Archive | August 2014

Autumn Already…

First September Blog
AUTUMN, Already’.photo (1)
My, isn’t the year drawing in quckly now!  It seems to me that, once August had passed this year, in fact, BEFORE August had passed, the weather in my area  had gone chill, damp, (well, a bit more than just damp, very wet from time to time – this time last year, the weather was in the middle of a tremendous heatwave, so hot, I went aound in the house in my undies!!! – not the prettiest of sights, believe me).  This year, I am not only wearing triple layers of tops, but, since last night, have had some heating on in the living room, because sitting without any, I am already growing icicles all over!!!
. The Jet Stream, instead of wafting somewhere across  Sweden, is surging across the South of England, heading for The Continent.  Unprecedented, to say the least.  It has been said that we are on the tail-end of a hurricane or something similar, coming across the Atlantic and taking our normally not bad summer and chasing the sun and warmth away.       But, people,  is it only me?  Does anyone else feel this way about abnormal weather conditions?
I apologise to those who do not give a hoot about the weather, anywhere, good, bad or indifferent.  But for me, it has always been a) of interest to me, and b) affected by it, in every way.
I often write poems that are based upon seasons, temperatures, the way weather affects the world, my country, the birds, creatures, insects and plants that share the  world about us.
To illustrate -:   A Poem –
NATURE.
Rain drops dripping
Days and days,
Beyond my window,
Green surveys.
Faster than the
Lightning bugs,
Trees and bushes,
Winter shrugs.
All the emerald
Shades abound,
From pale to dark,
It’s all around.
And when the sun
Begins to break,
Golden hues,
On green leaves, make.
Covering branches,
Blotting out
The precious brightness,
All about.
Soon the clippers
In my maw
Will strip the green
Things from my door.
So I can see
The garden gay,
And watch the sunlight
All the day
Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward, April, 2014
         ———
And to illustrate, yet again,
SUMMER’S. SLIP.
The Solstice points the midway mark,
We joyously sing, like a summer skylark.
We pray the days will endless be
And the sun to shine for eternity.
But over the top of Solstice high,
A few days on, a change in the sky.
Its blue has a different coloured note,
Not cornflower bright, but a greeny throat.
“It’s autumnal already,’ my daughter cries,
‘You know I can tell it from the skies.’
And sure enough, A greeny hue
Bedecks a sunlit sky of blue.
The heat remains, it comforts me
That autumn days have yet to be.
A shortning of the daylight hours,
The disppearing of brilliant flowers
As if to say, well, soon enough,
The wind and rain, a chilly bluff.
All this time, we hold most dear,
When spring is past and summer’s near.
At least that’s how I do behold
A summer day, a dawn of gold.
But as the seasons gently merge,
I fear the coming winter splurge.
The icy tendils, a winter storm,
The frozen patterns in windows, form.
I love the warmth, it cossets me,
Dispelling summer, it has to be.
For living in this temperate clime,
I wish it were summer all the time.
Copyright  Evelyn Steward. July 2014 .
      ———-
You see, I am moved by seasonal changes.  I like to put part of the outside world into my books and stories, no matter where they are set.  The title of my WIP, “THOSE TANGERINE HILLS”, is a depiction of the area where the novel is mainly set.  It is a real place, though names of the local Towns have been changed.  But the sight of the hillside across the lake in October, on certain days, is one to behold, though you have to be up at sunrise to see it.
You see, the trees on the hill across the lake at that  time of year (when I was there) change to the most gorgeous autumnal colours.  All shades of red, yellow, gold, orange, brown are predominant (deciduous trees) but they intermix with the various greens of the conifers.  When the sun rose behind the house where I was staying, it tipped the very top of the hills opposite, lighting the trees.  As the sun rose higher this side of the lake, the bright sunlight moved down the opposite hillside, making the colours blend into one harmonious shade.
Often, the colours merge and show orange, but sometimes, that colour becomes, not orange but a more delicate shade of tangerine.  As the sun rises further up the sky on this side of the lake, and touches the hills lower down on the opposite side of the lake, the colour heightens.  But when the sun is high enough and its rays reach the water’s  edge, the brightness fades and the colours seem to separate into individual leaf colours.   The hills take on a kind of ordinary look, even though there is a beautiful lake at their foot, houses and a roadway.
One of my Creative Writing  tutors said that we should use colour as much as we could to illustrate what you were trying to say in your book.  She also advised that we describe sound, hearing, taste and so on through the senses.  I have tried to remember that tutor’s advice, hopefully.  I see the surtoundings in the colours I want them to be and try to show that to my readers.  Same with sound, explain how things sound, the birds, a train, a car revving etc., you get the picture.  Again, taste can express so many feelings that the reader can pick up on.
If you do not see things this way, why not try it.  Eggs and bacon say.
“”Jack picked up  two brown-shelled eggs from the basket.  The frying pan was heating on the stove, crackling where the oil began to warm.  He had recently changed to coconut oil and this was beginning to spit under the high heat where the pink slices of bacon sizzled.  Next he cut chestnut mushrooms into thick slices, adding a few baby tomatoes to add colour with their juicy ripe redness standing out amongst the black-gilled mushroom slices.
Cracking the first egg, its viscous content slipping easily into the hot oil, his mouth began to salivate.   Immediately, the white albumen solidified around the deep yellow yolk of these free range beauties.   It was followed by egg number two.  So inviting, so tasty, Jack moistened his lips as he watched the yolks cloud over as he flipped oil over them. These were joined by a slice of thick white bread.  Normally, he did not eat white bread now, having changed, to wholemeal for his health.  (He smiled at his thoughts.  No one could say this was a healthy diet, but it was only a one-time thing.  A slice of white bread, fried golden brown on both sides, just added to the ambience of the meal, his secret treat.)””
Do you all see where I am going with this.  It can apply to all things.  “”Smoke coursing up a tall chimney, belching out of the chimneypot like black treacle.””  This statement gives you movement, colour, viscosity in one short sentence.
So, this is my point for today.  Some books, it is true, often had little description and were lauded for it.  But personally, i feel those are not easily understood or wanted for light reading.  Only my opinion.
Be good to yourselves and others, dear people.
Evelyn

 

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The Big Apple.Fourth August Blog Way, way back in 1964′ I was staying with friends in Canada. My friend and a friend she worked with had decided they wanted to take me on a trip to New York. At the last minute, they could not get the time off work. So it was decided we would still go, but just over the weekend. After they had driven from work and had something to eat, we packed the car and set off. We had to drive to Niagara first, planning to cross the Rainbow Bridge and on into America. Passports were checked before we drove over the bridge. My birthday was due and the Border Guards were very friendly when they saw the date on my passport. From then on, it was a non-stop drive down through the Catskill Mountains to reach The Hudson River ready to drive across one of the bridges into the Big Apple. It was a 600 mile journey. The friend drove all the way. Now, it was dark, we were driving through the night. My friend wnted to pass water. There was no stopping! She found a white paper cup and pee’d into it, a bit at a time. We were laughing. Her friend asked ‘how can you stop and start like that?’ The cup was emptied through the window which was wound back up after each throw. It was so funny. Now this time, I wanted to go. I tried this method myself, but no such luck. (It was not until I became pregnant a few years later, that I was able to pull off this trick, if need arose, a least, i could stop and start then). Finally we arived at a service station just the Jersey side of the bridge into New York. The place was packed but relief eventually was mine. We stopped a bit further on and my friends took a bit of sleep in the car. I was suffering from a bad chest infection and could not rest as breathing was hard for me. After about an hour, the girls woke and we continued across the bridge (sorry, I do not remember which bridge it was)’ and drove through parts of New York and into Manhattan. After a bit, we found a hotel and booked an apartment on the twelfth floor. It was stifling hot, such humidity, and we had windows open to catch a bit of air. We went shopping in Macys and other stores. Came back and ate, then rested. In the evening, my friends went swimming in the hotel underground pool. I was feeing pretty ill from the very bad chest infection and the humidity was bad. In my case, I cannot swim, so it would have been pointless my going down with them. I sat at the window and caught what breeze I could. In the distance, the Empire State Building loomed. But that was as close as we came to seeing it, not enough time. Around ten p.m., we set off to Greenwich Village by underground. ( I forget what it is called over there). We found a large bar called something like The Red Barn. It had an ‘Ump pa pa’ band, we drank from huge Steins, a very pale, light frothy beer. It was fun. Everyone drinking, clinking the steins and singing along with the band. New York was crowded. We were lucky to get an appartment room. You see, that year, that weekend, was The Worlds Fair. Everywhere was chocker block. So, of course, The Red Barn became packed as the night wore on. I cannot recall exactly when we left, somewhere atound 4 a.m., but leave we had to, we to get back to the hotel. There were around 8 to 10 police,with guns, on every corner. A strange sight for an English woman. We ended up at the hotel around 6 or 7 a.m., got a bit of sleep, then headed to Times Square for some food. Times Square on a Sunday morning was covered in litter (from the theatre goers) . We found a diner and the waitress was Scots, of all things. We left the Big Apple around 10 a.m.. The car was in a bit of trouble. We found a garage and got the problem sorted, then dove oit of New York,mheading north. We had 600 miles and a border crossing to get into Canada, then from Buffalo, we drove back to Toronto. The girls had to go to work the next day, Monday. That drive was very scary. Traffic was moving at over 90 MPH, and people were lane-hopping all the way along. But we finally got back to Toronto and my friends’ apartment. A trip fo me down memory lane. Be good kind people, Evelyn

Autumn. Third August Post.Third August Blog It is here! Still in August, but, my friends, here in Southern England, this is the start of autumnal weather. When we see it, the sky has that peculiar shade of blue that signifies it is the autumn colouring. The lights go on earlier now, even if we do get late evening sunshine. We here all know how this weather works! Sometimes it comes in mid-September, but some years, the sky changes much earlier. This year, it actually began in July, but the weather kept being warm so we took it as a blip. Now, in mid-August, we know that it was more than a blip, it was a sign of the times, dear people, in this latitude, definitely a sign of the times. I managed to get outside for less than an hour, and it was totally wet. Plants, underfoot and I got rainwater in my sandals, yuk! I did a bit of cutting, though not much. Tore my finger on the thorns of the blackberry stems, but, dear friends, I can actually see the stem of a sapling tree that has self-set itself in my back yard. Heaven knows where these seeds come from, but it is not the first, nor I guess, will it be the last. It is thicker than I like. Hope my long loppers can cut through it. I am close to that goal, my friends, but so is the changing autumnal weather. Keeping my fingers crossed. I have started a new novel. How far into it I shall get is another matter. It is not tempting me as much as my last novel did. But, press on, semper redundant. Wednesday is my birthday. I am taking my friend to Costa Coffee for a light lunch. Daughter will take us and pick us up. I hope She has been sleeping well so she will be OK to drive. 21-8-14 That was good. So many happy birthday messages on the Internet. I bought a new snood. Light blue with butterflies all over it. It is not as heavy a material as I Wanted but you have to get these items when you see them. I have not gone very far into the new work. I do not think this is the week to try to push with the novel. And on reflextion, I am not certain I will go with it. More of a lead in, for now. Suppose I must be on a kind of plateau. Now daughter has asked me which files I want transferred. I thought eveything would be transferred as is, the whole thing. Oh no! She says I have to choose the files? ALL OF. THEM!!! I will borrow Nerissa’s phrase here. – MOUSES! Not only do I need every single file in my WORKS programme, but I like files from a previous computer that died, so that I can, one day, try to retrieve those worksI have not yet been able to retrieve. Also, other things. So, so near and yet so far! Still, progress of any kind is still progress. I have been waffling a bit lately. The summer is coming to an end, i do not like autumn because, after autumn, comes winter and I absolutely HATE winter. Dear people, I want to close this post so that the next post will be better, I hope. Be good. Evelyn

2nd August Blog. I am still working in the garden. Some lovely ripe blackberries to munch whilst cutting the overgrown prickly stems. Boy, they do grow long and fast. One drop of rain ( and there has not been a lot of that this summer, I am glad to say) and they are growing thick, fast and vicious. Still, I am happy doing this job, which, it has to be said, needs keping up to date. Reason it is in a state? Illness! Last year my daughter’s ill health and I was personally working in the front garden all summer, until mid August when we had a real heatwave. My daughter was worse, I was busy running up and down stairs for her and became totally exhausted in the extreme heat. So, that was that for the year. I started this year in April, a couple of hours every day when the weather was clement. I.e. No rain and no waiting for wet branches to dry up. My sacks have been emptied this a.m. (Fortnightly) so I can start filling them up all over again. That does not take long, I assure you. So, no more garden talk. I am sure many of you will be bored stiff. I do like this summer sunshine. I find many ideas for poems in the seasons, sunshine brings forth many delightful images that may be turned into verse. Soft summer meadows filled owith waving grass, wheat or corn or oats. Here in England, many fields are still bordered with trees, shrubs and the like. Old style country meadows with black and white, brown and red cows. Munching away at the long grasses whilst the next meadow has been mown for haymaking. The shorter grass is now fit for sheep, their white fleece can be spotted from some distance away. Growing up in England, even in the city, I personally think a lot of older people here still think of this kind of vista of the English countryside is part and parcel of us all. We are a small nation, often quite insular in our feelings and loyalties, our heritage, our ways. O K, so the younger generation do not serm to have these loyalties any more. I think that World War 2 and fighting for our nation built strengths for each other and our nation as a whole. They do not have these feelings. It is all different. All for self, mostly. They have not seen the destruction that war causes, the losses to people both personal and national. It is the way I feel. Seasonal, that is what it is for me. Oh, I write poetry without using the seasons, but I do like to write poetry about the Countryside. Maybe it is a dream we have that the countrysid is idyllic. I very much doubt it is. I think it is hat writers imagine it to be and somehere in thei minds, the timing is back sonewhere, perhaps in the mid- thirties or the fifties. I would very much doubt that what we think is a reality. I believe that like in the cities, maybe more so, people now are struggling. That rain I was talking about earlier on came this evening. Pretty hefty drops too. Just after ten p.m and it is still chugging down. Well, that puts paid to any garden work for several days. Hopefully, I am off out to tomorrow afternoon/evening to visit relatives. I am debating what to write about in my next novel. Do I stick with the romance genre? Do I complete the scifi novel and the second book in the series? Do I complete plans I had earlier to make another impilation? What would you do? I have so many short stories, I had planned on more compilation books, different kinds but I do not know how popular they might be. Choices, choices! Of course, maybe no one will want to read any of my work. Time will tell. If I can manage to post this blog, this is a slight update on Thursday 14 – 8 -14. Cutting and bagging. Both blackberry stems, elderberry stems/branches and a different kind of ivy that seems to have self-set itself and is somewhat unusual in that it has a kind of green flower or I should say,something akin to a seed head, no more than half an inch across. I do not know much about ivy, but personally, I have never seen its like before. It cuts fairly well, though the thicker stems are a bit tough to cut…..like coconuts, I guess. These stems are useful, in that they provide green mulch insude the bag which is good to help wilt all the other stuff inside the bag, less dangeous with regard to thorns sticking through. I am still pondering on my next novel. It is a hard task! Be good, lovely people, Take care, Evelyn

What to do when the rain comes down?

 

 

 

 

This is going to be very short. Lots of rain on shoet sharp bursts today. Spoiling all my plans to get out and do some more cutting in the garden. And it is much chillier than it should be, and certainly. Lot cooler than last August.
Went shopping this a.m., just for odds and ends. Then over to the clothing store Next, to pick up sone tops I ordered online. Nothing special, just long sleeved T shirts to wear under short sleeved tops, with thoughts of the coming cooler weather.
I also bought a couple of sparkly belts to keep my jeans up, ha! Since losing weight (thoug h at a much slower rate in the last few months) the blue jeans I wear are getting looser. I will have to make another hole in each. I have a special punch to make an extra hole, if only I can find it. If not, think again, take the train as the saying goes.
Managed to pick up a pair of plum jeggings on Saturday. Brings up my total of pairs and colours. So, in essence,I am all set to go for the autumn/early winter.
Yes, now rain! I know we need it, but I would prefer to have it rain in October/Novmber when I give up garden work for this year. Still, we cannot always have what we want. In fact, I think I seldom have what I want in some cases. Ce la vie!
So, after apportioning my medication, i shall start thinking about my next book, and the content thereof, also a cover fir one of my books already on Amazon. The original is not very good.
That is it for this time, lovely people.
Evelyn

This entry was posted on August 11, 2014. 2 Comments

Peacock Writers.First August Blog. Alan Mordhiemicus Place commented on Lenora Rodgers Author’s photo in Peacock Writers Lenora Rodgers Author 31 July 20:01 This is part of the entry that Feeding America sent to the local newspaper. I made the donation yesterday: The Peacock Writers recently donated $200 to Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland. The Peacock Writers are a group of authors from around the world who are committed to serving the needs of children through the sale of their books. Their donation to Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland will be used to support the BackPack Program, which supplies at risk children with 12-16 food items for the weekend when school meals are unavailable. Last year the organization supported over 5,500 students in 35 counties through this program. Executive Director, Gary Miles, is pictured above with Lenora Rodgers, a local member of the Peacock Writers. Although this may not get published, the Peacock Writers, of which I am a sometime contributor, has been praised for its donation through sales of books, to a childrens’ charity in America. As you can see above. I feel honoured to be a part. I do have short stories in other books. ‘Reflections of the End’ an Apocalyose anthology. I have one short story and four poems in this book. There is another book out sometime soon about Secrets. There is a poem that came fourth in a magazine competition. I have been busy with all of these works. Help! Starting to think about cooler weather. Long sleeved tops, jumpers, lovely slow cooked meal, Brrrr! Should not do this, and I want more summertime this year, before the autumn rears its ugly head. Need more really. As in other posts, you may have read that I cut lots of hedges every year. This year I was determined to take the height down quite a lot, but it is a slow job, also, blackberry stems, seem to have had booster shots, and as soon as I cut them down, other stems grow up in their place. Autumn is when it should slow down, hopefully, ‘cos I won’t be out there when it gets cold. That is when I hope to be back writing with a vengeance. Wish the sun would make up its mind what it is doing. Well, I suppose it is more the clouds. August, even the beginning of August, should be nice all the time. Last year it was baking the middle and end of the month. And yes, I know we have had some good weather so far this year, but why go and spoil it for the children and their holidays, and for my garden work to carry on. Today, Tuesday 5th August, I cut up and bagged what I had cut down on the Monday. Very prickly yesterday, got ripped several times, not because I was not careful, because I was very careful, even more so in the position the blackberry stems were in, but because several had a whiplash effect and caught me unawares. Having said this, My right wrist is very painful. It is all use of seceteurs. I have worn a crepe bandage all day to try and give my wrist some strength, but it still hurts. Over the years here i have seen dogs become less prevalent. But a neigher person has moved in across the road and they have a small dog. Now today i met a lady who had moved in just down the road and she has a large white dog. So, dogs are coming back, it would seem. Weather seems to have come back warm. Not hot, you understand. It is so nice to have warm weather in summe, ALL summer. That does not normally happen in England. But this year, we seem to have caught the weather just right, though we may pay for it later. Not the most interesting blog and it may not post. I shall gave to try nd see what happens. Be good to yourself lovely people, Evelyn

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Steward. April, 2014Spring Promise  – a poem lost

Pore white blossoms
clad the boughs

The cherry tree
Spring-Clad, is now.

Where are all the honey bees
That come to flit between the trees?

Warming sun has fled the sky,
And a straffing breeze is nigh.

Soon the empty petals drop,
Springtime snowstorm, lessened crop.

Come my beauties tirelessly toil
To wrench a bounty from the soil.

Berries clustered, one, two, three,
Juicy, ripened, just for me.

Behold, the shining jewel-like throng,
Red and black, from springtime song.

Luscious, hanging tender, sweet,
Waiting birds, go tweet, tweet.

Benefit is surely theirs
From red dress, my cherry tree wears.

©  Copyright  Evelyn