Thursday, 13 July 2017

Tombstones

A rich source of names - and stories, tombstones are one of my pleasures. If I'm ever stuck for a name I have a browse. 
Ghoulish? Not at all. Each engraving I read I am honouring the dead: for while they are remembered they are not forgotten. Surely the stonemason carved the details to be read and admired.
Unexpectedly, I have come across the grave of John Betjeman at St Enodoc's church in Cornwall, Evelyn Waugh's in Somerset, and have twice deliberately and reverently paid homage to Jane Austen in Winchester Cathedral. 
The not-at-all-famous are equally as  interesting; after all, death is a great leveller. Spot the play on words here in this seventeenth century epitaph I happened upon this morning. Which of us cannot but admire the worthy 'Timewell spent'?

Friday, 7 July 2017

FEATURED AT ROGUE PHOENIX PRESS BLOG: JUNE ~ CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE 
Title: June
Author: Alicia Stone
ISBN: 978-1-62420-316-9

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3


REVIEW:

June

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.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Teatime Traditions

Think tennis or cricket - Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse... Tea on the lawn after a summer afternoon's sport - how delightful!

Etiquette and manners go hand in hand with the ceremony. Milk or tea first? 
"Just a dash."
Sandwiches, scones, and lashings of tea. 

I can almost hear the hum of conversation here in this photograph, as the lawn gently browns in the dry spell, and a brave sparrow ventures out of the border to find a fallen crumb. 

Meeting elderly relatives, a tryst, discussing who will have the children for the holidays. 

Teatime: an irresistible part of summer. 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

How Quickly Things Can Change

In a moment everything becomes uncertain:
1. A new leader is elected;
2. An accident happens;
3. A discovery is made: health scares/realities, infidelity, fairies at the bottom of your garden, a cache of Roman coins, there's no milk in the fridge, I'm pregnant, he's passed/failed an exam, she lied...
4. Buying a dog;
5. Stepping off the kerb;
6. Buying the winning lottery ticket...and putting it in the fire/washing by mistake;
7. Answering the phone;
8. The parachute doesn't open...but the reserve does; 
9. The antibiotic is working;
10. You didn't see the car in front indicate. 

The tide is coming in across the causeway between the mainland and St Michael's Mount, in Cornwall. In less than 5 minutes the way is impassable. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Potential

I happened upon this tangle of vegetation on a recent walk, and admired the tightly curled fern in the foreground. The other plants are already reaching to the sky eager to photosynthesise, propagate, and strut their stuff as if aware that everything is to play for. 

Will my plant outstrip his fellows? Will it be healthy or trampled underfoot preventing maturation? How will the appearance change in the dust of full summer and season's change in autumn? I can imagine the brown-paper fronds decorated with the first frost. 

A slow unravelling will most likely lead to a rapid catch up. This bundle of plant energy looks poised and ready to burst onto the scene. I can't help but sense and admire such huge potential. 


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Inspired by Gillian Ayres - abstract painter


Idly looking at the children's accompanying worksheet, I sat in the upstairs exhibition space in the art gallery of the National Museum of Wales and stared at a huge canvas. Words and phrases began to niggle. I wrote them down between the printed text and numbered questions - and later fashioned them into a poem.

Without the constraint of the day
My mind's eye recognises 
The convulsing texture of arcs, planes, and diverse shapes,
Rainbow curves,
Emerging nuanced edges,
Which wheel, rear, push and tear at fleeing cloud formations.
Thoughts and dream fragments race through the storm of violet night, 
Darting and pin-pricked with electric delicacy; 
Sulphur green and red slash and pulse
Into purple;
Until,
At the close,
Trembling and sweating stills,
As swathes of loaded brushstrokes usher in a yellow dawn.


Curiosity piqued? Here's the Wiki link to the artist: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillian_Ayres 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Crossroads


As a child I watched the teatime TV programme Crossroads and was drawn in by the drama of the personal relationships of the motel staff.

Where would plots and stories be without crossroads. Sometimes there is only one way to go or choice seems to be limited; at other times there are multiple possibilities. 


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Chance

I was passing through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire today on my way to meet some friends, when I saw a signpost for Adelstrop. I'd always wanted to see the village bearing the iconic name so I pulled off the main road.

The railway station closed years ago, but I'd read that the sign had been preserved and erected in a bus stop to honour the  memory of the exquisite poem I refer to in my blog post of  26/11/2016.

A couple sitting on bench inside the shelter told me that Edward Thomas, war poet and nature poet died a hundred years ago today on a battlefield at Arras and that they were waiting to attend a church service in his name. Goose pimples rose on my arms and I thought of the alignment of chance that brought me here on this day. 

Visiting particular friends, taking this route, noticing the signpost, remembering the bus stop, finding the railway sign, meeting the couple who told me of the significance of the day - Edward Thomas, stopping in a train so many years ago... 

Chance and the sense of being drawn to a place or a person is the stuff of story - inexorable necessity; characters pulled, pushed and toppled on a chessboard.  


Monday, 3 April 2017

The Power of an Image

Those pictures of the Earth we see from space are spellbinding. Our beautiful blue planet with mountains, deserts and swirling weather stirs the emotions and causes the heart to miss a beat. It is no myth that hardened astronauts, scrupulously trained men and women of the military and science are moved and forever changed by what they see up there in space looking back at their distant home. I cannot then be any less than a global citizen. As a global citizen, it is right that I care about the health of my planet, all the living creatures that share it with me, and what happens there in my name.

My region on the blue planet is Europe. I am a European in terms of genetics, proximity and disposition. I love to travel and explore northern Europe, Greece and Italy. The countries of Europe are so diverse in their culture, cuisine, language, art and music there are never-ending discoveries to be made and old friends to revisit. I am happy to belong to an organisation - the European Union -  that is willing to share ideas, co-operation, wealth and knowledge while maintaining individual national identity. 

So, I am a global citizen and a European while my country of origin is the UK.

An intact version of this Union flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flies in Brussels and New York, and across the whole of the UK as a symbol of friendship and shared values.  

The torn edges of fabric in this photograph began my chain of thoughts and echoed my disquiet and unease as the UK enters a period of change, uncharted waters and perhaps (without being too grandiose), great peril. 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

New Book Released Today

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.

JUNE is available on Amazon or from the US publisher Rogue Phoenix Press.










Saturday, 28 January 2017

New Trainers, New Destinations

Had a great run today. Sun shining, ground soft but not too muddy, no dogs leaping up... It might have been the endorphins or the podcast I was listening to, but I went to a faraway place.

http://www.podomatic.com/badge/1222766?posting=1098314

I like to change my route and environment. You could say I went interstellar as I listened to a space shuttle Discovery lift-off from an old recording mixed with some running music. As I came in to the finish we touched down at Edwards Air Force Base.

I was only gone 40 minutes.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Pebbles on the beach

Imagine, if all of these pebbles were ideas or plot lines; if each rounded stone was a character; if the blue pebbles were adjectives, the pink were verbs, and the grey were perfect words of any description...

Washed by the sea, smoothed by waves, arranged and rearranged as the seasons change - the beach is a model of endless possibility.