Traditional Easter in Greece and – well – other aspects in Britain

Greek Orthodox Easter isn’t always at the same time as the Anglican, Protestant and Catholic festivals. This year it falls a week later, with Easter Sunday being on 28 April.

In Symi, the sombre observations of the preceding Holy Week are marked by the tolling of church bells. By contrast, the delicious aroma of Easter buns baking in almost every homes tantalises the olfactory senses.

On Good Friday, there is a solemn march through the streets to churches, carrying decorated icons. The mood lightens on Holy Saturday when the Resurrection of Christ is celebrated with fireworks – to the delight of most observers excepting wildlife, strays and pets. Local Easter dishes include soup, shortbread, pies and to red-dyed eggs.

Easter day is crowned by music, traditional dance, more fireworks and  the burning of Judas in Yialos Square, down by the harbour. Why do we still love perching effigies atop a bonfire? Judas in Greece, Guy Fawkes in much of the UK and, notably, The Pope in the normally civilised town of Lewes in Sussex.

During the Easter week on Leros, houses become one big kitchen as families start to prepare all the traditional food which is eaten after the 40 days of lent.  On Good Friday, children collect lavender which they will spread over the streets and at the main square of Platanos, where later on, the shrine with the sacred icon will pass.

 

Saturday at Midnight the whole island meets in the churches to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. At the end of the Service people will light their candle on the candle of the priest, the light which was brought from Jerusalem, and take it home to their own altar.

Easter Sunday all of Greece is celebrating. Almost every house dines on roast lamb. This is hard for a vegan to record or admire…

Celebratory fireworks on Leros are a whole different event. Yes, there are the regular fireworks, starbursts, rockets, Roman Candles etc.  But there is an added ingredient, diminishing over the years, that makes Lerian firework displays startling and, sometimes, lethal. This is due to the intense fighting on Leros during World War II when German forces were anchored in Lakki, the deepest harbour in the Eastern Mediterranean. Ordnance, both used and unexploded littered the island. In later years, it became a matter of pride for young men undergoing a rite of passage endurance test to acquire and detonate such trophies – and one of unending anxiety for their parents. Other Lerians have utilised the weaponry for for more imaginative purposes than a measure of testosterone levels. Take a close look at the gateposts…

Sadly, miles from the cloudless skies and wine-dark seas of the Greek Islands, we spent Easter Saturday on a jaunt to Looe in Cornwall. I had forgotten how commercialised the town was. It was heaving. Far from displays of traditional dance and a selection of Easter fare, there were packed pubs and acres of pallid flesh on display for the first time this year. And, oh dear, the British were not at their best.

Happy Easter.

Posted in Greek Islands, Humour, Life on the edge | Leave a comment

Pre-Easter test of ingenuity…

Clue – 3rd and 4th course on the menu…

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Writer Madalyn Morgan

This is the fabulous Maddie Morgan – author Madalyn Morgan – whom I’ve known for umpteen years (not going to age either of us by saying how many, Maddie). We met when I joined the Young Vic Studio Company as resident director. Maddie was an actor already in the company. It was her welcome and that of our mutual friend, Jane Goddard, that gave me the confidence I needed to take up the ropes. The three of us have remained friends ever since. I remember Maddie starting The Writers Bureau course and have intense admiration for the way her writing has not only blossomed but flourished since then. Certainly puts me in the shade.

Maddie – for old times’ sake, will you take your cue, please?  
I was brought up in a pub in the Midlands. I had a hairdressing salon and wig hire business, before going E15 to Drama College. Aged fifty, with fewer parts for older actresses, I taught myself to touch type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writers Bureau, and began writing.

What first inspired you to write? Three things happened at the same time. The first was having my heart broken; I wrote about it to exorcise it, get it out of my system. A friend who is a prolific reader said it was good and I should do a writing course.

At the same time, Mum wanted to give back a brass aeroplane – a Wellington Bomber – that had been made for her by a Polish pilot in WW2 who had made it for her in WW2. Franek and his crew escaped Poland in 1939 and crash landed in the Midlands. Living quarters on the nearby Commonwealth Aerodromes – Britteswell and Bruntingthorpe – weren’t ready, so every house in the village took in a Polish airman. I didn’t find Franek, he had died, but I found his son, who was delighted to have the aeroplane.

My mother told me about her life in the Second World War; the work she did in the factory de-greasing magnetos for aircraft engines, the dances she went to, and the letters she wrote to servicemen overseas. When I came to the biography module on the writing course, I wrote about Mum. My tutor liked what I’d written but said because Mum and I were both unknown, I should turn it into a fiction.

I have always been fascinated by the achievements of women in the Twentieth Century, especially women who worked and served in the two world wars. So, as I had a mountain of information in my mum, I decided to write about women in WW2. I had too many ideas for one book and plotted four: Four different sisters, four wartime careers, and four loves. I still have Mum’s biography. One day I will turn it into a fiction.

I still have Mum’s biography. Her wartime experiences are just a small part of it. As the Landlady of a big working-class pub from 1955 to 1983, lots of interesting things happened. We had a dance room and a jukebox and which attracted the GIs at Bruntingthorpe and, unfortunately, the Teddy Boys. We had Mods to Rockers – with a few gangsters and famous showbiz people thrown in. One day I shall turn Mum’s personal story into fiction.

What was your first piece of creative writing? How old were you? I wrote my first piece when I was eleven. It wasn’t as much creative as an article on how Lutterworth – the town I lived in – was named. The second was about John Wycliffe, the English theologian and reformer who had been the rector of our church in the 1380s and was instrumental in translating the Latin Bible into common English.

I was a pub kid with a jukebox to dance to after school. Three records for five pence – it doesn’t get much better than that. My dream was to be an actress and I was lucky enough to have the lead role in the school play every year. As for writing. Apart from local history stories and essays that I wrote in English lessons, I didn’t write until I went to E15 Drama College at twenty-four. Reading Shakespeare and writing character breakdowns and histories was mind-blowing. It was at E15 that I began writing poetry.

Which writers do you particularly admire? I have writer friends who I admire, including you, Lynne, but among the writers who are not friends are, Robert Harris, Ken Follett and C.J.Sansom.

What do you love about writing? I love creating characters and writing their biographies. And I love plotting the action. I love it when I am woken in the night by an idea or when I’m doing something mundane and an idea pops into my head. However, the best feeling is when I read what I’ve written at the end of the day and the plot falls into place, or a character’s problem has been resolved. For me that is the magic of writing. I also enjoy creating posters to promote my books using Canva, writing catchy phrases to go with the posters, and making trailers using Animoto.

What do you hate about writing?  Punctuation, as you have probably already noticed. I also hate editing. The first draft edit is fine, but after that I hate editing. I don’t mind cutting and developing, but I am prone to rewriting. Mending what isn’t broken. And I hate proofreading. I do it because I have to. I’m an Indie author so the buck stops with me. In my first novel, a chicken became a turkey. Everyone involved in the novel missed it. Then one day – after the book had sold near on a hundred downloads – a reader spotted the mistake and messaged me. I had the book taken off Amazon – Kindle and paperback – corrected the mistake and I paid to have it put back on. I want my books to be as professionally written and produced as any on the shelves of Waterstones and WH Smith.

Describe your ‘portfolio’ of writing  I have written seven novels and have an idea for the eighth. I have outlined a memoir: My life through the work I have done. It will include the funny things that have happened to me, the wonderful people I have met who have influenced me, and the famous heads of hair I cut or coiffed when I was a hairdresser. I shall add the work I did as an actress with character breakdowns and photographs, the radio shows I presented with rock band profiles, the poetry I’ve written, and a variety of articles with subjects ranging from the Civil Rights movement, Live Aid, to the Saints.

FOXDEN ACRES First book in the Dudley Sisters Saga

On the eve of 1939 twenty-year-old Bess Dudley, trainee teacher and daughter of a groom, bumps into James, heir to the Foxden Estate. Bess and James played together as equals when they were children, but now James is engaged to the more socially acceptable Annabel Hadleigh. Bess takes up a teaching post in London but when war breaks out and London schoolchildren are evacuated she returns to Foxden to organise a troop of Land Girls.

Traditional barriers come crashing down when Flying Officer James Foxden falls in love with Bess. But by this time Bess has come to know and respect Annabel. Can she be with James if it means breaking her best friend’s heart? Besides, Bess has a shameful secret that she has vowed to keep from James at any cost…

APPLAUSE  The second is Margot Dudley’s story

In the early years of World War 2, Margot Dudley works her way up from usherette to leading lady in a West End show. Driven by blind ambition Margot becomes immersed in the heady world of nightclubs, drink, drugs and fascist thugs – all set against a background of the London Blitz. To achieve her dream, Margot risks losing everything she holds dear.

CHINA BLUE   Third in The Dudley Sisters Saga

At the beginning of World War Two, Claire Dudley joins the WAAF. She excels in languages and is recruited by the Special Operations Executive to work in German occupied France with Captain Alain Mitchell, of the RCAF, and the French Resistance. Against SOE rules Claire falls in love. The affair has to be kept secret. Even after her lover is taken by the Gestapo, Claire cannot tell anyone they are more than comrades. As the war reaches its climax, Claire fears she will never again see the man she loves.

THE 9:45 TO BLETCHLEY Fourth in The Dudley Sisters Saga.

In the midst of the Second World War, and charged with taking vital equipment via the 9:45 train, Ena Dudley makes regular trips to Bletchley Park, until on one occasion she is robbed. When those she cares about are accused of being involved, she investigates, not knowing whom she can trust. While trying to clear her name, Ena falls in love.

The subsequent novels are stand-alone sequels –

FOXDEN HOTEL – a sequel to FOXDEN ACRES

The fifth novel is a story of intrigue and secrets, threats and blackmail, romance, happiness and love. Foxden Hotel brings the Dudley sisters together along with their husbands and friends to celebrate the opening of the hotel on New Year’s Eve 1948 (ten years after Foxden Acres opened on New Year’s Eve 1938).

As the countdown to 1949 begins, a terrifyingly familiar voice from Bess’s past rasps a New Year’s message in her ear. Bess turns, a camera bulb flashes – and the man has gone. The uninvited guest, an enemy from the war years, threatens to expose a secret from Bess’s past that will ruin her happiness and the new life she has worked so hard to create. Bess’s husband, Frank, throws the man out, but Bess and her sister Margot follow him. Is that the last they will see of him? Or will he show up again when they least expect?

Bess had hoped fascism was a thing of the past, buried with the victims of WW2. Little does she know the trouble that lies ahead, not only for herself but also for her husband and sisters.

CHASING GHOSTS – a sequel to China Blue

It is 1949. After receiving treatment for shell shock in Canada, Claire’s husband disappears. Has Mitch left her for the woman he talks about in his sleep? Or is he on the run from accusations of wartime treachery? Claire goes to France in search of the truth, aided by old friends from the Resistance.

I am also writing a Memoir; my life through the work I’ve done. The ‘what if’s’, my acting career, characters, biographies, photographs from productions, the funny things that have happened to me, the wonderful people I’ve met, my poems (currently a work in progress) and a variety of articles with subjects ranging from the Civil Rights movement, rock concerts, and the Saints.

What is your proudest achievement?  My proudest achievement is not in writing or acting, it is in market research. When I was out of work as an actress I built code frames and coded questions for research companies. One research project was with specialist, doctors and nurses. They answered the questions and I built the code frames (using only their words). I very carefully coded the questionnaires and now, fifteen years on, young lives are being saved.

What is your current project?  THERE IS NO GOING HOME – A Cold Case – is a cold war spy thriller and the sequel to THE 9:45 TO BLETCHLEY. In 1958, Ena sees someone in Oxford Street whose funeral she had been to in 1944. The search to prove the person is still alive leads her into life-threatening situations. When a colleague is killed, Ena is taken back in time to Berlin 1936 and Adolf Hitler’s Olympics.

The cold war is a dangerous era. People are dying. Are their deaths accidents or murder? I am currently editing THERE IS NO GOING HOME and hope to publish in July.

Anything you’d like to add?  I think research is paramount in historical fiction. It’s important to get the facts right. For example, the Dudley sisters are together at Foxden in the first novel Foxden Acres and at the end of the book their futures are decided. Each story stands alone, but each is interwoven with the other stories. When the sisters are enjoying Christmas in Foxden Acres they have to be enjoying Christmas at Foxden in their own stories. The same for events in the war: the bombing of Coventry, The Battle of Britain, D-Day, etc. Dates and events must be correct when setting a story in any documented time in history.

To ensure someone was not enjoying Christmas in one book and overseas fighting in another, I kept a day-diary. Every time something significant happened in Foxden Acres I made a note of it – leaving four blank pages – one for each of the other books and one for luck. I couldn’t have kept control of who was doing what, when and where, without the diary.

I was one of the first Indie authors to be accepted into The Romantic Novelists Association. I am a member of The Society of Authors and the actors union, Equity.

Last but by no means least, thank you so much for inviting me to be a Guest Writer on your blog, Lynne!

Great pleasure, Maddie – and all the very best for THERE’S NO GOING HOME

Maddie’s links

FOXDEN ACRES: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BCX59LE/
APPLAUSE: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00J7Y5LCW/
CHINA BLUE: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00XD85NQW/
THE 9:45 TO BLETCHLEY: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GEVW3Z8/
FOXDEN HOTEL: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LDYD2D/
CHASING GHOSTS: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D42HP1Q/

BLOG: https://madalynmorgan.wordpress.com/
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/madalyn.morgan1
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ActScribblerDJ
INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/madalynmorgan1/

Posted in Contemporary Women's Fiction, Fiction, new writing, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Maybe Tuesday will be my good news day…

Struggling to find a pithy title for the post, this is what I came up with – only to realise it had been done before – by George and Ira Gershwin in ‘The Man I Love’ (Ella Fitzgerald’s wonderful version). Took me a while to get there, via a mistaken dalliance with ‘Spread a Little Happiness’ (Vivian Ellis, Clifford Grey and Greatrex Newman – really? – from the musical MR CINDERS, 1929, and covered by Sting in Dennis Potter’s BRIMSTONE AND TREACLE, 1976. Yes, I did look it up – so you won’t have to.)

Thing is, it was only through working at Guildford School of Acting and directing a compilation of Gershwin music that I became so familiar with Gershwin tunes and lyrics. I put together a linking script which required the usual research – more meticulous than the press of George’s day who reported him as being out and about with his lovely wife Ira – Ira, of course, was his lyricist brother.

I wrote a lot of material for drama schools, including  three Dickens adaptations commissioned by the then Principal of GSA and still my good friend, Professor Michael Gaunt. I’m always tickled that I have a professor as a friend. In fact, I have two exalted academics in my friendship armoury, the other being Professor Ros Steen, a highly respected voice specialist whom I worked with at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama / RSAMD (now Conservatoire). And there’s the link.

In 1985, the RSAMD commissioned me to write a play-in-progress as a term project for Second Year Students, then take an expanded version to the Edinburgh Festival. As a huge fan of Mike Leigh, I worked with the students on character and incorporated their thoughts and ideas. The start point was Breughel’s ‘Peasant Wedding Feast’.

The narrative could have gone in any direction, but the students favoured Breughel’s life, so that’s where we went with it. It turned out to be a fine play, even if the dialogue was a bit clunky in places, for which I take entire responsibility. We called it A COUNTRY WEDDING. This was the final scene in Edinburgh –

Apologies, no digital photography then, so this is a digital photograph of a print, enough to give you the gist, though. One or two famous faces there (now). Bet you can’t guess who.

In fact, Ros’s daughter, Stefani Steen as was, appeared as Breughel’s daughter, Mayken, in the drama school version. She took a more sensible route in life than theatre.

Hope Tuesday’s your good news day.

Posted in biography, Design, Drama, Education, Humour, Personal, Teaching, Theatre, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Writer James Collins

Today’s writer, James Collins, lives the dream. I met him a few years back when my husband, Martyn, and I returned to the island where we spent our honeymoon. James and his husband, photographer Neil Gosling, are established residents of the island community and play significant roles in Symi life. I can always touch base by dropping in to read James’s posts on his website Symi Dream.  For a nosy person like me, one of the most interesting aspects of interviewing authors is hearing details of their lives and pursuits and being impressed by their story…

Yassou, James, impress everyone else…  Hi. I am reluctantly British but happily living in Greece where I make my living from writing. I am 56, married, and have published 11 novels as James Collins, plus a further ten under a pen name.

What first inspired you to write?   School teachers. When I was 11 to 13 at a decent prep school, I showed a flair for writing stories and being on the stage. My English teacher had me reading things like 1984, Brave New World and others a little beyond my reach, but I stayed with them. Then I read Dracula and never looked back. Maybe it was Bram Stoker’s way of telling the story through ‘real’ events that caught me, but I reckon it was a string of excellent English and Music teachers.

What was your first piece of creative writing? How old were you?   An English lesson at school when I was 12. The dreadful Moorgate tube disaster had just happened, and our teacher asked us to write a story inspired by the event. I came up with something about explorers in a collapsing pyramid, the teacher liked it so much he asked me to do a second draft, and it won an in-school award of some sort, thereby teaching me the benefit of rewrites. From then on, I had this thing for telling stories.

Which writers do you particularly admire?   There are so many, and it depends on the genre. I love Stoker’s Dracula and the Jewel of Seven Stars, but not his others. I like John Steinbeck in the American lit. department, and Peter Ackroyd in the history department. I tend to read mainly factual and history books along with biographies, rather than novels.

What do you love about writing?   Making it up as I go along, that is when I haven’t had to plan a detailed mystery or adventure. I write very much ‘stream of consciousness’ style at times, and that leads to me dropping in twists when I least expect them. I particularly enjoy the research and combining factual history with invented history while I try and solve my own puzzles.

What do you hate about writing?   I’ve always disliked the way people assume a writer doesn’t do anything. “Oh, you’re at the café again?” Yes, I am, but I am thinking, plotting and planning, and I’ve been up and at the desk since five in the morning so after 12 hours, it’s time for a break. It’s that working from home thing; everyone assumes you earn loads and don’t do any work.

Oh, I also hate the publicity side of things, so I don’t bother with it apart from my own blog and Facebook. I’m always on the lookout for someone to take on the job but the best person to do it is me, and I’m not interested, lol.

Describe your ‘portfolio’ of writing I write in various genres. I have four books about my experiences of moving to and living in Greece; SYMI 85600, CARRY ON UP THE KALI STRATA, VILLAGE VIEW and SYMI, STUFF & NONSENSE. In these, I play around with a Bill Bryson kind of style and humour.

I also write mystery/adventures and have a series of three ‘SADDLING’ books; THE SADDLING, THE WITCHLING and THE EASTLING. A fourth is planned to complete the series. These are more lyrical but have an action plot, family history, an invented dialect and mystery.

Then there are the comedies such as REMOTELY, a gay/straight body swap comedy satire, and others. Most of the time I write what people call mashup novels. Under my pen name, Jackson Marsh, I write MM Romance and adventure.

What is your proudest achievement?   Well, last year I won ‘Best Feature Screenplay’ for an adaptation I did of a book (GIRL GONE GREEK by Rebecca Hall). I was awarded that by the London Greek Film Festival in Athens, which was rather an honour. I was also proud to receive a ‘Special Award for Creativity’ by the Arts Council of Britain for a musical thriller I wrote and staged several years ago. But probably the proudest moment was marrying my partner of 20 years on Symi, in Greece in the island’s first same-sex civil partnership in 2017 – on my husband’s 50th birthday.

What is your current project?   Yikes! Currently, I am writing for my pen name, Jackson Marsh. I’ve started on a series of romance/adventure/mystery mashups set in Victorian England. Part one (DEVIANT DESIRE) has just come out, part two (TWISTED TRACKS) is out in May, and I am bashing on through part three (UNNATURAL ACTS) while planning part four (untitled). My James Collins books are currently on hold, but I do need to complete my Saddling series with the fourth instalment, and I will get to that once THE CLEARWATER MYSTERIES have run their course.

Anything you’d like to add?   Only that if anyone wants to find out about my daily life on Symi, Greece, I have a blog which I update six times per week. It covers not only local information when I hear it, but also the day-to-day experience of being a writer. It can be found at www.symidream.com

(What James was too modest to include was the movie he scripted, THE 13TH (1066 Films), based on his novel, THE JUDAS INHERITANCE, funded on Kickstarter and shot on Symi in 2014.)

Efharisto – thanks – for joining me today, James

James’s links

Website:    www.symidream.com

Symi Dream Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/SymiDream/

Amazon Author:    https://www.amazon.com/James-Collins/e/B005C7HWJI

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jamescollinsauthor

Jackson Marsh

Website:    www.jacksonmarsh.com

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/jacksonmarshauthor/

Amazon author:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B077LDT5ZL

 

Posted in Fiction, Greek Islands, Humour, new writing, Writers, Writing | Leave a comment

Sunday

– is the day I never know what to do with – including writing grammatical sentences. It’s a hangover, I think, from early childhood when, once a week, the awful prospect of SUNDAY SCHOOL faced me. As if it were not enough going to school every weekday. In fact, following my first day at school, I was highly affronted that I had to return the following day, nobody had told me that going to school went on for years.

(Left – me pre-Sunday School days, pre-schooldays – see what a happy little poser I am?)

There was further affront on Sunday mornings. They were kind enough people, I suppose, most of the attendant Sunday School teachers, but there was the odd bully – usually a single lady embittered, maybe, by having nothing better to do at a weekend than try to din godliness into snotty-nosed kids* (see Footnote).

Despite this, I became deeply religious – well, not so much deeply religious as fascinated by the stories: Jonah and the whale, Daniel in the lions’ den and knocking down the temple, Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt (Fascinating! Nobody explained where Sodom was, though, and how it was connected to the sin of sodomy. Nor did anyone explain what sodomy was to us six year-olds). My supposed religious fervour was aided, somewhat, by someone giving me a pictorial bible, for Christmas, probably. No Gameboys or space hoppers in those days. My fixation lasted until I was about nine when the rose-tinted spectacles shattered and the scales fell from my eyes; I was no longer seeing through a glass darkly. At the local Baptist church we had to watch a film of Billy Graham, preaching somewhere in London, and then were asked to stand up at the end if we’d been saved. Most of my contemporaries did. I didn’t. From then on, my card was marked. Yeah, well it’s my blog and I can be verbose and bitter if I want.

I was still forced to go to church until I became such a stroppy teenager that my parents’ nerves weren’t up to it. At secondary school, I was summoned by the headmistress during assembly one morning – in front of the entire school – to see her in her office immediately after. As I arrived trembling in her musty study, thinking she was going to tell me my parents had been killed in a car crash, she launched into a diatribe about my not paying attention and distracting the other girls. I may not have been paying attention but remember having sat rigid, staring at the floor (we still had to sit on the floor) as I normally did. She’d obviously got me mixed up with another girl – there were over 600 of us. I didn’t dare disagree that I’d been messing about but, in shock and anger, I told her I was an agnostic. At 13, I wasn’t entirely certain what that was but I knew it was something to do with not believing in god.

Then I had to go back to lessons, a soggy (yes, there had been tears), shaking mess, and face the malicious delight of all the other girls. I suppose I should name and shame the headmistress but, as Michelle Obama said so many years later, “When they go low, you go high”. So, I’ll leave her anonymous, but… sod (and I know what it means, now) the headmistress of Wimbledon County School for Girls, hope she roasts in a hell filled with non-believer adolescent girls, all suffering PMT and pungent BO. Even if she doesn’t, I had a sort of revenge throughout my secondary school career, thereafter, staring up from the floor to the stage every Assembly at her fat ankles bulging beneath her academic gown. Looking back, I suppose she had to take out the unkindness of nature on someone.

(Right – me post Sunday School, post-school – by the hairstyle, it must have been Art School Days – with Golden Retriever, Lucy. See what a happy little hippy I am?)

 

 

*Footnote
And more often than not we were – snotty-nosed. Chesty colds were rife in smog-infected London on the 1950s. The fogs/smogs were, indeed, pea-soupers, being a malevolent green in colour and so thick you really couldn’t see more than two metres ahead of you (yards, then, of course). I remember my mother guiding me to school with a torch on winter mornings, scarves wrapped tightly round our faces to filter the filthy air. The Clean Air Act was 1956 – but the air didn’t clean up for long while after that. Reminds me now of the Witches in Macbeth – ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air’ – except we plodded, up Lyveden Road and left into left into Devonshire Road.

And there’s the link. Now, I live in Devonshire and the air is clean as a whistle – most of the time. (Seen here in Paignton with stepchildren Jon & Sarah. See what a happy Wicked Stepmother I am?)  And I still like reading and hearing stories, but not biblical ones any more. Oh, and now I write them, too. And publish them.

Thanks for your indulgence.

Posted in biography, Desperation, Devon, Education, Humour, Life on the edge, Personal, Religion, Writers, Writing, Young Adult | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Needing Greece

Horizon a bit wonky but, then, I had been at Tzouma’s bar on the waterfront at Pandeli for a while. September, last year. If you’re from the south of England, you pronounce ‘grease’ as in ‘Greece’. If you’re a Scot, you pronounce ‘Greece’ – well, ‘Greece’, and ‘grease’ – ‘greez” – with multiple r’s at the beginning, e’s in the middle, and z’s at the end.

The movie ‘Grease’ came out in 1978, just before I went to work in Scotland as Director of The Other Company (the touring theatre arm of Dundee Rep.). The wonderful Helen Watson, Administrator of the company, confused me totally, Sassenach that I was. What was this film she was enthusing about? Took a while for us to meet in the middle. John Travolta was, probably, the catalyst… No! It wasn’t the lovely John – it was Hylda Baker and Arthur Mullard, who made a cover of  ‘You’re the one that I want’. That’s what it was. Take a look. 

In its defence, you had to be there. In the 70s. We were much less sophisticated then.

Anyhow, I need Greece, not Grease or grrreeezzz – and I’m nearer Hylda Baker than Olivia Newton John these days, anyway.

By the bye… (‘By the bye’ is an old sailing term. ‘Sailing by the bye’ means sailing close-hauled i.e. close to the wind direction. If you weren’t sailing on the bye, you would be sailing large, sails out and away from the wind’s direction. To refer to all forms of sailing one would say ‘bye and large’.) …apparently, according to WordPress, Sassenach is a lake in Canada and also:

So there you go, whether you’re into Greece, Grease or grrreeezzz, Scot or Sassenach, or in the middle of a lake in Canada: Échete éna charoúmeno Sávvato (Έχετε ένα χαρούμενο Σάββατο.) Have a happy Saturday.



Posted in Contemporary Women's Fiction, Greek Islands, Humour, Personal, Writing | Leave a comment