Day 13: What are you excited about?

musician-664432_640Ho hum, haven’t felt much excitement the first part of this year for very obvious reasons… I’m sure that lovely feeling will return but at the moment, it doesn’t feel appropriate most of the time. All part of the grieving process I’m sure.

I am though, excited for my granddaughter, Caitlin who at the grand age of eleven became Dorset County Athletic Champion for throwing! She also came second in the short distance running and the relay. What a star. And in September she goes to ‘big’ school and will be taking part in the girls football and rugby teams. She isn’t particularly a tomboy, with tumbling sun kissed blonde hair and blue eyes but she loves her sport. In fact it’s Caitlin who will sit and watch the footie matches with her Dad instead of her brother. It’s lovely to see her participate and take such an interest when at that age, their are so many competing distractions, particularly for girls.

And I’m becoming excited at the prospect of getting back into my publishing plan. Things have had to take a back seat, but I’m determined to complete my plans for the three books which are set in World War 1 and 2. They are not part of a series but I really enjoyed writing them. I’ve decided to use my Mrs Mop pennies as my publishing budget and have decided to resource some help with the cover design. I love doing the whole caboodle, but it’s just not going to happen this year, so it makes sense. So watch this space…

Ciao for now

Day 12: Write about 5 Blessings in your life…

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Don’t like the connotation of God that goes with the term blessing (Google it and see what I mean) so shall be writing this post in the context of something that helps or brings happiness.

Like many of us I imagine, I tend to focus on what’s troubling me rather that what is going well, or brings me laughter, and I’ve probably covered these in other posts but that’s not a bad thing.

  1. My family: Husband, Simon who is a constant source of support and makes me laugh when I want to cry. Son,  Ben of whom I couldn’t be any prouder of what he has achieved. He is the living example that conformity in education isn’t always the best path. And his lovely wife, Claire and mother to grandchildren, Morgan and Caitlin, who are growing up far too fast. And I’d have to include the animal family we’ve collected since living here.
  2. My Lifestyle: Which could encompass all five if I separated the things that bring happiness since we moved here. The main thing is living more on less. Quality not Quantity. That kind of stuff. It was a huge risk but so worth it.
  3. My Veggie Garden: which links with number two I suppose, but it is so satisfying eating fresh stuff picked from the garden only moments before. It’s hard work but fulfilling.
  4. My Writing: or just being creative. I write every morning without fail and have started a Doodle course – love to scribble and colour in. Must be my inner child struggling to be seen. I do work through a lot of angst in my morning pages which helps me every day.
  5. My Friends: Who I could count on one hand, true friends who I don’t see very often but when I it’s like we only met the day before. They know who they are.

Day 11: Something you always think ‘what if’ about…

what_ifI’m used to answering this question in my writing. What if the character says, does, doesn’t do this. What if the setting was here rather than there. What if I kill off one of my darlings. What if I end the chapter, sentence, paragraph with this rather than that. What if she was a he or a creature of non definitive nature?

I don’t often think ‘what if’ about my life if I’m honest. I’m more of a keep moving forward kind of girl then thinking about what’s gone past. I might ask the question to help me make a decision but once it’s made that’s it. Can’t change it.

If I’m forced to think about it, I’d probably pick my first career choice to ask the question. What if I hadn’t chosen to go into nursing. It was pretty much predicated for me from an early age. With a mother and grandmother both in the nursing profession I had two great mentors to look up to. And I had nurses kits for birthday and christmas presents quite regularly. My dad did offer to set me and my sisters up in a business, like hairdressing once. I would have given it a go, but it never got further than that. I don’t think I have the social skills to be a hairdresser.

Nursing was a tough choice and one I couldn’t keep up in the end. I was one of the youngest District Nursing Sisters in the Health Authority at the time and I had to follow the tough path that my mother trod. I found it difficult to leave the patients, their problems and their families at the front door when I got home and so by the time I was thirty had moved into management and then teaching and education. All of which required me to be more extrovert when my preference is definitely more introvert.

Writing has always been my ‘dream’, not a career choice, not until these past few years. I always viewed it more as a hobby. It’s much more than that, it’s a passion, a need I have to fulfil.

Enough of ‘what ifs’. I have a novel to edit.

 

Day 10: Something I Feel Strongly About

image.aspxSome of these prompts are very taxing, but I suppose that’s exactly their purpose. Anyway, just a reminder that everything I’m writing about is my personal opinion, if you don’t agree that’s fine I’m not expecting that. So today, in this mad, mad world that seems to be imploding the thing for which I feel most strongly about is religion and the way it’s being used to maim, kill and wreck humanity.

I know it’s probably been the same since days of old, but these last few weeks seem to be filled with atrocities that I feel like doing a ‘Grandma Lamb’. Lily was my dad’s mum and whenever anything bad came on the telly she would turn around in her favourite swivel chair (which was pretty hard for her as her feet didn’t touch the ground) and refused to watch or listen. Ignorance isn’t the answer but what is?

I’m not religious, my parents did loosely connect with their christian faith when we were younger and we were packed off to Sunday School. But it’s not something I’ve felt I’ve needed. I have faith I suppose, not sure if I can label it or even if I should. We had a Humanist celebration for our wedding, which was wonderful. We wrote our own service, read out poems and lit three candles to symbolise the two of us becoming one. My aunt, uncle and cousin all had Humanist funerals, buried in wicker coffins and a service where we celebrated their life and my nephew had a naming ceremony rather than a christening.

I just hope that somehow we, as in the world, can find some kind of peaceful way of learning to respect and live with one another. Seems to me there is plenty of room and space to do so, just have to make it happen. Simplistic, perhaps…

Ciao for now,

*Humanism emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition. 

Day 9: Words of Wisdom that speak to me…

566523823-Wisdom-Quotes-About-Life-Lessons-20Mmmm… not sure at all about this post. Depends on who is giving the words I suppose and who determines that they are full of wisdom?

My nan used to regularly share her thoughts on how things should be done. She was a terribly superstitious person. No walking on the cracks in the pavement, breaking mirrors meant seven years bad luck, no opening umbrella’s inside (why would you in the first place?) and no new shoes on the table. Children were definitely seen and not heard. My mum and dad even had to move the date of their wedding which they’d planned for May – ‘Marry in May, Rue the Day’.  Were they words of wisdom? I don’t know she certainly believed them.

I do believe that we learn from our failures and mistakes though, hence the quote at the beginning of this post. I think we should encourage our children to make mistakes, take chances and support them in doing so.

And this guy seems to hit the nail on the head in many ways for me.cedc837ce371fdbecc8953804a0c4ccf

Ciao for now,

Day 8: Share Something You Struggle With

background-20736_640This prompt had me scratching my head, there are so many things I struggle with! But my biggest struggle has to be, after nearly nine years, is learning the Italian language. Before we moved over here, we did go to Italian lessons in Shaftesbury and it was one to one with a fabulous and passionate teacher. I actually think I talked better Italian when I was a tourist rather than now as a permanent resident. Not sure why that is. And when we did move over we went to our friendly neighbour weekly and she taught us from her son’s school books, which was fun and helped with our initial integration. For a couple of years I also helped another local boy with his English.  For one reason or another those sessions petered out.

Although we both have quite a large Italian vocabulary and can understand most of what is being said, for me it’s the reply that’s the hardest. It’s all to do with confidence, give me half an hour and I’ll have the perfect response but that isn’t helpful for the conversation and these Italians love to speak at speed! The other issue is the dialect. The Italian we learn only became the official language not long after the second World War and a lot of the elderly folk still speak their own local tongue.

I hated languages at school, well I say languages it was just French back then. But it was really down to the teacher. She couldn’t connect with the pupils and so we became bored and unresponsive. I really think that languages should start being taught at a much earlier age, when you are more open to learning new things. Ho Hum, I’ll keep trying…

Ciao for now,

Day 7: Ten Favourite Songs

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I’ve slightly amended the prompt for todays journal. It did ask me to list the ten favourite songs I’m loving right now, but these are the top songs that I always go back to. In no particular order, but the first one on the list always brings me to tears. Every time.

 

 

 

  1. When the Grey Skies Turn to Blue – Chris Rea
  2. Send My Love – Adele (well, anything by Adele)
  3. Bring Him Home – Alfie Boe from Les Miserables
  4. Your Tiny Hand is Frozen – Luciano Pavarotti from La Boheme
  5. Best of You –  Foo Fighters
  6. I Feel Good – James Brown (one Simon and I always duet together)
  7. Everywhere I Go – Jackson Browne
  8. Love Shack – B52’s
  9. Teardrops – Womack and Womack
  10. Lifted – Lighthouse Family

And of course, my favourite top ten will always depend on the day and my mood…

Ciao for now

Day 6: Five ways to win my heart

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Well, it’s already been won and that isn’t about to change. But how did Simon do it?

 

 

  1. Good old fashioned chivalry. He’s a true gentleman in every sense of the word. It was how my sister described him the first time they met. And that includes a great respect of women for you feminists out there. He knows his place 😉
  2. Romantic. We laugh and cry at the same things. I’ve got a box full of letters we exchanged before we got together and they are beautiful. I shall never throw them away. Found a similar boxful of letters between my mum and dad…
  3. Ironing. I’m not joking, he does all the ironing. Honest, I get blisters…
  4. He accepts me for who I am, probably more so that I do myself. He doesn’t want to change me.
  5. Flowers. He used to buy me freesias when we lived in the UK, here he bought some bulbs that come up every year and they’re my favourite.

Basically, he’s my soul mate. We just fit together, like a jigsaw.

Ciao for now…

Day 5: List 5 Places you want to visit

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I’m not much of a traveller. I’m more of a stay at home girl, always have been and have nursed a fear of flying for many years. However, just recently I’ve had to face that fear coming back and forth to the UK and on my own. Anyway, given all that, here are my five:

  1. Ireland – Simon grew up in Ireland and we’ve been talking about going to visit in 2018 for our 20th wedding anniversary and 55th and 65th birthday treats. It may even be the venue for our annual family get together, so that will make it even more special.
  2. Europe – I know that probably counts as more than one but it’s my list. I’d love to get one of those old camper vans and be a bit of hobo, animals in tow of course (and Simon).
  3. Egypt – getting a bit more adventurous now. I’ve always been fascinated by the pyramids and pharoahs. Lots of rich material for a story I should imagine.
  4. Tasmania – I don’t know why just looks idyllic!
  5. Wolf Moon – the setting in my fantasy story, or any setting for that matter. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Ciao for now – off home tonight- yippee!

Day 4: Someone who inspires me

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Right at this moment, I can only think of one person who inspired me the most and still does, even though he’s not here in person. It’s got to be my dad. His stock solid belief in me as a writer (or whatever I wanted to do in my life, nurse, trainer, manager, self employed director) is key to my driving force and yearning to pick up my pen again.

I’ve been in the UK for over a month now (home on Thursday! Hoorah) and been sorting through a few things, mainly photo’s which has evoked many wonderful and treasured memories. One drawer was full of  things collected by Dad. Each and every one of the magazines I’d been published in, newspaper cuttings recording me moving from Crewe to a job in the West Country, cuttings from every play my sister had been in (and my brother), programmes from everyone he attended, videos of every TV role she had, notices of sports events and things published locally about one grandchild or another. A treasure trove of memories and a demonstration of his pride in his children.

Thinking back, Dad believed in all of us but didn’t believe in himself in the same way. His elder brother was very academic and didn’t suffer the ill health Dad had as a young adult. Contracting TB meant that he wasn’t eligible for National Service and delayed him starting his apprenticeship for two years. And he didn’t learn to swim until we, his five children, taught him on holiday when he was 4O, yet it was his dad, Pops, who taught us!

So, thank you, Dad x

Ciao for now