Tuesday 25 June 2024

The Best Days Ever



    I enjoy watching cookery programmes, and I have my favourite go-tos. The other day, I viewed an episode of a series of programmes that featured picnic food. It got me thinking back to when I was a kid and when my grandmother used to take me on a picnic regularly.

    The food we ate on the picnic was very different from the food suggestions on this programme. There was no quiche, sausage rolls, scotch eggs or Battenberg cake, washed down by iced lemon tea.

    Our feast usually consisted of jam or cheese sandwiches accompanied by a flask of tea. They were the best days ever.


    I’ve included a classic poem today, written by African-American Julius C. Wright. I hope you enjoy it.


 Going to the Picnic


There is a large crowd of folk

Hurrying down the road

They are going to have a picnic now 

And spread the news abroad

They're wearing beautiful bouquets

And carrying bright tin dippers

New straw hats are waving high

And patent leather slippers

Their hats are made of fine chiffon

And decorated too

There will be plenty of goodies

For your friends and for you

They will have a big barbecue

And a lot of other stuff

They are going to eat and drink

Till everybody puff 

They will have cakes and candy by the heaps

And ice cream pressed in cakes

Peanut parched fresh and hot

And a lot of fine milkshakes

They will have fish croquettes by the bushels

And coconut jumbles too

They are going to feed their friends and foes

And have enough for you

They are going to have a big dance

And have a Jolly time

They want to show their handsome looks

Because they look so fine


One barrel or two of lemonade

Mixed all through with ice

Lemons cut and thrown therein 

Gee! it’s awful nice 


Of all the fun and jollities

And all the places of rest

Just go to an old picnic ground 

They tell me that's the best






Sunday 9 June 2024

Not Unusual !!





    Sir Tom Jones took part in the 80th anniversary Word War II D-Day celebrations held in Normandy, France, on June 6th. He performed an exceptionally moving rendition of, I Won't Crumble If You Fall, in memory of his grandfather who died in the First World War and was buried in France. His performance was an honour to all who have fallen for their country and those whom continue to fall.

    Last night one of the TV channels featured him in a series of entertainment shows honouring him on the occasion of his 84th birthday. The shows followed his career from his early years of becoming a celebrity performer until now.

    I saw him perform on stage many years ago, a memory I should treasure forever. I will explain my use of the word, should. I was the ripe old age of ten when my aunt and uncle treated me to this theatre trip, something that they did regularly. On this occasion, my time in the front stalls  only lasted for 10 minutes before they removed me rather rapidly. 

Now you’re all thinking because of my age, I had misbehaved, which kids do. However, it was some of our fellow audience members whose conduct was a little unexpected but not unusual when it came to Sir Tom performing in the past. To my aunt and uncle’s horror, some of the young women had thrown their underwear onto the stage. This behaviour they didn't think was appropriate for a child of my young years to experience and certainly not one under their care. 

    That night will stay in my mind forever, and will always bring a smile to my lips.


Sunday 26 May 2024

Victoria's Garden



 Mausoleum of the Marquis of Quinta Roja

    Born on 24 May 1819, Queen Victoria began her reign in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1837. She was a mother of  9 children and while I’m sure she had lots of help, this lady managed to balance work-life for over 63 years. Mothers worldwide will know how difficult that is and we certainly have to admire this accomplishment.

    Here in Tenerife, she is also recognized for her achievements and in La Orotava there are gardens dedicated to this great lady.

Victoria Gardens

    This magnificent space you will find next to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and the Liceo Taoro. Designed by French architect, Adolphe Coquet and commissioned by the Family De Ponte  are filled with an abundance of lush greenery and have the best views over the Orotava Valley.  

Victoria Gardens

   The purpose of this garden was to be the final resting place of the Marquis of Quinta Roja, Diego Ponte Del Castillo in a mausoleum, after being denied a Christian burial by the catholic church because of his connections to Freemasonry. 

    When I visited there, I found it one of the most tranquil places I've ever been. If you ever have the opportunity and want to step back in time, it's a must place to visit.


Sunday 28 April 2024




    Life isn’t always plain sailing as we all know. Illness can strike unexpectedly and lives can be turned upside down.

    For those who are admitted to the hospital and face a long stay, feelings of despair and abandonment can creep in and trying to remain optimistic is hard.

    All they can do is hope that their future may become brighter than the dark days they are experiencing.

    The poem extract featured today is by John Keats and is about finding ourselves searching for hope and comfort, whilst facing moments of despair.

To Hope


When by my solitary hearth I sit,

And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom; 

When no fair dreams before my mind's eye flit,

And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;

Sweet hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,

And wave thy silver pinions over my head!

Whenever I wander, at the fall of night,

Where woven boughs shut out the moon's bright ray,

Should sad despondency my musings fright,

And frown, to drive fair cheerfulness away,

Peep with the moonbeams through the leafy roof,

And keep that fiend despondence far aloof!


John Keats  1795-1821



Friday 12 April 2024

No Kissing Required, Chapter Four

    The first book in my Salvation series is available to read free on Kindle from tomorrow for a few days. Jenny’s story, featured in this chapter illustrates bullying can happen at ant age and in any trusted relationship.

    Other extracts from my books can be read on this blog.


Chapter Four


Jenny’s Story

Jenny Green is lying on top of her bed staring into space when her cell phone starts to ring. On the display screen she can see it’s her boyfriend calling.

“Hi Kurt, I’m sorry I don’t think I can see you tonight.” She had been dreading this call.

“What do you mean you don’t think you can see me tonight?” says Kurt angrily. When he says jump, he expects others to say ‘how high?’, and his girlfriend is no exception.

“I see you every night. I’ll see you, usual place, or are you meeting some other guy?” He isn’t going to accept excuses.

“No. Of course not. I love you Ku…” Jenny can feel the tears prick her eyes as Kurt hangs up. Why did he constantly get so mad with her? They made out most nights, even when she didn’t want to. 

She had just wanted to explain that her mother had suggested that they should spend some quality time together. The suggestion came out of the blue and it was unlikely to
happen again in a long while.

Jenny’s mother, Gabriella, is a forty-something, going on twenty, divorcee. She goes clubbing with her friends most nights, meaning that Jenny can normally do as she pleases, with no questions asked. The young woman is treating her mother’s newfound caring side with mistrust. But as she’s always longed to have a close relationship with her mother, like
other girls at school have, she’s willing to give it a go. 

But what is she going to do about Kurt? She doesn’t want to do anything that might cause her to lose him. She is the envy of all the girls at school, as he’s Wingate High’s promising sports
star of the future. Her mind drifts, she dreams of them together in the years to come, she’ll have fancy clothes and jewelry and they’ll guest at red carpet events. Kurt promises her it all.

There’s a knock at Jenny’s bedroom door. “Jenny, the pizzas are here. I’ve put your favorite chick flick in the DVD player. Cold beer for me, cold soda for you. We’re all set.” Gabriella
enters the room. Jenny doesn’t reply, her mind is racing. She can’t let Kurt down, he can get any other girl he wants. “Okay a cold beer for you as well. One won’t do you any harm.”
Gabriella tries to coax a response from her daughter. 

“I don’t want pizza. I don’t want beer. In fact I don’t want you,” shouts Jenny defensively at her mother and she suppresses her tears of frustration.

“You ungrateful little tramp. I could have been out with Andy tonight.” Gabriella is angry at her daughter’s outburst.

“Don’t let me spoil your night,” screams Jenny.

“Spoil my night. You’ve spoiled my life. Don’t bother coming down for pizza.” As she storms out of her daughter’s bedroom, Gabriella slams the door closed behind her.

“Bitch,” shouts Jenny after her mother. Glaring at the closed wooden door, she wishes that she could see through it. She wants her mother to know how much she hates her. After all, her mother has just made it very clear that she has no love for her at all. Gabriella’s beloved little dog, Kushi, has always been at the forefront of her mother’s affections. “Bitch.”

§ § §

“Goodnight Isais. Thanks for the lift and the company. Probably see you tomorrow.” I walk with Isais to the front door.

“Probably will. Goodnight boy, enjoy school.” He gives me one of his now familiar big hugs. As I close the door, I can hear Isais laugh loudly as he makes his way down the front path.

I walk into the kitchen where Aunt Sylvia is putting away the dishes that Isais and I washed and dried earlier.

“Daniel, sit down at the table, we need to have a little chat. I’ll be with you in a moment.” I instantly realize by Aunt Sylvia’s tone that she takes the role of guardian very seriously. Now that we’re alone we’ll be able to get to know each other a bit better.

“Sure, time to get down to business.” My bravado is to cover up the fact that I’m now feeling rather nervous. Although the word nervous is an understatement; I’m totally petrified. Whilst Isais was with us, the evening had been happy and relaxed. But I knew the serious stuff would have to be raised at some point in the evening.

“Daniel, do you understand why you are here with me?”

“Yes. Mikey explained, sorry I mean Archangel Michael.” I don’t mean to be discourteous towards her or Mikey. I hope she’s okay with what I just said. Things are good, she’s smiling.

“I’m sure it was all explained to you, but I’d like to reiterate a very important point; you’re here because you need to prove that you deserve salvation.” Her voice is so gentle, kind of hypnotic. I’m not sure if she wants me to say anything or not. If in doubt, which I am, I think I’d better wait for her to speak again. Phew, she’s opening her mouth. “You’ll be tested on various things. We angels require a multitude of strings to our harps. We offer everyday guidance, healing, support, as well as spiritual guidance. We also need to demonstrate that we can protect, deliver others and ourselves from evil. Unfortunately for Earth, Satan is at large and more humans than normal need our help right now.” Her eyes search my face. I think she’s probably weighing me up.

“Seems simple enough.” I’m trying to sound confident but I’m quaking in my boots. Aunt Sylvia seems to find my statement as amusing as you probably did; she titters in an angel like manner. Not that you would know how an angel titters and I have no time to mimic her titter at
present. I have a few things that I want to clear up and now would probably be as good a time as any to get my questions out of the way.

“I’ve had two kid’s profiles downloaded to me, but no pictures, how will I know them?” This has been quite a puzzle to me.

“The information you have been provided with is pretty accurate. For one, you have their names and a few discreet inquiries around school should point you in their direction.”

“Okay I never thought of that. That’s put my mind a bit more at ease about the good guys. What about the bad ones?” I only asked the question because I thought you would want to know.

“Unlike the good guys, as you like to call them, you won’t always know them. The Devil and his accomplices come in all shapes and disguises. They will endeavor to seduce you and enlist you in their wicked, cruel ways. Going with the Red Rider will do nothing but lead to your ruin and your heavenly ambitions will be destroyed.” No smiles from her this time.

“I can understand why you chuckled earlier. If my enemies aren’t easily identified, things are going to be a little more difficult than I first anticipated. In fact, I was being cocky.”

“I don’t think you were being cocky; you were being a tad naive. I know this is something that you will have been told already, but there is no harm in me going over it again. You do have a slight advantage over the Devil’s new recruits. The power of good, given to you by our Lord, will help protect you from their attacks. But once their souls have been fully possessed by the Red Rider, I’m afraid it will be a matter of good versus evil. And we can only pray that the good you have been empowered with will win. Now, do you have any other questions?” Aunt Sylvia is a real sensitive lady. The only problem I can see with the powers I’ve been given is that no one has actually explained what they are. Mikey told me that it’s all about gaining hands-on experience.

“Do you think I’ll ever have any recollection of who I am, how I died, or will heaven even be able to establish the true facts?” I’m starting to feel rather anxious about this whole thing, especially the devil slaying part. Maybe I should have jumped in the lake, saved them the trouble.

“Your memory should gradually return. I will try and explain what’s happening the best way I can. Following accidents, trauma, and bad experiences, some humans suffer from amnesia. They can’t recall past memories, or retain current happenings until their brain deals with
what caused it to forget in the first place.

“In the same way, you’re having to come to terms with the traumatic experience of death. This in turn, has caused your recollection process to go into lock down. Dan, don’t build your hopes up, it may take some time. In fact, it could take years before you will remember anything about yourself. Of course there is also the risk that when you do recollect, you’ll wish you never had.”

“Do you think Heaven will find out my true identity in the near future?”

“Dan, these are very unusual circumstances. The Gatekeeper keeps excellent records and you’re proving to be an enigma.”

“Mmm. Let’s hope I’m a good guy then.”

“Dan, even if you’re not, I am on your side and I will help you when and where I can. As will the other celestial beings who watch over you. This is your big chance, grab  it with both hands.”

Something that will surprise you is I’m kind of lost for words. I look at Sylvia for some kind of assurance.

“Now when you go to bed think hard about what I’ve said to you. Now let us pray.” She smiles and takes my hand.

If it was possible for me to run for the door and head for the hills, I would do it right now, at this minute. But somehow I think the celestial beings would find me. I better just pray and hope that someone up there is listening to the pleading in my voice. We both say in unison,

“Our Father who art in heaven…”



Saturday 9 March 2024

March #Doing It For The Girls

   This week we've been celebrating ‘International Women's Week’ on 4th -10th March 2024 and ‘International Women's Day’ on 8th March 2024. This year's theme is ‘Inspire inclusion.’

     Through the centuries, it has been hard for women to have gender equality and inclusion. Because of this, many talented women have been excluded from society and branded as being different, causing them to lead a secluded and lonely life.

    Their work not being recognized until they were sadly not with us. One such talent was the American poet, Emily Dickinson. Today I want to pay homage to her and I've included one of her poems. Some of the #photographs I took in the month of  March a few years ago, so I felt were fitting. I hope you enjoy it.
    Remember, we’re #DoingItForTheGirls!!


Dear   March

Dear March ... Come in ...

How glad I am ...

I hoped for you before ...

Put down your hat ...

You must have walked ...

How out of breath you are ...

Dear March, how are you and the rest ...

Did you leave nature well ...

 Oh March, come right up the stairs with me ...

I have so much to tell ...


I got your letter, and the birds ...

The Maples never knew that you were coming ...

I declare, how red their faces grew ...

But March, forgive me ...

 And all those hills you left for me to hue ...

There was no purple suitable ...

You took it all with you ...

Who knocks? that April ...

Lock the door ...

I will not be pursued ...

He stayed away a year to call.

When I am occupied ...

But trifles look so trivial

As soon as you have come

That  blame is just as dear as praise,

And praise as mere as blame ...

Emily Dickinson 1830 ⁄ 1886

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Words from the Heart



To love, is to cherish

To cherish, is to adore

To adore, is to treasure

To treasure, is to be devoted to 

To be devoted to, is to be faithful

To be faithful to, is to be committed to 

To be committed to, is what I am to you

My darling Valentine