Showing posts from September, 2021

A Minor Miracle -- by Susan Price

Wikimedia: Daniel Schwen My Dad was always drawing. I remember, when I was around fifteen, sighing heavily as I lowered the newspaper and saying to him, "I don't mind when you draw aeroplanes or herds of horses in the margins or over the adverts. In fact, I like it. But I wish you wouldn't draw, in thick biro, dog-fights and jousts over the articles. " He promised to try and do better. I drew too, all the time. I drew things I saw and things I imagined. I illustrated scenes from favourite books. (When I first collided with the Greek Myths, at the age of about nine, I spent a year drawing scenes from them.) Both my brothers drew. The house was littered with opened-out envelopes, pages from sketch pads, paper bags, pieces of old wallpaper, all drawn or painted on. My mother didn't draw but she was a cause of drawing in others. As soon as we could sit up, literally, she put a crayon in our hands and a sheet of paper in front of us. She did everything she could t

Auchmithie Pebble Beach. Lorraine Smith

 I paid a visit to Auchmithie Pebble Beach. This was an event organised by the Scottish Geology Trust. We gathered on the beach to look at the pebbles and the local geologists helped us to identify them. You can see from the photograph that this beach has a vast array of pebbles of all sizes and colours.  I enjoy walking on a beach and collecting and looking at pebbles. I was interested in the different stones here. There is Garnet, which is a stone I love, Jasper, Quartz, and Calcite. There is also Rhombo Porphyry which is a beautiful speckled stone. Also, Schist which is characterised by its sparkle. often the stones are dull to look at but when they are collected and polished their real beauty is revealed.  As you can see the Village Hall was set up and decorated to provide a welcoming space for the talks.There was also old photographs of the village which were of real interest to me as an amateur photographer.  There was also tea and coffee and biscuits. On a dull day, this event w


  I had the absolute thrill to be asked by Wendy H Jones to contribute a chapter to ‘Creativity Matters : Find Your Passion for Writing’ *, a wonderful new anthology that published earlier this month.   My chapter is entitled ‘Why write historical fact-based fiction?’ and it was easy for me to write enthusiastically about a genre that I have a passion for. I love history and I love fiction, so when a fiction book has a good amount of historic fact included, I enjoy it immensely. For me facts add authenticity to the setting of the story but also inevitably set me off on my own research and reading. (I particularly like checking out the author’s sources!) My debut novel was inspired by historic facts – the Cistercians choosing to build abbeys in remote and beautiful parts of Wales, the life and times of the de Braose family, and the rule of Llewellyn the Great, first Prince of all Wales. Inspiration for my historical writing comes easy as I spend much of any free time that I get visiti

Telling the Truth about Love? -- Mari Howard

                            Peacock Butterflies Contemplate Love on White                             Buddliea   (author's photo)            Writing is a process. That’s kind of obvious: but the interesting thing about writing, (or any creative process), is the inevitable interaction between the work, and us, the creatives, as we move through that process.      Here’s a blog based on one I wrote earlier (in 2013). Paragraph 2 began: Yesterday, I completed my second editing of the draft of Baby, Baby’s follow-up: a sequel which takes Max and Jenny into the stormy waters of modern marriage, parenthood, and professional careers. I had one last scene to write, and I knew I’d been putting it off. Well, yesterday was the day after I’d completed the first draft of my latest WIP - the next book in the series... and in taking a break before plunging into first edits, I’m doing some desktop tidying-up, and found this.      Working through the draft, there’ll be alterations to make, to brin

The Healing Power of Trees - Katherine Roberts

When I was recovering from the dreaded lurgy last year, about the only place I could breathe properly was in our local woods beside the stream. I could barely walk up the slightest gradient in town, and cycling was only possible very slowly on the flat. But I'd stagger as far as the woods on my bike, push it a short way off the path, and sit among the bluebells surrounded by green leaves and mossy tree trunks. Before I left, I would hug a tree in thanks for the comfort and healing they'd given me that day. Unintentionally, I was doing what now has an official name in Japan - Shinrin-yoku,  or "forest bathing" .  During lockdown, it seems many more people discovered the benefits of a woodland walk, and there is now scientific research to back up what we instinctively feel. Being among trees has been shown to lower blood pressure, slow the pulse rate, and help stabilise blood sugar. It can also boost self-esteem, reduce negative emotions, and benefit children with ADHD.

A memory of Greenham by Sandra Horn

Recently, my daughter sent me the link to an article about the women of Greenham. I had never camped there, but had visited a few times for demonstrations and to show solidarity. I had three small children at the time and a husband working somewhat more than full-time, and would not have dreamed of leaving them. I remember an elderly Friend saying words to the effect that clean clothes and brushing teeth wouldn’t matter when the bomb went off. True, but until then, the small mundanities of life must go on, I thought. There were women at the camp who had left families behind; there was also some talk of women who had fled unhappy relationships. I don’t know about that. I just know that they were all much braver then I was, to uproot themselves and live in challenging (to say the least of it) conditions in order to bear witness to the evil of the base and protest against it loudly, disruptively and consistently. I honour them. I have one caveat: a young father took his children to the