Archive | June 2014

Smudge, on Dartmoor.

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Seventh June Blog
With apologies, I have photographs but cannit seem to upload them.
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Managed both photographs, yea!

Pastime delights, still remembered…….

Quite a few years ago, I holidayed in Canada. Part of that trip involved a horse riding session. Of course, at that time I could not ride. It wasn’t a big event and we did not go far but I did enjoy that time sitting astride a gentle horse, leastwise, I rhink it was gentle.

The next visit to Canada involved staying at various places. Part of which meant driving to a kind of farm where my friend’s sisters resided at the time. We all had a nice meet up, talking about all sorts of things? There were several horses kept out in a field. We had all decided to go for a ride that morning. This involved catching or should I say, rounding up several of the animals, bringing them up to the farm house where they were bridled and saddled

It was decided that my mount was a Palamino and the harness had lots of silver on it. All these years later, I have no idea what its name was, but I have fond memories of that horse. But first I must tell you, before ‘the off’, we had a visitor. A raccoon that had invited itself in and my friends, being animal lovers had fed it. I personally was able to pick it up, but then it got antsy. So I let it go.

So, I mounted my mount, OK, I should have rephrased that, but I am not going to! The others went ahead of me. I should have mentioned that, in front of the house, there was a huge depression, like a gully. Not sure why. Not sure it was natural either, but it was quite deep, spreading out from the house about 50 yards or so. Everyone had ridden their horses down to the further end of the hollow. I started my horse down the steep slope. Partway down, my left rein broke. Panic!

Now, I was not a developed horse rider at this time. What should I do? How would I steer the animal and not fall off? My self preservation instinct took over. I grabbed the long mane and held my legs tight to the flanks for all I was worth. Luckily, the animal seemed to know my dilemma! At least, that is the way I saw it, at the time. Of course, he stopped where the other horses were standing and my friend’s sister was able to go back to the house and procure another rein.

At the far end of the depression, was the main highway. Something we had to cross and I cannot remember how we managed that. So much water under the bridge! We had our ride and near the end, one friend started cantering down this long pathway ( for want of a better term) that eventually ended facing that same highway, I was soon to find out, like a T junction. My Palamino took up the challenge. There we were, not cantering, but galloping down this path which led to that main highway, for all we were worth. I saw cars going back and forth. Getting closer every moment. Was I worried!? You bet! At the last minute, a few feet from a gate closing off the pathway, she turned her horse, and mine came to an abrupt halt as well. Whew!

It was an enjoyble afternoon. Back at the house we all dismounted, took off the tack and went in for some food.

Next morning, I had a shock. The whole of my thighs, from groin to knee, and down my legs were black to purple. You see, I was not used to riding and my body apparently protested at the abuse. Gradually, over time, the bruises went. A few months later, at home, i came across a stables, a bus ride away, and joined. I rode every Saturday or Sunday for about an hour or two, with different horses.

The name of the last horse I regularly rode was Little Dolphin or Dolf. He was a Pacer. For those unfamiliar with that term, he moved in a different way to the normal horse way, both legs on one side moved forwards at the same time, alternating with the two legs on the other side, it took a little time to get used to his ‘gait’, but in the end, I kind of preferred it.

I was thrown three times, on various steeds, mostly my own fault for not holding on so tightly. Once on my first ride out, kids were playing cricket in the field and my horse kind of shied at the white sticks they were using as cricket stumps. Another time the mare I was riding was acting as a pacemaker for the stable’s trotting stallion. Again, end of a long track came abruptly, and I did not judge she would move one way to stop. Consequently, I went the other way, kanding on the track. Both times, my horse stood for me and I was able to remount. I did enjoy those times. The third time, I did not actually fall off, more, the horse slid diwn a dip, it was autumn and the grass was icy wet. I sort of heaved him up by the reins. Luckily he was able to gain his front feet. Needless to say, after that, we turned and headed back to the stables. I was alone that morning.

I even went pony trekking on Dartmoor for a week. Mostly, the moor is high rolling ground with not a lot of grass! Plenty of rocks higher up. The weather came down that June. One evening, there was thick fog. So thick, you could not see more than one foot in front of you. I was out with a couple other riders at a pub and getting back to the farm was hairy, I can tell you. The rain, absent at around 7 a.m., was coming down by about 9 a.m. most every day, so the ground got muddy as the week progressed.

Seeing Dartmoor from the perspective of the top of a horse is pleasant. I never knew there were pine forests on Dartmoor, hidden away in steep valleys not apparent from the top of the moor. Streams to be crossed. All kinds of wild creatures down in the dells. And that is only a small part of the Moor. The last day, a Friday, we trekked to Widdecombe in the Moor ( there is a song about the place). We approached with trepidation.

We were at the top of a hill. The continual rain had made the slope of the hill, a sea of mud. We were asked to dismount and lead our horses down. This was the hard part because my horse, at least, wanted to go faster and his hooves were sliding in the mud. I held his halter tight, using my weight as the fulcrum. Somehow, slowly, we traversed the slope together, moving inexorably downhill until at last, we reached flat ground.

Moving on, we were led into a small compound, divesting our mounts of their saddles and bridles. We were then able to go and explore Widdecombe in the Moor. It was when we collected our animals, bridled and saddled them that my horse trod on my foot. Trying to move a horse’s hoof from your foot is not the easiest of tasks. They tend to lean on their legs a lot! Luckily, I had some cowboy boots on or my foot might have been crushed. Anyway, I keaned a lot back. He was quite a big lad, this mount of mine. Eventually, well, it seemed a long time, he must have decided I wanted him to move, and he did.

So, memories like these help me write pieces such as this. I have many more memories that I really must put down on paper, computer or Ipad, before they disappear forever. Such is the writers lot. Use your memories of happenings in your past as well as current events, that may be significant or amusing. They may be the start of a new project. A book, a poem, a play even ( and I have even written a small one of those too)’ a memoir. Go on, you know you can!

Take care, my friends,

Evelyn

Plenty of Colour Here.

The sun makes these autumnal leaves appear pink in Fall.

The sun makes these autumnal leaves appear pink in Fall.

This can be an invitation to choose colours by different names to illustrate my previous blog.
I consider the sky to be a more Cerulean Blue and the lower leaves caught in the sunshine to be a reddish apricot, whereas the upper branch leaves could be called coral peach blush sugar icing.
Evelyn

This entry was posted on June 24, 2014. 1 Comment

A Change Is As Good As A Rest….

Sixth June Blog

A Change is as Good as a Rest.

So, what will I write about today? I know, words that can be used in stories or poems, that are not so commonly used.

Someone on the Group I belong to posted a question about changing common words and finding a different way of saying the same thing, or close. Like, for instance, colours! Describing the general colour of a ginger cat. Many might use the term marmalade. Good enough, but how about Amber or Nasturtium or even just Orange!! ( there must be more!)

For purple, we could use the words Heliotrope, Grape, Aubergine, Puce, Dark Lavender.

For green there are a wealth of other words like Conifer, the ubiquitus Forest, Olive, Grass and so on.

Browns can be described as Earth, Sepia, Sienna, Umber, Tan, Chestnut, Coffee.

Blue is often thought of as Sky or Navy. But there are all kinds of blue like Periwinkle, Lobelia, Cornflower, Cerulean, Aqua Marine, Ultramarine, Indigo. And many more.

I am not covering all the colours here, because I think you get the picture by now. Be different with your writing.

What? I hear you say, colours!

One of my writing tutors imparted this wisdom. To give your reader a chance to be deeply involved in your charactors and settings, you should try to give the reader a way of getting involved. Colour in your descriptions is one way to immerse your audience.

Another way is to involve them in sound and smell. The tutor read a page from a particular book, about a family in London in the earlier part of the 20th century. This is not a quote but my idea of something similar.

 

‘”Chimneys smoked, filling the sky with acrid stenches. The milkman’s horse, in common with the shire belonging to the coal cart and the rag and bone merchant, leave their own debris, adding to the normal smells that had settled in the streets.
Down the road, the baker had had his oven going since 5 a.m., and the scent of freshly baked bread filled the air surrounding the little bakers shop.
The four lone streets of dwellings, cocooned on three sides by tall buildings, the gas works making up the fourth side, were sweltering in the morning sunshine. The air hung heavy over the two up, two down houses, like a sqidgy warm damp blanket. Soft leaves in such a bright spring pea green, waved gently in the fresh breeze which swirled around the tree tops, never coming down to ground level to freshen the atmosphere.
Mrs Abenathy, in her small front garden at number eight, trilled one of the popular songs of the day, trying to match the bird calls from the church rooftop and the steeple, only to be drowned out as the bell tolled eight a.m. All seemed right with this little world of drab living quarters which were cheap to rent, especially with a large family to house.
Most people living within these dwellings, knew everyone else. Old Mr. Tomkins lodged with Mr. and Mrs. Zublai who hailed from Eastern Europe but were now entrenched in the English way of life. Every Friday night you could hear the couple playing the accordion and tambor, their music as Russian as they come.
The melodies and rhythms set the neighbourhood dancing. Many brought their children out on the street to enjoy the free entertainment. This was such a gay place to live on a Friday night.'”

 

You may be able to come up with something different. It is up to you. Mine was just an ‘off the cuff’ piece to try and illustrate what I have been saying.

There are some writers of course, who seldom use much description. That is their prerogative. But personally, I would find a book of that kind quite boring. I love to be immersed in the sights and sounds conveyed by the writer. To me, it makes a book much more exciting and worthy of my time reading it, with such descriptive passages.

I cannot answer for everyone, or even most, but I think it would be a sad old writing world if description were ousted from all books. How say you?

Take care, my friends,

Evelyn

The Younger Me!

The Younger Me!

Fifth June Blog.

I had a fairly sleepless period in the early hours of bed the other morning. Could not get back to sleep. TIME was on my mind, time slowly passing. I got to thinking about time, what it meant to me, how I felt about TIME itself.

Now, I don’t say that I am that well read, but I watch t.v. and sometimes there are interesting programmes which are very informative. I may not always remember all the information given, so I can be tested if I get things a trifle wrong.

TIME got me thinking about when we are small, the world of TIME seems endless. It stretches to infnity. We, as children, are not aware of its passing. We play, we go to school, the day seems endless, ‘when is the bell going to ring?’ we sigh! The summer holidays go on for ever and ever, to us. To our parents, they cannot wait for those weeks to pass, and to be honest, to a parent, they pass much faster than they do for the child. TIME and Relativity, I guess!

I am reminded of a t.v. programme about Einstein. His theories of relativity. One part I do remember is, they showed a piece about a train. OK, so, most of the information has escaped me but it showed the train moving differently and well, it showed me that TIME moves at different speeds, depending on where you are, in a car, walking etc. Hence relativity. Maybe I have not explained that too well! But for those Dr Who officionadoes, the space machine he uses ( the old-fashioned blue police telephone box ) , is called the TARDIS, in other words. ‘TIME and Relative Dimensions in Space’. I assume, based on Einstein’s theory.

I have digressed slightly. What I need to impart is the fact that it seems, as the years go by, the human body tends to feel that TIME is getting shorter until such times as we reach, relatively, old age when TIME appears to disappear at a rate of knots, heading far away, never to be caught. So, if we need to complete tasks, (whatever they may be) of necessity, we need to speed up our completion of these tasks. For it is like the electric hare or rabbit at a dog track. Unless the mechanism breaks down, we will never catch up.

I have found that the time I have to get jobs done ( with my health becoming inceasingly poor) is less and less as the years go by. I want to finish, not only one book, but several, and I know I will not have the time to do this as my time is spent on more mundane issues and cosseting my body.

So, my friends, how does TIME affect you? Do you think you will have lots more TIME in the future, to grant yourself the dreams and wishes you have always wanted to fulfill your life? When becoming a senior and your working life having ended, you will be able to spend TIME reaching your goals? Beware’. Your mind may dream, but your physical fitness may have deteriorated to such an extent, that those dreams/ goals may have to be changed, made less, to accomodate what you can now accomplish.

So, I am on catch- up. Not just writing, but getting the garden sorted. A full time job if ever there was one . I used to enjoy doing the garden, cutting the hedge, now it has become a huge chore. I waste precious TIME on a long job when I could be writing, even if it is not the editing I badly need to do.

A bit late but I mention that scientists state that the bodies in the great Universe are speeding away from each other. Is this what TIME is doing to us all?

Take care people,

Evelyn

This entry was posted on June 23, 2014. 1 Comment

Winter’s Herald

Winter's Herald

POEM

Winter’s. Herald.

The cherry tree is looking pale,
With yellow leaves, that fall like hail.
Decidedly, it’s looking thus
Because it is deciduous.
The wind that blows and takes them down,
And blows them all about the ground,
Has the chill of winter’s season,
And all these portents have a reason.
Squirrels gather nuts and seeds
To supply its winter needs.
The dormouse, introduced by Romans,
Already saw the winter omens
Way back in September time.
We saw no reason nor no rhyme
In its early bedtime ways,
But inner clocks know to count the days.
Conkers bursts their prickly shells,
A russet bounty in woods and dells.
Sunshine, lower in the sky,
Its daily sinking, passing by.
Soon the days, so dark and drear,
Will find us humans huddle near
A roaring fire, crackling wood,
Muffins, crumpets, oh, so good.
And so we seek, as cavemen old,
Wamth, comfort and solitude,
To battle out the age old changes,
Mother Nature rearrnges.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. November, 2013

Poem. – Our Solar World

Poem. -  Our Solar World

Our Solar World.

Feel the great orb,
Pulsing warm,
In courtyard gay,
And schoolboy dorm.
Welcome light,
Welcome day,
Earth spins
On axis,
Come what may.

Are we so lucky,
This pleasant ball
Of mud and sand,
From oceans crawl.
Where else,
In this Galaxy,
Does life abound,.
We cannot see?

The search goes on,
For those like us,
Enjoying planet-wide,
Nebulus.
A tiny ship
In far flung space,
Searching for
Another alien race.

They try and try,
Imagining plants
And creatures gathering
Sustenance by chance.
We cannot yet
Discover those,
Too large a bet,
I do suppose.

Imagination,
Movies too,
Describe these aliens
To frighten you.
But in reality,
Unless they fold
Space from another
Galaxy bold.

Until such times,
Enjoy the hum,
The life you lead,
Fascinating or humdrum.
Feel the speciality,
Of our world,
Look after the creatures
Take care of the fold.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. April, 2014 .

Tiger

Tiger

It is warm again. I am drowsy. I lick my paws, gently, so that my fur lays flat. The pool I bathed in lies in sunshine and I am hot. I am stretched out under a mango tree, the shade cools my body. Sleep is what I need, right now.

Birds high up in the branches, squabble as they fight for a special perch. The squabbling knocks down leaves that fall onto my ccat. I shake them off lazily, and the squabbling ceases when I roar.

It is too hot to roar and my whiskers need cleaning. A slow lick along my paw and i rub my face on the damp patch. My whiskers are important and must be cleaned after I have eaten.

There are flies buzzing lazily in the afternoon heat, I swish my tail to make them go away, but they stay close. If I were not so tired, I would take another swim in the tidal pool where mangrove roots stand like stilts, anchoring the mangrove trees. Later the water will rise, so that the roots are beneath the waters that sweep in from the ocean beyond. Little crabs scuttle around the roots, gathering food. Easier now for them on the open mud. When the tide comes in, they will bury themselves in the mud until the water recedes. I watch them with curiosity.

I hear another of my kind roaring in the distance but I pay no heed and gradually fall asleep. I am safe here, it is my favourite aftenoon spot.

A breeze blows around me, borne on the tidal waters. It awakens me. Still too hot to move far or fast but I wander slowly through the jungle, listening for Samba deer who may be about. All is silent, save a few bird calls, all creatures are somnolent in this heat. I am still too tired to chase anything, so I am happy that nothing is abroad.

Fallen leaves crackle under my paws as I move slowly through the forest. The breeze is left behind as I move deeper through the undergrowth. Soon, I will come to my favourite spot of early evening. It is an old building, reclaimed partially by the jungle, but there are cool vantage places where I can sit and gaze into the distance. There are valleys and hills beyond, a soft wind wafts up to my building. It is pleasant to sit and watch birds lift on the breeze. But as I draw near, I see another has taken my place.

Slowly, I creep up behind her. She is startled as I throat my displeasure. She roars back and jumps to meet my rush.
As she comes close, she feints to the side. She recognises me, and I her. She is my cub of three seasons ago. We sidle around each other, searching out what the other will do.

Then she makes her move, leaping towards me. I am bigger than her, but not by much. Though I still have more strength than she, and she knows it, turning at the last moment, running past me, she speeds off into the jungle. Next year she may be strong enough to beat me. I hope not. I am not that old, yet.

The Samba are on the move, and it is time to find a nice fat one. But I sense one nearby. It is injured and will not survive. I am a top predator but also it falls to me to make this a swift death for the deer. Its suffering will be less and I will be fed, and there will be little left. This is the way of the jungle.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. June, 2014 .

Is the Pen mightier than the Ipad?

Is The Pen Mightier Than The Ipad?

Is The Pen Mightier Than The Ipad?

Fourth June Blog

Is the Pen mightier than the Ipad?

The photograph, for want of something suitable, was a quickie Ipad snap. It came to me because I had nothing suitable already on file. So……

How many writers still use a pen? Do ideas come easier? Do they think their writing is better when jotted down in the old-fashioned way? Or, have they no idea that pen and paper was the only way to write things down once upon a time? That computers were only recently made available to almost everyone, having only been really invented, in the modern form, not that long ago!

When starting a new Blog, I sometimes wonder what to say, what topic that interests me, interests others? Even a writer of sorts has an off time, when they come up empty, when a topic is hard to find.  If you read my earlier missives, you may gather that I have edits which I should be working on. And this is true. But the changeover from one computer to another has yet to happen. So I have been adding to a new piece, a short story which may turn into something larger. Who knows? For now, it is a piece for another of the groups I belong to. More a stop gap, but still worthy of a storyline.

Does anyone else have the same problem? Trying not to stand still on something big, but filling in gaps? I have already completed one very short story for yet another group, one I had already written some time ago and cannot get to at present. So, although the bare bones are there, much is said slightly differently. This one is called ‘Tiger’. A day in the life of, if you will.

Of course, I do tend to write a few poems. These are relatively easy. They do not take a lot of space. They are often pretty quick to set down ( I do not spend ages pondering over what goes with what ) , I just let my imagination flow. Mostly, I change very little – the odd word here and there until, voila! A poem is born. OK, so they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they satisfy my need of the moment.

Suffice it to say that although held back from the main production, i.e. my novel, (long time in the writing and editing, through unforseen circumstances) , at least I am producing pieces of writing that can be used in the future, should I so desire. I can also use this time to garner more information for future reference regarding novels or short stories to come.

So comes the age old question. Where do I get my ideas from? Where indeed! All my life I have watched t.v. shows ( when t.v. came to us in the British Isles and to my area in the 1950s ), about animals, about other places, other countries, their flora and fauna, their climate, peoples and so on. My mind is full of David Attenborough’s Birds of Paradise or the Komodo Dragons, or the peoples who worship the Cargo Cult, ( I wonder if they still do or if the 21st century has finally caught up with them? ). I also watch all kinds of factual programmes where tid bits of information stick in my memory, Australian Outback, Las Vegas casinos, the Russian Steppes, China, Alaska oh, and so many more, waiting to be set loose on the world, encompassed in a tale, be it short story , poem or novel.

The current novel is set in a holiday town across the Atlantic where I have holidayed twice. Being a romance, for want of a better term, it just needed a few characters, a title (curtesy of my holidays) and a way to bring two main characters together. Of course, there has to be more than just a meeting of minds, a coming together of souls, and with my novel, there are back stories that hopefully round off the plot.

I also have a longstanding sci-fi novel and half of part two written. Both need considerable editing, even though the first and completed novel has been edited countless times, it still needs to be brought up to date, considering I have learned a lot in the intervening years since I first wrote it. I have others, also part written due to not having my own computer for some years, that need to be completed or consigned to a dusty file. You see, not all my work is completed. A writer can always go back, re-write, or change at will, anything they have written years ago as well as current work. I expect some of my older unfinished work will be a surprise to me after so long, definitely will need updating but still useable in some form or another.

So, if you think that old book you wrote and stuck in a drawer or cupboard is no use. Get it out, let it see the light of day. You may get a surprise when re-visiting it. Oh, you may have to rip it apart, save the good and put the rest back to bed. But who knows.

Be good people,

Evelyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on June 16, 2014. 3 Comments

Those Were the Days!

Those Were the Days!

Third June Blog. Starting today, 10 th June, 2014 .

A few days of sunshine, and yesterday was very hot with just a slight breeze. Today the breeze has grown in stature to more of a light wind, it keeps the heat down somewhat. The photo above is of my aunt Mabel, she didn’t sell ice creams, it was just a bit of fun, and if everybody has a double, she was my doppleganger. She is the image of me when I was that age in the fifties, in fact even as a child mum would often glance at me and say “You look just like Auntie Mabel”.

I remember when I was a child, at least, I think I remember (at my age, lots of memories fade until you are not sure if what you think you remember, is, in actual fact, real memories or memories you think you remember, if you see what I mean) , summer days that went on forever. Of course, it was wartime then and everyone was out in their gardens every spare moment, ‘Digging for Victory’. People worked all day, home for tea, out in the garden (if you had one) during the light evenings, catching a bit of sunlight, and then working some nights, doing Air Raid Warden duties. It was a busy life then for grown-ups. I know, I was around dad a lot in those days, still quite young, of course, but I loved my dad and I was the apple of his eye.

This was a time when peope pulled together. OK, so a bit of a dirty word these days, but if you did not pull together, you did not win. In these islands, everybody wanted to win. I guess younger people living today have no real idea what that means. It meant that most people wanted the same thing, for the war to end, for Peace to come so everyone could go back to the life they used to lead.
Of course, the life we all had before the war was gone, like many of the people both fighting and at home, and lots of buildings had also gone, especially in the big cities. And so, out of the rubble of war, came a new Britain, a new Europe and many other countries.

The reason I mention all this is to show how my life was coloured by this horrid but mementous event of the middle of the last century.
No computers, not many telephones of any kind, let alone mobiles. Modern technology has brought the world closer together. The modern miracle of Facebook, Twitter etc., where would we be without them? Google, all we have to do is type in a word or two and what we are searching for is usually found, in the twinkling of an eye.

Are we really happy with such miracles or have we told our brains to have a few weeks off. Take a break! Relax! Like other cells in our bodies, they need to be used or they might get lost, having nothing to do!
So, because of my age and the ground work vouchsafed me from all those learning years, I can approach modern technology with strength. I am not so good with technology, it has to be drummed in, until it clicks. But, I get there in the end and hopefully, what comes out is worth reading in the final analysis. You, the reader will have to be the judge.

I hope that the words I type on the ‘printed’ page are interesting, imaginative, fit for the consumer and certainly something slightly different, though this is just a hope, I cannot promise.

Be good, people,

Evelyn

This entry was posted on June 10, 2014. 2 Comments