Thursday, 23 March 2017

Parkour

Parkour is a training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a ...
Descendant arts‎: ‎Freerunning
Creator‎: ‎David Belle
Famous practitioners‎: ‎S├ębastien Foucan‎; ‎David ...
Also known as‎: ‎PK
 
Basically young people climb all over buildings and jump from one building to another, if they are particulary agile they somersault or do tricks.  Apparently according to Wikipedia see above, created by David Belle.
 
We used to call it DARE.
My friends and I used to climb scaffolding at the sides of buildings and see how far we could drop without breaking anything - young yes about 14-16 years old - stupid definately!
 
There was one day when my best friend and I climbed up a building in Moorgate near to the Bank of England. We got up to the third floor and were sitting on the windowsill looking at the view when one of the secretaries opened the window and told us to get in.
 
We were marched to the lifts with the secretary eyeing us suspiciously.
"Are you boys or girls?" She asked - a good question as we were both wearing sand coloured combat jackets with blue jeans and had short hair.
"Girls!" We both answered indignantly.
"You need to find yourselves a boyfriend." She snapped pushing the button for the ground floor.
What we really needed was a sandwich, all that climbing made us starving.
 
One of our favourite places to sit were on the backs of the Lions in Trafalgar Square. We were chucked off by a young policeman who took exception to our army jackets, and told us his dad fought in desert. We walked off towards the Mall discussing if he fancied one of us! (we were14 remember!).
 
London was our playground, we walked all over it, knew every inch. Climbed the lamp-posts with the Dolphins by the Thames. Walked over the bridges on the walls. Climbed all over the
Stations in London, even inside the British Museum. Climbing, walking, and stuffing meat pies as we went.
 
We both did the Duke of Edinburgh's award at school - we were the only two girls to do it.
Climbing - a doddle - potholing - narrow and squeezy - first aid a necessity, Judo, karate, you name it we did it - and we got our badges!!
 
We were invincible! 
 
Not so invincible now - both of us have terrible knees and feet, weak wrists and we ache when it rains.   BUT we did it PARKOUR HA!  it was DARE but Linda Owen and Maggie Cooper did it first and we have the aches to prove it!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Mother's Day

A Hallmark Holiday?

Not really, Mothering Sunday falls on the 4th Sunday in Lent. In medieval times it was devised so that people working for masters far from home, could go back to their mother church and visit their families, and their mothers using it as a holiday.

The American Mother's Day - the Hallmark Holiday came during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson and it's the second Sunday in May. 

I hardly think of myself as a mother now, yes I had some lovely times with my son when he was a child, but the badly drawn cards from nursery school, primary school, and secondary school ended when he went to Uni. When he told me "He didn't believe in Mother's Day".
I told him he better had - so go out and get me a card!

One year home from Uni he cooked a mother's day meal. He got quite flustered about getting it right, but he did me proud.

I used to buy my mother flowers and chocolates she loved Frys walnut whips, or the pink and white cocoanut ice. The three sisters would try and make it a happy day for her, because she was the first to come and comfort us if anything went wrong with our lives. She would stand up for us when Dad lost his temper if we spilt nail varnish or got home late.
When she died I was devastated, she was just coming up to 50.

I haven't seen my son or spoken to him by phone for nearly ten years now.  I get the sporadic e.mail but it's hardly a relationship. Half the time I don't have an address or phone number for him - I don't at the moment.

It's only because I know how to use the internet that I know what he's up to at all.

He says on the odd occasion that he still loves me, but it's a funny kind of love that won't show it's face.

I wish now I was like a lot of other 1980s mums, having affairs, leaving their kids to their own devices, neglecting him for having a life of my own. But I didn't. I tried to make every
day the best I could for him. Sometimes it was hard, his father made no contribution to his upbringing - and even cried once when I asked for money for a pair of shoes for his son.
But going to a bar with his mates and spending large amounts of money on drinks was ok.

I never bad mouthed his father to him.  He now has a relationship with him ringing him once a week.

So mother's day.  Another tearful day for me, when I see flowers and grown up children arrive to spend time with the woman who bore them and brought them up. Appreciating
the sacrifices they have made for them.

I wonder every year what I have done to be so punished.  Mother's day is a very cruel
holiday, not just for me, but for mother's who's sons have died. Heartbreaking.

I still love you Matthew Buxton - even though it really hurts.

Matt at age19 off to surf at St Ives with his mates & his own special high fiveing cat Samson

Friday, 10 March 2017

Things you should never do if you're me

1. Eat Pineapple   

Causes severe anphalaxic shock 

2. Look at my son's Facebook page

Causes severe heartbreak 

3. Buy anything expensive 

Causes financial crisis (and it usually turns out to be a big mistake - like the painting I bought from Rolf Harris) 

4. Diet

Causes me to gain weight

5. Care about the world/politics/animal cruelty/homelessness/poverty

Causes frustration and tears, because however I try to help it's never enough.

6. Live in a small house

Causes avalanches of books/foodstuffs/clothes/china

7.Retire

Causes a feeling of uselessness

8. Be lazy

Causes a downward spiral into lethagy

9. Run a marathon

Causes a shock, because of my rheumatiod arthritus, I can hardly walk! 
I dream I can run sometimes

10. Blog when fed up

Causes a drop off in readers
 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Spring and the budget

Apparently tomorrow will be the last Spring budget, thank goodness for that. It's bad enough being told once what we can't afford any longer, let alone twice.

I feel like I'm back in the 70s, where food is going up exponentially every week. Sainsburys large pack of butter was £1.65 last week yesterday £2.65. for example. Even Cornish daffodils are £1.25 instead of 99p. I know for a fact the Cornish growers, packers and pickers won't be getting an increase in their pittance,

So where is the money going? Yesterday I turned the news off as a 22stone guy in an outsized expensive suit was spouting off about making cuts. Us - not him obviously.

A few years ago petrol cars were terrible, now it's diesel, petrol and diesel prices have shot up again and owners of diesel cars will be penalised.  I have an ancient diesel 4x4 to pull my caravan. Petrol cars struggle at the best of times and it would be impossible with the pretty hybrid or electric cars.

I bake my own bread, costs me roughly 45p a large loaf.  Strong flour used to cost £1.35 a bag. Now it's £1.65. I make most of my own food, thank goodness, the way things are going up in the supermarkets, it's a good job I do.

Every year we grow garlic, potatoes, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples and pears, basil, fennel, sage, rosemary, chives, Some years are better than others but my fruit and veg is seasonal and fresh and I don't have to pay for them.

We pay for the NHS and others benefits from the percentage taken from our wages in the National Insurance payments, a large lump of our salary, added to by 12% by our employers. Yet this budget will make cuts to the NHS to try and make us like the US and Australia to pay for our treatment privately.

Yes this is a rant and nothing to do with writing, my recent book is just after WW2 and rationing has just ended and "people have never had it so good."

65 years on, there's still extreme poverty, division, racist attacks, the rich are still rich and the poor are still poor. Yet anesthetized by technology, gambling and sex - no progress is being made. Aldous Huxley's 1984 brought it home, the lower classes kept in their places
by scandalous newspapers and wars, the upper class the power players keeping them there.

As Jodie Mitchell sang "When will we ever learn?"

Birds sing their little hearts out in broken unblossomed trees,with no idea of life but what they see and feel. They soar in the skies, chattering, making murmerations, unworried
what Trump or Kim Yong Il is doing or where their next feed is coming from.

Spring feels different this year, It doesn't feel like a fresh new beginning.
It feels like the end.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Writing again... ChipLit Festival 2017

Looked at the events for the ChipLit Festival, so much going on I feel overwhelmed.  I have written and been published in various media since the age of 14. 

Credits include

Jackie Teen Magazine,Woman, Ariel, Guardian, Independent, BBC History magazine, BBC Cornish Website, Orders of the Daye (Sealed Knot In House magazine). My articles on living with extreme allergies have been used in NHS publications, and one as a teaching medium for the NHS.

Novels/Novellas  My first a Cornish love story called Jago.

When I was seriously ill a couple of years ago now and bedridden, I thought I was going to die. So I wrote The Women of the English Civil War. I had collected and researched for years on my adventures with the Sealed Knot. Now was the time to get written and published.
The sales ranking as shown took me into the best sellers for History. Even outselling Alison Plowden at one point.
 
Then along came Hilary Long, who took over my life in a totally new direction, with her adventures and her new life in the little Cotswold village of Overdown (based loosely on Tetbury).
Ending for the moment in a bloodbath that affects Hilary herself.  But the call of Overdown is strong, and the residents want me to go back and write more about them. This time it will be a love story with a few twists and turns and perhaps a happy ending. Who knows where these people will lead me?

At the moment I'm working on 1955 a book requested by an agent. Perhaps this will be THE ONE - who knows?  My husband is an artist by profession, making the people for what he calls morally bankrupt computer games. He generated the face of Evie for me. It's very rare that what you imagine is what you get.  But this is Evie Withers as I live and breathe.
To see how he did it - http://andyevans-art.blogspot.co.uk/

As for ChipLit, I'll go. I'll be totally jealous that people I've never heard of have their first novel, in hardback and a best seller. (Usually related to a famous parent!) I guess I'll just keep plugging away, semi anonymous,( my father was a design engineer and my mother was a tailoress). My grandfather, however, on my father's side was a bookbinder by trade and had a shop in Shoreditch.

I had more fame when I was a Rostrum Camerawoman for the BBC. I got tons of credits and pay for my work, even a BAFTA!  Can't look back - got to look forward - hopefully someone will read my Hilary Longs and think: Wow!  this would make a brilliant mini series, it's darker than Agatha Raisin, spookier than Father Brown and has some incredibly funny moments.

Work calls....speak soon.













Monday, 13 February 2017

What a difference a day makes

We went up to Harrogate to visit my brother in law, he'd been ill for a while. We went up to his house sitting amongst the sheep strewn fields of Ripley, the lights were on, cosy and warm when we arrived. It's full of life's adventures to Australia, Tenerife, Spain. Photographs of holidays and grandchildren all over the walls next to antique porcelain and tribal figures in black wood with scary hair.

Then you hear it, the gentle click and sigh of the machine that is helping him breathe. A feint smell of medicine in the air. The wheelchair by the door, opened by the haunted faces of his wife and son who have spent the night awake with him as he cried out for help. Sometimes lucid, sometimes not.Sometimes funny, sometimes demanding.

My husband sat on the floor holding his brothers hand, not knowing what to say. I felt I didn't belong. An outsider, a Southerner in a close Northern family, so I didn't intrude on the few moments left to them. I was incredibly sad, I liked my brother in law, he was generous, kind and funny. He helped others even when he was very ill himself. He didn't let on as he would have said. He had even left his body to Leeds Hospital University. Generous to the last.

We left to meet our friends for lunch and get my brother in law a Cafe Nero Cappucino on the way back. He said he really fancied it, even gave orders that he didn't want Starbucks!

By the time we got back the family were frantically calling the NHS Pallative care nurse for help. She said she couldn't come she stopped work at 3.00. It was 2 o'clock. My brother in law was struggling to breathe, the family gave him some medicine and he calmed down enough to drink a couple of sips of his coffee and drink iced water. They phoned the NHS again and got the call centre who said they'd send someone. 

I waited watching for any car coming up the hill, that might have a nurse in it. "She's here."
I called opening the door. My sister in law raced past me.
"You're too late, he's gone." She shouted angrily, "He died crying for help."
 

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Agatha Christie

After visiting Agatha's Devon house last year and wandering through the rooms and artifacts, I decided to buy her autobiography and a couple of her books. Proudly stamped by the National Trust "bought at Greenaway."

I was surprised at her life, she was very priviledged but didn't really take it on.  She was eccentric, preferred to drink cream instead of tea. Knowledgeable about life in a way you would not expect from a lady of her age.

But then we all get old. She said she wished she'd made Poirot younger as she was still writing mysteries for him when he got to be 110!!   She had a good sense of humour, was adventurous, and was crossed in love.  

When her first husband left her he came into her office in a heat and pacing about the room said "This just won't do Agatha, I have to have a divorce." Then thundered out to his girlfriend, his secretary whom Agatha had befriended, waiting in the car.  She sat at her desk dumbstruck. "I was writing cheques to pay my bills," she wrote, "and I couldn't remember my name to sign it on the cheque."

This is her bedroom, the camp bed belongs to her second husband Max Mallowan. He was an archeologist, and got so used to sleeping in this camp bed, sometimes he would sleep in it when he was at home. He was 15 years younger than Agatha, something I have in common with her, my husband and my age difference is exactly the same.

I have some recordings of her, in old age, the voice speaking is cultured, wobbly, of it's time.
She couldn't cook but loved food, but was also offended when Max volunteered her to sit on cases to get them closed at the end of an expedition!

The more I read and learn about her work, the more surprised I am about how modern she was. She loved clothes, and her wardrobe is still intact.

She loved silk, bright colours, furs, she started her adult life as an Edwardian teenager and  by the time she died in 1976 she seen fashions change from uptight corsets through to the looser dresses of the Roaring Twenties, the elegant 30s, Wartime austerity in the 40s right up to the Swinging Sixties and mini skirts.

While I was writing the other day I remembered one of her tips for writing a good book.  Not so many red herrings that the reader gets confused.  She was a member of a Crime Writers Society, and strict rules were laid down on the construction of murder mystery novels. Agatha broke every one of them and was a best seller.

I hope she has an etherial smile at my efforts when it comes out in a couple of months.
Fingers crossed.