#SOCS ‘Spellbound by Paddington Bear’ #WorldBookDay

This post was written in response to Linda G, Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

This week’s Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “spell.” Use the word “spell” any way you’d like. Bonus points if you use it in the first sentence. Enjoy! Link back to Linda’s prompt post here. Anyone can join in!


Spellbound by Paddington Bear

Spellbound, that’s me.

It happened over fifty years ago.

I think it was Paddington Bear who did it to me in the first place.

It’s the first book title I can vividly remember reading at school.

The second culprit was the public library.

I read plenty of children’s books at school and at the public library, an unforgettable place.

Then at secondary school, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were the first grown up books I can remember reading.

Sister Catherine read us the Moonstone and told us all about the mischievous Victorians.

David Copperfield and Oliver Twist enchanted me next, and Dickens is still my second favourite writer.

I hadn’t met my favourite writer yet, that happened when I was 13 and I went on a school trip to see Twelfth Night, that was when I met my favourite writer of them all, and yet in spite of being in awe of Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Richard III, Twelfth Night is still my favourite of Shakespeare’s works.

My first romantic novel was Rebecca. I was about 14 by then.

After that momentous event, I remember devouring Daphne du Maurier’s novels. That reminds me that The King’s General, was a favourite I haven’t reread in a long time.

Shortly after I read Jane Eyre, and I’ve been rereading it ever since, as you all know.

I can’t remember exactly when I read Persuasion, but it was about the same time.

Thomas Hardy, followed closely after Wilkie Collins and Dickens, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, unforgettable.

Then as a result of the television series I adored, I read the novels of The Forsythe Saga, Poldark, and the Clayhangers devouring all the novels in the sagas.

So, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I love writing Victorian Fiction, but it might surprise you to know that I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and due to a petition from my best friend, Anna M. I’m writing a contemporary thriller at the moment.

Someone said, ‘Eppur si muove’, so I suppose that’s what I’m doing.

Reading definitely cast a spell on me at an early age, and I’m so glad I’m still spellbound, because I’m never alone and always inspired.

I feel as if I’m conversing with people all over the world synchronically, that is with those who are alive at the moment, and diachronically, with those who are no longer breathing, but they’re still well and truly living.


Does reading have you spellbound?

Which writers have you spellbound?


Happy World Book Day for tomorrow!


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#AtoZChallenge ‘G’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘The Gift’ #NPM17 #SOCS #amwriting #poem

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

Today, I’m adding a third challenge, The first part of today’s post is stream of consciousness, following Linda G. Hill’s weekly prompt, using the word “give/given/giving.”  Following part is a beautiful poem about giving gifts, called A Blade of Grass, by Brian Patten, and the final part is a poem I wrote recently but I’ve tweaked for this post, called The Gift.

Giving a gift is a privilege. It means you have someone you love to give the present to and a special occasion to celebrate. I love giving and receiving gifts. The whole process of giving is special, choosing, buying or preparing, and finding the perfect moment to give the special present we have bought.

Every time I think of gifts, I think of the beautiful poem by Brian Patten about how difficult it can become to give and receive simple, inexpensive gifts.

A Blade of Grass

You ask for a poem.

I offer you a blade of grass.

You say it is not good enough.

You ask for a poem.

I say this blade of grass will do.

It has dressed itself in frost,

It is more immediate

Than any image of my making.

You say it is not a poem,

It is a blade of grass and grass

Is not quite good enough.

I offer you a blade of grass.

You are indignant.

You say it is too easy to offer grass.

It is absurd.

Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

You ask for a poem.

And so I write you a tragedy about

How a blade of grass

Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older

A blade of grass

Becomes more difficult to accept.


As I often do, I’ve credited and reworked an original work of art, to express what I’m feeling at this moment.

The Gift

You ask for a star

I offer you a flower.

You say it’s not enough.

I say this flower will do.

It’s unique, perfect for you.

You say it is too easy

To offer a flower.

So I write you a poem

About how a flower

Is so easy to give

And so hard to accept.


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#SOCS ‘Manu and Me’

This post was written in response to Linda G. Hill’s weekly Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week it’s “man.” Use it as a word by itself or find a word with “man” in it. Have fun!

Manu and Me

My husband is called Manuel, but I call him Manu. We met in 1978.

Over the last 39 years we’ve done many things, including working hard, having three children, buying a house and making a comfortable home for us and our children.

We’ve had good times and a few rainy days.

I’ve mostly forgotten the bad times. Perhaps they weren’t that bad anyway.

We’ve made lots of journeys together: Florence, Algarve, Vienna, Berlin, Bremen, Bratislava, Budapest, and all over Spain and the UK, our favourite places!

Manu loves driving while I take pictures or write.

We love taking selfies. We’ve taken hundreds since the first picture in a photo booth!

I’m glad Manuel and I stuck together, in spite of almost splitting up, more than once.

Here’s our latest photo taken this morning at the beach in Almeria.

Manu and I are still standing, still smiling, still travelling, and still healthy and optimistic enough to look at the camera and smile, and that’s a lot to wish for and enough to have.

My Manu and me.

#SOCS How do I Love my dreams?

This post was written in response to Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday weekly prompt.

This week’s  prompt “how.” Start your post with the word “How.” Bonus points if you end with it too. Join in here! Enjoy!

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

Victorian authors are my literary masters and mentors. Their stories and poems are part of my imagination.

When I read today’s prompt: How, the first sentence that came to my mind was the famous sonnet by Elizabeth Barret Browning.

The author is telling us about an all consuming passion which will lead her to a state of ideal grace.

At the end of the sonnet, she concludes:

I shall but love thee better afer death.


                  Elizabeth Barret Browning


Nothing will separate her from her lover. because their love will grow after death, when they both presumably enter the realms of eternity, making their love everlasting.

The sonnet is one of the most romantic and passionate in English literature, which is why it’s one of the most famous sonnets, which is still quoted almost 200 years after it was written.

Those of you who read my blog also know how much I like to paraphrase, rewrite or rework Victorian stories into my own writing, so that’s what I’m doing today, with this sonnet.

Instead of directing the words to a lover, it’s about a dream I have.

How do I love thee? 

Let me tell you how.

To the depth and breadth and height of my soul.

Even out of sight,

You´re always on my mind.

To the end of my days.

Reaching you, my dream,

Is my ideal grace.

The aim of an all-consuming passion is to achieve a state of ‘ideal grace’.

‘Ideal Grace’ is a divine term which refers to being in a perfect mental state, which is at peace with yourself, your world and your God, Universe, or the superior being or force you may believe in.

For Elizabeth Barrett Browning, this can only be achieved through the culmination of romantic love.

I suggest there are other ways to reach this perfect state, for example by striving for and fulfilling your dreams.

How do you try to reach your ideal grace, tell me how? 




#SOCS Of Glass and Pigs

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly stream of consciousness Saturday prompt

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This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January is: “glass.” Use the word “glass,” or find something that’s made of it and use that in your post. Have fun! Here’s my take!


Of Glass and Pigs

Glass is a wonderful substance which has plenty of useful purposes.

It allows people with poor eyesight the ability to see better and especially read. Imagine how dreadful it would be not to be able to read! Lenses have also been invaluable in the realm of photography, the cinema and television, at least originally.

Glass also protects us from the cold and allows us to look out of our windows and see the world go by from our homes, cars and other vehicles, behind a safe screen.

Glasses can be filled with wine and other types of beverages. I mean it wouldn’t be the same without it. Imagine drinking chardonnay out of a paper or plastic cup, yuk! OK, I’m sure we’ve all done it at some time in our lives, but honestly, it really doesn’t taste the same, does it?

I remember going to a glass factory in Harrow, north London when I was at school Primary School. There we were shown how glass was made. I’m sure we did a huge project afterwards, and I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember a single thing about how glass is made, except that some kind of sandy product and heat was involved in the process, but I’m not even sure about that. What I do remember are the beautiful colours and shapes of some of the glass objects we were shown.


Harrow Museum Collection. Wow! Found this after writing the post. Pretty, arent they?

Alas, glass can also have very negative connotations when used metaphorically.

The glass ceiling was originally used (especially in the US) to refer to an invisible or transparent barrier which keeps certain social groups out of mainstream activities or power. The often unvoiced, unspecific or even unspoken prejudices against women, racial and other minorities in general. This theory was especially identified with feminist movements of the 60s and 70s.

According to this theory, these groups were allowed to take part in all levels of social and workplace interaction, but only to a certain level, because the good or top jobs and positions were reserved for the elites or so-called WASPs or white Anglo Saxon protestant men.

We’ve supposedly come a long way since then, and many people will probably argue that this glass ceiling no longer exists. We now live in a democratic and fair society where everyone has equal opportunities.

Well, my opinion is that in our part of the world, the mentioned social groups and minorities have achieved a great deal, but we’re still in process. It’s an ongoing struggle for us, but at least we’ve started our journey.  A look at the news, or a short flight to other hemispheres, will show us that in many parts of the world all people are certainly not equal and do not have the same opportunities.

Orwell’s pig said it all so well in Animal Farm, such a long time ago, in 1945, ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.’


When will there be a full stop the end instead of a comma in that sentence?

By the way, Animal Farm was rejected by many US and UK publishers, before becoming one the most influential novels in the English language, just saying…

Orwell’s 1984 is one of my favourite 20th century novels. The first time I read it at school, about 1974, 1984 seemed so far away, chronologically and as a possibility, so why does it sometimes seem closer now than it seemed then?

Oh dear, where has glass taken me?

All the way from glasses and lenses to windows and wine, Primary schools outings, feminist literary theory, pigs, and 1984.

Well, enough rambling. Back to work now. I have a novel to finish!

Cooking and Sharing #SOCS

This post is written in response to Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Check it out here   Today’s theme is ‘cook’

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Today’s Christmas Eve and I definitely won’t be cooking, although everyone will be eating the food I cooked.

By the way, everyone is my husband, my son and my mother, at least. You never know who else might be popping in… Lots of people I love are missing today because they have to be somewhere else due to personal or professional reasons, but I’ll be seeing them soon.

I’ll be getting up late-ish, going shopping for a couple of last minute presents and then I’m going to have lunch at the best restaurant in Reinosa, Spain, called Restuarante Fontebro.

After a short rest, I’ll be preparing Christmas dinner, which is the big family meal which takes place on 24th December very late in the evening.

I cooked it all two night ago, yes on Thursday 22nd, in the evening, because I’ve been travelling across Spain yesterday, Friday, 23rd, and as I wanted to go shopping and eat out today, 24th, I wouldn’t be able to cook either.

You’re probably dying to know what I cooked, aren’t you? It’s not terribly original but very delicious. Oven cooked, boned, stuffed, turkey in a delicious orange and brandy sauce. If you’d like more details, such as a recipe, ask me in the comments.

Cooking for the people we love is an expression of love and eating the food cooked with love is another act of love. Cooking and sharing meals is an intimate ceremony and I welcome any excuse to cook for my friends and family. The conversations we have while eating delicious food and drinking good wine are inspiring and priceless.

Anyway, I need to put it all in the oven right now and make sure everyone eats it all up.

I hope you have a wonderful evening either cooking or eating what someone else has cooked with all their love. Happy cooking, eating, and sharing food and conversation.

I know you’d love to see pictures of the food and other events, but I’ll be posting photos tomorrow on Silent Sunday.


Days of Yore #SoCS

This post is written in response to Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS) prompt

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “your, you’re or yore” Use it in your post as a noun or a verb… or a name! Enjoy!

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Days of Yore

We all have our own days of yore. They start when we’re still children.

As soon as we’re old enough to have memories we can recall the days of yore.

Even so, the word yore has a distant sound to it, as if it refers to things which happened long before our own memories began.

The days of yore refer to the memories of others who have died generations before us. So why do they belong to us, too?

Perhaps their recollections are still alive in our collective unconscious. Don’t we all remember and re-imagine the same things?

Isn’t storytelling and all forms of literature a way of recalling and passing on events of the days of yore?

The big bad wolf, the fierce dragon, the handsome prince, the wicked stepmother, the Trojan Horse, the pairs of animals in Noah’s Arc, King Arthur’s Round Table, etc. Someone must have seen and recalled them of yore and passed on the memory, because, don’t we remember them as if we’d seen them ourselves?

The problem is, it’s like Chinese whispers, as the stories are passed down over generations they gradually change; they transform into something else, something later generations can relate to…

They say the legend of the mad woman confined to an attic was told to Charlotte Bronte on a visit to a local country house in her youth. Years later she recreated the legend in Bertha Mason, who became the catalyst in Jane Eyre and most famous secondary character in literary history.

I also shared Miss Bronte’s memories of the days of yore and remembered the story of the screams on the third floor and imagined that a baby was crying in that windowless attic, a baby who returned as a young woman to claim her birthright by her father’s deathbed: Annette Mason in The Eyre Hall Trilogy.

It happened of yore, but I remember it so well, don’t you?