Thursday, 28 July 2022

Moving On

When I was a primary school teacher we used to sing a song called Moving On with the top class each year before they left for the big school. It always made me fight back the tears. I've been humming it to myself this last week and this is why:

Book Launch:

After six months of solid hard work producing the new book, I have spent the last month catching up on life and preparing for the book launch of Sharing Our Heritage. The launch took place this week at Leicester's New Walk Museum. I was anxious. 

  • Would anyone turn up? 
  • Would the book be well received? 
  • Would we all be able to avoid Covid long enough to attend?
Thankfully all went well. We restricted the numbers for Covid safety and were just a few short of our declared maximum. The attendees were enthusiastic about the book and had lots of interesting questions to ask. At the end of the session, tea and nibbles were consumed amid a buzz of chatter. The only thing we forgot to do was take photographs!

Time to Move on:

Or maybe it's time to move back. I have a file full of half finished poems desperate to escape the dusty depths of my computer and fly off into the world of poetry magazines. I've had the piano tuned and am actively seeking a piano teacher (I've tried setting my own agenda but I just don't play the thing if I have no lesson to prepare for!) I may decide to nurture another hobby/activity but as yet I haven't decided what it will be. I am feeling rather 'demob happy'.

Buying a Book:

There's information a-plenty on the previous blog post about the new book so I'll just add that if you'd like to buy a copy of Sharing Our Heritage then please contact the Centre Manager at the Synagogue on centremanager (at) lhcong.com.

Sharing Good News:

Last but definitely not least I'd like to report that last week I became a great grandmother to the most beautiful twin boys you've ever seen (not that I'm biased). And yes, I agree with you. I am definitely too young to be a great grandmother... or so I keep telling everybody!





Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Sharing Our Heritage

Sharing Our Heritage is a 100-page, full-colour history book written by four authors in five months. I can't begin to count how many zoom meetings it took but it's done now and it's going to the printers this week. Halfway through the writing process I bought a bottle of Optrex eye lotion. It was the first time I'd needed Optrex since I did my first degree in 1979. The biggest strain on my eyes was from the proofing process. How many times can a piece be read and yet still contain errors? It baffles me.

The four of us are still friends in spite of everything. 'Everything' includes:

  • screens that froze and links that failed
  • disagreements over initial capitals and commas (I may have developed an aversion to commas. I now twitch each time I use one - rather like the psychiatrist in the original Pink Panther movie.)
  • four completely different versions of a chapter that each of us have edited and insist on discussing during a zoom
  • what to include and what to miss out 
  • and, even more problematic, what names to include

As I explained in my last post, there was a reason for writing a history book in such a hurry. The synagogue in Leicester has had an extension and rebuild thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant. The year before Covid a few of us worked on a timeline depicting the history of the congregation for the wall of one of the rooms in the new Heritage Centre. During the research process it became apparent that the congregation was quite a bit older than had previously been thought. This meant that earlier publications were incorrect. 

Have you ever made a promise that your mouth is totally confident about, but your head is screaming, 'Don't do it!' Well that was me five months ago. I announced that we would be able to produce a brand new history book in time for the official opening of the Centre. There were friends who assured me that it was not possible to write a book in five months but that made me all the more determined. I obtained quotes from both printer and book designer, I organised weekly zoom meetings, created and stuck to a tight schedule of work, and the rest (if you'll pardon the expression) is history. 

Here is the back cover blurb:

Sharing Our Heritage is a book written by four people with one voice. They have pooled a wealth of research and personal experience to produce this inspiring history of the Leicester Hebrew Congregation. It takes the reader from the excitement of a new Heritage Centre, back in time to the early 1800s, charting two centuries of the LHC’s rich history, with many fluctuations in fortune along the way. It illustrates the spirit that lives within the LHC, a spirit that has enabled the congregation to survive when other provincial Jewish congregations have not.

And here is the front cover (author names are in alphabetical order):

What I need to do now is to open up my folder called 'poetry work in progress', stick my creative head on once more and get back to building up my poetry portfolio. Although I may just have a bit of a nap first.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Writing a book by committee!!

As I said, albeit briefly, last month, I'm writing a book but it's writing with a difference. I'm working with three other people to research and record a complete history of Leicester's Synagogue. 

There are two hair-raising issues related to what I just said. 

  • The first hair-raiser: we were producing the book to be launched at an event scheduled for September this year. It has been brought forward to July! 
  • The other hair-raiser: I'm writing the book with three other people. Writing a book is never easy but writing it by committee could be a recipe for disaster. I'm delighted to say that it is in no way a disaster, we are on schedule and we're all still talking to each other.

The bulk of the work has been done on zoom due to Covid and the fact that one of the team lives about 100 miles away. It has involved a lot of emailing sections of work back and forth and, as I'm responsible for pulling it all together and liaising with the book designer, I've had to keep juggling all the plans in my head.

A few years ago three of us produced an historic timeline that is now firmly embedded along the entire wall of the upstairs room in the new synagogue extension. That was when we mused about the idea of writing this book which covers over 200 years of history. We're calling the book Sharing Our Heritage and that's all I'm going to say right now. The front cover is amazing but as nothing is quite complete it would be unfair of me to disclose any images. However, once the book has been sent to the printers I will share an advanced viewing with you here.

It's Pesach (Passover) and Easter tomorrow. It's interesting that sometimes the two events collide as they are inextricably linked. (The first evening of Passover is the Seder meal and it was the Seder meal that is referred to as the Last Supper...apologies if you already knew that.) Passover is set according to the Hebrew Lunar calendar and Easter... well I'm never quite sure how Easter is set but I know it involves a mathematical calculation. 

I have put my work away until next week and would like to wish you all a happy Passover/|Easter/Bank Holiday weekend.


Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Time to smell the daffs

 In the middle of writing a history book.

 Uncomfortably tight schedule. 

Editing stage. 

Sore eyes. 

At least I’ve no time to check on the awful news.

But I just noticed spring so I closed my laptop lid to go and smell the daffodils… and the crocuses and the hellebores. I’ll post about the book in due course, or as Daughter would say, 'laters…'





Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Five February Favourites revisited

In February 2014 I wrote about my five February favourites. Looking back I see that little has changed.

1.  When the sun shines you can now feel its warmth and the promise of spring - provided you're not standing in gale force winds.

2.  The snowdrops are only just poking through but I know that very soon they will be amazing.

3.  There are no family birthdays or anniversaries in February so I’m saved that difficult question that begins, “What do you want for…”

4.  The evenings are starting to get lighter and I'm waking up to the first chirps of dawn chorus.

5.  My brain can finally stop singing that irritating Christmas song. In 2014 I moaned about the Slade Christmas song but this year it has been that one that begins... "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." In truth it's beginning to look a lot like spring so please, most irritating song, leave my brain and stop being such an annoying ear worm.

Happy February

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

81 Words - A Flash Fiction Anthology

Last weekend an amazing book, 81 Words, had its official launch. It contains 1,000 stories and each story is precisely 81 words in length. Contributions were received from around the world, including Leicester UK because I too have a flash fiction story in the anthology but more about me later. The 1,000 stories cover as many styles and genres as there are writers in the world. I may have exaggerated slightly about 'writers in the world' but you get my meaning and it certainly makes for a fascinating read.

This impressive feat was the work of Christopher Fielden. It has taken him seven years from the first idea to the published anthology and all profits from the book will go to support Arkbound Foundation, an independent charity aiming to widen access to literature and improve diversity within publishing. You can buy a copy of the book via this Amazon link: 81 Words  when you've finished reading my blog post, of course! And if you've never visited Christopher's website then I suggest you pop along using this link: Christopher FieldenHis website is full of writing advice, competitions and challenges.

My flash fiction is called The Living Statue. It's number 868 in the book and I'm guessing that Christopher won't mind if I reproduce the page here for you to see... as a taster... before you click on the Amazon link above and buy a copy for yourself. Apologies for the poor production of the page. This was my failing. I am not and never will be a photographer. The book is far lovelier than my photograph suggests.


A big congratulations to Christopher. He has produced a book to be proud of.



Some news about Richard III

While I'm here I'd just like to blow my own trumpet a little. I noticed recently that, although my Children's Book of Richard III is not available for sale on Amazon, they have awarded it four and a half stars out of five and there are a large number of excellent reviews on the page. I am well chuffed!

If you would like a copy it is for sale at the price of £8.99 at museum shops in and around Leicester, at the Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester and at the Bosworth Battlefield gift shop. If you are unable to pop into any of these outlets then please email me at rosalind dot kathryn at gmail dot com. I will then consider you a friend and will let you have a signed book for £8 plus p&p which for addresses in the UK is £3.79.



Friday, 7 January 2022

Raining Cats and Dogs?

Yesterday the Meteorological Office forecasted thundersnow. It’s as if they have permission to make up words.  I’ve heard of thunderstorms and snowstorms but thundersnow only came into my consciousness briefly last year and now it’s being forecasted willy nilly… ok so I exaggerate but I can’t help wondering if this strange weather phenomenon has always been around or is it a new invention?

We all know that weather is changing. We've had enough warning about global warming and climate change. This got me thinking about the weather when I was a child. There were rainstorms, gales, heatwaves, but one thing that has all but disappeared, certainly here in Leicester UK, are fogs and, even worse, smogs. I remember when they used to stop the buses when a fog descended. We would be sent home from school early so we could catch the last bus and by the time I got near to home it would be so thick I had trouble seeing where my street was. The phrase people used was, ‘You can’t see your hand in front of your face’… bit of an exaggeration but it was certainly an eerie and rather daunting experience. Not only was it difficult visually, it also made it hard to breath. During the Great London Fog of 1952 it was reported that 12,000 people died. 

London 1952 - image from britannica.com

I’m glad that thanks to the laws to clean up air pollution we no longer suffer from fogs or smogs and as for the thundersnow, that never materialised. In fact we only saw a flurry of sleet which soon turned back to rain. I wonder what kind of weather they’ll think up for us next… icewind? rainshine? Or maybe I’ll finally be able to experience my childhood fascination and it will start raining cats and dogs. Now that would be a sight to see!


Oh yes, and a Happy New Year to you all!