Book Review: Have Bags, Will Travel: Trips and Tales — Memoirs of an Over-Packer by D.G. Kaye #reviews #travel #memoir

Toni Pike

It was my pleasure recently to read Have Bags, Will Travel – a delightfully funny travel memoir by D.G. Kaye that is filled with tips and advice. It’s the perfect travel book for those who enjoy shopping, always have too much luggage and look back on the way travel used to be with a sense of nostalgia.

View original post 1,111 more words

What happens when you elect a pony as your mayor

Well!!! There we are!!

Notes from the U.K.

Cockington, a village in Devon, has elected a shetland pony as its mayor. 

The pony’s name is Patrick, he’s four years old, he works as a therapy animal in hospitals and schools, and at some point after the pandemic started his person brought him to the local pub to help people who were struggling with–well, whatever the pandemic had them struggling with in the pub. 

As a logical outcome of all that, when the previous mayor–a human–died in 2019, 200 people signed a petition supporting Patrick’s candidacy on the grounds that he was “non judgemental and genuinely caring and supportive to all.”

His person–who doubled as his campaign manager–wrote the petition. 

Irrelevant photo: a sunflower–our neighbor’s.

Disappointingly (especially in view of my  misleading headline), the best the village could do was to make him the unofficial mayor, but he did have a very official-seeming ceremony and his own…

View original post 1,082 more words

Dawn and Immanence

Thorne Moore

These are pictures of a hay meadow taken on my morning walk, leading up to 7am. Since I am a set-on-auto/point/click sort of photographer, they do make the land look rather dark, which it wasn’t, of course, because it was light long before the sun peeked over the horizon.

Slightly more obvious that it’s light when I’m not pointing directly at the sun.

Theoretically this was period of twilight or dusk leading up to sunrise. The same terms applied to the period after sunset. But twilight always suggests a dimness, light fading, or just growing, and that only applies to the very start or end of the period when the sun is out of sight but its light is there, but colours are bleached out. Twilight should be confined to that really awkward period when really stupid drivers in grey or dusty cars think they can still see well enough…

View original post 83 more words

My Review of Her Nanny’s Secret: A compelling story of love, loss and self-discovery by Jan Baynham #familystory #romance #WW2 #RNA

I gave

Book Description:

How far would you go to save the person you loved the most?
It’s 1941, and Annie Beynon has just become the first stable girl for the most powerful family in her Welsh village. Whilst her gift for working with horses is clear, there are some who are willing to make her life very difficult on the Pryce estate, simply for being a girl.
There are other – secret – ways Annie is defying conventions, too. As the war rages, and when Edmund, the heir to the Pryce fortune, leaves to join the RAF, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s secret is exposed. That is, until she makes a shocking decision.
It’s 1963 before Annie is able to face up to the secret she chose to keep over twenty years before. Justifying that decision takes her to Normandy in France, and an outcome she could never have expected …

My Review:

Having already read and reviewed Jan Baynham’s Her Mother’s Secret, I looked forward to reading Her Nanny’s Secret. I wasn’t disappointed

My Review:

Having already read and reviewed Jan Baynham’s Her Mother’s Secret, I looked forward to reading Her Nanny’s Secret. I wasn’t disappointed

I really like this author’s writing style, easy to read yet with a depth of narrative that draws the reader immediately into the lives of the characters and their story.

All the characters are rounded and multi-layered, and add much to the plot, but this is definitely the protagonist, Annie Beynon’s story. She is portrayed as a strong-willed and determined young woman, unconventional for her time, yet, like many during those years, she falls prey to her emotions and needs to live with the consequences. Her journey through life from the Second World War and into the 1960s is consistent with her character throughout every circumstance, every decision made.

The  privations of the era, the social divisions of the time are shown through each character’s dialogue which strengthens their personalities. I particularly liked the differences in the syntax of sentences and shown accents that highlights their social and class standing.

This is also portrayed through the evocative descriptions of the various settings and lifestyles. There is no doubt that the author has thoroughly researched the decades that Her Nanny’s Secret is set against.

There are various themes that run throughout the book: The main theme of secrets is threaded around strong elements of romance and familial love, and, crafted around those, are themes of life’s hardships, loyalty, duty, jealousy and  rivalry.

I try not to give spoilers in my reviews, but I hope the above gives a flavour of Her Nanny’s Secret. This is a well-balanced, evenly paced and well written novel and one I have no hesitation in recommending to any reader who loves romance, but also enjoys a family story.

Jan’s other book:Her Sister’s Secret: The Summer of ’66, is patiently waiting on my TBR pile

The Author:

Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband.

After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction. From then on, she was hooked! Fascinated by family secrets and ‘skeletons lurking in cupboards’, Jan’s dual narrative novels explore how decisions and actions made by family members from one generation impact on the lives of the next. Setting plays an important part in Jan’s stories and as well as her native mid-Wales, there is always a contrasting location – Greece, Sicily and northern France

To find out more about Jan, she may be contacted on:

Twitter – @JanBaynham

Facebook – Jan Baynham Writer

Blog –

Places in our Memories #MondayBlogs #Memories

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

Copyright: @TalkSaddleworth

This is one of my memories; the street I lived in until the age of five.

It was a narrow street with only ten small, terraced houses. Built in stone,  the front exteriors were identical: a door with a window on the left and two bedroom windows above. The differences were made by the individual choices of each household. Perhaps I should really say, the choices made by the women. Each house had different net curtains at the downstairs window, white or cream; a variety of patterns. It seemed like every other Monday the washing lines on the common land at the back of the houses were filled with row upon row of lace-like material. And every Saturday morning my mum cleaned the front step with a white donkey-stone, bought from the rag and bone man in exchange for any old clothes that were past wearing. Rubbing the sandstone in long sweeps over the step she would smooth it out with a cloth until it was evenly covered.She was always in a good mood if she was the first on the street to have a Saturday “tidy front step”.

The street was cobbled. In summer when the weather was hot the tar between the cobbles melted, very tempting for small fingers. We would poke the tar with sticks and often get some on our hands, or clothes. I’m not sure how my mother removed it from my fingers, but I do remember getting into trouble about that.  Being too narrow for cars, we were able to play on the road: hopscotch, skipping games, football (the dads would sometimes join in), cricket (being the smallest I was only ever allowed to field, not always successfully, I might add; the street sloped downwards, the ball often only came to rest on the patch of land at the end of the street).

We stayed out from first thing in the morning until dark, given half a chance. I remember eating whatever ‘butty’ I was given for lunch (dinner) sitting on the front doorstep.

Copyright @LiverpoolEchoe

The patch of land I mentioned, was called ‘the croft’ for some reason. It was  where we had the communal bonfire each year. The men collected old boxes, planks and pallets, broke up old furniture and built the bonfire. Some older boys would guard it to prevent anyone from the other streets stealing anything; there was great rivalry with the bonfires. On the night our mothers produced potato pies, black peas, treacle toffee. Some people threw potatoes onto the fire to cook – which they more often than not, didn’t, but no one admitted the hot, blackened potatoes were raw inside.  There was always lots of fireworks (always the dads in charge): Rockets, Catherine Wheels, Rip-Raps, Bangers. We were allowed Sparklers to write our names in the dark skies. I don’t remember it ever raining on Bonfire Night, though, being in the North of England, I suppose it must have.

 With no bathroom in the house  the lavatory was in a row of three small buildings. A cinder path crossed the common land to get to them. Stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly draughty in the winter, my mum fought a war against germs inside our loo, it always smelled of Jeyes Fluid. The brick walls were whitewashed which sometimes formed bubbles and broke up into powdery flakes that floated down onto the stone flags. With no window, and a door that fitted tightly when latched, it was pitch-black in there.  I always stretched my leg out to hold the door back against the wall; I was more scared of the dark than being seen by anyone who passed. And, anyway, over the roofs of the houses in the next street I could see fields and the dark purple of the moors; somewhere that seemed a magical place.

Bath night was Sunday night. With no bathroom in the house, we used a large tin bath that was usually hung on a large nail outside the back door. Hauled in front of the kitchen fire the bath was filled with pan after pan of hot water heated by the wall cylinder.

In winter the only warm room was the kitchen. Bedtime was a dash from there, up icy-cold stairs into the bedroom, tightly clutching my hot water bottle. If my father wasn’t home, my mother, oblivious to any thoughts of Health and Safety, carried a shovelful of fire, burning coals from the kitchen fireplace, to the fireplace in my bedroom, in order to take the chill off the room. It rarely did, but I loved watching the flickering shadows from the low flames on the walls and ceiling. Often, by morning, my clothes, laid out on the chair at the end of my bed, in readiness to jump into, would be stiff with cold, and the inside of the windows were covered in intricate patterns on the panes, icy kaleidoscopes of snowflakes that melted when I held my hand on the glass.

I suppose we were poor, but where we lived and at that time we were the norm. I can’t remember feeling any different from anyone else. But I guess, at five, I was oblivious to the larger picture of our family, days were times of play, and the novelty of the small school I attended. It’s only looking back that I realise how quickly I took for granted our next house with a bathroom, electric heaters in all the rooms, and a garden to play in. Oh, and an inside lavatory!

Best of all, I was within walking distance of the fields and the moors, and as I  got older the moors became a somewhere to roam, to escape to, with my dog..

Copyright @David Barrow
Copyright @David barrow

Next week: Places in our Memories #MondayBlogs #Memories with Thorne Moore

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Flash #Life Pamela S. Wight, #Thriller Simon Van der Velde

Sally’s Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is a delightful reflection on life that I can recommened Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinaryby Pamela S. Wight

About the collection.

Wow! Life goes by in a flash.

Philosophers and mystics ponder the mystery of these flashes. Pamela Wight writes about life flashes in her short stories that include family and friends, love and life’s challenges. Wight’s “Flash Memoir” promotes the belief that we all share sparks of the extraordinary that occur in our everyday life. Each short story is true and brings a smile of recognition to her readers: that life transports and enthralls us in all its confusing, amusing, challenging, and astonishing ways. Each story is light-hearted and short – like…

View original post 1,279 more words

Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – August 6th 2022 – #Interview Marcia Meara and D.G. Kaye, #Bookreviewing Robbie Cheadle, Jacqui Murray, Alison Williams, #Fear Cheryl Oreglia

Sally’s Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – August 6th 2022

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

A small selection of posts I have enjoyed this week and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.. thanks Sally.

Debby Gies is the guest of Marcia Mearaand her series Ten Things You May Not Know About Me… being Debby you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be plenty of interesting things to discover and always a few surprises.

Head over to discover things you might not have known about D.G. Kaye:Top Ten Things You May Not Know About Debby Gies

Jacqui Murray shares her reviews for two interesting sounding books, Spirit of the Shell Man by Chris Hall and 5 Mystic Keys by Grace Allison Blair...

Head over to read the reviews for Jacqui’s recommended books: Good Indies you’ll like

You are in a strange country, driving to the airport and you get diverted and then lost in the…

View original post 182 more words

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up July 25th – 31st July 2022 – Hits 2000, Nina Simone, Waterford, History, Podcast, Book Reviews, Summer Bookfair, Health and Humour

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of post this week you might have missed on Smorgasbord.

I hope that you have had a good week.  I know some of you are on holiday either at home or abroad and enjoying different surroundings. Hopefully not too long in the airport and reunited with your luggage. The UK is definitely in a mess in that regard and the strikes don’t help. Whilst it certainly gets the attention of the media, it seems that the only people who suffer are those ordinary citizens trying to get to work or take their families on well earned breaks. I am all for fair wages for a days work, but when a train driver is earning almost three times more than a nurse and considerably more than a fireman, it does seem a little aggresive. Whilst the leadership of the UK is in flux I suppose it…

View original post 713 more words


Love this poetry!

Patricia M Osborne

I’m delighted and proud to announce the launch of Symbiosis, a conversational poetry pamphlet, published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. Symbiosis was a winning entry last year in Hedgehog Poetry’s conversational pamphlet competition. It has been on pre order so there aren’t many limited edition copies left. If you’d like a copy then grab one quickly via my website shop (link below) and scroll down.
Readers are loving it. Why not give it a go? It not only makes for a great read but a perfect gift or keepsake.

Order your copy now HERE

Spirit Mother: Experience the Myth is available to pre order – release date August 6th 2022

View original post

When Power is in the Wrong Hands

Connecting Empathic Helpers & Artists to Spirit

Power is an influential tool, but in the wrong hands it can cause damage and destruction. Some people who seek out powerful positions, only wish to exploit others. We all have examples of how people have used their power to cause harm. These people can be found in any level of society and in any occupation. Some well known abuses of power occur in politics, medical, religion, military and the police. Many of my clients, would say their own families have been the biggest source of a misuse of power.

Who are the power seekers?

In the mental health world, we see that certain mental disorders seek power. Two such personalities are narcissistic and sociopathic. The problem is that these are the exact people who resist treatment. Often they show up in the therapy office because they are court mandated or someone has told them to come (a family member)…

View original post 566 more words

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Family #Writing by Judith Barrow

Thrilled to be on Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Judith Barrow returns to her teenage years and the restrictions that at the time stifled her desire to write and to teach, both of which she now embraces wholeheartedly.

‘If only I’d known then what I know now’ by Judith Barrow

If I’d known in my childhood that I could trust someone to help, I would have spoken out about the violent arguments, the troubles at home – but I didn’t. I kept quiet; I thought it was the best thing…

View original post 1,332 more words

Pants and Plots – Thorne Moore

Crime Cymru

In this weeks blog Crime Cymru’s Thorne Moore answers one of the regular questions authors have to field. Needless to say we all have a different spin on the answer – sounds confusing? – read on……

Pants and Plots

It’s a question that authors always get asked. Are you a pantser or a plotter? For the first few times I was asked, I could only gape like a fish out of water because I had no idea what it meant. It’s one of those terms, like WIP, that were a mystery to me when I first got to know other writers. Why were they all obsessed with having whips? Was a pantser anything like a planter? Or even better, a panther?

I’ve got it figured now. Plotter or pantser. Is your book planned like a military operation, every chapter defined, every character filed with full biography, every detail plotted in…

View original post 471 more words