Sunday, 19 September 2021

Small Forgotten Moments …


A wonderful book by Annalisa Crawford … bringing to life those tiny fragments, that rattle around in our minds …


… in the book there’s a ghostly undertone to these thoughts that constantly reappear … what do they mean and why, and where are they coming from...



Annalisa sets Jo, her artist character, working and living in London … before the wheels come off and Jo realises she needs to go back to her beloved Seaton Beach in Cornwall to work at and sort her life out – so much seems to be missing.



Seaton Beach, Cornwall 
Annalisa lives in Cornwall, where she admits her very active imagination, dances around down at the local beach, devising novels, and in this case deconstructing art works … wondering what the life of the person portrayed would be like …



Our character Jo, an artist, infiltrates the story … moving us around between reality or a confusion …


… black and white portrait sketches appear, then bright colours fill in parts of the draft as Jo draws … each haunting memory comes into being via these art works …


… the palette becomes less strident … as each realises pieces of the dream, drawing those snippets of memory to the fore …


Saltash Bookstore - The Bookshelf
Her book is a great read and one I recommend.  She gave a wonderful interview to Radio Cornwall about the book … it was a delight to listen to … then there was the recent book signing event at her local Saltash bookshop – the BookShelf …



Annalisa receiving her prize
I don’t know whether you remember Annalisa came 3rd in the 2015 Costa Books Short Story Awards … so you can see she has writing pedigree.



Kernow chocolate - I was sent
the 'Cream Tea' bar ... 

I entered a draw for a copy of her book, and some Cornish chocolate … my dream was realised!  Thank you and congratulations to Annalisa …


Costa Book Awards

Annalisa’s blog post … she is very self-effacing!

 A Chance to Win ... offered by Annalisa Crawford

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Amuse-Bouche …


This phrase does not amuse me!  It immediately draws to mind something I’d rather forget … about how poor we Brits are when speaking other languages … in this instance: French … I have to admit I wish it had an English equivalent … but it doesn’t …

Smoked salmon on
Cucumber in a
Gazpacho sauce

 This was meant to be an interim post about mouthfuls of delicious tasty food … but then curiosity kicked in about the name, and the why, and the when …



Apparently it appeared about the time of a 20th century reinvention 'Nouvelle Cuisine' – 1970s – 1980s – which characterised a lighter, delicate emphasis on the food presented … but there’s no definitive answer …



Parmesan Pannacotta
 After my taste buds got a-wondering … I decided I was not going into the grammar of ‘the phrase’ - way too difficult for me.



Yet now having investigated and found the episode ‘Amuse-Bouche (Hannibal)’ … I’ve rather gone off food too … also … as is the interesting reference to a blogger, who influences the episode – another something to ponder, or probably not, as the case may be …



The amuse-bouche I’ve seen on tv have always been (in my opinion) over-done creations and way too large – they preferably should be a tasty morsel … not a few full-bite appetisers … nor tummy filler!  Nor (again!) continually spoken about with appalling gaucheness … but then I’m a …

Breughel the Elder's 1618 -
Senses of Hearing, Touch and Taste

They’re also meant to be whatever you have to hand … by creating a tiny morsel of ‘delectitude’ … to tempt the waters of the mouth … before serving the actual dinner …



… not appetisers/pre-dinner nibbles … but just a tiny bite of flavour – whatever the restaurant feels like tempting you with – no menu, no choice …


Nordic delicacies of Amuse-Bouche

Instead of Amuse-Bouche – “mouth amuser” … you could use Amuse-Gueule … gueule being a snout … rather like a snout in a trough … all manner of images now appear …

Having sauntered into a pot-au-feu of anything a kitchen has available … I think I’ll saunter out to grass with a glass for a while! 


1742 cover page
for Menon's treatise on
'the new cuisine'

So Amuse-Bouche yourselves tonight before supper/dinner is served … while trying not to think of the Amuse-Bouche episode in the psychological thriller-horror series Hannibal.  All kinds of new stories could be written … 



These tasty morsels  à la ‘Amuse-Bouche’ have now bored me … as I’ve dragged this post out – but it needs to see the light of a hot day in the UK … surprisingly there will be some sunburnt bods around … for us ‘tis warm!

A Jacques Lameloise
Nouvelle Cuisine presentation

Enjoy the coming of Autumn or the fulfilling of Spring … take care …


Amuse-Bouche ... 

Amuse-Bouche (Hannibal) - detailing the 2nd episode of the first season of the tv thriller

Nouvelle Cuisine ... 

I do have two more food oriented posts to follow at some stage - a film I'm seeing next week ... and another I picked up about helping ourselves eat to suit our world ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 28 August 2021

We are the World Blogfest # 52 Washing Machines for Refugee Camps …


The salad spinner that inspired an engineer to design a hand-cranked washing machine for refugee camps – where there’s no running water, or electricity …

Navjot Sawhney - the entrepreneur designer
Navjot Sawhney, an engineer who had worked with a number of blue chip companies learning his ‘trade’ and expertise … before quitting to work as a volunteer in India as a member of Engineers without Borders UK.

'Divya' washing machines


While in India a neighbour was struggling with her daily washing needs … doing everything by hand … Navjot promised her a machine …


Matthew Mews of Huxlo
Along the way – offers of help came from a Bristol design and fabrication firm, Huxlo … Matthew Mews said the company wanted to help make life easier for those living in poverty.


Owen Rutter from the University of Bath
The University of Bath, where Mr Sawhney studied, also helped turn the designs into reality … university technician, Owen Rutter, was able to check various details and suggest minor adjustments …


The charity for Engineers Without
Borders working to ease others' lives
The first machines will be distributed early in September to a refugee camp in northern Iraq … and no doubt many others will find their way into other places in the world.


Salad Spinner 

The thought of having to wash by hand would appal me … so this “robust, simple to use and easily repairable machine” will be a real blessing …

Mr Sawney named the machine “Divya” after his neighbour in India … who caused the idea to spark in this engineer’s design brain.  The machines have been tried and tested in various locations around the world ... so I'm sure by now Divya has her "Divya"! 


We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, be Light


Article on Mr Navjot Sawhney c/o BBC - Hand-Cranked Washing Machines

Huxlo Company - an innovative furniture manufacturer with a vision to provide the tools for a better build 

University of Bath - studying at Bath means joining the multicultural community on a vibrant, friendly campus in a historic city.

Engineers without Borders UK

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop / ISWG hop: Freedom of Speech …


My mind has been wandering along about this prompt – and I’ve been wondering how we got to speak …

We have two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one very clever brain which ensures an action … there’s also only one mouth – which we use over enthusiastically at times …


It is thought that speech evolved differently from other primates – we use our tongue for producing sound, together with lips and other moveable parts within the head.


Sorry it's black - I know there's a way to change
the background to white ... 

The sun rays are processed by the eyes, signalled to
be transduced, then to be processed by the brain - 
which would then allow actions ... 

Platter of sea-foods
It also appears that human speech might have evolved from our waterside past, being able to obtain brain-specific nutrients in sea-foods, voluntary breathing as we searched for shellfish to eat, and suction feeding of soft-slippery sea-foods … yummy oysters!  As we evolved … our oral apparatus adapted …


Freedom of Speech – now do we use that Freedom too much in our shouting matches … and in the open mouth ‘shouts’  - seeing people’s tonsils is too much!

A new reptile found in Australia - it has a large
mouth and I couldn't resist using the depiction -
a wide, cruel mouth ... 
Australian Pterosaur

Where does Freedom come from – our power source: the brain … we’ve learnt so much over thousands of millennia … yet it seems the ancient Athenian democratic principle of free speech may have emerged in the late 6th or early 5th century BC – the values of the Roman Republic included freedom of speech …  


Did you know there’s a Free Speech Flag … more details here at the link ...    


Free Speech Flag

I'm not sure where this post came from ... but that's me! and I'm not an academic ... but a blogger with a curious, eclectic mind ... who decided to go into how we were able to speak ... so I looked and used my common sense, if you consider I have any!, to write this odd post and here are the links I looked at ...

New Scientist - Time Line: Human Evolution 

Origin of Speech - see 'Background' section 

A Sense - the biological system used by an organism for sensation 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Bran Tub # 19: Who debugs here?


I wandered into town yesterday – and always pass this school, Eastbourne College … with its cricket pitch, or rugby field impeccably maintained …


Eastbourne College with its influx of
Herring Gulls and 'pups' ....

… ‘cept it was covered with masses of hungry souls … I could only ponder if the school was debugging itself before term started?!



Herring Gull composite

I don’t know whether they got bored fishing, or pestering the tourists!! … but I’ve never seen the beautiful grounds invaded in this way …


Some close to me - as I leant over the wall
A quick post taking me through to WEP on Wednesday and another book one over the weekend … see you in a few days – stay safe everyone …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 9 August 2021

Bran Tub # 18: Friends ask to share Olympic Gold Medal …


There’s been hope, success, horrors, sadness – yet many armchair pundits have noticed that competitors have been …

United by Emotion

Gracious in Defeat


… and Thankful for Life …


Charlotte Worthington - the woman
who dares to do backflips over a 
concrete floor ...
(it is beyond comprehension!)

This happy punter noticed that home-dinosaurism had crept in – her brain couldn’t cope with ‘flying’ upside down on a bicycle above a concrete floor – doing a 360 degree backflip, landing thumpety-thump – getting up and doing it again successfully: winning gold, just to avoid going back to work in a Mexican restaurant.  Strange life!


These new sports … well this near fossil appreciates them a little more now, as ‘these kids’ will take the new sports forward – opening doors for others.


The two guys celebrating friendship

The highlight of the Games for me …was the two high jumpers – who’ve competed together for years, suffered injuries and returned – yet on equal scores at the end … just said ‘can’t we share the gold medal?’ – wonderful … it’s the first time since 1912 that two athletes share a podium place.


An incredible Olympic high jump final ended with both Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi sharing the gold medal/s.


I know some of you will not have appreciated the Olympics … and I have friends who’ve disappeared with a few books for the duration …


c/o Steve Barley's squirrels
So just to suggest something you could try – your reward will be a few peanuts … but please lose weight first … the Squirrel Leapathon is open for viewing:


Squirrel Leapathon – c/o the Beeb (1.47 mins)

This one is last year's NHS themed Squirrel Obstacle Course ... 

I could reflect more … but time (my life towards fossildom) rushes on … so just enjoy the Squirrel Tokyo Leapathon … reward: not adulation, but a few peanuts …


A cartoon from the 1936 Olympics imagines the year 2000 when spectators will have been replaced by television and radio, their cheers coming from loudspeakers;   how prescient those cartoonists were … as the pandemic in 2021 has shown us.

Next comes the ParaOlympics (24th Aug to 5th Sept 2021) – they are incredible people – my admiration abounds for them … from them we can learn what it’s possible to achieve.


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 30 July 2021

We Are the World’s Blogfest # 51: the King of Bhutan sets an example for his people - educating them about Covid …


This to me this is what a leader should do … in the time of crisis – they should go above and beyond …


King and Queen, with
the Emperor of Japan
Any leader should always set examples, let their people know what is going on – in simple terms, keeping them informed and warning them of impending dangers ….



Kingdom of Bhutan,
in the Himalayas

The King of Bhutan travelled round his country by foot, car and horse to all the remote hamlets - overseeing the measures warning his tiny kingdom about the coronavirus outbreak that has flared up in neighbouring India.



Rice Terraces in a fertile
He really has set out his stall as leader … so wearing a baseball cap, a knee-length traditional gho-robe, carrying a backpack -  Bhutan’s king has walked the jungles avoided  leeches and snakes, trekked mountains all the while informing his 700,000 citizens how to protect themselves again this dreaded virus.


Women of Bhutan
It is evident that his efforts have proved helpful to his people … only 2,506 cases, with 2 deaths as at yesterday’s date.



I also wanted to add in how he described his wife, and Queen:

The Queen in

For the Queen, what is most important is that at all times, as an individual she must be a good human being, and as Queen, she must be unwavering in her commitment to serve the People and Country.


As my queen, I have found such a person and her name is Jetsun Pema. While she is young, she is warm and kind in heart and character.


 These qualities together with the wisdom that will come with age and experience will make her a great servant to the nation.


The King in 2007
in his Gho-robe
He seems to be a very caring, humble King … and if I lived in Bhutan I’d be hugely impressed that he’d gone to that trouble for me and my family … a King, who puts his people first and cares for them …


We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, be Light



Jigme Dorji National Park

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 26 July 2021

Jacqui Murray’s “Dawn of Humanity” trilogy – the 2nd instalment: ‘Laws of Nature' …


This second part of Jacqui’s trilogy continues with some thoughtful and interesting changes in Lucy’s clan, especially their reliance on each other’s skills and knowledge.


The author: Jacqui Murray

I, with Jacqui, pondered these subjects and came up with some thoughts …


Lucy, the leader, is developing ideas … so the clan grows stronger and becomes more able to adapt to the world around.


The Wonderwerk caves being nearly at an elevation of 4,900 feet (1,500 metres) are extremely cold in winter, and where the wind whistles around the entrance …


… winter has given Lucy time, when they are unable to move around, to explore her blind companion’s ability to react more quickly to changes in noises around their camp … while also noting that he raises his head as the bats fly in and out …


Perhaps early signs of bat echo-location becoming essential to early man, which blind people are able to use today; while African tribes still use ‘click sounds’, as did their early ancestors … before speech evolved …


Lucy’s group is absorbing small pieces of knowledge to help them stay alive, and to improve their clan’s chances to remain in history …

Tagline introduction


A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help. 




In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa. Though they don’t know it, they will be the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can't stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy's unique group--which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack--but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn't trust.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.


A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!


Book information:

Title and author: Laws of Nature

Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: The extraordinary Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU  Kindle India

Author bio: 

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page: 







Book trailer video ...
Click for the link to YouTube (

Other bloggers have promoted the first chapter ... I have omitted it here - but there are plenty of links above ... 

I have included this image of migrations that formed the 'Modern Rainbow Nation' - it shows South Africa: the so called 'Cradle of Humankind' ... and the migratory routes of the major present day tribes ..

Migrations that formed the present 'Rainbow nation'
South Africa - with Namibia to the west; Botswana between
these two nations ...

Congratulations Jacqui - you are inspirational in tackling these wonderful sagas - giving us the opportunity to think and imagine where we all came from ... and how these early peoples adapted and lived ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories