Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween?

Hi folks,

I think it must be true that time speeds up as you get older, for it is pumpkin time again, and it doesn't seem that long since the last one finally shrivelled and was thrown away.

Here in England we don't seem to celebrate Halloween with quite the same fervour as other countries, but we try. The shops are full of bright orange pumpkins, both real and plastic, witches, cauldrons and all kinds of scary things, I wonder why we enjoy being scared so much?

I don't think Halloween was originally intended to scare the pants off the population. The word 'Halloween' means 'hallowed or holy evening' and that day was originally dedicated to remembering the dead and honouring their memory, in readiness for All Souls Day (1st November)which is quite a departure from ghouls, ghosts and scary pumpkins.

I have always believed  (I am a bit of a pagan at heart) that it was an ancient Celtic religious festival called Samhain (31st October-1st November) along with Imbolc (31st January-1st February) Beltane (30th April-1st May) and Lughnasadh (31st July-1st August). You will notice that these festivals are meticulously spaced throughout the year, and the equinoxes slot tidily in between and that has to mean something. Not just a scary day if you see what I mean.

There is quite a sad legend about the carved pumpkins or Jack-o-lanterns. A miserly character called Jack was fond of tricking everyone, including the devil, and when he died he was turned away from heaven due to his life of sin.
But the devil wouldn't let him into hell either and he was cursed to travel the earth for ever.
As he left the gates the hell, the devil threw him a hot ember to light his way. Jack put it inside a hollowed out turnip and the legend was born...

Well, a happy Halloween and good luck with your trick or treating whatever your feelings on the subject. I think we human beings are a little obsessed with death because we can't really understand it, and therefore tend to fear it. 
But we have discovered over the years that if we make light of this fear with a traditional festival or celebration, we can bring it out into the open where we can all look at it in the company of other people.
And have fun at the same time, of course...

See you all next week, God bless...

Friday, 24 October 2014

A Must Read Review...

Unable are the Loved to die
For Love is Immortality”
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Midge Rylander

This book is the journal and letters that the author’s 57-year-old mother, Midge Rylander kept in the last few months of her life.
She died of cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos, simply from washing her husband’s work clothes.  A story of courage and determination and an unsurmountable will to live.

I found strong parallels between my own life and this brave lady.  Both of us strong, independent women, who find it impossible to slow down and take life easy, even though we are fully aware it would be better for us.
I discovered a similar sense of humour too, and the unshakeable belief that will power alone could make the cancer recede, as she knows other people have done it.

She decided to keep the diary to help others, as her condition was so rare, no helpful information was available. Her bravery and determination to fight for as long as possible, and to manage all the “how’s and when’s” is very inspiring. This woman had fought long and hard all her life, nothing had ever come easy, and so when she declines the chemotherapy, she does so in the knowledge it may well be her last battle.

One question… It would seem from this book that people in this position need to talk to people… not medical people, but those who really know what is going on.  Something that should be encouraged, maybe?

This story reinforces what I strive to remember each and every day.
That every day is a blessing, and a gift. We should make it the best we can, as Rachele Baker’s mother so obviously did.


About the author

Rachele Baker, DVM, Author, ‘Eighteen Months to Live’

Dr. Rachele Baker is a veterinarian and writer living in California. She has been a veterinarian for over thirteen years. Dr. Baker is currently in the process of writing a series of short books about medical problems in dogs and cats entitled My Virtual Veterinarian. For more details about Dr. Baker's works in progress, please visit her website

Friday, 17 October 2014

My first guest post!

Guest Blog: Me, Myself and Jaye by author Anita Dawes

The other day my sister-in-law, Jaye came into the front room where I was curled up on the couch, reading a book and asked for a fresh up-to-date bio about myself, something she knows I hate to do.
I have written several books and most of these Jaye has helped to publish on line. These days I prefer to read, telling myself it’s a kind of research, after not picking up my pencil for some time.

The idea for a book is the most important thing, but first you have to find it, and then write it down. Jaye doesn’t entirely agree with my methods and sometimes I think she might be right. I do spend too much time in other people’s books and I am eternally grateful to one sweet old lady who came to my school and taught me how to read. Spelling is something that still eludes me, and I thank God for Jaye, as she’s the only one who can read my scribble.

Jaye says ideas come easy for me and she’s right, they do.  I don’t mean to sound big-headed, because the thing that doesn’t come so easily, is putting pencil to paper then handing it over to her for checking, spelling and all the things I have trouble with. For in a way, I hate the fact that my notes are so hard to read and the spelling is atrocious. So much so, that if anyone else were to see my scribble, I think I would die of shame.

I have realised lately that reading all these books, and going for long walks is an excuse. I’m just lazy, the ideas might come easy but putting them down is too much like schoolwork, something I’m still allergic to.

Again, Jaye gives me that look. She knows all about my excuses, and I hate it when she’s right. I have just written a short story and have an idea for another, a spooky one this time.
Oh no, she’s back again, asking for a two-page funny post for Halloween, and have I finished the updated bio yet?

There’s nothing for it, I will have to sharpen all my pencils, put down the books and put more of my ideas down on paper.
Well, I have to do something to stop her begging.

Book Blurb
When you think about being in a coma, you would imagine that nothing much happens. Peaceful, perhaps, a bit boring? Maybe.
But who knew that being in a coma would be such a traumatic, sometimes violent experience?
When Maggie is mown down by a dirty blue car outside her local supermarket, she is not prepared for any of it. Least of all, the sad nightmare world she is forced to witness. Or the sad pitiful child she finds there.
Maggie has two battles to fight. Finding her own way back to the real world and somehow bring the child back with her…