Cheers to the Passengers of May

I have travelled on buses all my life, so I am sure I have been on the Number 26. As May comes to an end, Number 26 gives us an intriguing selection of words about travel I can’t resist sharing.

The Number 26

Cheers to the passengers and travelers of May! As this is a blog of words, here are some beautiful words for the travelers out there.

Eleutheromania- An intense and irresistible desire for freedom.

Fernweh (German)- The feeling of being homesick for a place you’ve never been.

Trouvaille (French)- The stumbling upon Something lovely, or the discovery of something beautiful, by mere chance.

Waldeinsamkeit (untranslatable from German)- The feeling of being alone in the woods.

Sonder (A contraction of both German and French words from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows)- the realization that each random passerby you pass- such as on the bus- is living a life as vivid and complex as your own

Onism (Danish)- The awareness of, even if you’ve traveled your entire life, just how little of the world you’ll actually get to experience.

Meraki (Greek)- Putting a little part of yourself into whatever it is you’re doing…

View original post 54 more words

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Friday Flash Fiction – The Old Forest

The editor was deciding which story to run with on the front page. His young assistant Lisa usually had strong opinions on what would attract readers.

‘This young man has been missing for three days; lives at home, steady job, good character. He had an argument with his girlfriend, drove off and hasn’t been seen since.’

Lisa frowned ‘I still think we should stick with the murdered stallion.’

‘It was a hit and run accident,’ the editor smiled ‘you’ve been reading too many of Mr. Oak’s letters. There’s another one today, shall I include it, or do you think the readers are sick of him?’

‘Yes link it with your leading item. He has got a point.’

‘Banning cars from the New Forest, penalising families because of a few idiots? Mind you, it would stir things up a bit, no good stories this week. Sam’s been out to interview the verderer who found the dead horse. Hmm… main headline Cars To Be Banned From New Forest then much smaller Should cars be banned from the New Forest?’

‘Me and Gavin are going to the forest tomorrow; a nice picnic, then we’re going to his boss’s home for a dinner party. He’s got a posh house hidden in the middle of the forest; I hope we manage to find it.’

Lisa didn’t tell her boss that tomorrow she was going to give Gavin news.

12

The picnic was a success; the early spring sun was warm enough for them to sit on a blanket. Lisa was banking on Gavin being pleased, now he had his promotion; she was delighted with his response.

‘That’s wonderful, let’s get married.’ Gavin had been reluctant to ask before; the thought of wedding fairs, months of planning and dressing up had appalled him. Now they had the ideal excuse for a small, quiet wedding very soon. ‘Let’s get married in the forest, a sort of hippy wedding.’

She laughed ‘Why not, but don’t tell anyone this evening, we’ll have to tell our parents first.’

15

They enjoyed the evening and their shared secret; even looking benevolently on the boss’s ghastly children.

As they drove home, Gavin teased her. ‘You’ll get a crick in your neck, looking at the speedometer.’

‘We have to be careful in the dark; we might not see a pony till it’s too late. I wish you’d let me drive.’

‘I’ve only had a couple of pints, you should take it easy now you’re pregnant.’

‘We should have stuck to the A 35, it’s creepy out here.’

‘You’re safe with me; this is the real forest.’

‘Did you hear the news this morning? They’ve found that bloke’s car in the forest.’

‘What bloke?’

‘The one who went missing; I told the editor it wasn’t much of a story, now it seems it is. There was no sign of him.’

‘Maybe he wanted to run away.’

‘Perhaps, the car was hidden in the trees, off a remote track. That’s the creepy thing, it might not have been found for years; some botanist was looking for rare plants.’ Lisa looked at the speedometer; the speed had crept up. ‘Gavin, I thought you were going to be more responsible now you’re going to be…’

Her sentence remained unfinished as they felt a bump and Gavin slammed the brakes on.

‘We’ve hit a pony’ cried Lisa.

‘It’s probably a fallen tree trunk, stay in the car while I look.’

Lisa jumped out of the car and they stood either side of the body, a pair of glazed eyes stared up at them.

‘Oh it’s a doe, she’s pregnant. You’ve killed her Gavin.’

‘It was an accident; animals should be asleep at night, not darting out into the road.’

‘We’re not on the road.’

Gavin followed her gaze; if they hadn’t run into the deer they would have crashed into a large old oak tree.

He was puzzled. ‘I’m a careful driver, I had a clear, straight road in front of me, it was narrow, but I had plenty of room.’ He went to fetch the torch from the car, then took Lisa’s shaking hand and led her round to the boot. He shone the torch the way they had just come, a tarmac road. ‘I’m sorry about the deer Lisa, but she saved us; this must be a dead end road.’

‘Let’s go now,’ she shivered we don’t know the verderer’s number, we can ring the police when we get home. We’ll go back the way we came and try and find the A 35.’

‘Or we could just ring nobody’ said Gavin hopefully.

They both jumped at a clumping noise; a large branch had landed on the roof.

‘Another lucky escape; that could have fallen on us while we were driving, hope it hasn’t damaged the paintwork.’

As Gavin tried in vain to pull at the heavy limb, Lisa spoke shakily.

‘It’s not fallen, it’s still attached to the tree. We must be on a slope, the car’s rolled into the tree.’

Gavin shone his torch and saw the driver’s door was jammed against the trunk.

‘I’ll get in your door and climb over. I’m going to put it in reverse.’ As he tried to start the engine he felt a heavy thump on the bonnet. ‘Quick, get in so we’re ready to go, hopefully that branch will slide off the bonnet. Lisa, this is no time for tree hugging…’

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On Monday morning the editor had too much to put on his front page and Lisa wasn’t there to help. He had just spoken to her hysterical mother on the phone. Lisa was missing and her boyfriend had been found wandering in the New Forest by the search party looking for the missing man. Gavin had been in shock and incoherent, so the police arrested him. Everyone knew they had both been to the forest and everyone knew Gavin was the last person to see her.

 

‘The Old Forest’ is one of the stories in this collection – only $1.27 for 27 stories.

 

The Blog of Many Colours

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Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour red, chosen by Rowena who was very happy to pick up a red Alpha Romeo at auction. You can visit her blog here.

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/ma-ma-friday-fictioneers

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Red is bold, certainly not modest, it adorns the flags of many countries. We obey it at traffic lights and the only time it hides is when it is safely inside our bodies; blood red is ready to gush out of us at any opportunity.

Red is iconic; double decker buses, the Red Arrows of the Royal Air Force and the Forth Bridge. It tells you where to post your letters, where to find a fire extinguisher and still occasionally where to make a phone call. Red tells us when it is Christmas.

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Photographers love a splash of red; a boat in the harbour, a red coat walking in the snow. A red front door looks distinguished.

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Red is one of the three primary colours and one of the four colours humans like to use for organising people. At school I was in the red team, Saint George. Saint Patrick was green, Saint Andrew blue and Saint David yellow.

We are not urged to eat our reds, as we are with greens, but tomatoes and red peppers are healthy and brighten the plate up.

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Long before Christmas existed mid winter was hailed by red berries. In spring it feels a little subdued, except for tulips, but summer brings Mediterranean scarlet with geraniums ( pelargoniums ) and romance with deep red roses. In autumn red reaches for the skies as the leaves turn.

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Much of the earth is red. When I was a child my mother told me Devon had red soil, I could not imagine such a thing, but white chalk cliffs turn to red as you go west along the Jurassic Coast. Northern parts of Australia are red, such as the Pilbara, known for its ancient red landscapes and vast mineral deposits; red also means rich in iron ore. Other continents all have their unique red landscapes.

https://www.australiasnorthwest.com/

Alas red, through no fault of its own, is a political colour. Who decided communism should be red? Nature used red first.

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Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at the Chelsea Flower Show

I have never actually been to the Chelsea Flower Show so I am in the perfect position to tell you how to cheat.

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First of all, if you are lucky enough to have access to BBC television, just watch it on TV. Only the Royal Family, television presenters and of course the judges get to wander around without crowds and actually set foot in the show gardens.

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You can wander round your own garden pretending you are at Chelsea, and you could even take photos to put on Instagram

#chelseafs #gold medal #gardengold So excited, I got my first gold.

Who on Instagram could prove you hadn’t really been there. Even if your washing line, the neighbour’s fence and your mop bucket accidentally get in the picture you can  pretend it is part of the design

( See designing your own garden, below )

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But the best way to cheat is to go there. Perhaps there is a hole in the fence you could slip through, find a little spot of ground at the back of the refreshment tent by the bins and be a guerilla gardener. There is no need to spend a whole year planning a garden. Everything you need can be found at home, the local garden centre, builders’ skips and the rubbish tip. Anything goes; whatever your makeshift garden looks like you can claim to be encouraging recycling, wild flowers and insects. A few rocks, some old wood and a bucket or children’s paddling pool for a water feature. Then fill in the gaps with lots of plants from the garden center.

 

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To complete the cheat wear something smart, but not too smart, stand confidently in front of your floral plot and talk to the crowds passing by, or an imaginary camera about themes and your artisan garden. Everyone will assume you are a television presenter or garden expert talking about a wonderfully original show garden.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/22/chelsea-flower-show-2019-top-garden-trends

 

Friday Flash Fiction – On Remand

Lee’s tenth birthday, 2029, where had the years gone; so much had changed in my son’s lifetime and yet so little had changed. Here I was packing to go to the moon and yet we still hadn’t left the EU.

Lara stirred.

‘Sorry, did I disturb you?’

‘No, Lee must still be asleep.’

‘Hmm, not like when he was a baby.’

‘This time ten years ago we were deciding whether we had time to go and vote in the European Union elections before you took me to the hospital.’

‘..and we would never have imagined those MEPs would still be in power.’

‘… not exactly, they’re living on the moon.’

‘Their colony paid for with our taxes and we can’t even afford a trip to a space station.’

‘You can’t complain, work trip to the moon.’

‘If I make senior partner I’ll take you and Lee on a Lunar Leisure Break.’

‘…I wish you didn’t have to go, are you sure it’s safe?’

‘Just as safe as any journey on earth.’

illustration of moon showing during sunset
Photo by David Besh on Pexels.com

I was looking forward to my trip, but nervous. Lee had chosen Zero Gravity Experience at the sports centre for his birthday treat with his friends. The moon should be lovely and peaceful after that experience.  As the junior partner in the law firm I had landed the task of defending some celebrity I had never heard of, at present on remand in the lunar penal colony.

With politics on earth turning into a comedy and panic over the state of the planet, the big nations had taken their eye off the ball. Huge business consortiums had quietly started colonising the moon, starting with terrariums they progressed to bigger and bigger biospheres, plant life creating the air the moon lacked. The mineral rich moon dust mixed with human and plant waste made excellent soil. Biospheres were leased out to governments for everything from lunar laboratories to prisons. It was the prisons that proved most popular, an age old solution to overcrowding on earth and big business had no interest in who was imprisoned or why.

Despite my reassurances to Lara I was anxious as I took my berth. I had been booked on one of the cheaper rocketlines, though it hadn’t lost a rocket since 2025. They saved money by tranquilizing the passengers; I felt the powerful take off, but nothing more till I was woken by the commander’s voice warning us to remain lying down until we had locked on to the landing module.

Now I did feel excitement as the eight of us squeezed our way to the air lock, once through we were in a pleasant lounge with picture windows. To one side we could look up at the blue planet, still surprisingly blue, but that was probably due to the rise in sea level. At the other side we could look down on craters and grey terrain just as one imagined, but gradually sparkling lights of many colours appeared and the landscape changed to glittering domes and globes. I was truly living the dreams of my parents and grandparents when they had watched on television as the first man landed on the moon sixty years ago.

4

Our landing at the Virgin Moonport was gentle, but once in the arrivals lounge we could have been at any airport, security were everywhere. Sightseeing was not going to be an option; my papers were inspected and my grim escort took me straight to the vacuum tube where we shared a capsule with a female prison officer and what I presumed to be a prisoner.

At Amazon Lunar Penitentiary hopes that my boss had booked the luxury hotel dome were quickly shattered, prison visitors had their own economy accommodation block. Looking at my bare room I wondered what the cells would be like. I only had half an hour to refresh myself before a different uniform collected me.

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Prisoner 356 was in a room exactly like mine; he was young and non-descript for a celebrity, nor did he look like a criminal. We shook hands and he introduced himself as Steve Brown, his real name.  I still had no idea what he actually did.

‘Okay Steve, tell me in your own words how you came to be arrested; we were not allowed access to any information.’

‘The musical movie wot I wrote, innit; been accused of cultural appropriation ain’t I.’

I urged him to explain.

‘Kid from the underclass, never seen a field or a horizon, parents junkies.’

‘And who was in the cast?’

‘Me and my mates, I sang and directed it, got crowd funding, great reviews, no trouble till the film festival. Then someone found out.’

‘Found out what?’

‘My parents are mega rich, sent me to Eton. I can talk like the royal family if I want to.’

I began to understand. ‘Of course, the Culture Police don’t think you could possibly understand what it is like to be from such a background.’

‘But I do, I used to sneak out of school to find real life, over to Slough or on the train up to London, but that wasn’t good enough for the authorities. There’s only one chance, you have to help me. I’m adopted, parents never told me. I found the adoption papers when I was going through their drawers to see where they kept their cocaine. If I get my DNA tested, if you can find out where I come from…’

‘It’s a slim chance…’ I tried to cheer him up. ‘Perhaps you’d better write about The Moon next time.’

He managed a laugh. ‘No way, the moon’s under copyright.’

sunshine-blogger

For more short stories, earthly and unearthly,

have a peek at this book.

Only £1.99

 

 

 

 

 

The Blog of Many Colours

sunshine-blogger

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by Pink and Grey, suggested by Lyndsey at The Happy Book Blog. You can visit her blog here

https://thehappybookblog.home.blog/2019/04/27/353/

When Lyndsey suggested that colour combination my first thought was of galahs, Australian pink and grey cockatoos, their plumage a soft grey and rosy pink. They are found in most parts of Australia and have apparently adapted very well to the change in habitat brought by European settlers.

What other birds feature that colour combination? Wood pigeons are clumsy birds that splash all the water out of the bird bath and nearly break tree branches during their clumsy mating, but their plumage comes in delicate shades of pink and grey, blending imperceptibly.

Carnations have foliage that is almost grey.

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Out in the wilds or in the city,  grey rocks and buildings can turn a rosy hue at sunrise and sunset and if there are clouds in the sky at sunset there will be changing patterns of pink and grey. If I’m on the beach at low tide I try to capture the setting sun reflected in  in water that barely covers the flat grey sand.

For humans the two colours in their delicate shades make elegant outfits, or if you like to wear dark grey suits, splashes of bright pink look good. For the men? At a wedding the best man and ushers can look very smart in pale grey suits and pink ties.

So pink and grey, two hues created by mixing other colours, look good in nature and fashion.

Next week it is a bold primary colour that features, RED.

If you would like your favourite colour mentioned, put it in the comments.

… and here’s a book cover that has the shades of sunset…

More Sunshine

Thanks to Nora of JOY journal for nominating me for another Sunshine Blogger Award.

You can visit her happy blog here and read her answers to the interesting questions she was given.

https://noraedinger.com/2019/05/15/sunshine-blogger-award/

Here are my answers to the questions she posed for me and the other nominees.

Why and when did you start blogging?

Originally on Goodreads, but I realised everybody else was on WordPress and I felt left out. I have been Tidalscribe since September 2016, my first blog had one Like!

 How do you manage your blogging schedule?

I try and schedule ahead, especially if I will be away, but ‘ahead’ might mean posting well after midnight.

Do you blog on more than one platform? Where else?

I write a Beachwriter’s Blog on my website that is mainly pictures.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

What’s your favourite thing about blogging?

Meeting bloggers from all over the world.

What don’t you like? 

Keeping up with all the posts I want to read.

What advice would you share with new bloggers? 

Use WordPress, write about anything that interests you and hopefully others. Only blog if you enjoy it, not just because you want to sell your books or crafts. Don’t mention your latest book in every blog! Write less rather than more. Long blogs can be interesting or a story you want to read worth bookmarking for later, but often later never comes. Text spaced out with a few pictures is easy on the eyes.

How do you stay motivated? 

I love writing fiction and non fiction and haven’t run out of ideas yet…

Is the graphic design of your site an important part of your blogging?

Not really as that isn’t one of my technical strengths; I just hope my photographs will keep it looking bright.

What is your favourite quote? 

Anything from Winnie the Pooh

What are you looking forward to doing this summer ? 

When it’s half term next week we are renting two cottages next to each other in Somerset with Team H. Should be fun with little boys of 1 and 3. Then a visit from Team G from USA and finally up to Ironbridge to see the new home of Team AK. If you have never been to Shropshire it’s worth a visit.

What would you like to happen with your blog by the end of 2019?

I shall probably stay with the same format of Wednesday main blog, Friday Flash Fiction, Silly Saturday and occasional Sunday Salon with book and other reviews. Hopefully I shall continue to grow genuine followers and if the occasional person accidentally buys one of my books, even better.

sunshine-blogger

Not every blogger likes being nominated for awards or has time. Some throw it open to all their followers, so I shall do the same. If you would like to accept the challenge

Here’s what to do!

1- Give a big thank you to the person who nominated you so others can find them!

2-Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.

3-Nominate other bloggers and ask them your own set of questions!

4- Let the nominees know about the nomination in one of their posts.

5-List the rules and the Sunshine Award nomination on your own site.

6- Let the fun begin!

Or if you prefer put your answers in the comments.

I thought it would be fun to have quick fire questions.

1 Desk top or lap top?

2 Walk or cycle?

3 Town or country?

4 Ship or plane?

5 Dress up or down for an evening out?

6 Living person you would most like to meet?

7 Dead person you would most like to meet?

8 Gardening love or hate?

9 House or high rise living?

10 If offered a seat on the first commercial flight to the moon would you go?

 

 

 

Sunday Salon – Views and Reviews

Three books, a BBC television comedy and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra rounds off the season with two very different concerts.

Kill Joys by Martin Stratford

Twelfth in the  Havenchester Crime series

Private detectives Alec and Julie Tanner have a good team and their colleagues’ skills are vital in solving cases and saving their lives. There is more going on than anybody on either side of the law realises in delightfully dark plots at odds with a respectable hotel, a pleasant village and a museum that should only be of interest to lovers of literature. Can a feud between two families be resolved by two young lovers or are they putting themselves in danger? The action increases in pace and an innocent woman finds herself in a nightmare situation. Events move rapidly to the denouement in a deliciously complex plot spiced with the author’s usual dark humour.

 

Fancy Meeting You Here  by Jim Webster

A relaxing book to dip into, with tales and thoughts of Jim Webster who has farmed all his life near the Cumbrian coast. Poignantly we gather that for a farmer governments come and go, Brexit or no Brexit, people with little idea about real farming or local conditions can come along with new regulations and policies. For a sheep dog there are no worries about politics, but Sal has set views about what the sheep should be doing and what humans should be doing and when. There are pleasant walks and even a recipe for no cooking apple chutney. Whether you live in the countryside or have never set foot in a field, you will enjoy this book.

 

More Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts

I enjoyed the first book and this is another great selection of stories. Topically the last story is about plastics, has a solution been found? Yes, but only at a terrible cost. Each story is delightfully unique; a new slant on fairies at the bottom of the garden, a wedding bouquet like no other, royal shopping and some very tiny dark tales.

I read these three books as e books downloaded onto my Kindle. I posted the reviews on Goodreads, but they have all been rejected by Amazon. Two of the authors I have reviewed before with no problems; but out of all the long list of guidelines to adhere to could this be the one I am breaking?

To contribute to … Customer Reviews…  you must have spent at least £40 on Amazon.co.uk using a valid payment card in the past 12 months.

As Amazon allows us to buy books for as little as 99 pence this seems unfair to authors and readers.

Now for some comedy. I love a good half hour television comedy and there have been some very different series, gentle, dark, clever that we have enjoyed or are enjoying at Chez Beachwriter. Just finished last week was ‘Don’t Forget The Driver’ co written and starring Toby Jones. An exquisite six episodes of dark and gentle humour about Peter, a coach driver, who lives in Bognor Regis with his daughter and nearby his elderly mother. The first episode opens with Peter on his mobile phone to his identical twin in Australia; he stands on the beach in front of the webcam – Facetime the hard way – the Australian family spot something on the beach, which turns out to be a dead body…

Every character is subtly created and each episode takes us on a different outing, with the first a trip to France, returning with an extra passenger…

Another trip full of Japanese passengers interested in culture finds a very serious gentleman asking Peter to help him understand Shakespeare and iambic pentameters. The confused conversation ends with Peter saying ‘Okay Mr. Pentameter’.

The last episode finishes poignantly with Peter diverting his coachload of school band pupils to the cemetery.

https://www.comedy.co.uk/tv/dont_forget_the_driver/

 

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Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is Classsic FM’s Orchestra in the South of England. Classic FM is a commercial radio station which is often good except for irritating advertisements. Over the autumn, summer and spring the BSO play a few Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees at the Bournemouth Pavilion. A Classic FM presenter introduces popular pieces, with of course some jokes, mention of the weather, the seaside and interesting tit bits about the composers. The last concert on Saturday 11th May was ‘Hall of Fame’ with four pieces guaranteed to be enjoyed by various ages. The theatre was packed. William Tell Overture was followed by that great tradition of half the orchestra retreating while the men (and a woman ) in black stack chairs, manoeuvre the grand piano onto the stage and hopefully remember to lock the wheels in place. The chairs and music stands are repositioned and I always wonder if the musicians will end up with their right parts of music.

The second piece was Beethoven’s Fifth Piano concerto. After the interval the stage was reorganised again while the audience went out for an ice cream. In the second half the Carmen Suite was followed by the 1812 Overture as finale, a Classic FM favourite for finishing concerts and loud enough for someone near us to open their bag of Malteasers.

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Wednesday 15th was very different; the end of the main season at the Lighthouse Poole, being broadcast live on BBC Radio Three with chief conductor Kiril Karabits. Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, a great choral drama with the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and three top soloists. Elgar was a Roman Catholic and based the work on Cardinal Newman’s poem of the same name ( no, I haven’t read it ). One hundred minutes which seemed to go by quickly. Part one finds Gerontius, American tenor Paul Appleby, on his death bed and the priest sends him on his journey. In part two his guardian angel, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, appears and eventually he sees God for the briefest moment with the chorus building up to the famous climax ‘Praise to the Holiest in the Height’. His guardian angel then gently leads him off to rest in purgatory, which doesn’t sound too bad.The whole work is a great drama with plenty of spine tingling moments, obviously a piece still popular with modern audiences whatever their beliefs. Kiril Karabits allowed a long moment of silence after the final chords of ‘Amen’ before lowering his baton.

https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/17644256.review-bso-the-dream-of-gerontius-by-elgar

https://www.facebook.com/Bournemouth-Symphony-Chorus-252826548066372

 

Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Saving Society

Some might say that the planet should be saved, not society, but we shall deal with that next week. It is probably easier to start on a small scale with your own street/farm/castle or country estate (delete as appropriate ).

To avoid trying to define society, just imagine a perfect neighbourhood and if you are ambitious, your own town or city run exactly how YOU like it. With a bit of crowd funding, quietly taking over while no one is watching because of Brexit, it should be no problem. London National Park City is launching in July, so how hard can it be to change your street?

http://www.nationalparkcity.london/

Here are some simple ideas to start with. Make it compulsory for everyone to have nice front gardens; the sort you like to walk by, green lawns, beds and tubs full of flowers, delightful scents and the happy sound of bees. If anyone complains, point out that the government has pledged to create green corridors for bees; if they complain they have nowhere to park their car refer them to idea number two.

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Abolish all private vehicles and, just until your local town becomes fully functional with solar powered moving walkways, set up a car share scheme.

Soon everyone will be happy; flowers and wild life put everyone in a good mood and those living in cramped flats with no gardens have been helping with the digging and planting.

Idea number three, take over every empty plot of land, however small and plant trees, create allotments and parks for children. While your local millionaire is away on his expensive yacht, commandeer that land where he had two houses demolished and plans to build a block of flats for rich people.

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Fourthly, all vacant buildings of any sort, shops, offices and second homes to be commandeered for the homeless and as workshops for the self employed. A little networking on the internet should bring you a team of building experts to supervise and train school leavers and the unemployed. It won’t be long before you have created a happy healthy local neighbourhood with no problems and others will be keen to take away your ideas to their own cities and countries.

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These are just a few introductory ideas, feel free to make suggestions and tell us if you have managed to create utopia where you live.

For a clue as to how humanity will save itself read the best selling book nobody is talking about…

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – Wander With Wanda

Is it Fiction, is it Friday? This week I share the blog of a writer introduced to me by Baz the Bad Blogger … I take no responsibility for what she may say…

WANDA ON WEDNESDAY

The Woman Who Tells It How It Is

THIS WEEK – WANDER WITH WANDA

This week H3 and I have been travelling and visiting, with all the unpleasant mingling with people that involves; and that’s just H3’s relatives.

At the inevitable motorway services we encountered that condition I am fortunate not to suffer from, ‘Indecision’. It gives me indigestion when people hover as I eat. We knew they were a posh family because the fortyish woman with long legs, tight jeans, designer boots and jacket addressed an expressionless facelift woman as ‘Mummy.’ ‘Daddy’ stood with arms dangling, slender fingers deathly white, a medical condition perhaps, certainly he did not look robust enough to cope with young grandchildren. There was a toddler in a wheeled contraption and a boy of pre-school age.

In an unusual moment of grandmotherly sympathy I said ‘Plenty of room here’ motioning to the table next to us and the pair of empty chairs at our table. H3 frowned at me.

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Yes, we are to be a grandmother, the daughter waited till the twelve week scan to break the news. I told her not to expect me to baby-sit, as with the puppy when she was nine, ‘You wanted it, you can look after it.’ Of course it’s about time, I had told her often enough not to leave it too late; she’s older than Meghan. I had even tactfully asked if there might be a problem, wouldn’t have been surprised if her so called ‘partner’ was not up to the task. H3 already has a couple of grandkids, in New Zealand thankfully.

Anyway, back to motorway services. How hard is it, in a building full of tables and chairs, to find somewhere to sit for three adults and two kids? A staff member was summoned to clean the table and Grandma steered the baby vehicle behind us. A high chair appeared and was wedged in behind H3’s chair, toddler was inserted and boy enveloped in an arm chair and given a plastic box of healthy fruit portions. His mother dashed off to the loo with the question of what to eat and drink and who was to fetch it, left in the air.

It came to me then that the whole ‘family motorway operation’ is an insurmountable problem; the unfamiliar high prices, the atmosphere of rush, the jumble of counters and tills leaves even normally functioning adults in a quandary.

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The mother returned with news of a better table spotted just as Granddad tried to move the high chair a fraction; the tray came off surprisingly easily in his frail arms and he nearly toppled backwards.

‘Come on Darling,’ mother to boy ‘we’re going to another table.’

‘I don’t want to move’ followed by an ear piercing scream.

Perhaps he had one of those syndromes, or maybe he was just a brat. By now H3 had his impending migraine expression and I had indigestion. I leaned in to make a witty remark to cheer him up.

‘Shsh, they’re sitting behind you, they’ll hear’ he whispered.

Further conversation was impossible as the toddler, upset by her brother’s tantrum, decided to join in. H3 made a play of looking at his watch then stood up; he did not want to be rude and look as if we were escaping from them.

 

 

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H3’s relatives took us to a well known family restaurant chain which I had not visited since the days when the daughter was little and it was H1’s idea of the perfect family outing, no wonder I divorced him. At the bar for drinks, while we waited interminably for a table, we found ourselves in the middle of an old boys’ reunion. Memo to self, never attend a reunion when you get past a certain age, even if you are hale and hearty you will be cast into dark despondency by the sight of former lively colleagues with walking sticks, stoops and tremors.

‘Hello Dave mate, how are you doing?’ translation ‘Oh my God, I hardly recognised you.’

Our table was on the other side of a flimsy trellis from a children’s birthday party, could it get any worse? Yes, our very attentive waitress, did not allow the confined space to deter her from appearing like a parrot at my shoulder every ten minutes to ask if everything was all right… and all the while H3’s aunty trilled how she always came here because she liked the salad bowl.

 

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Imagine my relief at the end of the week to be alone in a First Class lounge at Heathrow Airport, or so I thought until I heard loud voices. Buying a first class ticket does not make you First Class, common was the word that sprang to mind. When an attendant brought my coffee and croissant I gestured to the couple who were now complaining to another member of staff.

‘Nouveau Riche?’ I whispered.

She stifled a giggle and nodded.

Other passengers sighed with relief when the couple’s flight was called, except for those on the same flight.

We all sat in silence with newspapers, books and lap tops, but sometimes it can be too peaceful. Mr. Important Businessman sat opposite me and methodically opened his lap top and briefcase and inserted earpieces, looking round with an expression that said Do not disturb, important e-mails to answer, vital documents to read.

Within seconds his head drooped and he was fast asleep, woken only half an hour later by the call for my flight. He sat bolt upright in alarm, then glared accusingly at his lap top screen, he managed to swallow his pride enough to ask me which flight had been called; he was on the same flight.

I gathered my belongings calmly, I had written and scheduled this blog five minutes before the call. I enjoyed imagining him arriving utterly unprepared for his meeting of world importance.

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