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BUSTED SPIKE

I would like you to meet a friend of mine. His real name is Danny, but his Twitter name is Busted Spike. I met Danny on Twitter. Danny is a Royal Navy Veteran. Sadly, through no fault of his own, a young Veteran due to a freak accident which mean’t he couldn’t continue. Danny is a lot younger than me, but when we started chatting, we just clicked. We tease each other, we joke, we laugh, and we talk about our lives, the good and the bad, because we both have them. Danny has especially had some bad times. He has been addicted to drugs and alcohol. I’m not telling you anything that Danny won’t tell you himself. What I will tell you is that Danny is one of the most incredible men I have ever met. He has conquered both his addictions. Been through the Warrior Course, got his own flat and is getting his life together.

Danny has got his own blog which is; ramblingsofaformeraddict.blogspot.com

Please take the time to drop into Danny’s blog. It really is worth reading, and you will see what an amazing young man and Royal Navy Veteran this young man really it, and my last word about Danny in this page of my blog is that I am so proud of him, but his main problem is that he doesn’t know how proud I am.

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AN AUTHOR TO WATCH

I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine. He’s J.C. Maine and he’s a fellow Author. J.C. is from the U.S. and he is one heck of a writer. His book, Days of Revelation comes with my personal recommendation. Although in saying that, I would say that you know the kind of books I love. So if you love historical books, and gentle romance that this probably isn’t for you, but J.C. is a writer that is going to be massive in the future, so please keep an eye out in the future, and I’ll keep you posted on here when his next book is out because one thing I can say for sure is that when when he publishes another book, I’ll be buying it. By the way, you can find his books on Amazon.

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Strange or Not?

It’s not very often than I question what happens to my books once I publish them. but this time I was prepared to make an exception. I have a lot of Author friends on Facebook and a lot had been saying that their books, published on Amazon had mysteriously ‘disappeared’ from their Selling page. I didn’t think much of it until I looked at mine. Sure enough, three of my books had been taken down, one of them my best seller.

No notification give. Nothing from Amazon. Four days later, just as my Editor was about to put them back on sale, there they were, back on my page as though nothing had happened.

So I don’t know what to think. I suppose just carry on as normal and hope that it doesn’t happen again.

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THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY OF LONDON

On Wednesday 19th May 2921 I was granted the Freedom of the City of London, which, for me was the Greatest Honour that I could be given. The child who was born, in those day, within the sound of Bow Bells, and what is known as a ‘cockney’. I was already a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Educators, of which I am proud to wear their gown and Badge.

Usually I would have gone up to Guildhall in London for my Ceremony, but unfortunately, due to the pandemic Guildhall is still closed and no one knows for sure when it will be open again, so I had my Ceremony virtually and it couldn’t have been more wonderful. I still had to sign the age old Declaration of a Freeman, so I had to do that in the ‘air’ with a pen, and my framed Declaration will be sent to me in the post.

I can now drive my sheep over London Bridge, which actually costs you £50 which is a donation towards the Woolmers Charity, which looks after people in the Wool and Cloth Industry who have fallen on hard times. I can also be hanged on a silken rope if I murder someone in the City, and if I’m caught within the City, blind drunk, then I can be put in a Taxi and sent home free of charge!

Plus, and let’s not forget this – I am now know as a Gentlewoman !

One thing I don’t forget though is that Jack, my son and Editor, also has the Freedom, and is a member of the Guild of Freemen and is also a Member of the Worshipful Company of Educators. He progressed to Livery Status this year. At the end of my year as a Freeman, I’d like to progress to Livery Man (You can’t be a Livery Woman or Person) and then that’s it for me. I’ll leave any other progression to Dick Whittington.

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THE AUTHOR WHO WENT ON A CRUISE AND NEARLY DIED

I know, it’s a strange title to start off with, but you see it’s true and it’s something I’ve never really talked about. Well, alright, but because of certain restrictions put on my by the NHS I’ve never been able to tell the real truth and believe me I’ve been livid and still am to this day, so I’ll start at the start shall I?

Two months or so, before Covid broke in the UK I went on what was supposed to be my dream cruise with my family on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 down to the Caribbean. In New York, walking around on a shore excursion, I was taken ill and my husband had to dash off and get me a bottle of water, and after a while I felt OK ish and my son took me to Tiffany’s and bought me a gift and the standing joke was and still is that I did something that Eartha Kitt never managed in the song. Back on the ship, I still didn’t feel well. Was lethargic, everything was a nusiance but didn’t think much of it. Then a few days later, I told my son I thought I had a bit of a cold. Next morning my husband and son went on a shore excursion to the island of St. Thomas and I stayed in bed with this ‘blasted cold’ as I called it.

When they came back, my whole bed was wet with sweat, I didn’t know who they were hardly, what time it was, who I was even. First thing they did was get me to the Medical Centre on the ship. All I remembe was people shouting Get these lines into her now! Something was put up my nose and went down my throat. I remember Doctors, nurses, someone trying to get something else into me. cutting a vein by accident and blood everywhere. My son and husband being pushed aside although I don’t think it was on purpose. The main Doctor a lovely South African Doctor who asked me who I was, who the British Prime Minister was and who my Father was. The worst thing of all was that I have no memory of what was happening. My son very gently told me that when I tried to get to the toilet which was part of the ward I was so dis-orientated I just wet on the floor because I didn’t know I was supposed to use a toilet, and please, believe me that is not the person I am.

Another Doctor took over at night and kept on checking on me. Drip, after drip after drip. I’m a diabetic. No recollection of insulin being put into me. My memory had completely gone. I just remember he was Doctor Jerry and he sat on the bed and fed me chips by hand, and went one, two three. We can do this…..

The Doctor talked to me son because he and my husband took it in turns to sit with me and my son was 34. If they had got me there an hour later the first of my organs would have shut down. They let me out after a day or so and put me straight into isolation in the cabin. Everything had to be deep cleaned and my husband and son were also put on medication.

We got the final diagnosis from the Ship’s Doctor. The worst case of Flu he had ever seen on a Cruise ship, Sepsis and very small signs they thought could possibly have been Legionnaires Disease.

It wasn’t just me who caught that flu on that ship, endless people had it, but not as bad as me, but were certainly hospitalised. Someone put up on Facebook Did anyone else have this strange flu on the Queen Mary? That post suddenly disappeared. Cunard’s response? We’re sorry to hear passengers were ill and pleased our Medical Staff were able to held.

It didn’t stop there though. Ever since then I’ve not been able to breathe properly. I can’t go up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. To hear me you would thing I’m 90. I have tried endless times to talk to my GP about it and ask them to help me. Their answer is always the same and this is what really annoys me.

We can’t put it on your records Carol, because you were treated privately not by the NHS. I know I was treated privately. I’ve got the bill for over £5000 to prove it. So you would rather see me come within a hour of dying from my organs shutting down, a mysterious case of flu, two months before Covid broke, sepsis and possible slight Legionnaires disease, and not put a word of that on my medical records because I HAD to be treated privately because I happened to be on a cruise ship. Nice on NHS.

Well this time I’m going to call your bluff. I’m likely within the next few months to need – not want – need an operation using NHS resourses. I have met with a fabulous NHS surgeon but he has told me that he very concerned about my breathing problems. Anyway, I get my appointment for my operation – and where is it being done? Wait for it – at a Private Hospital ! Fine it’s being done for free – but this wonderful NHS who refuse to put anything about something that nearly killed me on my records because I was treated Privately are quite happy to send me to a Private hospital for an operation that should be carried out at an NHS hospital.

That, to me, is sheer hypocrasy.

In all fairness that the Surgeon doing the operation cancelled it for another three months, because you could hear that he wasn’t happy with this so called Private hospital, and wants to get back to his own National Health one where his words were I’ve got my own team around me who know how to deal with things.

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THE AUTHOR AND HER EDITOR

A lot of people having been asking me what I’ve really been doing apart from writing and also my Editor and I thought………hmmmm. I never realised that I’d never really said. So let’s start with me.

During lockdown while people did a lot for the NHS I admit I didn’t. Not because that made me a bad and un-caring person. I support my own chosen charities and if I suddenly supported the NHS then it mean’t that I had to turn my back on my own Charities. Firstly I’m what they call a Twiddler. I belong to a small group and we knit squares and make muffs for dementia patients. Then I support a lovely lady called Jane. Jane helps anyone that needs help. She is grateful for anything that comes knitted, crochet, sewn. Hand made toys, The list is endless so I make ‘things’ for Jane and she sends them to people in need, or she might raffle something to raise funds for a Charity such as Help the Hero’s.

The Charity that is closest to my heart and always will be is the Sailors Society or Seaman’s Society formerly known as King Georges Fund for Sailors. I have supported them since I was sixteen years old when I first found out about them. They support the Seamen and now ladies as well on the Container ships. People may think they know about them and their conditions, but they don’t know maybe as well as I do. Not that I’m a know all as someone called me but over the years I’ve gained the trust of a a lot of these Seamen and they are now my friends and talk to me. However, what they tell me stays with me. I don’t betray that trust and gossip behind their backs.

It’s lovely to see them come into Southampton. It’s a pleasure to knit hats, and fingerless gloves for them and know I’m doing my bit for them.

However, please don’t get the impression from this part of my blog that I think I’m full of my own importance and aren’t I wonderful because I’m not. I’m just one of many people who knit for the Seamen. The people who work in the Offices are amazing. In fact everyone concerned is amazing.

The saddest thing that happened recently is that they had to cancel selling their coffee. They had to stop because no one was buying and all funds went to the Society. My son was furious because he loved that coffee!

What I do get cross about is that there seems to be an attitude at the moment out there that Container Ship Crews don’t matter because they’re dirty, and they don’t wear nice pristine Uniforms like other certain services. I’ve seen a lot of really nasty pieces on Social Media recently where jokes have been made about this Container Ship that’s stuck in Suez. Well strange as it seems, I honestly can’t see why you need to make jokes about something like that.

A while ago a Container Ship was involved in an accident where some of the crew died. The wife of one of the missing crew contacted me.

Please Mrs Carol, she said, Please don’t make him dead for me. You wouldn’t make him dead for me. You – a good lady.

That ripped my heart out. To this day I still don’t know if her husband survived, but I will still always support my Seamen.

My Editor is over the moon at things getting back to normal even if it is a little bit. He’s booked himself some time at the golf course. He can get a haircut he can actually have some kind of a normal life and even better he – as in both of us can go and watch our horses race again, although we do own the same, but different ones as well, and for him the best part of all is that he will hopefully be able to go to football as well.

He’s also a London Tour Guide and guiding is starting again. Hopefully from April 4th. One guide and much smaller groups of people, but that part of life is getting back to normal so it looks as though there’s hope for all of us.

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THE VERY BEST OF AFTERNOON TEA

I think a recipe is called for and I love this one, even if it is out of my afternoon tea book.

EARL GREY AND LEMON MINI LOAF CAKES

125ML milk

4 Earl Grey tea bags

115g unsalted butter

225g granulated sugar

2 large eggs

125g self raising sugar

1/2 lemon juice and zest

200g icing sugar

sugar flowers optional

Method

  1. Place the milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Take off the heat and immerse the tea bags in the hot milk and set aside to cool.
  3. Squeeze the tea bags out into the liquid and set aside to cool some more.
  4. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4
  5. Grease and line 8 mini loaf tins.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar together. When it’s light and fluffy, add the eggs one by one. Add half the flour and half the tea infused milk. Add until combined, then add the other half and mix until completely combined.
  7. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Set on a wire tray to cool.
  9. To make the icing, mix the icing sugar and lemon juice and zest together and pour over the sponges. Add a sugar flower if using.
  10. Eat and enjoy when the icing is fim.

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j. j. Egosi

I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine. A fellow Author, but this guy is no ordinary Author. This guy is a Crafter of Tales and Teller of Dark Fantasy. How does that grab you?? He wrote the Demon Heart series available on Amazon and I can recommend it one hundred per cent. He’s from Manhattan, New York.

You can also get his book in paperback.

I’ve read the first book in the series, and if I could give it five stars, I would give it ten.

So if this is your kind of thing, go and get his book, because between you and me, I think our j.j is inclined to hide his light under a bushel. British phrase I know. In other words, he doesn’t know how good he is, so I’m telling him.

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MORCEAUX WINES

There comes a time when a series of books comes to it’s natural end and I’ve decided that the Morceaux Wines series has reached it’s end. The book that I’m writing now will be the last. I’ve loved every minute of writing about Corine and her family and friends, but I want people to remember the series with love and not a tired old series that became a heavy to read and a bit stale.

I read the other books just to make sure I was making the right decision, and I laughed at some of the characters, Fat Felice for one, and Madam who ruled the kitchen with more than an iron rod and I knew that this was the right time.

I’m not giving any teasers, nothing at all, but the book will be out before the end of the year. One thing I do know is that I will miss all the friends I’ve made at Morceaux Wine. It’s as though I’ve created a new family for myself and when I write that last line

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REVIEWS

Reviews I will admit do come with a reputation. The reason I say this is because I know for a fact that some people pay other people to leave certain Authors bad reviews. I know this is the truth because I know one Author this happened to. I know that we all need reviews, and it’s lovely to get them and we have to accept the bad with the good because we don’t all enjoy a book when we’ve read it.

I’ve not spoken about this before, so I will. I may have mentioned it in passing but not the full story. I dropped into Amazon to see my reviews. One said This Author needs an Editor badly. Fine, her opinion but I did have an Editor. My son, who is actually a professional Editor so I know my books are well Edited. Maybe the odd one of two letters miss out but tell me an Editor who doesn’t miss one letter here or there, mainly because Editors are human. Suddenly I looked at another review. This Author needs to grow a brain. Pardon me? That was a bit harsh. Even if you don’t like my book. To say I need to grow a brain was a bit of a insult. Then it went on and on. This Author is a fake. They are in Africa and are a scam and will take your money. Well you can check out my profile as an Author any time. How am I a fake when my name and details are on the cover of my books. So this went on and on. Reports to Amazon got me nowhere, until a further check saw one hundred and twenty five people getting the same review and at long last the Amazon machine swung into action and the whole thing was taken down.

However, I do value reviews if you read my books, good or bad. So please leave me one and if you’d like to leave me a comment or chat to me, I’d love to hear from you as well.