Eighteen Years!

Hard to believe


Mum in 1955

It is eighteen years since my beautiful Mum died at the relatively young age of sixty-five. It was only eight weeks from when she received her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer to the day that she left us.

I miss her. There are still so many times when I hear something or see something and immediately think, “Oh! I must tell Mum about that.” Then I feel a small pang of pain and a tear emerging from my eye.

She was a classical and jazz musician, a model, a teacher, and she appeared in the Hitchcock film, “The Man Who Knew Too Much”

Please take a few minutes to read the epitaph that I wrote during the night following her death. I promise you that it is not morbid. Far from it. In fact I believe that it will make you chuckle, so read it if you need a laugh today.

You might even like to read my pathetic attempt at poetry which I wrote at the time. The piece is called “Gone”.

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Quick Tip: Make Your Widgets Shine with Images and Links

The Daily Post

Chrissie Pollock is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic, where she helps people succeed on their blogging or site-building adventure. This post is adapted from a tutorial she shared on her personal blog.

The Text Widget is a fairly straightforward tool, right? You write a bit of text, and it shows up in your sidebar (or footer, depending on the location of your widget areas). Some of you may have tried to replicate sleek-looking widgets that contain images or links, but when you added a link to your author blurb, or put in an affiliate code and image, all you ended up seeing was a plain web address, the bells and whistles nowhere to be found.

Don’t worry — that’s pretty common! The reason is that you have to use HTML if you want to make it look pretty. This can be daunting if you haven’t tried working with HTML before, but…

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I Have a New Book Coming Out Soon

SC Skillman Blog

I’m pleased to announce I have a new book coming out soon, this time non-fiction.aps-on-bookshelf-at-kenilworth-books-13-feb-2016

It will be a short one, 100 pages, and  will be available in paperback as well as an ebook.

I’ve written it for all those who’d love to know  about the process of writing novels: whether they be aspiring writers, or simply keen readers who are curious about how novelists think up their ideas and go about creating fiction from them.

Here’s a taste of some of the topics I’ll cover in the course of the book:

  1. Universal themes in fiction
  2. Strategies to develop creative and imaginative writing
  3. How to create a novel that your readers won’t want to put down
  4. Three tips for creative works of realistic fiction
  5. How to know which point of view to use in a story
  6. How to develop villainous characteristic traits in your writing
  7. How can Carl Jung’s theory…

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Review: Ride for Rights

The current rise of presidentially-driven prejudice in USA prompted me to re-blog this review. Besides, it is a great story which is well written. You should read it.

Lance Greenfield

Ride for Rights
Ride for Rights by Tara Chevrestt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story is based on characters who truly existed and on events which really happened. There are contemporary snippets from the New York Times throughout the book. However, the author has changed the names of the characters and used her creative license to turn the story into a work of fiction. This makes it much more interesting than a non-fictional presentation would have been and puts the book firmly into the historical fiction genre.

The reader is captured by the action from the very beginning, and I was held captive by the pace of the story to the very end. The dialogue and the development of the characters is superb and there was no huge challenge to my imagination. What I mean by that is that the images were conjured up very vividly by Tara’s style of the…

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Lance’s Coach Tour #8

Can you believe it? It’s over a year since our last coach tour when we traveled to Kublai Khan’s Summer Palace during the visit of Marco Polo. That was such fun!

But time doesn’t really matter when you own a time-traveling bus.

“Today we are going to visit Mister Contentious in Pisa in January 1610,” I announce.

There are whoops from many of the passengers who immediately realise that our host will be none other than the great Galileo Galiliei. I expected that Eloise, Hugh, Geoff, Erika, Ali and Sacha would be happy, but I hadn’t expected such widespread approval of my choice of destination.

Within seconds of our departure from Victoria Bus Station in London, our coach is pulling to a halt in the small room of Galileo.


Galileo and Viviani

“Benvenuti amici della Lance! I am so pleased that you arrived this evening. I am so excited! I have just spotted what I believe to be the fourth moon of Jupiter. It is amazing. Many people, especially religious leaders, still refuse to accept that the Earth and other planets orbit around our sun, yet, in the last two weeks I have discovered FOUR moons revolving around that huge planet. There could be even more.”

Many of us are gasping for air, realising that we have arrived right in the middle of one of the most momentous moments in history.

Calm Sheila quietly whispers into the great man’s ear. “In our time, we know of perhaps sixty-seven moons of Jupiter.”

“Sessanta sette. Megagalatica! I have much more work to complete.”

“Please don’t neglect your work in the field of gravity,” pleads Lucy, who works in a great English university and knows much of the seriousness of gravity.


Jupiter’s Galilean Moons

The time tourists are getting over-excited and risk upsetting some of the historic artifacts in the tiny, over-crowded room. Typically, Howard rescues the situation by producing his five-stringed guitar and striking up a ‘sixties classic. Within seconds, everybody is singing along in almost perfect harmony to Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind.” The great man likes it. And so do Sherry, Barb, Tess, David, Sheila, Yvonne, Olga, Kathryn and Colleen.

A few of my tourists excuse themselves, assuring me that they will be back in time to board the return bus. Victo Dolore, JenniferKamal, Marissa, Karin and Chuck head off to visit the historic leaning tower.

All too soon, it is time to head back to twenty-first century London. It has been a truly cosmic trip. We all look forward to the next one.

There were many other bloggers who were on this trip who were not mentioned in my report. The following people shared the fun of our wonderful trip to early seventeenth century Italy:

DonnaDavidAlka, Francis, Ane, LiaItchy Quill, Dominique, Beth, Krissy, Nydia, Carrie, Alka, Deborah, Almost Welsh Sarah, Janet, Erika, Wendy Kate, Sally, Tooty Nolan, The Owl Lady, The Crazy Bag Lady, CarolCCBecSassycare, Jo, JaneDiana,  Heartafire, Simple Head Girl, BarbaraNydia, Carrie, BecJason, Sassy, Amber, Steve, AllisonVonita, JulzFaraday’s Candle Sisters, FionaOrdinary WifeLili, Bridgette, Nunziapier, Izma, Meredith, Charise,
Boikanyo, Razorback, Marianne, Cindy.

Previous Seven Coach Tours:

  1. Stonehenge during its construction: meeting the foreman
  2. 1920’s New Orleans
  3. Macedonia in 338 BC to meet Aristotle and the young Prince Alexander (the Great)
  4. Syracuse in the mid-third century BC to meet Archimedes
  5. Vienna in 1801 to meet Ludwig van Beethoven
  6. First Century AD Britain to visit Queen Boudica on the eve of a great battle
  7. Kublai Khan’s Summer Palace during visit of Marco Polo


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Jonathan Pie on the inauguration speech

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Review: The Utterly Ultimate My Word

The Utterly Ultimate My Word
The Utterly Ultimate My Word by Frank Muir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish that I were this clever!

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
I wish that I were this clever!, 8 Aug 2008

I used to listen to the radio show “My Word!” when I was a teenager living in Hong Kong in the early seventies.

The most popular and most talked about part of the show was when Frank Muir and Dennis Norden were asked to make up stories which culminated in an expression that was something close to a well known phrase or proverb.
I remember marvelling at the way that these two extremely clever, and funny, gentlemen managed to derive the expression that they revealed at the end of their stories. I tried to work it out before they arrived at their destination, which was fun, and very occasionally I felt the ecstasy of being right!

Having the privilege of being able to revisit these most enjoyable puzzles by being able to read through a book consisting 147 of them, is just too wonderful to describe. I have read through the book from front to back two or three times. However, it sits on my bookshelves and is frequently brought down so that I may just randomly enjoy a few of these stories at my leisure.

This is a book that you should obtain both for your personal pleasure and to leave lying around your house so that your friends and family can open it at any page and share your enjoyment.

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