Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Bake Off That Was A Right Off!

...And right off it was! I thought I'd experiment with coconut flour, and whatever else I could find in the kitchen - butter, sugar, chocolate chips, almond milk. What could possibly go wrong? The worse that could happen would be rock buns, or some sort of scones, or even a crumble topping. But no. Whatever it was that came out of the oven, it was certainly not in any way edible. Yet another Birdwell bake off failure. I don't know why I bother. It's a good job there's and Aldi supermarket nearby, with Belgian Chocolate Pudding. And that is my cue for a poem I wrote this week. It's a bit of erotic for a rainy day.

I'm telling you now, when you get to my age, and energy levels are low, and libido is on the wane, and it's raining, there's nothing quite like Aldi's Hot, Dark Belgian Chocolate Pudding:

Hot Dark Chocolate Pudding

Sex - It's an amazing, erotic thing,
But, when there's a choice of Hot Chocolate Pudding,
At the mere mention of Aldi's Dark Belgian
All reason's abandoned, there is no contention.
Why go for sweaty bedroom gymnastics?
Heaving and humping, leathers and plastics,
When you can have such an indulgent treat,
Hot Chocolate Pudding, there's nothing can beat
That magic flow of melted, molten ooze,
That coats the tongue, that dark exotic fuse,
That lights excitement; makes your nipples zing,
It's truly orgasmic, the yang and the yin,
Fill up your trolley with Mango Sorbet,
I'm telling you now, there's no other way,
Smother it over your Hot Belgian Pudding,
Bittersweet purée sieved through a stocking
Gives that touch of naughty domination,
Add some whipped cream for decoration.
Hot Chocolate Pudding with Mango Sorbet,
I'm telling you now, there's no other way.

And here is the disaster that was supposed to be an afternoon tea delight:

Straight into the bin! Yuk! Disgusting!

So, I'm not applying for the Great British Bake Off this year! But I am improving my cello playing, and I am busy with book promotion - Higgs Bottom. And I am putting a small poetry collection together, so never mind about my non culinary skills.

Here is a date for your diary, 27 October, at the Brew and Tap, in Hoyland where I shall be hosting a little do in aid of launching the book. Of course you are all invited - watch this space for details of timings etc a bit nearer the time.

Now, it's Sunday lunchtime in the Sharp house, coming up 2 p.m. so I'll say ta ta for now. It's raining in Birdwell, not at all clement, and we have the central heating on. Goodness! Winter is on the way. Still I can make soup, in fact I'm pretty good at that, there is always a bright side to things. Now, what shall it be, Heinz Tomato...

Have a lovely Sunday, dear reader, and a productive week. I'll be back next Sunday with an update of my week, let's hope there are exciting things to report.

Love and hugs,
Jane x

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Yeah! Another lovely, poety week with plenty of laughs.

Yeah! Another lovely,  poety week with plenty of laughs.

Giving it with the Dead Donkey story - Jane Sharp

Have you ever been to a Barnsley Wedding - Lee Pollard

Tales of Whatever - The Shakespeares, Sheffield 19/9
Tales of Whatever Sheffield mixes seasoned performers and speakers, all sharing true stories of first-hand experiences. Hosted by Mark Powell and Lee Moore.

Sean Morley fresh from his highly successful Edinburgh run.

Lee Pollard is a performance poet who has recently taken an enforced absence from reciting poems after badly burning the inside of his right ear with the filling from a steak and kidney pie.

Sile Sibanda is passionate about entertaining and bringing joy to people through performance and recently won BBC Radio Sheffield’s This Is Me competition.

Valerie Monti Holland has built a career using creative techniques in prisons, schools and organizations across the public, private and voluntary sectors to deliver workshops and training.

(And Jane Sharp - spoken word poet and author making an impromptu appearance)

And the fun didn't end there, me and my girls went to The Venue in Birdwell to see Martin Kemp DJ an 80s night. I have to confess I couldn't stand the pace, and had to abandon the disco/rave/gathering, call it what you will, in favour of my comfy armchair and a quiet cup of tea. Still it was so good to see my family all together.

It all happens in Birdwell
And today, David and I had a stroll across the park to Hoyland and back. We didn't linger to watch the football, but it was good to see a group of young men running up and down the field, you know, testosterone and all that.

And the purpose of our trip to Hoyland, was to visit the Tap and Brew to arrange a date in October, for my book launch and a spoken word afternoon. Well, the landlady was not there so no date fixed today, but watch this space.

So, I thought you may like to hear the impromptu story which I related to a lovely audience at the Shakespeares pub in Sheffield last Thursday evening, subject, Mishap!

The Donkey Is Dead

It all began with one of those crazy ideas. When we lived in Crete we bought an olive grove, and I, in my weirdly, wacky wisdom, thought it might be nice to have a donkey. Well, it wasn't long before an old farmer let it be known that he had a donkey he would give me. It was in a pitiful condition, hooves that were as long as Aladin's pointy slippers, making it very difficult for the old beast to walk, and a mangy coat that was full of ticks. We did try to give our Rosie a pain-free couple of months before she died, but die she did. 
Unfortunately I was in England at the time due to a family crisis, and David had to look after our dying donkey.

Knowing her end was nigh, he took her to our olive grove. The next day she was no more, so he (with the help of a mate) dug a very big hole on our land, slid Rosie into her grave, and covered her over. Unfortunately, someone seeing the grave, and me being off the scene at the time, put two and two together and the rumour went out that David had done away with me and buried me, on the land. It could have been a sticky situation had I not returned in the next few days. R.I.P. Rosie.

I'd be telling porkies if I said I wasn't interested in Brexit and Climate Change, but you know what, there isn't a blind fig I can do about either one, so I have resigned to becoming a passive observer of events. There are all sorts of arguments, for and against Brexit, and the politicians don't seem to be able to agree on one specific outcome, and that isn't just British politicians, the European lot haven't exactly been too helpful as far as I can see. I do find it all very interesting though, if not a bit tedious after three years of trying to exit the European Union. As for Climate Change, my personal carbon footprint, with not having a car, not having flown anywhere for two years, not eating meat, and buying most of my clothes at the charity shop, is quite minuscule.

I think I will make a cake tomorrow, and probably get my arms around Valentino, as for tonight, I'm not a Peaky Blinder's fan so I will just have to settle for The World's Most Expensive Cruise Ships. I like watching the lives of the rich and the slightly insane.

Have a good evening, dear reader, I'm looking forward to chatting again next week.

Love Jane x

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

Tears From The Sun - The Story