Children's Books & Writing Stories Once upon a time...  Children's Books & Writing Stories Once upon a time...






Amanda Owen, Yorkshire shepherdess (see 23.2.2017 100 words), says that the birth of their eighth child, Clementine, was the best. One night, restless, unable to sleep and 34 and a half weeks pregnant, she rose from her bed, crept downstairs, made some tea and stoked up the fire. At 12.45am, she realised what she’d thought was indigestion was actually labour.


She considered the doomed dash for hospital and decided against it. (“I were tupped at Ravenseat and I’ll lamb at Ravenseat!”). She also chose not to wake her oblivious husband.


“That would have woken the children and ensured a panic,” she says. “Ewes go and find somewhere private to give birth. They’ll always disappear behind a wall if they can. I can’t decide if it’s bad, but for me, I’d rather do it alone, too – because it’s personal.”


So by the flickering fire, on a makeshift mattress of cushions and towels, Amanda delivered her baby, then the placenta, then went upstairs to present the precious bundle to her stunned husband.


What an amazing woman but being a shepherdess I suppose she did know a bit about giving birth. The article probably needs the adage: “Don’t try this at home”.





Storm Doris has caused so much devastating havoc in the UK this week. “Well the 3 hour trip TO work has been overshadowed by the 6 hour trip FROM work! Cheers Doris! I'm going to have a glass of wine now to celebrate being home - medicinal purposes only of course.” – Lucy Leach. “and bloody Doris decides to knock over my wheelie bin and send my recycling all over the street.” – Liz Woolley

I’ve probably been writing children’s stories too long but somehow giving a storm a name like Doris gives it bags of character conjuring up a mischievous, cunning old witch bent over her cauldron cackling and giggle reeking havoc in peoples lives.

The name Doris came from a list compiled from suggestions made by the public to the Met Office’s ‘Name Our Storms’. The old-fashioned name ‘Doris’ was among the most popular in 1905 but is no longer chosen for babies born today.  Most women called Doris are now elderly and use of the name brings to mind the legendary retired actress Doris Day.

My big worry is the next name is scheduled to be Storm Ewan and we all know Ewan’s destructive capabilities.



Sunday 26.2.2017 is the Oscars and two people already know who's won.


Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan are the Oscars’ most important people. You will not know them. They’ve not been in any films or on any magazine covers.


They are the only two people in the world knowing the names of the winners before the golden envelopes are opened with the words: "And the Oscar goes to..."


They have counted the votes, repeatedly, ensuring the results are correct, kept secret and delivered to the venue, before personally handing each envelope to each presenter moments before they walk on stage.



Amanda Owen is mother, wife, shepherdess and bestselling author. Her new book, “A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess” is about life at Ravenseat, Nr Keld,  the remote Yorkshire Dales hill farm she shares with husband Clive, eight children and 1,000 sheep.  


One of the most fascinating facts about her is that she gave birth to her own baby, alone and unaided. See tomorrow’s 100 words.


We once stayed with her nearest neighbour on the four day Herriot’s Way Walk. Amazing countryside and we were given ingredients to make our own breakfast including duck eggs from the farmyard.





We’ve received Betty’s Easter catalogue. A diabetic’s dilemma.


Do I live forever becoming a miserable old bugger sitting in my own juices waiting for my funeral…


Or do I order the following from


And die now with a smile on my face.


1 Box of 4 Fondant Fancies £7.00

1 Large Hot Cross Bun £5.75

(made with plump vine fruits and seasonal spices. (Serve toasted with               butter)

1 Box of 4 Yorkshire Fat Rascal Scones £8.20

(Plump fruity scones made with butter, juicy currants and citrus peel. Hand decorated with glace cherries and almonds. (Serve warm with butter)

1 Large Chocolate and orange Hot Cross Bun

                (packed with crystallised orange peel, dark chocolate pieces and        decorated with crystallised orange)

1 Chocolate Saddleback Pig standing in milk chocolate mud £9.95

(Have I missed something here? I thought Easter was rabbits and chickens. When did saddlebacks get involved.       

1 Large 600g Milk Chocolate Spring Flowers Easter Egg for Grown ups

(Handcrafted egg exquisitely hand-decorated with royal icing flowers and traditional chocolate piping in an elegant Bettys box


…And finally (not in catalogue)…

I large Fresh Cream Meringue

As my Grandma used to buy for me from Tuesday's Co-op baker’s van.





“Lake District: A Wild Year”, (BBC Two: February 17). The film captured twelve months of the life of animals, plants, weather and people in the Lake District compressed into seconds using cutting edge time-lapse photography footage. A unique look, at a turbulent year, in England's largest national park.

Ten minutes of David Attenborough documentaries show how the film was made. I need the same feature for this film. How do you achieve a year long time lapse film in all weathers covering remote wild countryside? One day will someone produce a time lapse film of their whole life? Definitely.



Jane Porter (brilliant niece), posted on Facebook that listening to the radio football results took her back: to living at home. They used to guess whether it was a win, draw or loss by the commentator’s voice.

I’m not a football fan but Saturday 5pm Football Results have always fared in my life, too. From being a silenced four year old whilst dad and in later years grandad checked their Football pools to the brilliant Michael Bentine’s (Ex Goon) classic sketch of announcer getting more and more excited  reading the results. In my Top 10 of All Time Favourite Sketches.



A great joys of life is finding fantastic but unique new music or books. With books it’s always happening. Sadly, these days, with music it is rare. But Radio 6 gave me, Holly Macve’s album, Golden Eagle.  


Her much-anticipated debut album, with its spellbinding  C&W ballads and devastating emotional delivery, is one of the most remarkable debuts of all time. It was mostly recorded in the Newcastle home/studio of producer Paul Gregory, plus Brighton and London. Using her first touring band, Macve plays acoustic guitar and piano. Golden Eagle remains beautifully spare and delicate, putting Holly's goosebump-raising voice centre stage,






Beyoncé and Adele battled it out at the 2017,  59th Grammies, with Adele winning the top five Grammies:

  1. Album of the Year - “25”

  2. Song of the Year - “Hello”

  3. Record of the Year - “Hello”

  4. Best Pop Solo Performance - “Hello”

  5. Best Pop Vocal Album - “25”


She repeated her 2012 feat, when “21” and its single "Rolling in the Deep" swept the top three honours.


5 reasons Adele won instead of Beyonce:


1. Grammy voters are white, males.

2. ... and old.

One Grammy voter said the not-quite-cutting-edge nature of the electorate favoured Adele over Beyoncé.

3. The “25” album was more popular than “Lemonade”.

Grammy voters were more likely to have heard the Adele album (with 20 million sales worldwide, including  9 million U.S.sales) than “Lemonade” (under 2 million).

4. Adele put out “25” the old-fashioned way.

For all the Spotifys, CD and digital-album sales still generate the most cash for record labels. Adele refused to stream “25” for months after it came out in – and her strategy worked.

5. The vote may have been split.


Adele spoke about her love for Beyonce after defeating her for Album of the Year.




My daughter sent me the following from Facebook knowing I would love the humour :“Last night my wife sent me a text, saying she was in casualty. When I got home I watched all 50 minutes of it…never saw her once.


“She still hasn’t come home yet. I’m starving.”

Sadly, I am likely to misinterpret a similar text sent to me from my wife. Not that I am TV oriented, or anything.

I so feel for the bloke who posted it. Imagine his big disappointment of not seeing his wife on TV, when the penny finally drops.

<< New text box >>




I am addicted to Postman Pat and his pesky black and white cat. Between16th September 1981 (first broadcast) and 6th February 2017 there were 8 series  / 196 episodes plus 12 Specials of Postman Pat. I have seen most of these episodes, firstly with my children and secondly my children’s children.

I would so love to write a series like Postman Pat, although I question his ability to deliver. In 78 episodes of Special Delivery I have never seen him make a delivery that has not gone been problematic and gone wrong. In yesterday’s episode, even though he uses a 4x4 Jeep on snow he skids off the road. He’s just not a skilled driver. He then relies on Ted Glen to tow him back on to the road with a 1930s wreck of a small truck. Ted, bless him, almost manages it, but the weight of the Jeep pulls them both off the road. It is a complete disaster. But I suppose that’s what makes the series good. Would we watch it if he just went to someone’s door, knocked, no one came, so card in letterbox, and leave the parcel with a neighbour or in a safe place.


Private Eye magazine has bucked the trend of declining circulation for print media hitting its biggest print circulation in 2016 – up 9% (ABC). The 2016 Christmas issue achieved the biggest sale in the title’s 55-year history,  287,334 copies.


Owned by Pressdram Ltd, the fortnightly satirical and current affairs magazine was founded in 1961 and edited by Ian Hislop since 1986.


The publication carries out in-depth investigative journalism and is a thorn in the side of the British establishment, widely recognised for criticising and lampooning public figures, politicians, media tycoons, and organisations considered incompetent, corrupt, pompous or self-important.


I found this quote and truer words I have never read:

You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow they will be a little bigger than they are today. This day is a gift. Breathe and notice. Smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today mama. It will be over before you know it.” – Jen Hatmaker

Life’s too short so in the words of Nike “Just do it”



School teachers are using police-style body cameras to record misbehaving pupils.


Two comprehensive schools in England use the cameras, one having a history of pupils with behavioural problems. The cameras have local education authority approval.


Teachers turn on the cameras during incidents to tackle constant low-level disruption. They give verbal notice before starting to record.


The cameras film continuously, but encrypted footage is only saved once the teacher hits the record button, at which point pupils can see the live footage on an outward-facing screen. From The Times 8.2.2017.


PS Won’t pupils perform for the camera? I would.



The She Trinity was a Canadian/British pop group of the 1960s. An all-female band who played their own instruments, a rarity at the time. Band members: Robyn Yorke, Pauline Moran, Eileen Woodman, Inger Jonnsson




                He Fought The Law/ The Union Station Blues 1966


                Have I Sinned/ Wild Flower 1966


                Wild Flower/ The Man Who Took The Valise Off The Floor Of Grand Central Station At Noon  1966


                Yellow Submarine/ Promise Me You'll Never Cry 1966


                Across The Street/ Over And Over Again  1967


                Hair/ Climb That Tree) 1969


                Long Long Road (For The Broken Heart)/ Baby Grumpling 1969


I-newspaper education reports: Teachers who discourage children from counting on their fingers in maths lessons are stunting their mathematical development. Actively encouraging pupils to use their fingers leads to drastic improved maths ability, according to leading maths researcher, Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University.  

I was unaware teachers discouraged counting on fingers. I learned to count using my fingers and still do occasionally. The researcher is spot-on, explaining why my school passion was writing and reading, but I became an accountant (46 year career) and not a writer, obviously because I learned to count on my fingers.  


Elvis Presley fans are expected to get into a bidding war on eBay over his 1970 Mercedes – with bids starting at £140,000. So goes the headline, but with 2 days to go there are not yet any bids or takers.

US Classic car dealership Daniel Schmitt & Co, is selling the car, saying Presley was seen regularly driving around his Memphis home city in the Mercedes.

Description: “1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL, purchased new by Elvis Presley!

Known to be one of Elvis Presley's favourite cars! Fully documented with Elvis' original sale paperwork

Starting bid: US $179,770                 Buy It Now:  US $199,900.00”






Black Sabbath, credited with inventing heavy metal music, played their last concert 4.2.2017.


The two-hour, NEC Arena gig, in their home city of Birmingham, ticket prices £70 - £100, consisted of 15 songs ending with their first hit, Paranoid.


Ticker tape and balloons fell as Ozzy Osbourne, 68, thanked fans for nearly five decades of support. "Thank you, goodnight, thank you so much," Osbourne said as they left the stage.


Sabbath's “The End Tour” began in the US in January 2016 and took in 81 dates across the world.


They were formed in 1968 by Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. Osbourne quit in 1977 to be replaced by Rainbow's Ronnie James Dio, Osbourne returned in 1997. They have sold over 70 million records worldwide.


They debuted as Earth at The Crown in Station Street, Birmingham in 1968, admission for those Henry’s Blues House (HBH) nights were five shillings (25p).


Promoter Jim Simpson gave them four HBH T-shirts as payment for their first gig.


Six weeks later, bass player Geezer Butler changed the name to Black Sabbath, Jim was their new manager and they were top of the bill being paid £40.





The BBC website features daily “The Papers” showing the national daily front pages. I browse through to review the overall consensus of headlines. Sometimes they are in unison, sometimes, like today, all different. But so many make me say: Look at this face does it look bovered. “Iceberg lettuces rationed” – most boring food ever, tastes like a limp lettuce. “Beyonce naked pregnancy, bump photo” – a lot of us have been there and probably looked better (obviously not us men but our female partners).  What is special about hers? Sorry, can you just keep your clothes on. “Kylie bins cheatin’ fiancé” Sorry Kylie I do feel for you, but as you overlooked us decent blokes you get what you deserve. The Sun’s logo for today only is designed by David Hockney. Sorry Sun but my 4 year old grandchildren Rory and Freya have drawn better Suns. But there are two interesting front pages. The Times shows a dramatic photograph of a train being washed by high seas at Dawlish, Devon. But the most heartbreaking is the Daily Mirror’s front page photograph of a gorilla saying miners extracting a precious metal for mobile phone manufacture are killing and eating these endangered gorillas.


Over the last three months we have seen some excellent theatre. This list is in order of what I considered to be the best in entertainment down:

1 Billy Connolly – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena (8.11.2016)

2 John Shuttleworth – Nottingham Playhouse (1.2.2017)

3 Cinderella – London Palladium (11.12.2016)

4 Sunny Afternoon – Nottingham Theatre Royal (27.1.2017)

5 Jack and the Beanstalk – Nottingham Theatre Royal (18.12.2016) (With grandchildren, making it No.1 event)

6 Frozen Disney on Ice - Nottingham Motorpoint Arena (19.11.2016) (With grandchildren, making it No.2 event)

7 Dead Funny – Vaudeville Theatre, London (9.11.2016)

8 Catherine Tate – Nottingham Concert Hall (26.11.2016)


BBC Radio 2 have dropped presenter Brian Matthew with conflicting stories of the way it was done. See  separate article. He has worked for the BBC since 1954 presenting Radio 2’s Sound of the Sixties for 25 years. He has always had a BBC radio programme and in 1960s hosted TV shows. He is a huge inspiration. His speech is so fluent and clear. I was under the impression he had a stroke in 1980s and overcame it, to continue broadcasting, although I can no longer find reference to this, probably because he is a private person especially with illnesses.

When I was a lad at school around 13 years old, our Maths teacher used to call me Wol. At the end of the year as we were moving up a class I plucked up courage to ask why he called me Wol. He told meit was thename of the deslexic owl in Winnie the Pooh. With my Harry Potter glasses he said I looked like the Wise Old Owl in the Winnie the Pooh stories.


Being the vain person I am I took it as a compliment

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