Thursday, 19 October 2017

A Right to be Heard

    As an obvious lover of storytelling, I was excited when my teacher told the class stories daily, at the start of my first year in infant school. However, my excitement quickly turned into dread, as we were increasingly encouraged to express ourselves, following these sessions.

    It wasn't that I didn't want to speak, it was because I found it difficult to do so as I had a stammer. Having to speak in front of my peers opened me up to ridicule and mocking, something that I tried to avoid constantly even at the young age of five years.

    There are millions of individuals, from children through to adults who struggle to be heard because of a speaking disorder. A battle they may face for only a short period of time, but for others it will be a battle of lifetime. Luckily, for me it was the former.

    Sunday, October 22 is, International Stammering Awareness Day, please be a good listener. We all have a right to communicate and to be listened to. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Her Voice

Oscar Wilde's Signature in Visitors book at Abbotsford House
    Today I'm celebrating the life of the notorious poet and writer, Oscar Wilde. Again as many of the writers I have included in this regular spot his life was cut short. However, his wit and charm live on in his written word. The poem I've featured today tells of a love break up, something that we know is hard to do.

Her Voice

The wild bee reels from bough to bough
With his furry coat and his gauzy wing
Now in a lily-cup, and now
Setting a jacinth bell a-swing
In his wandering
Sit is closer love, it was here I trow
I made that vow

Swore that two lives should be like one
As long as the sea-gull loved the sea
As long as the sunflower sought the sun
It shall be, I said, for eternity
Twixt you and me!
Dear friend, those times are over and done
Love's web is spun

Look upward where the poplar trees
Sway and sway in the summer air
Here in the valley never a breeze
Scatters the thistledown, but there
Great winds blow fair
From the mighty murmuring mystical seas
And the wave-lashed leas

Look upward where the white gull screams
What does it see that we do not see?
Is that a star? Or the lamp that gleams
On some outward voyaging argosy
Ah! Can it be?
We have lived our lives in a land of dreams
How sad it seems

Sweet, there is nothing left to say
But this, that love is never lost
Keen winter stabs the breasts of May
Whose crimson roses burst his frost
Ships tempest tossed
Will find a harbour in some bay
And so we may

And there is nothing left to do
But to kiss once again and part
Nay, there is nothing we should rue
I have my beauty, you your art
Nay, do not start
One world was not enough for two
Like me and you

                                            Oscar Wilde   1854-1900
  'Somehow or other I'll be famous, and if not famous, 
                                        I'll be notorious.'

Friday, 13 October 2017

Zero Tolerance to Hunger


     I love food. Not just eating it, but cooking too. I'm on a diet at the present, I'm happy to say it is successful and that I don't feel hungry.

    Being on a diet is my choice, what I cook for dinner and buy with regards to food for my home is up to me. If I want to go to a restaurant, I can.  The options I have to fill my thankfully, shrinking tummy are endless.

    But, there are so many in the world that do not know where their next mouthful of food is going to come from. Parents don't know how they are going to feed themselves, never mind their children. Natural disasters, climate change, poverty and wars add to millions of people's desperation.

    As individuals we can do very little, but governments and large organisations can. On Monday 16th October it is, World Food Day and Pope Francis will join ambassadors of the United Nations to discuss how we can eradicate hunger in our world.

    It won't be an easy task, but we can only hope that plans can be put into action and the people effected can at least have one less thing to worry about. 


Monday, 9 October 2017


    We all have memories of our childhood and I hope your recollections are of happy times. Unfortunately, life I know isn't kind to us all and many writers of the past and present put their own experiences down onto the page, creating unique work.

    I'm featuring today a classic poem by one of my favourite authors, Edgar Allan Poe. He was a genius at producing, a deep, dark atmosphere with his usage of words. Whether, the poem below reflects his own childhood, I am unable to say. But, as a man known to have had a turbulent, short life, the words do echo someone looking back at a not so perfect time as a child.


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were, I have not seen
As others saw, I could not bring 
My passions from a common spring

From the same source I have not taken 
My sorrow, I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone
And all I loved, I loved alone

Then in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life, was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still

 From the torrent, or the fountain
From the red cliff of the mountain
From the sun that around me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold

From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by
From the thunder, and the storm
And the cloud that took the form
When the rest of Heaven was blue
Of a demon in my view

  Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849


Friday, 6 October 2017

Disappointing Hero?


    Last night on T.V I happened to see an author whose work I have admired for many years and still do. However, when I had the opportunity to meet the acclaimed writer in the flesh a couple of years ago, I was really disappointed.

    Blaming them for being much different from the one I perceived, or the one I believed they portrayed theirself as, would of course be wrong. Because, heroes and idols are on the pedestal that we as individuals place them upon.

    Leading on from this, I started to wonder about the many historical heroes that I and others refer to in our writing. If I had met Robert Burns, King Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, William Shakespeare, or Charles Darwin would I still be interested in them?

    I will never know. The lesson I have learned here is that I  will in the future reluctantly meet any hero, because it's no fun knocking them off the pedestal I created in my mind.






Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Angel

    Angels are obviously very close to my writing heart. That's why today I have chosen a poem by Russian poet, romantic writer and painter, Mikhail Lermontov. Like the great Robert Burns he also passed away at a very young age.

The Angel

The angel was flying through sky in midnight
And softly he sang in his flight
And clouds, and stars, and the moon in a throng
Hearkened to that holy song
He sang of the garden of God's paradise
Of innocent ghosts in its shade
He sang of the God, and his vivacious praise
Was glories and unfeigned
The juvenile soul he carried in arms
For worlds of distress and alarms
The tune of his charming and heavenly song
Was left in the soul for long
It roamed on earth many long nights and days
Filled with a wonderful thirst
And earth's boring songs could not ever replace
The sounds of heaven it lost

Mikhail Lermontov 1814-1841

Friday, 29 September 2017

Rocking the Waves

    I can remember getting a battery operated, transistor radio for my ninth birthday. My two loves at that age were books and music. The gift of the radio meant that I could stick the little earphone in my ear and read in the solitude of my own bedroom, without disturbing the rest of the household.

    More importantly, when I was under the bed covers at night with my torch, reading a favourite book I could keep my music on and not 'give the game away' that I was still reading when I should have been asleep.

    How I loved listening to the pirate radio station, Radio Caroline that broadcasted from a ship off the British coast and Radio Luxembourg. The airwaves crackled and faded regularly, but that didn't matter. It was exciting and all part of being a little rebellious. Part of growing up.

    I still love listening to the radio while writing and reading, thankfully the sound no longer crackles and fades. However, on occasions I can be a little rebellious!