Monthly Archives January 2014

IGNORING GRAVITY #33

Lily had Saturday all planned out. They’d have a leisurely breakfast and read the papers outside at the teak table on the decking, soaking up the sun’s vitamin D. New research proved that babies conceived in the spring and born in the late summer were taller and stronger because their mummies soaked up the sun’s goodness, Lily thought it must be good to get in early, like folic acid, and build up a credit balance. Then she’d booked an outside table for lunch at a place in Ham which William had read about in the Sunday paper and mentioned at least three times a week that he’d like to go there. The cult food and lovely garden surroundings would lull him into that lazy sensual mood she loved about him so that when they came home she could talk to him about babies, they’d make plans and make love and hopefully make a baby, with lots of cuddling afterwards. Then for their supper she’d ordered a delivery of sashimi, sushi and sake, because he loved everything Japanese. She was going to wear the new lemon kimono-style dress she’d bought at Kiko’s in BarnesVillage which she thought would nicely underline the
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Thank you x 4

I’ve never been nominated for four awards at one time, so this is a first.  Thanks to Michelle Clements James at Book Chat for thinking of me. I enjoy reading Michelle’s reviews because she is always positive, and says she rarely comments on a book she doesn’t like. The four awards I have been nominated for are:- This nomination comes with no rules to follow, so I will simply tell you five things about me I think you don’t know:- I wear bed socks when I get into bed, but after an hour I peel them off and stick my feet out of the bottom of the duvet; Weetabix for breakfast in summer; porridge in winter; I haven’t drunk alcohol for almost three years. It stopped agreeing with me; My favourite biscuit is a Jaffa Cake; My favourite author, still living and writing: Kate Atkinson [above]. And now I will nominate five blogs I enjoy reading:- Jessica Kennedy at Mama Confessionals writes about her life as mother to three small children who smell of lavender and have clever one-liners. Jessica’s short story ‘Full of Abundance and Feeling Heavy’ is published in The Milk of Female Kindness: an Anthology of Honest Motherhood,
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Categories: On Writing.

IGNORING GRAVITY #32

Over the next few days Rose’s routine didn’t vary. Each morning and lunchtime she rang her father, each time there was no answer. She understood his avoidance technique, she didn’t particularly want to talk either but it had to be done or she would never find out the truth. So each night after work she drove to Richmond. Each night her father’s car was in the drive but The Weavings was empty. Slight changes suggested the house was occupied at some point during the day – on Wednesday night there were empty milk bottles on the doorstep which weren’t there on Thursday night, on Friday evening the rubbish bin was at the kerbside awaiting collection on Saturday – so she could only conclude that he was still alive and getting on with his life. Rose decided to follow his example. On Friday night she didn’t get home until after 10pm. She gobbled beans on toast, sprinkling extra cheddar on top because she couldn’t resist the smell of melted cheese, and almost instantly fell asleep on the sofa in front of the TV. Her dream was vivid. There was a babushka doll, whose face was hand-painted in tiny brushstrokes, without eyes
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Great Opening Paragraph 47… ‘Enduring Love’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The beginning is simple to mark. We were in sunlight under a turkey oak, partly protected from a strong, gusty wind. I was kneeling on the grass with a corkscrew in my hand, and Clarissa was passing me the bottle – a 1987 Daumas Gassac. This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map: I was stretching out my hand, and as the cool neck and the black foil touched my palm, we heard a man’s shout. We turned to look across the field and saw the danger. Next thing, I was running towards it. The transformation was absolute: I don’t recall dropping the corkscrew, or getting to my feet, or making a decision, or hearing the caution Clarissa called after me. What idiocy, to be racing into this story and its labyrinths, sprinting away from our happiness among the fresh spring grasses by the oak. There was the shout again, and a child’s cry, enfeebled by the wind that roared in the tall trees along the hedgerows. I ran faster. And there, suddenly, from different points around the field, four other men were converging on the scene, running like me.” ‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan Amazon
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

IGNORING GRAVITY #31

Lily was peeling potatoes for dinner. Colcannon with pan-fried salmon fillets. She didn’t particularly like colcannon, but it was William’s favourite. She left the potatoes soaking in a pan of cold water then trimmed a Savoy cabbage, aiming the thick outer leaves at the compost bucket but missing more often than not. Should she force William to talk to her somehow? How? Why didn’t he want to listen to her? He used to. She rinsed the cabbage in so much cold water that she rinsed the sink and worktop too. As she mopped the floor, she wondered again how she’d got it so wrong last night. William had returned home yesterday from Geneva a day early and in an ugly mood. She felt like she’d won a chance to talk to him so she conjured up his favourite fish stew with a tin of tomatoes, tuna [oily fish, good for everything and sustainably caught] and organic broccoli [folic acid, essential for a healthy foetus] on the side, followed by banana cake [yet more folic acid, what he didn’t know he couldn’t object to]. She hadn’t once mentioned the words ‘sex’, ‘pregnancy’ or ‘baby’ while they ate dinner and was proud
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Book review: The Lie

I found this to be an unbelievably poignant novel. In The Lie by Helen Dunmore, Daniel Branwell has returned home to Cornwall from The Great War. The stories of his childhood, his war, and his return are interwoven seamlessly. It is also the story of all the lost men who returned from fighting in 1918 and didn’t know where to go or what to do. They faced their futures alone, unsure if they were mad, if their memories of war were correct or whether they were strong enough to resist the memories of carnage. Dan’s life unfolds like a thriller, with mysteries and suspicions, so that I turned the pages looking for answers and before I knew it I had reached the end. Dunmore is an accomplished novelist who handles her emotionally explosive subject with sure hands, juxtaposing the daily reality of post-war Cornwall with Dan’s memories, perhaps true, perhaps confused, of battle. Truth is the unknown. The war is in every move Dan makes, every thought, every dream. Needing food, he digs the earth to plant vegetables but cannot escape the battlefield: “It was the smell of earth. Not clean earth, turned up by spade or the fork, to be
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Categories: Book Love.

IGNORING GRAVITY #30

When Rose got home the light on the answerphone flashed ‘2’. Was it a put-down? Was it her father? Was it… Nick Maddox? “Rose, it’s May. Where are you? If you’re sick you should be at home, if you’re not sick you should be here working. Two days is quite sufficient for a journalist to recover from infection. You’ve had four…” I haven’t, thought Rose angrily. “… including the weekend. I want you at your desk before nine tomorrow morning.” She pressed ‘next’. “Hello, Miss. This is Sergeant Wilcox at Petersham Police Station. With regards to your reporting a Mr…” there was a pause, “… Mr John Haldane missing on Sunday June first, I can confirm that we have received no reports of an incident regarding this gentleman. If you wish to submit a Missing Person Report, please call me on 0208……” I will go back to work, she told Brad firmly as he washed his face with his paws, his purring like the distant rumble of traffic. Because words are my thing. They never let me down, words don’t lie to me. I’ll start now, I’ll write down how I feel about what happened. She took her mug to
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Book review: Perfect

In 1972, two seconds were added to time because it was Leap Year and because time was ‘out of joint’ with the movement of the Earth. It is the addition of these two seconds which causes such upheaval in the life of Byron Hemmings, an imaginative 11-year old boy, and his school friend James. Perfect by Rachel Joyce is about the impact of those two seconds, one stiflingly hot summer. Who would have thought that such a small stumble in time could disrupt so many lives? Rachel Joyce is an accomplished storyteller with a simple style which is deceptively complex. She weaves together Byron’s story with Jim’s, a troubled man who cleans tables in a supermarket café whilst battling his inner demons. Not once does she explain the link between these two stories, allowing the reader’s imagination to suggest possibilities, until right at the end when she surprises us with the truth. Car accidents feature in both strands, but neither car accident is what it seems. Both accidents are catalysts for what comes next. The voice of the boy/almost teenager Byron is an interesting choice which allows Joyce to show us the inside of his parents’ marriage, without Byron fully understanding
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Categories: Book Love.

IGNORING GRAVITY #29

Bizzie was baking jammy oaty slices. They were Rose’s favourites; she’d eaten them a thousand times and knew Bizzie’s method by heart. First she lined a swiss roll tin with shortcrust pastry and brushed it with jam, any sort would do as long as it was red, but home-made strawberry was best. Then she mixed rolled oats with golden syrup and piled the mixture onto the pastry. They came out of the oven twenty minutes later, glorious and sticky. Rose had eaten them since before she could remember. Now she hesitated at the window, watching her grandmother bend to put the tray in the oven, wondering how to break the news to her. “I know, Grandma.” “Know what, love?” “That I’m adopted.” Moving in slow motion, Bizzie wiped her hands on her pink floral apron, reached behind her for the kitchen chair and sat down. Rose waited. There was a long silence, broken by Bizzie who rubbed her eyes then clucked her tongue against the roof of her mouth. “I told Diana it would hurt you more if they didn’t tell you when you were young but she wouldn’t listen to me. And Howard…” she twisted her gold wedding band,
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Thanks… the Dragon’s Loyalty Award

This award is a little different from those which are awarded by fellow bloggers for the editorial content. Instead, this award is nominated by bloggers to their loyal readers, as a thank you for their support throughout the year. And I have to thank Steve at Gardening in Greenwood for this nomination. I can’t remember how I found my way to Steve’s blog, but I love the way he shows the progress of his garden projects, from nothing to completion, if completion ever exists in gardening terms. I think the post that sticks most in my memory is the one about the plants that have died, and which he misses. So, thanks to Steve. Now, a brief mention of The Rules for this award, which are:- Thank the person who offered it to you and link to their site. Display the award on your site and write a post about it. Present 15 or so other bloggers with the award and let them know about it. Write 7 things about yourself. List the Rules. Accordingly, I nominate these 15 bloggers, loyal readers of my blog, who have given me the encouragement to continue writing from the early days when I was averaging
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Categories: On Writing.

IGNORING GRAVITY #28

On Tuesday, Monday’s lie was feasibly extendable. It took Rose a fraction of a second to decide. She extended it. In Richmond her father’s car, a ten-year old VW with a dent on its right wing and a crack in the front number plate, was parked in the drive. She walked up the path, tapping the gatepost twice as she passed. She peeked through the garage window and there was her mother’s car, a silver Fiesta, polished as new. Dad should sell it, she decided, or sell the VW and use this instead. But perhaps now was not the time to suggest it. Rose put two drops of Rescue Remedy on her tongue, took a deep breath and tried the back door. It was unlocked. This was a safe place, she’d grown up in this house. She stepped into the kitchen, wishing she could hear her Mum’s ‘uh-uuh’ call of greeting, missing the blue pottery jug which for years had sat in the middle of the kitchen table filled with a hotch-potch of flowers and glistening green leaves from the garden. The jug was sitting atop the fridge stuffed with seed packets. Nothing physical in the room had changed since
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.