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Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Happy Christmas to all!

What a delight it was to wake up this morning next to my beloved and realise that today, and in fact for the next two days, I do not have to go to work. I honestly do not know how I have found the energy to keep going these past few weeks. By the time I finished work yesterday around 4.45 pm I had worked for seven days in a row and was just about fit to drop. Normally I would have gone to the Christmas Eve service at our local church, and part of me wanted to, as both of us have been pulling away from the church in recent months, but somehow sleep just seemed so much more appealing. My body was crying out for it, and it got it in abundance, because I woke up refreshed and relaxed and ready to cook a scrumptious feast.

We did not exchange gifts this year, as to be honest there is not much that either of us really wanted. In my case as well I have been busy serving everyone else so that they can buy their own Christmas gifts and my partner just needed a good long rest. I suspect that is the reason actually why I have been working so hard, so that he could have the house to himself and the time off that he needs. My time will come when I visit Lundy in February no doubt.

I had been hoping that I may be able to extend the trip from 7 to 11 nights, but that is not to be. Prior commitments prevent me from extending the trip after 15th February when I am scheduled to return, and other bookings prevent me from going earlier.
I have 2 weeks to look forward to in the summer anyway - I have booked to go back to the island I love on my birthday, June 21st, which also happens of course to be the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Now that we have passed the shortest day of the year and the days are slowly beginning to lengthen, I do feel a lot better. That to me is what this time of year is really much more about than celebrating the birth of Christ - welcoming back the light from the long, dark days of winter and that is what the Bible in all probability means when it says that he was born during one of the darkest times in the land, or words to that effect. It is talking much more in a spiritual sense.

The oven then shall be lit shortly to start preparing our Christmas lunch. Being both vegetarian and wheat free does present a unique set of challenges at this time of year, but I managed to find something suitable. We have a butternut squash and leek roast from Tesco with salsa sauce, which I shall cook with roast potatoes, carrots, roasted red onion, cauliflower cheese and wheat free sage and onion stuffing mix with lashings of roast onion gravy. We will save the Christmas pudding (wheat free as well of course) with custard for later on this afternoon with a glass of Baileys while we sit down to watch Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Happy Christmas then to all who read this and make sure it's a good one for you too!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

I have been on local radio!

Later on today, in about an hour in fact, I am going out to lunch with the rest of the team from the newsletter that I edit. The Chairman and his wife are keen gardeners, and so I bought them a gardeners radio set for Christmas. This morning I was wrapping it up when I realised it did not have batteries, so I grabbed some from somewhere in the house and switched the radio on to see if they worked. BBC Southern Counties came on the air, and it reminded me to listen to it in the car on my way to the gym.

As I left the house and drove past the National Trust centre, they said that they would like people who had done the Alpha course to ring in with their experiences, so my ears immediately pricked up, since I have written a whole chapter on my less than happy experiences of it in my book. There is also an article entitled Alpha and Probably Omega (the same as the chapter heading) on my website. Anyway, when I got to the Sports Centre car park and rang them up they put me on the air.

It was obviously divine providence since the batteries on my mobile phone gave out as soon as I put the phone down. I didn't have time to say much, as I was only live for about 2 minutes, but I did the important bit - mentioning the book, and so that is what matters!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

God Delusion to be banned in Turkey?

I see from the Independent that Richard Dawkins' Turkish publisher Kuzey Publications is being hauled over the coals by religious fundamentalists. It seems that they are being threatened with legal action by prosecutors who claim that their publication of Dawkins' best selling work The God Delusion insults believers. I don't know they are so upset about myself, as the Turkish translation has apparently only sold 6000 copies since publication.

Erol Karaaslan, the founder Kuzey Publications could though face between six months and twelve months in jail if found guilty. Prosecutors are still debating over to press charges.

It is not the first time that Dawkins' has come against such problems in Turkey, since it seems that Islamic fundamentalists also tried to ban his earlier work The Selfish Gene.

I don't understand the furore personally or even why it was deemed necessary to publish in this territory in the first place - the book discusses Christianity more than other religions, and Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country. It also then puzzles me as to exactly who has been offended. Having read the book myself, I don't recall it even mentioning Islam.

Neither is Dawkins the first author to face controversy. The article states that Nobel prize winning novelist Orhan Pamuk and Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink were just two several dozens writers to be charged last year under a controversial law that makes it a crime to insult Turkishness, whatever that means. Pamuk was acquitted, but Dink – who was murdered earlier this year by a teenage ultra-nationalist - was found guilty.

What though does it mean to be Turkish, or for that matter, any other nationality? Does one have to be born in that country or have parents who were, or is it sufficient to have lived there for a certain number of years. If so, then how many? Is a child of Jamaican parents who emigrated to Britain in the 1950's any less British that I am - of course not, for in their hearts they still think of themselves as British, and that is what counts.

This also brings to mind an episode from my favourite science fiction series Babylon Five entitled Infection. It is I believe an episode from series two. It basically revolves around a machine on an uninhabited planet that seems hell bent on destroying everything in its path. When they ask what the machine actually wants it transpires that it was put in place to protect its former inhabitants, the Icarans from raiders by destroying anything that was not pure Icaran. The predictable result was of course the destruction of the entire race. Muslims and for that matter any other fundamentalist regime, should take note for if they do not pull up their own socks and start to behave in a more sensible manner by not being threatened by anything that does not agree with their own faith, they will ultimately share the same fate.

The word atheist is generally recognised in most societies as meaning one who does not believe in God. There is nothing wrong in this, as it is like anything else just one of many widely held beliefs. Being an atheist does not make one less moral or less of anything in fact, in fact when you look at the statistics the opposite is true. The more secular societies are nine times out of ten more tolerant and understanding of each other.

The word atheist has it seems only recently crept into the Turkish language, where it is regarded as a kind of insult. The Independent cites a survey of religious attitudes conducted in Turkey in 2006, which found that less than 2 percent of corespondents claimed not to believe in God. More recently polls showed that just 25 percent of Turks accept evolutionary theory.

On the one hand, while I am the first to espouse religious freedom, and in no way agree with the ridiculousness of this case, one has to ask why the book was published in this territory in the first place, when there seems to be such limited demand. Surely they must have known the controversy it would cause. The cynic or perhaps spiritual aspect of myself, wonders if this was the whole idea, since the only way to really shed light on these situations for them to be open to the light of public scrutiny so that they can be discussed by the world media and these regimes will realise and understand that their views are simply not those of a civilised society.

The treatment of women in Islamic countries has also been in the news in recent days. Firstly of course the ridiculous case in Sudan where a female teacher has been jailed for allowing the children in her case to name an innocent teddy bear as Mohamed. The British Government are I understand intervening to get her released, but in the meantime, some have called for a suspension of aid to that country. They are cutting off their noses then to spite their face.

The other case is that of a young recently married woman in Saudi Arabia, whose husband thankfully is standing by her. It seems that in Saudi Arabia with its extreme laws of sexual segregation, the only way that men and women can form any kind of relationship is for men to stand in the streets with their mobile phone numbers either on display as women walk past with their male chaperone's, or to literally throw them car windows. Somehow then prior to her marriage, this woman then formed a phone relationship with such a man.

After she was married he threatened to tell her husband unless she agreed to meet him, and so foolishly it seems she did. They were driving together when another car swung in front of them, hijacked their own car and drove them to an isolated place, where both her and her male companion were gang raped repeatedly by up to seven attackers. She tried to keep it from her husband and family, but the rapists (who had filmed the attack on their mobile phones) started to boast about what had happened and so the truth came out. Astonishingly the woman was sentenced to 90 lashes and then when she and fer family complained this was increased to 200 lashes and 6 months in jail. The rapists in the meantime were sentenced to between 2 and 11 years apiece.

The world can no longer sit back and allow this kind of thing to happen, we have to send a strong signal to these countries that this behaviour is not acceptable.

Friday, 30 November 2007

A day that is forever etched in my mind

November 30th is a day that will forever be etched in my mind, for today is the 8th anniversary of my mothers death. Her name was Constance Amy Austin and she was born on December 19th 1920 in the east end of London to the sound of bow bells - a true cockney and therefore a dying breed.

My mother was a truly unique woman - who faced much adversity in her not quite 79 years. She was the daughter of a greengrocer, and the youngest of nine surviving children. In those days childhood diseases could still be fatal as inoculations had not yet been discovered. During the war my mother worked in an munitions factory and later as a bus conductress when the dust began to affect her health. Officially at just 4 feet 11 1/2 inches she was half an inch too short, but they took her anyway, as it was wartime and they needed all the help they could get. When the war was over she started a career in ladies tailoring that she was very good at - placing the garments on to the dummies to check that they fitted correctly.

As the youngest of nine and the last to leave home, when her own mother became ill during the Great Smog it fell to her to look after her, which she did for several years until my grandmothers death. She then went to live with her sister in Essex and this is how she met my father, for he also lived in Barking with his son from his first wife (she had left him holding the baby). You could say that one day their eyes met on a crowded train. He offered her his seat, she took one look at his Frank Sinatra blue eyes and was smitten. Six months later they were married. Two years later my brother arrived, followed six years later by my sister, and then in 1965 I was born. The rest as they say is history.

Mum had been ill for a while when we received the call from the hospital to say that she had been taken in - she was very overweight and had various other health problems to do with her heart and her breathing. Less than a week later though she died - her time was up.

I remember going to see her the night before - I was working for a fitted kitchen company at the time and did not get home until 6pm, so it was a bit of dash to get there and back, since visiting was only until 8pm. All we managed then was about 15 minutes with her. Still I am grateful for the time that we had. I took one look at her sunken, hollow eyes and listened to her laboured breathing and somehow knew that this would be her last night and I would not see her alive again. Just as I left then I leaned towards her and whispered in her ear 'I love you Mum, and thank you for everything'. She gave my hand a gentle squeeze and said 'I know darling, and I love you too'. Then we had to leave.

We were waiting all night it seems for the phone call to come and it finally did at around 6.30am. The hospital told us to get there as quickly as possible, and so we dashed there as quickly as we could, stopping just for a quick cup of tea and to get dressed. On the way there, driving past the slip road to the A3, the sun was just coming up and as we rounded the bend in the road and saw the sunrise we both knew that she had gone.

Sure enough when we arrived the hospital told us the news. My sister, who lived nearer than we did, had been with her at the end, which we had missed by around 10 minutes - like I said at the precise moment that the sun had risen. We then had to wait for our brother and his then wife, and my sister's boyfriend to arrive.

Then we had the business of registering the death, arranging the funeral and visiting the family solicitor about the will. The funeral was I recall on December 9th, just over a week later. The day before, my partner picked me up from work early so that we could go to see her in the chapel of rest. It was raining as we walked up the hill and we sat in the chapel for what seemed like an age listening to the rain as it pattered against the skylight saying a silent goodbye. It was a very poignant moment and a beautiful way to say goodbye. The funeral the following day was no less beautiful in its own way, and many tears were shed by not only myself, but also my neice and two nephews, who at the time were just young teenagers. They loved their grandmother very much as she was the only one they had - thier Mum's Mum died when they were very young, before the youngest was born at all.

After that my life changed completely, since the money that Dad had left to Mum when he died, found its way to my siblings and I, split three ways. It was this that enabled me to give up work and eventually start to write my book. I like to think that I have not let them down, and if they are looking down on me now, they would both be very proud.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Idiot drivers - grrr!

I have had the absolute morning from hell, all because some idiot drove too fast and crashed his car into a roundabout, and although I am okay now, I was not a happy bunny.

I asked for today off from work since some time ago, as the college where I do occasional work for as an exam invigilator asked me to inviligate, presumably for some retakes or something. I had to be there at 8am to help get the room ready for the exam to start at 9am. I left then at 7am this morning to get through the traffic.

Everything was fine until I got halfway down the A3. The traffic was absolutely horrendous and back to back. It took me half an hour to move about 2 miles to the next junction! It then came on the radio that the A3 was shut northbound past that point due to an accident. Luckily I know this area well since we used to live not that far away. I came off the A3 then at the next side turning and tried to get through the back doubles to the next junction. That by itself took around 15 minutes since everyone else had the same idea.

When I did get back to the slip road than leads past the A3 imagine my surprise to find that the road was clear and the traffic flowing freely. Why had the radio said the road was shut?

I finally got to the college by 8.30 only to find there was nowhere to park - the road I usually go in was full to the brim and everywhere else was yellow lines or permits only. After driving around for 20 minutes and ending up somewhere near the Common I turned round and went to Tescos. I had been planning to go there after work anyway.

Walking round I found that the rice milk we buy was on offer - 2 for £2. The shelf though was empty so I asked someone. I don't know was the reply, this isn't my section, go to customer services. They had a queue 10 minute long and when I finally got to the front they said it wasn't even on their system!

Back to milk aisle then I went and found someone who did work in that section. Yes, they were out of stock, and if I wanted them to give me a voucher for money off next week, by which time the offer is finished, you guessed - go to customer services!

I then got to the checkout and found that I had spent 50 pence short of the £50 to get 5p a litre off petrol. Normally I would grab some sweets or something, but they had moved them to the other side of the store, and there was a queue behind me ... I went upstairs then to Starbucks and asked them for the strongest cup of caffeinated tea they had!

What a morning then. I have lost over £30 in wages because of this and am not happy. All because some stupid ***** got drunk and crashed his car into the roundabout!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Dream on

At the moment it seems that all Coran and I want to do is eat and sleep - we do not seem to have the energy for much more than this at all. This is I feel just another symptom of the major physical for Coran, but much more emotional for me, clearing that we are both experiencing.

Last night the dreams were particularly vivid - I was dreaming about the holocaust. I do not of course have to go into details as to what this was, as I don't think (and sincerely hope) that there is not a man, woman or child alive who does not know at least a little about this. They were though lining the men and women up into seperate groups - those who would live and those who would die. I remember one man very clearly - two in man, one of them was a Ukrainian musician, and the other a Gypsy. Both were led to beleieve that they were okay, as they were young, fit and capable of work, but at the last moment they both changed to the other group who were to die, and led away, a look of abject terror in their eyes.

It brought to mind my very first trip to Israel, in April 1993. One of the many places that we went to was the Musuem of the Holocaust on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. We were led into this darkened room with no lights, and just an illuminated handrail with which to guide us round the room. On the ceiling were one million stars - one for each child that died. I left that room with tears streaming down my face.

I have often wondered if in a past, or perhaps even parallel life, I was somehow involved. When I was new to the spiritual path, I became interested in past lives, as one often does and attended a workshop with Dick Sutphen a past life guru, who works together with his wife, Tara. Nothing spectacular happened, but one thing has stayed with me. Right at th beginning he played some sounds from a tape recorder - one of these was of a train sounding its whistle as it raced through a tunnel. This instilled in me the most abject terror that I think I am have ever experienced, where every hair on my body stood on end. I was rooted to my chair, as I had images of a train pulling into what I immediately recognised as a concentration camp. Later on, when the film Schindlers List was released, I recognised it as Auschwitz. I ahd the feeling that I may have been a small boy, who became seperated from his parents - but who knows.

Whatever it was about, this dream has left me with lasting impressions.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Exorcising a few ghosts

I think I have successfuly exorcised whatever ghosts I was supposed to be exorcising this weekend regarding my ex employers. It really is a funny old world. Just when you think you have dealt with something, it comes back to whip you on the backside. I thought actually I had dealt with the whole thing years ago. I thought about them both from time to time, as one does, but not with anger or resentment, just curiosity really. I even saw Mr C Senior or his wife, once or twice, the last time when they came through my check out at the supermarket where I used to work. This must have been at least two years ago, since I left there in August 2005. He did seem a bit vague then come to think of it.

I had a long chat this morning though with the mother in law (shop owners Mum) and managed to put a few ghosts to bed. I said to her how strange it was seeing them all again, and did she realise that I actually used to work for the C's. She didn't, as it was a long time ago, when her daughter and Mr C Junior had just met. They kept splitting up and getting back together again, but basically I think did love each other. It was just that they were a lot younger then without the same responsbilities. It is what a lot of young couples do.

They have been married now for four years and have a thirteen year old daughter. She also has a fifteen year old daughter from her first husband. They have obviously been through a lot together in that time, as couples do. That is normal and to be expected. Apparently Mr C Senior has been quite ill in recent years (he is certainly not the fit and active mid to late 50's gentleman that I knew and worked for all those years), so he was not ignorng me, but probably genuinely didn't realise who I was.

That put things into perspective, since I realised that I was staying angry with an old and not very well man, and well, it was all water under the bridge, and I really did have to move on and put this behind me. Stop seeing the daugher in law as well as being married to my ex boss (or the son of), but as an intelligent and charismatic young woman who runs a very successful business and should be applauded for that at having done so well, despite health problems of her own and a broken marriage. So that is what I endeavoured to do, and as a result, I actually had a really good day and a great laugh.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

A face from the past

I had a strange but interesting day today at a complimentary health fair I had stall at to try and sell some books. In fact, it started really on Friday night when we were setting up.

A new new age shop has recently opened in the village where the fair took place. The lady who runs the shop was one of the exhibitors at the festival both today and tomorrow. My partner and I (my partner is one of the Trustees for the building in which the fair took place) went into the shop a few weeks ago to introduce ourselves and finalise the arrangements for setting up. I didn't recognise her, so imagine my surprise when she recognised me and introduced herself as the wife of my ex boss.

I worked for his fathers company for six years from 1984 - 1990 as a Telex Operator. Well actually I worked for four years as a Telex Operator, based at the father's house, and then for a further two years at the son's (her husbands) house after the business moved premises. They ran a Telex Bureau which had some interesting clients - among them the Conservative MP David Howell, the Leonard Cheshire Foundation, and handbag company Tula Bags. This part of the company though ceased trading in 1988, and they opened up a new telex switching business with clients predominantly in Saudi Arabia. I worked as a Communications Supervisor for this part of the company from 1988 to 1990, working Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 8pm (7am to 7pm in winter) initially from the son's house, and later from a shop a few miles away.

On July 1st 1990, I went on holiday to Canada for three weeks, and when I came back, I stepped out of the taxi and opened the front door to be greeted by my mother. I can still remember the words that she said, "Hello darling, did you have a nice holiday" she said. "By the way, your boss rang, the company has gone bankrupt and you no longer have a job. Ring him when you get over the shock". What a homecoming!

Ring him though I did, though little good it did me. I later found out, when I tried to sign on that in all the six years that I had worked for him he had paid neither my National Insurance or Income Tax, despite the fact that he taken it from my pay slips. I took months for me to sort that out, and I clearly remember several conversations with the investigation team at the local Tax Office where they told me that they went to the father (Mr C's) house and a man answering his description answered the door and told them that Mr C has emigrated. Of course, because they had never met him before, they could not prove that it was him, and so as far as I know, he got away with it. After about a year I heard back from the Inland Revenue to say that they had been unable to trace his whereabouts, and so had taken both my Tax and National Insurance for those six years as paid. Still, it was huge worry while it was all going on.

After I left his company anyway, I obtained a place at college to study travel and tourism. Most of the other students were much younger than I was (sixteen and seventeen as opposed to my twenty five) and so I did not really fit in. I would not say that I was actually bullied, but the girls did their best for the most part, to ignore me, and my life was then, less than pleasant. I managed to make one friend, a Spanish girl, and we were close for a while. She was married to a American-Italian business banker. After she left college she went back to Spain, as she was homesick, and so we lost touch.

The Gulf War put paid to any plans I might have had for a career in the travel industry, that and the age discrimination, which at that time was rife within the travel business. You see, all they were interested in was trainees who were eligible for youth training schemes, and young college graduates that they could mould to their company ethos. I was neither of these, and so didn't get a look in, even though by the time I was twenty five I had travelled half way round the world on my own, and even though I had already worked in an office. None of that counted.

I then drifted into retail, as it seemed the easiest and most flexible thing to do. By then telex machines were obsolete anyway, as faxes and email were beginning to take over, and after my experience with that company I was loathe to go back into an office environment. In hindsight I wish I had made a different choice, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I ended up working in retail part time, all the time relying on overtime to make up my meagre wages while they refused to give me a full time contract. I learned long ago that when it comes to retail, those three little words "must be flexible" mean "must be available at our beck and call". After four years I had enough of it and so got a full time with one of their rivals. That though didn't last and I got the sack after less than two months. I then got a job in an insurance office as a Motor Vehicle Inspections Controller (telephoning policy holders whose cars had been involved in accidents t0 arrange an inspection and/or valuation), and that is when my luck began to change.

It was around this time that I first discovered spirituality, and the rest as they say is history. After I left the insurance office (they relocated to the west country), I went back into retail, as Manageress of a kitchen and bathroom showroom, until my Mum died at the end of 1999. It was then that I gave up work in order to initially study crystal therapy, and later to write my book.

Seeing the son there on Friday again today, felt very strange and made the memories of those six years and what his father did come flooding back. I know it is not his or his wife's fault, but I felt really quite awkward and embarrassed to be reminded of who I was back then. You see, I did not like who was I then, and I do not want to be reminded of that. I realise of course that those experiences have shaped me into the person that I am, and I should in many ways be grateful for it, but still it feels awkward, especially since she wants to actually stock copies of my book in her shop.

The thing that made me feel the most awkward was when Mr C Senior and his wife, B came into the Sanctuary at one point. Of course they are both a lot older than when I knew them (early 70's) and the wife did not recognise me. Her husband definately did, as he stood by my table, about two feet away, staring at the name on my book cover and trying not to look at me. I can only surmise that he must still be carrying guilt from those times, and in a way so am I. I actually felt quite sorry for him, as he is now an old man, but at the same time, I was also aware of this great anger rising up inside up, and part of me that wanted to go and talk to him and tell him the consequences of what he did, and how it has affected my life. I chose not to though fkir two reasons; firstly I did not want to make a scene as his grandchildren were there, and secondly because I knew that if I did I would turning myself into a victim and a martyr and that is not a role that I want to be seen in, or experience.

The family though are back in my life for a reason, so I have a find a way of reconciling how I feel. I can see as well in way that the roles have reversed, as I am now, or soon will be, a business supplier rather than an employee. Of course though, it is the shop owner and daughter in law that I shall be dealing with rather than her husband or father in law, both of whom I worked for. Still, it seems strange how this all came about, and I can't help but wonder why they have come back into my life at this time and how best to deal with it?

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

The Gospel According to June ....

What a weekend it has been. I left have the Internet forum I set up with three friends around a year ago, after a myriad of problems, and this time it's for good. I have not shed any tears, and will not be doing so, but it has been traumatic nevertheless, although it could have been a lot worse. There were no recriminations, but it was starting to go that way, and if I had not stepped in and said to the one remaining administrator that I am still in touch with, and (I hope) still on reasonably friendly terms, that we should drop the subject as it was going round and round in circles, then it could quite easily have got a lot worse.

I suspect it was an "inside job" by one of the other administrators to get rid of my partner and myself, since for some reason this lady felt threatened by what I had to say and write. Comments were being made to the effect that I was putting too much personal stuff on the open forum. I also think that she felt the fact that my book was very esoteric might put some people off joining. I will say no more, since people who remain on the site can and sometimes do look at this blog and there is no point in antagonising further. On the other hand, this is my site and I should within certain limits, be able to write what I want on. I am not responsbible for how others choose to take my words, that is up to them. They have already proven by their actions that they will do what they want to do regardless of anything I do or say, which is exactly the reason I had to leave.

Right then, on to the more serious stuff. I have a job interview this morning for a company who sell dental supplies. The agency that arranged it were supposed to post me a copy of the job description, but it has not arrived, so I will have to ring them instead. The job sounds quite interesting, but I will have to see what I think, and more importantly feel, when I get there.

The deadline for the village newsletter is once again looming. I am meeting the current Editor tomorrow morning to get cracking on that, since this issue is supposed to be done predominantly by me. I need to contact Richard re changing my book cover. I plan to make some changes to the text as well, including the deletion of all references to Internet forums that I have ever been a member of. If anyone who reads this ever thinks about becoming a mod or administrator on one of these sites then my advice is don't do it, it is more hassle that it's worth, and you will get nothing but grief. Get on with real life, talking to real people, and not some cyber based virtual reality world.

Here endeth the Gospel according to June ...

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

June is bursting out all over

The last few days seem to have been a bit of a rush, since I am off to Lundy on Friday for another weeks holiday, and the deadline for the village newsletter is also looming. I have been busy helping the current Editor with various pages, and have written a few of my own this time, one on the origins of April Fools Day and a double spread on the top 10 best April fools jokes. I am not sure if he will have room for either of them, but it is nice to feature seasonal things. I had the idea for a piece in the June edition, the first one of which I will do all by myself, entitled "June is bursting out all over". It may raise a few eyebrows.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Community spirit

Since we moved to our new house just before Christmas, I have been amazed at just how much there is going on around the area - loads of groups and fairs etc all over the place - all potential venues for selling and promoting books. You would have expected the opposite, since it is not a large town, about a third the size of our old one, if not smaller. There is though a real community spirit here, plus the fact that so many of the residents are either retired or semi retired and therefore have much more time on their hands to enjoy leisure pursuits, and also the fact that all the little villages around here have their own halls with various groups etc.

The village newsletter have agreed to let me have a free advert for the next advertising year, which starts in June, around the time that I take over the Editors reins. This seems only fair considering that I shall be volunteering my services for free. This should though help me to make me much more well known on the hill and within the local community. The wife of our Chairman, and current Editor, runs a women's group who meet at the village hall once a month, and she is going to book me in at some point to do a talk there as well.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Editorial Duties

I went to see the current Editor of the village newsletter this morning, and did my first three pages for the February edition - the horoscopes, the crossword and my very first news page as well, about last weeks storms! I must admit that I had been wondering whether I was really up to job, as I thought foolishly that I had NO editorial experience whatsoever, compared to my predecessor, who has worked in journalism all his life, but then I thought "hang on a minute, I edited my own book, so that must mean that I know at least a thing or two". I am now then getting really excited about this job, and really looking forward to the challenge of it all. I will have to get to know a lot of people - local Councillors, the National Trust wardens etc (our village stands on the edge of National Trust land, and the Trust plays an important role in village life), but it will be great fun and a brilliant way of getting to know everyone and what is going on up here - and as I am discovering, there is a lot going on - the storms, the ongoing battle to get the council to fix our road being the most important ongoing stories.

I will have to drive down the winding road that leads to our village for the first time in the pitch black tonight, as I have to go to Horsham to meet Caroline who runs the Heart and Mind Group that I shall be doing a talk at in two weeks time. That should be fun! Hope no one comes towards me on the other side when I get to the legendary hairpins.