It’s my dad’s ninety second birthday today! So, this is with him in mind. He has so much character and is such an inspiration. He’s always loved telling stories perhaps that’s where I get my storytelling genes from!
Happy Birthday Dad. x
The right place at the right time, at ninety-one, that’s a feat. My dad’s ninety-two today. At his birthday celebration last year he astonished us all by serenading the pretty waitress in Russian!
Dad’s a Scotsman with one known fear: the snow! He’s always preferred sunny climates. It’s no wonder that he escaped to Malaysia and married my mum, who’s from Kuching, a place that stole his heart too. He always has a tale to tell, or a song to sing and still dreads the snow! Bless him.
Thank you to the lovely Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch for all she does for the literary community. <3
The flash fiction prompt this week made me think of my mother-in-law Mary who is holding on to being fiercely independent as long as she possibly can. She is now the ripe old age of ninety four! She always tidies everything up before the carer sets foot in the house and her favourite phrase is: That’s that job done!
Tea and Biscuits With The Carer
“That’s the blueberries washed!” she said with a smile.
I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Put the kettle on,” she said.
“Don’t you want to leave anything for the carer to do?”
She didn’t answer, instead she said, “Get the pavlova and cream. Mini ones in the cupboard over there.”
I opened the tin and arranged them on a large plate.
The last time my eldest daughter left home I wrote a flash fiction piece for Carrot Ranch which I entitled The Riptide Suitcases expressing my emotions at my daughter moving abroad.
The Riptide Suitcases
The riptide hid in two shallow suitcases. Foreign tee-shirts lay crushed against jumpers, jeans pressed unfolded next to sandals and boots. I lifted my daughter’s larger suitcase up; it was heavy but not as heavy as my swirling heart.
No traffic impeded our journey. The ripples began early, too early. We shared coffee but didn’t eat. The departure gate beckoned. The riptide began. It burst out of me. I cried, no I wailed. Guilt crashed against waves of sadness. Sadness wrestled and drowned my heart. Never again will I feel such depths of emotion. My adventurer, daughter had gone.
That was three years ago. Natasha stayed in South Korea for a year and absolutely loved it. I’m so proud of her for taking that courageous step, to travel to the other side of the world to teach English takes a considerable amount of guts especially when you don’t speak the language and you are so young. She was the youngest EFL teacher in her school, newly graduated from University.
You can see a little about that here: (unlike her mum she never really got into blogging, she only wrote two blog posts! )
Why Scotland? Natasha has always loved it. My hubby and I always make Edinburgh our home-from-home, so it’s no wonder that at least one of our children might decide to stay there…
This is my piece of flash:
Three years ago, we said our goodbyes at the departure gate before that first flight. How I cried. I wept for a day, and the next day I wept without weeping. My darling daughter gone so faraway. She braved how scared she was. Now, she is adventuring again – not so far this time! And yet her friends miss her already. I miss her already. This is life, young adults are always moving, taking those steps to independence. They never leave your thoughts. They’re always a part of you, wherever they are.
Daughters always stay in your heart.
It will be my youngest daughter’s turn next – Georgina – and then it truly will be empty nest syndrome! Still, I still have her for now… Yay!
Having spent so much time with both of them during lockdown I know I will find it especially hard.
“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”
Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.
After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.
This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.
As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which began in childhood.
It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult, even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.
But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.
My recommendation: Read this. 5 stars. I’d highly recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances. Also read the first book in the series: Conflicted Hearts.
Time to catch up on my COVID Diaries… I’ve been very busy of late finishing edits on my second book in my series The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer. They are now finished and I am pleased to say I have now passed my manuscript on to Heena Rathmore Pardeshi https://crazycatwriter.com/ for a critique and proofread service.
So, let’s go back in time…
I slept badly the night before so I’m feeling tired. My eldest daughter Tasha and I still did our workout session but it was a gentle one. We both thought it would suit a granny! Which is just as well…We finished it off by doing some yoga.
I tidied my office and did some editing of the second book in my Curse of Time series. Later, my hubby and I went to the supermarket. My friend Hanna was in the queue too, so we stopped to chat to each other – following the social distancing rules – of course. You can’t exactly talk quietly due to the distance imposed, so I shouted across the queue about the fire…
IVC is the local secondary school that my kids went to. Apparently, a skip lit and the fire spread to the roof of the performing arts block. Strange, sounds like arson to me. A friend of my daughter heard two large explosions, they thought it was an earthquake, or something. Everyone is so on edge at the moment that any loud bangs, or noises would be enough to trigger an attack of the nerves.
I wonder how the fire happened?
Getting back to the shopping trip with hubby. Whilst inside…
We argued down the aisles, in a feisty banter kind of way and I saw one of the local mum’s smirking at us.
Our shopping trip was so distracting. Both hubby and I bought four packs of onions, so we’ve got lots of onions to eat!
Next time I’m going on my own! Hubby’s idea of shopping consists of ample supplies of alcohol, and no treats apart from one bar of chocolate! How to survive lockdown with no crisps, nuts… Mind you, judging by our horrendous food bill perhaps we should start a starvation diet.
Oh, and I had a couple of guests in my Isolation for Writers Series:
It’s been a funny day. Aren’t they all? I finally cleared out my office. I am such a hoarder! I found things stuffed behind things that I didn’t even know were there. Nevertheless, it was interesting. We discovered three large bags of old photos and an airmail letter from my dad when he’d been working abroad in Swaziland. My eldest daughter Natasha has never seen an airmail letter before! What a lovely find. His writing was atrocious though. What a job I had reading it. Basically, it was to congratulate me on the birth of baby Georgina! And to send his love and well wishes to hubby’s dad who was ill at that time. Sadly, hubby’s dad passed away shortly after that letter was sent and Grandpa James never got a chance to see his new grand-daughter in person, which is especially sad as he always wanted lots of grand-children.
Also, I came across an old newspaper cutting of Tasha when she was three years old with her Grandma (my mum, who must have been about my age at that time,) at a hospice event.
How young my mum looked. Time flies by too fast.
I also found some old photos of hubby and I when we were young! That was funny, me draped all over him looking loved up… There was one of me wearing a leopard skin crop top and tight matching leggings. We were going to a fancy dress party. Memories, yes, it was a day of memories.
Other than that we did our gym session in the garden around 11am. Me, and the girls, and then we had lunch afterwards.
Hubby decided to climb up a ladder to sand the outside windows for painting. This made me very nervous as he’s so high up. He decided to wear his bike helmet for protection but at that height if he fell…
At one point, I went upstairs to pass him the sander and I saw this wasp on the window ledge. I was too frightened to tell him it was there in case he fell off the ladder. Later, I realised the wasp was dead!
Then Gina had an almighty melt down brought on by us all making so much noise whilst she’s completing her university assignments. Hubby was making this annoying sound with his sander, or yelling at me to get him something he needed. What a job I had calming her down. She said she wanted to go back to Manchester. No chance of that – no one can go anywhere. So, I suggested we sit in the car for a while. She brought her laptop and we looked at it together, with tears in her eyes. Bless her. Then hubby came out, looking at us as if we were bonkers. He asked why we were sitting in the car! I explained about the noise and he said he’d finish for the day. Thank goodness it’s quiet now. Phew, it’s just as well I used to be a therapist. Sometimes, I need to be to calm this lot down…
Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I hope it is a bit calmer…
I had a terrible night’s sleep. Stress of yesterday? Perhaps it was also exacerbated by hubby teasing, saying that he was leaving the long ladder by our bedroom window for a thief, or Romeo to come in. I woke at 3.30am. I thought I heard someone climbing up the ladder. No doubt it was just my imagination! One of the hazards of being a writer is you always imagine the craziest things. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I crept out of bed and started blogging – as you do!
By the time hubby was up, I’d had enough, so I went back to bed and managed a couple of hours sleep before Tasha came looking for me. I didn’t join in with a keep fit, or yoga workout today, or take part in Writing Sprints. Shame. Instead, I edited some of the Curse of Time, beta read and finished a poetry collection for Sarah Northwood, Poetry for The Heart and Soul which I loved. Here is the link to her beta reading group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/877149636124566/
As well, I started working on a blog post about my daughter Georgina’s fashion/social media profile.
Georgina seemed a lot more cheery today. She was all dressed up, make up on and had made excellent progress on her assignment. She even mentioned that it wasn’t as hard as she originally thought! Kids, hey… They give you such grief and then say everything is okay…
Oh, and Tasha and I sneaked out for a ride in the car. What an adventure! We didn’t go too far but it was nice to see neighbouring villages.
What have you been doing during this difficult time. Please share in the comments.
The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love …
In Words of Alchemy, Camilla Downs invites you to walk with her to share her love of Nature and Life through a free-verse poetry memoir.
During her daily strolls she is mindfully present as she delves into life in the raw and experiences her heart’s observations.
Camilla embraces what happens when she opens her heart and invites the written words to flow.
The Alchemy of Love and Healing is what happens.
What a joy it is to read this gem of a poetry book. Full of beautiful free-verse, a memoir about friends, family, relationships and the love of the nature. This is for you if you enjoy the natural world, (as I do,) if you appreciate poetry that delves into the heart and doesn’t hold back. In many ways it is an intimate and brave expression of the author – Camilla Down’s – thoughts and feelings.
I highly recommend.
I had the pleasure of an engaging author interview with Camilla on my blog:
“Words of Alchemy, a heartfelt new collection by Camilla Downs, lives up to its namesake in numerous ways. Downs spans the broad range of nature, healing, love, and parenting, while making sure we have a little fun along the way. And the bridge she creates from the mindfulness of how we see the world at large to the poetry of everyday life is certainly worth a stroll or two across its borders.” – Thomas Lloyd Qualls, Award-winning author of Painted Oxen
“This poetry collection offers contemplative words, soothing thoughts and peace to the reader.”
“These poems take you on a calm and loving walk through the verses of the author’s thoughts. Alchemy is a perfect word for the title as Camilla Downs understands nature; connecting with its magical, medicinal qualities and beauty which she conveys throughout her poetry.”
“Words of Alchemy is a chronicle of hope. These poems are an encouragement, especially when we are feeling at our lowest, to keep seeking the light that is our way forward, and focus on the real. This collection is a walk through the positive nature of life. Camilla Downs is to be commended.”
– Frank Prem, Author of free-verse memoir Small Town Kid
About Camilla: Camilla Downs is a bestselling author, indie publisher, mentor, and mom. Nature and life experiences are a constant source of inspiration for her writing. She enjoys living a minimalist lifestyle, practicing meditation and mindfulness, reading, going for walks, and capturing nature’s essence with photographs. Camilla is the founder of MeetingtheAuthors.com and lives in Northern Nevada, USA with her two kids.
Words of Alchemy: If you’re in the U.S. and would like a personalized, signed book – free shipping! (I will ship internationally, if the reader would like to pay the international shipping fee): https://camilladowns.com/books/words-of-alchemy/
What’s been happening? Much of the same, sadly. But, we have now apparently passed the peak and deaths should now be on the decline.
Let’s hope so.
In the last few days Natasha and I have kept up with our keep fit routine with a Salsa Type dance workout in the garden and a yoga one too. Both were such fun! I’d love to do them again.
Good news yesterday – mum got her mince! She was missing some from her recent food box. This time she was able to make beefburgers.
And cheery news! A new review for Mr Sagittarius from Author Adele Marie Park:
5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic journey through life Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2020 Verified Purchase Shaped with poems and beautiful pictures this book is a must-read and keep. This novel is the kind you will go back to again and again to dip into and read your favourites. A fantastic book, the author has delivered with engaging characters and beautiful prose. Well done.
I tuned into Heena Rathore Pardesi’s webinar yesterday. She was sharing creative writing tips. Here’s the link to the Facebook Live link:
It inspired me – which is just what I need right now as my eldest daughter has finished beta editing the second book in my Curse of Time series. Even so, I am struggling with motivation. Fortunately, some of Heena’s ideas really spoke to me. Particularly, the one about trying new fonts , using a notebook, or other inspiring ways to motivate yourself. This is particularly true if like me you have a huge, daunting project ahead of you. The second in a series is so hard to write.
In her words Fiona is: ‘an author, playwright and copywriter living in North Wales, just over the border from Chester. For years I worked in an office environment until motherhood and my husband’s career moves tugged me into self-employment, dumped me onto a new creative path, and turned my dream career into a reality. My debut fantasy novel, Haven Wakes, was published by Burning Chair in 2019 and I’m currently working on the follow-up, as yet untitled novel due to be published in 2020.’
Today, would have been Deepings Literary Festival Read Dating event. Sadly, it was cancelled due to Coronavirus. Linda Hill kindly shared a blog post about all the authors who would have attended this event, including yours truly.
I wrote two Shadorma inspired by our experience during COVID19. They reflect my growing sense of sadness and unease at the magnitude of deaths throughout the world. It’s so sad and frightening. In the UK alone over 26,000 people have died to date. And all the while here in Cambridge the sun has shone practically every single day of Lockdown. A couple days ago, we had some rain and even a short burst of thunder and lightning. And yet, immediately the sun returned.
How strange. Life goes on, sunshine, showers and thunderstorms but such tragedy remains.
Every now and then Gina pops downstairs to ask me to take her photo for her Instagram page. Today, we did a photo shoot with her new ponytail hair piece! It turned out great, will share that soon.
We went for a walk with hubby and Tasha down by the river in the evening. A car speeded past then turned tail and went past us again. Bit strange, we were glad to have a 6 foot bloke with us – hubby! Two trains sped past too. We talked about how we should walk in nature more often. There were such beautiful views. But I didn’t bring my camera, or phone. Sometimes, it is nice just to experience life without any interruptions.
On the way back, bats were following us down the pathway. Tasha and I were screeching, hubby didn’t blink an eyelid. He didn’t mind them. In fact, I swear he likes them!