.

I return to the beach.

Grace hugs me warmly.

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The Wounds We Keep

This resonates, deeply, in my world from somewhere that is running in parallel.


The wounds we keep are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.The next time you see someone cheerfully smiling, look into their eyes again; what does it say?”

Anything human is mentionable, and anything mentionable can be more manageable. When we talk about our pains, some say they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. But what happens if you have no one to talk to about your pains? What happens if the one person you thought would understand you the most is the very same person who would hurt you? What happens if you can’t simply trust anyone about your story? What happens if you just want to deal with your pains alone? What happens if the pains you’re keeping are just worth keeping for the rest of your life because doing so would create havoc and destruction to people around you? What if…

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A Step Closer

This is a very helpful book. If I could stir myself to follow Esther’s advice, I would be a successful writer.
See my review here:

Esther Chilton

A long, long time ago (well, not that long ago really), my how-to book, Publication Guaranteed (well, almost!) came out as an ebook. Many of you asked if there would be a paperback version. Yes, I replied. It’ll be out soon.

Two years on, we’re almost there. Why has it taken so long? you may ask. There are too many reasons to mention, including formatting issues, health problems, a house move, new baby (not mine!) and many other trials and tribulations. But the proof copy is on its way, so hopefully it’ll be available to buy in days (ish. I’m not tempting fate!).

Want to know more about it? Here’s the blurb:

Fed up with rejection after rejection? Not sure how to target the right market, or what to write about?

Writers Bureau tutor, editor and freelance writer, Esther Chilton takes you through the necessary steps to gain publication…

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