Monday, 30 January 2023

What's Been on Your Calendar – January 2023?

 

Life seems to rush by … and I gather it gets faster as one gets older …


Donna's badge for her WBOYC post


Donna with her blogging friends started this – at least two of them are on Vancouver Island, when I was there, but we only blog-connected as I was leaving …



Tai Chi - c/o Wiki solo forms -
Taolo form - painting from 1300s 

I keep myself rather well occupied, but need to do more walking, and thought I'd start Tai Chi, with Qigong, at home on a daily basis – something I used to do … and include breath exercises as an extra … I need to work a schedule out



Overview

For ten months of the year … I co-ordinate a dinner for our European Movement Members at a local hotel … we're only at 50 – 60 at the moment, but hope to climb back up.




I've omitted contact details for obvious
reasons, I hope -

This keeps me occupied for the first fortnight or so of each month – meaning there's no peace for the wicked in January – even if it's a birthday month.



I belong to the Eastbourne Meads, University of the Third Age and Bazza on his blog – gives an over of the organisation … for which I'm very grateful to be able to refer you to.



Eastbourne Meads U3A welcome
image - showing off Beachy Head
lighthouse by the white cliffs

Each group has different programmes depending on its members … I go to History (and give the odd talk), Memoir/Writing, Music Appreciation … I've just started, as our Geology/Life Science 'maestro' has just decided to stop – many of us will miss that class. For the next five months I'm organising the Speaker for our monthly meeting – I enjoy that.


Re our 'maestro' – as a final farewell he made an interesting comment … saying that although it was a lot of work (he was very,very thorough!) … he'd loved doing it – as he learnt so much … remind you all of us: bloggers?! I feel like I'm getting a University degree – granted an eclectic one to put it mildly – but 'boy' have I learnt.


Just finishing off the artwork 'Dance Diagonal'
as the new piece of art for the Towner Art Gallery

I go to the local film society films – exceedingly interesting – held in the local art gallery, as too various other more avant-garde films …



Fuseli's 'NightMare' painted 1790-91
one of his variations on the theme
(Erasmus Darwin underscored
his short poem 'Night-Mare')

Then finally I belong to a Read Aloud group in the library – we bring something relevant to that week's topic to read … tomorrow is Dreams/ Nightmares – a few minutes worth of reading … we don't discuss much – as the schedule doesn't allow.  (Tomorrow's reading solved -on looking for an appropriate image!)



Well obviously not finally … meet ups with friends and family as far as we can all tie in ...and a few other societies I try and keep up with …



Penguin Classics

Also I'm incredibly lucky as I can walk or bus to most things … being one of the eldest left in the clan, I've done my caring role – and so can spend a little time on me. Lots to read too …



This was longer than intended … but c'est la vie … this year I must be more organised – re diaries … my online one prompts me … but most is in my head … that curious brain I'm very thankful for … I have a paper one I want to start using …


Donna's Retirement Reflections blog ... 

Bazza's blog: To Discover Ice - University of the Third Age (U3A) ... 

Big Think - How You Breathe ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Africa, Memoir Writing, Journaling, Swashbuckling stories …

 

A life of adventures – whether we're blogging, writing short stories or novels …

'On Leopard Rock' – Wilbur Smith's autobiography


Recommended by me
to all writers to consider
we're travelling as life ages … our life changes, we grow, we think … we wonder …


I enjoyed his books, then got a little bored at the 'sameness' … now decades later, after coming across an article on his passing, which led me to decide that I needed to read his autobiography …



I have the same feelings … b-u-t …....related to his life's journey, by realising how much education I'd missed by not absorbing the information his dering-do storytelling offered …


Wise old owl - by Jamet

In case you have not come across his books – I'd recommend the autobiography – for a number of reasons … 'On Leopard Rock' …


He's still pretty pleased with himself … but he's that kind of author … he is authoritative: so be it.


He gives us an overview of how he approaches his legendary and highly respected research … of what he does when the muse dries up – he escapes, often to lands anew …


Typical creation made by Gilbert

Obviously he writes about Africa … the subject he knows well … he had plenty of rejections early on, before settling on writing 'what he knew'  thus, in earnest, began his writing career …


The Courtney family – 1960s Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) 

The Ballantyne series - this is a crossover series between two families – set in southern Africa, but then historically relating it back to the Anglo-Sudan War (1881-1899) …


He gives us an Ancient Egyptian series …


the Hester Cross series covers Somalia/Africa...


then there are 12 stand alone books …


This last book – his autobiography 'On Leopard Rock – a Life of Adventures': there are 17 chapters … his memoir of his life …


Card made by Pascaline


Now on to his latest publisher – Bonnier Books UK – they'd acquired world all-language rights to ten new books from Wilbur Smith, his wife and business director Niso Smith, and their agent …



As Bonnier's confirms Wilbur Smith is a writer known for his meticulous details; he could spend days, even months, researching things. History, and especially African culture, fascinated him …


I'm ashamed I'd never heard of Bonniers – but they're a Swedish publishing house … established in 1804 – they now have representations around the world.


Their website is informative … history they describe 'by our rich literary heritage, but never bound by convention' …


... while the details set out under Wilbur Smith's book site … are to put it mildly comprehensive – per the link.


Wilbur and Niso

One last idea for you to consider … you'll have to read the book as to how he met his fourth, and last wife … a lawyer: Mokhiniso Rakimova – who now run his business and Foundation …

She, if you want to learn more, … is Niso a Tadjik – persian-speaking Iranian ethnic group native to central Asia … Afghanistan, Tajikstan and Uzbekistan …


So much to appreciate in this world … and I'm only suggesting that you read this one book – til you get hooked into broadening your horizons! Enjoy …


The note that came with the cards
I ordered: "Cards from Africa"

Thanks for reading … lots here I know – but I wanted to post … and I'm lending the book later this week to an African lover – a friend who lived in Zimbabwe and Namibia for many a year …


Cards for Africa - come from Rwanda ... a small country in the middle of Africa - west of Kenya, east of the Congo ... as described from the heart of Africa using handmade paper recycled from local of office waste ... made by cheerful young folk ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 13 January 2023

Sixeen years of this, while also reaching Three Quarters of a Century …

 

Well – I'm there … what to write, what to think – nothing's changed here, what to do … well easy – celebrate as and when …


Hip, Hip Hurrah! 1988 by Danish
artist Peder Severin Kroyer (1851-1909)

and so into my 16th year of blogging with all of you friends … and on a Friday the 13th … apparently there have been twelve of those in the past 3/4 century …



but in blogosphere-land – what to write … ah well … these popped up … I've no idea if any of you have come across this site StuckInABook … he (Simon) lists a Century of Books – one book for each year 1919 – 2018 …



The book for 1948 is:

'The Plague and I' by Betty Macdonald …



I had to desist looking … it was Dec 4th 2022 … but thought you'd like to know about the 100 book suggestions…



Books galore ...

However it will be my year of reading … I am definitely in the land of Tsundoku … I don't buy books I do not intend to read – but have rather more of them than I can expect to read soon – but I'm happy …



I gather surrounding ourselves with books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know: makes sense to me!




That's all folks! Happy Birthday to me … while this is my Mother with her clock, when she was fund-raising in Penzance, Cornwall (probably late 1980s) …




linking you across to Annalisa's promotional tour links …


Cheers to each and everyone of you … (and now I will be catching my tail ... so see you all soon) ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 7 January 2023

Annalisa Crawford's new short story collection ...


'The Clock in My Mother's House' … 

What a great cover ...


... my own mother had a clock that I will now forever think about as I remember this story by Annalisa …






The dictating clock – an apposite quote:

'One of the greatest mysteries of the Universe is time. Time is enigmatic, a dimension that doesn’t quite behave like the three geometric ones. A particularly strange fact about time is that people can experience it differently.'


Two Cornish people should connect shouldn't they … I do – albeit I've never lived there – I most definitely relate to my mother's county … so here's another mother connection … which Annalisa feels run through all these stories: her dedication to her mother …


For Mum, for the laughter, and for the inspiration …



Those early years form us … it's when our future creative lives might first appear … nurtured by our mothers.



Here we find ten stories, of varying lengths, from Annalisa – all published, shortlisted, or longlisted on a range of competition sites …


She is an accomplished author … and don't we learn from all the stories and posts we read by our authorial-blogging friends …


Annalisa at the Costa Awards, 2016

our outlooks become less blinkered – we learn about others' lives, we have a chance to expand our educative horizons …


and if we're from the same county – we can each relate to the different content we read, as I know I do with Annalisa's tales … my imagination has grown.


Her book is now OUT ... I hope you enjoy it -
I did! - for links see below

 

For Amazon UK click here
And for Amazon US click here


"Crawford is a skilful short story writer. In this collection, melding mundane life with the fantastical, she deftly explores the internal worlds of her characters, creating a haunting and frequently wistful collection of short stories that will possess the reader’s imagination long after the last page has been turned." - J.S Watts


Annalisa Crawford - find her here:


Here's the link to all the retailers stocking the release of 'The Clock in my Mother's House' - officially due out 10th January, 2023 ... yet Amazon has already posted!


My post on Annalisa's 2021 publication Small Forgotten Moments 


Annalisa's collections - her dark contemporary
fiction with a hint of paranormal

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 31 December 2022

Happy New Year – Ma'at came into my orbit recently …

 

Ma'at is the goddess, who personified the ancient Egyptian concepts of:

                  truth,             balance, 

                           order,             harmony, 

                                             law,                morality, 

                   and justice  

as well as bringing order to the world from chaos …



Goddess Ma'at


Her roles in reminding us of the necessities of being decent, helping and co-operating with others in 2023 … 


... seem to me to be well worth remembering … if only we could pass these ideals across to the many despicable rulers, who seem to want to cause harm to other human beings …



I know we all do what we can to help others … and wish you all a very Happy New Year as 2022 turns into 2023 …




Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Christmas Greetings …

 

I've given up – toddling on – but a post is needed to be sent out to our blogosphere … way too late … 



... and I'm not writing books – so really no excuses … busy/lazy – you takes your pick!





The Lamb - December 2022


... but we had some snow to make us miserable and give the country more headaches (thankfully not here) …





The Lamb Inn 14th century (1300s … I get muddled!) - without its white coating …


The internet's web presence


I hope you can see the baubles ... the sun
wasn't shining ... it's a wooden spiral ... 


I spotted this 'interesting' Christmas tree on my way into town … at some stage .. I must stop and look more closely to see how it's made … the owners must be artistically clever!



So here's to a happy festive time however you celebrate – I'll be with one of my brother's who lives locally … a smallish gathering this year …


There's lots of berries around this year

Here's to you all … I'll see you on New Year's Eve …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Icelandic Christmas Book Flood – Jolabokaflod ...

 

I came across this delightful tradition … from an article in CountryLiving – no idea how I got there! …



Christmas books

something I hadn't heard about … during World War II paper was not rationed in Iceland – it was in England … as J R Tolkien found out when his works were published during the War.




So this is where the post came from … the Icelanders gave each other books at Christmas time … turning them into a country of bookaholicsthere's some stats in the links



Hot chocolate

I'm keeping this shortish … as people are causing me headaches – which takes time out of life … and leaving me somewhat frustrated and irritated, but that's life when one volunteers.



Then for some 'brilliant' reason – my computer needs something and I can't find it – or how to fix it … such is life … and now it wants to snow!!



Our Cocoa - in this little
country of ours - England!
Anyway enough of me … what I'd love is nothing to do … plenty of cocoa on the stove, marshmallows, a box or two of chocolates – then of course some veggies with a dip or two, and fruit to finish off (I'm trying to be good and leave off the wine) … and be left alone … to read the books on my TBR shelves …



So I really endorse Jolabokaflod (which roughly translates to Christmas Book Flood – in English, we might have guessed that!?) …


Presumably Jolabokaflod in Icelandic


Looks good ... 

So … enjoy your books and your cocoa … or more likely now-a-days … a large mug of hot chocolate with frothy cream on top … sprinkled with drinking chocolate powder …



A few links below …


Country Living – Jolabokaflod … the Icelandic tradition of giving books … way to go!


Wikipedia has more information on the Christmas Book Flood


Founding Story of Jolabokaflog.org …


I know you've all family things to sort out … as do I, but in limited form – mostly done, thankfully … but I have a dinner to ensure runs smoothly by and for Wednesday …


Christmas Books at Waterstones

I'll probably get another post in before the end of the year – but in case not … have a peaceful and happy festive time … computer time being kind I'll be around … just straggling at the back of the queue for now …



Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories