About nine months ago I began looking for unusual gifts online.
Back in March, I wrote a piece for OAPSchat called Getting the Buzz on Bees. Beekeeping is the perfect excuse to spend time in the fresh air, grow lots of flowers—and call it saving the planet!
It’s launch day for Blue Nun, time to see if all the hours spent scrubbing every bit of her, hoisting sails (during which I managed to turn the boatyard air blue as I fight with one end of a flapping Genoa (sail) whilst Tom bellows instructions from the other) and the long, hard, expensive fight to install a sea loo have paid off.
As a teenager, I always loved walking and secretly longed to go off backpacking, to explore pastures new and exciting. Unfortunately, my friends were more interested in fashion, boys and nightclubs, and it never occurred to me to find others with similar outdoor interests.
Keeping bees is both an art, and a craft. It teaches you the benefits of patience, organisation, record keeping, hygiene, and safe food handling. In a good year you’ll get honey to eat and wax to make into polish, soap and candles too.What more could you want from a hobby?
You have to hand it to Flatcap. With the weights gone and the jogging forgotten, he’s found new ways to get into a shape other than round.
Allow me to introduce you to Flatcap. He’s been around in print and audio for some time, and now he has his own comedy video channel.
Hopefully, you are reading this because you like reading! I know that I would be lost and very fed up if I couldn't read! Books, ebooks, newspapers, magazines, leaflets, posters, google search, the list of reading devices seems almost endless.
In 2013, it was reported that worldwide, digital music is selling globally better now than it ever has. All types of music from way back in the forties and fifties to the present day are being downloaded.
Jan has invited me to tell you a little bit about each of the three books I am donating as a 'giveaway' on the website. They are all available to buy on Amazon.
Music had always been a hobby. But today my hobby has become my work and travel the UK and Europe doing it. How did that happen? I've been playing jazz since I was 15. Over the years I've been fortunate, as a semi-pro, to work with a number of excellent bands, but always as a paid hobby.
They say that traits and talents can lie dormant for years before emerging, and there’s some truth in that. Some families are musical, blessed souls, with little Johnny taking up the bassoon like his granddad (or the other way around); others adept at a myriad other pursuits, but with most folk busy earning a crust, they don’t have time to follow their dreams or fancies (down lads).
Photo copyright Marilyn Rodwell
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, romance novelists can belong to a professional writing organisation called The Romantic Novelists’ Association. The RNA gives support and encouragement to writers, organises really useful conferences, a chance to network and holds fabulous parties.
Photo taken by Janice Rosser
Most women love a good wedding! Me included. The clothes we wear, the Church, the nervous bridegroom, the vows, the tears, the reception, the champagne, and of course The Bride And her Bridesmaids, and the Eternal question 'what will they be wearing'?!
Thank you for inviting me to your blog and asking me to tell you about my life. They say that life begins at forty but for me it began at sixty. My dream was to become a published author before I was sixty and as time slipped by I was beginning to think I’d never achieve my dream.
An 11 year old invents a product for her homework. 18 months later it is on the shelves in two national retailers and she and her sister, Kia, are up against the adults, pitching to the Dragons in Dragons’ Den!
The title intrigued me before I opened the first page…so a good start!
It all started many months ago. The company, Exclusive Ballooning, sent an intriguing e mail asking if we would like to take part in a cross London flight. It would be in aid of The Lord Mayor’s charity and all those interested should apply.
I have been thinking about British traditions and have found one for each month of the year. Here’s a list of events you may or may not have heard of. Some ancient, some new and some downright quirky events that will, or have continued, to take place in Britain this year.
When we came back to the UK in 2002 it was to move into a house we had bought four years earlier. We slowly got dragged into village life and never realised how our lives would change through joining our Community Council.
‘And take your blue budgie with you!’ David’s last angry words rang in my ears as he slammed the front door of the police house in my face, and on my marriage.
Do you know, since I decided to keep you up-to-date with how I’m taking on retirement head on, I just haven’t had a moment to tell you about it!
You are never too old have a go at something different, that’s what I try and tell myself.
Photo by courtesy of Brian O'Donahue
Swanwick Writer’s School has been happening at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire each summer for 67 years. I first heard the name when my mother came in the early years, with members of Nottingham Writers Club.
Thank you to everyone who took part in my Lipogram Competition. Two winners have been chosen. It was a difficult decision for the judge who enjoyed reading all of your superb entries. Lipograms are difficult to write, but highly satisfying to complete.
Have you ever written a Lipogram? They are very difficult, but not impossible and can be a fun way to spend an hour or two!
Between 2004 and 2006, David Thomas experienced a series of disasters in his life, culminating in being told that he only had terminal cancer and only a short time left to live.
What do you do with a mob of middle-aged people who will not accept that the fun is over?
Copyright Columbia Records
On April 12th 2015, me and my husband (I can’t say my husband and I, or I would sound like the queen) left our home in Cornwall and set off ‘up country’.
Today I am interviewing best selling novelist Janice Horton.Good morning Janice and thank you for agreeing to answer some questions for us.
It was the year 3015. During the last 1000 years, Earth had faced many disasters, mostly man-made. Global warming projections had proved devastatingly correct. Rising sea levels meant almost a third of the planet was underwater. In fact, you could take a glass-bottom boat to view part of New York under the sea – hailed as the New Lost Atlantis.
Ever thought about taking up Quilling? I am interviewing Tina K Burton today and am about to find out for myself!
Early spring is always an anxious time for the dedicated water vole fan. Each year, some colonies come back as strongly as ever, some might disappear, while others decide to shift themselves along the water course and pop up where you didn't expect them.
For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for taking photographs. The first camera I owned was bought in British Homes Stores and cost less than five shillings. It served me well for several years, however the cost of a roll of black and white film and the developing was always a problem. With my meagre pocket money I would save like mad so I could afford a 12 picture roll film and then before I knew it, I had finished it!
Living in the countryside inevitably brought us into contact with – my younger two boys in particular – guns. There are plenty of guns in use by country folk: clay pigeon shooting, shot guns (to get rid of vermin) and air rifles (for target practice), in particular. And it didn't take long for my younger two to pick up on this from their local school friends. Another (seemingly unrelated, but very much related in this case) countryside activity is bartering.
I used to be a pretty good (well, good anyway) footballer, but this little tale is only indirectly related to my previous. Through my connections with the small rural infant/junior school my youngest two boys attended, I became chairman of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA – designed to raise money through extra-curricular activities to buy much needed supplies and equipment for the school).
Age, or rather ageing, is a strange concept to get your head around. Twelve-year-olds can't wait to be a teenager; teenagers can't wait to be eighteen or twenty-one...but many forty-nine-year olds seem terrified of reaching their half century: fifty!
We always kept a stock of candles 'just in case'. After all, we were in the middle of nowhere – and you never knew whether or when the electricity supply would be interrupted (and how long it would take to be repaired if it did). And so I was always prepared – but not for what happened next!
Society promotes the ideal for its elders as serene and peaceful. But a new generation coming into age are increasingly viewing this as just another version of ageism, offering little more than marginalization, complacency and disempowerment.
The most placid of creatures: all they do is munch grass all day long then return to sleep and get milked in the morning (or slaughtered). But they never complain.
Exercise. It's a bit Marmite, isn't it? You either love it or you hate it. Personally I'm not averse to a dollop of Marmite spread on a lettuce leaf and rolled up, cigar fashion – it goes down a treat.
They are beautiful, graceful birds, soaring so high in the sky, with eyesight as sharp and powerful as ours – when looking through powerful binoculars.
My son told me about Georges Perec, a French author who wrote a 300 page lipogram which means he didn't use the letter e. As e is the most widely used letter I was fascinated by this. Here is my (much shorter) lipogram.
Digital cameras have been a boon to most photographers, and most especially those who enjoy taking pictures of wildlife. The shy, contrary nature of animals in their natural habitat tends to make them tricky subjects to capture, so for the modern photographer there's real freedom in the knowledge that you can fire off hundreds of snaps at once, in the hope that one or two will turn out to be half-decent.
Photo courtesy of Will McCarthy Music Productions
Over the years I have seen Ralph Mctell perform many times and each time, there always seems to be a new selection of wonderful guitars.
Copyright Warner Brothers
The fifties were coming to an end and music was really starting to take off on all levels.
Photo courtesy of Will McCarthy Music Promotions
I asked Ralph Mctell when did he realise that he wanted to be a full time musician and he told me that you just don't dare believe it can happen.
Copyright Transatlantic Records
Last week(14th October 2014), I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my all time favourite singer songwriters, poet and author Ralph McTell.
In an earlier post for Oapschat I described how, for me, life really did begin at 55 when I realised my dream of becoming a published author. I could not have succeeded without the help and support of my three best friends –Adrienne Vaughan, June Kearns and Mags Cullingford. Together, in July 2012, we formed The New Romantics 4 and chose as our theme song: SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES and went on to become indie authors.
This year was my third RNA Conference. My first was many years ago, when I crept in apologetically as a new writer, only to be astonished at how welcoming and supportive everyone was. My second was two years ago, when I was speaking as a published author about my first book for Honno Press, 'Eden's Garden', which was a lovely experience, sharing my excitement at the journey I'd taken since that first conference.
Finding ex pat groups to join was a priority when I landed in Hong Kong in 1998. These were to be my saviours when a one year contract expanded, on more then one occasion, to eventually become almost ten years.
When my son, James, turned seventeen he wanted a motorbike. So my husband and I bought him a second-hand one. Without a qualm between us. It didn't occur to me to worry about my son riding on two wheels.
Carmarthen is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Wales, pre-dating the Romans in 2 AD. Only the street layout and amphitheatre betray its Roman past. It's also Merlin's alleged birthplace. Carmarthen in Welsh is Caerfyrddin. Caer meaning fort and Fyrddin is the mutation of Myrddin – Merlin's Welsh name. He clearly started a trend for celebrities naming their offspring after their birthplace.
50 intrepid members of the U3A (University of the Third Age) participated in this exciting white water rafting experience. We set off at 8 am on the 6th June, 2014. The day was overcast but by the time we arrived at about 10.30 am it was hot and sunny.
When I moved into my house the pond was already there and home to several gold fish. It was August and the summer had been a dry one so the water was very low. I hadn't had a pond before and in my ignorance I filled it up using a hose and tap water. The next day there were half a dozen dead fish floating on the surface. All part of the learning curve I suppose. I decided that fish were not for me so did not replace them.
I'm delighted to welcome best selling author Margaret Kaine to be my guest on Oapschat today. Margaret has very kindly agreed to answer some questions for us.
I'm delighted to welcome Valerie Holmes, teacher of Creative Writing and author of many eBooks to answer some questions for us.
I am talking about my garden. There are so many different types of garden and mine definitely doesn't have anything in rows. Not that I have anything against regimented gardens but I like mine to look wild. Not completely of course; I do like an area of green lawn, not necessarily grass though in my case.
I can picture it now: a hot summer holiday in 1972, and my mother and I are crossing a bridge to get into town when suddenly she stops and points downwards to the river. 'Look,' she says. 'That's Ratty out of The Wind in the Willows.' I lean on the stone parapet and see, to my delight, a fat water vole diving about and showing off. He is about the size of a guinea pig and his fur is the colour of glossy chocolate. He doesn't seem remotely bothered that we are near. After a minute of watching him perform, however, Mum says we have to go. I refuse to budge. She is surprised. I'm only 8 and normally I do as I'm told. But I just can't leave the vole. In the end, my mother gives up and walks off and I get another quarter of an hour of uninterrupted viewing. By the time she comes back to collect me, I've fallen in love.
Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do. How many of us have just hummed that whilst reading the sentence?!
I keep thinking about my childhood games and wonder if are they still being played. Judging by the games on sale online and in the shops, YES is the resounding cry!
Large grapes, small grapes, all different types and sizes, blended into lovely lovely wines. Red, White, Rose, Sparkling, so many to choose from, such variety! How can one not like wine?