Friday 30 September 2011

Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning

Welcome! It's lovely to see you

This party will continue until Sunday evening 
so everyone gets a chance to come along
Would you like tea? Coffee? Something cold? My sister, Hilary, is in charge of the drinks. Her speciality is coffee, freshly ground. [She’s the classy one of the family. I prefer instant! I’m such a pleb.] Perhaps you’d rather have a glass of wine? She can rustle up absolutely anything! No trouble!

As for me, I’ve been busy in the kitchen 
*fingers crossed behind back* 
I've been making ice cream and snacks so do help yourself.

[Just think how much easier life would be if it was all virtual. We could have anything we wanted by just thinking about it... or would the novelty wear off?]

Ah! You noticed that I’m wearing FANCY DRESS! I bet you thought I was a real parrot for a minute there. Difficult to do? Not at all! I stitched each feather on by hand. Every feather is a different colour and my wings are tied on with wire. Good, isn't it! "Squawk!"

Do tell me what you’ve come as.  I can't wait to hear about it. *jumps up and down with excitement* There’ll be a Coffee Morning Fancy Dress Award for the most ingenious/amusing fancy dress outfit.

Which reminds me... COFFEE MORNING JOKES! 
There’s a Coffee Morning Jokes Award too. [Clean jokes only please. Remember that I’m a Grandma!] Extra points will be awarded for coffee morning topics and they don't have to be hilariously funny. I’ll start us off to show you what I mean... *clears throat*
Knock, Knock... Come on!!... someone answer me!!!!...
      “Who’s there?”
Thank you! That’s more like it! Honey bee. 
     “Honey bee who?
Honey bee a dear and get me a nice cup of tea. 

And now for the serious bit. This coffee morning has been registered with the Macmillan Cancer Support team and they have given us the ok to run our coffee morning virtually. 

As regular visitors to this blog will know, our mother, Frances Denning, died of cancer in April of this year. The Macmillan nurses were there for her during those last few weeks and this is our way of thanking them. 

We've set up a memorial page through JustGiving so that donations will go straight to the Macmillan Cancer Support team. Please visit the page at 

Thank you for coming along and we hope you've enjoyed our 
Macmillan World's Biggest Coffee Morning
The fun will continue until Sunday evening.
 Do pop back after you've visited the Frances Denning memorial page
There'll still be plenty of tea in that pot.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Busy, busy week

What a busy, busy week! We’ve been to Wales and now we’re back! We’ve been visiting my sister-in-law in her amazing cottage in the side of a mountain with its steep drive and terraced lawns, damp with dew and steep enough to whisk your feet from beneath you. I’m a city girl at heart.

Now it’s time for apple and honey and 

Happy New Year messages to everyone. 

Let’s hope it’s a sweet and healthy one.

And soon it’ll be time for our virtual Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee MorningI hope you’re getting your Coffee Morning Fancy Dress Outfits ready. I’ve got mine all sorted and hanging in my virtual wardrobe. There’ll be awards for the most original outfits. You can describe them to me when you arrive any time between Friday 30th September and Sunday 2nd October... and don’t forget to bring your Coffee Morning Jokes with you.

Of course, there is a more serious side to the event. The MacMillan nurses were there for Mum in those last few weeks and that’s why we (me and my sister, Hilary) have set up a Frances Denning memorial page through JustGiving so that people can donate. You can find it at and all donations go directly to MacMillan Cancer Support. Friends have already started donating. You don’t have to wait. to unpack the suitcases. What a busy, busy week!

Sunday 25 September 2011

I had a dream... and some awards. Yay!

Over the last few weeks I’ve received three awards. Thank you, thank you. They’re from three lovely new blogger friends who I met through Rachael’s Platform Building Campaign. They’re well worth a visit.

Michele from A Wanderer in Paris

I love receiving awards but as ever I’m going to break the rules. I’m now supposed to tell you things that you don’t know about me but I’ve decided to turn it on its head. I want you to tell me something I don’t know about me. You see, I had a dream... really! The other night I dreamt that my diary was filled in for years into the future. Page after page of my scribbled handwriting told of events that hadn’t yet occurred, emotions that hadn’t yet been felt. I tried hard not to look at the words. I didn’t want to know but I couldn’t help myself. I started to turn the pages beyond today... and then I woke up. It was such a relief but I can’t get it out of my mind. The dream must have meant something only I can’t work out what. So, can you tell me something about me that I don’t know... please?

And now for the passing on of the awards and again I’ve broken the rules. I’ve created a brand new Friendly Blogger Award

It’s for those bloggers who chat to me, who take the time to comment on my blog. I love having visitors and thank you all for reading my blog but those who comment have gradually become friends. We know about each others’ lives, care about the bad and celebrate the good. I’d like to give all of you the award but I’m delighted to say that, at a rough count, I have are over 60 regular commenters... so how to decide?

I've had to select names randomly from the comments list of the last few posts. Many apologies to those who comment regularly and have not been recognised this time but I’m going to make another Friendly Blogger Award following my virtual Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning. It will take place here on my blog next weekend, 30th Sept to 2nd October, so come along, support a very worthwhile cause and have a fun time with all my competitions/virtual coffee and cake.

Finally my Friendly Blogger Award goes to:

Giggles and Guns at GigglesandGuns
Jemi at Just Jemi
Manzanita at Wanna Buy a Duck
Pauline at Scribbles
Talli at Talli Roland

Award rules: Send this award to about 10 people who regularly comment on your blog. A link back to my blog would be good... 

...and don't forget to keeeeeep commenting! [as they almost say on my favourite TV programme, Strictly Come Dancing, which is back next weekend!! Can’t wait!!]

The Imago Stage

Well, really, Rachael! What have you done to us now? 

Rachael of Rach Writes... has given all the Campaigners a task to write, in 200 words or less, a piece with the word Imago in the titles and including the words miasma, lacuna, oscitate and synchronicity. Hummph! Here’s my contribution to the task:

The Imago Stage

There’s movement among the miasma of rotting vegetation
Pupae have too long been huddled together in diapauses
Now they are shuddering,
Straining against fine lacunas in their membranes
Each pupa has a weak spot,
The lacuna oscitates and
A crushed, distorted creature emerges.
Glistening wings dry, extend,
Colours obscure the rotting background
And with perfect synchronicity butterflies take to flight.
Such is the imago stage of holometabolism.

[If you should happen to want to 'like' this, it's number 90 on the Linkytools page here.]

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Peace One Day

Today is Global Peace Day and had I not been on Twitter yesterday I would never have known. The following is PeaceOne Day’s official aim for the day:
For Peace Day 2012, Peace One Day is calling for and working towards a Global Truce - a day of ceasefire and non-violence observed by all sectors of society globally ... POD hopes this will be the largest reduction in global violence in recorded history, both domestically and internationally.
Peace One Day was the idea of the film-maker, Jeremy Gilley, and in 2001 the United Nations announced that an official day of global ceasefire and non-violence would be held annually on 21 September.

You only have to visit their website to see that they're doing a lot of good in troubled areas but I'm afraid that it won't bring us lasting world peace... wouldn’t it be amazing if it could! I suspect that aggression is hardwired into our behaviour long before we’re old enough to make decisions about war. You only have to watch a group of kids playing in the playground to appreciate how close we all are to arguments and fighting. As an ex-primary school teacher I know how true this is.

I couldn’t possibly say how many times I’ve made young children face each other after a fight and say,
The words tumble from their mouths but there’s no meaning in them.

This is a time of year when the Jewish High Holy Days are approaching. It’s traditional to think back over the past year. Maybe you've wronged someone. Maybe you've said something hurtful to a family member or friend. Well now is the time to tell them you’re sorry... with words that don’t just tumble from your mouth!

If we could all do that all the time, then maybe there would be no war and no need for a Peace One Day movement. In the meantime I salute Jeremy Gilley and his work. Let’s hope that it can help towards making a difference.


Only 10 days until our virtual 
Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning. 
From Friday 30th September to Sunday 2nd October.
Come to this blog for cakes, drinks, fun and lots of awards to be won. 

Don't forget, we’ll be asking for donations to Macmillan Cancer Support at JustGiving

[This event has been registered with the Macmillan Cancer Support Charity 
and every penny of your donation goes to the Macmillan charity. Thank you.]


Sunday 18 September 2011


There’s a new book out that’s really wicked. *sigh* [That’s the sound of someone who’s feeling old.] I’d like to know how the word ‘wicked’ first came to mean cool and, while I’m on the subject, where did the term ‘cool’ come from? Everyone’s using it these days, except for me. Apparently it embarrasses my kids.

“You’re too old to say ‘cool’, Mum!” Charming! In my day it was ‘swinging’, ‘groovy’ or even ‘hip’. You knew where you were with terms like that. I wonder if it’s better to be cool than hot and how can wicked be both good and bad? What word do you use to describe something that’s really good?

...which brings me back to the book. I’ve mentioned before about our writing critique group. We’re all children’s authors and we meet twice a month, once to crit each other’s work and once to have lunch and discuss novels written by other children’s authors. [ok, ok, so it’s mostly to have lunch!!] One of our group, Deborah White, was recently signed up to a two book deal with Templar. The first book is now out. It’s called Wickedness and, like I say, it’s wicked. It’s about two flame-haired girls, both fourteen, both living in London, but four hundred years apart. It’s a full-on adventure story that includes history, fantasy and romance... something for everyone!

Seeing Deborah’s book emerge into the real world is a bit like watching a friend’s baby grow. We saw it develop and mature. We know both flame-haired girls as if they were our nieces. I can’t wait for you all to read it so we can discuss the story. It’s cool... sorry, I mean wicked.

Wickedness by Deborah White ISBN 9781848775312 It’s out in paperback at £6.99 [but if you scoot over to Amazon now you can pick up a copy for £3.91 – how do they do that?]


There are only 12 days until our virtual 
Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning
From Friday 30th September to Sunday 2nd October we’ll be having cakes, drinks and fun right here on this blog and there’ll be lots of awards to be won... but most importantly, we’ll be asking for donations to Macmillan Cancer Support at JustGiving in memory of our Mum who died five months ago from cancer. We miss her very much. 

[This event has been registered with the Macmillan Cancer Support Charity and every penny of your donation goes to the Macmillan charity. Thank you.]


Tuesday 13 September 2011

What People do for Charity

I’ve been watching with a certain degree of ghoulish fascination as David Walliams completed his gruelling eight-day, 140 mile charity swim along the River Thames. He’s suffered from ‘Thames Tummy’ [all that raw sewage - yuk!] He’s been bitten by water-fleas and attacked by swans. He’s saved a dog from drowning and almost passed out from hypothermia but he has managed to raise over £1,000,000 for Sport Relief. Amazing!

We did our bit for charity last night. We went out for a curry. It was Mr A’s first visit to an Indian Restaurant since he had his stem cell transplant last year. The dietary restrictions were over long ago but we just hadn’t managed to get out for an authentic curry. [Apparently mine don’t count!] He seems to have survived the meal. He had a tender tummy this morning but nothing on the scale of Walliams’ troubles. The evening was in aid of Save the Children so it was worth a bit of a rumbling tum. Our friend regularly organises events for this charity and last night raised over £700. Excellent!

A charity that’s very close to my heart has a special event coming up. On Friday 30th September The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning will be held by Macmillan Cancer Support

I’ve decided that this year I’m going to organise...

   ~ a virtual coffee morning ~

The added advantage is that my sister, Hilary, can join me. Well she does live 200 miles away and this is the nearest thing we’ll get to doing anything together this autumn!

I’ll be posting up more about the event next week but we’ve already set up a page for donations to Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of our mum and we’ve said a few words about her so please go along and visit our page by clicking the following link...

The coffee morning will last all weekend [that’s the great thing about being virtual!] so if you can’t make it on the Friday or Saturday then you can join in the fun on Sunday. There’ll be lots of cake [guaranteed edible unlike my non-virtual ones!] and a continual supply of freshly ground coffee, plus de-caff if you prefer. I’ll be wearing fancy dress [more about that next week] and there’ll be awards given out [more about that next week too] but above all it’ll be about raising money to help people with cancer and right now I can’t think of a more worthy cause.


Thursday 8 September 2011

Behind Front Doors

Do you wonder what’s behind front doors,
Wishing for a life that isn't yours?
Do you look at neighbours with regret?
You think you want to live their life and yet...

I bet those neighbours often look at you.
I bet they envy everything you do.
They’d love to have the life they think is yours.
So many things can hide behind front doors.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Pet Points

I’ve been tagged by Maria at First Draft CafĂ©. Maria is one of the few bloggers who I know in real life. We joined together to present a creative writing evening for local residents... a most successful event. Now Maria has tagged me and the rules are that I must tell you 10 random things about myself but I'm changing that slightly to 10 facts about me and my pets (not forgetting some cat photos at the end of the post.)
1. The first fact has to be that I still miss my darling dog Josh who died suddenly exactly a year ago.
2. Josh was only my second ever dog. When I met Mr A he came as one of a pair, him and Ben. It was definitely a case of ‘love Mr A, love his dog’.
3. I’ve always had cats since I was a little girl. My first cat was called Timothy.
4. For many years I was the slightly embarrassed owner of two cats who my ex-husband named Plink and Plonk. They were lovely boys but, with names like that, I preferred not to call them in from the front of the house.
5. When I moved in with Mr A we had to introduce Plink and Plonk to Ben. Ben was a very excited dog. ‘Living with cats! Yo and woof!’ How wrong can a dog be? They sat on the dining table and took swipes at his muzzle as he trotted past. ‘What did I do to deserve that?’
6. I had Plink and Plonk for about 19 years... and then came Rosie, a loving little tortoiseshell cat. She had been rescued from a family where the toddler had stabbed one of her kittens with a scissors and thrown another down the stairs. The social services removed Rosie and her surviving kittens and rehomed all but Rosie… until we came along. We had her for almost 17 years. She died two years ago.
7. Long before Rosie was born my mum embroidered a picture of a cat. To our surprise it was our Rosie. She was always being held up next to it to show off the likeness whenever we had visitors.

Wasn't my Mum clever!
8. In March this year, just before mum died, she told me that it was time I got cats again. On her advice I did just that. It was good advice.
9. In March Mabel and Charlie entered our lives. They are middle-aged, blue/grey, girl cats who desperately needed a new home. When we first got them they were very nervous and timid.
10. Mable and Charlie are no longer nervous and timid. Only last night they were racing each other up and down the stairs and leaping across us as we watched the television. It’s good to have pets in the house again.     

Mabel: Why are you disturbing our breakfast?

Charlie: What's this camera doing here?

Now it's time to pass the tag on. I've tried to choose bloggers who I haven't sent awards to recently but who are regular visitors to my blog. Apologies to those I've missed.

Sarah Pearson at Empty White Pages

Rebecca Emin at Ramblings of a Rusty Writer

Ali Bacon at Between the Lines

D. J. Kirkby at D. J. Kirkby

L. G. Smith at Bards and Prophets

Thursday 1 September 2011

Blow Your Own Trumpet

Self-promotion doesn’t come naturally. I’m more likely to make apologetic noises than positive ones when talking about myself and my work. This approach is not ideal for a writer. I need to be able to say,        
        “Hey everybody, I’ve just written a hilarious story that would make a brilliant children’s picture book.”    
*cringe, cringe, squirm*

It makes me feel conceited. I can hear lots of imaginary people telling me that it’s not nice to... Blow Your Own Trumpet!
I can hear them saying that... I’m Too Big for my Boots!
And to watch out because... Pride Cometh Before a Fall!

Writers are meant to promote their work and I should be used to that sort of thing because we’re surrounded by advertising all the time. It's on the TV, the radio, in the newspapers. They’re all promoting themselves. Some of the things that we buy continue to promote themselves even after we’ve bought them. I’m thinking here about a pair of jeans that I bought yesterday. I had a most enjoyable shopping expedition with my daughter, a Bank Holiday treat, and a helpful shop assistant asked me,
“Have you tried not your daughter’s jeans?”
I was confused because I didn’t at the time know that Not Your Daughter’s Jeans is the name of a make of jeans. My daughter and the shop assistant were amused because obviously they did know.

The jeans were amazing. I treated myself to a pair and when I put them on today I found a label stuck to the inside one of the legs. It said,

                    “NYDJ cannot be held responsible for any positive consequence 
                    that may arise due to your fabulous appearance when wearing our jeans.”

My first thought was, “How funny!”

My second thought was, “How cheeky!”

My third thought was, “Yeah, that’s how to promote yourself! I’m going to blog about that.”