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OUP “Word of the Year”

Oxford University Press (OUP) has announced its ‘Oxford Word of the Year 2019’ and  ‘Climate Emergency.’ It was also no surprise to see the short list for the entire year was full of references to ‘Climate‘.

climate emergency

‘Climate Emergency’ saw an increase of 10,796% year on year increase in 2019. Others from the short list with high year on year increases include “Climate Action”  with 266%, “Climate Crisis” with 2,510% “Global Heating” with 18,358% “Eco-Anxiety” with 4,291% and “Ecocide” having an increase of 681%. There are other words too ‘Climate Denial’, ‘Eco-anxiety’, ‘Flight Shame’ and even ‘Extinction’.

2019 has seen a huge increase in awareness of climate change and the issues we, as the human race, and also wildlife are facing. As well as the most highly visible, older action groups such as GreenpeaceCeres and the WWF 2019 has seen the rise of the new kids on the block – Extinction Rebellion (Belated Happy 1st Birthday wishes), and activists such as @Greta Thunberg raising the awareness of the views of the youngest of the generations.

The Climate Emergency is swiftly moving at a pace where we will not, as a race, be able to reverse the damage which has been done in the decades preceding the current one. The next decade will see climate and ecological disruption at catastrophic levels and this will be as a result of ongoing Biodiversity Loss, Extreme Weather Events, Desertification, Crop Failure, Water Shortages, Rising Sea Levels and Wildfires.

These will in turn lead to disease, the displacement of millions of people, the increased risk of conflicts and wars and thus, have a major impact on the human rights of everyone affected by these negative events.

 

For a look at the full article on the Word of the Year and the shortlist check out the OUP website here.

For full up to date information on the Climate Emergency check out the Extinction Rebellion website here.

xtr

 

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Daily Writing Meme

eAnyone doing NaNoWriMo will totally understand this image, especially now we’re all 13 days in and may, or may not be meeting our targets. My desk doesn’t look quite as bad as this but I have a pile of text books and two notebooks of stuff I’m hoping to use within the project.  I’ve finally settled to how to balance my blog and my writing. I will do social media for a couple of hours every morning so I can keep up with what is going on out there and from lunchtime onwards will write continually until it’s time to prepare dinner in the evening. It has only taken me a number of stressful days to realise this and get my head sorted out – panic was starting to take over and I didn’t want 1 or the other of the 2 to not be done. If you’re doing NaNo 2019 good luck. If you’re not good luck with whatever you’re working on! Until next time! NN 🙂

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I’ve Been Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

I arrived back to Nattinatters HQ today to find my blog has been nominated for the ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’ by a writer whose writing and blog I greatly admire. PeterWynMosey’s short stories and daily writing challenges set by other bloggers and writers are of a very high standard which makes me wonder why he follows me and has nominated me for the award as I feel I still have a long way to go before my writing reaches his standard. Thank you Peter for nominating me regardless 🙂

To accept the nomination I have to

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog 
  • List the rules and display an award logo on blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Nominate 11 new blogs.
  • Ask nominees 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display an award logo on blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Nominate 11 new blogs.
  • Ask nominees 11 new questions

 

sunshine-blogger-award

 

MY ANSWERS TO PETER’S QUESTIONS

What is your favourite song, and when did you first hear it?

I have 2 and I wrote a blog post about favourite songs/lyrics not too long ago. Here’s a link to that post.

If you became the leader of the country that you live, what would be the first thing that you would change? 

There’s so much going on with this country right now (the United Kingdom). I’ve lost all faith in the politicians who are supposed to be running this country and are making a total hash of it. I have a list as long as my arm of things I’d love to change so things work in a more organised way and in a way the country can afford, but for me right at this minute whilst it should be to get Brexit done I would rather go to sleep at night knowing there are no UK residents without food, clothing or a safe and warm home. ( I personally voted to remain in the EU as I have a strong sense of ‘one world, one family)’. Whilst some may consider this a naive attitude, it’s really the only way humans will continue to thrive on this Earth. There cannot be any self-centredness. We are a race which is consuming at an alarming rate which is just not sustainable.

There is an uneven distribution of wealth and resources. I agree that those who are millionaires, billionaires, etc., may have worked hard to achieve their status and position, however, when exactly will they spend their millions and billions? Whilst there are people in abject poverty, and I include the disabled, children and families in the UK within this, there should be a corporate consortium or community alliance (or both) which will replace school breakfast clubs, food banks and other charities currently helping homeless, hungry or deprived children and families, and the disabled who are unable to work, with adequate housing, clothing and foods so no one should have to go without their very basic needs catered for. This is the 21st Century not the Victorian era of Oliver Twist’s “Please Sir, I want some more?” No thank you UK, get it sorted.

What is one item of clothing that you own that you would not want to part with?

I have a women’s Grey, round neck Waistcoat which I bought hurriedly when I saw it in a sale at Dotty P’s (Dorothy Perkins) several years ago. There are so many pictures of me throughout the years wearing it and I have no plans to throw it away yet. The thing which is great about it is that even if I am wearing a t-shirt under it I still look smart, plus it means I can wear one of my many vintage or funky brooches – right now it has a very large hand-knitted poppy because here in the UK it is Armistice Day.

How many countries have you ever visited?

I think seven. I went to France, Belgium and Holland on a school trip, Spain (Balearic Islands) in my very early twenties, the U.S.A (Philadelphia and New York; Upstate and NY,NY), Canada (Niagara Falls is best seen from the Canadian side), then Spain (Mallorca twice), Spain (Tenerife) and this Summer Spain, Italy and France as we did a cruise around the Mediterranean.

Books or e-readers?

Both. There is nothing which could replace the smell of new ink on new paper. Walking in to a book store instantly relaxes me as I feel at home, however I do love my Kindle. I have so many classics on there as well as contemporary and literary fiction and if I am going on a long journey I will take it with me as it’s not as thick or heavy as 2 thick paperbacks in the suitcase or hand luggage.

What is your favourite movie? Why?

I’m struggling to come up with just one favourite movie. If I had to strictly pick one it’d be Forrest Gump. It’s a clever premise, a man with lower than average intelligence who re-tells his life experiences during some of the most important events in the late twentieth century history of the United States of America. I find the story moving and funny but also feel it shows the best side of human nature. The clever editing-in of Forrest into these events is amusing too. Tom Hanks is my favourite actor so that’s a huge bonus for me too as I’ll watch pretty much anything with him in.

When and where do you do most of your writing?

I used to sit in the living room, either on the sofa with my laptop, in front of the telly, or at the dinner table, but hubby built me a writing and sewing studio so I’m over there most of the time now.

What has been a job that you have had that you have liked the least?

I worked in administration for a Government department. My original line manager was a bully, plus I found the work very boring and repetitive; it was like a conveyor belt; one finished, on to the next one, same processes, done, onto the next one…yawn. I just couldn’t handle it so I took a career break and finally (at 34) had the opportunity to go to University to study English Language (Linguistics). In order to start the degree I had to resign my position. It was such a hard decision (not!)

What does your morning ritual look like?

I wake up, hubby does coffee and breakfast for the cat then for both of us; I have a glass of almond milk and a small pot of nuts; with the change in the weather I think I’m going to start having the milk warmed. I then shower, dress, and depending on if I have any appointments will either do my hair or not or put on make-up or not; usually when I’m in my studio all day writing I don’t bother with either; my hair goes back in a band so it’s out of my face and I stick my glasses on.

Do you often remember your dreams when you wake up?

Yes, quite often as most of them are on the weird side.

What would be one piece of advice you would give to someone starting a blog?

Try to read every day and write every day. I’ve not been doing this too long and it’s so easy for life to get in the way. Read other blogs, like, comment and network to build your following as well as other bloggers as they’ll be grateful for every single one.

MY NOMINATIONS

blankpagesofmine

Roxi St Clair

Refresh Her

All Things Tudor

Wandering Ambivert

To Write Or Not To Write and What To Write

You Are Enough

A Real Lady Drinks Whiskey

The Alchemist’s Studio

Fictive Dream

Soul Writing Project

MY 11 QUESTIONS TO MY NOMINEES

  1. If you could close your eyes, wish to be anywhere, and when you opened your eyes, be there, where would that place be? Why?
  2. Thoughts on the plastics polluting our oceans and ideas for resolution?
  3. Who was your favourite teacher in secondary school (UK) high school (U.S) and why?
  4. How would you politely end a conversation with a person who won’t stop talking?
  5. Have you ever eaten food past it’s ‘Sell By’ or ‘Use By’ date?
  6. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
  7. If you could ask your pet 3 questions what would you ask them? If you don’t have a pet, ask a farm or a wild animal instead.
  8. It’s the start of a Zombie Apocalypse. You can only take the first 5 things you touch with any part of your body. What will they be?
  9. What is your favourite book? Why?
  10. You’re told you are going to cook for 4 celebrities. What will you cook and for who?
  11. Charles Dickens or Charlotte Bronte?

Well, that’s my nomination accepted, thanks again Peter 🙂

sunshine-blogger high quality

 

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Back with a…little bang…?

Hey! I went again didn’t I? I had a slight blip and fell in to a little bit of a dark hole. I then realised my plans to be fully prepped for the start of Nanowrimo 2019 on 1st November were slipping but I managed to semi sort my head out and wrote well at the start, however my son and his girlfriend came to visit for a few days and all research and writing went out of the window. As we’d not seen them for 8-9 months I wanted to be fully present.

I’d organised a surprise bonfire and sparklers for the 6th and cooked baked tatties, bangers and beans. On 7th we went to a photography studio for a 1 hour session of a mix of casual and smart shots. As we’d had no portrait sittings since late Summer 2005 it was great to know we’d have a new collection. The reason behind my wish for new pictures is because since my older sister had a major stroke a week before her 50th birthday this May, and with my 50th next Summer, I’ve become more aware of my own mortality and I’d want there to be recent pictures of us all together. I lost my Dad in 2005 and the only picture I could find of him with me was on my wedding day 12 1/2 years earlier. I’d asked for shots of Hubby and I, Hubby and I with our son, both individually and with both of us, and then some shots with his girlfriend included. They then had a few of them on their own. I am so excited and cannot wait to see the results when the photographer sends me a sneak preview and then posts me the disc with the rest on. Janine was fantastic with all of us. We were all feeling more than a bit awkward but she’s very bright and cheerful and got us all laughing and we all really enjoyed ourselves. Here’s a link to her Fleet Photographics Facebook Page. While we were back in Cambridgeshire we visited an old friend (she’s not old, I’ve just known her since she was 4!). We didn’t get back to Norfolk until late.

Nat and Gary

On Friday we all had a chilled day. I spent the time reading the pile of research books I have to help my Nano project along; I’m striving for authenticity and I’m hoping having researched my subject that it’ll show.

On Saturday it was hubby’s birthday and we celebrated with a trip to the cinema to see ‘Joker’ and then went to an American-style diner ‘Fatso’s’. I wasn’t sure about ‘Joker’. I’ve never seen ‘The Dark Knight’ where Heath Ledger portrays, what so many people insist is the best Joker characterisation ever and wondered if I should wait until after watching The Dark Knight before seeing ‘Joker’. As hubby wanted to see it while it was still in the cinemas we all went to see that. I have to say Joaquin Phoenix’ is fantastic as Joker and blew me away! If he doesn’t get at least an Oscar nomination there is something very wrong with those nominating.

So my sunshine left Norfolk 5 hours ago and after a grocery shop I’m here to let you all know I am HERE! I am BACK and I’m going to be hitting Nano full throttle. As I set myself the challenge of writing 60K words in place of the usual 50K (yes I am as mad as that seems) my daily word count should be around 2,300 – 3,000 words per day…Until next time! NN 🙂

 

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Daily Writing Meme

I found this and it’s hugely inspirational, especially as tomorrow is the beginning of #NaNoWriMo. For us fiction writers, I’d guess the majority know that #NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, but I discovered the other day there are a few people who do not know. The briefest explanation is it is a commitment/challenge for writers to complete a 50,000 word novel draft. There are non-fiction writers who do use the site now to give them a target to work towards.

The hardest thing when I write is to go without editing as I go. It’s something I’ve always done – which is why I’ve probably never had a book published as it’s just never good enough and I think if left alone I’d continue editing until I edit the story out of the story!

Anyway, for all you writers out there; Pantsers,Planners or Plantsers, who are committing to the 30 days of writing Good Luck! See you on the other side! Until next time! NN 🙂

 

Write

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Word of the Day #27

Today’s Word is ‘Irrational’ and today’s dictionary is Lexico.com

irrational

ADJECTIVE

Not logical or reasonable.

‘irrational feelings of hostility’
1.Not endowed with the power of reason.
‘Whenever you encounter a system that seems so irrational, you should ponder what’s going on beneath the surface.’
‘Man is an irrational being, morals are irrational, and have no metaphysical foundation which make them “real” or worth paying any attention to.’

 

2.Mathematics
(of a number, quantity, or expression) not expressible as a ratio of two integers, and having an infinite and non-recurring expansion when expressed as a decimal. Examples of irrational numbers are the number π and the square root of 2.

NOUN

Mathematics

  • An irrational number or quantity; a surd.

Origin

Late Middle English from Latin irrationalis, from in- ‘not’ + rationalis (see rational).

Pronunciation

irrational

/ɪˈraʃ(ə)n(ə)l/

SYNONYMS
unreasonable, illogical, groundless, baseless, unfounded, unjustifiable, unsound
absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous, silly, foolish, senseless, nonsensical, laughable, idiotic, stupid, wild
untenable, implausible, unscientific, arbitrary
informal crazy, mad
British informal barmy, daft
North American informal backasswards
ANTONYMS

rational, logical

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Creative Writing Challenge – Use these words in a story: grandfather, photo album, post office, and folder

Today was the day I’d been dreading for over a month. Grandfather had died five weeks ago and after the funeral was finally over just three short days ago it was time for us all to meet at the solicitor’s office for the reading of his will.

I didn’t much want to go, for it was unlikely he’d be bestowing much on me, as I’d disappeared for several years, which I won’t go into now, but I had my reasons. That does sound melodramatic and even stereotypical but that is what it is or was.

The smell which greeted us all as we made our way in through the hallway and up the grumbling staircase was one of age; that incredibly musty, trapped-in-history smell, of papers and folders ceiling-high in what you’d hope; if for the secretaries even if for no one else, was an organised state of disorganisation.

My brother was huffing impatiently, checking his watch about every ten seconds to see if time had moved on far enough for him to get back to work. His hands anxiously scraping through his hair when he saw only a matter of seconds had passed.

Dad had passed away eleven years ago and so everything he would have inherited was likely to be shared between us three siblings. As I said I’m not sure I’ll be included now as I feel it’ll be a case of ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ and if I had been left anything Ian and Charlie were sure to contest it for years.

Mr Benjamin stood in the doorway of his office and called the five of us in. Mum made it her duty to get there first, so she was right under his nose. She was expecting a percentage of something from Dad’s inheritance too, claiming that as his ex-wife he should or would have made provision for her in her old age too. Why is what I want to know. She did the dirty on him and flew off into the world with the alleged love of her life, although he was not but strangely, she didn’t realise that had been Dad until he died. Families are strange things.

I sat at the back and let Uncle Matthew sit at the front with Mum and Ian. I wanted to be invisible, or ethereal, ghost-like. I felt that I should have stayed at home and just hear from Mr Benjamin when this was over. Charlie was not here, and Mr Benjamin mirrored Ian’s earlier actions, obviously anxious to start. He shuffled his papers, read a few lines then glanced back up, checked his watch, doublechecking with the ancient wall clock the time was correct. Giving a rasping sigh he looked up at the clock one final time before clearing his throat and beginning.

Half an hour later we all left the office confused and there was a hum of discussion which had been lacking prior to the appointment, although Charlie was hissing at Mum as she had scolded him for arriving late. There was precious little in the estate. Apparently, Grandfather had sold or mortgaged everything years ago and there were several legal commitments concerning those which would leave a big, fat zero.

For me, there was no disappointment as I had expected nothing. The one thing which had been bequeathed to me left me more confused than everyone else as it was something palpable, real. A photograph album. It was in the back-sitting room at the house and I was to collect it before tomorrow evening.

We all travelled to a swish restaurant for a meal which had already been paid by Grandfather. Mum was mouthing off at why Grandfather had left nothing and her entitlement to at least some of the non-existent estate. I had the feeling she had been relying on it for her own retirement. She’d just have to find some other man to jet off into the sunset with.

These family meals were a joke. There was no sense of family; no concern for the other parties despite the blood connection, no interest in each other’s lives, relationships or circumstances. Sad for others, but I have no remorse; left all the sentimental slush back far beyond the customary glimpse from the rear-view mirror. I was glad when everyone skipped dessert for coffees and even happier when the evening was over.

I jumped in a taxi with the briefest of goodbyes to everyone. There was nothing left to say; had been precious little over an uncomfortable dinner saturated with stilted, insincere conversation. Not wanting to return to my hotel room straight away I asked the driver to drop me outside some houses in a street I knew. Turning as if entering one of them I watched as the taxi pulled away and as soon as he was out of sight I turned and headed through the alley to the side of the terraces which led to the river.

Sitting on a bench in the darkness seems a crazy thing to do but I knew this town and the immediate vicinity very well. On the other side of the river was the land which led directly up to the mansion I would visit for the last time tomorrow.

My thoughts returned to my Grandfather, a man who had been kind, loving and even fun until the day everything changed for the entire family; the day Grandfather was at the centre of a voyeurism accusation and, despite his denials over a lengthy period of time, was discredited and with a full case of evidence found in the cellar, found guilty and sent to prison for fifteen months.

The scandal led to familial disgrace and many of us were assaulted, humiliated and suffered allegations and degradation to the basest of levels. I lost my friends, my boyfriend, had my hair pulled out in clumps at school and found excrement every night at the bottom of my bed until I’d been caught smearing it into the pillows of the three girls I knew had been responsible and had been suspended and sent home, which was the place I least wanted to be.

I must have fallen asleep as I was suddenly wide awake as could hear loud singing coming in my direction. Partygoers; lucky them. I stood and walked back through the alley to the terraces. My hotel was a short walk on the same side of the road, and I made my way quickly toward it, sighing with relief when I entered the warm, bright reception area.

Why do tomorrows approach so fast? It was already the morning and the alarm on my mobile phone was singing to me. I covered my head with the pillow but eventually admitted defeat and leant over to switch off the screeching 1990s track which I used to force me out of sleep. I wasn’t looking forward to today, apart from the taxi ride which would take me back out of here in the middle of the day, and sooner if I could do it. Collecting a photograph album from the mansion wasn’t going to take me long and I had no plans for a sickly-sweet plan to reminisce.

Arriving at the mansion I was met by Walter, who had been Grandfather’s assistant forever. We had all known the relationship between them was closer than implied; but in a time where acceptance wasn’t the watch word, they’d preferred to spurn recognition.

I hugged Walter briefly and he followed me to the rear sitting room. There was a tray with two large mugs of tea and an open tin of Family Circle biscuits on the coffee table. I smiled for the first time in quite a while. Walter used to save the smiley face, jam and cream-filled biscuits in a separate tub just for me and if I’d not visited for a while there’d usually be a whole tub of smiles waiting for me. The joy I felt at someone doing something so simple but perfect for me was cute and I felt understood like nobody ever had before.

We sat for half an hour. Walter was interested in me, my life and I opened up a little, shared some of what had been going on in New York. He then reached over to the side table, picked up the photograph album and passed it to me. Turning over the cover I saw my Grandfather and I in a number of natural, non-posed pictures. I was smiling or giggling in every one of them. As I turned the pages I saw more of the same and the silly tears formed and escaped my eyes leaving a long trail of salt down my cheeks. I desperately wanted to leave but felt obligated to stay for Walter’s sake.

The last page had a document tucked into the space between the sticky clear cover and board base of the page. It was the deeds to the mansion. They were in Walter’s name. I smiled through the tears, glad that the man who had devoted his life to Grandfather even when life had gone bad was being acknowledged now.

There was another document with the deeds. A sealed envelope addressed to my New York apartment. Walter took the document, telling me I was not to read the document until after my return and that Grandfather had left strict instructions the document was to be posted once I’d received the photo album.

Thanking Walter for his care I made plans to leave. He offered to drive me into town to save me calling for a taxi. After all he had to go to the Post Office to send the envelope to my home.

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Creative Writing Challenge – Go to your chosen music streaming app. Set it to play on random. Write a story about the first song that comes up. (250 words or less)

A Town Called Malice

The building was abandoned; left empty by the previous owners, but the yard was full; rust-covered milk floats, discarded crate mountains, dust-covered and cobwebbed milk bottles.

The whole town had a frigid atmosphere, disapprobation carried on the breeze; no disapproval towards its occupants for chaotic afflictions over which they had no control.

This once bright, prosperous and busy borough now dulled as if touched by an artist with grey-wash; a shadow of its former self; memories of lines of boiled sheets and smalls, neighbourhood chatters and calls, kids on their bikes or playing hopscotch or marbles in the streets; gone with the factories, which like dominoes falling, closed one by one until all which remained was an ensemble of skeletal steelworks, a rarely-used bus depot and the discarded rail tracks, for there were very few visitors now.

The remaining residents lived a traditional British way of life; roast beef and ‘Yorkshires’ on Sundays, Chips and scraps Fridays and hand-me-downs while week-in, week-out Dad went to the pub pissing ‘it’ up the wall.

But while I watch the kids slide and zip and swing; there’s laughter on the breeze and hope with pride and humour.

A Town Called Malice – Facts 

This was a song by a band called ‘The Jam’. Their lead singer was Paul Weller and it was he who wrote the song. It was released in February 1982 and debuted at number 1.♣ If you don’t know of the song then checkout the video. Video of ‘A Town Called Malice’ by The Jam

Paul Weller has said that it was written about his hometown Woking, as a result of his teenage experiences there, described by ‘The Guardian’s Greg Freeman on 

 […] the grey commuter town that Weller grew up in. As a railway junction its sole benefit seemed to be – and maybe still is – the availability of a fast train to London.

although earlier described by Freeman that the song lyric was ‘a direct result of his dissatisfaction with the way the band was working as a three-piece’.♠

The lyrics for the song are as follows:

Better stop dreaming of the quiet life, ’cause it’s the one we’ll never know
And quit running for that runaway bus ’cause those rosy days are few
And stop apologizing for the things you’ve never done
‘Cause time is short and life is cruel but it’s up to us to change
This town called malice
Rows and rows of disused milk floats stand dying in the dairy yard
And a hundred lonely housewives clutch empty milk bottles to their hearts
Hanging out their old love letters on the line to dry
It’s enough to make you stop believing when tears come fast and furious
In a town called malice, yeah
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba
Struggle after struggle, year after year
The atmosphere’s a fine blend of ice, I’m almost stone cold dead
In a town called malice, ooh yeah
A whole street’s belief in Sunday’s roast beef
Gets dashed against the Co-op
To either cut down on beer or the kid’s new gear
It’s a big decision in a town called malice, ooh yeah
The ghost of a steam train, echoes down my track
It’s at the moment bound for nowhere
Just going round and round, oh
Playground kids and creaking swings
Lost laughter in the breeze
I could go on for hours and I probably will
But I’d sooner put some joy back
In this town called malice, yeah
In this town called malice, yeah
In this town called malice, ooh yeah

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Paul Weller. A Town Called Malice © Universal Music Publishing Group

♣ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 405–6. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

♠ Freeman, Greg (2012) ‘Old music: The Jam – A Town Called Mallice’ [online] Available at ‘https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2012/apr/05/jam-town-called-malice’

 

textual-analysis-town-called-malice-1-638
Slideshot.net
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Daily Creative Writing Challenge 1 Re-write a classic fairy tale

All challenges for this month’s Daily Creative Writing Challenge are from thinkwritten.com – at least I think they are. I’ve done the horrible thing of saving a list and not copying and pasting the originator’s web address to it. <Hold wrists out for the slap!> However, I do have some 365 days challenges in the exact format by thinkwritten.com so I’m assuming they’re from the same source. Apologies to them, to you if it’s your list and not theirs (please let me know so I can edit with correct details).

A Fairy Tale for the Modern Age

Everything was dull and blue-grey; like an artist had painted a beautiful coloured picture and then given it a thin wash with the water from the rinsing jar. It was wet too, had been raining all night. Her bum was numb and damp, her hands were cold and while she wasn’t shivering, she wasn’t far off it.

Shifting her weight to one side she grabbed the wheelie bin she’d squeezed in next to late last night; the bin hut the only place she’d been able to find which looked half dry. Lifting the lid, she double-checked in the muted daylight for anything she may have missed when searching it in the orange-tinged half-light. No, only the greasy pizza box, slung in angrily when she’d discovered it only held a cold cheese string and two thin-as-you-like pizza crusts with scalloped edging where they’d been scoffed by someone earlier that night. They’d been her sole meal yesterday and her stomach gurgled and groaned as it played its rebuke.

ev-IWJH-l-vb4k-unsplash
Photo by Ev on Unsplash

Squatting down between the bin hut and fence she quickly checked no one was around then pulled down her jeans and pants. Oh, the bliss of an empty bladder after a long night. It steamed in the cold as it left her body, cooling as it met the puddle of cold rainwater. She drip-dried, giving her undercarriage a quick wipe and then pulling up her pants and jeans wiped the hand down the back of the leg to dry it.

Unzipping her jacket, she took a swig from the water bottle, then reached down for the grubby rucksack she carried with her. Taking out a very worn toothbrush she brushed her teeth, then taking another sip of water ran it around her mouth and spat it out. Pushing the brush back to one side of the sack she zipped it up, repeating the same action with her jacket after returning the water bottle. No single-use plastics here. That bottle had been used for at least a fortnight now; topped up from the water tap in the public loos just off King Edward Street Bus Station.

Turning she thanked the bin hut quietly for its’ shelter last night then began to walk. The sounds of life had begun while she’d been freshening up; the cacophony of the human life, played out in birdsong, radios, televisions and the busy roads around the suburb. Marigold had no destination, and the start was so far away now she could see no way back.

A garden gate opened, and a man appeared. Busy tucking his shirt into his trousers as he walked to the car, he didn’t see her. She ducked behind the garden wall she’d just passed; didn’t want to be seen. He found his car keys, unlocked the car and called out towards the gate.

‘Shelly! I’m gonna be late!’

‘Alright! I’m coming Bob. Darius, make sure you lock up properly before school!’ She appeared rolling her eyes and forcing what looked like a sandwich bag into the top of her handbag. Leaving the gate, she quickly got into the car and they drove off.

Marigold squatted back down, squinting through the small gap left by the slightly open gate. As she peered through, she could see a young boy, about 10 or 11, rinsing something in the sink. She thought it strange that kitchen windows always seemed to look in onto sinks. Or, maybe it was that standing at the sink you could see the pile of rubbish across the matchbox-sized piece of dust; the only thing which appeared to have grown in this garden.

The door opened and the boy turned to close it. His mobile phone rang, and as he answered it, carried on walking, not noticing the door was closed but the catch had not fully engaged.

She waited for a full ten minutes in case he came back or that someone else would notice the door, but realised it was so nearly closed she was probably the only person who was aware. Straightening up she strode confidently through the gate, attempting to give off an air of belonging and ownership. Closing the gate behind her, she made her way straight to the door. It was open; only because the brushes surrounding it were new and hadn’t relaxed fully; they made a loud swishing sound as she opened the door. She stepped in, closed the door and stood in the silence enjoying the stillness.

Living on the streets was hard, but it was also noisy. Depending where she could find to stay would depend on if she was woken by a very rare glimpse of a milk truck ‘whatever happened to milk floats?’, the dustbin lorry and its’ respective bin men, or just the increasing hustle and bustle as the city awoke and its’ people began their days.

The house smelt strange; a combination of a musky perfume, a mustardy smell and a sugary-sweet odour. She could also smell and see freshly laundered clothes and towels; that smell reminiscent of Mum and the constant piles of laundry she dealt with; her joking she was scaling iron mountain for the afternoon and if she didn’t return to send the mountain rescue.

Marigold looked cautiously up the stairs and took them slowly and quietly in case there was an unknown occupant of the house she didn’t know about. The landing was dark but there were only 4 doors on it; 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and, opening the smaller door, the airing cupboard; now empty of the hot water tank it was stuffed full of toys, games, blankets and coats. That meant no one else was here. Breathing a huge sigh of relief, she quickly but carefully opened the other doors to confirm to herself she was alone. All the rooms were empty, although there was a startled, fluffy, black cat in the middle of the very large bed in the parent’s room.

Making her way into the bathroom she stripped in record time, ran the shower and stepped under it. Soaping herself all over and shampooing her hair felt blissful. The soapy water rinsing from her body to the bottom of the bath was grey-brown.

She found clean knickers in the bottom of the rucksack, put them on and . the dirty pair into a plastic bag she had there for that purpose. Slipping on a clean vest top she then pulled her jeans and jacket back on.

The sun was now shining as she made her way back to the kitchen. These people had left their breakfast in all stages of being eaten; like a bomb had gone off and they’d run for shelter; as if time had stood still. There was a plate with half-eaten toast; slathered in butter and marmalade, a bowl full of soggy chocolate shapes and another full of thick brown sludge, which she thought was claggy muesli. The toast rack was full, and the milk jug, butter, marmalade and open boxes of cereal were left where they’d been set down.

She sat down at the edge of one of the chairs, scared of leaving any dirt or grease behind. Helping herself to chocolate cereal she poured in a little milk and realised she didn’t have a spoon. She spat on the cleanest of the 2 spoons, cleaned it off on her vest then ate the cereal at break-neck speed. She buttered all the toast, added marmalade to half of it and bagged it in another sandwich bag.

Still anxious she’d be discovered but wanting to offer thanks for the shower and meal, she tidied the table and found the homes for everything. Running hot water into the sink she then washed everything and left it to drain, finishing by wiping the table.

Going back to the larder unit she added individually wrapped chocolate biscuits, a couple of packets of crisps and after adding them to her rucksack popped in a couple of bananas and apples from the fruit bowl, which looked as though they were more for decoration than for selecting to eat.

Checking around she smiled at the tidy scene in front of her. On a post-it note she wrote in large, clear handwriting.

Thank you for breakfast. I’ve cleaned up and will ensure the door is locked as I leave. Goldi x’

blogging, Daily Challenge, Doing IT!, Journal Prompts, thought of the day, Uncategorized, Writer's Prompts, Writing

Daily Challenge

Today’s challenge again comes from kat-xx on tumblr.

Seven Things That Cross Your Mind A Lot  

  1. Mortality – My family members and my own. I’m 49 and have an elderly Mum and Stepdad, my husband is coming up 58, I have an older sister – 50, and 2 younger sisters – 41 and 45.  Thinking about mortality has become a thing in the last couple of years but even more so this year.

My Mum has had one problem after another in the last few years and we’ve nearly lost her twice. Having been recently diagnosed with heart failure my mind is always wondering how much long she’ll live for, as for her age she’s very fragile. I saw her this morning and she was very tired and kept dropping off to sleep on and off throughout the 90 odd minutes we were there.

mortality
Picture from Time.com

Just over a week before her 50th my sister had a stroke. She’s recovering well and is back at work but you can see differences in her since it happened and as I’m only 13 months younger than her it does make me wonder if there’s something on the horizon for me., although 2019 has been a better health year for me. I made a conscious effort to make changes to my diet and lifestyle and follwed an 800 calorie a day eating plan which reversed my tpe 2 diabetes. A great side effect of the eating plan was that I’ve lost 2 clothes sizes and in total 22 and 1/4 inches from my thighs, hips, tum, chest and spare tyre. It’s the visceral fat I was hoping would reduce and it’s certainly majorly reduced. I feel much better in myself too. Thankfully, my husband has supported me (he always does) and he’s also lost weight and visceral fat.

2. Writing – ..and all that entails. I have days where I get a lot of ideas and days where I get no ideas at all. Like my thoughts on my Writing Meme today Writing Meme #10 I usually do a writing exercise using randomly generated words. The best one I’ve found is Text Fixer as they offer other tools, including a doc. to html facility.

3. Our Son – He’s 24 and lives on the south coast. He’s currently going through some difficult times and with him being so far away (we’re on the East coast) I’m always conscious that if there were an emergency it’d take us 3 1/2 hours non-stop (with no traffic) to reach him. Thankfully, there are no urgent needs right now. I’d love him to live closer though so I could be within a short drive or train ride.

4. The U.K and it’s future – You’d have to have been living on another planet the last 3 years if you didn’t know about the U.K, the referendum on whether we should leave or remain the European Union and the subsequent fallout. Two new Prime Ministers later and we’re no further firward but stuck in the mud with no deal for leaving amicably and ever worsening relations within our own parliament and with Europe and its’ leaders.

uk brexit

5. Pollution/Global Warming – I wrote about my feelings regarding the plastic pollution issue only yesterday within the post I wrote to accept my nomination for The Liebster Award 2019.

I’m frightened every day for the future of my son and his children and grandchildren. There are so many extreme weather occurrences happening, believed to be caused directly by global warming; the continued use of fossil fuels releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide & greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and I have huge concerns regarding the deforestation of large areas to keep up with the increase in demands for palm oil – these farms are wiping out huge areas of oxygen-releasing trees – those trees which act as the lungs of the Earth. They’re also killing Orangutans whose habitats have been destroyed to make way for the palm oil farms. With nowhere else to go these animals then enter villages and oil plantations in search of food where they are then capture killed by the farmers who treat them as pests. The area destroyed to make room for palm oil farming now equals the size of New Zealand.Global_warming

The current Amazon forest fires are adding to this concern in a major way, especially this year; The increased rates of fire counts in 2019 led to international concern about the fate of the Amazon rainforest, which is the world’s largest carbon dioxide sink and plays a significant role in global climate change. Added to that continuing plastic production, plastic pollution, most-especially affecting our oceans and marine life to the extent the reefs are dying and many species are dying or failing to thrive. This then impacts the food chain of many countries and there’ll be higher incidences of famine.

There’s a great post from last summer by the Earth Institute, click Climate Change and the picture below illutstrates all of the areas at risk.

Elements at risk from Global Warming
Picture from USA Today

 

6. Inequality for the disabled (including lack of access and facilities). I get so frustrated when I’m out using my wheelchair. There are still so many places which remain inaccessible to the disabled. A wooden ramp costs just pence in the grand scheme of things so businesses with older buildings should be able to provide a ramp if a disabled person wishes to use their shop/cafe/restaurant/pub/office/conference room/etc.

I booked on to a conference and after paying for my ticket thought I better check the accessibility for the buiding. I was horrified to find the conference was taking place in a first floor conference room and there were no options for disabled attendees. In the end they hurriedly arranged a Skype link so I could hear the conference and join in. They apologised because they’d just not considered the needs of anyone disabled who may wish to attend.

wheelchair-and-stairs

I was in town with a friend and we decided to use a restaurant. My friend had to step in and ask if they had a ramp. They managed to bring one from the back of the restaurant and get me inside but due to wanting maximum covers there was just no room for my friend and I to sit comfortably without my being knocked every time the waiter or other patrons walked by.

I don’t want this to sound like it’s all about me as I’m not the only person who is in need of this access and these facilities. Some places are so disabled user friendly these days but I don’t want to always be using modern, clinical buildings. I want a bit of atmosphere and history. I would like inclusivity. It’s not asking for the world but just a bit more of consideration for all.

7. Food – As I already said I changed my way of eating earlier this year. As a type 2 diabetic – now in remission – I am still a carb addict and I have to deal with the addiction every day. I fall off the wagon and eat a bread roll, or the odd (large) box or bucket of popcorn but am trying to get to grips with it and keep things under control.

popcorn

I’m not proud to say  that I’m struggling a little at the moment. I haven’t gone mad (apart from the popcorn) but a little dirty carb (things made from refined flours  i.e bread, crackers, cakes, pastries, and sugars i.e cakes and pastries, sweets/candy, and also those carbohydrate meal accompaniments such as rice, pasta, potatoes, noodles),  are making their way slowly back in to my life.

The maintenance part of my new way of eating (WOE) is to gradually introduce some dirty carbs back into the eating plan, however I am supposed to still be following an 8-12 week plan. Whilst my BMI is only 0.4 points from a weight considered to be ‘normal’ I still have a further 4 inches to lose from my waist in order to be considered at a lower risk of slipping back in to diabetes. With 8 inches gone already the last 4 should be easy but it’s getting harder, especially with the weather turning cooler and the nights drawing in. These are the days of thick soups, stews with dumplings and casseroles, where salad becomes scarce or looks odd on your plate.

Thankfully, I’ve only been eating a form of dirty carb at lunch time (2 slices of milk loaf or 4 crackers). At dinner time my carb substitute is either a salad or cauliflower rice with other steamed veggies. I think I may have to swap out the dirty carbs at lunchtime so I can have a single dumpling or yorkshire pudding with my dinner.

What sort of things cross your mind? Are mine normal? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts. Until next time! NN 🙂

 

blogging, Random Thoughts, thought of the day, Writing

Ready to write

It’s been a busy time here and I’ve not been able to get around to writing this blog or posts over on my Facebook page. After just over 5 months since we got the keys, the newly-built orangery is finished and the whole living area is now decorated and the floor is down. We’ve been able to unpack our Books, DVDs, CDs and ornaments. Sunday and Monday felt as though we were moving again as all the boxes were brought up from the garage! I was so excited.

Unpacking is a reintroduction to those items you’ve saved as they’re special for one reason or another and it’s amazing how those things we collect can help a space feel like home. I feel so much more settled and comfortable with our things around us.

This all means I can now sit somewhere and write (until my studio is completed – which will probably be in a couple of months as other things have to take priority).

I have 4 pieces of work on the go. 2 are book-length prose (1 chic lit and 1 9-11 children’s book) and 2 are for writing competitions which end in May and June. Time to sit at the keyboard and put one word after another until all 4 are done…easy and hard but exciting!

blogging, Writing

Tallest Structures in the World 2019

This post is a little tongue in cheek. Mr NN posted the below image to my personal Facebook wall this morning. He’s the man having to look at the stack of books by my bedside – all are there because they’re at the top of the most wanting to read list – the rest are either still in boxes from the move or not bought yet (my ‘Amazon’ wishlist grows longer as my ‘Goodreads’ list does!).

Anyway, as I’m so full of great ideas I thought it’d be great to work out how tall my book pile would be (on average) based on the ‘Books I Want to Read’ on my ‘Goodreads’ account. The list is currently at 644. It does include those on my bedside stack of 12 but not the 2 books I’m currently reading.

tallest structures

I measured the stack first. This is 12 inches (0.4m). The 2 books I’m reading total 4 inches (total 16 inches =0.4m).

I’m not great at maths. I can do basic arithmetic but I get myself in to all sorts of bother emotionally and lose any sense of humour at breakneck speed when I’m trying to be smart. That’s when I call Mr NN as he’s so much better at it than I am.

This morning I’m on my own so apologies if you read this and come to the conclusion that I’m dumb. I would be grateful if you could share the correct answer if I’m completely wrong.

I think I need to divide the 644 books by the average height of the 14 books (16 inches), thus I get a figure of 40.25. I then multiply 16 inches by 40.25, which gives a height of

I gave up…As you can see I’m rubbish at maths!

To make this easier on myself I decided to base my calculation on the fact that the stack of 12 books (of varying thickness) measured a smidgen over 12 inches so I could just calculate how many feet my books structure would be on that average of 1 inch per book. Thus 644 books would measure 644 inches which, when divided by 12 equals 53.67 feet. I’ll round the figure up to 54 feet just to simplify the figure. Converting this to metres and it totals 16.46 m

The buildings on the image hubby shared are (Left to RIght) :-

My book pile 16.46m

Burj Kalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) – official height 828m, or 830m to tip,

Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Shi, China – official height 632m,

Abraj Al-Bait Towers, Mecca, Saudi Arabia – official height including spires 601m,

One World Trade Centre, New York, U.S.A – 541m, or 546m to tip,

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan – 509m,

Shanghai World Financial Centre, Shanghai Shi, China – 492m

International Commerce Centre (ICC) in Hong Kong – 484m

Petronas Towers, Malaysia – 375m

It’s been an interesting hour! To extend this further I’d like to include how many books I’d need in a pile/stack to reach the heights of those buildings and towers. Back to maths then <rolls eyes> Thankfully Mr NN is now around so whilst I have done some calculations, I’m not completely confident they’re right so I’m just going to have him double-check.

As we know my book pile – of 644 books is 16.46m

Burj Kalifa – 830m (to tip) totals 32,474 books (Hubby calculates based on 40 books per metre a total of 33,200 books – I’ll use his way of calculating just to make this easier!)

Shanghai Tower – 25,280 books,

Abraj Al-Bait – 24,040 books,

One World Trade Centre – 21,840 books,

Taipei 101 – 20,360 books,

Shanghai World Financial Centre – 19,680 books,

International Commerce Centre – 19,360 books, and finally,

Petronas Towers – 15,000 books.

I’m starting to wonder if I have too much time on my hands!

If you got to here – thanks for sticking with me! Enjoy the rest of your day. Until next time! NN

Uncategorized

30 Day Challenge – Day 5 – Five Places You Want to Visit

My first thought is only five? I would happily travel the world for the rest of my life if I could as there is so much beauty on this planet! There is also ugliness, caused by man, sadly, and I don’t think the current middle-aged-onwards generation gives a d*mn about it. I know this is a contentious issue and there are those who would say that they, and everyone they know, love this planet and are doing everything they can to reduce pollution, etc, etc,.

This post isn’t about that though so I’m leaving it to lie here in the nether regions of the world wide web to be raked over at some point in the future. What this post is about then…5 places I want to visit (and preferably before all that nastiness above occurs! 😉 )

1) Hawaii – I partially blame Elvis Presley for this. Then I blame James A. Michener. For whatever reason/s I have had a lifelong fascination with this particular archipelago and feel I have to visit before I die (or have at least half of my ashes scattered there if the unspeakable happens before that). Elvis singing the Hawaiian wedding song during Blue Hawaii makes me float off into a world of brightly coloured leis, ukuleles, steel guitars, cocktails, sand and palm trees. James A. Michener, however, stoked my interest in the history of the islands – the legends of the early settlers (Bora Bora/French Polynesian migrants I think), and the migrants from East Asia, looking to work on the sugar cane and pineapple plantations. Hubby thinks I’ve built up this perfect, fantastical image in my head and that if I ever get there that I’ll be disappointed. For me, the journey would be one of curiosity and discovery though and I’m prepared to be open minded.

 

2) Machu Picchu – I want to visit here because it looks so beautiful, so peaceful and full of history! I would find the terraces and ruins fascinating.  For me it’s likely to be impossible to visit due to my mobility issues but it’s still high on the list of wants.

3) Egypt – I know so many people who would like to travel around Egypt. It seems to ignite so many imaginations and offers a blend of romanticism and adventure. I wonder whether everyone should club together financially and just fly over, hire transport, a local guide and book accomodation as a group. No visit would be complete without seeing Cairo, the Great Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, Abu Simbel and Luxor Temples, a gentle cruise down the Nile…basically everywhere it would be possible to visit!

4) The U.S.A – I’m being greedy with this one! I have this wonderful idea of spending 6-12 months travelling coast to coast U.S – stopping at so many places along the way – it’d be a zig-zag and not a straight A to B (L.A to New York for instance). At the top of my list are Seattle – I have friends there and I need to visit the grave of my late long-term friend and penpal to place flowers there in her memory as I sadly couldn’t get over for her funeral. I then have a list an arm long; San Francisco, L.A, Denver, Dallas and Austin, Texas, Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, Oklahoma, the Smoky Mountains, New Orleans, Florida, New York (beautiful state and city), Washington D.C, Charleston, Nashville and Memphis (especially Graceland) to name just a few! I’d be contacting friends in those areas for meet-ups while I was there too!

5) New Zealand – As this is my 5th choice I just had to go with NZ rather than Australia, mainly because it’s smaller and there are no poisonous beasties there! I’d love to see a Maori welcome on an organised visit to a marae so that I could experience the culture, traditions and arts. I’d also want to visit Kaikoura to witness the marine life there. Sites where Lord of The Rings were filmed is also on the list. The landscape looks breathtaking in its beauty on film, television or online but I can guess that the real vistas in full, glorious colour would be awe-inspiring.

For me, as well as history and culture of all of these places, my interest is the food and drink. As a foodie I’d be willing to try any food in every of the countries I would visit. Sadly, hubby would probably struggle, although in Machu Picchu he’d probably be ok given that potato is still a staple food in the area!

This has been painful as there are still so many places I want to visit; The Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, The Great Barrier Reef – and the rest of Australia (I’d just be worried about the poisonous critters!), Brazil (Rio de Janeiro Carnival!), Venice, Rome, the rest of Italy, including Pompeii, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, the Galapagos, [insert name here….!]At the very least I hope that I’ll get to see the chosen 5 and it’d be great if I’d be able to blog about them while I’m there, or once I was back home! For now though I’ll stick to imagining I’m an international jet-setter!