The wedding.

So Wills and Kate are now William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Mr and Mrs Windsor. I thought it was a pleasant occasion. The Brits are rather good at this sort of thing: well-organised, orderly, polite and restrained. William and Harry looked dashing in their uniforms. The bride was demur and beautiful. The dress was definitely better than Di’s meringue, and I rather enjoyed seeing sleeves make a comeback. I’ve been to far too many weddings where the sweet young thing has to keep yanking at the strapless bodice to keep the boobs contained. Westminster cathedral is totally impractical for a normal functioning church, of course, but a stunning piece of architecture. It’s just steeped in history, including the choir. And the choir music. My apologies to the purists, but it all sounded rather dirge-like. I kept wishing Old Elton would belt out a ballad or two. I bet he did, too. Loved the scarlet and silver clad cavalry, the feathered plumes, the high-stepping horses and the royal carriages. When they set off for the palace I thought: Finally! Up until then the only indication it was a royal wedding was the size of the guest list and the massive security. (Were there any police working elsewhere in the UK that day? Perhaps they assumed the criminals would all be at home in front of the telly with a cup of tea/bottle of beer, watching the wedding?) They all looked very stylish (apart from Eugenie’s hat) but I think that for these occasions the royal family should look royal. They should all be made to wear crowns or tiaras; the size being determined by their rank. The women should be in long gowns and the men should be in uniforms, or wear ermine cloaks or armour. If we’ve got to have a royal family, the least they could do is look the part. Other than that I wish the young couple well. And one thing I’ll say about the overwhelming, extended, every channel except 7 (and they had stuff after the footy), it made for a nice change from footage of floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and tornadoes. Thanks Mr and Mrs Windsor for giving us something to smile...

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Easter Saturday

It’s a funny old day, Easter Saturday. It doesn’t really have it’s own name like the others: Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. It’s just Saturday. The shops still open; the churches remain empty; sport continues as usual; people do their shopping/laundry/lawn-mowing (except for the Sunday die-hards)… It’s a nothing sort of day. I think the early church tried to make it a day of anticipation; a day of waiting… But, that quickly petered out and it went back to being just an ordinary Saturday. I wonder what happened that first Saturday. Being the Sabbath, they couldn’t do anything about arranging the funeral, neither could they keep themselves busy with work…they just had to wait. I know what it’s like to lose a loved one. Those first few days can be a bit of a fog. Your emotions range from disbelief to overwhelmimng sadness, to anger, to a dead sort of numbness. They wouldn’t have been any different except that, considering the circumstances, the shock and disbelief would be stronger. Why, just the night before they’d all been having dinner together, celebrating the Passover. Then, in the blink of an eye, he was arrested and…well, you know the rest. They were in that space between mind-numbing disappointment and grief, and mind-blowing revelation and realised dreams. They were in the waiting zone. I don’t know about you but, on a much smaller scale, I’ve experienced lots of “Easter Saturday” experiences. There were times when the diagnosis wasn’t good, or the relationship had broken, or the offer had been rejected and I was just left hanging; waiting…waiting…waiting… Eventually the circle turns and good things happen again, but there’s always that in-between time. What do I do then? I guess it’s a good time to regroup and to ask myself some important questions: who and what matters in my life; could I have done anything differently or better; what’s stopping me from trying again…? That sort of thing. It’s also time to express some of those negative feelings; to have a good cry. It’s healthy to do some grieving. Then, we wait for the sun to rise again. And it will. Happy Easter,...

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Reading while distracted.

I read something recently that said the way we read is changing. As a result of this technological age – Sorry, just got a facebook update… Where was I? Oh yes; what with blogs and tweets and texts, we are easily distracted. Personally I can’t get the hang of texting. I think my fingers are too fat or something because what I think I text and what actually prints on the screen are two different things. The writer suggested that this phenomenon of being easily distracted could eventually be the death of reading as we know it. I’m not so sure. Hang on, my little frenchman notifier (so sexy) has just said I ‘ave mail… Where was I? Oh yes, that’s right, distractions while reading… I used to teach primary school children, and believe me being distracted while reading is as old as dirt. I reckon even back in the cave, when the shaman etched a stick figure waving a spear at a bison and ‘read’ the story to a rapt audience, some little kid was poking his sister in the ribs and making fart noises in his armpit. Even before computers, iphones, ipads and ipods, people often multi-tasked while reading a book. My mother used to crochet, supervise my homework, cook a meal, and read a book at the same time. By the way, books are excellent information devices because they don’t need to be plugged-in, or have a battery. They work any and every time. It doesn’t matter if you put it down for a while, the words stay ‘on-screen’ and you don’t lose them if there’s a power failure. Books never have a problem with the blue screen of death. As long as people like a good story we story-tellers will find a way to share them: books, kindles, e-books, film, plays, street-theatre, puppets, cave walls… And there’ll always be distractions: power shortages, phone calls, text messages, hungry kids… Hang on: f/b again. I just made a new friend. He’s a writer, too. How about that?! To be honest, as long as I can get my stories out there and people want to read them I’ll adjust to whatever technology throws at me. The most flexible part of my body (some would say the only flexible part of my body) is my brain. Happy flexing...

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Multiple choice.

My apology for posting this a day late. Remember last week, when I said I’d finished my Young Adult novel? Well, late in the week I had a bit of a brainstorm, which made me realise I hadn’t finished it. I had to contact my readers to tell them to stop reading, and then madly add what I needed to add, so I could send them the adjusted version asap. Readers are wonderful, understanding people who are kindness personified. (I hope that’s sufficient sucking up?) Therefore instead of writing my blog yesterday, I was madly finishing (again) my novel. I’m much happier with it now and I’ve learned a valuable lesson: don’t be hasty. (It’ll be interesting to see how long I remember that.) The up side is I’ve got a much better story. The down side is I’ve forgotten what I was going to blog about! It could have been about world events. I tell ya, after watching on the telly all the carryings on in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Libya I am praising the Lord and doing the happy dance that I live in a democratic society. If we don’t like the way the country’s being run, we vote the ruling mob out. If we’ve made a huge mistake and the other lot are even worse, we know that in about 3 years time we get to do it all again. The people in charge know they need to keep the general population reasonably happy or they’ll lose their jobs. It’s always a dangerous thing to give too much power to one person for too long. I might have intended to ruminate on life and the challenges it keeps throwing up: friends with cancer; the nuisance of living with a decrepit back and arthritis; growing older in a youth-oriented society; the increase of intolerance and bigotry in a so-called ‘enlightened’ society; the difficulties facing writers and other creative people in a world dominated by bean-counters whose only concern is the almighty dollar… Or perhaps it was something as simple as singing the praises of Mr Neighbour (the husband of Mrs Neighbour, who read my short story and told me I was sick). Rex the Wonder Dog had committed a number of indiscreet acts on my family room carpet, which left yellow stains and a strong odour of eux-de-woof. Mr Neighbour brought his whizz-bang carpet shampooer and gallantly removed said stains. The man’s a champion. He didn’t want anything for it; he just wanted to help. Take your pick out of any of the above, or even have the lot. I don’t care. I’m feeling generous. And, best of all, I’ve filled the page. That’s me for another week....

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That satisfied feeling.

Got up at the crack of dawn today. The guys installing the solar panels are all “morning people”. They told us they left home around 6.30am to get here, and they actually seemed cheerful about it. Morning people are an alien species to me. However, forced to rise at such an ungodly hour, here it is not quite 9.30 and I’ve already rewritten the ending to my young adult novel, and have begun this blog. At this rate I should be able to fit in a nice nanna nap before the grandkids arrive this afternoon. Back to the novel… The lad was finally rescued, at the last moment and is now on his way home. It got rather tense for a while there while I tried to work out how to get him out of the mess he was in. It’s been quite an adventure writing this story. The plot outline I began with (admittedly only a rough one) is rather different to the one at the end. The characters kept doing things I didn’t expect; the story took turns I hadn’t planned; I had to keep rethinking as I went along. It was fun – sometimes deeply frustrating – but most of the time, fun. For a few minutes I didn’t want to type, The End, but then I reminded myself it was really only Part One, so the adventure will continue. I really like the characters and I’ve developed a particular fondness for the camels. They’re so good-hearted in a blokey sort of way. The story deals with something that is a blight on humanity: the kidnapping of children who are then forced to become child soldiers. However, even though grim things happen, there is still plenty of humour and light. At least, I think so… I hope so… Next stage: send it to a couple of trusted readers to see if they like it as much as me. I’ll take their feedback and rework the manuscript accordingly, and then it’ll go out into the cosmos to find a home. Meanwhile I’ll begin work on Part Two. It’s all tap, tap, tappity tap. I hope you all have a productive...

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