Monday, 18 May 2015


 Smarting from a couple of rejections for my writing this month, I was delighted to learn that I won a generous book token for first prize for my review of “Finding Mr Goldman” by David Rhodes.  I was invited to meet the author and present my review at the launch.  

Also speaking was Emily, a Zimbabwean refugee who told us her harrowing and thought-provoking tale and who has at long last been granted leave to remain in the UK.  She also gave an overview of issues facing refugees in our region.  After hearing of her plight, the issue of having my stories knocked back seemed decidedly trivial.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

National Gardening Week 2015 13 – 19 April

In National Gardening Week I’ve had a week of garden related activities.
Rainbow Allotment
The community allotment is coming along well but it will be full steam ahead from now on.

Judging for Yorkshire in Bloom

It is both a privilege and a pleasure to judge gardens, parks, schools and allotments for Yorkshire in Bloom.  I have just completed spring judging in towns on the East Yorkshire coast and feel humbled by the hard work and dedication shown by the volunteers.
Gardening Club
It was our mini Spring Show this week along with a presentation on plants for the conservatory by professional gardener Gordon Kirby.

So, as you can see, I’ve had a full week of gardening yet not had time to tend my own garden – but there’s still tomorrow!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Preferred place for prayer and meditation

This week I have visited three different places of worship.
My writing group meets at a Quaker Meeting House

The studios of the local radio programme with which I’m involved are in a renovated Methodist Chapel

I attended the reading of the story of Esther for the festival of Purim and the Sabbath service at my synagogue

But this poem which is on the wall of a garden in a nearby park expresses which venue is my favourite when it comes to reflection and contemplation:
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

~Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"

And this poem sums it up:
When overwhelmed and stressed and unable to think,
I go out and garden, it's cheaper than a shrink.

~Author Unknown

 What about you?

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Lists in my life

This was the title of my autobiographical piece for this month’s local radio programme and I include parts of it here.  I was under the impression that everyone made lists, perhaps not as ardently as I do, but lists nevertheless.  How else can you remember everything you need to do?

Lists have and will play a significant role in my life.  As a child of the 50s, education required learning by rote.  This included preparing for the 11+ exam using a text book called “First Aid in English”.  This book contained lists of, amongst other things, similes, antonyms, synonyms and group terms for animate and inanimate nouns such as a bench of bishops and a clutch of eggs.  Quizzing each other from this book was considered fun in our household before we got a television!

Lists continued to be a factor in my life in the form of to do lists, shopping lists and packing lists; packing lists for weekends, main holidays, UK or abroad.  At work or at home, my day begins with a list whether mental or written.   Some of you will be thinking I suffer from OCD, others may think I am super efficient, when in fact I am neither.  I seem to live in organised chaos and items on the daily to do list such as wash the kitchen floor and tidy out the porch are frequently carried forward several times.   Listless I truly believe my life would be reduced to total chaos.
I have recently found an exciting new app for my laptop and phone which allows you to, quote, bring your life's work together in one digital workspace.  I still prefer a pen and paper which gives me a feeling of security plus the satisfaction of ticking off the completed items on the list.
The media are increasingly using the technique of the listicle aimed at an audience that they believe can’t manage to concentrate on much of anything.  The listicle is an amalgamation of a list and an article so, for example, a heading, such as “5 must-haves for the fashionable woman this Spring”   would be followed by five bullet points, each of which would be fleshed out with further explanation and detail.

How much do lists play in your life?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A first for me

At my age, I love achieving things for the first time and so I was delighted to receive a calendar from Sweden featuring my photo of my granddaughter for the month of July, taken when she was a bridesmaidThe photo was submitted by her other grandma, or mormor which translates to mother's mother so no-one gets confused, and credited to me. 

So proud of us all!

 Juli: Sommarflickan, Brudtärna  foto: Linda Casper

Monday, 22 December 2014

2014 reviewed and appreciated

Continued with the weekly challenge at, which motivated me to write and submit at least 52 pieces with more than 18  acceptances including Tweet stories and, unusually for me, a poem. Wrote and presented a piece at Headingley Lit Fest.  Completed courses Introduction to Journalism and Start Writing Fiction online with FutureLearn.  Helped to produce a monthly programme on local radio including live reading of the credits, my pieces and sketches written by others with a studio audience on occasions.  Also learnt how to record in the new state of the art studio. 
Judged Yorkshire in Bloom entries; a real privilege.   Entered Rainbow Allotment, a plot for adults with physical and mental difficulties and for which I am a volunteer and post a blog, for YiB It’s Your Neighbourhood category.   It was the first time we entered and were delighted to be awarded Level 3 .  I was awarded 3rd prize in our gardening club’s Mini Spring Show for my daffodil.  Visited some beautiful gardens and went birdwatching in the newly built hide at Wassand Hall on Hornsea Mere courtesy of Yorkshire Wildlife.

Enjoyed entertaining and walking at our caravan at the coast and our wonderful annual trip to Northumberland in the autumn.  The Tour de France came to Yorkshire and we experienced a wonderful build up to it as well as the actual event.

Celebrated at many gatherings with family and friends including two weddings and a Golden Wedding.  However, I attended my fair share of funerals of friends and relatives too.

I was honoured to be nominated as one of the three top female volunteers in my local community and I am part of team who has set up Yorkshire MORE, a social enterprise for adults with mental health problems to produce and sell jams and chutneys.  I have had great pleasure in teaching primary school children about nature and gardening as well as how to bake bread; my arts and crafts sessions however were quite disastrous!

 the grandkids' attempts (honest!)
On the projects side, I painted rocks and made some signs, but my deep box frames are still pending along with baking bagels and making my own ice cream.
 my attempts

I greatly appreciate the opportunities that have been given to me and everyone who has shared them.