My Last Saturday Round-Up Of the Brilliant Authors #authors & Poets #poets at the Narberth Book Fair #BookFair

Titleband for Narberth Book Fair

Gathering the last of those authors and poets who joined in with the interviews to  help to show what a treat is in store at our book fair. Do please drop in to our website:   Narberth Book Fair, cleverly put together by the brilliant Thorne Moore.

There are forty authors, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults: workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children; Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire. Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

There is still time to  enter the poetry competition: competition Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

BOOKS AND READING.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter and, hopefully, will be with us at the fair), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

The line up so far:

Judith Barrow

Thorne Moore

Juliet Greenwood

Graham Watkins

Rebecca Bryn

Helen Williams

Sally Spedding

Katy Whateva

Sara Gethin

Cheryl Rees-Price

Jackie Biggs

Judith Arnopp

Colin R Parsons

Kate Murray

Hugh Roberts

Carol Lovekin

Catherine Marshall

Tracey Warr

Steve Thorpe

Wendy Steele

I must say I’ve enjoyed interviewing all the poets and authors and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. There will still be plenty of news about the book fair over the next few weeks. In the meantime, do think about entering the competition and don’t forget to put your name down for any of the workshops; numbers are limited.
Titleband for Narberth Book Fair
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My Review of Bombs and Butterflies: Over the Hill in Laos by Jo Carroll #TravelWriting #FridayReads

bombs

 

I gave this book 5*out of 5*

Book Description:

Did you know that Laos is the most bombed country in the world? If Jo Carroll had spent more time with her guidebooks and less with a physiotherapist preparing her creaking knees for squat toilets she’d have been better prepared when she crossed the Mekong in a long boat and stepped into the chaos of Huay Xai. But bombs still lie hidden in Laos’ jungles, in the rice paddies, and in the playgrounds. While young people open their doors to new ideas and possibilities, memories of war are etched on the faces of the old.
What sort of welcome would they give a western woman, wandering around with her notebook? Would they dare let her peer into their secret corners?

My Review:

 It’s a long time since I read a travel book other than looking for excerpts to use for teaching the genre in a workshop.

Reading Jo Carrol’s Bombs and Butterflies: Over the Hill in Laos made me realise what a wealth of entertainment and knowledge I’ve missed out on. And I would have carried on overlooking this gem if it hadn’t been for a fellow writer who recommended this author’s work to me.

 And what a gem!

 Laos is perhaps a place I will never visit but I now have at least an insight to this country still  afflicted by the devastation of war; the people traumatised, often with permanent life-changing injuries. And yet one of the main threads interwoven in the narrative is the kind courtesy that the author experiences from the Laotians. Alongside the often humorous accounts of her fellow back packers, this is a truly personal, empathetic and compassionate account of the people of Laos as much as of the magnificence and breath-taking ambience of the places Jo Carroll travels through.

 I loved one excerpt, one example of this, that made me smile; the way, in one place where Jo Carroll stayed, that she was exclaimed over and admired just because she was a mature woman of a certain age. And the way the teenage girl in the family carefully escorted her up and down the ladder to the room she stayed in – and even to the family outside WC. 

The author’s descriptions, so full of evocative imagery yet so personal, made me feel as though I was walking alongside her. There are many  contrasting scenes. The visit to the COPE centre where prosthetic limbs are made for those so injured during and in the aftermath of the “horrors of the Khmer Rouge”, together with, the descriptions of the museum. The uncomfortable way she watches a film of the almost casual, yet breath-holding, defusing of an unexploded bomb and the faces of the people in the village, “…lined with dread, with the memory of blood and screaming and the fear of dying.”

 She cries; she’s not the only one;  I cry as  I read of her ” misplaced Western guilt”, her “…collusion with the silence that went with this war” and the naive belief I’d also long ago held of “President Nixon’s assurances that the USA guaranteed Laos’ neutrality”, even as the country was bombed.

 That excerpt contrasts with joyful and wonderful descriptions: of the river in Nong Khiaw from her hammock in a wooden bungalow (one of the places the author stayed in away from a group she travelled with at one point). She watches the man peacefully net fishing in the river, the banks richly green ; the swarms of tiny white butterflies. And later she writes of the riotous colours and chaos of markets, of jumbles of fruit, jewellery, spices. throughout this book there is always the evocative use of all her senses. Great stuff!! 

This is a very individual account of travel writing. And it drew me in; I felt her struggle with having to come to term with so much as she travelled around; tourists having their photos taken with what i presumed were drugged tigers. Elephants giving rides to entertain the visitors (this brought back a memory of a ride I had in a zoo as a child; I hadn’t thought of this for years and it brought back an uncomfortable feeling for my lack of understanding at the time – how things have changed in this country… or have they?)  In Laos Jo Carroll battles with her conscience even while knowing the people nee to make a living to exist.

I could go on and on. This is an easy read that transported me to Laos. It won’t be the last I read of Jo Carroll’s travels. 

 I can’t recommend Bombs and Butterflies: Over the Hill in Laos highly enough.

Links to buy:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2tsIJqE

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2gMkyxJ

The Question asks; “Are You a ProActive and Optimistic Senior” Hmmm… #MondayBlogs

oapschat

Well, I thought about this… a lot! Yes, I think, mostly, I’m optimistic. And sometimes, I’m even proactive. It was the ‘senior ‘ that I needed to think long and hard about. What constitutes a’senior’ You see, for years I’ve always thought some people were quite senior; at least to me. Until I realised I’d caught up with them. I was fifty-nine for quite some time. Then I moved up to sixty-two.  I’ve been sixty-two for a bit as well.

 So I thought I would investigate this group. And, oh, had I underestimated my peers. The members of  www.OAPSchat.co.uk are, as founder of the site Janice Rosser says: “… looking at the website from far and wide.” Ever courteous  she welcomes visitors to  the site  from countries as far away and diverse as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Canada, India, Venezuela, Irish Republic, Spain, France, China, Japan, Greece, Mexico, The Bahamas, Indonesia and Switzerland and cheerfully says, ” a BIG hello from the UK to you all and thank you for visiting. I hope you are enjoying the huge and varied content that is here.”

 I bet they are, as well. This is a place where the over 55s can share  news from all over the UK: local and holiday news (there’s a lovely piece written by Juliet Greenwood:  on visiting:  Portmeirion  in North Wales ), and I was recently chuffed to see a piece of my own from last year again on, Ciovo, Croatia . There are topical issues ( Top 5 UK Airports To Fly From), financial and health advice. On a personal level members can promote their talents, chat and share their interests and hobbies, giving encouragement to others to join in with their hobbies.  I was particularly interested in Chris Lovell’s piece about launching  her small boat, the Blue Nun, from Neyland in Pembrokeshire  as that’s local news for me, as well as learning about a hobby. And then there’s Tracy Burton talking about how it’s Never Too Old To Backpack! ; quite a consoling thought as I struggle along the narrow rugged Pembrokeshire  coastal path sometimes!

Portmeirion1smallCroatia JB

Portmerion                                                                     Ciovo

As you can see I’ve picked out the items that are of particular interest to me  but there are similar and constantly changing  items from all over the UK and abroad that will be of interest to many. The OAPSchat  net is spread far and wide. 

Members also give an insight to their lifestyles, share memoirs and occasions. I loved the story  written by Georgia Hill, In Remembrance – and a Mystery

Most importantly for me, when I first came across OAPSchat were the books I saw to buy there. And there is often a wealth of talent to be found. For instance, in the present issue,  Jane Lovering is being interviewed with her book: Can’t Buy Me Love  Margaret James discusses her new book; Girl in Red Velvet and Sheryl Brown, one of my favourite authors,is talking about her latest book, Learning to Love

Then there is the scope for authors to promote their own work! When I first explored the site; after I’d looked at all the different topics, read articles, noted places I’d liked to visit (one day) I saw Advertise with OAPSchat … yes I do know I’m a bit slow sometimes!! I realised that all the books on the left hand side bar of the site were advertisements/promotions of books placed by the authors. Would Janice take mine? Of course! Rates are so reasonable. More importantly the readers are there; ready and waiting; people who have so many interests must have so many preferences for genres. Some one might like mine. And they did! I had great sales.

So, for me, OAPSchat  has given me so much: new friends, new interests, new ideas, new readers. Do I mind being a ‘senior’?  Well no… as long as I’m also mostly “optimistic”. And sometimes, even “proactive”. I can cope with being sixty-two… for a few more years!

For more information on OAPSchat  check out About Us

janice

Of course I couldn’t finish without giving Janice a little space (well, she is the founder) The floor is yours, Janice.

Thanks Judith.

OAPSchat was born in April 2013 as a Facebook page. It was in November 2013 that I decided I had enough material and confidence to launch the website.

Since that day, I have been writing articles on all kinds of topics, ranging from hobbies, holidays, food and drink, memories, families, finance and much much more. I now have over one hundred and thirty seven wonderful contributors to date and articles on all different subjects are posted on a daily basis. Over 1400 articles can be read now! Members can comment via disqus, FB and Twitter.

Raffles are held monthly, sometimes more often. A newsletter goes out once a month with my plans for the coming weeks. I am an Independent Happy List Winner 2014 for founding the website.

janice cheers

   Janice celebrating at the ceremomies

Loneliness is a big scourge on our society worldwide and the website helps combat this awful isolation by coming together and sharing our thoughts and ideas. OAPSchat is well and truly born now and I hope it will continue to thrive. With your support, I’m confident it will!

OAPSchat FaceBook Link: http://bit.ly/2vnZYGh

omline hit oapschatoapschatposter

 

 

Under Slag Tips: A Collection of Short Stories by Wybert Bendall

 

wybert

The Blurb:

Stories of the colourful characters that surrounded me while growing up in Aberfan; a mining village in a South Wales Valley. A social history of a time when the only vehicles in the street were horse drawn carts. Stories filled with affection and humour. For each download £1.00 will be donated to Cancer Research.

My Review:

I have to admit right away that I personally know this author and that I have read many of his stories in the past. And have also enjoyed listening to him read them.

 This is poetic prose at its best, I think. Filled with extraordinary characters living lives we can now only imagine, evocative descriptions and a great sense of place, each story stands alone. Yet  they are connected by the village of  Aberfan, where the author grew up. Set at a time when coal mining was as strong in the Valleys as the people who lived there, each of these tales bring many emotions with them.

 The cover, a black and white photograph, is a true depiction of the place and time, says it all; from the terraced houses to the enormous coal slag heaps looming over Aberfan. A poignant image, bearing in mind  the tragedy that happens to this village decades later 

 But these stories give no hint of that. These are stories of great humour, poignancy and the joy of childhood freedom,  long since lost to the children of today.

I particularly liked the story that carries the title of the anthology, Under Slag Tips. Written somewhat in the style of Dylan Thomas but (I need to whisper here…) much more enjoyable to read, each phrase evokes an image. Whether of a character, a scene, an event or just a stroll through the streets and countryside, the reader is carried along with the author.

And, a nice surprise, there are even a couple of narrative poems.

This book is for anyone who likes rich imaginative prose transported into wonderful vignettes. Or is curious about the history of  past life in the Welsh Valleys. Or just enjoys short stories.

It’s a shame that the formatting between the stories needs attention but this didn’t detract too much from my reading.In the end, for me, it’s the contents, the wealth of detail and the pure pleassure of rolling a lot of the phrases over and over in my mind.

I thoroughly recommend this collection of tales.

And, as it says in the Blurb, for each sale, a £1 will go to Cancer Research. 

I reviewed this book on Amazon as part of #AugustReviews

Buy Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://bit.ly/2bbnJqZ

Presenting the Authors at the Tenby Book Fair 24th September 2016

TenbybeachB

Over the last few weeks I’ve been introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl 

 I’m almost finished interviewing them all now.

In the next few weeks I’ll be showcasing the three publishers who will be with us: http://honno.co.uk/, http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/ and http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/

And I’ll be sharing a post from the brilliant http://showboat.tv/ Who always video and share our Tenby Book Fair.

So far here are the wonderful authors. Please feel free to check them and their great books out: Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO , Julie McGowan:http://bit.ly/29CHNa9 , John Nicholl: http://bit.ly/29NtdtX  ,Tony Riches:  http://bit.ly/29y3a8k:  ,Wendy White: http://bit.ly/29TMCpY  ,Angela Fish:http://bit.ly/2a5qY2U  David Thorpe: http://bit.ly/2a9uG0V . , and Eloise William: http://bit.ly/2aoZk1k And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq 

Panorama

 I would also like to say,Thanks, Thank You, Message, Grateful

to everyone who has shared our interviews so far and spread the word. 

And don’t forget, there is still time to write a masterpiece for our short story competitions:

 http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/p/competitions.html

And for all our visitors, here’s how to find us:

 http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/p/where-to-find-us.html

showboat vsmall (1)

TAF vs

The Aftermath of the Floods – a Look at One Community

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about a bookshop badly affected by the recent floods: http://bit.ly/1nrGltk And so many of your kindly shared the blog; some of you even donated your own books to the bookshop. And I’ll keep you informed about the situation of http://www.bookcase.co.uk/.

The floods affected many areas, many lives, many business. But then I began to wonder about communities as a whole; the way that communities  have met over the years; the buildings they gathered in,the relationships formed through common interests. At first I cast around, looking at churches, village halls, sports clubs. It was the latter that I settled on, mainly because there is a sports club at the centre of our village, and at the hub of a lot of the villages around us. But here in Pembrokeshire, as I’ve said before, we were lucky; few places were affected, none badly.

So I turned to the North of England again and asked a friend who has family that belongs to Sowerby Cricket Club  I was able to obtain some photographs. I’ll let them mostly speak for themselves.

Happier times: Winning the Crossley Shield and the future teams of the club

cricket club 8presenting the Crossing Shield
cricket club 1the teamthe next generation

 

After the floods:  

cricket club 6cricket club1

The destruction was devastating. But the way the club members came together to repair something dear to their hearts, is a remarkable story that must be going on in villages and towns all over Britain after the dreadful weather we had in December and earlier this month.

cricket club pitch after the floods

cricket club3

cricket club 9

cricket club 4

 

As my friend said it looked more like a scene from Silent Witness!

 

Embedded image permalinkEmbedded image permalinkEmbedded image permalinkEmbedded image permalinkclearing the mud

Each barrow-load, each rake-full taking rubbish away helps.

I discovered that, not only did this community physically pull together to restore the club. They also formed an action group to raise funds to cover the massive cost of restoration.

I think this is a tale of great optimism – and I couldn’t resist sharing.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sowerby-Bridge-Cricket-Club/406073226111295?fref=tshttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Sowerby-Bridge-Cricket-Club/406073226111295?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/sowerbybridgecchttps://twitter.com/sowerbybridgecc

https://localgiving.com/fundraising/sammellorsbccfloodshttps://localgiving.com/fundraising/sammellorsbccfloods