This is a poem that I wrote last year and recited during the Poetry Open Mic Evening at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School 2018. It is about the scattering of my Mum’s ashes.
I posted it on my blog, but it has had no hits. That is probably because it is hidden away under my Titbits tab. If you’d like to read more of my poetry or you are ready for a few COL (chuckle out loud) moments, you should take a few minutes to explore some of the short items in the Titbits section.
Please leave comments to let me know what you think.
Hint: You’ll “hear” it better if you read it out loud.
The Bonar Bridge Rock
incorporating lines from Elisabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet 43
Scatter my ashes on my rock,
On my rock where I played.
With Grandpa at the back of our croft, On…
A stench lies on Avebury, New Hampshire. It isn’t something that one can smell, it is more of a psychic soot polluting everybody’s mood. No one recalls when it arrived, but there does seem to be a connection with the Old Mill and its mysterious new owners.
Following the trail of the local legend, the ghost of Martha Goode, Gill Baxter is driven to discover the truth behind the events of 1821 and, hopefully, prevent another “time of dying.” That trail, though, leads directly to The Old Mill.
The Old Mill was released today! You can find it on Amazon with the links below:
It is with great sadness and heavy heart that I report the death of Krystie, a very courageous and inspirational young lady. I worked with her mother, Molvia, at the time that she published this book, which you must read. I was one of the first to review the book on Goodreads and Amazon and on BBC Radio Oxford.
Molvia and Krystie have continued to inspire me over the years.
My heart goes out to her family today as I re-post my original review in memory of Krystie. The bright flame of her spirit will burn forever in Molvia’s heart and in the hearts of many of her friends and family.
She may even be remembered by members of the musical group McFly. You can find out why by reading the book. I commend it to you.
At the moment, I am with Sue on her opinions on the use of flashbacks. She is a much more experienced and successful author than I, so you should read her original post.
I have recently been watching the TV series ‘The Serpent’. It makes me dizzy! It jumps back and forth in time and I spend my time trying to figure out where and when I am and putting effort into retro-fitting the current scene into the timeline that is in my head. I am determined to see it through to the end though.
I tried to make the second chapter of my current WIP novel a flashback. The first chapter is full of action, tragedy and strong emotion. The second chapter is the main protagonist’s reflection on her very happy times with one of the characters who dies in the first chapter, a whole decade back. I just could not get it to work. It bored me, so it would slay my readers!
Anyway, I recommend that you read Sue’s blog post. It is guaranteed to make you think.
I always think carefully before utilising flashbacks to reveal backstory. There are other techniques available.
A flashback gives information about backstory to the readers and usually involves a complete change of scene as the incident from the past takes centre stage. It moves the narrative back in time from the point it has reached – ‘flashing back’ to a prior point.
FOR: Flashbacks can be a fabulous way to manipulate a timeline – or two or more timelines – if your novel involves that structure.Or the storyline can be suspended for the flashback to take place at a point that creates a cliffhanger. Frequently, flashbacks are used to tell the readers the backstory. Some genres use them so much that their readers must enjoy them.
AGAINST: A flashback halts the action, so any momentum my story’s building up is lost. Even if it’s exciting and crammed with intrigue, a flashback…
Many of you are familiar with the wonderful Carrot Ranch contests. I’d like to share this very special one with you and encourage you to enter:
Sue Vincent is one of those special bloggers that inspires people all over the world. Readers have long been galvanized by her posts about mythology, about ancient ruins and medieval churches, and her daily #midnighthaiku. Even more have participated in and grown as a result of her #writephoto prompts. In addition to posting her prompts, Sue has tirelessly supported other bloggers by sharing others’ responses to her 19,000 and counting followers.
Recently, Sue has been faced with a new and difficult challenge: lung cancer. You can follow her blog to find out more directly from her. The Covid pandemic has served not only to pose a specific threat to a person with a severe respiratory illness, but it has caused loss of human connection…
This book was OK and it was an enjoyable read. It could have been so much better though.
The ideas behind the plot were good and, like any good crime thriller, there were a few possible suspects. However, the conclusion was implausible and the police were nowhere near to having a viable case to take to the CPS. Even if they’d got to court with it, the defence lawyers would have ripped the evidence to shreds.
I can’t say too much more without giving any many spoilers. I’ve take the trouble to give the author plenty of valuable feedback though. I hope that she takes it in the spirit that is intended. She is very imaginative and creative and I am sure that she will produce many great crime thrillers in the future.
I also agree with some other reviewers that there are far too many grammatical and punctuation errors. I have noticed that there is an update available on Amazon for Kindle readers which may have eliminated these irritating errors.
What works very well is the way that the narrative alternates between the points of view of the three main protagonists.
Firstly, there is Lucy, a masseuse who is never shocked by the revelations of her clients in the privacy of her therapy room as they submit to the beneficial pressures of her knuckles and sharp elbows.
Then there is Giles, one of Lucy’s clients who has been seeking somebody like her to fill the gap left after his wife, Steph, died in suspicious circumstances from a heart condition. Steph had been a firefighter and a woman of action and spontaneity. To Giles, Lucy seems to be the perfect replacement.
Finally, there is Paula, Lucy’s best friend and a former police officer who turns her detective skills to trapping fly-tippers for the local council. Paula knows that Giles was the prime suspect in his wife’s death but she is afraid that revealing his past to Lucy will endanger their friendship.
I was also impressed by the brilliant writing of the sex scenes. They are very hot, authentic and certainly had my pulse racing and my temperature rising. The book could have benefited from a few more such scenes without negatively impacting the main storyline. They were relevant and I am sure that other readers would enjoy such interludes as much as I did.
I look forward to this author’s future offerings. With better proof-reading and a good police procedural advisor, she shows great promise.
When the light goes out – not the light in the bathroom or the upstairs closet – no, the light in your eyes; that dim orb of humanity, the apex of my focus, my lighthouse. When that fades, will I be gone too? Will the memory of my touch, those living kisses we shared under the moonlight – will they go too? Never to be remembered. Never to be mentioned. Never?
Am I invisible without your existence? The closeness of living our shared life bears that question. We sat and ate, breathing in and out, side by side, bearing the highs and lows like waves billowing against the sandbanks till our efforts waned and the tide drew out. The carnage of our choices remain dented in the sand, only to be washed away by the next generation and the next, the endless cycle of invisibility.
I watched a lot of the inauguration day on various TV news channels in the UK.
It made me feel very happy. The biggest moment for me was the presidential visit to Arlington with three former presidents standing in the background. It was very dignified and respectful. My heart was filled with pride and respect for my US, British and international comrades in arms, living and dead. I was very impressed by President Biden’s humility and his obvious connection with the citizens of America and their daily problems.
Finally, what a huge breath of fresh air is brought to the USA and to the world by your new Vice President. She is wonderful and has one of the warmest, most genuine smiles I have ever seen.
I am not stupid. There will be things that this pair do that I might disagree with, but the anger and frustration that I felt from across the Atlantic with the previous administration is gone.
The darkness is lifted. I am awaking from a gruesome nightmare into a new dawn.
I am excited by the new branding that Ocado is introducing. It distinguishes us from other online supermarket brands. I have copied the original blog post below, but please follow this link if you would like to view it on the Ocado blog.
Some eagle-eyed customers may have noticed our brand looks a little… different today. So, what’s behind the change, and why now? It’s simple.
We’re super proud of our branding – from our fruity colours and vans to our distinctive swirl. Our current branding has been around for a long time; it’s served us well, and lots of customers are kind enough to tell us they love it too.
But over time, we noticed that there were a few bits that weren’t designed for use in modern digital environments. We want customers to have the best possible experience interacting with the brand, so we decided last year it was time to bring it up to date.
We did some of the work ourselves, and had some amazing partners to help us with the rest. (A big thank you to Jones Knowles Ritchie, St Luke’s, Space Doctors, Ipsos and Kindling.) The result, we think, is the most digital, flexible and accessible version yet of the Ocado brand. We hope you like it as much as we do.
To start with, we have a juicy new brand colour. May we introduce you to Grape. Like all our previous colours, our new brand colour is inspired by fresh fruit and vegetables, and it fulfils two very important needs.
Firstly, it works wonderfully in digital. Accessibility is the practice of making your website and comms usable by as many people as possible. The high level of colour contrast between Grape and white means our site and apps do a better job than ever in achieving that.
Secondly, Grape gives our brand a distinctive, ownable identity. Green is widely used in grocery branding in the UK, and, well, frankly, we hate to be mistaken for anyone else. Long-time customers will recall that our website was purple for many years, so in many ways we’ve come full circle.
The original Ocado identity was developed for a world where customers shopped on desktop computers. Twenty years later, the shape of our swirl was getting a bit lost on smaller screens. As an online service, our swirl has to stand out on our customers’ mobile phones, so we’ve redrawn and tweaked our swirl, so it stays recognisable even when it’s diddy. We’ve also made an animated version for our swirliest moments.
Our wordmark was sometimes read as ‘ocodo’ because of the single storey ‘a’ in the centre. We’ve switched it for a two-storey version to solve this, while keeping the relaxed nature of the lower-case letters.
We commissioned a new custom typeface, the obviously-named “Ocado Sans” (short for ‘sans serif’). It was inspired by the personality of the Ocado swirl, and it’s been built to work beautifully at all sizes, even on small screens.
We’ll be rolling our new identity out slowly over the course of 2021, to enable us to focus on delivering as many groceries to as many homes as possible. Look out for new van designs too (our goal is to top last summer’s wildly popular Percy Pig vans!) and also a fresh new look for our Own Brand packaging. We really hope you love it.
It is hard to believe, but we, in UK, are already two episodes in to Season 10 of this wonderful series!
It is such easy viewing. There is nothing challenging in the story lines, so it is good to sit and relax to. It doesn’t get as dark as many modern crime thrillers that appear on our screens these days.
The lead character (four Detective Inspector actors so far) is always slightly flawed, which adds comedy value. They all do their best to blend in with the local culture, but they fall gloriously short. The latest DI struggles to stray from his habitual diet of fried chicken and chips and he seems to be allergic to everything.
Officer JP Hooper, recently promoted to Sergeant, is always over-trying to please everybody and he often succeeds, which surprises himself more than anybody else. He is such a likeable character.
The DS (three actors so far) is always the most sensible member of the team and is also very sexy.
Always on the periphery of any enquiry is Commissioner Selwyn Patterson. He usually appears to be a bit grumpy but adds wry humour and a smattering of wisdom to the end scenes.
I miss the Commissioner’s scatter-brained niece, Officer Ruby Patterson, in this series. She is hilarious.
As I said, this is great, comfort viewing. The bonus is that you can feel the Caribbean warmth of both the climate and the culture. The series is also a very welcome release from the depressing news streams which saturate our TV channels in 2021.
My working career spans the Royal Navy, a spell as a dairyman in the Highlands of Scotland, many years in military survey in the British Army, and a fourth career in Information Technology.
I have recently become a budding author.
Allison Symes shares her Facebook author page blogs, her website posts and Chandler's Ford Today magazine articles with links. She also blogs about her writing journey and shares thoughts and hints on flash fiction.