Tomorrow’s World

I thought Sam had been caught by an  April Fool’s joke last week when he told me that he read how drones are now delivering parcels.

I had to check it out on Google, and it’s true.  UPS has teamed up with Matternet, who make autonomous drones.  They’re offering a same day service transporting medical samples from a hospital in North Carolina, who want to improve patient care and create healthier communities.  The drones can carry up to 5lbs in weight, and deliver within a radius of 12.5 miles.

I can see where this is all going.  Fast forward ten or so years, and the skies are going to be black with drones all zig-zagging every which way as they deliver their payloads.  We’ll have industrial drones humming over our heads, making us duck in case they drop bags of cement or suchlike.  Frightened birds will no longer twitter and fly about when the drones take over, but hey, profits have to be made and something has to give.

Just like computers and mobile phones mushroomed and took over the world, it’s only a matter of time before a legion of entrepreneurs jump onto the drone bandwagon to make a fast buck.

You’ve no idea how irritating a drone can be when it’s buzzing about over your head.  We had one flying low over our decking last year – I wanted to shoot the bloody thing down!

What do you think about drones?  Are they going to take over from the postal /parcel delivery systems?

 

 

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Special Feature – Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events- Contributors Alienora Browning, Dorinda Duclos, Scarlett Flame,

Thanks to Sally Cronin for this promotion of ‘Understanding,’ and for shout-outs of some of the authors taking part in this insightful anthology.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the next two weeks I will be featuring the contributors to this anthology of true and significant events. Writers share intimate and life changing events in their lives with courage and honesty whilst inspiring others.

The proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Over the next week I will be posing a number of author profiles of those who have contributed and I hope that you will follow those authors and also support their work in this collection.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

In this first post…

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You Bet!

On Saturday I ventured into an establishment I don’t usually go in – a betting shop.  It was the Grand National, and Sam and I always have a little bet on the horses every year.  Sometimes I win, and sometimes, more often than not, I lose.

If I did have an addiction (which I don’t) I know it would be gambling.  My maternal grandfather was a gambler, who used to win huge amounts at dog racing, but then would lose most of it when he placed the next bet.  However, in my opinion it’s quite exciting to watch a horse race and for your horse to win.  We go to ‘Newmarket Nights’ every year in July, where for 4 summer Friday evenings there are 6 horse races to bet on and then a band plays to finish off the evening.  The first time I placed a bet at Newmarket Nights back in 2010 I won £19.80.  Sam told me to keep the money and quit while I was ahead.  I lost the lot.

In the betting shop on Saturday were two elderly women playing some kind of online Bingo.  They looked rather unkempt and down-at-heel, and it occurred to me whether they could actually afford to play in the first place.  For all I know they could have been at the top of the rich list, but by the look of them I rather think not.  Scary times when all their week’s housekeeping could have been gambled away in a couple of hours.

A neighbour divorced her husband because of his gambling.  One day he stole her life savings and blew the lot.  She marched around the streets searching for him, and from the look on her face he did well to stay out of sight for a few days.

It’s quite weird how the brain works.  Sam has an addictive nature (a few addictions successfully beaten in the past and he is now forever mindful) but he wouldn’t ever become addicted to gambling.  However, that’s the only one I could become addicted to if I ever decide not to be my usual sensible self.

Thinking about it, gambling doesn’t affect the body, only the bank account.  Sam keeps a tight hold of his finances, whereas I’ve always been a bit of a spendthrift.  I would never become addicted to anything that affects the body, as we’re only given one body and as we age and pay the price of our excesses we’re not able to get away from ourselves!  All Sam’s past addictions have affected the body, but thankfully he is still hale and hearty.

Did my horse win?  Nope.  Did Sam’s horse win?  Nope.  The only one who won was the Bookie, who was undoubtedly laughing like a drain as he locked up for the evening.  Even I know gambling is a mug’s game!

 

 

 

 

 

Tallis Steelyard on Tour

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I’m pleased to be part of Jim Webster’s blog tour today to promote two of his novellas, Tallis Steelyard, Deep Waters and Other Stories, and Tallis Steelyard, Playing the Game and Other Stories.

watergame

Here is a story from one of these novellas to whet your appetite:

A Significant Gesture,  by Jim Webster

I have in the past mentioned the ‘Society of Minor Poets’. Every year we put
on an entertainment for the elderly and the children in the Ropewalk area.
Yet whilst we might do our bit to feed these folk once a year, for some, the
rest of the year can be a hungry time. So we did think to do something about
it.

How, might you ask, can a group of poets who can barely feed themselves,
look to feeding others?

It’s a good question and frankly it’s one we struggle to answer. But we felt
that as we knew hunger so well, there was nobody else better placed to help
others cope with it. Now in our hall, (which was in better days, a dried
grape and carpet warehouse,) we have what might pass as a kitchen. No lady
would admit to having anything so basic in her home, but there is a cauldron
which hangs over a fire, and there are ovens built into the fire surround.
Indeed there is even a counter which runs down one side so that food can be
served to people who then take their plate through to the main hall to eat.
So provided we have managed to find fuel for the fire to heat the cauldron,
and have something to put in the cauldron, we can produce a meal. To be
fair, the meal is often porridge. In part this is because we have got good
contacts with some of the racing stables and livery barns and we pick up
quite a lot of grains that aren’t really good enough for feeding to
expensive horses. We long ago gave up trying to make porridge from only one
grain, and our regulars will have long discussions after they finish their
bowl as to the proportions of wheat, oats and barley.

Still we get by and when we minor artists sit and eat with our guests, it’s
not merely a nice gesture of solidarity. A good bowl full of porridge can
set a poet up nicely for a day tramping the streets trying to woo new
patrons.

In theory we would like to have sponsors to help fund our good work. Yes
people do drop in with food for us, but it is all somewhat hand to mouth.
Eventually we realised we needed real money, because the roof needed fixing.
When I say it needed fixing, what I mean was that on wet days we didn’t put
buckets out to collect the drips, we used baths. Then waste not, want not,
some of our guests would bring their own towels and have a bath before their
meal. Apparently rain water collected in such a manner isn’t as cold as you’d
think and works wonders for the complexion. Be that as it may, on some wet
mornings you’d get seven or eight of them splashing merrily whilst we put
their clothes to warm for them on racks in front of the fire.

Eventually I prevailed upon the other minor poets to let me approach
Mistress Bellin Hanchkillian. If we impressed her with the work we were
doing then she could afford to pay for the roof to be fixed. So I invited
her to come and see what we did.

She graciously announced that she’d be delighted to look around and a date
was fixed.

Now at this point people started to panic. Somebody asked me, “What if one
of our drunks insults her?”
Another person told me that they felt that she might take one look at the
hall and decide that it was beyond saving, and refuse to have anything to do
with it. Others felt we ought to do our best to make a good impression, so
she would regard us as a cause she could feel proud to support.

The week leading up to her visit was, frankly, a descent into madness.
Everything was scrubbed, the inside of the building, the kitchen utensils
(such as they were) and our clients. One elderly widower had six baths in
five days, and at one point stood naked and shivering as various ladies
frantically washed, darned and then ironed his clothes.

But it wasn’t merely a case of making our clients presentable. There were
our minor poets, the volunteers who did the work. They too were asked to
make an effort. To be fair, the ladies did. Dresses normally saved for the
greatest of occasions were brought out, let out (or occasionally tucked in)
and somehow made to fit. The gentlemen decided that they would appear in the
clothes they wore for their most demanding of patrons. In all candour, we
looked smart.

Now we minor poets are a mixed bunch. We have people who have achieved a
level of modest prosperity, and others who struggle to make ends meet. All
rub along pretty well. One lady whom we all rather liked was Mistress Darni.
An attractive young lady who tended to wear long light coloured dresses with
a high neck, she was a fine poet in her own right, and lived with her
widowed mother in genteel poverty, struggling to survive on a small
investment income. All of us assumed that at some point one of her admirers
would finally talk her into matrimony, but she appeared to be in no
particular hurry. Certainly she was a most useful source of supplies for us.
There were times when we felt that she merely had to mention that the
kitchen was short of some ingredient for half a dozen prosperous and
eligible young men to arrive carrying sacks of whatever it was we were short
of.

It was agreed that Mistress Darni would be one of those who would wait
behind the counter, apparently ready to serve people, when Mistress
Hanchkillian visited us.  Another lady who had also won the right to appear behind the counter was Nalmi Wreedle. She was, in our terms, a wealthy widow. Her husband had made his money in catgut, cornering the market in Port Naain because of his close
links with the abattoir trade. The problem was that Nalmi seemed to feel the
world looked down on her. Some of it was her own fault, she had a wonderful
gift with obscene doggerel, yet she also could write the most beautiful
romantic verses which would bring even the most cynical close to tears. The
problem was she was embarrassed by her verses but cheerfully dropped her
doggerel into every conversation.

To be honest I was a little worried about what Nalmi might say to Mistress
Hanchkillian. Not that I could imagine the lady being shocked, (I remember
her late husband) but she might feel she had to appear to be shocked. So I
asked Darni to keep an eye on her companion behind the counter and to step
in should it look as if Nalmi was about to say something too unforgivable.
Actually it was worse than I feared. In the days before the visit Nalmi was
getting herself quite worked up over the whole thing. She made comments
like, “Who does this woman think she is?” and “Why is she any better than
the rest of us?” At one point Darni overheard her muttering about, “I’ll
make a significant gesture and smear the smile off her face.”

On the great day, everybody was in their places. It was raining but not
heavily, so at least we could display the problems we had with the roof to
our advantage. Mistress Hanchkillian arrived in her coach accompanied by one
of her many nephews. She took his arm as we showed her around. We took her
into the kitchen and there she was introduced to Nalmi and Darni behind the
counter. Nalmi said nothing and I relaxed. Luckily Darni didn’t. As Mistress
Hanchkillian turned to go, Nalmi produced from under the counter a large
bowl full of flour, water, raw eggs, and some bright red food colouring.
This she raised as if to hurl at the back of our guest.

Darni didn’t hesitate; she dived at Nalmi, knocked her down onto the floor
and lay on top of her to hold her down. The bowl of mixture landed on both
of them and on the floor. Nalmi was, as you can imagine, less than happy
that her gesture had gone unnoticed. Darni ensured that this happy state
continued by clamping her hand firmly over Nalmi’s mouth. Nalmi tried
opening her mouth to shout, got a mouthful of flour, water, egg and food
colouring, and shut it again rapidly.

We managed to get Mistress Hanchkillian out of the kitchen without her
apparently noticing anything untoward, and into the main hall where she met
our clients. There she picked her way through an assortment of baths
collecting rainwater. From the hall I heard Nalmi’s voice shouting something
in the kitchen; but it was abruptly cut off again.

Finally our guest decided she’d seen all she needed to. She commented in
passing that she was impressed with what we had achieved, and had decided to
ask her estate maintenance men to come and fix our roof. There was a lot of
genuine applause and she left. I went back into the kitchen to discover two
angry women rolling on the floor in a pool of red paste, apparently trying
to strangle each other. We separated them and Nalmi stormed off. Darni
stayed as we tried to wash down the ruins of her one decent dress and then
she made her way home.

I confess I felt guilty about the incident. Darni and her mother were living
on less than a young woman like Darni might spend as a dress allowance. Alas
I couldn’t think of what to do about it. Others could. Apparently that
evening Darni heard a knock at the door, and went to see who it was. It was
one of Mistress Hanchkillian’s maids, escorted by Mistress Hanchkillian’s
nephew, who explained that her mistress insisted on having the dress
cleaned. Darni felt the dress was beyond repair but the maid merely shook
her head, took the dress and left with it.

Three days later she came back with the dress, and much to Darni’s surprise
it was perfect. It was only when she looked closely that she realised that
the maids had taken the old one apart and used it as a pattern to allow them
to make a new one. In the pocket was an invitation from the nephew to dine
with him the following evening. Darni has another admirer.

And the hard sell!

So welcome back to Port Naain. This blog tour is to celebrate the genius of
Tallis Steelyard, and to promote two novella length collections of his
tales.

So meet Tallis Steelyard, the jobbing poet from the city of Port Naain. This
great city is situated on the fringes of the Land of the Three Seas. Tallis
makes his living as a poet, living with his wife, Shena, on a barge tied to
a wharf in the Paraeba estuary. Tallis scrapes a meagre living giving poetry
readings, acting as a master of ceremonies, and helping his patrons run
their soirees.
These are his stories, the anecdotes of somebody who knows Port Naain and
its denizens like nobody else. With Tallis as a guide you’ll meet petty
criminals and criminals so wealthy they’ve become respectable. You’ll meet
musicians, dark mages, condottieri and street children. All human life is
here, and perhaps even a little more.

Firstly;-
Tallis Steelyard, Deep waters, and other stories.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07PTS3FGS

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PTS3FGS

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Discover
the damage done by the Bucolic poets, wonder at the commode of Falan
Birling, and read the tales better not told. We have squid wrestling, lady
writers, and occasions when it probably wasn’t Tallis’s fault. He even asks
the great question, who are the innocent anyway?

And then there is;-
Tallis Steelyard. Playing the game, and other stories.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07PV1N7XZ

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PV1N7XZ

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Marvel at
the delicate sensitivities of an assassin, wonder at the unexpected revolt
of Callin Dorg. Beware of the dangers of fine dining, and of a Lady in red.
Travel with Tallis as his poetical wanderings have him meandering through
the pretty villages of the north. Who but Tallis Steelyard could cheat death
by changing the rules?

If you want to see more of the stories from the Land of the Three Seas, some
of them featuring Tallis Steelyard, go to my Amazon page at

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

Tallis even has a blog of his own at https://tallissteelyard.wordpress.com/

 

 

Open Book Blog Hop – 8th April

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This week the topic is:

If you could trade lives with anyone for just one day, who would it be and why?

I’ve always been fascinated by the ability of a medium to be able to communicate with the spirit world.  I went to see a genuine clairaudient medium on Monday evening, Stephen Holbrook, who is amazingly accurate.  He proved to me yet again that there is life after death and that our spirits live on.

Just for one day I’d love to be able to step into Stephen’s shoes and hear those spirit voices from my long-dead loved ones and find out what it’s like to be psychic.  I’d get to meet Stephen’s spirit guide too, who is a WW1 soldier.  I could then try and bring back Sam’s father and grandfather to prove it all to Sam and stop him from being so resistant about the whole thing.

I saw ghosts when a child, and I’ll always remember it.  Our flat at the time was haunted by somebody who had committed suicide in my bedroom (we found this out years later when a family friend lived there), and Mum used to experience paranormal events there too.  My bed would often lift from the ground when I was in it and I’d dive under the covers and hide until it stopped, although due to my extreme youth I didn’t remember thinking anything was amiss at the time.  We moved out when I was 7, and after this the paranormal activity stopped.

Do you think there is life after death?  I know there is.  Leave me a comment or add your blog by clicking on the blue button below.

Rules:
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!

 

London Life (2)

I remember when London was better…much better. I am lucky to have lived there when I could walk to school on my own aged 7, when I could roam the streets unmolested with my friends, and when I could spend Saturdays in Chrisp Street market and enjoy the atmosphere. I passed through Chrisp Street today on the way back from my Grandmother’s grave – it ain’t my London anymore and I couldn’t wait to get home to East Anglia.

beetleypete

To continue what may be an ongoing series about London, I am reflecting on how the people there have changed over the last 50 years. Since some time around 1980, or perhaps a bit before, there are certain things that you just don’t do, if you live in London. You never talk to strangers in the street. You may ask about buses, or trains, though only if at a bus stop, or on the platform of a station, and then, only if a suitable official is unavailable to answer your query.

You should not approach children, whether they are on their own, or in groups. This applies to an age range from about 8 years old, through to late teens. Children in London are streetwise and opportunistic, whatever their background, and will cause you more problems than you can ever imagine.

 
Avoid going upstairs on a bus, unless it…

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Sunday Stills Photography Challenge

This week on Sunday Stills, the topic is:

For the love of reading and books.

Sorry about this, but as I’m an author, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to add some book cover pictures and a link to my books.  Some are humorous, others are psychological thrillers, paranormal, family sagas or suspense.  There’s even a memoir there too!

 

London Life (1)

Great post from a fellow Londoner. Whenever I go up to Westminster and walk along the Embankment, I want to cry, especially when Big Ben chimes. The East End where I grew up has changed beyond belief. I don’t go back there very often, as I’d rather keep the memories of what used to be inside my head and pretend it’s still the same.

beetleypete

Until this year, I lived almost all of my life in one or other district of London, starting in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, which were then working class districts of South-East London. Then there was a gap, when my Dad moved us to Bexley, which was then in Kent but is now a London Borough. I later moved back to Clapham, then to Wandsworth, when I married. Going up in the World, so we believed, we moved the short distance to Wimbledon, where I stayed until 1985, when I moved back to Rotherhithe, specifically the part known as Surrey Docks. This was no longer just a working class district, as the regeneration of Docklands had radically changed both the area, and the people that lived there. After many years there, I eventually found myself in Camden Town, the now fashionable area just North of London’s West End, where I stayed for…

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Streets Ahead – Street Team

Another book scheduled for promotion this coming week from my street team, Streets Ahead, is M. J Mallon’s fantasy novel ‘The Curse of Time

https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Time-Book-Bloodstone-ebook/dp/B074CDJPY9/ 

curse

Fifteen-year-old Amelina longs for someone to confide in.  Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a magical curse, crystals, art, and poetry.

 

 

Frank Prem ~ Devil in the Wind: Now available for pre-order!

Re-blogging, as Frank is part of Streets Ahead, my street team, and it’s his turn for promotion next week!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Over the past week, Australian poet, Frank Prem, has shared recordings of some of his work on this blog. You can listen to the poems by clicking here and here.

Frank’s new book, Devil in the Wind, is now available to pre-order in Paperback and as an e-book.

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people…

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