Saturday, 10 August 2013

Opening lines from Books

I can't give the opening lines to my favourite books because I don't keep books as such. My library consists mostly of reference books relating to arts, crafts, hobbies, religion and spiritual thought. It used to include books about politics but I gave up on that years ago. Novels come and go, year in, year out. When they are read they are passed onto family or friends. I particularly like historical novels or biographies. 
I have never owned a collection of classics and Shakespeare, since school days, has left no appeal.

Some of my favourite books from recent years include: 

The God of Small Things a story about childhood experiences by Arundhati Roy, winner of the Booker Prize in 1997
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, 2007
And the Mountains Echoed  by Khaled Hosseini, 2013
The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory, 2003

I managed to salvage five novels from my shelves, read, partly read and waiting to be read and I have taken the opening lines from them. 
Katherine Webb, author of The Unseen, 2011
'The first time Leah met the man who would change her life, he was lying face down on a steel table, quite oblivious to her. Odd patches of his clothing remained, the colour of mud, slick with moisture.'

Khaled Hosseini author of And the Mountains Echoed, 2013
'So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one. But just the one. Don't either ask me for more. It's late, and we have a long day of travel ahead of us Pari, you and I.

Kate Morton author of The Distant Hours, 2011
It started with a letter, A letter that had been lost a long time waiting out half a century in a forgotten postal bag in the dim nondescript house in Bermondsey.

Jean Auel author of The Plains of Passage, 2002
The woman caught a glimpse of movement through the dusty haze ahead and wondered if it was the wolf she had seen loping in front of them earlier.

Noah Hawley, author of The Good Father, 2013
Thursday night was pizza night in the Allen household. My last appointment of the day was scheduled for 11am; and at three o'clock I would ride the train home to Westport, thumbing through patient charts and returning phone calls.

Out of the five books listed above. the one which holds the most appeal to me right now is The Unseen. Maybe I should make a challenge to read it. Something for my ever expanding 'to do' list.

Day 10 August Blog Challenge

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A Guilty Pleasure :

An afternoon snooze
Is where to cruise
When there's time to lose
I stand accused

Of hoarding the treasure
Of sofa and me together
And being the wilful measure
Of my guilty pleasure

Day 8 August Blog Challenge

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Five songs that bring back memories

Me being psychedelic
I'm enjoying this challenge and even surprised at myself that I can be so creative with writing again. There is life in the old girl yet!

I've heard it said that if you remember the sixties then you weren't there. Well I remember with a smile on my face and Oh! the joy and freedom of youth, Lets go to San Francisco , conjures up all the excitement, the change and the rebellious breaking down of social barriers of that era... I'll never forget!

Isao Tomito with his album 'Snowflakes are Dancing', introduced me to Debussy in the late 70s. I remember being enraptured by the sound, almost like being transported to another place and time. I bought the album as a Christmas present for my parents and funnily enough, they had bought me the same. Probably one of the rare times we were on the same page!

Its easy to place the blame at someone else's door but Billy Joel eloquently turned things around with the Innocent Man in 1983, with really deep lyrics, ouch! The eighties started well with the birth of my third child, a beautiful son, but then became probably both the worst and best decade of my life. My parents divorced about this time and my mother became suicidal. Domestic issues were at their lowest and we were broke. We had to sell our home and we barely made even. My family was breaking up and my lovely family ended up with no home of our own and I lost my precious mother. Then along came Labi Siffre in 1987 with Something inside so strong . I could so relate to that song. It was if it had been written for me. Not just my life but my whole family's life had to be built back up again and I did it! I returned to my faith, we got our own place, I went back into education and then got a job I managed to stay at for nearly twenty years. Wow! that was some achievement I can tell you. 

Life can be a fairground with its ups and downs but hope is eternal and what better way to ignore the downs than to break out into song when your favourite song comes on the radio. In 1995 it seemed this song was never off the radio and I loved it. Especially when I was in the car and I could pretend I was really at the fairground singing along with Simply Red. It made my husband and I laugh so much and laughing can be so good for the heart and soul.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

Day 7 August Blog Challenge

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

A favourite quote and why it’s special

If you love something set it free, If it comes back to you, it is yours. If it doesn't it never was.
(author unknown)

I value my independence therefore I must respect the independence of others. Watching children walk away to forge their own lives for themselves can be heartbreaking. A huge wrench that tears emotions to threads and leaves a gaping hole. The empty nest in tatters. 
Drew walking away

One of the worst attitudes I think, is to take someone for granted. I would much rather set someone free and experience the joy of their return than hold them against their will.

My darling son and granddaughter

Day 6 August Blog Challenge

Monday, 5 August 2013

Something I wish I did really well

If I can't do something really well then I don't generally do it. I leave it to the experts. Knitting for example. My mother was and sister still is an amazing knitter. I've tried my hand at it but with poor results and practice didn't make perfect for me. So a knitter I am not and never will be. Thats OK, I can leave well alone. 

Something that springs to mind is the fantastic ability some people have to
be multi-lingual. That's not an ability I share though I dearly wish I could speak more than my native English. I have some mostly forgotten but could be reminded of, schoolgirl French and a teeny bit of holiday Spanish. While waiting to get through the Gibraltar/Spanish border one day my son who was working there at the time broke into a Spanish conversation with a difficult custom's official so easily and readily I was greatly impressed and proud. Another time (I'm told), my son and his friend were trying to chat up a German girl but all were having difficulty with each other's language. They ended up conversing quite well in French! 
My son Drew
Yes I greatly admire those who can speak multiple languages and that's something I wish I did really well.

Day 5 August Blog Challenge

Sunday, 4 August 2013

An Embarrassing Moment

I think I have learnt how to opt out of would be embarrassing moments. I must have experienced plenty in my time but I don't think I have blushed at one since I was in my teens. 

Feeling socially awkward can be part of an embarrassing moment but some people don't get embarrassed at all in fact they seem to thrive on being socially awkward. A case in point happened just recently when my husband and I had a day out at Souter Lighthouse, a visitor's attraction in South Tyneside.  The lighthouse keeper's living quarters has a box of dressing up clothes for children to entertain themselves with. Of course, my husband (well on his way into his second childhood), couldn't resist a bit of dressing up.  Its moments like this that a well rehearsed line comes to mind, 'Its OK, he is going home soon'.

To be fair, I have to balance the equation by admitting one of my own embarrassing moments which was at a staff Christmas Dinner, many years ago. Carried away by the joviality of the event and yes, civil servants know how to let their hair down, at my place at the table, I ashamedly enjoyed my neighbour's wine as well as my own. Hic! Oh my goodness! I didn't know how to apologise enough but she saw the funny side and said not to worry. I bet she was calling me under her breath though...eeek!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

A Treasured Memory

Its hard to choose a treasured memory, there are so many. They best come to mind when everything is quiet and there are no rattles of the day to interrupt my thoughts. My best time of the day is early morning when I can sit with my morning tea and look out at the world through my kitchen windows into the garden and sky beyond. A time of meditation brings all things to mind. Perhaps one of my most treasured memories was when I told my ten year old granddaughter I had stopped smoking. She was walking across the sitting room at the time, heading for the stairs when she stopped in mid track, did a double take and launched herself into the air, pirouetting as she did so, then bounced back down to the floor with a YEAH! She then sped off to do whatever it was she had in mind to do in the first place. I was speechless and thrilled at the same time. I wouldn't have missed that spectacular for the world and all because I had stopped smoking. I think I will treasure that moment forever.

3rd Day August Blog Challenge 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Five things about me most people don't know

I think this challenge is really difficult and so I have to question it. What are the five things about me most people don't know? 

I question why they would want to know... that I was dragged out of a very interesting coffee bar when I was fourteen by my mother? How mortified was I that day! 

Do I want them to know is my second question. That I can be really quite boring. I can't think of anything about me that is newsworthy or headline snatching or maybe that's just a case of my own selective memory. Lets get rid of all the embarrassing bits. I won't be sidelined, I'm a listener, not a talker though I do have my moments.

Question three: Who are 'most people' ? Is that a good percentage of the world population or just my little circle of friends, neighbours and casual bystanders? They surely don't know I am really a teenager at heart in an older person's skin. I get such a shock when I look in the mirror.

With many others I stood to be counted in defending the rights of the unborn, was jeered, mocked and spat at but I would do it all again willingly. I supported CND and wept for my sisters in the third world. I need not question this.

I have three children, ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren. My fifth question is, why does that raise eyebrows?

Day 2 of the August Blog Challenge

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The story of my life in 250 words

Gosh! How do I fit 64 years into 250 words. The answer is I don't! I can't even believe I've been on this earth for 64 years... but that I have, must be an achievement in itself.  Born in what used to be the workhouse at Balby, Doncaster, which was transformed into a hospital as many workhouses were; I was delivered there because I was lying breach or so I am told. The journey to hospital was drenched in a November pea soup fog, all too common in the colliery towns and villages of the Don Valley.  

I survived this rude awakening to 'life awareness' and endured the pollution of smog, smoky coal fires and bitter cold winters from my first childhood bed in a vacant drawer at the cemetery house where my grandparents lived to the back bedroom of a prefabricated bungalow built as temporary post war housing. I developed asthma and TB and at the age of three was not expected to live but I did, thanks to the village pharmacist who loaned out his oxygen cylinder and mask to help me breath and of course my mother's prayers.

Today I can look back at relationships broken and intact, generations of new descendants, adventures and experiences. The life changing sixties, the hates, the loves, the hard work and the seamless care that binds all together over decades and I wonder, how time flies and what more is still to come. No! 250 words are not enough. 

Day One of the August Blog Challenge