Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Chronicle Book Shop, Barnsley

It's been one of those poety weeks, head in the clouds, floating lonely, doing my own thing while David was away visiting our daughter in posh Penge. Actually, I've enjoyed the solitude. There has been lots of cello practice, lots of reading, and lots of writing. And in between all of that I tripped into Barnsley with Higgs Bottom (my new novel) to introduce it to the Chronicle Book Shop. Following that visit I am pleased to announce that now in stock at the Chronicle Book Shop in Barnsley, is Higgs Bottom - tadah! 

I was so pleased with my little promotion trip that I went into the Cooper Gallery for a cup of tea in their lovely cafe. I was in good company, lots of elevenses ladies, coffee and cake, the sensible shoe section of society who prefer a little slower pace. So much so that the sign on the wall that says, 'Wake up and smell the coffee,' seemed a particularly pertinent instruction. The counter, festooned with homemade cakes was very inviting, but I resisted, even though the chocolate brownies were very tempting.

Back home I just had time to go through with the vacuum before the boiler men came. The old boiler had packed in and within hours a new one was being fitted. Something else to celebrate. The guys did a splendid job and it was all done and dusted by midday. Plumbers are wonderful people, aren't they?

It's a plumber's technique!
 So there was a bit of a mess before it was all put together again. But who cares, I'm all ready for the cold weather now, not that I'm in a hurry to bring it on.

I didn't talk to another soul until Friday, but like I say, I made good use of the solitude. I wrote a poem for a lady whom we met a few weeks ago at the Dearne Valley Farm pub when we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, Clare. She asked me to write a poem about her, so here it is, just for you, Clare:

Clare with red hair

We met at the Dearne Valley Farm
one sunny afternoon,
when blue skies
and temperatures,
unusual for June,
invited us to take the air,
cross the park,
stretch our limbs,
run like teenagers in love,
laugh at the silly things.
We made for the pub
crossed the field,
a short cut through the gate,
where we lingered
to kiss, lovers' lips,
like on our first date.

It was cool inside,
there were fans,
we chose a window seat,
the carvery looked great,
we decided to stay and eat
You were sitting at the next table
you smiled as we sat down
I, content with my lovely man,
and looking all around,
didn’t realize the sadness
behind your public mask,
but while our men
got the beer in,
you leaned across and asked,
‘Is it a special occasion?
you seem so much in love’
And I could tell
from your voice
life for you
was not so good.

I lost my man
he died, you said,
one minute there
then gone,
three young children without a dad,’
it's hard to carry on.
My life’s in a thousand pieces,
I know that time will heal,
But right at this very moment
I’m lost, that’s how I feel.’
It was a brief exchange
between women,
what could I say?
I uttered my condolences,
there will be better days.
You made me see how life can go,
how fickle fate can be,
And when you left
you winked, and said,
I’m Clare,

write about me.

David is back now, we had lunch at the Cock today (Sunday) and it was scrumptious as usual. How fortunate David and I are to have each other. 

I have been writing a Press Release for Higgs Bottom this afternoon. I have lots to do this week, not least prepare my manuscript for A Poet in Barnsley - coming to Amazon very soon. And on that subject I have been asked to read at a couple of venues, more news of that next week.

Our daughter is to visit on Friday for a girly night out with her mum, her sister-in-law and her niece. Bring on the music!

I hope you have had a good week dear reader. I'll update you on my exploits next week, so until then, don't get too bogged down in the Brexit politics, keep smiling and enjoy the September sunshine.

Love and hugs,
Jane x

Monday, September 9, 2019

Spoken Word in Hoyland

Happy Monday everyone! Well, it's a bit grey and drizzly in Birdwell this morning, not a good drying day, as they say, but yesterday was lovely and it wasn't only the weather. I had a leisurely morning with Valentino (my cello) and then I donned my glad rags and tripped off on the 66 bus to Hoyland for an afternoon of spoken word and music. 

What a laugh! Lee Pollard, a natural Barnsley comedian with his unique spoken word delivery, was a perfect antidote to all the Brexit bafflement that's going on. I especially liked his Exploding Pies and the scenario of home life when the money collector comes round and all the family lay low. Even though we were warned of swearwords the odd 'f' word was contextual and perfectly natural. I am glad he kept away from the 'c' word because I'm still not at all easy with that one. Then again, that's just me. The audience were divided, some preferring to chatter away over their pint instead of listening. But those of us closer up enjoyed every word. 

And in between the words came the music of Matt Bilby, a swarthy singer guitarist with all the right gear, mixer deck, mike, electric wires, pedals and of course a very robust voice. His sound was very 90s, add that to a full pub and the cacophony of happy people, and no wonder people in the street had to stop to see what was going on.

I was lucky to get a good comfy seat on one of the leather sofa's in the bar, and I was in good company. It was great to meet Sue and Brian, Lisa and Andrew, who I hope to bump into again sometime, maybe at a future reading.

Just in the nick of time I caught a number 2 bus back and was home for 7 pm. Let's have more spoken word and music afternoons. I might even take to the floor myself before too long. Watch this space. 

Of course I gave Higgs Bottom a bit of an airing; got to get the word out there.

Higgs Bottom gets about

Higgs Bottom on the train
I am definitely on the promotion trail, well it is coming up to Christmas and what better present could you wish to give than an entertaining book. Whether it is for a twelve year old, his parents or his/her grandparents, Higgs Bottom is a read for everyone.

Right! I'm off to do my cello practice and then it will be lunchtime. Where does the time go?

Love you lots dear reader, thanks for your support by peaking at my blog from time to time.

Talk again soon,
Love Jane x

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Whitby Folk Week 17-23 August

Yeah! What a hill climber's holiday! Forget the long promenade walks, the flat easygoing constitutionals, the leisurely evening stroll to the sea. Whitby is a hill walker's paradise of a seaside town with its cobbled snickets, its winding ginnels, its half hidden courtyards, and of course the 199 steps up to the ruined abbey that dominates the cliff top. Yes, there was a lot of up and down involved during our three day stay in Whitby.

But for those not so agile, don't let this put you off. There are hotels on the harbour side from where you can saunter to the end of the pier and enjoy the full flavour of the town's attractions - shops, amusement arcades, pubs, fish and chips, candy floss, the band stand area, the replica Endeavour ship, and boat trips out to sea and back. It's all there in one little gem of an English seaside resort, and I for one had a whale of a time (excuse the pun).

To top it all, last week was Whitby Folk Week, and there was music and dancing throughout the town, day and night. We were entertained by musicians who had travelled far and wide to attend workshops and put their skills to the test in front of lively audiences. The outside spaces were full of Morris dancers with bells jingling, and happy feet skipping and hopping to a plethora of squeeze boxes, and tambourines. And if poetry was more your thing, then the famous Angela Topping was on hand to encourage wordsmiths at her poetry workshop.

All in all, David and I had a great time. We stayed at a little B&B called The Smugglers' Rest which was just lovely, and we travelled to Whitby from Barnsley by bus, (the X10 to Leeds then the 840 Leeds to Whitby) a journey that didn't cost us anything because we were able to use our pensioner bus pass. And the route was fantastic, through the centre of York, on to Pickering and over the moors to Goathland before dropping down a steep hill into Whitby.
Have Hats travel through York

Old York building

Andy Martin and Nick Moorland from Derbishire
It was great to meet you guys, and we thoroughly enjoyed our dance on the harbour. Thank you for the music. And thanks to all those musicians who performed in the street and in the pubs.

In the Black Swan

David dipping a toe in the North Sea

Music in the Elsinor Pub

Meeting an old friend from Crete, Mandy, it was so good to bump into you.

And a night out with Pauline and Tony

Look! I'm right!

In The Arch and Abbey 

The famous whale bones that dominate the west cliff.

It was a whirl of a break, and the sun shone, and the seagulls squawked, and we ate fish and chips, and drank cider. And now we are home to gather ourselves in readiness for our next little adventure. We've got to keep those feet moving, I don't want to seize up now I've got my health sorted out.

I hope you have had a whizz of a Bank Holiday, and oh, if you haven't read my new novel, Higgs Bottom, yet, you can get a copy here. It is also available as an e-book. Go on take a look for nothing!

Love and best wishes to all,
Jane x

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Glorious 12th

And it is indeed the glorious 12th. Praise be! I'm alive! After two months of nasty health issues I am finally stone free and feeling much better. I can't thank the doctors and nurses of Barnsley hospital enough, and now I can look to the future. And looking to that future what do I see? My latest novel - now available on Amazon Kindle

Yes, it's Higgs Bottom, my latest novel, and it's been published on Amazon Kindle and will also be available as a regular book from the Amazon Store any day now. I urge you to give it a look, and I'd really appreciate it if you could write a review. Of course it goes without saying that I'd like you to tell all your friends, relatives, work colleagues, people you meet on the bus, the train, the plane, people you bump into at the pub, on holiday, at festivals, the people who live next door, and the people who run your corner shop, oh, and not forgetting your kids and anyone else's kids, who I am sure may learn a thing or two upon entering the world of Ryan Coxson. And in advance, THANK YOU.

And what else can I see? Well, at this moment I'm waiting for a couple of poetry submission acceptances (or rejections). I've recorded a poem for the Northern Poets' CD coming out in November, and I'm going to bring out a second edition of Tears From the Sun - A Cretan Journey. That should keep me busy for the next few months, then it'll be Christmas. And in between all that I hope to visit a few friends, eat some hearty meals and drink the odd glass of bubbly.

I'm looking forward to having an action packed life to report back to you, a life full of laughs, with the odd walk thrown in.

So, talk again soon. I hope you are enjoying a fun filled summer.
With love and hugs,
Jane x 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

A Poet Without a Voice

Well, this is not good. I'm about to set off for Nottingham for a choral weekend, maybe even a spot of poetry entertainment, and I've LOST MY VOICE. AGGGGGGGH!!!!!!!!!!

How did this happen. I blame travelling on the buses with all those coughs and sneezes. Then again, it could be due to the Rock of Ages rock concert that I went to in Barnsley last weekend. Yes, I did do a bit of Tina Turner, Queen, Meatloaf, and it was the latest I've been out of bed since New Year's Eve, so maybe there is no wonder that the old vocal chords reacted.

The quote of the day from Hubby is, 'There will always be a bar.' And I have no doubt I will find one in sunny Nottingham. Any other time it wouldn't have bothered me to be quiet for a few days, but this fat lady ain't gonna be doing any singing, not today anyway. Let's hope the elixir kicks in by tomorrow night.

Of course I've been up to lots and lots since I last blogged. (Sorry for the big gap in keeping you up to date). We had lots of fun at Easter when we went to the Jousting Tournament in Leeds, and the weather was so good too. We had a look around the Armoury, had a pint by the canal, and thoroughly enjoyed watching men trying to knock each other of a horse.

It was fun! My knight in shining armour.
Always holding my tummy in.

It was very pleasant down by the canal.

Then we had a trip to Rotherham, and that was a lovely day too. Rotherham is really underrated. The minster is well worth a visit, and the whole town has a very medieval feel to it. We did find a little wine bar.

So, have to finish here because it's almost time for me to catch the bus to Sheffield for my little jolly with the Middlesbrough choir. I will be back soon to report on whether I find my voice. Meanwhile have a great bank holiday weekend, even though it's a bit chilly (I've got me vest on). As always lots of love and hugs.

Jane x

Tears From The Sun - The Story