Jaye’s Journal (off the beaten track!)

In an effort to forget my health problems for a while, my journal today will concern itself with a much better topic!

 

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In my wildest dreams, I could never have dreamed what I would be getting up to in my advancing years. Just goes to show how far you can come if you let yourself dream big.

I have always hated anything to do with computers for they are illogical, slow and complicated. I firmly believe they were sent by the devil to drive us all mad. At least, that’s what happens in our house!

But it wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when the idea of a machine with such amazing capabilities did seem like a fantastic advantage. But my first encounter with one, some thirty years ago, probably ruined me for life. This was when it was in its infancy, and you had to upload or input reams of data to do even the simplest thing. My son was playing chess on this strange looking box and I wanted to have a go. What he forgot to mention, was if you made even a small mistake in entering this data (which seemed to take hours) you would get a big fat nothing. Stubbornly, I tried and tried but failed to get it to work.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, when Indie publishing started making headlines.

Despite my earlier disappointment, I felt myself warming to the idea. I wouldn’t have to input masses of data like before, so maybe it would be easier to use. We all know the answer to that supposition, don’t we?

I still hate computers with a passion, but I do appreciate just how wonderful they are if you can learn the ropes. I still have days when I could beat mine to death with a mallet, but this is more to do with my stubborn brain than anything else. Because they can sometimes do so many amazing things, it encourages us mortals to reach for the stars.

Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, I can remember wondering if I would ever write a book, and now I have written three, well, five if you count the non-fiction ones. At the time, I was happily editing Anita’s books. I never thought a muse would bother me.

When it did, I was astonished by just how addictive writing can become. The most surprising thing was the behaviour of my characters. They became like old friends, and I enjoyed their company so much, the first book turned into a series. Even now, they are nagging me to let them loose again!

It has been an amazing and often terrifying journey, from that first ever blog post to eventually formatting e-books, paperback copies and book trailers. Learning how to put a book together was hard, but the writing was the best part, once I convinced myself that it was something I could do, after all.

None of which was easy for the biggest technophobe this side of Microsoft, someone who battles technology every single day for that magical moment when realisation dawns and I finally understands how things work.

I am well past retiring age now, but I am busier than ever and have no intentions of slowing down or stopping, for where would the fun be in that?

This journey still has some mileage, however, for there are a few things I haven’t attempted yet, and several that need improving. So I won’t be putting away my thinking cap just yet.

 As they said when I was at school, “There is always room for improvement…”


 We hope everyone has a lovely weekend! The weather is behaving, so kick off your shoes and enjoy!  Back to work on Monday!!!

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A Father’s Day Wish…

 

 

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Growing up, I was told repeatedly that my father played the piano like a professional, describing the joy he felt and how he managed to transmit his joy to anyone who heard him.

I have the abiding image of him in his army uniform, huge boots beating the floor in time with the music. Unfortunately, I never met him, as he was lost in the war when I was a baby, but I wish so much that I had.

I have been told that I am just like him. He was tall and liked to build and mend things, always good with his hands with unending patience. Sounds just like me!

The one thing I didn’t get was his talent on the piano. I know it is inside me somewhere, for I can feel it and sometimes the feeling is so strong, I think I could sit down at a piano and miraculously start playing. But with the best will in the world, I can’t, and is one of the strongest regrets in my life.

Music has always been my passion and my inspiration, and some of my favourite pieces are piano concertos. I still wish I could learn how to play, even now, at 72 years old.

I did try to learn when I was younger. I learned how to read music and could play simple tunes with my right hand. But my brain drew the line at both hands on the keys, refusing to let my right hand play the different notes. I am one of those people they say couldn’t walk and chew gum, and I suppose I am. That party game where you try to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time is impossible for me. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Just try it and see how hard it is.

In my life, I have encountered many things I wanted to learn but had to walk away from, much to my disappointment. My ego has been subjected to so much frustration during my life, and even though I eventually have to give up on things, the desire remains.

I have always insisted that you should be able to learn anything, given the right instruction and determination. However, I have discovered it isn’t possible, and have had to admit defeat on so many occasions.

I am sorry that I never met my father, but sadder still that I cannot play the piano as he did.

I am sorry dad, I did try…

A Magical Relationship?

 

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I spotted this POST the other day about the magical relationship between writers and their notebooks by one of my favourite bloggers and instantly knew she was talking about me. It had to be because I have a thing about notebooks. Notebooks are an essential part of being a writer, and they should be attractive to look at.

This is so important for the magical element of writing, as only good things can be written in such a notebook, and consequently, only brilliance can ever find its way out of one.

The difference between hastily scribbled, barely decipherable notes on scraps of paper and your notebook entries is nothing short of amazing. One important difference is the fact that your notebook entries will at least be readable. I mean, you will be using your very best handwriting in your notebook, won’t you?

I know I do. I simply cannot spoil it with any of my messy scrawl!

Because of the special nature of notebooks, you will write better content in them too. A strange magic occurs when you open an attractive notebook, as it is almost a challenge to produce something special. Something that almost never happens with scraps of paper or post-it notes.

Our book, Lazy Days, about our first family holiday on a boat on the Norfolk Broads, was born in a notebook. Originally called our Captains Log, we wrote down everything that happened and everywhere we went. It was fun but only intended to be a keepsake. Nearly forty years later, we turned it into a book. All of our family loved reading it and remembering our adventure…

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The Royal Wedding

 

 

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I raced through my work that morning so I could sit down and watch the long awaited royal wedding.

Megan and Harry had a lovely day for it, the sun beamed down on all the people, the bright colours of all the fine dresses and flowers simply breath-taking.

The amount of celebrities attending the event was amazing, an absolute Who’s Who of show business. I could list all the ones I spotted but the list would be too long. It made a change to see no politicians amongst them though!

But everything was not so lovely where I was. Roadworks right outside our window competed with the sound control of the TV, doing its level best to spoil what promised to be a lovely, special day. Our TV is right next to the window and most of the morning it was like having a split screen, wedding on one side, men, and noisy machines on the other. But before long, I forgot about the machines and the noise, and enjoyed the wedding of the year.

At one point, due to the amount of people there, I was expecting a battle of the bonnets, as there didn’t seem to be enough room for all those glorious hats!

Everyone was looking forward to seeing the bride and her dress. Something I always look forward to as I used to make wedding dresses. This was one of my favourite jobs, helping to make so many different women’s dreams come true.

I remembered one young woman who had just been badly let down when a wedding dress company went bust. She turned up at my door, barely holding back the tears. The wedding was only a week away and she hoped I could do something. Now, I have been known to achieve the impossible at very short notice, but miracles usually take a little longer than a week!

I pulled out all the stops, called in a few favours and did manage to pull something out of the hat. I ended up being invited to the wedding!

While I waited for the bride to appear, I couldn’t help thinking back to the dress I created with the help of a wing and a prayer, and the look on the woman’s face when she saw it.

When you get to my age, it seems that everything reminds you of something else, and I am constantly surprised by something I had long forgotten about.

It was a beautiful wedding, and the love came through the TV and made my day rather special too…

I Nearly Missed Spring!

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In other years, as spring approaches, I have always walked around my garden, impatient to spot the tiny buds that seem to appear overnight on previously dead looking branches as mother nature gets moving. But what with the appalling weather and the worst flu I have ever had, I have been denied this pleasure. Until today.

The sun was shining and very warm, and this was the first time I felt well enough to step outside and be totally amazed at what has been going on in my absence.

The first thing I saw when I opened my back door and stepped out into the fresh air, were my bonsai collection. Most of my collection are Japanese Acers, displaying so many different colours in their tiny leaves. My oldest, at nearly fifty years, is at present a vivid scarlet when it first shoots into life, changing through the year from bright red to green and finally yellow.

The new leaves in Acers are always stunningly vivid, whatever their colour, and I was so pleased I hadn’t missed the initial display.

Further down the garden, the forsythia in the hedge is a brilliant yellow and nearby, my new cherry tree sports big pale pink buds, promising an amazing statement.

Everywhere I look, life is beginning again, such a cheerful sight after the miserable start to the year.

But not everything has waited for me. The white camellia has suffered frost damage, the creamy white blossom burnt around the edges. Then I notice that my new addition, a purple magnolia sapling, has no leaf or flower buds. The branches are bare, the one sad sight in my garden. It is such a lovely colour, and I hope it is just dragging its heels, not something worse.

As I stood there, enjoying the sunshine, it felt wonderful to be feeling so much better after one of the worst flu virus I remember having. As I stood there, a true gardener, I noticed how long the grass was already and wondered why weeds seem to grow so much faster than anything else does?

They say a weed is just a plant that is growing in the wrong place. This is an interesting theory, but weed or plant, they seem so very different to garden plants.

I feel like a weed sometimes, not quite in the right place and constantly being metaphorically cut back. And just like a weed, I always seem bounce back, stronger than ever.

At least so far!