Friday, 3 November 2017




By Alicia Stone

A review by Jeffrey Ross

5 Stars

This is a world-class piece of literature—a finely crafted book that combines several genres successfully. On one level, June functions as an academic or campus novel—much of the text revolves around the detailed, complicated, scholarly world of Professor Perry’s anthropological research and love affair machinations. It also has robust elements of a detective story when super-sleuth David outs a cheating husband. But June most significantly and boldly illuminates a woman’s “sensual” coming of age (somewhat like Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening) as heroine Cassie begins to unshackle herself from a life of emotional servitude and learns to love again. As a writer, I was humbled by the workmanship and power of this novel. Read June—you will never forget the story.


Living a lie in a web of deceit, Cassandra finds the courage to challenge her controlling husband. She sets in motion a tragic chain of events that leads her across Europe from the medieval city of Tallinn to the showboating glamour of Nice. Cast aside and the victim of cruel revenge, Cassandra fights for her future and discovers she is not alone. Her new-found strength is tested to its limits, for where love is concerned there is often a reckoning.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Stretch in the Sun

Movement is life - so they say. Sitting at the computer longing to go outside and walk, I offer myself a compromise. In the muddle of photos, mementos, and references scribbled on scrap paper by my desk, I have a list of exercises to do - part of a  stretching routine.

  • Shoulder rolls;
  • Back stretch;
  • Wide back and shoulder stretch;
  • Forearm and bicep stretch;
  • Forearm stretch;
  • Dynamic neck stretch;
  • Twisted shoulder stretch. 
This will have to do until I can get out later. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Nature Morte

Museum of 
lost thoughts.
Tubes of paint
Like ends of  toothpaste Discarded,
Congealed and fossilised into curled snails.
Empty jars,
Amphora of coiled threads
Layers of consciousness and
brittle husks of ideas;
No longer pour.
Poker straight and lifeless,
Hair-hardened brushes,  Free-flowed once
As squirrels and badgers, romp in forest glades, 
Barely whisper now of sweat, joy and fear,
 And chestnut horses which tossed glossy manes and tails.
Cold tiles,
Long since fired with honeyed glaze,
Gather dust and
Stale memories.

War Silver

Ancient Persian armour and chain mail. Beautifully crafted, patterned, lettered - a rich man's protection. Now in a collection and housed in a glass case.

Who made it? 
How much did it cost. 
Who commissioned the ensemble? 
Did the wearer see action? 
In which conflict? 
Which side won?
Was there more than one owner?
Did the armour work?
Through whose hands did it make its way into the 21st century?

Echoes of Beowulf, Arthur, Valhalla, Temple knights... Battle cries, desperate last stands, routs, honour and courage. Tattered colours, mud, blood, gasping for breath... a last cry.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Silver on the Tree

I love the shades of grey and silver here in this tree bark with hints of copper. I am reminded me of two much-read childhood stories.

Susan Cooper wrote her children's fantasy series about the Old Ones, exploring the forces of good and evil. Her book set in Wales is called Silver on the Tree. Mountains, lakes, and a story populated by a rustic chorus of locals create the dramatic backdrop for the introduction of the mythical Arthur ... and his son.  

C S Lewis, wrote his allegorical Narnian Chronicles for children two decades earlier. My favourite story is The Silver Chair. A fairy tale featuring giants, a serpentine enchantress, and a lugubrious marshwiggle. 

Happy memories. Go-to books for comfort. Magical silver worth its weight in gold.

Friday, 29 September 2017


Not my favourite colour or one that I'm usually drawn to, but a friend recently sent me a shawl in gorgeous shades of red so I am alert to the charms of this fiery assault on the senses. 

Fire, blood, danger - all elemental and arresting, for there is little calm or comfort in red. Yet this cluster of berries, the sun shining and the remembrance of green in the turning leaves compelled me to rummage for my phone and take the picture. 

Mindful of the positive, I note the huge contribution to humanity of the relief organisations The Red Cross and Red Crescent, Blood banks offering life-saving transfusions, and my red glasses case - a must-have life saver for computer and close work. 

Today I value red. 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

What Do You See?

An old tree trunk doused in sunlight growing into a sandy bank, affording travellers along an ancient footpath shade from the midday sun. 

This oak tree has probably been here for hundreds of years. The bark is rough, full of lichen, gnarled, and hollowed at the base.

Notice the root in the foreground stretching from left to right and growing up the tree. Strange to see a root twisting and twining around the trunk rather than growing into the bank and securing the tree. Roots usually form a counterbalance beneath the sandy soil to the crown and canopy of branches and leaves above. 

Stranger yet, this root is like the figure of a climber pulling himself up. At this angle I can see the left leg, a straight back, head, and arms straining, stretching and reaching for the next hand hold.