'Mrs England' is set in the industrial north of England, when women were second-class citizens and the social divide was deep. Nurse Ruby May accepts a position to look after the children of a cotton mill owner. All is not as it seems in this household but Ruby's kindness and fortitude abide.
Do you write? Do, or did, others in your family also write? Explore with me whether or not one's ability to write well depends on nature or nurture. What influences or circumstances make a difference? Is there an element of luck? Let's see!
This is the solving of a mystery concerning a 12 year old child's disappearance. It spans the 20th and 21st centuries and involves a family of four girls and a couple who buy the old house where the girls used to spend summer holidays with their cousin; a superbly written, well-woven story.
Take a peek at my garden visitors and the Somerset Levels, to see a variety of birds, animals, butterflies, moths, and insects. We try to welcome them, provide for them and keep them safe, from the unusual to the quotidian.
Based on the story of an ordinary wall demolished and rebuilt more than once, this explores the idea of unforeseen change and subsequent reinstatement. Is it chance or is it a sequence of events, relying on the right people at the right time? Come with me on this journey of building walls.
If you like photographs or if you like to take them, join me for a perusal of why photos appeal to us and why we take them. What effect do they have on us and what legacy do they leave?
Poems following word prompt 'Breakfast', including what choices of breakfast exist, a memorable breakfast from my past, reminding me of a visit to the Northern Lights. Join me in my journey through the best meal of the day and a smorgasbord of delights.
Take a visit to Devon and Dorset in the south of England with me, by way of a short holiday. Come and visit pretty coastal towns and villages and this beautiful, ancient countryside, with its Jurassic Coast, taking you back in time.
At Christmas time, the giving of gifts is the manifestation of goodwill, thinking of others. Giving and receiving gives us a happy glow. Let's take a look at one of the traditional carols which adorns many a Christmas card.
A single word poetry prompt is useful. It gives ideas but provides a large scope from which to choose. The idea of raindrops evokes all kinds of thoughts and scenes. Join me to explore this path.
Rather abstract words to form the basis of a poem or prose, I thought, but intriguing and thought provoking as they are, I merged them into an idea about proving 'today' as time. See what you think!
A one-word prompt, 'Life', inspired my thoughts to a variety of angles which could be taken. Having explored those, I decided on a poem.
Once more, inspiration comes from a single word prompt, from Brenda Arledge. Friendship means so much, in different ways to different people. What does that word conjure up in your mind? Do you have many friends or a chosen few? Do join me on the journey through friendship.
What comes to mind when you see or hear the word 'fairy'? Tinkerbell? Fairy cakes? The Tooth Fairy? Fairy Godmother? Fairy Tales? The essential question is 'Do you believe in fairies?'. I do.
Using one-word prompts can be interesting, as we can interpret them in so many ways. These two words are connected, so it seemed appropriate to use them in the same article. We hope for the future and tomorrow is the future!
I love to write poetry. I love to write. These poems were triggered by word prompts from Brenda Arledge. Come on a tour with me, through a thought process, a narrative and a little nonsense!
Emotions are linked to colours are linked to emotions. Colour is used to create mood, to convey feelings, to portray people, in art of course, but here we're looking specifically at its use in photography. How do you respond to colour? What is your favourite colour and why?
I'm exploring the connections between colour, music and emotions. Let's look at the history regarding the sounds of colour, the colour of sounds. It might surprise you!
Colour is part of our lives, for most of us, but have you ever thought about the colour of music or of 'hearing' colours? Come with me on a journey from 1921 to the present day, visiting a composer and a colour-blind artist.
Our world is full of colour. Define each specific colour; use a wide variety in your writing, to enrich your work and bring colour to your readers. Use your imagination to make up your own colour description; be different, be bold!
Do you have objects passed down to you from parents or other family? What memories do they hold? There is so much history buried in an object, so many tangible memories. These objects were my father's; for me, they evoke feelings of pride, protection and humour. I invite you to take a peek.
A patchwork cushion is often created from off-cuts of all sorts of fabrics. Come with me on a historical journey as we look at such a cushion made by my mother, and the memories it recalls.
Inherited family objects can evoke memories of people, time and places. They have their own history too, often intriguing. I'd like to show you some of my inherited objects; this time, a cribbage board and unusually connected pieces.
Objects handed down from grandparents to parents to children often come with stories, with connections to so much history. Have a little peek at my family through some of my possessions, starting with a metronome.
Pewter is a versatile alloy. Find out more about it, and its history, and look into some of my collection. You might be surprised at some of the objects.
Short flash fiction, showing how someone who is totally self-centred can create a drastic self-comeuppance. Never forget to think things through! Added comments on why I love trains and their fascination.
Having chickens in the garden is great. Apart from providing eggs, they are a source of interest and fun. Find out how to construct a coop, how to look after the hens and see how we've got on!
Examine with me the influences of nature on the human mind, specifically when walking paths in the countryside, in water and in towns. The link with Covid-19 provides another slant on how an imposed 'path' can change even our thinking.
There are times when we pick words out of thin air. Should we be careful what we say? Should those in authority choose their words more carefully? Does it depend upon the situation? Come along with me and have a think about it!
Promoting speaking, reading and discussion is important to aid life skills, memory skills, social skills, self-confidence and education. This is aimed at helping others to learn words, put them into context and promote confidence in doing so.
Looking at how life has shifted, the world has shifted, for better or worse and whether some aspects will change for ever. (Written when the lockdown was just easing.)
Another photo prompt challenge, another short story. Come with me to visit a pretty town and view a house which will have Bed and Breakfast guests, thus fulfilling the owner’s unusual lifetime ambition.
Always keen to rise to a challenge, I attempted this flash fiction inspired by just one photo, a photo which I thought implied a sense of waiting, of being ready but being frustrated by something. Come along for the ride…. maybe!
Spring is a new beginning, inspirational. Look through my window with me and discover what's happening outside. Draw some inspiration and hope from what we see.
National Poetry Day, UK and Ireland, annually on the first Thursday of October, seeks to promote the reading and writing of poetry. Take a peek at some thoughts regarding poetry, my examples and a local Somerset contribution from Liv Torc. I hope it inspires you to write!
Come with me on a trip round The Lake District of north-west England! See magnificent scenery, beautiful lakes from traditional small steamers and flora and fauna to delight in. Famous writers and poets have drawn inspiration from this area of mountains and lakes and so can you!
I was recently introduced to abecedarian poetry and did some research as to what it was and how it is written. Turns out it's been around for a while! Find out about it and read some of my own examples!
Good and evil spirits affect the life of a woman who tends a chapel and graveyard. Who will win the battle? This short story has a basis in personal experience.
In response to a challenge issued at primary school, in conjunction with Peachick Books, this charming story written by a 7-year old is about a naughty mouse who learns the hard way not to cry wolf.
A fellow writer asked about the variation of words and paragraphs and the impact of such combinations on tone and style. I explore this through examples from various writers and aim to encourage good writing practice and personal style.
Some advice and examples of how to improve writing, be it fiction or fact; the importance of proof-reading and choosing your words carefully.
This is my own response to a challenge I set some time ago, to write a story following a photo prompt; a story about kindness, about nature and about history, set in the Sussex countryside of England.
'Paper' conjures up many images. Here we look at the varied meanings and uses of the word within our idioms and everyday speech. What do you think of first? Look around you to find different types of paper and its uses; the amount might surprise you!
Norwich, the county town of Norfolk, is a beautiful city in East Anglia. It deserves a visit for its mediaeval and Norman buildings, its vibrant university community and its connection with dragons. Walk with me to explore.
During a visit to Norwich, England, dragon statues were on display, the theme for 2015's charity fund raising. They provided entertainment, a sense of history, a tour of the city and a glimpse into mythology. Come with me on my Dragon Trail.
Poems inspired by the Lighthouse on the beach at Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset and by the digging of lugworms for bait. The history of the lighthouse is inextricably linked to the present day, as it now has a tourist rather than marine rôle.
Counting views and knowing the number of your followers is interesting. This is a personal view of what those statistics mean to me, how important writing is for me and how creativity must never be compromised. Writing runs in the family and continues to do so. Hooray!
Continuing my trip round New Zealand's South Island, we look at the Taramakau River, a braided river and consider its amazing qualities. Topographical Map & photographic views from the sky. I hope you enjoy it.
These poems are based on my experience on the Indian Pacific, a bucket list journey across the Nullarbor Plain of Australia. It's an hospitable ride across an inhospitable semi-desert and is like no other train journey I've undertaken. Ride with me on this silver streak!
Poetical tribute to a series of short stories, including 3 poems, plus more information regarding White Horses & chalk carvings in southern England.
Two poems inspired by Ravenscar, a town in Yorkshire, England. Planned as a resort, this town was not well conceived, though set in spectacular scenery. Find out more about it and why it earned the name 'The Town that Never Was'.
We follow paths to explore, or to take us to familiar places. We follow career paths. However, we don't always take the right path but learn along the way to make an educated decision regarding which ones to follow.
Two more poems exploring ideas that fly into my head! I thought of the possible difficulties with breathing and also of the rhythms that come with sleep & how words are exhaled as we sleep.
Two poems for poetry month 2018. One about the relationship between people & places, the other about conflict & communication.
Mauritius is fascinating, beautiful, tropical. This is an account of 5 days spent there, away from the usual tourist hub. There is much of the unexpected. Come with me on my short journey.
Challenges inspire us to go beyond our boundaries. This is a reply to a photo prompt and is a modern twist on a well-known fairy tale.
When you stand in familiar surroundings do you get a sense of place, a sense of history, a sense of belonging? This is an exploration of what you have around you.
The Bengal Tiger & the Fiddler Crab play an important part in the Mangrove Forests of the Sundarbans. Learn more about them and find out why they should be looked after for the future of our plant.
Why do we send Valentine's Day cards? What are their origins? My memories of sending them, why it's important to tell someone of your love, a personal poem and a different slant with a Bowie song.
Exploring the counties of England, using poetry (others' & mine) & memoirs, starting with the South to Southwest, we look at Sussex to Devon; a little taste of England to whet your appetite.
Two books of quirky poems, a percentage of proceeds from which go to Kings College DBS research. Find out more about how to buy the poems, about Parkinson's & about the treatment referred to as DBS
'Morph' can refer to various shapes or creatures, can be a cartoon character or can apply to human form and languages. Find out more about it & read a short poem.
Huelgoat, Brittany, is like no other place I've ever visited. It has a lake, a river, a forest and, above all, the mysterious 'Chaos' of giant boulders in a setting of legends.
Response to a flash fiction challenge, given parameters of genre, location and object to be included. This is a good discipline to test our writing skills. Why not have a go?
The first of a series, some musings on an English word chosen at random. What's a penny? Where does the word come from? Old and new pennies, plus idioms using the word 'penny'.
Light-hearted response to a challenge from a fellow writer, to put da Vinci in the present time and see how he would cope with the internet. This was fun!
An attempt to write a mirror poem led to expanding the hub to consider the word 'mirror' and its different uses. What do you see in the mirror? What images can it create?
Childhood bike rides in Autumn, the freedom of the countryside and the beauty of nature. A response to carbdiva's challenge.
She sits looking through family photos, remembering grandparents and wishing she'd asked questions, known more about them & others. Ask those questions before it's too late for you!
A profile of the White Stork, emblem of Alsace, France; find out how it survived near-extinction, where you can see it & why the stork is associated with the arrival of babies.
In response to a challenge to write extremely short flash fiction, I set myself 3 tasks, respectively within a maximum of 50, 25 and 15 words. Included are ways to overcome lack of inspiration.
Originally a response to a short story competition, this deals with relationships, with breaking out to freedom & truth.
The history of MTB 219, how and why it came to Bridgwater Docks and its intended future, as well as thoughts on remembering the events of war.
A response to Jackie Lynnley's challenge to write about winter memories. Events from my childhood to present day; family, fun in the snow, fainting from cold, train girls skiing, traveling.
The Christmas story unfolds in 9 Haikus. It's designed to make us think about what Christmas really means; the material or the spiritual? Follow the story from red berries to a boy's gift of thanks.
A response to questions, this deals with the variation of where to place quotation marks, word order in a sentence affecting meaning and verb endings matching the subject of a sentence.
When we need to double consonants in spelling. Rules and examples, short and long vowels and a glossary of terms.
Finding out about Ann's background, likes and dislikes, why she writes and where her ideas come from.
An attempt at using allegory, based on an art installation at the Tower of London with background information. Reminders of the dead, how we should learn from history & a wartime poem.
The English vocabulary gives you a vast pool to dip into and to choose from. Make sure you learn it carefully, use it well, make your voice heard and convey your message clearly. Try the challenge!
This is a response to a challenge laid down by billybuc, to interpret the lyrics of The Beatles' 'Across the Universe' in free verse. I read the original then transferred my feelings to the page.
Thoughts on wars past & present, learning from the past, changing the future and the importance of education and communication.
A poem on how music conjures up memories but with a warning, urging us to look to the future, cherish the good and look after the earth.
A central campsite in Brittany, with local sites, walks and suggested excursions. Huelgoat is an excellent base from which to explore.
Looking at the uses of 'off', 'of', 'from' & 'about' and some of difficulties in using these words, as well as their use in expressions and idioms.
Exploring further the common mistakes in English; where to use apostrophes, the correct use of adjectives & adverbs & where to use the conditional.
Poem in response to 'Spirits sat as Mourners' - Frank Antanacio's challenge in a 10 line continuation verse.
The pros and cons of getting a family dog; consider the dog's welfare and consider the family's welfare. This includes an open letter to a pet who was re-homed due to being too big.
History of the Lighthouses of Burnham-on-Sea; how navigational aids evolved, how they affected safety and the lives of coastal inhabitants
A childhood walk in Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex; 1950s Sussex & fond memories following a series of photos taken with a Box Brownie
One of the 'Exploring the Back Roads' series, looking at a choice of places to visit from Auckland to Taupo and Lake Taupo to the West Coast, especially the Logging Route over the mountains.
'The Photograph' by Penelope Lively: Scenario, Characters, Theme, Style; types of memory; other titles by Lively and information about her. Ever unearthed a photo which triggered memories?
One of Exploring the Back Roads of.... Series, this explores Orakei Korako in New Zealand's North Island; the Hidden Valley, thermal springs & outstanding scenery.
Explores with me the north end of the West Coast in New Zealand's south island, to the road's end above Karamea, visiting Karamea, the Oparara Basin, Oparara River & the Heaphy Track. It's like stepping back in time in this unspoilt, remote, mystic region.
The practicalities and problems of dyslexia, its impact on daily life and learning, as well as its positive aspects; what help is available, what teachers, parents and friends can do.
Poem about lying awake at night, thinking of dead parents, with regrets for past deeds, also showing how those dead can still lighten our pain.
This explains how children can learn through games, with friends and family, lots of skills which are essential for all sorts of learning as well as useful life skills. Learning through fun and social activity is one of the best ways; it is more memorable and doesn't feel like learning!
This hub is about fighting crime by showing courage and standing up to criminals and bullies. It includes suggestions of questions for discussion with adults and children and advocates preparing children for possible situations.
How to work as a team is an important skill. This shows how the individual is important to the whole and talks about hard work, achievement and reward, the latter sometimes just being the satisfaction of a job well done.
A look at the literacy patterns of 'soft c' and 'soft g', the rules and how to teach them. It includes tips on general teaching of dyslexics, approaches to use and examples of word lists.
The Hoopoe, Upupa Epops, the only extant bird of its species, migrates to Europe in Spring to nest and breed. Description of a chance sighting in a French garden, including information and interesting cultural and historical facts.
A view of the types of corruption in the world and ways to beat it; why we should not give up and a vision of a future without corruption.
'The Book Thief' is by Markus Zusak, an Australian of German & Austrian parents. It's a poignant & vivid portrayal of Liesel and her German foster-family who secretly shelter a Jew during WWII.
This is for teachers and parents to help Involve children in their own learning. What a pupil needs, the 'SMART' IEP (Individual Education Plan) and self-monitoring; the benefits of pupil-input and setting goals and targets.
Traditional Apple Crumble recipe; utensils needed, ingredients, method and serving suggestions. Useful tips and alternative accompaniments. Comes with an invitation to share it with me.
Help for Adult Dyslexics; encouragement, contacts for advice & professional assessment plus ideas for self-help regarding reading, improving memory. There are links to find further help.
An overview of the North Devon area, Exmoor National Park and Lynmouth & Lynton, with a view to its sights, walks, scenery and wildlife. History of the Flash Floods of 1952 plus influences on literature.
Talking about and showing photos of birds and butterflies and other winged creatures in a French country garden.
Buying and holidaying in France, owning and repairing a longhouse and living the French way; sampling the wine, the cheese and some celebrations.
Thoughts about learning; different ways people learn, from the educational system to life experience, and a poem.
The Tarn Gorge, France; a journey along the river, information about Hauterives and experiencing the Millau Viaduct from above and below.
Haiku poems, how to construct them and my own examples. Designed for fun, inspiration and encouragement.
Further help and advice for parents of dyslexic children. Information about dyslexic associations and where to find support and advice, support procedures within the education system and more practical suggestions to support reading progress.
Impact of a new sibling. Ideas for presents to make sure children don't feel left out and a short story written for my 10 year old granddaughter when she had a baby sister, written from observation.
Humorous account of my bunion operation & recuperation period, the realities and practicalities, from the viewpoint of a shoe-a-holic. Also a serious slant offering a mixture of facts and opinions.
Help and advice for parents & helpers of dyslexic children. Background information and practical suggestions to support reading practice. Designed to reassure and provide an upbeat approach.