Sense of Direction

DSCN0516The first time we went to the cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire we couldn’t find the cathedral. The spire, at 123m from ground level, is the tallest in Britain, visible for miles around and we couldn’t see it from the main square. After wandering around we finally found the signs. We often go to Salisbury, but it is one of many places where I can easily lose my sense of direction. There are five park and ride sites, all completely free at present, to encourage visitors back to Salisbury after the novichok poisoning. We usually go to the one on our route into Salisbury, but one time, against my better judgement, Cyberspouse suggested we go to the main car park near the supermarket. On arrival I was quick to point out how expensive our visit was going to be. We have a purse in the glove box that my Australian sister-in-law gave us, which is made from a kangaroo’s testical; we can get a lot of coins in it and I always put my silver change in. I poured ten, twenty and fifty pence pieces into the machine, but just before we had clocked up the right amount it stopped working. Money gone and no ticket, but at that moment, as if by magic, a car park attendant appeared at my shoulder. We had put so much money in we had blocked up his machine. He unlocked it and the money poured into our hands – we then put pound coins in and got our ticket. Setting off from that car park I had no idea where we were in relation to the Salisbury I knew.

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On our most recent visit we arrived from a different direction and used a different park and ride. The pleasant bus ride brought us to a bus stop in a road where I couldn’t get my bearings. Luckily Cyberspouse has an excellent sense of direction – I did read recently that men have better spatial awareness, so that might explain it. I then worried what would happen if we got on the wrong park and ride bus, the buses all look the same and the park and ride sites probably look similar. Imagine searching for your car, not realising you were at the wrong place and with no hope of getting to the right park and ride because you had caught the last bus of the day.

Read more about Salisbury in last year’s blog.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/secret-salisbury-september-staycation-part-one

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There are more ways of arriving in Southampton than most cities; by ocean liner from abroad, by ferry across Southampton Water, by train, by bus and by car and each arrival presents a completely different view of the city. In my mind I can never put the parts together. The first time we drove there we went into the West Quay shopping centre car park at ground level and somehow walked out onto the seventh floor of the shops.

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Big shopping centres always present a challenge to those lacking a sense of direction; how to find the way out to the bus station, which level takes you to the high street, will you ever find your way out of John Lewis and where on earth did you leave your car. In Southampton my best landmark is the towering blue and yellowness of Ikea. The restaurant provides an excellent view of the ships and if you came by ferry it is a short walk away. Of course Ikea itself is famous for leaving customers feeling they will never see their own home again, as they wend their way through endless happy home room lay outs.

Take the ferry to Southampton here…

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/silly-saturday-how-to-cheat-at-travel

Have you got a good sense of direction?

The third novel in my trilogy is partly set in Wiltshire and Salisbury.

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Silly Saturday – Sensible Statistics

Award

Lots of bloggers like to share the good news when they achieve a certain number of followers; ten, twenty, two thousand… I forgot to celebrate 500, now I have 609 or should I wait for 666?

This means I have over six hundred good friends all over the world – no hang on, that’s Facebook, I only have 163 best friends on there… but 593 followers on my Facebook Author Page.

Of course all these statistics are very meaningful. The lives of all these followers are enhanced by the thought that when they wake up or browse on line before bedtime, they can read my Tidalscribe blog or my words of wisdom on Facebook. I’m sure every single follower checks in every single day to follow my words and pictures, they don’t always comment, but that’s because they have five hundred other blogs to read.

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More exciting is to look at the map and see where followers live and just as important, learn a little geography. Did you know that if you turned Canada sideways it might be as large as Russia, speaking of which, no one ever explained why Europe and Asia are separate continents when it is obvious they are one. You can hardly see where I live… but never mind, I am most excited when I discover that realtors and dental surgeries in the USA LIKE my blog or another US blogger, who writes reviews of garden lawnmowers, is now following me. Alas I am not in a position to buy any real estate or import a lawn mower; my environmentally friendly hand pushed mower is enough for my little garden.

I also have some followers who are real human beings, at least I think so; they certainly do a very good job of writing intelligent comments on my blogs and responding to my excellent comments on their blogs…

Have you had any amazing statistics for your blog?

sunshine-blogger

 

 

Friday Fiendish Flash Fiction – Digital Dialogue – Sunseeker

Characters:

Sebastian A. Tan, Sunseeker boat owner

Christina Da Santa, B.B.C. reporter

Joe Carpenter, B.B.C. cameraman

 

Setting: Poole Marina and Poole Harbour

 

Joe: Which berth is it?

Christina: He just said look for the largest boat; we should recognise him from that photo in Dorset Life.

Joe: Yes, he looks very distinguished.

Christina: Pity more men his age don’t look after themselves so well.

Joe: (chuckling) Maybe you’ll be in with a chance, quite fancy him myself.

Christina: I’m very happy being single now, anyway, I thought you didn’t fancy older men.

Joe: Exception that proves the rule, he’s a gay icon apparently.

Christina: Oh, talk of the devil, there he is; what do you reckon Joe, straight or gay?

Joe: He looks all man to me!

Sebastian: (Calling out) Good afternoon, welcome to the ‘Hidden Depth’. Allow me, it’s tricky if you are not used to boats.

Christina: (flustered) This is Christina Da Santa at Poole Marina, on board Sunseekers’ newest and biggest boat. I’m here to interview Sandbank’s newest resident. Mr Sebastian A. Tan has agreed to an exclusive interview. Good afternoon Mr. Tan.

Sebastian: Please, call me Nick, all my friends do and I’m sure we shall be friends Miss, Ms, Mrs.? Da Santa.

Christina: Call me Christina, please; are you settling in, have you met the neighbours?

Nick: I love the area, but the neighbours are a little ‘standoffish’, that’s what you get with ‘new money’, no class.

Christina: Have you always loved boats?

Nick: Yes, I love the freedom, do you fancy a quick spin?

Christina: If Joe can hold the camera steady, I’m up for it.

Nick: I’m sure a strapping young man like Joe has a steady hand, he can film you in the wheelhouse.

Christina: (breathless) This is fantastic; if viewers fancy skimming over the waves at these speeds, a boat like this will cost you more than a house.

 

We’ve weighed anchor now, with a lovely view of Studland Beach; no other boats nearby, time to have an in depth chat with Seb… Nick.

What is your new house like?

Nick: Magnificent, worth every million.

Christina: So are you officially retired now?

Nick: I hope not, but business has been quiet; or rather business has been so good, my influence is hardly needed, I feel quite redundant; a feeling you will be familiar with soon!

Christina: (tersely) I wouldn’t believe what you read in the papers.

Nick: I sympathise entirely; if you think you feel discarded in your fifties, imagine what I feel like in my millions. Still, mustn’t grumble, it’s even worse for HIM. People these days just don’t believe in what he has to offer, don’t believe in HIM at all. Now my package, they have taken up whole heartedly, I should be pleased, but somehow I’m bored, no challenge.

Christina: Does this mean you are able to spend more time with your family?

Nick: (snorts) I’m no family man, over rated business; marriage wouldn’t suit my busy social life.

Christina: Would you describe yourself as a ‘Ladies’Man’?

Nick: (winks) Not just ladies, had a bit of an eye for the ‘Greek Gods’ in my time, still got an eye for young cameramen.

Christina: (taken aback) Well, we’re all open minded these days, would you describe yourself as bi-sexual?

Nick: (proudly) Omnisexual. My dear, I haven’t offered you a glass of wine; it should be nicely chilled by now, you’re looking a bit hot and flustered. I’ll go down below and fetch the glasses.

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Joe: Wow, what do you think.

Christina: He has the most amazing piercing blue eyes!

Joe: He sends shivers down my spine.

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Nick: Cheers, here’s to a successful documentary.

Christina: (embarrassed) It’s only a little slot in News South.

Nick: Surely I’m worth an hour, you are coming to film at my home as well, I assumed you were both coming to dinner.

Christina: Oh… er …this wine is divine.

Nick: Very good vintage.

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Christina: We went so fast just now, we couldn’t film; Nick is just tying up at his private mooring. There’s a bit of drama going on, the lifeboat is just going out to rescue some teenagers in their kayaks, they weren’t prepared for the wake from our boat, Nick said they shouldn’t have been in that part of the harbour.

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Here we are inside Nick’s beautiful home.

Nick: (chuckles) Yes, one would never guess that only a few months ago, all that was here was an old bungalow belonging to a couple of pensioners.

Christina: Do you like to cook?

Nick: I love hot food.

Christina: Viewers, I have to say, this is the most delicious food I have ever tasted; if only we had ‘teletaste’. No more wine for me or Joe, we are working.

Nick: (suavely) Perhaps it’s time you both went off duty.

Christina: Well… first tell the viewers what this fantastic recipe is, the meat is rather like pork.

Nick: Secret recipe my dear.

More fiendish and fun tales here…

sunshine-blogger

 

 

Staycation

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

 

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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.

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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.

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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.’

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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.

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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…

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