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!


Thursday, 16 December 2021

Poetry, Nails and Miracles

Poetry Acceptance

Firstly a big thank you to Songs of Eretz Poetry Review for accepting my poem, 'The Passing of Time on Peddars Way'. It will be published in their Winter 2021/22 issue. Pedders Way is a picturesque walk along the Norfolk coastal path. We used to regularly walk there from Blakeney to Cley. We haven't been for years but we're planning to go back there next year - Covid permitting.

As for the poem,  I have now racked up 17 published poems. Is it time to start thinking about a poetry pamphlet? I'm not sure and would welcome your opinion. Do you rate poetry pamphlets? Or do you only purchase them when a friend invites you to their pamphlet launch party? 

A Nail Saga

For three whole weeks I delighted in my grandmother-of-the-bride-nails. They gleamed with deep magenta gel. They were glossy and glisteny and I have been flashing them in front of people and stroking them lovingly. When they hit the three-week mark they went into rapid decline. Three weeks is old for nails. In fact, in 'nail years' three weeks is positively ancient. They were cracking and bending and had become so long that I was having trouble typing and picking up anything smaller than a knife and fork but the gel had set like concrete and no way could I file them down. The gel had to go!

But it is two weeks before Christmas and all nail-gel-remover shops are fully booked. Undeterred I went to the chemist and bought a bottle of acetone. It has large red warning signs on the bottle and smells atrocious but I was intrepid. I was determined. I spent the best part of twenty-four hours soaking my nails with smelly cotton wool and wrapping them in tin foil. I became light-headed from the fumes, slightly dizzy and squidgy but I did it. The gel is gone... and my nails are plain and boring once more. 

An Affirmation of Miracles

This week I went to a Singing for Pleasure group that I joined recently. We were asked to bring in short readings for our final session of the year and so I thought I'd talk about Chanukah. I first explained the history, how the small group of Maccabees won against all odds over the Greek army, how the Greek were intolerant of other religions and how they, when retreating from the Maccabees, destroyed the holy oil in the Temple. The Maccabees found one bottle of oil, enough to burn in the Temple for one day and yet it lasted for the eight days that it took them to purify more oil - a miracle that we remember each year by lighting eight candles plus a lighter candle.

Some people don't believe in miracles these days. They say that miracles only happened to people in the Bible. I don't agree with those people. What about the development of a Covid vaccination in about six months when it would normally take at least two years? And for me, my personal miracle is my grandson. When he was a toddler he almost died with Type 1 Diabetes. He's now 11 and three weeks ago, on the weekend of his sister's wedding, he stepped up onto the Bimah in the Synagogue and sang in Hebrew two pages of prayers on his own in front of the whole congregation. So don't tell me that there's no such thing as miracles. I've seen them first hand.


Monday, 29 November 2021

Grandmother of the Bride and an Irreverent Wedding Poem

Last weekend I took on a new and unfamiliar role - I was Grandmother of the Bride. It was an amazing weekend, even if I did have a few wobblies about driving to Manchester. I'm pleased to say that I did the drive quite competently, as Mr A. assured me I would. It's amazing what one can do when there's a granddaughter about to get married. Oh yes, and there were tears but they were happy, happy tears and I managed not to show myself up with red eyes.

I don't have the official wedding photos yet and I'm not about to bore you with loads of wedding snaps of people you probably don't know but here's a little snapshot of me and he.


Several years ago I wrote a poem about the seven deadly sins at a wedding. It in no way reflects our amazing wedding of last week but I thought it would be fun to share it with you now. Just as a reminder the seven deadly sins are pride, lust, greed, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.

Seven Sins of the Wedding Feast 

The bride’s father beams as he surveys the feast:
real champagne, smoked salmon canapΓ©s, 
only the finest for his princess.

The best man drools as he gazes
at her moist pink lips, imagines his fingers
touching cream skin glimpsed through lattice lace.

The groom aches with a hunger
that has nothing to do with the food on his plate. 
They’ll go once the speeches are over.

The bridesmaid’s lips are a rose red pout.
She should be wearing white. It’s her turn...
if only someone would ask her.

Jacket buttons strain as Cousin Albert gorges
on pies, puddings, wine and lager...
such a shame to let it go to waste.

Great Aunt Amelia seethes as she sits
at the back with mere neighbours. 
Who is responsible for this seating plan?

The bride languishes. No more work for her.
She’ll have a monthly allowance, a cleaner, a gardener.
She’s got a man to look after her now.

As I said, this has absolutely nothing to do with Granddaughter and her lovely new husband. Our wedding feast of last weekend was a relaxed and enjoyable affair. Mind you, the weekend was exhausting. I'm only just recovering. 

Monday, 1 November 2021

How can it be November already?

Is it me or is time moving in a different way since Covid? I seem to be very busy but I'm not too sure what with. Last week we went away for a short holiday, our first change of scene since before Covid. We visited a fascinating city but more of that later.

Firstly I would like to flag up my latest piece of poetry that has been published both on the Green Ink Poetry website and in their latest anthology on the theme of roots. It is one of my favourite poems and so, for those who know me, you can guess that it's pure nostalgia. I love writing about my roots - my memories of growing up in 1950s Leicester. Here is the link if you'd like to read it: Post-war Kids by Rosalind Adam

I have, at last, got around to updating my About Me page that includes a list of my published work. I'm rather chuffed to have 17 poems in my published list. If you would like to have a look then click here About Me or on the green tab above.

And now for our holiday - we took a train to Ely in Cambridgeshire. Ely was once an island and as the cross-country train approached the area it slowed down and we were surrounded by watery marshland - a tad creepy but fascinating too.  Ely is a small city with a stunningly beautiful cathedral. My photographs never do justice to beauty but here is my take on the cathedral:

and here is the view of the River Ouse from a lovely eatery, The Cutter Inn. I can recommend it whole-heartedly if you're ever in the area.

Me being me I can't produce an entire blog post without a bit of a moan. We decided to go by train partly because I hate distance driving and partly because it's an easy journey, no changes, and lovely views. My complaint is about the cost. To have made this holiday a stress-free experience I would have preferred open tickets so we were not tied to a set time for travelling. But open tickets are so expensive - there has been a significant increase since last time we made the journey - that we opted for timed tickets with all the related stress of getting to the station for a precise time.

So here is my moan - at a time when most world leaders are meeting in Glasgow to try and reduce carbon emissions shouldn't something be done about the exorbitant cost of train travel? Is it prohibitively expensive to travel by train in your part of the UK/in your part of the world? Or is it just our rail network in the East Midlands?


Thursday, 30 September 2021

A Busy Month

Covid is still with us. It keeps looming up among one or other of my friendship groups, reminding me to keep on gelling and sticking mask to mouth. I just hope that's enough of a protection. Next week I'll be getting my booster Covid jab so that's a bit of added security but even with the reassurance of gel, mask and jabs, life is still out of kilter. 

A Sukkah
High Holy Days: Last year the Jewish High Holy Days were observed from the safety of home but this year the Synagogue has reopened. I was unsure about going but decided to attend the service for Rosh Hashonah, the New Year. I was appropriately masked and gelled up but there were so many people there that I left before the end and only returned earlier this week for a quieter ceremony of Shemini Azeret. This marks the end of Shavuot, a seven-day festival when meals are shared in an outdoor hut that has only leaves and branches as a roof. Yes, it sounds strange on the page but it's fun to take part in so long as the weather isn't too autumnal. It's all about remembering the time that the Israelites travelled in the wilderness when they left Egypt.

Poetry: A few days ago I posted on social media the good news that my poem, 'Post-war Kids' has been accepted for publication by Green Ink Poetry, and will be available next month in both an online and a print edition. I'm particularly pleased with this acceptance as it is one of my favourite poems. The theme for the edition is roots and I interpreted that in my usual nostalgic way. I've written about being a kid in the 1950s. I'll post up the link as soon as it's available.

Demolition: While all this has been going on, we have had builders in. They have demolished our old conservatory which was on the verge of falling down, was far too hot to sit in during the summer and too cold in the winter. They are building a new garden room which we have been assured will solve all our problems. The builders are quite self-contained but I am living with the sound of constant pop music, drilling, sawing and the provision of copious mugs of coffee. It was meant to be a week's job in June but has turned out to be nigh-on a month's job in September. Which brings me full circle back to Covid. The pandemic has apparently created havoc with the supply of building materials as well as every other aspect of our lives. 

At least 'Strictly Come Dancing' with its glitter and glamour is back on the TV so that's something to smile about. Stay safe and, in the style of the Strictly sign off, keeeeep gelling!



Thursday, 9 September 2021

Feel-good dreams

Apparently, according to dream experts, there are certain kinds of dreams that we all have at some time or another. They include: 

  • falling 
  • being chased 
  • being naked in public
  • and sitting an exam in a subject about which you haven't a clue! 

Some people claim not to remember any of their dreams. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I'd certainly like to forget my nightmares. I can still remember the recurring nightmare I had as a child. A fire engine used to chase me down the entry at the side of our house but I don't want to dwell on that. I want to talk about feel-good dreams. 

😴 πŸ›Œ 😴 

Until recently I had a recurring dream where I would find a new room in my house that I didn't know was there. Sometimes I'd dream that the kitchen had a whole extra section with a magnificent row of cupboards and work surfaces (I have a small kitchen in real life). Sometimes I would have to crawl through a low passageway to get to a new room or it might even be a vast extension to the house and it was always exciting. It was a feel-good dream.

😴 πŸ›Œ 😴 

I don't have this dream anymore. It might be because I no longer lust after extensions to the house. What I have suits me just fine. Although the other night my brain took this dream-theme to a different level. In my dream I discovered that I had another email account. It was in my name but I had no idea that it existed, and it had lots of unread emails in it. I was excited but I'm afraid I woke up before I could open any of the emails and I haven't had that dream again.

😴 πŸ›Œ 😴

Aren't dreams strange. You think you know what's going on in your head until you fall asleep and your mind has... well, it has a mind of its own. 

Can you remember your dreams? 

Do you have any recurring ones and are they ever feel-good?