A Tribute to Michael Bond

I was much saddened to read about the death of Michael Bond today, aged 91.  Mr Bond worked for the BBC, served with the RAF during the war, and of course was the author of the Paddington Bear series of children’s fiction books, which so far have sold over 35 million copies worldwide.  The books were made into an animated TV series and also a successful film in 2014.  A sequel to the film will be released this year.

On his way home from work on Christmas Eve in 1956, Michael looked in a shop window and saw a lone teddy bear.  He took it home as a stocking filler for his wife.  He called it Paddington because they lived near Paddington Station at the time.  This made him think of a story where an unaccompanied bear turned up at a railway station looking for a home.  He based the bear’s personality on his mild-mannered father who always wore a hat, even in the sea on holiday in the Isle of Wight, in case he had to raise it to acknowledge somebody he knew.

In 1965 Michael gave up his job with the BBC and became a full-time writer.  I was a lucky child, as my mother was one of the 35 million people who bought the Paddington series of books for her daughter.  I remember there were about 6 or 7 books that came in an open-fronted box.  Each book was brightly coloured, and I devoured them over and over again.  My favourite book was the yellow one and it quickly became well-thumbed.  I cannot remember now which story it told, but apart from Paddington I quickly got to know the other characters; Mr and Mrs Brown and their children, Mrs Bird, and Mr Gruber.

How many others of my generation grew up with Paddington Bear?  The books gave me a love of reading, and transported a lonely only child off into her imagination for hours at a time.  Let’s give three cheers for author Michael Bond!

9 J.K.Rowling Quotes To Help Make Us Better Writers

I can identify with the ‘spending many hours alone in self-imposed silence’ bit – it’s wonderful!


‘I always have a basic plot outline, but I like to leave some things to be decided while I write’. – J.K.Rowling 
The good news is that if J.K.Rowling doesn’t need to have it all figured out before starting to write, then neither do we.

Sometimes, as writers, we put so much pressure on ourselves to have everything just right that we forget about the joy and value of spontaneity. Being spontaneous can be exciting, and this can show in our writing. It can ignite a spark that fizzes up from inside us with passion and verve, allowing us to write in a way that we might never have otherwise been able to.

Planning everything down to the last detail can stop that happening. It can make us like a caged bird. Rigid in its thinking and actions, either unable or unwilling to think outside of the cage. Never deviating…

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Greg, the Glastonbury Milkman

You live and learn, as they say.  I’ve been to a fair number of music festivals in my time, and have even camped out at quite a few, but I found out by reading my trusty BBC News app today (thanks for this, Sophie Van Brugen) that there’s a volunteer milkman, Greg Newman, who starts out at 6.30am and travels around the Glastonbury campsites for the 4  days of the festival in his tractor and trailer, taking 8 hours to finish his round of delivering 2500 pints of milk to weary revellers. He uses a megaphone to alert campers to his presence with a cry of “Milky milky!”.  Some may have just got to sleep, but others flock around his tractor, happy for a pint of milk for their early morning cuppa.

I’ve never attended the Glastonbury festival, mainly due to the terrible weather that usually accompanies it (although I think this year the sun shone for most of the time), and also because the bands more often than not don’t play the kind of heavy rock music that I like.  The festival is also too big for my liking.  However, none of the festivals I’ve ever attended before have had a milkman delivering to the campers.  Apparently back in 1970 the first festival goers at Glastonbury each received a free pint of milk from Michael Eavis’s own cows, but nowadays if any of the 175,000 campers require a pint, they have to pay Greg Newman £1.20.

What a great way to drum up business for the farm!

At festival campsites I’ve attended, we’ve only been able to bring small disposable barbeques, and to boil the water for a cup of tea on that takes an age.  I remember queueing up in the mud and driving rain at the Download festival for drinks back in 2009.  One girl in front of me in the queue was covered in mud.  The stall holder gave her a cup of tea and passed her a used spoon, as she wanted to add some sugar.  She asked for a clean spoon, but was told to use the one she had been given. I think a previously used spoon must have been the last straw for this poor girl, as she fixed the stall holder with a terrible stare and said the following:

“I may be covered in mud right up to my fanny, but all I’m asking for is a clean spoon!”

She got one.

Tuesday Newsday – 27th June

Last week saw a most unusual heatwave in the UK, which caused this piece of news by Hannah Richardson to come up on my BBC News app:

‘School teachers have renewed calls for maximum legal temperatures in heatwave-hit classrooms as the heat continues.’

Apparently some teachers have been reporting classroom temperatures topping 32C (90F).  Some schools have been giving pupils ice lollies and renting air conditioners to help keep pupils cool.  The NASUWT teaching union wants to see a statutory maximum temperature of 26C in school classrooms, with pupils and staff being sent home if thermometers went above this.

We in the UK are not used to extreme weather conditions.  I think back to my own schooldays, to the heatwave of 1976, and also to the terrible winter of 1963 where it snowed until April.   Did staff and pupils get sent home?  No, they did not.  Exam time usually coincides with hot weather, and a heatwave could last for a couple of weeks or more.  Should pupils’ exams be disrupted because they and their teachers have to be sent home for all this time? Back in 1976 I sat my exams and sweated, before walking the usual 3 miles home in the hot sun.  I remember it well.

Recently it also made the news that 30 boys from a school in Exeter protested at not being allowed to wear shorts in the heatwave by coming to school in the proper regulation school uniform skirts, which had been borrowed from their sisters or family friends.  The head teacher gave in and stated that from next year the boys would be allowed to wear shorts in the summer, but not this term, as it might cause parents financial hardship.

In my grammar school in 1969 the girls wore summer dresses, but the boys wore long trousers and weren’t even allowed to take off their blazers (my husband says that the boys in his class were also not allowed to take off their blazers). We carried on regardless of whether it was hot or cold outside or inside.  In 1976 I remember having one or two enjoyable lessons outside in the shade of a large, spreading oak tree.  In 1963 my mother walked me to school in deep snow before going to her part-time job.  Nowadays as soon as it snows many schools close straight away, and we hear on the news that ‘teachers are unable to get to work.’

Times have changed since I was a schoolgirl.  Is it fear of litigation which has caused these changes?  If a pupil faints in a hot classroom or falls over in an icy playground these days, would the parents sue the council?  I don’t know about other countries, but in my UK school back in the 1970’s the pupil would have seen the in-school nurse down in the medical centre and had a lie down until they felt better, but which state schools have medical centres and nurses now in these stark days of cutbacks?  All gone….all gone.

P.S – By the way, as we’re talking about schools, my granddaughter was given a ‘bronze medal’ sticker for coming last in a race on her school’s sports day.  A bronze medal? In my opinion children should be taught that some of us can run fast and others cannot. Not everybody can be a winner. Whatever is happening in our schools? Perhaps it’s all due to the hot weather.

How to Get Your Book into Libraries as an Independent Publisher…

Very informative interview!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

by Austin Hackney:

Thinking about how to get your book into libraries as an independent publisher? It struck me the best person to ask would be someone who works in the library service.

Eve Merrier is a Libraries Manager just on the outskirts of London, UK and south of the beautiful Surrey Hills. In the photo here, she’s getting ready for “story time” in one of her libraries.

As well as managing libraries, she’s also an author in her own right, and offers occasional proofreading services to private clients. Eve boasts a First Class degree, an Advanced Certificate in Proofreading (Distinction), and has successfully completed a course in critical reading at Oxford University.

So she seemed to be the perfect person to ask.

Eve was kind enough to agree to the following interview.

Continue reading at:

Getting Your Book into Libraries

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I thought I’d let you all know of a promotional website to showcase Indie authors’ work that you might not have come across – AuthorPilot:


Do check it out folks.  It’s completely free.  You can add the first chapter of your book and the cover, and answer a couple of interview questions as well.  There is a list of readers too, if you just want to subscribe to that.


Do send me a friend request if you join!  Thanks!



Advice Well Received

Interesting Christian viewpoint from Aurorowatcherak regarding divorce. My question is – would an abused and divorced Christian wife be able to find happiness living with a new partner out of wedlock if she is not allowed to re-marry?


What Advice Has Stuck With You For A Long Time? And Who Gave You That Advice?
Did someone give you some great advice at a certain time in your life? Think back to that time and write down the advice as you remember it.


Custom Blog:

An InLinkz Link-up

get the InLinkz code

So last week, I alluded to a period in my marriage that was not easy. I didn’t go into detail because I wanted to use it for this week’s blog hop article.

Image result for image of christian adviceBrad doesn’t make a secret that he’s a recovering alcoholic. We have a rule where we try not to bring up things from decades ago to shove in each other’s faces today, but I have to sort of do that to make this blog post make sense. I’m doing this with his permission.

Relapse happens with alcoholics, but recovery is not…

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Open Book Blog Hop – 26th June

This week we’re writing about what advice has stuck with us for a long time, and who gave us that advice.

Nothing was ever sugar-coated for me as a child. My mother Dot, with her typical East End tell-it-like-it-is attitude, drummed the following advice into me from a very early age:

‘Never get old and fat, because first you’ll see ’em with one stick, then you’ll see ’em with two sticks, and then you won’t see ’em at all, so everything in moderation.’

As a child this always gave me a terrible mental image of an unfortunate whale-like, wrinkled person stuck and floundering in an armchair like a flapping fish.

Up until the age of about 12 or 13 when I was given pocket money, sweets were rationed to one small bag on Saturdays only.  If Dot saw me trying to take more than 3 biscuits, then the tin would be quickly whipped away and my protestations would be ignored.  Vegetables were always put on my plate and I would be expected to eat some whether I liked them or not, but by the time I reached late teen age I was eating everything put in front of me; vegetables, liver and onions, stews, casseroles, and boiled fish to name but a few.

Now I’m nearly sixty I finally get what she was trying to teach me.  I’m thankfully still mobile, and am glad she gave me the advice.  Both our granddaughters are overweight, and when we recently paid an unannounced flying visit to drop something off, both of them were sitting in front of the TV, each chomping on their own large mixing-bowl full of crisps and sweets.  We were horrified and wondered if this was a regular occurrence, but could say nothing.  The youngest granddaughter complains that her legs hurt and chafe if she walks too far.  I can see diabetes, heart disease and early-onset arthritis waiting in the wings ready to pounce in the future. Somebody ought to take those mixing bowls away… I’m sure Dot would if she could!

To add your blog to this one or to see what advice other blog-hoppers have been told, please click on the blue button below:

1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Kindle Scout Campaign – The Porn Detective | Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

Thanks OIKOS for all the shares!

Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung - Aus und über Eslarn, sowie die bayerisch-tschechische Region!


My thanks go to Amazon, who have now accepted that the second edition of my novel The Porn Detective is totally different to the original.  As the new version has never before been published, they …

Quelle: Kindle Scout Campaign – The Porn Detective | Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

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Authors for Grenfell Tower

I spent my teenage years living in an 8th floor flat on a council estate in South East London, which was razed to the ground a few years back and is now instead full of million pound ‘des res’ properties!
Anybody want to place a bid?


I’ve never liked tower blocks. I had a friend who lived on the 13th floor of what used to be called a “hard to let” block in east London. She loved the view from her balcony, and kept flowerpots tethered in five unblowoffable ways to the railings, but even stepping on to it made me feel weak at the knees. Perhaps my knees were already weak when I arrived, because I always used to walk up the stairs. The lift was creaky and claustrophobic. Supposing it got stuck? Supposing someone scary got in it with you?

Fire 3 Cuttings from the “I”, “The Guardian” and the “Evening Standard”‘ June 17th & 19th 2017

Even posh tower blocks – skyscrapers, rather, penthouses, high rise living and the other more affluent synonyms – worry me. The only time I visited New York, I was less scared sleeping on the 34th floor than I’d anticipated…

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