Friday, 31 August 2018

As I Do

        We view so much via social media, that sometimes we don't embrace ourselves for who we really are. Here are some random thoughts for every day.

As I Do

I walk along the coast.
No one sees the stoney path in front of me as I do

I look towards the sea
No one sees the clear, azul blue water as I do

The mountains in front of me, fill my whole being with awe
No one admires them as I do

He kisses me
No one tastes his lips as I do

My heart is filled with love for him
No one can feel that love as I do

I think about my whole life, past, present, highs and lows
And what the future may hold
No one else can do this as I do

No one can do anything as another can
Because we are all unique, human beings
This you can believe in as I do

Monday, 20 August 2018

The Killing of the Thousand and Second Night Chapter 5

    Here is another chapter of my unpublished novel.

    It was seven o’clock before Harriet, accompanied by Sarah, arrived back by cab to Devonshire Terrace. Although her housemaid was going to work at the Ashdown’s, Harriet thought it best, that her employee stay in her own room, she shared with Mary at Devonshire Terrace, for the time being anyway.
    On her return Harriet had been met by Mary, who informed her that Clarissa, the dress maker, was not happy at Harriet’s earlier absence. But Mary said that she had sent her off ‘with a flee in her ear.’ Harriet felt that there was some bravado being displayed by Mary’s recollection of events.
    “Charles, how’s Ian?” Harriet said concernedly.
    “He’s fine Mam, cheeky as ever,” Charles’s heavy Aberdonian accent made his bark much worse than his bite. He put down the heavy laden supper tray onto the rosewood gate-leg table, he had set earlier. Harriet had requested that she be served supper in her small sitting room. It was a very feminine room, it’s rose patterned wallpaper, chintz curtains and the blue oriental carpet surrounded by a lightly polished rosewood parquet floor, always filled her with a feeling of contentment. Her day hadn’t given her much to feel content about and she was glad to be home, amongst her own beautiful things.
    “What’s for supper Charles, something light I hope?”
    “Sole Gratin, Mam and a French bean salad, no potatoes. And for dessert, caramel custard.”
    “Tell cook, thank you, but I don’t think caramel custard falls into the ‘light’ category, but I’ll eat it,” Harriet giggled. She was famished, so the simple cold pudding was welcomed.
    As she rose from her silk embossed easy chair, the doorbell rang. Charles lifted the cover off her dinner plate and he said,
    “Are you expecting someone Lady Harriet?”
    “No I’m not. But today has been filled with unexpected events.”
    “It certainly has Mam,” the bell rang again and he continued, “ Sorry Lady Harriet, I forgot I’ve packed Ian off to bed. I’ll have to get that.”
    “Of course, on you go.”
    Charles quickly exited the room, leaving Harriet to settle down to her meal. Harriet had put her first piece of fish into her mouth, when the door knocked and she said,
    “Come in,” she swallowed hastily, before Charles came in and he said,
    “Excuse me Lady Harriet, but there’s an Inspector MacGregor in the hall. He says that it’s important that he sees you.”
    “Oh my goodness,” Harriet’s visitor definitely was unexpected. She wiped her mouth delicately with the lace edged napkin and said,
    “Show him in Charles.”
    “Certainly, Lady Harriet.”
Harriet looked at her watch, it was 8.45 pm, what on earth could Guy want with her at this time? She took another small mouthful of her supper and chewed hurriedly, before the door reopened, “Inspector MacGregor, Lady Harriet,” Charles stepped aside to let the policeman enter the room.
    “Excuse me if I don’t get up Guy, I’ve been anticipating this meal all day.”
    “I know how you feel, I’ve been looking forward to food too, but as yet haven’t got around to it. I just want to go over a couple of things with you, if that’s alright?” The Inspector looked at Harriet’s supper with envy. A pang of guilt overwhelmed Harriet and she said,
    “Oh you poor man, of course, I’ll do whatever I can,” realising that Charles was about to close the door over she called out, “Charles organise some cold cuts for the Inspector,” Harriet couldn’t allow her old friend to go hungry. 
    “Yes Mam, I’ll get cook to set a place in the kitchen, if the Inspector wants to make his way down there when he's finished ,” Charles now having stepped back into the room said in a condescending manner. Surprised by her butler's supercilious attitude towards Guy, Harriet said,
    “No, Charles bring it up here, the Inspector and I can chat whilst we eat,” this request from Harriet, now took Charles slightly aback. But he said respectfully,
    “Certainly as you wish, my Lady,” Charles exited.
Guy wished he hadn’t come, he now felt rather awkward standing in front of Harriet and he said,
    “Sorry Lady Harriet, I didn’t mean to disturb you, but there are things I would like to say to you in confidence and away the Ashdown’s ears,”
    “Nonsense, you’re not disturbing me and I think we can drop my title. Now take your outer coat off and sit down opposite me Guy; bring that chair over,” Harriet pointed to a chair in the corner of the room. She watched her ex-fiance as he fumbled with the buttons of his coat, her lips crinkled slightly in amusement, at his somewhat youthful behaviour. She now stifled a laugh as she watched him wonder where to put the garment, he had now successfully removed and she said,
    “Put it on the chair beside the door, Charles will hang it up when he returns with your supper,” she ate some salad, whilst waiting on her guest joining her.
    “Harriet there are some things that just don’t add up at the Ashdown’s and I hoped that maybe you could help,” Guy had placed the spindle backed chair at the table and was now seated opposite his hostess. He leaned forward in his seat and rested his forearms on the table top.
    “I see, I thought you didn’t want me to interfere.” Harriet was somewhat surprised by Guy's request.
    “Please ignore my harsh words, they were said in haste. The reason I’m asking you to help Harriet is that you know these people, I believe fairly intimately. I know I can trust you to tell me the truth; with no embellishments. And the most important factor is that I know this conversation will not be repeated to them or anyone else,” the tone of his voice had been official sounding, but then it changed and he said huskily, “ I would trust you with my life Harry,” Guy’s last words, made Harriet’s heart flutter all at once, she knew he was flirting with her. No-one else had ever called her ‘Harry’ and she found it rather unsettling, to hear him say it; but she kept her sentiment hidden and said,
    “I  believe I do know Charlotte fairly intimately, I took her under my wing, when she first came to Glasgow. John I met initially through my husband, with whom he had business dealings, at that point I didn’t know him well at all. Then as my friendship with Charlotte grew, my friendship developed with him also. I believe I could now confidently say, that we  feel comfortable in each others company.
    I’m afraid that I normally only pass pleasantries with Alexander Ashdown. That is until now. Everything I know about him has been either been confided in me by Charlotte or John.
    “With what Charlotte has told you in the past, are you able to shed some light on,  why Alexander agreed to look after himself for two days. I mean with his mobility being so bad ?” Guy’s manner was official once more.
    “I’m not sure what you mean, I thought Jeannie just disappeared?”
    “That’s what John and Charlotte say, but Alexander tells me that Jeannie had asked to have a couple of days off. He said, he agreed to her request because he had felt rather guilty that she had been looking after him non-stop, since his daughter-in-law and son left had deserted him three weeks prior.”
    “Why on earth would she ask for time off, just a couple of days before Charlotte and John were due to return, she would get her days off then?”
    “ Precisely, loyal Jeannie had agreed with them to look after him, until their return. So what happened to change that arrangement?”
    “I’m sorry I don’t have the answer Guy. I can see why you’re puzzled, the facts as you present them, don’t make sense. If he’s so dependent on others for example, how did he eat?”
    “He said that Jeannie had prepared some cold meals in advance and that they had all been stored in a large hamper in the larder.”
    “Guy, John, didn’t tell me any of this.”
    “I know he didn’t, and you were there when Charlotte was questioned, she never mentioned it either. This version of events has only come from the old man.”
    “Maybe he didn’t tell Charlotte and John, maybe he forgot, goodness I have no idea. But Charlotte did say to you that her father-in-law was forgetful, suggesting that he suffered from some sort of senility. Although it was the first time I had ever heard this suggestion. And  the conversation I had with John, when I first arrived today,  contradicted this insinuation. Now I didn’t have any in depth conversation with Alexander earlier today, but in my opinion and of course I am not an expert in diseases of the old, Alexander is as mentally alert as you and I are.”
    “I agree, I saw no signs of forgetfulness. He was alert and plausible. Note I use the word plausible.”
    “I can see why you don’t believe his statement.”
    “Not a word, in fact I don’t believe any one of their statements.”
    “Oh, my goodness, do you think that one of them killed Jeannie”
    “I do; I think Alexander killed her, for reasons at present unknown and I think that your friend and her husband are perverting the truth.”
    “Good gracious, what’s your next step?” Harriet was shocked by Guy’s disclosure and as she anticipated his reply, the door knocked and in came Charles with a plate of cold cuts for Guy. The policeman lifted his arms off the table, slid back in his seat and said,
    “For now, have some supper and catch up with an old friend, because tomorrow’s another day.” He smiled cheekily and filed the case evidence to the back of his mind; for now he didn't just want have supper and catch up with an old friend, he wanted to sit back and study the woman that broke his heart.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Another First

Perthshire in Scotland is one of my most favourite places to visit. It doesn't matter what time of year I visit, the hills, rivers, quaint towns and villages capture my heart.

    Many of the towns and villages are reminiscent of a scene from the old movie, Brigadoon and sitting in a cafe, or park on a summers day a writers imagination can run riot.

    I personally try to imagine what it was like to be a woman living there a hundred years or so ago. Education would have had to done at home and opportunities to be anything other than a mother and a homemaker were limited.

    On my travels I'm always on the lookout for female role models who didn't allow their sex to hold them back and recently I found someone who really did do it for the girls in the early twentieth century. Her name was, Victoria Drummond, born in Perthshire in 1894.

    The god-daughter of Queen Victoria was like other girls at that time and was educated at home, however, she did show an interest in marine engineering and went onto college to study in this.

    The First World war opened up opportunities for women and by 1920 Victoria was at sea. She travelled the World, but life wasn't always plain sailing and her attempts to become the first woman marine engineer in the UK were constantly thwarted.

    A determined Victoria never gave up and finally after 37 attempts she passed her chief engineers examination. Times were hard during the depression and it wasn't until after the Second World War that Victoria found herself back at sea.

    Her ship the SS. Bonita came under attack in the mid-Atlantic in the 1940's and Victoria's bravery was recognised. She received both an MBE and Lloyd's War Medal for bravery at sea.

    Not bad for a wee Scottish lassie.

Monday, 13 August 2018

The Tooth Fairy

      I don't know if it's because I have been making lots of visits to the dentist recently but, I started to think about back when I was a kid and one of my milk teeth fell out. Like most children in the western world I believed that the Tooth Fairy would visit me during the night if I placed a recently lost tooth below my pillow.

    Sneaking in under the cover of darkness, the Tooth Fairy would carefully sprinkle me with fairy-dust in order that I did not detect her presence. Knowing now, that I was in a deep sleep the Tooth Fairy could carefully remove my tooth and leave me a silver coin in return.

    The thing was one night she forgot her magical dust and I woke up just as my tooth was being slipped from underneath my pillow. The only problem was on this final visit,  the Tooth Fairy had been substituted by my mother. I was devastated, my magical world was blown apart. I instantly realised that Santa Claus too was a myth. Two gut-wrenching revelations in one day.

    Alas, many good stories do come to an end. Especially this one, because you no longer receive a silver coin for your loss, only a hefty dental bill.  

    That is the fun about fairies and fairy-like people, you know, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy wouldn't be half so much fun if they were like we are. they can do all sorts of things that we never could!

Louise Price Bell "There is a Santa Claus" 1935

Friday, 10 August 2018

Women Showing the Way


    There are so many women in history who have fought for equality for children and women in society. A fight that still goes on and as to how long the fight will go on there is definitely no answer in sight. The old phrase, "How long is a piece of string?" comes to mind.

    All advocates for the under-represented can do is keep fighting and take lead from those in the past who did just that.

    There are three women all born in the 19th century who I think are great examples of women showing the way in science, a field in which women are still inadequately represented and I want to tell you about them today.

    First up, is Dame Maria Gordon 1864-1939 a Scottish geologist born in Aberdeenshire was the first woman to receive a Dr of Science from the University of London and the first woman to be awarded a PhD from the University of Munich. She is noted for the work she did in the Dolomites, North-eastern Italy which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. If trekking the Alps wasn't enough she was also a mother and a campaigner for equality for children and women.

    The second woman is also a Scot and her name is, Williamina Fleming 1857-1911. Williamina an astrologer discovered the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion in the late 19th century. She promoted women in science on both sides of the Atlantic and gave a talk at 1893, World Fair, in Chicago on, "A Field for Woman's Work in Astronomy."

    Last but not least, is a British physician, Elizabeth Blackwell, 1821-1910. Elizabeth was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US and was the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council. Like the women I have mentioned previously in the post, Elizabeth actively supported women in science and promoted women in medicine in the USA.



Sunday, 5 August 2018

Books are for Always

    On August 9th it's, National Book Lover's Day and if you are looking for a good book for your teenager or yourself to take on vacation, I've put together a great bunch of multiple genre authors for you to choose from.

    Wanting to know a little more about their books and them? Well, there is no need to look any further, they have all featured in my blog at some time or another and since featuring some have new titles to browse through over on their own websites. Happy reading friends.

Goan Chase: Take Three Mysteries

Remember books aren't just for vacation they're for always!

Friday, 3 August 2018