Staycation

sunshine-blogger

 To some a Staycation means not going abroad for their holiday, for others it means staying at home in the garden. With our bathroom being ripped out and hopefully replaced, we took the bus into town with our wheelie cases.

28423837_1994523800577400_5819792682395197918_o

Friday evening we arrived in torrential rain, Saturday and Sunday saw heat waves and on our last night we watched the lightning from our balcony.

For writers and photographers, finding interesting places to stay is vital. We had five nights at an Art Deco hotel which I’m sure has seen better days, but makes a good Premiere Inn. We had a front balcony, only on the second floor, but still fun to look out at everything going on. Westover Road has also seen better days; now an interesting mix with art galleries, posh jewellers and pub at the other end, the lovely Pavilion across the road from abandoned Odeon cinemas and a YMCA hostel next to the hotel. Opposite us, coaches delivered endless day trippers.

1

After breakfast on the first morning we went up to the ninth floor and found a writer and photographer’s delight, the rear view; a riot of fire escapes with a little old house surrounded by layers of building developments. A walk up the road took us to the official opening of a newly pedestrianised area, Darth Vader and friends turned up collecting money for charity.

5

Down at the pier and the main beach, which you always see in newspaper pictures of seaside hot spots, was busy, busy, busy; beach parties with tables laden with food and very loud sound systems. A walk to the end of the pier brought a bit of peace and a good view of the zip wire which takes you back to the beach.

67234316_702039496925064_8614802783356321792_n

What did I learn from pretending to be a visitor? The homeless group that always seems to be there when I go to Bournemouth and get off the bus, IS always there; a double bed arrangement which stretches halfway across the pavement with several occupants near to our busy hotel. Of course they are not the only homeless; in a town full of happy holiday makers and lively young language students they are the spectre at the feast and Darth Vader isn’t the only one ignoring them. In the gardens there are buskers and a young man doing fire juggling with a sign ‘Homeless but Trying’. At the shops there are Big Issue sellers. I bought a Big Issue.

DSCN2101

The Royal Bath Hotel nearby is a great place to stroll into. Sit and cool off inside the huge fascinating lounge or enjoy the sun in the gardens. You could stay all day, people watching, plug in your lap top etc. without anyone noticing.  This hotel has also seen better days, as we discovered when we went there for dinner one evening to try the ‘special three course meal’ – no wonder it was so reasonable; we needn’t have worried about being smartly dressed, there were some very strange guests.

67802808_1921618381274043_2615444781853048832_n

On our last day we went abroad on a cruise; bus to Poole Quay for a boat trip to the start of the Jurassic coast at Old Harry Rock and then to Swanage on The Isle of Purbeck, an hour’s trip. We disembarked at the restored Victorian Pier for five hours ashore. A short walk takes you through the pleasant seaside town to the station where you can see steam trains, take a ride to Corfe Castle or have a snack in the railway carriage cafe. A walk out to Peveril Point and we could stand on the cliffs and look back to Bournemouth.

DSCN2231

For more Staycation pictures visit my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views

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

Have you been on a Staycation?

 

Liebster Award (Retro)

Advertisements

Greta Thunberg — Simply Amazing

My environmental heroine of the year, Greta Thunberg. Jill Denison blogs on many important matters and to keep her and our spirits up finds good people doing good things. In this blog she brings us the latest episodes in Greta’s amazing life.

Filosofa's Word

I have written before about the young Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, and in fact she was one of my ‘good people’ one Wednesday last December.  Sometimes an activist will start like gangbusters, and then after a few months you hear nothing more about them, but not so Ms. Thunberg.  I see her name in the news at least once a week, and she has been inspirational to many young climate-conscious groups around the world.

Today, she is back in the news, and in a big way! A couple of big ways, actually.

Greta-Thunberg Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and The 1975’s Matty Healy pose for a photo. (Photo: Jordan Hughes)

The first is that she is featured on the first track of the forthcoming album of British pop-rock band The 1975.  In the track, Greta delivers a speech about the global climate emergency, against an instrumental background…

View original post 1,168 more words

Silly Saturday – Inside a Writer’s Mind

Thanks to Sandra   https://acornerofcornwall.com/

Widdershins  https://widdershinsfirst.com/

and Caz  https://invisiblyme.com/contact/

for picking pictures from last week’s Silly Saturday. Thanks also to the anonymous writer who took up the challenge and let us inside his head…

DSCN1926

Mart the Electric Tram was bored, stuck on the rails, tied to the overhead wires. His passengers boasted of all their journeys and how much faster they were. Driving round the M25, crossing the Firth of Forth on a great red railway bridge… Mart could not imagine these journeys, but they sounded exciting…

Matt deleted all he had written, he wasn’t cut out for children’s stories… perhaps he could write about the M25 for his blog…

33943525_2106775829352196_7984859036698804224_n

The London Orbital, better known as the M25, officially opened in 1986, not bad considering the idea had first been suggested in 1913. The idea of any orbital road is to go round a city instead of going through it, but roads always end up with more traffic than predicted and drivers refused to play fair and sneaked onto the M25 for local journeys.

If you get where you want to go, motorways are good and round ones even better, whichever direction you go you will get to your destination eventually – or will you? One Boxing Day the traffic was so slow I suggested leaving at the next exit while we had the chance. We ended up lost in the wilds of Surrey – Oh is that where the Yehudi Menuhin School is… but where IS the Yehudi Menuhin School… luckily we found a garden centre with a cafe open. Inside were all the lost people of Christmas… We had lunch, but were still no nearer to home.

Now there is intelligent motorway, more intelligent than drivers; it tells you what speed to go, if there is Congestion in lanes 1&2 or an Obstruction in lane 3. One time we eventually came to the obstruction and it was a chaise lounge across two lanes. I wonder who lost their priceless antique.

But let us here remember those we have lost, those who continue to go round and round the London Orbital without ever finding the right exit…

‘Dinner’s ready’ – Though Matt was always grateful when it was Maxine’s turn to cook dinner, he was filled with incandescent rage if she called him just as inspiration struck or he was about to post his blog. What the hell, who wanted to read about the M25 anyway, his blog was even more boring than actually driving on it.

‘Coming Darling’

It was as he trundled downstairs that he had his great idea, a television drama, what producer could turn this down.

Coming soon on Sunday evenings Firth of Forth – a great people divided by a great bridge…

P1100327

Matt had only seen the Forth Bridge once, but he was amused with the bustling tourist seaside atmosphere in the town of South Queensferry in contrast to the quiet village of North Queensferry on the other side of the Firth of Forth. No, not a six episode drama series, a soap opera, it could go on forever and he would be secure for life…

 

Confetti1

 

Friday Flash Fiction 636 – Heat Wave

Perfect bliss; to come out of the cool sea and lie on the beach soaking up the sun, then plunge back into the waves to cool off again. This beach would be paradise if it wasn’t full of thousands of other day trippers, but when I close my eyes it’s peaceful, I could be alone. The screams of swimmers and the laughter of children fades away and I am drifting off to sleep, the early morning start, to beat the traffic down to the coast, is catching up with me.

12

I’m not quite asleep and I open my eyes to observe unnoticed the trio of girls spreading out their towels a few feet away. When they go running and giggling towards the waves I close my eyes again; in this heat wave they are bound to stay frolicking in the waves for a while.

My eyelids are heavy, my towel is moulded comfortably into the warm sand and I am drifting, just as I was in the gentle swell moments ago. Work, studying and responsibilities have floated away.

62454867_343942479619096_406051946240147456_n

The gentle hum of human voices returns and then I hear it; a voice at odds with happy holiday makers, an increasingly urgent cry.

‘Charlie, Charlie, CHARLIE…’

I keep my eyes closed, just someone calling their dog and disturbing my perfect day.

‘Charlie, Charlie, has anyone seen a little boy…

I open my eyes, I am listening, but nobody else is. Where is the voice coming from?

‘Charlie, help, I’ve lost my son, he was here a second ago, Charlie…’

I sit bolt upright, twist around and there she is, sheer panic in her eyes, her mouth fixed open. People start to stir, struggle to their feet in the soft sand. The young woman looks straight at me.

‘Did you see where he went? Someone, someone must have seen him… Charlie?’

My brain starts to wake up, unburdened by parental terror I find myself gearing into action.

‘What does he look like, how old is he?’

‘Four, red hair, purple shorts, lime green top…’

Sounds quite easy to spot, but four is young, can they talk by then, I don’t know much about kids…

‘Go to the Lifeguards, they probably have some system or other, they’ll get a search going… I’ll look around.’

She stumbles off, some granny person is taking her arm. For some reason other sun bathers and parents seem to think I know the mother, know what’s happening.

‘Come on everybody, if we all look, red shorts, purple top and green hair… I mean purple shorts, lime green top and red hair, four year old boy.’

Suddenly everybody is shouting for Charlie, it’s quite exciting, a Lifeguard is running, talking on his radio… I could be a Lifeguard, saving people on land and sea…

Then I see him in the distance with a man, trundling away from our search area. I plough through the sand. Holding the man’s hand, is he being kidnapped? I overtake and trip over a sandcastle in front of them, the boy looks unperturbed.

‘Charlie, are you Charlie, your Mummy’s looking for you.’

‘My name’s Archie.’

‘Clear off mate.’

‘I was just trying to help a lady who’s lost her son, sorry, same clothes …’

The cries and shouts and radio voices reach us and the man turns his head to see the whole beach on the move, moving towards us, recognising the purple, green and red description.

‘My brother’s called Charlie’ says the little boy.

The man suddenly laughs. ‘Bloody child, he’s always doing that to us, getting lost. Come on Archie, no ice cream till we’ve found your twin brother.’

66446521_2778246452205127_1747746033829412864_o

The game of snap ends ten minutes later when a worried swimmer emerges from the shallows with a grinning sodden child, but now nobody is sure where the mother is.

More tales of land and sea in Times and Tides

 

Flowers 2

 

 

Spaceship Earth and the Climate Emergency

In another of the occasional blogs from my sister in Australia she shares a letter she sent to the ‘West Australian’ and ‘Australian’ newspapers.

29

 

This week the media has been full of information about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. It was an amazing achievement, and worthy of our attention, but before we get too distracted with thoughts of going back to the moon and then on to Mars, let’s think seriously about Spaceship Earth, and the lessons to be learned from the Apollo 13 mission.

This mission came to be dubbed a “successful failure” after an onboard explosion destroyed the chance of landing on the moon, and changed the mission into a far more difficult one of getting the astronauts back to earth safely. The craft was critically low in power, oxygen levels were of concern, and carbon dioxide levels mounted to near lethal levels. It took all the ingenuity of hundreds of people – scientists, astronauts and engineers – to solve the problems, and against all odds, the three men were brought back safely. During those tense days, the whole world watched and hoped, and mankind was once more united in a common cause.

Here on Spaceship Earth, we face not only the climate crisis, but also the problems of overconsumption, pollution, unimaginable mountains of waste, destruction of the environment with accelerating loss of biodiversity. The main lesson to be learnt from Apollo 13 is that humans are incredible and ingenious when our backs are against the wall. For those of us who accept that climate change is happening, we should not lose hope. The odds against the Apollo 13 flight coming home again were almost impossible, and yet they succeeded.

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

For those in our community who deny there is a problem, consider what would have happened if, after those famous words “Houston, we have a problem” had been uttered by Jim Lovell, politicians had denied there was a problem, and instead ridiculed the astronauts. Then, when the scientists and engineers at Houston had confirmed that there was indeed a problem, had tried to silence them, preferring instead to believe those few people who asserted the whole moon landing had been faked anyway? What if, instead of using those precious hours to come up with solutions and implement them, the Americans had whittled away the precious hours by arguing about whether a problem even existed? It would have reached a stage when it was truly too late to act.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world could be united in an effort to solve, or at least ameliorate, Climate change? We already have many solutions, but are failing to implement them because of disharmony and vested interests. We can succeed, but we have to start now, because … Houston, we have a problem. A big problem !!!!

Kate Doswell

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck -#Australia Some Like It Hot 2018 by Janet Gogerty

In the last of my archives shared by Sally at Smorgasbord a look back at last year’s hot summer.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the final post that I have selected from the archives of author Janet Gogerty. In the last few weeks Europe and the UK has been hit by the very hot weather courtesy of North African prevailing winds. Last year in Ireland, when Janet posted this, we were in the middle of the longest (12 weeks) and hottest summer for over 70 years. An almost unheard of hosepipe ban was in effect for a number of weeks….

Australia Some Like It Hot 2018 by Janet Gogerty


As new migrants in Australia, the first time the thermometer hit one hundred…

View original post 791 more words

Friday Flash Fiction – Waterloo

I got off the train wearily, borne along the platform with the other commuters. It was only Wednesday but I was fed up already, who wouldn’t be, having to go to work on a sunny July day.

How had this happened to me, fourth generation of my family on the train to Waterloo every morning to a job I loathed. Was that what it had been like for Dad, Granddad, uncles and aunties, or did they just accept it as their position in life? Twenty three and still living at home so I could save up, save up for what?

I was working for a company everybody except me thought was exciting; Bright Designs was going places, but I wasn’t.

DSCN0926.JPG

I stopped on the busy concourse and stood still for the first time ever; I usually dashed straight for the escalator to the underground. Around me everyone was rushing, I thought of Tim my old school friend, in Thailand teaching English, travelling cheaply and posting beautiful pictures on Facebook. Voices intruded into my Land of Smiles fantasy and my eyes focussed on a couple at the barrier to platform 13.

You just don’t get it, do you Josh? A train to the seaside is not my idea of a surprise holiday, even if we were staying together.

I stared at Josh, smart looking bloke, but sounded like he was as successful as me with women.

I don’t understand Lizzie, I thought you wanted to get away for a few days and talk.

It’s too late for that.

Lizzie disappeared into throngs of commuters oblivious to her little drama, out of sight before Josh had even turned his head. He tore off his back pack and threw it on the ground and then, as if he could feel my curious stare, he looked up at me.

‘Hey mate, care to swap lives. Looks like you could do with a trip to the seaside, train leaves in ten minutes.’

He proffered his train ticket.

‘You wouldn’t want my dreary life Josh.’

‘So neither of us have anything to lose, go on, hand me your man bag and take my rucksack.’

 

What on earth possessed me? I slung the back pack on my shoulder and put the ticket in the slot at the barrier. Josh had already gone, taking my wallet, paperback and ID pass for Bright Designs with him. I patted my pocket, my phone was the only thing I still had of me.

Settling into a window seat I almost laughed out loud, runaway train. Nobody except Josh knew where I was going; I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t care.

As the train moved off I looked at the ticket, Bournemouth. Then I casually dipped into the rucksack as if I knew what was in it; a wallet with notes as well as several debit cards and a thick envelope, signed for delivery. I had no compunction about opening it, Josh wanted me to have his life. Afterwards I realised what an idiot I had been, it could have contained drugs or might even have exploded.

But all it contained were two sets of keys, detailed computer print out maps, a set of directions and two pictures, a row of beach huts and a smart white apartment block. What was Lizzie missing? My initial thoughts had been – arrive at seaside, get ice cream, go for a paddle. But now I was going to have a holiday.

66446521_2778246452205127_1747746033829412864_o

Just when we would have been having coffee at work I was standing on the cliff top. The sea and sky were unbelievably blue, the air balmy, this was a dream. I followed the instructions for the beach hut and descended a steep path with cliff on either side framing a view of sparkling sea with land on the horizon.

Ten minutes later I was in the little wooden hut divesting the rest of my work life and putting on swimming shorts out of the collection of beach gear handily provided. With the warm sand between my toes I was a child again. I plunged into the sea, not as cold as I was expecting. My freedom was complete as I struck out through the gentle waves then turned to look back at the cliffs, I was out of my depth and out of my life. I whooped like a teenager, how I wished everyone at work could see me; perhaps not. This was a holiday that would not be posted on Facebook.

Liebster Award (Retro)

For more tales of land and sea dip into…

 

 

 

What’s Wrong With Wrats?

Rats seem to be everywhere lately, but don’t worry about another great plague.

Last week Pete Springer was inspired by one of my archive blogs to write about his teaching days with class pets – rats. His post was headed by a picture of a most adorable rat which reminded me of TV star Roland Rat; the only rat to join a sinking ship, credited with saving TVam breakfast television in the 1980’s.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/class-pets/

One of my children did have a pet rat in his class, I did hold it once and it was very cute; after all, rats are just big mice and I had pet mice in my junior school years. My friend and I bought two mice from Aldershot market, plus a little book on mice and assured our parents they were both male. Of course they weren’t. Luckily my father loved woodwork; the designer shed/greenhouse he had built himself was soon filled with cages and bags of hay and oats. We ended up with forty mice, some of them pregnant, I will draw a veil over what happened to them next.

By strange coincidence, just before Pete posted his blog, I heard from my friend 300 miles away ( too far away to be of any assistance ) that her young dog had found a rats’ nest in the garden. As a busy carer for her elderly mother the last thing she wanted to find on the staircase was a blind, hairless, mewling baby rat being tenderly licked by the dog. ( Handy hint, this is one of the many reasons why it is not a good idea to let dogs lick your face. )

Thankful that this could not happen to us as we don’t have a dog I was soon to get my come uppance. Since we finally got around to having the outside light in the back garden fixed it comes on quite often, usually to reveal a fox; the fox suspected of chewing up my garden shoes. Late one night ( at a time when only bloggers and foxes are awake ) the light came on and there was Mr. Fox playing with something furry, and it didn’t look like a slipper.

7

In the morning there was a dead rat on the back lawn. Obviously the fox has better things to eat. Feeling like a frontierswoman I trekked the few yards to the bottom of the garden and got the spade out. Throw him over the fence? No, we have nice neighbours. Put him in my compost bin? No, never put meat in your garden compost. The council food waste bin that you can put meat in? No it’s got our house number on. I gave him a woodland burial, relieved that I managed to scoop him off the grass with the spade. Two mornings later a second dead rat appeared. Perhaps the foxes are doing us a favour with rat control.

60782970_2679700712059702_409599945708929024_o(1)

The ‘woodland garden’ is the corner where the compost bins and insect hotels hide; a tangle of apple tree, holly and ivy and sapling nursery. Cyberspouse suggested the piles of branches preserved for hedgehogs and insects are also luxury living for rats. I have never seen a hedgehog in our garden despite the plentiful supply of slugs for them to eat.

While we sign petitions to save hedgehogs and are reminded to mind the gap, leave holes in our fences for hedgehogs to travel, no one suggests we worry about the survival of rats. When does wildlife become a pest? Why are we not urged to protect rats’ environment and put food out for them?

What wildlife do you have in your neighbourhood?

Gold Award 2

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #FlashFiction Friday Flash Fiction 500 2018 – Biodegradable by Janet Gogerty

Today Sally Cronin makes her third choice from my archives with a topical flash fiction I had fun writing.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the third of the  posts that I have selected from the archives of author Janet Gogerty. This week I have chosen a short story by Janet, which will give you an idea of what you might expect from her collections that are available on Amazon. At the moment the topic of plastic shopping bags is very much in the news… and here is an alternative!!

 Friday Flash Fiction 500 – Biodegradable by Janet Gogerty

Cauldrons bubbled, paddles stirred, pumps rose and fell. The dye selector scurried along seeking indigo and sunflower to make that special shade of green…

View original post 953 more words