Would smell as sweet.

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At 5.45am we emerged sleepily from our front door. I was awake enough to notice the untidy state of our front garden an abundance of weeds and wild grasses, ivy, roses and shrubs desperately in need of more than a trim.  I sighed wondering when I would have the time to tackle this pressing chore.

The dawn was promising us a lovely day – blue sky and the merest wisp of clouds and a gentle zephyr buffed our cheeks, but the initial negative thought hovered as we trundled onward on the 171 Bus to Waterloo on route to the antique fair at Epsom.

I leaned, companionably, against Ian’s shoulder, he possibly attributed my mum-chance* to the early hour and didn’t disturb my thoughts. There was a handful of other passengers and the driver seemed to be in a hurry so we bowled along.

Maybe I was still sleepy, my thoughts random but my mood remained despondent wildflowers 3despite this being a planned visit to something I greatly enjoy. Brockley and New Cross went by in a haze. It was somewhere between New Cross and Camberwell, as the bus slowed in the growing volume of traffic, that my mood burst like champagne bubbles. Unbelievable, unexpected on the road side verge was a broad sash of wild flowers, a burst of colour; Poppies, Buttercups, Camomile daises, Vetch, Viola, Foxglove their fragile symmetry reaching exuberantly to the sunrise. They flourished in the clear morning light the vibrancy of their colours, yellow, red, pink and purple, undiminished by the encroaching concrete and asphalt. *(Language of flowers)

These were not random seeds blown thither by the breeze. This was a wild flower mix scattered by an unknown hand on a piece of, unprepossessing, ground; a secret garden that many could enjoy in passing, lifting the spirits of a stranger on a bus.

No one else on the bus seemed to have noticed them, they were snoozing, playing with their mobiles or reading the metro. I wanted to share it with someone but even Ian was napping. My heart soared buoyed up by the unexpected visual feast.

It reminded me of my own wild patch –  the roses, small and white, blushed with gold, _DSC0238rampant in June this year because of the mildness of the spring. In flower for weeks giving off a delicious scent so that people passing my gate catch their fragrance. That shrub, the resplendent Glorie de Versailles, that needs more than a trim, who’s lavender-blue flowers stop people in their tracks and for a while they forget the traffic and breath in the perfume of summer to share the show like I had that morning.

Nature has a way of taking the hard edges off the city; hair tail grass in the crack _DSC0177between wall and pavement, a Buddleia in a rooftop crevice, it’s purple tipped wands dipping and waving attracting bees and butterflies, the faithful forget-me-not in the Victorian architectural swag on the Fire Station on Camberwell Road, the short-lived scarlet poppies populating any patch of earth, glowing in sun or shade, even the musky, sweet smelling, Indian balsam in some dank spot near Waterloo Bridge.

The rest of the journey I spent looking for these welcome migrants from country to city, which add colour and light and shade an unlooked-for legacy. Migrants have a way of doing that. London is reputably one third green space, whether it is manicured parks or unkempt garden, which despite neglect, will without human interference, become a wildlife haven, the so-called weeds – wild flowers – rubbing shoulders with their cultivated cousins.

 Dictionary English UK definition: Mum-chance – adjective –  silent, thoughtful.

*(Language of flowers) See Squirrel Nutkin* was conspicuous by his absence

My latest novel (really my first novel) ‘Of a finer Ruth’ will hopefully be publishes before Christmas. And as a Christmas present to all my friends I am putting my two other publications, Reflections of the Old Past and Red Sky at Dawning: the Time Oak,  as free books for a week at Christmas.

Red Sky at Dawning: The Time Oak – Kindle edition by Angela Moor … 

Reflections of the old past eBook: Angela Moor: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle …

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Don’t Leave It Too Late

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We had a disturbed night’s sleep at my father-in-law’s cottage in Cumbria recently. Before the crack of dawn when, he, Jock, my father-in-law, one time desert rat, loving, faithful husband, father, grandfather, hurried us awake because he couldn’t find his trousers.  It sounds comical but he’s ninety-six and his short-term memory is not what is was and his carer had put them in the wash basket and his clean ones had fallen off the hanger into the gloom of the wardrobe. He was agitated and Ian and I staggered out of bed to join the hunt and calm was restored.

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Jock has lived in this village for 68 of his years, having moved there from a neighbouring village, went to school, was a chorister in the choir, went off to the war  and returned to bring up his family and serve the community in the village Cooperative shop, and as a Sub Officer in the Fire Brigade, growing his own vegetables and gardening for others to make ends meet, he buried his father,  mother and his beautiful, beloved Noemi, Dad and Mum's Wedding Photoa prize he brought home from the war, and until recently he kept their graves neat and trim with fresh flowers weekly.  But whilst he might be able to recognise every stone and lintel, has called it home through the second world war, Suez crisis, Bay of Pigs incident and other world conflicts, joined the coronation celebrations for three monarchs, the shock of an abdication, rock and roll, the death of Churchill, the man on the moon, and 9/11, this village isn’t the place he once knew. The handful of friends who remain are as frail and housebound as himself.

 

There are a lot more houses now all tastefully built to blend with local sandstone and the existing structures. But they are not the dwellings of the offspring of his past friends and neighbours no, they though born and bred there, are priced out of the village. These ‘little boxes’ are the haunt of incomers who have no loyalty to the village but merely exist in it ignoring local interest and anyone who doesn’t meet their social aspirations.

So the people who walk past his gate day-to-day and if they notice him at all walking up and down his path, the only exercise he can get because he is partially sighted now, rarely stop to say hello or pass the time of day ensuring that he is isolated and alone for many hours of the day gradually loosing touch with even what remains of his old life.

Jock isn’t, despite his physical frailty, lacking in his mental faculties, a little slower perhaps, but he is still astute, never complains and those who do enjoy the pleasure of his company always leave laughing because his jokes, some old I’ll grant you, but more often plucked from the day-to-day are just as sharp as they ever were.

The irony is that the incomers come to the countryside for a quieter life, a slower less stressful pace but they continue to dash off in their four by fours, to the gym, exotic holiday or shopping in the local town and filling their dormitory homes with every new must have object that will along with themselves eventually fade and become living wall paper as invisible as dear Jock.

I don’t want to leave it too late to express my admiration of this dear man, the current trend of the media and the public to lionise and praise those that die, unexpectedly or inevitably, turning them in to plaster saints, deserved or not, it is not my place to judge, is something which always prompts me to wonder if they thanked the deceased or told them what they felt whilst they were still alive.

A disaster in Barcelona, London and Paris

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In the mid 1990’s as part of my day job we had a call out to a devastating flood in Barcelona. Ian was teaching, four full time students for seven weeks, so I went on my own. The flood site was one of the amazing Antoni Gaudi buildings whose massive main doors had been burst wide by a wave from a flash flood, caused by weeks of torrential rain, which surged through the ground floor and then, as water always will, found and engulfed the lower levels. These huge spaces were more utilitarian than the rest of the building and here were stored, for dispatch, dozens of packing cases filled with framed images which were now submerged or floating in the turgid water.

I flew into Barcelona with the dawn. There is nothing quite so satisfying as bringing order to chaos and I spent a busy morning designating extraction, treatment, drying and recovery areas and planning for the aftermath; the affirmation and care of traumatised personnel and the long-term floodrecovery of objects and building. By 2.30pm we had set things in place, located the necessary materials and equipment and were awaiting the final vestiges of the deluge to be pumped away and the basement and packing cases to be sprayed down with fresh water, disinfectant and deodoriser. The dehumidifiers and cold blowers would not arrive until late afternoon.

In the lull my employers took me to a very fashionable restaurant, the food was good, I knew my colleagues well, however, aware that speed is of the essence I urged us to return. Reaching for my handbag, which was conspicuous by its absence, clearly stolen, my hosts were embarrassed and angry by turns apologizing profusely.

I had a choice, I could have complained said “why me God?” I could join in the lament and have a pity party or get on with what I was there for. I asked to phone Ian and he cancelled my credit cards and bank card.

I was disappointed to lose my passport, it was one of the blue ones with the rampant lion and the unicorn on the cover, and it had the visas and official stamps from my first two trips to China, which for me were more than special. I lost my return ticket, bible and personal photo’s but the passport was the real issue. How would I get back to England?Passport

At the police station I received the requisite form and reference number so I could go to the British Consulate to get a permit to travel.

In the waiting area were a young couple and their two small children. They had been robbed of everything they had and abandoned on the road side. They sat quietly, their expression stunned. There were a number of other individuals but one young chap prowled about the room clearly impatient.

One by one individuals were dealt with and left or went off to other departments which left me, the young family and our fidgety individual. It was his turn next but he just got more indignant by the moment. The guards and clerks were all Spanish as were my colleagues. When this young chap started to complain about the delay he had everyone’s attention.

The clerk took his details asked how the consulate could assist him? “He wanted money, he had a job interview in Madrid he needed money to get there”.

The consulate isn’t a piggy bank for distressed Brits it’s remit is to give advice and protect the interest of British subjects within the law, they cannot disburse money but can arrange for money to be transferred. At that time, they were authorised to help financially to the tune of £5.00 the cost of a simple meal. Regretfully our fidgety friend completely lost the plot, and shouting and thumping the furniture he went into a complete strop. Me, I was embarrassed, I still believed in ‘stiff upper lip don’t you know’. The guards of course quieted him down but he still continued to pace and complain.

It was my turn, all I needed was a photo, and a fee and I’d have my temporary travel document. The foundation I was working for had given me some cash and after getting my travel document I went to speak to our angry guy and gave him the surplus, ‘it’s a gift from Jesus’, he was speechless.  But, I couldn’t resist it and giving him my most withering look I told him to “shut up! And stop making such a fuss, try to remember your British!”

You might think that that was the end of my disaster, well no, when I got back to London I went to Petty France to get a new passport but they would only give me a one-year passport. I felt humiliated, as if they didn’t trust me.

We visited China again that year and were also invited to teach in Paris the dates set and contracts signed. We were travelling Eurostar, from Waterloo international Station and we went to get some currency the helpful cashier asked “Did I know my passport had expired?” Of course it had only been for one year. Oh No! What to do? No hope of a new one. Ian go it alone? Break our contract? Our names would be mud. We found a quiet corner and prayed, and came to a decision.

Clutching our tickets and passports we approached the barrier. No one asked for ticket or passport! We got on the train no one checked our tickets. We got off in Paris no one checked our ticket or passport. We couldn’t believe it.

At the university someone asked if there was anything they could help us with. I asked if they could get me a passport renewal form from the British Consulate and one duly arrived. To my dismay it was going to cost in the region of £200.00, five times what it would normally cost, I’m from Yorkshire, need I say more? So we reasoned God got us here he surely can get us back?

In week three a general strike was called in Paris which meant the university would be closed, no public transport etc. We suggested to the students we could all meet and visit the Société Francaise de Photographie.

Up early, enjoying ‘le petite déjeuner’, looking forward to our day out with the students. Inexplicably, mid croissant, I developed a life or death urge to renew my passport, I’m from Yorkshire I don’t do illogical! Almost in tears I pleaded my case with Ian and he with a saint like patience, checked the map and we walked across Paris to the British Consulate.

The salle d’ attente was deserted and we waited for the passport section to open. I went to the toilet and as I was washing my hands the most amazing feeling of excitement filled me, a sense of expectation and anticipation. I tried to explain my excitement to Ian, it was inexplicable. Nothing happened but the excitement remained I wanted to laugh, I could barely sit still. After half an hour a lady came in and sat down close to us clearly on a similar errand as ours.

I smiled and being British mentioned the nice weather. She responded of course but it was clear she was burdened and I said is there anything we can do to help. One of her grandsons had had a terrible accident in Martinique and two thirds of his body had been burned and they needed money to get him to Paris for an operation. My heart sank I knew the consulate couldn’t give her money. We asked if we could pray for her and her grandson. She accepted gladly and we voiced a simple prayer asking God for healing and his provision. It seemed inadequate, my excitement had diminished to a slow simmer.

The passport section opened and I went up with my application, then sat down again to await the outcome. A consular official came and lead our neighbour into an adjacent office. Ian and I sat, heads together and prayed for her and her family. I told Ian about the consular remit. We discussed how much money we had and decided to offer what we had, it wasn’t much.

Within fifteen minutes she was back her face tear stained, her body language expressing her fear and despair.

She told us exactly what I already knew that they couldn’t help, they would arrange transfer of money from England but that was all they could do, she had no money in the UK and didn’t know who she could call on for help. We offered her the money we had but she refused it but we prayed for her again and illogically my excitement rose again.

Another consular official called her back into the office. We prayed.  Shortly afterwards she came out of the office her face the complete opposite to when she went in she was overjoyed and thanking us for our prayers. They had called her back to see if she had been able to think of where she could get some money, they had been patient letting her sit and think. She had closed her eyes and knew we were praying and she just simply asked God for help and in a split second she remember how years ago she and her husband had lent a friend some money, he had tried to pay it back but they had said no it wasn’t necessary he had said OK but if you ever need any money just let him know. It was many years before even her children were born; they hadn’t been in touch for years. She told the official the story, he went away and made some phone calls. Was her friend still living in the same place? Yes, he was! Would he help? Yes, he would! Praise the Lord, you cannot imagine the joy and astonishment.

Was that all? No not quite all. We asked if there was anything we could do, offered her the money to keep her going but again she refused. Then she said, there is one thing? She was hesitant, she and her daughter had been all over Paris looking to buy an English language bible without success. Bubbles of excitement filled me again and I could barely stop myself from shouting Halleluiah!

That morning as Ian and I prepared to leave our hotel room to walk to the consulate I had suggested that Ian took his bible. It was a treasured possession, pocket size, beautifully bound in blue leather with gilt edge pages. There was no logic to this request either but he slipped it in his back pack.

The words were barely out of our companion’s mouth when Ian retrieved his bible from his back pack and smiling placed it in her hands.

We bid our farewells and she hurried off to tell her daughter the good news and we were left once more in possession of the empty room. We prayed thanking God for his blessing and such an amazing experience.

That should have been enough, shouldn’t it? But God is ever a generous God. In due time we were again called into the passport section and the young man shuffled his papers and pushed a passport towards me across the desk. It was a five years passport, it was stamped issued in Paris, how Chic is that? I was delighted and waited to pay the fee. No Fee, no Fee? Not one penny, no explanation just Je vous remercie and au revoir.

My favourite hobbyhorse

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_dsc1099It was 12th night and in the morning Ian and I packed away our Christmas decorations for another year.

Strangely enough this task, which can be onerous and always leaves the house feeling dull and a little desolate, turned out to give me the most Christmassy feeling of the blessed season. Don’t get me wrong we had a really lovely Christmas once all the stress of the preparation: planning, shopping, packing and the rest, was over that is.

We always have two trees, small of stature in the kitchen, a taller one in the sitting room. The kitchen tree is more utilitarian than the one in the sitting room, festooned with predominantly non-breakable ornaments, including a miniature wooden rolling pin, as our cats sometimes misbehave. The pink foil angel was bought for my son’s first Christmas she has a tonsure, which always reminds me of Zeppo of the Marx brothers, and she is looking her age but I couldn’t replace her, that will only happen when she finally crumbles into dust. Some of the decorations where made when Ian and I were students without a brass farthing to spare.

It was whilst I was wrapping each bauble or trinket and popping them into their boxes that I began a ramble through my memory archive remembering past Christmases and when and where we had bought them or who had given them to us over the years.

We have a wombat, a kookaburra, koala and kangaroo who made the long journey from Australia way back in the 80’s. There is a trumpet, a trombone and a French horn from Denmark. In fact, our decorations are pretty international, collected from every continent except Antarctica and not counting the ones made in China, so just remembering took me ‘Time travelling’ on a world tour with reminiscences’ of family, friends and colleagues spread across the globe.

We have one opulent bauble from Harrods, a gift, and a straw slipper from a Chinese street market. Someone even bought us a sparkly spider, he’s as big as a tarantula, not my taste, but it still finds a space next to a glass heart.

Ian’s favourite is a crystal camera a gift of a very thoughtful friend, mine is a miniature wooden hobbyhorse bough in Covent Garden many years ago.

The most poignant and treasured is a delicate glass corncob given by Rosemary our niece who died aged 31 years old in 1989.

The newest is a gift this year,made by our dear friend Rachel, the central figures of the nativity, Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus, destined for the top of the tree next year.

The oldest and so the most precious are a glass teardrop, which was from my mother’s childhood, and two faded glass globes, which are from mine.

 Happy New Year.

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PS Thanks dear friends for buying my latest book ‘Red Sky at Dawning: The Time Oak’, it’s more aimed at late teens and young adults but, whatever age we can all relate to the sweet and sour and often painful transition from adolescence to adulthood that marks coming of age. Amazon.com/author/angelahmoor  (Cut and paste).

 

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It’s even stimulated new sales of my first book ‘Reflections of the old past’, I’m absolutely thrilled. Please remember to do a review on Kindle.

Red Sky at Dawning: The Time Oak

Well here it is at last my new book, ‘Red Sky at Dawning: The Time Oak’, was published on New Year’s Eve on Amazon Kindle It’s been a struggle just to find the precious time to edit, proofread and polish every word and sentence. I’m sure every author must have the same crisis of confidence or that inner struggle to let their creation go.redsky3

Red Sky at Dawning tells the story of Christy, a pretty, intelligent teenager living in the village of Time in southern England. Totally immersed and involved in the village, she has a happy, enviable childhood. Her best friends are Phil, easy going and intelligent, and Don, equally intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive.

When Brett, clever, confident and handsome, the son of wealthy, successful parents, comes to live in Time he is out of his comfort zone. Brought up in South America he’s more worldly, older than his years and appears more mature than the village boys.

Though a close knit community, Brett still brings a rupture to the tempo of the village. He divides loyalties including Christy’s, and awakens in Phil a latent rivalry. Brett’s relaxed and undisciplined life before coming to the village makes him impatient with the steady rural pace and he defies the country lifestyle and pushes boundaries to the limit.

He makes no secret that he’s interested in Christy who, on the cusp of adolescence and womanhood, is attracted but feels vulnerable by the emotional turmoil of her relationship with Brett.

The summer break brings opportunity to hang out and have fun but this idyllic summer is brought to an abrupt end.

They were all changed that day, the course of their lives took another path, one they had not expected to walk or known where it would lead.

 

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Must thank Ian my husband for his patience and encouragement, and he designed the cover, a big thankyou also to dear family and friends who have helped me along the way, proofreading and critiquing my work it is so appreciated.

 

amazon.com/author/angelahmoor     please cut and paste into your browser to have a look at my author page.

 

Would you Adam and Eve it?

Well, I just don’t ‘Adam and Eve it’, believe it, that is for anyone who doesn’t know Cockney rhyming slang.

In the last weeks we have seen two major incidents in South East London which have mirrored incidents in my (fictitious) book ‘Reflections of the old past’, the book is real the story is fictitious. Not your every day unfortunate incidents so I’m not writing from experience in their case. In my book there are three incidents, which all occur in different localities in South East London but, which all contribute to a virtually total gridlock and which funnel all traffic in the area down the main orbital South Circular where my protagonist is hunted by human predators culminating in a Terrifying Keystone Cops, cat and mouse, chase around the Horniman Museum and gardens where every escape route is blocked and my heroine is finally cornered to meet her fate.

Yet again in the last week or so South London has suffered another blow and now three of the main transport routes have suffered and are still suffering a major snarl up not quite the same scenario as in my book but certainly achieving what I had envisaged, ‘Life Imitating Art’ yet again.

As Keith*** my fellow blogger says “Look out for a police chase with helicopters next !!!!” After the last few days nothing would surprise me.

If you are looking for a good holiday read please consider my book; Kindle describe it as Crime, Thriller & Mystery and it all of those but there is just a bittersweet flavour of romance, it has received some good reviews.

‘Reflections of the old past’  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reflections-old…AngelaMoor-ebook/dp/B00AOUWEAA

***Thanks Keith for the picture

Loving, the Word-Extract from our China diary

On our trip in 2016 to China one of the questions that we were asked again and again in each city, with each group and with a number of individuals, was about finding a husband or wife and how to have a good marriage? We always answer questions based on God’s heart. It made me think about our marriage because we can all take our relationships for granted often focusing on the negative instead of looking at the good things, so I did a quick review of mine, why not, whilst we were in China we celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary.

Ian is a great team leader his attention to detail keeps everything ordered, whether planes, trains or the gong gong che che = buses, or, checking our travel documents, lots of bits of paper, passwords and numbers.

A quiet man, Ian is rarely discouraged, always positive and upbeat, keeping us cheerful with jokes and puns. He’s gentle and kind, long suffering, patient, determined and wise with a great heart attitude and he loves the Lord, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

In the little things he always ensures we don’t get dehydrated or too tired, that we eat properly. He also stands in front of me on the extra high escalators we find in China, I suffer from vertigo! Ian watches that I don’t trip or fall on the proliferation of steps or low street furniture designed to keep cars off the pavements but lethal to the unwary.

I thank God every day for Ian and also pray that I will be a better wife, I know I am blessed.

You will notice that I haven’t mentioned love, flowers, chocolates or the latest must have fashion accessories because love doesn’t come from the external things in life but from the unseen heart attitude.

When Ian and I met we weren’t looking for a husband or wife. We became very good friends. It is very unhealthy to look upon every girl or boy as a potential spouse.  When Ian and I got married we were students we had a very small income. We didn’t think about how much either of us earned or who would be the most highly qualified.  What we earned was no longer his and mine but it became ours. We became partners working together.  When we met I was more interested to know if Ian was a man of integrity and honesty, Ian was more interested if I was unselfish and caring, after all it is trust and respect that builds good foundations in a marriage. Not just respect for the other person but that we show respect no matter what the circumstances. We were looking at the character, those qualities that command our respect. Ian and I have very different personalities, we came from very different backgrounds, so from the very beginning we worked very hard to make each other happy.  This isn’t always easy because we as humans are naturally selfish and want our own way but we knew that these human characteristics are not a route to happiness.  It became easier when we became Christians because God became the third person in our marriage, ‘A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’ Ecc 4:12. He guides us in his word and we can pray for God’s help and direction through the difficulties and challenges we face together every day.

God’s word shows us the characteristics that we should aspire to in ourselves and look for in others. “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Gal 5:22-23.

As we read God’s word we glimpse in the life of Jesus the characteristics that our heavenly father would have us emulate. We can ask God to help us to have these characteristics.

I know it may be hard to believe because I am more outgoing than Ian, you will have noticed I am not subservient, downtrodden or barefoot in the kitchen wearing gingham pinafore dresses, but, Ian is definitely the head of our family, he is responsible before God for his family. We discuss the issues we face and then I trust him to make decisions that will be for the best, he doesn’t always get it right but I know it is not because he is being selfish. I don’t always get it right either but Ian knows that I will always try to do what is best for our relationship and family. When we get it wrong we apologies, forgive each other and keep going.

God tells us what love is in his word “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.   And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  1Co 13:4-13

Well folks this is getting SPOOKY

creative-commons-creditOur dear friend and fellow blogger Keith has just let me know that there was another incident in SE London in the last few days.

‘Hi Angela,

You should have been at Bell Green (SE London) on Friday afternoon. The Gas Board where carrying out an emergency repair at the corner of Perry Hill and Perry Rise, Perry Rise was completely closed and Perry Hill was closed to northbound traffic. Traffic was diverted through Sainsbury’s car park and it was absolute chaos, shoppers were trying to leave at the same time and traffic was virtually at a standstill. Perry Rise is still closed here but Perry Hill is now open with traffic light control so it will remain congested for some time.

Anyway a good and timely blog. Congratulations in breaking into the Japanese market.’

Well that is amazing Keith thanks for letting me know because Bell Green is where the second incident occurs, in my novel , Reflections of the old past eBook: Angela Moor: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle …which runs parallel to the burst water main which leads to the denouement of the story.

Now I’m laughing, nervously, out loud this definitely is ‘Life Imitating Art’. In the novel there are three incidents running parallel, so there is only one other thing I’m waiting for to make a ‘hat-trick’ and confirm the adage trouble always comes in threes.

Japan how did it get to Japan??? equally amazed.

PS will get back to a normal blog (what ever that is) soon. I am desperately trying to upload my latest  novel ‘Red Sky at Dawning’ before Christmas.

 

‘Life imitating Art’ or’ Art imitating Life’

My fantasy has just become realityimages

I’m not sure if the saying is ‘Life imitating Art’ or’ Art imitating Life’ ** but my fantasy has just become reality with the hugely disruptive bust water main and sink hole in SE London over the last few days which has at times brought this part of south east London to a grinding halt and brought great difficulty to the lives of families and businesses.

In my novel  ‘Reflections of the old past’  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reflections-old…AngelaMoor-ebook/dp/B00AOUWEAA      Just such an unexpected incident is one of the dramatic, tragic and sometimes comic events which shape the climax of the book.

If you are looking for a good holiday read please consider my book; it has received some good reviews.

Often when I write I wonder if I am stretching the bounds of reality but in this case I had to smile, please forgive me all of you who have been affected by the difficult reality in Lewisham.

 PS: Kindle have just informed me that my book has just sold in Japan please bear with me if I am slightly ‘chuffed’ with myself.

** Oscar Wilde and Aristotle disagree about ‘Life imitating Art’- anti-mimesis or ‘Art imitating Life’-  mimesis

Our past can influence our future.

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We are off to China in a day or two and before we leave I wanted to write something moving, memorable and possibly motivational but regretfully nothing springs to mind. So prompted by an old photograph in our collection I decided to share memories again, one of mine and one of someone else’s.

A couple of years ago my grandson and his cousin Charley where moonlight fishing, not fishing for moonlight which sounds wonderful but fishing by moonlight but, I digress.  Hearing a cry in the bushes the boys investigated and found a bag containing a couple of abandoned kittens. One of their fellow fishermen took one of the kittens and Jack and Charley brought the other one home. They called her Poppet, shades of Pirates of the Caribbean, she was tiny she could have fit in an egg cup.  Charley took charge of her and clearly adored her and the feeling was mutual and if he was at home she spent most of her time snuggled on his knee or on his pillow. Her rough start in life clearly had some effect because she was the feistiest, most independent little handful you have ever met and would have us brimming with laughter as she leapt and dashed up and down the stairs or down the hall sliding on the wooden floor just for the fun of it. She’d also bother the elder statesman cat Bagheera and tirelessly lay in wait and leap out to bait our two bemused dogs.

We had a cat flap and both Poppet and Bagheera had complete freedom to roam day or night. One morning in the early hours we heard a shriek of horror coming from Charlie’s room followed by his hurried footsteps as he headed for the bath room with subsequent moans, retching and vomiting. We were worried; gastroenteritis, food poisoning we speculated? Eventually he emerged his face an ashen shade of green. He could barely speak just a strangled comment, “that cat, that cat!!!” We were no wiser.

Charlie asked for a black bin liner I suggested a bucket would probably be more useful if he was going to be sick again he gave me a pained, haunted expression. ‘It’s for the pigeon’ he said with a grimace and staggered off up to his room.

On one of her prowls in the early hours Poppet had come across a dead pigeon already well decomposed and, relishing her prize, decided to bring it home for her hero and deposit it stinking, and crawling with maggots, on the pillow next to Charlie’s sleeping head.

The love affair was over, Poppet was never allowed in Charlie’s room again, though her love never abated. We also decided that the cat flap should allow the cats to exit but that they would have to come to the door to be let back in we didn’t relish the receipt of any more tokens of her love.

Most of my early childhood was spent in Yorkshire, ‘God’s own county’, when I was ten we moved to Cumbria a jewel in God’s crown that is for sure. In the heart of the country, the village of Welton at the foot of the Caldbeck Fells, there were no daily milk deliveries or supermarket where you could go and get a carton of the white stuff, it was glass bottles in those days.  Being the youngest it fell to my lot to go and get milk from the neighbouring farm which had a magnificent heard of Jersey cows and the first milk started at 5.30am.

Winter or summer it would have always been a joy to walk the few hundred yards to the farm, there was always something to see a tiny Wren, a cheeky Robin or speckled Thrush, and at that time of day the dawn chorus was still in progress. In the winter the sunlight would come up and you could see it move up the tree trunks casting its shadows or highlighting the textures of the bark or the colour of moss or leaves.

Despite my hungry family at home waiting for the warm, creamy milk to pour on their porridge or put in their tea I always dawdled along my steps would get slower and slower the nearer I got to the farm but not because of the country idyll.

I should point out that before I was exiled from our kitchen carrying the stainless steel milk can. I was protesting loudly that it wasn’t fair that it was always me who had to go for the milk. My siblings would be setting the table or stirring the said porridge and my mother would tell me not to be silly and to hurry along everyone was waiting for breakfast and Dad would be in from the stables for his second breakfast. He was up at 4.30am to feed and water the horses.

The cow byre was right next to the road so that the Milk Marketing Board lorry that collected the huge steel churns didn’t have to come into the farm yard. As I approached I could hear through the open top half of the stable door into the cool room, the stamp of the beasts; Poppy, Heartsease, Blossom and so many other sweet names, the random contented lowing, the rattle of the cans and sometimes Barry or John telling Buttercup to ‘come away now. By this point I was almost walking on my tip toes and would peep over the bottom half of the door hoping that one of the dairy men or the farmer’s wife would be in there but I was always disappointed. Gingerly, trying desperately not to make a scrape or chink when I lifted the latch I would open the door and equally quietly close it behind me. I could see the cobble stones through the open door into the farm yard and I tip toed slowly to the opening pressing against the white washed wall so I couldn’t be seen.

The door into the dairy was to the left out of the door and about twenty yards along. I had stealth off to a fine art, and the sounds from the dairy would surely have covered any sound that I made but it did me no good, no sooner was my shadow cast over the door step than the objects of my terror, my tormenters, would rush across the yard towards me. My knees would turn to jelly and my tongue would cleave to the roof of my mouth and I would stumble madly on my spindly legs across the slippery uneven cobbles towards the dairy the pestilent geese honking and hissing and flapping towards me, barrel chested, their eyes fixated upon me, and their long necks thrust forward their vicious beaks filling me with horror and I’d arrive breathless and shaking in to the milking parlour. The farmer’s wife would greet me smiling “you’re always in a rush Angela no need to my dear plenty of milk” and she would fill up my can with the foamy, creamy milk.  The cowmen would shout a cheery hello and I would stroke Peach who was the smallest cow in the herd until I stopped trembling and my heart beat would slow and I would steel myself to make the return trip. I had to time it just right so that the geese would hopefully wander back to the other side of the yard before I ventured out and this time I had to walk back because I didn’t want to spill the milk, which made the mobbing even more hair raising.

Sometimes I would have bad dreams that their powerful wings would beat me to the ground and I would feel their beaks pecking at my skin.

Like a condemned prisoner, every morning for two years, I ran the gauntlet of those pernicious fowl, they never caught me, not a peck or a flap and I never explained to my Mother either.

Both my Mum, absorbed with making ends meet and getting her family clothed and fed and ready for school or work didn’t analyse my reluctance to go to the farm and Poppet certainly thought only of pleasing her rescuer often those we love or care for make these sort of unthinking errors which cause us sorrow or pain and we respond and have to live with the consequences. Our past can influence our future.

Charley never trusted Poppet again as for me once we left Welton I rarely gave it a thought, but it might explain why as a teenager I ditched a boyfriend who took me to see Hitchcock’s “The Birds” but I certainly didn’t blame anyone, except the geese.