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Money, Politics and Russian Ballerinas -- a review by Susan Price

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  Mr Keynes' Revolution by E. J. Barnes For the last ten years the people who've have manouevred themselves into a postion to make law and policy have been obsessed with 'austerity.'  For other people, of course, not for them. Their only idea of 'economy' was to cut. Cut wages. Cut funding. Cut jobs. We've heard the tired old argument that 'the economy is just like a household. You mustn't spend more than you earn.' Look away from the wagging finger and study some of the richest people in our economy instead. Ask yourself what the word 'earn' means. And also, where the money generated by our economy is being spent. (Millions on the white elephant that is HS2? Millions on Piffle-Paffle's 'Garden Bridge' which hasn't and never will be built?) When most people manage their household economy, the first thing they set aside money for is the rent or mortgage -- but this country, under Tory management, first sold off social hous

Binge-watching the Masters by @EdenBaylee

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At the start of December 2019, I gave myself a gift of learning. I'd seen numerous ads for MasterClass while searching for interesting gifts for the holiday season.  If you're unfamiliar with MasterClass, it's a streaming platform of online courses that started in 2015 with a simple pitch: Famous people teach you about the thing that made them famous. At the time, the courses that interested me most were from writers: Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell, Joyce Carol Oates, just to name a few. MasterClass, however, includes instructors from all walks of life—from Dr. Jane Goodall who teaches Conservation to Helen Mirren who teaches Acting to Annie Leibovitz who teaches Photography.  You can either purchase a specific course along with its instructional videos and workbooks, or buy an annual membership which gives you unlimited access to all the classes, including new ones that are added during the year.  I decided to pick up an annual subscription and a second on

Writing which Inspires me

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Writers need to keep reading – possibly a meme – but also, wise words. What better way to learn the art of good writing than to read much, and widely, from childhood onwards?       Though it's doubtful whether that array of titles given by Amazon people who bought this also bought , (or however it’s phrased) gives much guidance that the books mentioned will also please and entertain the reader of the main book featured. Inspiration is a strange thing. Mine comes, (where it comes from books by other authors) from such a wide, apparently unconnected, range, that readers would most probably be left confused. However, in answer to a question (on Facebook, some years ago) Waterstones Invite Readers To Share Books That Changed Their Lives , I have a record that I responded, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ .        I had recently consumed A Thousand Splendid Suns hungrily, page after page. Hosseini grips his reader with a powerful range of questions, emotions, attitudes, not only with page-t

Quite possibly my dream job... Katherine Roberts

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My main method of escape from the doom-laden statistics and fear-mongering on the news these days is to disappear into the pages of a good book, preferably backwards in time. Jojo Moyes' Giver of Stars  is one of those books that 'came' to me, sitting on top of a small pile of secondhand donations outside the tea hut in my local park, where they are raising funds for restoring the tea house ready for a grand opening once this covid pan(dem)ic is over. I dropped a few coins into the collection tin and grabbed the book straight away, because I have read this author before and know she always delivers an intelligent and emotionally engaging story that I will probably enjoy. I didn't even know what this one was about until I started to read and realised it contained HORSES, one of my lifelong passions, and also BOOKS, which are another. The story is a romance of sorts, actually several intertwined romances, set against the backdrop of 1930s Kentucky, when intrepid women rod

Vita brevis, Ars longa by Sandra Horn

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Recently, I was having an online argument with someone about the BBC. She wanted to abolish it. I pointed out that it didn’t just put out TV and radio programmes, but for a few measly quid a week there was Cardiff Singer of the Year, Young Musician of the Year, the link with Open University, the emerging artistes programme for singers and musicians, support for choirs, orchestras, and also such public amenities as weather reports, the shipping forecast, education packages for schools…etc. etc. ‘People don’t want that,’ she retorted. Really? Then recently a sound engineer was explaining the difficulty she was in during the covid crisis. She is self-employed, so did qualify for the government’s belated financial help, which included those in the creative industries, who were unable to work at present. Ah, but then she was offered a contract for a theatre job, so effectively stopped being self-employed for the duration. But she had a job anyway, right? Wrong! Theatres were closed. She,

Plundering memories, by Elizabeth Kay

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 As our worlds have shrunk during the pandemic, the new experiences on which I rely for material is dwindling. The sight of a kingfisher on the river I now know like my back garden, an altercastion in Lidl, hunting down parasol mushrooms on the common, collecting sweet chestnuts from the downs. Biggest parasol mushroom this year All within walking distance, all things I have experienced before. Lidl doesn't change much, other than the designs on the face masks, and the altercations over trolleys - but the common does, the trees are going from green to gold and then to bare branches. Foraging has become more important as anything you can get that avoids the shops is a good idea. It was an excellent blackberry season; fortunately, I still have several tubs of them in the freezer. I made elderflower chanpagne this summer, but that didn't last very long... It's been a good year for sweet chestnuts, too, and they make a great snack whilst watching re-runs of things you last saw

Balancing The Christian and Paranormal in Books by S.C. Skillman

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My good friend Sheila Robinson, who writes as S.C. Skillman has a brand new book out and I'm fascinated as to how she blends this with her Christian Faith. I was delighted when she agreed to guest post for the blog to talk about this subject, one which I feel needs discussion. Thank you, Sheila. I know this will be good.  BALANCING THE CHRISTIAN AND THE PARANORMAL IN MY BOOKS Thank you, Wendy, for offering me this space on your blog to introduce my books to your readers. I am a Christian, and I write about the paranormal. Some may think it’s a bit odd for a Christian to be doing this, and a few have asked me how I reconcile my Christian faith with writing about the paranormal. But they are indissolubly linked with one another. In fact, I would argue, who better to write about the paranormal than a Christian? First let me define paranormal as strange events for which there is no scientific explanation. For my new book Paranormal Warwickshire (published by Amberley on 15th November