Sunday Stills Photography Challenge – 23rd February

Thanks to Terri Webster Schrandt for this week’s Sunday Stills Photography Challenge.  The subject today is ‘Early‘.

I thought I’d add these photos from our visit to the Bronte family parsonage, church, and surrounding areas at Haworth, Yorkshire, back in 2013.  We got there as early as we could so as to beat the queues, and were rewarded with these photos:

Behind the Bronte Parsonage

You can imagine the Bronte sisters wandering over these dales with their notebooks and pencils.

Haworth Parsonage and Churchyard

The stone reads: ‘This was the site of the gate leading to the church used by the Bronte family, and through which they were carried to their final resting place in the church.

Haworth April 2013

A steam train came along to greet us. I thought I was back in Victorian times!

Haworth April 2013

The High Street before crowds of people got there.

Haworth April 2013

On the right you can see Haworth School where Charlotte Bronte taught.

Thoughts on a Tortoise’s Alimentary Canal



Where the snow falls and the skiers ski

That’s where you’ll find my son.

He’s left us a little present behind,

A tortoise; name of Sheldon.


Sheldon eats salad and fruit,

He loves broccoli, tomato and greens,

However, my son advised

He also likes baked beans.


I stuff Sheldon full of lettuce and cress

As you would normally do,

But Sheldon has a problem…

He doesn’t seem to pooh.


Every day the straw stays dry and clean

I talk to my son on Skype

About how nothing is coming

Out of Sheldon’s exhaust pipe.


“He doesn’t go every day”,

Is the advice I am told.

But four days have passed

Since anything came out of Sheldon’s arse.


I eat some beans on toast

And give Sheldon the dregs of the tin.

Within a few hours their wizardry

Puts us out of our misery.


There on the straw is a parcel

From Sheldon, the little blighter.

Thank goodness for baked beans,

Sheldon’s now two pounds lighter!

Friday Review Share



Today it’s also the turn of Friday Review Share to support Indie authors.  Please leave a link to a great review you’ve had on Amazon or Goodreads for one of your own books.  Just a link to the review is enough and the review itself if you like, because let’s face it, if people are interested in the book it’ll be easy to seek it out!

If you haven’t yet had any reviews for your books, then you can leave a review you’ve written for an Indie book that you’ve read. 

I’ll start the ball rolling today and leave a review that ‘Peter’ had left on Goodreads for my paranormal novel ‘Partners in Time’:

At first I was a bit sceptical about this book. When looking at the cover I thought it would be more of a romance than some fine tale of horror. But I was wrong. John and Kay Finbow move into Southcombe Rectory. There he meets the ghost of Emily Cuthbertson (her bedroom is John’s study) and they even have a child together, a boy named Robbie (stunning idea!). But what about Kay? When she also got pregnant with John’s children, first Mia, then Ethan you can sense the upcoming problems here. Who will be John’s partner at the end, Emily (the ghost of the past) or his present wife? Can John overcome the ghost of Emily at the end? And what about the medium Coral? This was an entertaining, well written story with supernatural elements and a plot that kept you reading. Also the characters in the novel were quite convincing. If you’re looking for a novel focused on relationships with a ghostly touch this might be your stuff. Recommended!



Of Some Concern



I read an article on my BBC News app this morning which is concerning for us all, I think.  A chap asked that rather large company we know so well  for a Data Subject Access Request to find out how much data about him had been stored.  Granted, he has various electronic gadgets dotted about the house, for example an Alexa listening device, a Fire TV set-top box, Echo speakers, Ring cameras, and a Kindle e-reader.

He discovered the results were ‘mind-bending’.  A file contained all 31,082 interactions which had taken place via Alexa and also all the audio clips.  Another file contained all the 2,670 product searches he had carried out since he started in 2017, including separate files for which device he had been using and also his location.  A third file contained details of all 83, 657 Kindle interactions, including the time of day for each tap.    Another file documents all his reading sessions for each e-book, timing each one methodically.

It just goes to show that the company we know so well is collecting as much data as it can on us in order to target us with products we are keen to buy, and indeed to buy from them.  I think George Orwell must have had some sort of forewarning, because we’ve now found out who Big Brother is.

We think we are safe in our homes and that what we do or say is private behind closed doors.  Well, think again, because it isn’t.  One has to wonder whether anybody can see into our rooms whenever there’s a camcorder plugged into a computer that is left switched on.

We don’t have an Alexa, a  Fire TV set-top box, Echo speakers or a Ring camera, and we don’t keep camcorders plugged in if they’re not in use.  However, we’re still targeted by adverts that are uncannily accurate regarding what we would be interested in buying.  Big Brother finds a way to intrude into our homes in one way or another.

Featured image by succo from Pixabay

What a Surprise!

I was surprised to read this blog  by When Women Inspire regarding how to work in the healthcare industry but with no patient contact:

Top 3 medical jobs with no patient contact

The surprise came for me when I read that to be a medical transcriptionist you generally need to have a bachelor’s degree in medical transcription.  I assume this is for anyone working in the US, because over here in the UK I managed to rise up from being a Grade 2 ward clerk to being a Grade 3 secretarial assistant.  After 6 months of typing just clinic letters and learning the terminology I was then promoted to a Grade 4 medical secretary post without having a degree to my name.  However, there were various in-house training courses I attended, and I also passed the AMSPAR Medical Terminology exam back in 2009.

I wonder whether a degree is needed these days because so many more people now go to university than 40 years ago when I was searching for work?  If most young people now have a degree, then to some extent have degrees been devalued?  For the type of work I do, I really don’t think a degree would be necessary.  All that’s needed is to be methodical and good at spelling,  and to be able to touch type.  At a Grade 4 level you do have patient contact of a sort, as patients are constantly ringing up and you have to acquire good listening skills and a pleasant telephone voice.  Some of them (the really desperate ones) did manage to find their way to my office and were rather intimidating, but now all secretaries’ doors can only be opened via a code or by a Smart card, which is better for our safety.

I had to voluntarily drop down to a Grade 3 level again in 2017 because my voice has been damaged by extensive treatment for thyroid cancer.  I cannot keep talking on the phone all day as I would be hoarse within a very short time.   Nevertheless, I am still productive and can type about 30 – 40 clinic letters in about 5 hours (according to how long each dictation is).   I now use Google to look up any words I’m unsure of, instead of the once huge medical dictionary that I could hardly lift.

I am really surprised that you now need a degree to do my job!

I can think of a few other departments in the hospital to work in which have no patient contact.  In my hospital the ones that come to mind are Stores, Pharmacy (not front-of-house), and in the kitchens or in Medical Records.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Billie Eilish unleashes atmospheric theme song for new Bond film No Time to Die

Thanks to SparklyPrettyBriiiight for sharing Billie Eilish’s new James  Bond theme song. I quite like it, however I’m unsure whether it’s my old ears or not, but some of the words aren’t very clear and Billie seems to be mumbling just a little bit.  There… I’m sounding just like my mother!

Source: Billie Eilish unleashes atmospheric theme song for new Bond film No Time to Die

House Hunting.

We’ve begun the long process of house-hunting for a place suitable for us in our future old age, which sadly now doesn’t seem very far away. We want to downsize from the 3-bed house we now have to a 2-bed bungalow or a purpose-built retirement flat, and have picked the location of Diss – yes, the town of the unhelpful book shop owners.

You get more for your money in Diss (American buddies… it’s not as bad as it sounds!).  It has a nice high street full of shops, a lake and a park to walk around, a library, a swimming pool, 3 big supermarkets, a GP surgery, a bank, and a train station.  There’s no big motorway or hospital nearby however, and so probably that’s why Bury St. Edmunds’ prices are higher.  To drive to the hospital where I work from Diss would probably take me around 45 minutes.

On Saturday we braved Storm Dennis and visited 4 estate agents along the high street.  One made my day and told me that retirement properties were only for people aged 55 and over (we’re both 62), but all 4 stated that bungalows didn’t come on the market very often.  We said that we weren’t in a rush, and just to contact us when one did.

The reason we’re not in a rush is because we have 30 years of junk that has filled up two loft spaces, and it’s going to take ages to get rid of it all or sell it.  After our sons have climbed up there and claimed anything they want, we’ll probably have to rent a skip and pay for half our home to be carted away.  It’s heart-breaking, but to downsize of course means that only a certain amount of furniture will fit inside a smaller home.

Neither of us are very enthusiastic about moving home, but we know it’s got to be done.  We’ve seen too many of our relatives struggling up stairs and trying to cope looking after a large garden.  We want something on one level with a very small low-maintenance garden.  The one bungalow we were offered needed much work doing to it, which we weren’t keen on.  We want to move while we’re still hale and hearty enough to do it.

I wonder how long it’s going to take us to find somewhere suitable?


Open Book Blog Hop – 17th February

The topic this week is:

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

None of us are like Mr Spock from Star Trek; we all at some point or another feel anger, joy, fear, sadness,  surprise, disgust and contempt to name but a few.  It’s part of being human.  However, how these emotions are expressed on paper depends on whether or not the person doing the writing has a creative mind or whether they are just merely complying with a request as part of an Open Book Blog test.

Here are a few examples of anger suffered by a victim of car theft, ranging from somebody who has never written stories at all, to an author whose job it is to make readers feel emotions:

‘He was f*****g angry’.

‘He was angry because somebody stole his car’.

‘White hot shards of anger stabbed at his heart as he stared into the empty parking space where only hours before his Porsche had taken pride of place’.

‘A boiling rage bubbled up from his core and threatened to obliterate all reason.  Hands balled into fists as he stared at the space on his driveway, where now only tyre marks were left in the snow.  He punched the bark of a tree; it gave him little relief.’

So you see it doesn’t boil down to who does or doesn’t feel anger – we all do.  How that anger is expressed on paper depends on whether or not the writer has a creative mind.  It’s not something that everybody is born with, and those that are fortunate enough to be able to make readers feel emotions, should be very proud of their achievement!

What do other blog-hoppers think?  Click on the blue button below to find out:


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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Sunday Stills Photography – 16th February

This week on Sunday Stills, the topic is ‘For the Birds’.

I’m always out in the garden adding peanuts to the bird feeder or filling up the bird bath opposite our front room window.  The advantage to doing this is that I can take photos like the ones below, and it also benefits the birds!


Bird bath

We also get many birds’ nests in our hedges.  However, the photo below is of a baby bird that my son found in his garden which had obviously fallen out of a nest somewhere.  Sadly it didn’t survive, but he brought it into the house and did his best for it at the time.

Pathetic bird


Touching Boys

I do like Judy Dykstra-Brown’s poetry. This one conjures up cringe-making memories of when I was a shy, gawky teenager who had been to an all-girls’ school and had no brothers. When boys started showing an interest my face would blush blood red with the embarrassment of it all. Oh, those heady days of boys and young love! Little did I know they were only after one thing…

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

Touching Boys

Blushing cheeks and fluttered lashes,
cotton frocks with satin sashes.
That first dance, paired with a boy,
equal parts of fear and joy.
Sweaty palms and faltering feet.
A different style, each boy you meet.
Shyness, then––a major dose.
Terror he’ll hold you too close,
then, affronted when he doesn’t.
Wrong when he was and when he wasn’t
romantic in that pre-teen way,
as forward as that time of day
permitted, with your parents there.
Beaded foreheads, scraggly hair.
School dances never missed.
Holding hands, but never kissed.
Except one time, when cheek-to-cheek,
that butterfly kiss, furtive and meek.
Eyes met for just a moment, then,
to celebrate your mutual sin.
Oh the terrors and the joys
Of school dances and touching boys!


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