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

JULY 2017

 

500 WORDS

MONDAY 31st JULY 2017

 

BLOOMIN’ BAKEWELL’S BRILLIANT BITS & BOBS & BAKING

 

On Saturday we visited the Derbyshire town of Bakewell. A beautiful town that sums up Derbyshire towns.

 

We had a tasty light lunch at a coffee shop over the Bakewell Pudding shop and then wandered around the shops.

 

Normally on the last Saturday of the month a Farmer’s Market is held. But in July that is transferred to the third Saturday to allow for the marquee villages to be built that become Bakewell Agricultural Show. We therefore found Bakewell pre-occupied in preparations for the Show.

 

The Show is held on Wednesday 2nd & Thursday 3rd August 2017 with a dedicated Equestrian Day Tuesday 1st August 2017. There is free parking for all Bakewell Show visitors at their official car park (Haddon Fields, entrance off the A6).

 

The Scarsdale and High Peak Agricultural Society was founded in 1819 and held the first show which was the origins of the Bakewell Show in Chesterfield on 5 July 1819.The 1883 show was cancelled because of foot and mouth disease, and shows were not held during the first and second world wars. In 1980 the show became a two-day event. In 2001 it went ahead despite another foot and mouth epidemic, but included no animals. The 2017 event is the 187th show, 198 years after the first show.

 

The Show is an excellent showcase of agriculture, Derbyshire life and country life, allowing you to get up close to the best cows, horses, sheep, pigs and other farm animals. Mixed in is a shopping village, country crafts and a fun fair.

 

On 12th to 13th August 2017 there is the Bakewell Baking Festival. Listed as Baking, vintage, music and family fun. Apparently the world’s first Baking Festival is back for its 4th year at the Bakewell Showground. This is all about Star Bakers, 2 Demonstration Theatres, Live Music, Baking and Food Village, Vintage Games, Camping, Vintage Cars, Custard Pie Fight!, Comedy Night and loads of Good Old Family and Vintage Fun.

 

Sounds tasty.

 

Bakewell Book Fair is on Saturday 19th August 2017 at the Agricultural Business Centre

 

The fair will have over 20 professional book dealers in attendance displaying a wide range of factual and historic books along with modern fiction, maps and ephemera for sale.

 

Entry is £1.00 on the door, but free entry tickets can be printed off the PBFA website at the Bakewell Book Fair listing discovered there. Everyone is welcome.

 

 Secret Gardens of Bakewell is on Saturday 27th August 2017. This is a popular annual event in aid of Oxfam.

 

There is a great deal going on in Bakewell. This is just a taster of the larger items. Checking out on the internet will give you more details of the events listed and opportunity to purchase cheaper tickets. The internet and the Tourist Information in Bakewell will give the many, many other events and places of interest around Bakewell worth taking in.

 

You could spend August in Bakewell and find something new and interesting to occupy your time every day.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Create your life handbook. A personal manual to live your best life, containing your mission statement, values, goals, personal strengths, blind spots, and action plans. Start off with a few basic pages, and then build on it.

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…a day browsing beautiful Bakewell

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

When in doubt mumble.

 

 

 

500 WORDS

 

SUNDAY 30th JULY 2017

 

AUSTIN THE MINI VAN

 

In the 1980s I wrote a series of six children’s stories about a white Austin Mini Van, that no one wanted to publish.

 

When you write so many stories with the intensity and detail I write you become attached to the main character and love them as if they are one of your family. The Little White Van was no exception. He has always been dear in my heart.

 

Recently whilst researching, I found this amazing March 2015 news item:

 

A classic Austin Mini Van which was hidden for decades because its original owner couldn't pass her driving test was expected to sell for a staggering £25,000 at auction in March 2015.

 

The 1968 Austin Mk 2 Mini Van was regarded as a "time warp" car after being driven just 302 miles in 47 years.

 

The car, in perfect running order, was up for auction at Silverstone Auction's Practical Classics Restoration Show Sale on March 28, 2015 at the NEC, Birmingham.

 

It was expected to sell for between £23,000 and £25,000 - a 60-fold increase on the price paid in 1968.

 

The following is part of the auction blurb:

 

Offered here is an original 1968 Austin Mini Van which is presented in a very rare state of preservation, showing a genuine 302 miles from new. The background behind its 'frozen in time' condition is fascinating, with the vehicle having been virtually unused for some 47 years after only covering delivery mileage to the original owner's address.

 

First registered on the 14th March 1968, the van was bought new by a Miss G. Crumcott from Northern Ireland for the mere sum of £400 so that she could learn to drive. She never managed to pass her driving test and this brand new Mini van lay unused, locked away in her shed for nearly three decades. It was discovered in this same shed covered in old copies of the Ballymena Observer and could not have been preserved in better condition.

 

It was eventually purchased by a local BMC Mini dealer and enthusiast Mr T. Turkington in 1997 and placed in the Mini Centres showroom until 2006. The van was then purchased by a car collector from Northamptonshire and has recently been brought back onto the classic car market.

 

This van has never been restored and is presented in completely original condition, right down to the seat protectors and rubber floor mats fitted when new by BMC. It was also rustproofed from the factory. It still wears its original Dunlop cross-ply tyres with the spare wheel, tyre and tool kit all being unused and still retains its original exhaust and the factory sealed Lucas battery. This charismatic little van has enjoyed a recent light mechanical re-commissioning and is presented in perfect running order.

 

I can find no evidence of the van being sold. On the auctioneers website it is labelled “Sold for (£): Unsold”

 

In my search I believe in 2012 it was on Ebay for £40k.

 

So, I wonder where the van is now.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

                Improve the world. There are many things in the world that need your help and attention. Poverty. Disaster recovery. Illiteracy. Children in need. Depleting rainforests. Endangered species. How can you do your part?                                                  

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…the Little White Van

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

I refused to believe my road worker father was stealing from his job, but when I got home, all the signs

 

400 WORDS

SATURDAY 29th JULY 2017

 

THE CORNISH HOTEL BY THE SEA

 

Today unusually I am promoting a new adult novel. Adult as in it is aimed at grown ups rather than children.

 

The book is 'The Cornish Hotel by the Sea' and is by a tremendously all round talented author Karen King. And I make no apologies for it looking like Karen King Day on my site, today.

 

Karen King is a multi-published author of children's books, young adult fiction and romantic fiction. She has had over120 children's books published and three romantic novels. With all that experience she is a good tutor and consultant for writers, too. Her first chick lit novel was 'I do - or do I?'. Her second one, 'The Cornish Hotel by the Sea' has just been published.

 

Karen successfully writes across all genres making her a first class, brilliant writer. She’s is so good because she’s an entertaining storyteller and that’s a wonderful talent.

 

During July/August whether or not we are going away our minds turn to holidays and there is nothing better than a good holiday themed book to get us in the mood. The Cornish Hotel by the Sea fits that bill perfectly. See the separate item.

 

Meanwhile here are 20 of Karen’s books. Some are out of print but still available at Amazon in some format:

 

 

1.             The Cornish Hotel by the Sea - Adult (A)

2.             Moonlight and the Mermaid (Magical Horses)(C)

3.             The Fairy Horse (Magical Horses)(C)

4.             Silly Moo! (Lift-the-flap Book) (C)

5.             Sparkle the Seahorse (Magical Horses) (C)

6.             Witch Angel (Kindle Book) (C)

7.             Busy Little Postman - Ladybird Little Stories(C)

8.             Kelly and the Mermaid (Picture Ladybirds) (C)

9.             I do? – or do I?: A hilarious read with the monster-in-law that beats them all – (A)

10.          Perfect Summer - Young Adult (YA)

11.          The Millionaire Plan: A gorgeous heart-warming romance (A)

12.          Dinosaur Stories for 5 Year Olds (Animal Funtime) (C)

13.          Unicorn Magic (Magical Horses) (C)

14.          The Photo Competition (Country Companions) (C) (6 in Series)

15.          Pirate Ship Treasure Island (Press Out and Build Junior Press Out and Build) (C)

16.          And Me! (C)

17.          Birthday Surprise (Country Companions)- Children’s (C)

18.          Even Smellier Socks Joke Book (C)

19.          The Messy Hen [Print Replica] Kindle Edition (C) (4 in series)

 

And last but certainly not least:

20.          Get Writing Children's Fiction: Ideas, Tips and Exercises for Writers of Children's Fiction - Adult Instructional

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

How do you feel about your life today? Are you living every day in excitement? Do you love what you're doing? Are you excited every single moment? Are you looking forward to what's coming up next? Are you living your best life? Make sure you are!

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…being by the sea in sunny Cornwall, listening to the sea and sea gulls and reading The Cornish Hotel by the Sea by Karen King

 

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

I saw an ad for burial plots, and thought to myself this is the last thing I need.

 

 

 

800 WORDS

 

FRIDAY 28th JULY 2017

 

JEFF BEZOS

 

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos briefly overtook Bill Gates oyesterday to become the world's richest person, as his worth hit $91.4bn (£70bn).

 

A sharp rise in Amazon shares meant Mr Bezos's wealth eclipsed that of the Microsoft co-founder for a time according to Forbes.

 

But as Amazon shares fell back, Mr Gates regained the top spot.

 

Mr Bezos, 53, owns about 17% of the shares in Amazon, but also has interests in several other businesses.

 

Recently soaring technology stocks have fuelled huge growth in the worth of entrepreneurs such as Mr Bezos and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 33, who is number five on Forbes's list.

 

But the last person to steal the lead was Spanish fashion boss Amancio Ortega, founder of Zara's owner Inditex.

He was the world's richest man for two days last September.

 

Earlier this year Mr Bezos paid $23m for an old textile museum in Washington DC. Once it's converted to a family home, the Bezos family will be near neighbours in the exclusive neighbourhood with the Obamas, as well as Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.

 

At least that's what the Washington Post reported, a reliable source presumably since Mr Bezos bought the paper in 2013 with $250m of his own money.

 

The Bezos family also has homes in Seattle and Beverly Hills, but expenditure on property pales into insignificance compared to Mr Bezos's foremost passion: rocket science.

 

He says he is selling about $1bn of Amazon stock every year to fund Blue Origin, the project he has founded to develop commercial space travel.

 

He is generous with bananas. It was his idea to start giving away bananas to passers-by in Amazon's home town of Seattle - a generous gesture, especially since about 4,500 people reportedly take up the offer every day. But when it comes to philanthropy that is still peanuts compared to his peers.

 

While he and his family have given millions to good causes, Mr Bezos has been criticised for not doing enough. He doesn't splash out for non-profits on the scale that Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and others do, and is yet to join the 169 of his wealthy peers who have pledged to give away half their personal fortune.

But last month Mr Bezos appeared to be toying with new ideas in the philanthropic sphere.

 

He tweeted a request for suggestions as to how he could give money away that would have an impact "here and now" - a kind of next-day-delivery philanthropy.

 

It remains to be seen which proposals - ranging from libraries to tech talent in Africa - have caught his imagination.

 

As a child Mr Bezos spent a lot of time with his grandparents on their Texas ranch (learning to vaccinate cattle amongst other vital skills) and his interest in number-crunching was already apparent.

 

"At that age I'd take any excuse to make estimates and do minor arithmetic. I'd calculate our gas mileage, I'd figure out useless statistics on things like grocery spending," he told Princeton's class of 2010.

 

"I expected to be awarded for my cleverness and my arithmetic skills," he said. But his grandmother burst into tears.

 

Grandfather talked him through how sometimes "it's harder to be kind than clever".

 

As well as the fun stuff he has a serious futuristic vision. Early on he was already imagining space hotels, amusement parks, and cities orbiting the Earth. And Mr Bezos's dreams are getting bigger.

 

Jeff Bezos has boots bearing the slogan of his Blue Origin space company:"I want millions of people living and working in space. I want us to be a space-faring civilisation," he told Geekwire last year.

 

He predicts that in the next few hundred years we will put all our heavy industry off this planet, mine resources and generate energy in space, leaving earth a much more pleasant place to live on.

 

Mr Bezos does plan to go into space himself too, of course - once Blue Origin is ready to take him.

 

Blue Origin's slogan says: Gradatim Ferociter, (Latin for "Step by Step, Ferociously").

 

Highs - and lows

1994 Quits Wall Street job to start Amazon

1999 Named Time's Person of the Year

2000 Launches Blue Origin spaceflight firm

2013 Buys the Washington Post

2015 New York Times publishes report painting a critical picture of working conditions at Amazon, which Mr Bezos says he "doesn't recognise"

2015 Amazon appears to have come full circle when it opens its first physical bookstore in Seattle

2016 Drawn into a public spat with Trump over the Washington Post and taxes

2017 Manchester By The Sea, a feature produced by Amazon Studios, wins two Oscars including best actor for Casey Affleck, while the studio also picks up the Best Foreign Language gong for The Salesman.

 

Mainly taken from BBC News article  by Lucy Hooker

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

If work were so pleasant, the rich would keep it for themselves. ~ Mark Twain

 

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…having the best soul mate in the whole world

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

This bloke said to me: ‘I’m going to attack you with the neck of a guitar.’ I said: ‘Is that a fret?’ - Tim Vine

 

 

900 WORDS

 

THURSDAY 27th JULY 2017

 

WHO’S BLOG IS IT ANYWAY?

 

GEORGE & EWAN TAKE OVER GRANDAD'S DAILY BLOG

 

GEORGE:             Hi everyone, yes it’s George here, not Grandad, who you were expecting. Welcome to my world (not Grandad’s world) Won’t you come on in.

 

Grandad says as I have a very adult subject to put in my blog this week I can take over his Daily Blogspot. Isn’t that so exciting. Another amazing experience of life. It is up there with my top achievements like eating solids, walking and talking.

 

Whoops, I can’t talk properly yet. But it will come in fact it is coming, now.

 

My blog is all about this weekend’s Golf and Jordan Spieth’s extraordinary victory at the Open at Royal Birkdale…

 

EWAN:                  Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on to your golf balls for one cotton pickin’ minute. - What have I said there, have I slipped into a different language? I don’t even understand my own words. Hey, Cousin George, what do you think you are doing? This is Grandad’s blog, not yours.

 

GEORGE:             I am writing Grandad’s Blog. He says I could because I have a very important, grown up subject – Golf – The Open.

 

EWAN:                  That’s not very fair. Why didn’t he ask me?

 

GEORGE:             Simple your subject is not important or interesting enough.

 

EWAN:                  It’s better than yours.

 

GEORGE:             What is it then?

 

EWAN:                  My Dad’s Birthday Party.

 

GEORGE:             Are you joking. Do you call that interesting. I was there, it was s****. There was no theme to it and where was the bouncy castle, the soft play, the pass the parcel, the action songs, the cake, the gift bag…

 

EWAN:                  Yes, yes, I know. That is what I was going to put in my blog, how boring it was.

 

GEORGE:             We just went to the pub for a meal. And no one wore fancy dress.

 

EWAN:                  Except Grandad…I think.

 

GEORGE:             Grandad always dresses that way. I’m never sure who he’s supposed to be Worzel Gummidge or one of Snow Whites seven dwarfs.

 

EWAN:                  I don’t know who organised Dad’s Party. It can’t have been Mum it was actually on his birthday. In all the years Mum has been organising my birthday parties (TWO) she has never hit the actual day.

 

GEORGE:             It’s not a lot to ask is it?

 

EWAN:                  What did you have to eat steak or chicken dippers?

 

GEORGE:             To be honest I was annoyed with myself.

 

EWAN:                  Most unlike you George. You get annoyed at most things but never usually yourself.

 

GEORGE:             Too true. There’s enough other people happy to get annoyed at me without me joining in. No, but, when Mum and Dad put me in the car I thought: Oh no here we go again.  I wasn’t even allowed to go in Mamma’s car.

 

EWAN:                  I know neither was I,  some cock and bull story about not enough seats.

 

GEORGE:             I know total crap. They must think you and I were born yesterday.

 

EWAN:                  We’ve more experience of life than that!

 

GEORGE:             Anyway, consequently, I was so bored doing that same old journey that I fell asleep, as usual. The annoying part is I did not wake up until the meal was all over.

 

EWAN:                  So you weren’t awake when they came for the order?

 

GEORGE:             I wasn’t even awake when they served it.

 

EWAN:                  I do know, really, I kept peeping at you in the buggy and gave it a kick a few times to wake you. I wanted to play. I really, really wanted you to wake up. There were so many new things for us to explore together. Mischief just crying out for us to action. But, you did not wake until the bill came.

 

 GEORGE:            I know. Then all Mum gave me was this sloppy goo, baby crap. To be honest, what’s the point of  putting it in my mouth and through me. A waste of effort. Just pit it straight in my nappy. She just does not have the imagination to come up with anything better. I am so sick of  the gooy food mess I’m ready to walk out.

 

EWAN:                  Can you walk, now, then?

 

GEORGE:             For about a metre. When my walking is perfected I will be off to try a steak.

 

EWAN:                  You’ve never had a steak. then?

 

GEORGE:             No, I always, always end up being so bored with the repetitious pub journey I fall asleep and sleep through the ordering process.

 

Did your Dad get some interesting noisy presents in huge great big boxes?

 

EWAN:                  You’re joking, aren’t you?

 

GEORGE:             No deadly serious. That’s what birthdays are about.

 

EWAN:                  No he just got loads of these plastic gift cards in envelopes. I can’t see the fun of them. You can’t do anything with them, not even chew them. You do wonder about adults at times don’t you?

GEORGE:             I know and we entrust our lives and upbringing to someone who prefers a bit of plastic, as a present, rather than a cuddly Twirlywoo.

 

EWAN:                  Who’s the more stupid – them or us?

 

GEORGE:             Anyway, lets stop bitching about parents and let me get on with my blog about golf…

 

GRANDAD:          Ok lads I’ve given you 400 extra words. On my blog we are strict on the nearest hundred word cut off.

 

GEORGE:             But Grandad I have to write my blog. I am so passionate about golf. It is the whole point I have learnt to walk. So here goes: Jordan Spieth had an extraordinary victory at the Open at Roy…

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." - Lao Tzu

 

 

HAPPINESS IS…

Happiness is…sitting back and letting your grandchildren write your blog

 

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Doctor. Doctor Who?

 

 

400 WORDS

 

TUESDAY 25th JULY 2017

 

KILL SUMMER BOREDOM STONE DEAD

 

The Summer Holiday is finally here.

 

Over the last couple of weeks schools have been closing for the summer vacation.

 

Today the last of them will close for their well deserved six week break.

 

But now the question is, how do you keep the children happy and free from boredom?

 

According to research by the Groupon website you can only keep your children entertained until 1.30pm on any typical day during the summer. After that, boredom sets in…

 

You will also have suggested 13 different things for them to be doing in any one week during the break. Despite this, boredom still sets in.

 

Parents try their best – spending an average £251 to keep children occupied over the holidays. They even rein in their spending in the spring to have the money to spend during the summer.

 

But still boredom…. !

 

Of course, most of you will have maybe one, two or even more weeks taken up with going away on holiday.

 

But I have put two lists of suggestions for an occupation each day throughout August.

 

The first list is places to go that cost you money mainly on entrance fees. They are all easily accessed from Nottingham. They are not cheap. There are 32 suggestions 1st August to 1st September inclusive. I have roughly costed them out and just on entry fees, excluding fares, travelling costs, food, drinks and add ons for a family of four visiting them all would cost approximately £2,000.

 

The average admissions for a family of 4 is around £80, but some are as much as £120.

 

They all have websites easily found in Google. A link would slow my site too much.

 

Admission is usually cheaper by booking on line. There are also often discount vouchers at sites like Groupon.

 

The second list are things mainly to do at home or in your back yard and have a minimal to zero cost. This list again has an item a day, 32 suggestions 1st August to 1st September inclusive.

 

The list obviously is not exhaustive and may spark other ideas. To get instructions and ideas just Google the appropriate activity.

 

There is a fantastic site www.primarytimes.net which is filled with suggestions AND LINKS for things to do in the holidays and in any UK area. This is a link to their site. There are so many suggestions

 

Wishing you the best ever Summer holiday.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Always end the day with a positive thought no matter how hard things were , tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better -

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…breaking up for the six week Summer Holiday

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Standing in the park, I was wondering why a Frisbee gets larger the closer it gets. Then it hit me

 

 

 

 

 

300 WORDS

 

MONDAY 24th JULY 2017

 

FIELDS OF GOLD

 

As we have travelled through the countryside this last couple of weeks I have been amazed and looked on in wonderment as the bright green fields have ripened and turned to golden, as if by magic. Every year the same thing happens at this time of year.

 

In a year like this year, where the ground has seen a fair bit of rain you imagine it’s not going to happen so fast. But right on cue the fields have turned golden. Everyone ready for harvesting to be carried out.

 

The sunshine and the rain all work together to give us a green and golden, pleasant land. Although we constantly complain about the climate, too wet or too hot, it does actually mean that our living is easier relative to some countries. We have plentiful water. Our crops are healthy. The crops ripen so we have a plentiful source and stock of food.

 

The fact that the weather helps make the landscape look good and pleasing to the eye is a bi-product.

 

I have never worked on a farm and been involved with harvest, yet I always see it as an exciting time, occurring at the height of summer and most of the time giving a satisfying conclusion to a year’s hard work of sowing seed, cultivating and finally reaping the harvest.

 

The harvest is hard work too, rewarded with delicious food and drink prepared by the farmer’s wives in their farmhouse kitchens.

 

Ok, I know it’s not really like that, especially in this day and age, infact probably it never has been. But it is all part of my idyllic dream of the countryside and adds to why I find so much peace and relaxation travelling through these country scenes.

 

Mother nature at her best.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. - Buddha

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…the golden fields of harvest

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Exit signs are on the way out

 

 

400 WORDS

 

SUNDAY 23rd JULY 2017

 

UNIQUE YOU

 

I was browsing books at Waterstones yesterday and came across a beautiful book, entitled “The 100 Hugs”.  A collection of hugs from Children's Laureate Chris Riddell.

 

The book consists of lots of his unique pictures and quotes about love.

 

I glanced through and one stuck out above all others:  

 

“Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.” ―  Oscar Wilde

 

I could not get the quote out of my mind for the rest of the day and it will remain with me, intensely, for the rest of my life. They are such powerful thought provoking words.

 

The quote is not aimed at your general all encompassing, unconditional love for fellow human beings.

 

This quote is aimed at that very special, unique love, that one special love of your life.

 

All you single people, people in not so perfect relationships, people in relationships simply because they are “comfortable,” etc. – please take this to heart, or try to. Wilde had a point. Don’t settle – and this applies to both boys and girls.

 

We should all celebrate true romance, whether you already have it in your life or are waiting for it.

 

The quote is so right because you aren't ordinary. Not one single drop of you.

 

Anyone who dares to treat you as if you're just like everyone, while telling you how much they love you, doesn't really understand what it means to be in love at all. True love, the deepest love, comes in the form of treating your beloved like they're infinitely spectacular because you know they are infinitely spectacular, without question.

 

You are definitely not ordinary. Not in the way you think, the way you talk, your clothes, your hair, your favourite music, your favourite TV, the way you waltz into a room, the way you laugh, or even the way you brush your teeth every morning. You're one of a kind.

 

There has never been a YOU before and when you're gone from this life, there will never be another YOU again. Yes, there will be people similar to you, sharing your name, maybe have the same shaped nose, or those who can do an equally impressive Tommy Cooper impression, but similarities mean nothing. You are unique.

 

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” but in this case just nine words can create a thousand pictures or thoughts. Think on! Truly wise and inspirational words.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

"An obstacle is often a stepping stone." - William Prescott

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…having a partner who is far, far from ordinary

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

You know you're ugly when it comes to a group picture and they hand you the camera.

 

 

400 WORDS

 

SATURDAY 22nd JULY 2017

 

BORN IN A MINI CAR

 

I have studied children’s literature for years. The subject is fascinating and almost daily I discover new miraculous gems of books and authors.

 

Yesterday was no exception. I discovered Mini Grey. She is a Nestlé Smarties Gold winner and a Greenaway Award winner. So why have I not come across her books before?

 

Her biography is as amazing as her wildly original and entertaining books.

 

She was born in the front seat of a mini car in an icy car park in Wales, and also named after it. That was the mid-60s. Somehow the spirit-of-the-age with the easygoing combination of practicality and imagination defines her work.

 

Mini worked as a theatre designer, then a primary school teacher, before studying for an MA in sequential design at Brighton University.

 

As a child she believed no day should pass without making something and created many bizarre objects from cardboard, clay, papier mâché, dough, plaster, toilet rolls and crisp packets.

 

Mini's first picture book for children, Egg Drop, a surreal story of an egg that dreams of being able to fly, was published in 2002. It established her as both a visually exciting illustrator of detailed, colourful artwork and a highly accomplished storyteller, who often narrates from an unusual, often edible, point of view:

 

such as that of the pea in The Pea and the Princess (2003)

the biscuit in Biscuit Bear (2004) – (winner of Nestlé Smarties Gold)

the spoon in The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon (winner of Greenaway Award 2007).

 

Traction Man is Here (2005) won the 2005 Boston Horn Book Award.

 

Her version of Hilaire Belloc’s cautionary tale of Jim (who runs away from his nurse and gets eaten by a lion) was shortlisted for the Greenaway Awards 2011.

 

Mini was selected as one of Booktrust’s Best New Illustrators in 2008.

 

Recent books include Hermelin, the story of a typing mouse detective, and Space Dog, an intergalactic canine/feline romp set in the Outer Spooniverse.

 

Mini’s latest publication is The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show.

 

She lives in Oxford (UK) with her partner Tony, son Herbie, and cat Bonzetta. She likes walking along the river and up hills, running down corridors, and playing with her food.

 

In a Guardian interview she said that there was no spare time to indulge her lifelong passion for learning new things. But if there was, she'd like to make a series of pottery gravy boats.

 

What more can be said.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.' ~ Charles M. Schulz

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…discovering a  wildly original and creative children’s author you’ve not come across before

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Went to my allotment and found that there was twice as much soil as there was the week before. The plot thickens - Darren Walsh

 

 

 

200  WORDS

FRIDAY 21st JULY 2017

 

SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER

 

You have either just started or about to start the long six week school summer holiday. Even if you do not have school children you will be affected due to the sheer volume of extra people and traffic wherever you go.

 

Dependent on where you are at in relation to school, it can raise a wide range of emotive feelings:

 

1.relief

2.heavenly           

3.excitement

4.boredom

5.expense

6.overcrowding

7.frustration

8.there’s loads of money to be made here

9.how do you keep the children occupied

10.neverendingness

11.“Shit, whose going to look after the children whilst I am working.”

 

The long summer break is widely believed to be a throwback to Victorian demands for children to help with the harvest. However, summer holidays didn't match harvest time, as many crops were gathered in in September. State schools only existed post-1870 and holidays were whenever school boards determined they should occur. As teachers were paid by the week, they were reluctant to take a long time off. The historian Jacob Middleton, of Birkbeck College, London, says the long break reflects that enjoyed by the upper classes – in Parliament, the law courts, universities and public schools – which filtered down to urban schools.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets. ~ American Proverb

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…breaking up for the 6+ week August summer holiday

 

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Q: What do you call a famous fish? A: A star fish

 

7

 

800  WORDS

THURSDAY 20th JULY

 

THE BOY WITH TWO NEW HANDS

 

There was a heart warming story on TV news yesterday about Zion Harvey, a 10 year old little boy, so brave with a fantastic attitude and positive view on life that we all could learn from.

 

This is from the Guardian:

 

After almost 11 hours of surgery, involving four teams (40 people) of doctors, in July 2015, Zion Harvey had earned his place in medical history. The eight-year-old had become the first child in the world to receive two new hands in a procedure that heralded a revolution in transplant medicine.

 

Two years on, the sports-mad boy from Baltimore, Maryland, is enjoying the freedom and independence his new hands have given him. In the first medical journal report of Zion’s pioneering treatment, the experts involved declare the operation a success and say other children could benefit from the knowledge gained.

 

Zion had to rely on others after he had his hands and feet amputated aged two when he contracted sepsis. For six years he used a combination of his residual limbs and specialist equipment to dress, wash himself and eat – until the double transplant changed his life.

 

“At 18 months [after the transplant], the child had exceeded his previous adaptive abilities. He is able to write and feed, toilet and dress himself more independently and efficiently than he could do before transplantation,” writes the team from the Children’s hospital of Philadelphia in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.

 

Organ transplantation is risky in that a recipient’s body may reject the new body part, while the drug regime involved carries a series of health risks. Two years on from the surgery, Zion, now 10, is coping well with both.

 

 “Cases like this demonstrate how new developments and innovation in science and transplantation have the potential to make enormous differences to the quality of life of patients,” said Lorna Marson, the president of the British Transplantation Society, which represents specialists working in the field across the NHS.

 

Zion said: “The only thing that’s different is instead of no hands, I have two hands. I’m still the same kid everybody knew without hands.

 

Referring to his new hands, he added: “Here’s the piece of my life that was missing. Now it’s here, my life is complete. And I wrote a thank-you letter to my surgeon”

 

Within eight months of the operation Zion was using scissors and crayons and after a year he was able to swing a baseball bat with both hands – once throwing the opening pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game.

 

Dr Scott Levin, team leader for Zion’s surgery, has praised his young patient’s bravery. “I’ve never seen Zion cry. I’ve never seen him not want to do his therapy. He’s just such a remarkable human being, let alone child or adult. He has such courage and determination and gives us all inspiration,” he said.

 

But the last two years have been mentally and physically hard for Zion. He has had huge amounts of physiotherapy and occupational therapy to help him adjust, as well as counselling to aid his psychological recovery.

 

The doctors write: “Since his surgery he has undergone eight rejections of the hands, including serious episodes during the fourth and seventh months of his transplant. All of these were reversed with immunosuppression drugs without impacting the function of the child’s hands.”

 

He is still taking four different immunosuppressant drugs to maximise the chances of his body continuing to tolerate the pair of new hands, though doctors hope to reduce the dose.

 

“While functional outcomes are positive and the boy is benefiting from his transplant, this surgery has been very demanding for this child and his family,” said Dr Sandra Amaral, a member of the team at the Philadelphia hospital.

 

However, in an accompanying comment article, Dr Marco Lanzetta, an Italian expert in hand transplant surgery, doubts that many children could tolerate a similar procedure and highlights the risks from lifelong use of immunosuppressants. Zion’s case was exceptional as he was already on the drugs, after receiving a kidney from his mother, Pattie Ray.

 

Prosthetic hands and limbs, adds Lanzetta, have now developed so much that they, are more likely to prove the future for patients like Zion.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Maximize your mind, body, heart and soul. Living your best life requires you to maximize yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Maximize all 4 aspects of you.

 

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…writing on a steamy mirror

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Don’t marry a tennis player. Love means nothing to them - Josie Long

 

 

 

800  WORDS

WEDNESDAY 19th JULY 2017

 

LET DOCTOR WHO BE YOUR LADY TONIGHT

 

The thirteenth person to take on the role of Doctor Who is Jodie Whittaker, who was unveiled on Sunday as the first female Doctor Who in the programme's history. This is part of an article taken The Daily Telegraph by Camilla Turner and partly by me.

 

The Broadchurch star will take over from Peter Capaldi, who announced that he would be stepping down from Doctor Who earlier this year.

 

Whittaker, 35, revealed she had told "a lot of lies" in order to keep the announcement secret and had used the codename Clooney when discussing the role with her husband and agent.

 

“I’ve embroiled myself in a whole world of lies which is going to come back at me when this is announced,” she said, adding that it was "nerve-racking" to keep it a secret.

 

Asked how it feels to be the first female Doctor Who, she said: “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible.

 

“I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."

 

The 13th Doctor was unveiled following the BBC's coverage of the Wimbledon men's singles final on Sunday.

 

Fans of the show have welcomed the casting.

 

Writer and avid fan Jenny Colgan - who has written several Doctor Who novels and audio dramas - said she was "absolutely delighted" that Whittaker was the new Doctor, describing her as "brilliant and bold and brave".

 

She said: "When I was a little girl I thought I was the only female Doctor Who fan in the world. Now Jodie Whittaker is taking it to a whole new place, and I am absolutely delighted for all of us wee Whoviennes, old and new."

 

Asked what she would say to anyone unhappy that the new Doctor is a woman, she said: "People are always unhappy when there's a new Doctor, that's just the way of it.

 

"Then new stuff happens and it's brilliant and everyone loves them …

 

"If you really would stop watching Doctor Who because it was a woman, I don't think you really understand the entire ethos the last 55 years of The Doctor has been about."

 

Dermot Devlin, a disability campaigner and advisor from Omagh in County Tyrone, said he was looking forward to seeing what Whittaker does with the role, adding that he hoped she was chosen because she was right for the part, and not as a gimmick.

 

Devlin  said: "I am looking forward to seeing the direction she Takes the Doctor in and I do believe the time is right for 'he' to become 'she'.

 

Devlin, said he thought Whittaker was "excellent" in Broadchurch, joked: "So Jodie, it's over to you.”

 

Not everyone was impressed, however.

 

One Twitter user David Stephens said: "Sorry this is so called equality, women's rights, political correctness gone mad-Dr Who was written/created as a man! End of."

 

Capaldi praised his successor, saying: "Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker's work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm. She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She's going to be a fantastic Doctor."

 

Whittaker, who will take over from Capaldi from this year's Christmas special, rose to prominence for her role in the film Venus and St Trinians.

 

She has also starred in television series including Broadchurch, Tess of the D’Urberbilles, Wired and Return to Cranford.

 

The previous incarnations of the Time Lord were played by:

William Hartnell (1963-66)

Patrick Troughton (1966-69)

Jon Pertwee (1970-74)

Tom Baker (1974-81)

Peter Davison (1982-84)

Colin Baker (1984-86)

Sylvester McCoy (1987-89)

Paul McGann (1996)

Christopher Eccleston (2005)

David Tennant (2005-2010)

Matt Smith (2010-2013)

Peter Capaldi (2013-2017)

Jodie Whittaker (2017-)

 

The Christmas special will see David Bradley making an appearance as the first Doctor, the role originally taken by actor William Hartnell in the Sixties, meaning that three different incarnations of the Time Lord will appear in the same show.

 

Steven Moffat, the show’s lead writer and executive producer, will also leave the long-running sci-fi series after the Christmas special, to be succeeded by the Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnalláá.

 

There have been 839 episodes of Doctor Who. The Programme first appeared on BBC TV at 17:16:20 GMT on Saturday, 23 November 1963; this was eighty seconds later than the scheduled programme time, due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy the previous day.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” —Maya Angelou

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…making love in the tardis

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Bonsai lovers are very tolerant people: they hate bigotry. - Juliet Meyers

 

 

 

300  WORDS

 

TUESDAY 18th JULY 2017

 

JANE AUSTEN DIED 18th JULY 1817

 

200 years ago: on 18th July 1817 Jane Austen died. Her novels have made her one of the most widely read and loved writers in English literature. They include:

Novels

Sense and Sensibility (1811)

Pride and Prejudice (1813)

Mansfield Park (1814)

Emma (1815)

Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumous)

Persuasion (1818, posthumous)

Lady Susan (1871, posthumous)

 

Unfinished fiction

The Watsons (1804)

Sanditon (1817)

Other works

Sir Charles Grandison (adapted play) (1793, 1800)

 Plan of a Novel (1815)

Poems (1796–1817)

Prayers (1796–1817)

Letters (1796–1817)

Juvenilia – Volume the First (1787–1793)

Juvenilia – Volume the Second (1787–1793)

Juvenilia – Volume the Third (1787–1793)

 

Jane Austen is one of our most consistent literary. She completed so many different types of writing works.

In more recent years many of her books have been converted into the new medias, like film, radio and TV.

She was born 16 December 1775 at Steventon Rectory, Hampshire, England , making her aged only 41 when she died.

The Bank of England has confirmed that Austen will appear on the new polymer £10 note, to be released in September 2017.

 

 

 

Contents  [hide]

A few weeks ago we were on holiday in the Lake District in a self catering cottage with our grandchildren. There was a programme on TV tracing the life of Jane Austen. My eldest grandson, four year old, Rory, seemed to like me to sit on an armchair whose stylish upholstery was cream with black calligraphy all over it. Very unusual.

“Grandad, who wrote this chair?” he asked me.

“I do not know. “ I answered.

“I think it was Jane Austen.” He said.

And do you know I think he was probably right.

There is a photograph of the chair under picture of the week, so you can see what he means.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

 

 Socrates

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…a perfect shooting star.

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

You know that tingly little feeling you get when you like someone? That's your common sense leaving your body.

 

 

 

 

 

500 WORDS

 

MONDAY 17th JULY 2017

 

SHIRLEY HUGHES WE LOVE YOU (& YOUR WORK)

 

Preface Note:       Some people talk of writers’ block. I suffer the total opposite: writers’ diarrhoea. I just cannot stop the words coming out, except for the three year period I have already expanded upon in a previous post when a so-called Children’s Writing Course coach gave some peculiar criticisms to my work.

 

Because my head is filled with ideas I struggle with limiting these postings to just one subject a day. Today is a typical day. I wish to write about at least three important things. One is the announcement of the new Dr Who, which is the first female for the role. A major event in Dr Who history. I will write about that later in the week.

The subject I have to concentrate on today is Shirley Hughes, CBE. She was born 16 July 1927 and celebrated her 90th birthday, yesterday. She has written more than fifty children’s books, which have sold more than 11.5 million copies, and has illustrated more than two hundred.

 

The first published book she both wrote and illustrated was Lucy & Tom's Day, which was made into a series of stories. She went on to write Dogger (1977), the Alfie series (1977), featuring a young boy named Alfie and sometimes his sister Annie-Rose, and the Olly and Me series (1993), along with many, many more. Shirley Hughes wrote her first novel in 2015, a young-adult book titled Hero on a Bicycle.

 

She won the 1977 and 2003 Kate Greenaway Medals for British children's book illustration. In 2007, her 1977 winner, Dogger, was named the public's favourite winning work of the award's first fifty years. She won the inaugural Booktrust lifetime achievement award in 2015 and is a patron of the Association of Illustrators.

 

In a recent Guardian interview she said, “The children in my stories, Alfie, Lucy and Tom and company, are not taken from my own children at that age, or anyone else’s, but inspired by a combination of both. I don’t use a camera. I lurk about in parks and play areas with a sketchbook and observe what I see: the way small children move when they are playing.”

 

“Now my touring days are over, things are much calmer. Having written two teenage novels in later life, and working with my daughter Clara Vulliamy on the Dixie O’Day series (the first time I’ve ever had an illustrator!) has been an enormous pleasure.”

 

A special 40th anniversary issue of Dogger was published by Penguin on 29 June

 

Her books include (this is not a total list):

 

Alfie Stories:

Alfie Gets in First

Alfie Gives a Hand

Alfie's Feet

Alfie's Weather

An Evening at Alfie's

The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Story Book

Rhymes for Annie Rose

 

Other Stories:

Moving Molly

Bathwater's Hot

Noisy

When We Went to the Park

All Shapes and Sizes

Colours

Two Shoes, New Shoes

Out and About

Dogger

The Trouble With Jack

Lucy and Tom's Christmas

Tales of Trotter Street

Hero on a Bicycle

The Christmas Eve Ghost

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Happiness is not in our circumstances, but in ourselves.  It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire.  Happiness is something we are.John B. Sheerin (Author)

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is… reading Dogger and The Trouble With Jack to your children no matter what their age

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Two wrongs don't make a right, take your parents as an example.

 

 

 

 

400 WORDS

 

SUNDAY 16th JULY 2017

O REFUND, REFUND WHEREFORE ART THOU REFUND?

 

Wembley Stadium may be a superb masterpiece of a stadiums but it is one of the worst companies I have dealt with when it comes to customer service.

 

If they were in any other business they would have to sort their bad management but because they have no competition they can continually to go arrogantly along ignoring customer’s requirements.

 

I am referring to having to wait 28 days for the refund for the recent Adele tickets and also the antiquated system of purchasing tickets for events. The purchasing of tickets is a problem that affects all such venues. Not just Wembley.

 

We see lots in the media about various artistes’ concerts selling out in 45 minutes. So I do not understand why it takes 28 days to do the reverse and get the money back to customers who purchased tickets. Should it not be 45 minutes per concert?

 

I bought a book from Amazon last week. It was not what I was expecting, so I returned it to them. Within two hours I was notified by email that I had been refunded. Within two days the money was back in my credit card account. But Amazon do get awards for customer service.

 

Wembley are massive. Can’t they have a similar system?

 

Wembley must employ some of the top technical graduates who have been through the best universities. They are capable of technically producing any lighting effect/set or special effects. They can create and relay any sound musically. But they cannot refund your money due to their cancellation in less than 28 days!

 

The system is so antiquated for booking tickets too. In this day and age with technology at the stage it is at, there is talk of the danger of artificial intelligence getting a head of human intelligence so booking tickets for top concerts should not be so difficult. You should not be locked out of the website or constantly having to redial the number because there are no lines available.

 

The whole booking tickets industry for events and receiving refunds is arrogant and is somewhere back in the dark ages. Operators are obviously creaming off lucrative profits and not putting anything back. Something needs to come along and give it a great big kick up the backside.

 

Meanwhile I sit and wait unpatiently for my refund. What else can I do? And there lies the problem.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhereelse. – Albert Einstein

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…waking up and realising you do not have to go into work

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Thanks for explaining the word "many" to me, it means a lot.

 

 

 

400 WORDS

 

SATURDAY 15th JULY 2017

 

HOW MANY PHOTOGRAPHS?

 

I am a keen photographer. In 2015 I took 12,000. In 2016 7,000. My wife (Mamma) feared in 2015 it had reached addiction proportions.

 

Mamma hates photographs and hates me taking them. She hates to see photographs of herself. She says if I am taking photographs of anything anywhere she may as well be there by herself. She is a photographer’s widow. Also, she does not like me to post our family photographs to the blog.

 

There could lie a dilemma. It doesn’t because, even though I agree, I am addicted to taking photographs I control it and we have a compromise. The basis all good marriages are built on.

 

One of the frustrations of taking so many photographs is what to do with them all. Having taken them you do feel they need to be put to good use and not just left on the camera, computer or phone to fade away.

 

I do make photobooks and I am always hopeful that the odd one is good enough to put on a canvas or win a competition (they never do).

 

But looking at recent Facebook statistics I am alone in my love of taking photographs.

 

Here are the facts:

 

Worldwide, there are over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook as at March 2017 (Facebook MAUs) which is an 18 percent increase year on year.

 

Photo uploads total 300 million per day. (Source: Gizmodo) This is an indication of engaged users; also, it is an indication that there are a lot of photos, as well as other information, competing for users’ attention.

 

Every 60 seconds on Facebook:      510,000 comments are posted,

293,000 statuses are updated,

136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny)

Or 243,055 new photos are uploaded every minute (according to which statistic to believe.

 

 

At 1.94 billion, Facebook has more monthly active users than:

                    WhatsApp (500 million),

                   Twitter (284 million)

                    Instagram (200 million)—combined  (Source: CNBC). 

 

Although Instagram now has over 600 million users according to Instagram’s report December  2016. 

 

Facebook continues to reign in popularity over other social media channels, but the competition is mounting.

 

The total number of uploaded Facebook photos is 250 billion.

 

On average 300 million photos are uploaded daily to Facebook.

 

243,055 new photos are uploaded to Facebook every minute.

 

All these facts taken from a report published on the internet by Zephoria

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

When it rains look for rainbows. When it’s dark look for stars – Karen King (author Tweet) Latest book Cornish Hotel By The Sea

 

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…taking photographs of any subject matter

 

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend thinking.

 

 

 

 

300 WORDS

 

FRIDAY 14th JULY 2017

 

What Some Father’s of the Bride Will Do To Get Attention

 

At both my daughter’s weddings I made a real meal of the Father of the Bride’s speech, mainly because I was so proud to be Father of the Bride. But I bet most of the wedding guests were so bored they wished the following would have happened to me. The story is from a report on the BBC News page yesterday.

 

No one likes a dull wedding, but one father-of-the-bride's speech was a little too electrifying at his daughter's ceremony last weekend.

 

JP Nadeau was reportedly struck by lightning mid-sentence in his apple orchard in New Brunswick, Canada.

 

"And just as I told my new son-in-law 'You're a lucky guy' - Boom!" he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

 

Aside from a small scar on his thumb, Mr Nadeau says he was unscathed and the wedding proceeded.

 

Storm clouds had gathered behind him at the ceremony on 8 July, he said, and his daughter saw lightning strike the ground nearby.

 

"I had the microphone and the shock jumped into the sound system and my hand just lit up and I saw the spark," he told the CBC.

 

"And I'm looking at my hand and it's all flared up… It was like I was holding a lightning bolt in my hand, it was amazing."

 

Everyone was stunned at first, but that didn't stop the happy couple from continuing with the festivities.

 

"It was a beautiful wedding," Mr Nadeau's wife, Maggy Thomas, told the CBC.

 

"But that was pretty terrifying for a second."

 

Mr Nadeau says he's a lucky-unlucky man - in 2015, a cruise ship he was working on near the Falkland Islands caught fire, and he was rescued by the British Royal Air Force.

 

"I've had lots of brushes with death," said Mr Nadeau. "But death keeps ignoring me."

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. ~ Native American Proverb

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…performing a proud Father (or Mother) of the Bride speech

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

I can totally keep secrets. It's the people I tell them to that can't.

 

 

 

 

400 WORDS

 

THURSDAY 13th JULY 2017

 

MEMORY  (ELAINE PAIGE - 4th JULY 1981 No.6)

 

I have a terrible memory, and always have had. My wife (Mamma) has a razor sharp memory and can remember events in finite detail.

 

To recall things I need to check back on my writings or diaries of the time. Or look at photographs of course which are perfect for kick starting the memory bringing all the details flooding back.

 

One of the best memory joggers is music. If I hear a track there always seems to be a memory or memories rekindled from when that track was riding high in the chart or when it featured in my life.

 

To be honest I seem to have had an ongoing soundtrack to my life. Whatever I have done or am doing a unique piece of music accompanies it and then when I hear that track it brings back all the memories of that time and even the deepest feelings are rekindled by the music.

 

Memory is a funny old thing. Because I am interested in it, I find if I hear a track from the 50s, 60s, 70s and probably 1980 I can tell you the title, singer, year, highest position in the chart and record label. Ask me what I did a week last Wednesday and I cannot remember.

 

Just one added note, the musical knowledge memory fades after 1980 as we had a family. Life changed, family called, tiredness enveloped and musical knowledge faded.

 

Almost every day I awake with a song going on in my mind. Usually a different one each day, from my past (usually) and I end up singing the tag line constantly through the day. Does it come from my dream sleep? I do not know.

 

One of the worst is when I make a cup of tea and I sing “I like a nice cop of tea in the morning…” This was the music to a Brooke Bond D tea TV advert of the 1970s. The song was from the London Musical "Home And Beauty" (1937) by Henry Sullivan and A.P. Herbert. Binnie Hale sang the original long ago in 1937.

Gracie Fields also recorded the song and so did Joe Loss & His Orch. Aren’t I sad?

 

That reminds me “About this time of day I like a nice cup of tea”, which means I have to say (sing) “Hello Goodbye” Beatles No.1, 6.12.1967 for 7 weeks, and be on my way.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Be positive. Is the glass half empty or half full? It's neither? It's actually all-full - the bottom half is water, the top half is air. It's all a matter of perception. Take on perceptions that empower you, not those that bind you. If you can see the positive side to everything, you'll be able to live a much richer life than others.

 

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is… a memory triggered by music

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Waking up this morning was an eye-opening experience.

 

 

 

500 WORDS

 

WEDNESDAY 12th JULY 2017

 

WHERE CAN YOU FIND THE BEST TV IN THE WORLD

 

For my sins I watch a lot of Cbeebies TV accompanied by grandchildren. Ok, probably too much.

But it is far, far better, more creative, more entertaining and more original than adult TV.

 

Take “Bing” for example where the young folk are far bigger than the mature older people. Spot on perspective,  too. Characters that are important and big in a child’s world are not necessarily the grown ups.

Then the Tellytubby’s talk to Ewan and George in a language they understand. Huh, Huh, Tellytub

by bye, bye.  

 

In addition, don’t forget the unforgettable Twirlywoos. And Mr Bloom, who gives Monty Don a run for his money. Tinga Tinga tales are full of amazingly colourful characters. The Night Garden is a highly original home for some fantastic characters.

 

I have expanded my views on Postman Pat and his black and white cat’s inability to deliver even one parcel without messing it up, before in these posts.  (Is that a grandad joke…posts).

  

Justin Fletcher with all his hilarious slapstick humour is funnier than most current peak time comedy. Exactly, what peak time comedy? (Hospital People excluded) Brother/Cousin Rory and Sister/Cousin Freya tells me Justin Fletcher plays all the parts in Something Special. To be honest I can’t see that, I don’t think so. Anyway Aunt Polly Tumble is female so he can’t play her. Children have such vivid imaginations.

 

I worry about Fireman Sam’s ethics. Norman is always doing naughty things and having to be rescued yet Fireman Sam never tells him off. The other thing I noticed is Fireman Sam is a red head and so is Norman. It all adds up to Norman being Fireman Sam’s love child. The Jeremy Kyle programme of the children’s world.

Whoops, that’s not Cbeebies it’s Milkshake on Channel Five, which is equally as good and even has Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends and Paw Patrol.

 

One of my favourite actresses on TV is Rebecca Keatley from Cbeebies Let’s Play and one of Cbeebies current anchor people. In Let’s Play she throws herself wholeheartedly into every roll, whether man or woman, young or old. Her acting is second to none and she so deserves to be award an Oscar for “Actress in a Leading Role”.

Talking about Cbeebies in general I do have one teensy, little, diddy criticism. I was watching yesterday and it was brilliant. Two more of my favourites, Peter Rabbit and Friends and Timmy Time. Both are so good they do not come anywhere near any adult TV, but both episodes were unseasonably about snow and were winter tales.

One of the worse things in the world to me apart from war, disease and earthquake is things out of season. Snow in mid July is so off putting and could not be more out of season. I don’t like looking at summer stories in the middle of December, either. Whoever chose to show those episodes needs instant dismissal.

 

With these exception it’s without doubt streets ahead of any other TV.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Plough your own furrow and don’t fade into beige. – Jenny Eclair

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…winding down after an exciting day and relaxing with grandchildren watching In The Night Garden on Cbeebies

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

They said choose a password with 8 characters easy: Snow White and the seven dwarfs

 

300 WORDS

 

TUESDAY 11th JULY 2017

 

World Population Day

 

Today is World Population Day which was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989

 

When the first World Population Day was marked in 1990, the global population stood at a little over five billion. It's now over half that again, measuring 7.6 billion.

 

By resolution 45/216 of December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly decided to continue observing World Population Day to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development.

 

There are so many issues with a world population increasing so fast, amongst them is having sufficient world resources to feed everyone and of course dealing with the waste.

 

One of the main focuses of the Day is to contain population growth.

 

The Day was first marked in more than 90 countries.

 

This year’s Day is emphasising on Family Planning. Around the world, some 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of access to information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities. Most of these women with an unmet demand for contraceptives live in 69 of the poorest countries on earth.

 

Access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right. It is also central to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and is a key factor in reducing poverty. Investments in making family planning available also yields economic and other gains that can propel development forward.

 

In 2017 World Population Day, 11 July, coincides with the Family Planning Summit, the second meeting of the FP2020 – Family Planning 2020 – initiative, which aims to expand access to voluntary family planning to 120 million additional women by 2020.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. - Winston Churchill

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…looking forward

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they would eventually find me attractive.

 

 

650 WORDS

 

MONDAY 10th JULY 2017

 

When Lennon met McCartney

 

The world is full of famous duos – both fact and fiction: Ant & Dec, Morecambe & Wise, Everly Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, Batman & Robin, Sarah & Duck, Me & Mamma. But the most famous has to be Lennon & McCartney.

 

They met on Saturday 6 July 1957. I should have run this item on 6 July, but better late than never.

 

I love the film Sliding Doors starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah. The film alternates between two parallel universes, based on the two paths the central character's life could take depending on whether or not she catches a train, and causing different outcomes in her life. Our family always consider the many “Sliding Door” moments we have in life, moments when a decision to do or not do something changes your life direction.

 

When Lennon met McCartney it created a huge Sliding Door moment. Can you imagine the impact on the world if John had not asked Paul to join them or Paul had turned them down? Ok, life would have gone on and we would all be oblivious of what could have been. But the world would have been a lesser place.

 

Here’s how it happened.

 

During a Europe-wide heat-wave 60 years ago, on 6th July 1957, John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time. A pivotal day for the history of modern music:– at what must be one of the best documented church fetes in history.

 

This was the annual St Peter's Church, Woolton Parish Church Garden Fete in Liverpool – a parade and outdoor fair at which 16-year-old John and his Quarry Men skiffle group had been invited to play. The main attractions were a dog show and a brass band.

 

The members of the Quarrymen were: Lennon (vocals, guitar), Eric Griffiths (guitar), Colin Hanton (drums), Rod Davies (banjo), Pete Shotton (washboard) and Len Garry (tea chest bass).

 

The entertainment began at 2pm with the opening procession, which entailed one or two wonderfully festooned lorries crawling at a snail's pace through the village on their way to the Church field. The first lorry carried the Rose Queen, seated on her throne, surrounded by her retinue, all dressed in pink and white satin, sporting long ribbons and hand-made roses in their hair. These girls had been chosen from the Sunday school groups, on the basis of age and good behaviour.

 

The following lorry carried various entertainers, including the Quarry Men. The boys were on the back of the moving lorry trying to stay upright and play their instruments at the same time. John gave up battling with balance and sat with his legs hanging over the edge, playing his guitar and singing. He continued all through the slow journey.

 

It was far from inevitable that they would meet. The two boys lived in different neighbourhoods, went to different schools and were nearly two years apart in age. But the younger Paul, who was entranced by John’s performance as a lead singer, was introduced to him by a friend in the church hall.

 

Despite himself, John was impressed when 15 years old Paul played a couple of songs and showed him how to tune his guitar properly. Later, he invited him to join the band. The pair went on to form the Beatles.

 

The Quarrymen's set, remarkably, was recorded by an audience member, Bob Molyneux, on his portable Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder. In 1994 Molyneux, then a retired policeman, rediscovered the tape, which contained scratchy recordings of the band performing Lonnie Donegan's Puttin' On The Style and Elvis Presley's Baby, Let's Play House.

The tape was sold on 15 September 1994 at Sotheby's for £78,500. At the time it was the most expensive recording ever sold at auction. The winning bidder was EMI Records, who considered if for release as part of the Anthology project, but chose not to as the sound quality was substandard.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears." - Les Brown

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…the Beatles 12 studio albums, 13 EPs and 22 singles

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

There are two rules for success: 1) Don't tell all you know.

 

 

 

400 WORDS

 

SUNDAY 9th JULY 2017

 

DREAM FARM

 

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be allowed take some photographs of the wildlife and buildings on a Nottinghamshire farm. The centre point was a huge farmyard pond with the farmhouse, farm buildings and fields surrounding it.

 

The sun shone, the sky was a deep blue and a more relaxing environment I have never come across. To me it was a dream world. Everywhere I looked there was inspiration, a story location with its own key character – all animals, birds or insects of course.

 

I went initially to see a pair of swans and their signets who had taken up residence on the pond, but sadly, it being a Saturday they had gone out for the day. Fortunately a duck family had stepped in as last minute understudies, with a mum, dad and six tiny ducklings. They were very low profile. The parents took the ducklings into the undergrowth on seeing me. Me saying “Hi up mi duck” in a broad Nottingham accent disturbed them. They did not want their babies subject to that sort of language or humour.

 

I noticed a heron standing at the far end of the pond. What a rewarding sight. I took so many photographs, but like an ‘A’ List celebrity facing the paparazzi, it was getting edgy and nervous at so many photographs, so it flew to the island in the middle of the pond. Could this be ‘Love Island’?

 

I managed to continue to photograph the heron. It marched up and down looking more and more peed off with me. Finally it had had enough of my shenanigans and with an irritated flap of its wings took off in a southerly direction.

 

As the heron left a dragonfly took centre stage doing an aerial acrobatics show in front of my very eyes. I don’t know whether he or she, (how do you find the gender of a dragonfly?) was a show off, completely opposite to the heron or whether he or she knew he or she was too small to be photographed. But he or she was beautiful, picked out by the spotlight of the sun in a magnificent performance.

 

Other attractions on the star studded bill were: moorhens, blackbirds, horses, tractors, and swallows. Apparently four baby barn owls resided in a nest box in the locality their location, a closely guarded secret for security reasons. But I saw a photograph. Huge white fluffy  balls with big brown eyes. What were they thinking of the world they had been born into: Trump, Putin, Theresa May, Corbyn , North Korea and Adele cancelling her Wembley concerts. To be honest they looked content and totally oblivious.

 

The garden was in its red roses full party dress glory, edged in foxgloves - or were they hollyhocks? I ignorantly never know the difference – and other flowers and plants. The well manicured lawns formed a luscious back drop.

 

All too soon the dream was over. But I have the memory and the exciting tingly feeling thwy gives.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…a farm

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Relationships are a lot like algebra. Have you ever looked at your X and wondered Y?

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200 WORDS

 

SATURDAY 8th JULY 2017

LONGEST PRISON SENTENCE

 

The internet is filled with astonishing facts. I come across so much unbelievable information whilst researching. I love it.

 

Look at this:

Statistic of the week.  90% of all the data in the world has been created in the past two years, with much of it thanks to smartphones. - Metro.

 

And then I found this piece:

The longest prison sentence on record is 141,078 years - given to Chamoy Thipyaso, a Thai woman, in 1989. She defrauded people in a pyramid scheme, which netted her more than $200 million. She served eight years. - The Express.

 

OK she defrauded people of $200 million but I consider crimes causing bodily harm or taking people’s lives to be far more serious than stealing money or effects. Therefore I would have expected the longest prison sentence to go to someone committing some atrocities to a person not due to a crime involving fraud.

 

I know many countries still have the death penalty. Also bad offenders end up losing their lives due to shoot to kill policies. But killers who do survive should have the longest sentences.

 

I guess my view is coloured, I might think differently if it was my $200 million.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Never get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…a sunny Saturday afternoon in July

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Team work is important; it helps to put the blame on someone else.

 

 

800 WORDS

FRIDAY 7th JULY 2017

 

CHILDREN, HOW TO GET OBSESSED BY BOOKS

 

The habit of reading books and loving them is so important for children

 

Here are 8 tried and tested tips to kick-start an obsession with books, and take unexpected adventures together. It is taken from Penguin Books’ Puffin website.

 

1.Create a routine

The best way to build reading into your day is by easing it into your family’s regular routine. It might be as simple as twenty minutes a day after dinner, or another time most convenient for you. These regular, mini-sessions are a great way to start to build reading as a habit and young readers will absolutely love the one-on-one time with you.

 

2.Remember, any book is a good book!

For new readers, beginners and reluctant readers, it’s important to remember any book is a good book! Sticker books, colouring books, graphic novels and comics all offer a gateway into reading and can be used to get into the habit of exploring books and reading stories together. A love of books and reading can be sparked by the most unexpected offering, so don’t be deterred by starting with the easy stuff.

 

 3.Find a way of discovering books that works for you

There are many different ways to discover books as a family. You might enjoy going to a bookshop - larger high street stores are perfect for energetic kids that love to run around and explore, whereas some local independents will have some fun reading nooks or discounted gems to discover. Libraries have a wealth of books to choose from (for free!) and are great for kids that want to try lots at once. Browse websites, sign up to newsletters and check out social media for ideas and inspiration. There are lots of fantastic options that will keep you up to date and most importantly - keep you excited about reading too!

 

4.Make a special event of finding books

When looking for books, it’s important to view it as a fun event as opposed to a chore. Build up your trip as something to get excited about together and most importantly let your child choose their own book. This way, your young readers will feel empowered and you’ll add a sense of autonomy to their reading (and they will love feeling so involved!). Why not grab a cake, juice or a coffee afterwards and begin to look at your new books together? Those fun moments together will begin to feel like treat-time and reinforce a love of books and reading.

 

5.Pass on your own likes (and loves!)

It’s important for you to be interested in the books you’re reading together too, so if you have a book you love from your childhood, then why not bring it to story time and share it with your kids? Don’t be afraid to indulge your own likes, as your children will undoubtedly enjoy experiencing - and be enthused - by the books you love too.

 

6.Make story time come alive

Story time doesn’t need to be chore. It can be fun, silly, and laugh-out-loud hilarious if you want it to be. Why not set the scene – read in the garden, try under a tree or make your own reading tent in the house. Get in character and use some props – put on silly voices, read out loud and act it out. Encourage children to be a character or personalise it using their own name, it can be so exciting for kids to make storytelling interactive and funny.

 

7.Kids are never too young… or old

Children are never too young to be read to, even as a newborn baby. Big shapes,  bright colours and interactive books will appeal to those developing senses and it’s these books that will help create the building blocks of a lifelong reader.  Little ones will love watching (and helping) you lift flaps and turn big pages. But it’s also important to remember children are rarely too old to be read to. Even older kids that can read independently love that special moment of reading together before hitting the hay. Why not take turns reading a page each to each other? Bedtime stories aren’t just for babies!

 

8.Stories can be found in unexpected places

Why not check out some storybook apps on your mobile, listen to an audiobook, or download some eBooks to your mobile? Find out your child’s favourite characters and look for activities online they might enjoy. Kids are always more likely to pick up something bright and interesting featuring a character they love, so look out for TV adaptions or some well-known classic tales that will spark interest. It really doesn’t matter how you read or in what format, reading doesn't just have to be about books – stories can be found in the most unexpected of places.

 

Read more at https://www.penguin.co.uk/puffin/

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Improve your memory by doing unforgettable things.

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…an obsession for books and stories

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Apparently I snore so loudly that it scares everyone in the car I'm driving.

 

 

 

900 WORDS

THURSDAY 6th JULY 2017

 

HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL FAILURE

 

I am hugely successful at being a failed writer. Infact so good at it that this is my 60th year of trying to get a book published and miserably failing. Sixty years of rejection slips and writing failure.

 

To celebrate I am sending out 60 manuscripts to 60 agents and publishers in the hope of gathering 60 more rejection slips. If I achieve that do I fail and become a success because I achieve my target?

My first piece of writing I did at 8 years old and was rejected before I even sent it to a publisher. So I was on to being a loser before I started.

 

The year was 1957. and not the best year of my life, anyway.  My dad, who I idolised left us. I never, ever saw him again. I had to wear glasses for the first time too, which I was most self conscious about.

 

I had read Enid Blyton’s Shadow the Sheepdog and I wrote a similar story, in first person, about my grandmother’s dog.  I proudly took the story, in an exercise book, to school to show my teacher and asked her to mark it for me - hoping for a gold star, as I was so proud of it. She told me she was not allowed to, as it would be classed as homework and she would be in trouble if it was thought she was giving me homework.

 

But then again these were tough days at school when I could be and was hit across the palm of my hand with a ruler for forgetting my Physical Education kit or not being able to recite my times tables.

I was not deterred. I went on to write a factual booklet about the Queen’s visit to Canada in 1957 and lots more items.

Once I started writing I could not stop.

 

I loved writing, so much that I wanted to be a journalist when leaving school. But at my school everyone was pigeon holed into apprenticeships, factory work or office work. I ended up taking an accountancy qualification in a warp knitting factory office: a perfect job for someone passionate about words.

 

I took taxation exams which taught me that the three letterboxes I had to replace due to the damage of my manuscripts being returned were tax deductible from any earnings from my writing. But I’ve never had any.

 

I was desperate to be published so I decided to take a course on writing. Infact, at least 100 courses and seminars and events and talks. I ought to know every minute detail there is to know about writing and getting published. But I obviously know nothing, as still success eluded me.

 

At regularly intervals there was that loud thud sound on the doormat giving a mighty sinking feeling in the stomach as yet another manuscript was rejected.

 

Until one day, all of a sudden the thudding on the doormat stopped. You’ve guessed it. Emails had been invented and the rejections were being sent electronically.

 

But my love of writing never diminished apart from about three years around 2010. I took a course on Writing for Children. But this one temporarily stunned any inspiration, joy or love of writing I had ever had. I feared it had gone forever.

 

The tutor killed dead everyone of my creations. You cannot write stories about pigs as they are not acceptable subjects for stories in some cultures. Oh yes! So, what about the phenomenally successful Peppa Pig.

 

You cannot write a story about a double decker bus being carried through the air by balloons. It is not plausible and realistic, so children will reject it as not possible.

 

Excuse me. What about the film “Up” and a house being carried by balloons. And fact: In 2010 Jonathan Trappe was the first man tied to a colourful cloud of 54 helium filled balloons to cross the English Channel, 22 miles in just over four hours. So 54 balloons lift say 12 stone.

 

A double decker bus weighs 12.45 tons which is 1,992 stone. 110,000 balloons should lift it, easily. If the bus is filled with 80 people another 50,000 balloons are needed. So it can be done.

 

In addition if children do not accept stories that are not plausible, how come Peter Pan is one of the most popular children’s books of all time?

 

But after 3 years of pondering and working all this out I finally found the courage to do another course with author and tutor Karen King (The Cornish Hotel by the Sea - Accent Press Ltd £7.99) who I can thankfully say rebuilt my confidence, big time so that I am back on track again comfortably getting rejection letters by the sackful or email recycle binful.

 

In addition I have found a new outlet for my writings, my blog and website. This is rewarding because I am able to get my writing out to an audience. Every day a new piece of work is out there for all to see.

 

But I still dream of and have the need to be officially published. Each day is a day less to achieve it. But surely with such a long, driving ambition over so many years I must achieve it, one day. I don’t think even I am so bad a writer that I can be such a successful writing failure.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

"Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs." - Farrah Grayrogers

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…successfully publishing a book

 

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

Life is all about perspective. The sinking of the Titanic was a miracle to the lobsters in the ship's kitchen.

 

 

 

500 WORDS

 

WEDNESDAY 5th JULY 2017

 

CONTRASTING WEATHER

 

WITH NEW FEATURE

ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

NEW!!! NEW!!! NEW!!!

 

Weather is an interesting concept. No matter what you do or how much humans try we can’t control it or forecast it accurately. And it affects most things we do.

 

I like weather to be doing whatever it’s doing full on and in your face: scorching sun, torrential downpour of rain, thunderstorm, blizzard, hurricane level winds, beautiful cumulus sculptured clouds in a deep blue sky. I don’t like still, grey insipid days where nothing happens.

 

So June 2017 has been a wonderful month of weather for me.

 

It was a month of weather contrasts. Northern Britain had an unsettled, windy and very wet month but much of central and southern England was warm and fairly dry. For south-east England, rain fell in occasional downpours. The month started unsettled with fronts crossing the country. It became dry and warm in England around mid-month with a remarkable heatwave in the east. Scotland remained under weak fronts. It then became unsettled again as low pressure became slow-moving over north-west Europe.

 

June built upon the warmth of the spring months this year with an average CET of 16.3C, 1.8C above the 1981-2010 average. It was the warmest June since the exceptional summer of 1976 but the heat was concentrated over eastern England. Northern Ireland and Scotland escaped much of the mid-month heatwave.

The highest temperature of the month was 34.5C at Heathrow Airport on 21 June. This was the highest June temperature recorded in the UK since 1976. The lowest overnight temperature was –2.3C at Altnaharra on 8 June.

 

Despite the publicity given to the overall wetness of June, most of the Midlands and parts of southern England were rather dry through the month, developing the dry trend of the last year here. It was very different in Northern England, west Wales and in Scotland where nearly twice the average fell. Edinburgh had the wettest June on record with over 200mm recorded in places – over three times the local average. Nearly 100mm fell over just two days – the 5th and 6th. By contrast, Bedford recorded just 35mm.

 

Continuing the theme of contrasts, total sunshine duration varied from under 100 hours in north-west Scotland and the Peak District to around 250 hours in Kent. Sunshine averaged across England and Wales was close to average (97%) highlighting how national averages can obscure regional variations. The average across Scotland was just 74% and Northern Ireland averaged 81%.

 

A deep depression tracked right over the country on 6th and 7th. Southerly gales were followed by westerly gales as the depression cleared. Gusts reached 60mph on English Channel coasts on the 6th and 69mph at Inverbervie (Aberdeenshire) on the 7th.

 

A changeable start of weather in July is likely, however longer dry and warm spells may become more prevalent across much of the UK through the second half of the month, although north-western areas are still likely to remain more unsettled. Temperatures should be average in the northwest, in contrast to warmer spells in the southeast.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Stretch yourself. What are you doing now? How can you achieve more? Set bigger goals. Explore your limits and break them.

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…watching, analysing and absorbing the weather

 

NEW!!!

ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

 

A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.

 

 

500 WORDS

TUESDAY 4th JULY 2017

(American Independence Day)

 

WASTE NOT WANT NOT

 

The level of household food waste in England is "unacceptable" and householders have a key role to play in reducing it, MPs have said.

 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said 7.3m tonnes of food was wasted in UK households in 2015.

 

The committee said shops should relax standards that prevent the sale of "wonky vegetables" to help cut waste. And the government should consider whether "best before" dates were needed.

 

Committee chairman Neil Parish said: "One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, and in the UK over £10bn worth of food is thrown away by households every year.

 

"Economically, food waste costs households hundreds of pounds a year and causes increased disposal costs to local authorities, pushing up council tax bills.

 

"It is a scandal that people are going hungry and using food banks when so much produce is being wasted.

 

"And environmentally, it is a disaster, because energy and resources are wasted in production only for the food to end up rotting in landfills where it produces methane - a potent climate-changing gas."

 

Food waste costs the average person in the UK £200 per year. The average household lost £470 a year because of avoidable food waste, while those with children lost £700.

 

It would be "hugely challenging" to reduce food waste further and would require "a considerable investment of resource".

 

The Food Waste in England Report stated:

 

The government should establish a national food waste target for England.

It should examine how lessons on food and avoiding waste could be incorporated into the curriculum.

Waste reduction body Wrap, a charity which helps people and businesses reduce waste, should have sufficient money from the government to maintain its efforts in raising awareness.

Food businesses and retailers over a certain size should be forced to separate food waste for collection.

Supermarkets should be required by the government to publish data on the amount of food they bin. The report commended Tesco for already doing so and Sainsbury's for moving in the same direction.

Retailers should increase the amount of surplus food they give away to charities.

The government should work with restaurants on reducing waste by, for example, offering smaller portions, reducing the amount of sides, and encouraging the taking home of leftovers.

 

It also called for a review of whether "best before dates" were needed at all.

 

While "use by" dates refer to food safety, "best before" labels refer only to quality.

 

Foods will be safe to eat after the "best before" date, but may not be at their best.

 

The report said current date labelling was unnecessarily confusing, and guidance should be issued to the industry by the end of the year.

 

The report also highlighted the issue of suppliers' food being rejected for cosmetic reasons.

 

It said up to a quarter of apples, up to a fifth of onions and up to about an eighth of potatoes were rejected by supermarkets on cosmetic grounds alone.

 

(As reported by the BBC)

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

"Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama

 

Happiness is…

 

Happiness is…a clean plate, and not a crumb wasted

 

 

 

 

200 WORDS

MONDAY 3rd JULY 2017

 

Blogosphere Blogger of the Year

 

Last week Blogosphere Magazine had an award ceremony making an award to the “Blogosphere Blogger of the Year”  along with other categories as follows:

 

Fashion Blogger of the Year - Fashion Slave

                Beauty Blogger of the Year - The Sunday Girl

                Lifestyle Blogger of the Year - Little Thoughts

                Parenting Blogger of the Year - Someone’s Mum

                Arts & Crafts Blogger of the Year - A Pair And A Spare DIY

                Fitness Blogger of the Year - Imperfect Matter

                Book Blogger of the Year - Little Novelist

                Photography Blogger of the Year - Kyle Galvin

                Food Blogger of the Year - The Little Blog Of Vegan

                Travel Blogger of the Year - Twins That Travel

                Community Award - Just Nadiene

                Blogosphere Blogger of the Year - Hannah Gale

 

Unfortunately my blog did not receive an award, it was not even in the nominations. I am not even sure how you are nominated. The problem is apart from my blog not being up to standard they have no way of knowing about my blog.

 

Do take a look at these blogs. They are good. They are professional and will show you what a good blog should look like.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Always plan for the fact that no plan ever goes according to plan.

 

Happiness is…

 

Happiness is…blogging

 

 

 

 

400 WORDS

SUNDAY 2nd JULY 2017

 

ALL THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

 

Life is a funny old thing. So many times it takes you were it wants to go and not where you want or intend to go.

 

On Thursday evening we had our bags packed expecting to have a weekend in London to see Adele in concert.

Instead Mamma spent the weekend in hospital suffering from pneumonia and pleurisy. But we received some amazing philosophy and met many tremendous people.

 

There was the sister on the City Hospital ward who told us “It is meant for a reason”, when we told her our weekend had gone pear shaped. This amazing sister was born in Malawi and a wonderful person with an unbelievable positive and happy approach to life. She oozed good feelings and made you feel amazing just to be in her presence.

 

She told us that she was excited because she was returning to Malawi for a visit for a family wedding and also a big tribal occasion. This was for the first time since coming to this country.

 

She was just one of so many incredible people who looked after us and treated Mamma and we met for the first time.

 

People like the new doctor/locum at our doctors’ surgery who was so thorough in her examination and made the decision that trigger the hospital treatment and medical investigations enabling us to meet so many exceptional people.

 

People like the taxi driver who took us to the QMC and the consultants, doctors, nurses, auxiliary staff at QMC, all these individuals uniquely encouraging, patient and knowledgeable in their own right.

 

Add to those the ambulance driver who took us from QMC to the City Hospital, a salt of the earth kind-a guy.

There were other people who touched our lives too, like the old lady in the ward who died. Our sympathy goes out to her family.

 

Of course we cannot reflect on the weekend without mentioning Adele. We wouldn’t have been able to see her anyway because the concert was cancelled. There are possibilities she may not perform again. We sincerely hope that is not the case. There is one thing for certain she’ll be given the best treatment and advice.

 

Meanwhile, no matter how much we think we are in control of life, life will still go its own way, constantly bombarding us with surprises and introducing us to new amazing people. All so uniquely individual and different

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

When you’re happy you enjoy the music. When you’re sad you understand the lyrics

 

HAPPINESS IS…

 

Happiness is…people who love people

 

 

 

 

400 WORDS

 

 

SATURDAY  1st JULY 2017

FOR EVERYTHING THERE IS A REASON, ADELE

Life is brilliant. It is brilliant due to twists and turns and so many tales of the unexpected.

Here is one such tale.

Mamma and myself have tickets to see Adele tonight at Wembley Stadium. We were due to stay over last night and tonight in London.

We packed the case on Thursday ready. But afterwards Mamma became very ill. She became worse in the night and Friday morning we had to call off our trip and get Mamma to the doctors. The doctor diagnosed pneumonia and pleurisy and Mamma was admitted to hospital.

We were devastated that Mamma was ill but also that we would be missing the Adele concert which she announced may be her last.

A fantastic nurse with a brilliant philosophy of life comforted us by saying “Don’t worry it will be for a reason”.

At 4.45am this morning I had a text from Mamma in hospital to say the nurse had woke her and told her Adele had cancelled her concert after damaging her vocal cords.

Like so many things in life the news was filled with so many mixed emotions. Devastation for Adele. Enormous concern if the damage is permanent – please do not let it be. Sadness for all the fans disappointed fans. But for us selfishly: we are not missing the show and there is at the moment the possibility she may reschedule (best scenario). We will see.

So even if Mamma had been fit and well we would not have seen Adele.

Taking  the nurse’s philosophy “Don’t worry it will be for a reason” and applying it to Adele, herself, then that’s a tough one to work out.

Adele has posted n apology on her website. Part of it says:

“I’m sorry for the time and money you’ve spent organizing your trips. You know I would not make this decision lightly. I have done 121 shows and I have 2 left. 2 left!!! And they are 2 gigantic shows! Who the fuck cancels a show at Wembley Stadium!? To not complete this milestone in my career is something I’m struggling to get my head around and I wish that I wasn’t having to write this. I have changed my life drastically in every way to make sure I got through this tour that started at the beginning of last year.”

So get well soon Adele!

Get well soon Mamma!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

What ever happens in your life it is for a reason. You may not know what that reason is, but it will be for a reason.

Happiness is…

 

Happiness is…an Adele concert and an Adele album and an Adele song

 

 

See every day at: 3. 100+ WORDS A DAY

 

 

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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