Review of ‘If Symptoms Persist’, by Dr Theodore Dalrymple


Dr Theodore Dalrymple is a very witty man, averse to committees, legal jargon, social workers, prisoners, and tattoos.  To earn his living he meters out advice and prescriptions in inner-city London to Britain’s uneducated and tattooed underclass, of which he has a healthy disdain for.   This blackly humorous book could be viewed by some as depressing, but in my opinion it shouldn’t be read in public because it could cause sudden outbursts of laughter, the kind that makes you the unwelcome object of attention on a train for instance.

This doctor is rather world-weary.  He’s seen it all and nothing surprises him.  Here’s a little taster from Amazon:

“One day a man came to consult me.
He was extremely large – what failed dieters call ‘big-boned’ – and very fat. He lost no time in telling me he was diabetic.
‘Do you smoke?’ I asked.
‘Like a chimney,’ he replied.
He was completely unrepentant, so refreshingly different from all those snivelling wheedlers with hangdog expressions who give you a long story about how they nearly gave up but then their budgerigar died. I got the picture at once.
‘And of course, you drink like a fish,’ I said.
‘Like a fish,’ he replied.
‘Dieting is out of the question?’ I continued, with mounting admiration.
‘Completely, I love butter and cream, and meat with fat on it, and rich sauces.’
‘Well,’ I said, ‘I’m sure you know the risks better than I, so I’m not going to lecture you. But if you invite me to dinner, I shall come.’

5 stars from me, and thoroughly recommended for those who enjoy darkly humorous books.  These stories are true too, which in my opinion makes it even better!


A Rather Unattractive Man



I felt a blog coming on when I read a news item today about a bestselling French author and film director, who is 50 years old.  This man told Marie Claire magazine that he could never love a woman aged 50 or over, because he prefers the bodies of younger women aged around 25.  He states that the body of a 25 year old woman is ‘extraordinary’, and the body of a 50 year old is ‘not extraordinary’ and regards them as invisible.

I looked him up on Google.  Rather unsurprisingly he does not seem to be married.  I assume that working in the film industry where the young and beautiful pout and prance about obviously seems to have warped his mind.

In my opinion this man’s statements say a lot about his personality.  It says that he views women as air-heads and sex objects or arm/eye candy to be used just for his personal gratification and then discarded when their youth has passed.  He obviously has no interest in probing the mature minds of middle-aged women who have gained much wisdom through life experiences.  He assumes that all women aged 50 or over are unattractive because they are post-menopausal or have let themselves go.

This also made me wonder… what do younger women think about middle-aged men of 50 and over?  Have 50 year old men let themselves go?  I would say that yes, some have, but others look after themselves and remain attractive.  You cannot tar every 50 year old with the same brush.

Would a 25 year old woman want to date an ordinary 50 year old man who is not a bestselling author and film director?  Yes of course, just as sometimes younger men want to date older women, because they see them not as bodies to be ogled, but people in their own right with opinions to be respected.

I like a lot of 50 year old men – just not him!  To me he is very unattractive, and I’m not just talking about his body here…



Review of 2 Inspirational Films

Just as I like to read true stories, I also enjoy watching films about events that have actually happened.  Yesterday I watched such a film – ‘Edie.  Edie was filmed in 2016 and starred the then 83 year old Sheila Hancock, who played the inspirational Edith Moore, a lady who tackled the hardest mountain to climb in Scotland (731 metres)  – Mount Suilven, when she was 83 years old.

Edie, a recent widow, had spent years caring for her controlling husband George, and to relieve her humdrum life she often harked back to climbing adventures she’d had with her father.  After Edie’s daughter began to make care home investigations, Edie decided to have one last fling and climb Mount Suilven as a tribute to her father.

It’s a truly inspirational film, and Edie is a very determined lady.  However, she needs help with equipment and finding a route.  Help comes in the form of a young local, Jonny.  Their relationship gets off on the wrong foot at first, and he is sure that Edie is too old to make the climb.  When he sees how determined Edie is to climb the mountain, his opinion of her as a silly old woman begins to change.

Edie does try to climb the mountain, and in attempting such an ordeal finds out just how much she can endure.  To find out if she succeeds, you’ll have to watch the film!

Sheila Hancock gained my admiration too, as filming must have been a very physical effort for her.


The other inspirational film I watched over the weekend was ‘Adrift’, another true story of the resilience of the human spirit.  True life sailors Tami Oldham (played by Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (played by Sam Claiflin) take on the paid job of sailing a friend’s boat back to the USA, but on the way the boat is  damaged beyond repair by a hurricane.  In the aftermath of the storm, Tami and Richard are badly injured, and the boat is adrift without communication in open seas that have no shipping lanes.

Forty one days later the boat is still adrift.  Stocks of food and water have almost run out, and survival is now the name of the game.  However,  there is one hell of a surprise ending that I really didn’t see coming.

Both films kept my interest throughout.   The human spirit is really quite remarkable!



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You 2019

Thanks to Sally Cronin at Smorgasbord for her Sunday Interview slot – this time of Robbie Cheadle. Robbie, it would be great to meet up if you ever came to the UK!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You 2019

The return of the Sunday interview is about to start next week with three guests already lined up for January. I hope that you will accept my invitation to participate in the this year’s interviews.

As writers we tend to share aspects of our work in interviews, such as our blog posts, books and characters, and that is very important. However, sometimes we don’t get to share some of the other aspects of our personalities.

In last year’s Getting to Know You interviews we found out some different and very interesting facts about authors and bloggers that we bump into every day here and on social media. It was a lot of fun..

**If you would like to participate again.. no problem… just answer five different questions from your first interview.

There are over 50 questions to choose from…

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Making Our Mark

It was interesting to watch a documentary by the comedian Sir Billy Connolly, who stated that he does not fear death.  He laughs a lot despite having to cope with Parkinson’s disease and a degenerative brain condition, and considers old age (he is 75) as an adventure which will prepare him for the spirit world.

He feels his life is slipping away, but he’s not frightened.  Instead he finds it ‘interesting’ to witness his decline and to how bits of him and his talents are slowly disappearing.

“It’s as if I’m being prepared for something, some other adventure, which is over the hill. I’ve got all this stuff to lose first, and then I’ll be at the shadowy side of the hill doing the next episode in the spirit world.”

What a wonderful way to look at old age and its declining faculties!  Sir Billy is also grateful for having ‘made his mark’ in life with his creative talents, and states that this achievement is a great companion in his old age.

Yes, it must be very satisfying to know you have ‘made your mark’ in life, so to speak.  It occurred to me that we authors are also trying to do exactly the same thing, but with books instead of comic genius.  Unfortunately there are many more authors than comedians, and so to gain literary recognition is a somewhat longer process for us, if it happens at all in our lifetime.  Sir Billy has the luck to be both a comedian and a traditionally published author, and so…yes… he has certainly made his mark and should be proud of his efforts.

So… my question for writers is this:  Do you as a self-published author feel you have still ‘made your mark’ even if you never find an agent or that big publishing deal?  

I for one think that yes, I have still made a small stamp on the world with my books.  They’re out there in the world, people on the whole get pleasure from reading them, and although I may not sell as many as Sir Billy, people do buy them.

And what of those who do not have creative talents?  How do they make their mark?  With some it might be satisfying to know that their children will live on and remember them.  Others may possess sporting talents or be a mathematical wizard for instance.  Whatever the speciality, we generally like to know that our lives have been worth something and that we will not be forgotten.

Creating an Audiobook Using ACX – My Experience – Part 1 of 3

Useful info from Don Massenzio on using ACX for the creation of audiobooks. I have several audiobooks which are with the royalty share option, so I did not pay anything for their production. I also placed a sample of my manuscript online for audition, and on average had to wait about 2 -3 weeks before somebody read it.

Author Don Massenzio

Audio books concept. Vintage books and headphones.

In a recent post, I described the process for striking out on your own and recording an audiobook. As I mentioned in that post (found here), I originally went down this post and didn’t like my result because of the quality of my voice.

The route that I took instead, was to use a professional voice actor and create my audiobook through ACX, Amazon’s audiobook platform.

This three part series will describe, in some detail, the process that I went through to create my first of two audiobooks. I hope you find it helpful.

Step 1 – The Platform

acx6This part of the process turned out to be a no-brainer. I was skeptical at first, however, because I had tried the exact same tactics in the past with no positive results. The overwhelming suggestion for a platform was to use ACX is another one of those content publishing companies…

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Friday Click & Run – 4th January

Sometimes when we’re busy it’s nice to simply leave a link to our blog or blog post and run, and so Friday Click and Run is just for that purpose. However, of course you can check out others’ links and share away if you want to. So… every Friday do add some info of what your blog is about and also link to your blog or blog post in the comments if you’ve got a minute. You don’t have to do anything else such as sharing or commenting unless you really want to. Isn’t that cool? People may decide to check your link out, or they may not. They might decide to leave their own link and run as well, so you may meet each other heading out the door. If I see a post that’s a bit risqué, then I shall be running too – straight to the ‘delete’ button!

Fire away then… let’s see what we end up with. This blog will run until next Friday.

Thanks to the 7 authors who left links to their blogs last time.

Votes Needed Please!

This is just to ask for some votes please.

The new cover of my book ‘Lily: A Short Story’ has been selected for the All Author Cover Contest for January 2019.  Please could you vote for it by clicking on the link here.  Thank you!

Update 3/1 19  

Just adding my thanks for the awesome support I’ve had so far!




Open Book Blog Hop – Writing Goals

This week the topic is:  ‘Share your writing goals for 2019.’


I’ve read many blogs recently where New Year writing resolutions/ goals are made.  However, I wonder if that is a good thing to do?  The majority of us do not earn our living writing novels, and ‘Life’ has a habit of getting in the way and stealing valuable writing time.

Professional authors with one of the big 5 publishers generally receive large advances, which usually go hand-in-hand with needing to meet writing deadlines.  In my humble opinion it would surely be these people who would need to state their writing goals for 2019, and not the average self-published author.

Deadlines to me means … stress. What’s the point of me setting goals and stressing myself out?  That would only take all the fun out of writing, and for me the best bit is NOT having to meet deadlines!  I write when I want to.  Sometimes I don’t write a thing for weeks, and other times I’m tapping away for hours like the clappers.  Being forced to write to meet a deadline kills any creativity as far as I’m concerned.

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.

More Notes from a Small Island

We’ve been very lucky regarding the weather for our stay on the Island over the past few days. It’s been very mild, with no wind chill at all.  Therefore on Sunday we decided to explore Freshwater a bit further and find another route up to the Tennyson monument which started near Alum Bay, exactly the opposite end of High Down to where  we usually begin.

I investigated on Google, and found a postcode for a car park quite near to Alum Bay.  It seemed to us as though the walk up to the monument would be much shorter. As we drove nearer we could see that the area was full of hikers, all enjoying the mild weather.

On parking the car we could see two footpaths . I asked a local dog walker which one  led to the monument.  He replied that they both did; one was a shorter, steeper route, and the other was longer and flatter.

Sam and I both decided to have a go at the shorter, steeper route.  Oh dear, as you can see from the photo, I was glad I’d brought my hiking sticks.  It was a little bit on the slippery side, and I tried not to catastrophise about being carried down with a broken leg…


The route snaked up the side of a cliff!  Okay it only took 20 minutes or so to climb it, but my 61 year old legs were complaining by the time I sat down at the monument.  I was pleased I’d been able to do it though, and after a rest we took the long way down into Alum Bay with views like this near the Needles Old Battery:


The place was teeming with walkers!  A café at the Needles Old Battery was bursting at the seams with hikers studying maps, drinking hot chocolate, and queueing for the one loo available.

Yesterday after an excellent New Year’s Eve dinner and dance at the Appley Manor Hotel, it was time to lay plates of salt about and drain down the van again ready for its 3-month winter hibernation.  It was sad to leave, but I’m already looking forward to coming back again at the end of March complete with 8 new pairs of curtains we bought for a much reduced price in yet another closing-down sale.  All I have to do is to find some kind soul to alter them!

Happy New Year to you all.  x