My entry to Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge this week is inspired by a piece I am editing for Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaving Competition.
It is taken from a part completed memoir I’ve written of my dad’s early childhood before the Second World War, including his travelling adventures to the Far East, Middle East, Pacific region, Caribbean and Africa. This is a short nostalgic paragraph about him lamenting the loss of the forests that he used to play in plus a poem about the same subject using the words peace and tear.
Before the Second World war children used to play in extensive woodland. This treasured land is now an estate of houses, which encroach upon the sloping fields leading further and further into the now diminishing wood. Yes, land is at a premium, and builders build property upon every spare inch of space – forget about the Thousand Acre Wood, it’s more like postage stamp wood.
I think Eeyore would have this to say: ‘Here today and gone tomorrow.’
The once wooded area has now become a permanent car park for the nearby primary school, built well after the war.
Today, there is just one sorry playground, a tiny place for local children to play in among the houses. It sits like a sad apology to the past.
In my childhood, I remember a veritable playground of fields, marshy land, and hedgerows, where children dawdled for hours playing cowboys and Indians and Doctors and Nurses. One of my favourite childhood pastimes was to construct a pretend shelter with my pals. A local woman would inspect the shelter and play along with our game with a serious air.
Nowadays, children play with manufactured games, watch TV, engage in computer activities, and twiddle with their mobile phones, oh how the world has changed!
This freedom meant that during the war years we would play in strange places, some of which weren’t at all safe. The concept of health and safety didn’t exist! Nowadays children can’t even get a work experience placement without going through a minefield of paperwork, which is a sorry state of affairs if you ask me.
Children enjoyed the simple pleasures of life, such as collecting cigarette and royal navy cards. Though, some weren’t so innocent, one lad with the same name as me took great pleasure in bullying his parents and the poor unfortunate cat. He would set the cat’s tail alight. His parents appeared terrified of him. He behaved like a vandal before vandalism become popular. This bully never bothered me, on the contrary, he encouraged me to stay around. I concluded that he enjoyed an audience for his daily wickedness! I would play with many boys, but none so infamous as Gavin Vernon who stole the stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey on Christmas day 1950!
© Marjorie Mallon 2017 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.
If you’d like to join in the challenge:
Bye for now,
After being laid off from his job at a prestigious consulting firm, Dean decides to embark on a journey across East Africa with his younger brother. Unknowingly, they travel into bandit territory where a medical emergency forces them to choose between their safety and their health.
Inspired by true events, The Watermelon King follows the journey of two brothers as they backpack across one of East Africa’s most inhospitable regions. As they endure endless days of difficult travel, a series of short stories written by their father begins to uncover their inherent desire for adventure and their connection to the past. Along the way they begin to understand the beauty and frustration of life in Africa.
Many thanks to Daniel Royse for a copy of The Watermelon King in exchange for an honest review.
Why this novel appealed to me.
My father worked abroad auditing in many off the world’s off the beaten track destinations. He travelled extensively to the Far East, The Middle East, Pacific Region, Africa, Papua New Guinea, etc,…… and this story reminded me of his adventurous spirit in many ways.
First off before I even start to review I’d like to comment on the title. It’s awesome, isn’t it? Just love how – The Watermelon King – sets the tone for this delicious novel!
The Watermelon King is humorous, thirst quenching, and full of little pips, (trials and tribulations.) The hard shell that holds it together is undoubtedly the subsidiary story about the brothers’ father that sits in between the backpacking tale – what a salesman, and when he got ill, what a fighter!
I’d highly recommend The Watermelon King to those who love to travel. This novel will particularly appeal to backpackers who enjoy exploring off the beaten track destinations, and for those with a sense of adventure which matches their ability to find humour in all sorts of circumstances !! This isn’t for the package holiday makers….. who like plush comforts, and five-star hotels. Or for those who prefer to sit on the beach, oil themselves, and turn over. This is about the ‘real Africa,’ that most travellers never get to see. The ‘real Africa,’ may not be comfortable, the food may be dire, the buses non-existent but nevertheless there is a charm that transcends all that, making the experience an unforgettable smile which is etched on the heart of those who experience it.
I loved The Watermelon King. I thought I would! It did not disappoint. I read it on the way to work, (whilst travelling on the bus!) and it really made me smile.
Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.
I’d love to hear your views on The Watermelon King. Don’t forget to share your travel and/or backpacking adventures in the comments below.
Bye for now, let me climb on my hammock in the sun, ( I wish,) and read for a while…
A warm welcome to my Spotlight guest Daniel Royse, author of the fabulously titled: The Watermelon King.
I just love that title, don’t you? It certainly caught my attention. Perhaps it’s because I love watermelons, perhaps it’s the quirkiness of it. Who knows… I discovered Daniel quite by chance on Goodreads and I am so glad I did. If I hadn’t I would never have read The Watermelon King, or found out about Daniel’s travelling exploits. Can you imagine? What a loss.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica just loves the magic of travel. There is nothing as satisfying as being able to explore, and experience new cultures. But, all is well with the world, I’ve read The Watermelon King and it took me far, far away to swelteringly hot East Africa! Books truly are amazing. Don’t you just love them? I’m delighted to say that The Watermelon King is on my highly recommended thirst quenching list… review up next, but for now let’s focus on my Author Spotlight Guest today at Kyrosmagica….
Barnes and Noble: Barnes and Noble
Missing you Portugal! We stayed at this all inclusive hotel in Porches, the Algarve – Be Live Palmeiras Village. This is the pool area with a slide – there were two pools with bars – where you could wile away the sunny day with a cocktail in hand! I’d highly recommended this hotel especially for families with young children, the entertainment on offer to keep them occupied was excellent. The poolside activities such as Water Zumba were also great fun, and there was a daily program of evening entertainment too. There were two buffet areas included in the all – inclusive price plus three extra restaurants with a small charge attached. The food was diverse, catering for most tastes. In general I’d recommend Buffet 2 as there was an outdoor seated area to enjoy your food in the sun, rather than eat inside in the other larger buffet area within the hotel itself which felt like a food hall.
We discovered this wonderful cave cut through the cliff face linking two beaches near our hotel.
It was well worth it!
Here I am with my daughters about to explore what’s beyond the cave…
And here’s the reward – a beautiful beach on the other side.
Talk about tranquil golden sand, textured with footprints of assorted humans, occasional dogs who have escaped from their owners – rolling in furry abandon on the sand, not to mention the crazy seagulls. One minute those seagulls were tranquilly standing on one leg, stretching their wings, doing a tai chi move, the next they were dive bombing us!
Striking cliffs and that sea……so rich with hues of colour. An artist’s dream.
These wonderful cliffs are everywhere in Portugal and provide a great backdrop for family photos.
A holiday to Portugal wouldn’t be complete without a boat trip. The four of us went via Albufeira on a well organised day out. We had a wonderful experience stopping at a beautiful bay for a barbeque of fresh fish, pork, salad and wine.
No wonder my hubby and I are smiling!
Here is the lovely boat we sailed on..
Perhaps I might have convinced you to visit Portugal. It is one of my favourite holiday destinations – I have been to the Algarve three times, and loved it each time!
Bye for now,
As you’ll know from my previous post Glasgow University, Hogwarts and Kelvingrove Park I’ve recently been to Glasgow with my hubby for a few days away. We stayed near Kelvingrove Park and I was lucky to be able to get a chance to visit The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which is ‘located on Argyle Street, in the West End of the city, on the banks of the River Kelvin (opposite the architecturally similar Kelvin Hall, which was built in matching style in the 1920s, after the previous hall had been destroyed by fire). It is adjacent to Kelvingrove Park and is situated near the main campus of the University of Glasgow on Gilmorehill.’ Wikipedia Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
‘Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum houses one of Europe’s great art collections. It is amongst the top three free-to-enter visitor attractions in Scotland and one of the most visited museums in the United Kingdom outside of London.’ Glasgow Life Kelvingrove Museum
So I thought I’d share with you some of my photos of my day out.
I walked through the park and came upon this guy on the bridge.
Then I saw this very fine path leading up to this magnificent looking building.
And then a little sculpture within the grounds .. The Vital Spark Puffer by George Wyllie
And this one too..
And I walked round to the Argyle Street museum entrance too. Here it is standing proudly like a jewel of beauteous splendor on a hill.
Closer it doesn’t disappoint. Look at this! What an imposing building.
Inside it is just as magnificent. I arrived in time for the organ recital – do you see that tiny dot of a man in the middle of the photo wearing a white jacket playing the organ?
Take a look at these white floating heads There’s something quite eerie about them!! …
There are 9,000 pieces on exhibition or thereabouts, don’t expect me to count them all individually – this is what I read somewhere. Judging by what I saw I could well believe this. My advice is don’t be a tight Scotsman! Pop some money in the donate box – this really is an amazing art gallery and museum, and a few pounds wouldn’t go amiss to show your appreciation! At the moment there are three exhibition on too:
- Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed, 14 May – 4 September 2016
- Castle, Battles and Bridges: John Clerk of Edin’s Scotland, Until December 2016
Then it’s time for a coffee.
There are two options for cafes. Either you can grab a quick sandwich in the centre hall of the museum gallery, which is fine if you’re in a hurry. But if you’re not, I’d advise you to treat yourself to a drink, cake or lunch in the KG Cafe in the basement. That’s what I did and I didn’t regret it. Here’s why… beautiful views…
Glasgow is an inspiring and welcoming city. I’m leaving you with my final photo of these beautiful flowers which adorn various places of interest in the streets of Glasgow.
Have you visited Glasgow? Do let me know if you have. Perhaps you might want to take a look at this: Newsquest Scotland Inspiring City Awards
Bye for now, stay cool…
Marje @Kyrosmagica xx
I’ve been out of the loop of Haiku challenges for a while as I’ve been up in Edinburgh looking after my mum after her operation. Luckily she’s as fit as a fiddle and bouncing back to health at a miraculous pace. She’s a regular churchgoer and apparently the congregation pray for those who are ill or in hospital, and in her case it seems to have worked, quite amazing, not much pain, just a bit tired as if she’s had a serious case of man flu or something.
So in between helping my mum out I managed to have a bit of a holiday in Edinburgh, taking in the delights of the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Book Festival too, you may have seen some of my recent blog posts.
Now that I’m back in Cambridge, I’m happy to be joining in this week with Ron’s weekly haiku challenge, here’s the link if you’d like to take part: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/ronovanwrites-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-60-bridge-move/
The prompt words this week are bridge and move.
My first haiku is about my experience on the train coming home from Edinburgh. I was sitting opposite a Chinese lady and her son. She was obviously hungry as she rummaged in her bag and pulled out a large chocolate cheesecake, (it looked like it served four people,) and sat there and ate the majority of it all by herself. Her son nibbled on a chocolate and in a short while finished off the last remaining crumbs of that cheesecake before polishing off a packet of crisps. This amused me no end. I know that Chinese people love their food, (my mum’s from Malaysia so I know this without a shadow of a doubt,) but I always thought they prefer savoury to sweet so this astonished me. In fact they were very entertaining to listen to, the lady started telling the people sitting next to her about all her travels in the Far East, so I got my eavesdropping ears on, (an absolute must if you have any aspirations to be a writer,) and had a jolly old-time. It ended up being a very interesting journey home.
So this haiku is an eves-dropping thank you for the Chinese lady on the train, and a celebration of her eating so much chocolate cheesecake in one sitting! I hope she likes cats, didn’t have an upset tummy afterwards, and will forgive me for being such a nosey parker.
Isn’t this picture cute?
A Sweet Bridge Too Far
Moving train journey
Kitty! Choc cheesecake delight
A sweet bridge too far?
And the next one, which I have entitled We’re Finished Lover, well I don’t know where this one came from!
Oh I tell I lie, whilst I was up in Edinburgh at the Book Festival I saw a little haiku book that caught my eye, it’s called Haiku for The Single Girl by Beth Griffenhagen, with wonderful illustrations by Cynthia Vehslage Meyers (Illustrator) so it inspired me to write this haiku:
We’re Finished Lover
Move an inch baby
Don’t dare cross that bridge sweetheart
We’re finished lover
Hope you enjoy my couple of haiku offerings this week. Haiku always make me smile, I hope they make you smile too.
Bye for now.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.
Think you can’t do something, think again. I admire the adventurous spirit so had to reblog this: Travel with Storytime with John – a guy with such a can do, positive attitude, whatever he has I want to steal some!
I often get emails, and messages from people – asking the same question – “how do you afford travel? Are you from a rich family? Do you have connections? Did you get some crazy compensation deal – and have decided to blow it all on roaming the world rather than making sound investments?!”
Well, no. No to all of those. I wish it was something as easy as being in a car accident – and getting free money, but it isn’t. It’s kind of like The Wizard of Oz…it looks like a spectacular vision until you see the cogs turning behind the curtain. Yes, the actual facts of the matter are a lot less glossy – and whilst this may be hard to take for some…I actually work.
Take my first major trip on my own, for example. My year abroad studying in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
For two years…
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