Another Trip in my Time Machine…

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I am taking another trip in my Time Machine to a time at Clapham Common when we had gas lamps in our square. The man would come with his small ladder to light them every night, and again in the morning to put them out.

Mum would send us out to pick up the coal left in the road after the coal man emptied the sacks down the coalhole. He was always so dirty and so was the small boy that sat on the horse-drawn cart.

The man on his bike with the grinding wheel would call out, and mum would send me down to get her knives and scissors sharpened.

The one bike I looked forward to was the ice cream man. If I was lucky, mum would give me three pence for some of the best icecreams. So much better than what was in the shops.

Mum didn’t often have any rags for the rag and bone man, so I didn’t get a free balloon that often.

All these things seemed every day then. Looking back now, they are magic. All that fun without an Xbox!

The best thing of all was Billy Smarts Circus. They would pitch the tent on Clapham Common and very often, we would get in free under the canvas. Elephants, tigers, the clowns, and best of all, the high wire act. Watching them swing so free across the ring, never dropping one another. With my head tilted back, I could believe I was flying with them.

On my way home, I would stop for a while and watch the men with their model motorboats on the pond where they were allowed to play. I preferred the ones with sails, the old buccaneer kind.

Time to go home for tea, maybe I will take another trip on my Time Machine soon…

Anita’s Time Machine…

 

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Mr Edwards ran the baker shop not far from where we lived, and Mum would often send me for a fresh loaf, warm in my arms, smelling like heaven.

All the way home it was so hard not to take a bite. I did once and that was enough. The best thing for us kids was the fish and chip shop. If we took in an armful of newspapers, we could walk home eating a free bag of chips.

On hot days, we could get a cold drink from Mr Tom’s sweet shop. He offered one-penny drinks or a small one for a halfpenny. When you had been running around, it was better than popping indoors for a drink of water, for Mum would ask why was I so hot, and what had I been doing. Spending that halfpenny was best.

It was always easy to come by a penny or two. Take the rubbish out for Mrs Kindle, or sweep the yard for old Mr Wright. I ran many errands and often earned enough to go swimming and buy a bag of broken biscuits on the way home. For a penny, I could spend all day in the paddling pool.

For five pennies, I could spend an hour in a tin canoe rowing myself around the small island in the middle of the pond. When our time was up the man would call us in by our number and I always wanted canoe number 5.

Oh, for a time machine so I could take my kids back and show them how I lived and how I played…

Anita Dawes

Storm…

Our hopes and prayers go out to everyone in America at this terrifying time!

 

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We had been told the storm would hit us by Friday. Nature’s evil hand was coming.

We had food enough for two weeks and plenty of bottled water. Jim, my husband had covered the windows with the planking set aside for such times. The fire was lit and we were warm.

The wind outside was up to 70 miles an hour now, pounding our house, trying to take it away. I missed the sound of the rain on the glass but this was no time for thinking about that. I wondered how our neighbours were coping. Jim had his old radio working, the wind we were told, had reached more than 90 miles an hour now.

We didn’t need telling, our ears let us know how bad it was out there. I was afraid we wouldn’t hear a knock on the door should someone need help.

There were a dozen knocks on the door that day. Our house was stronger than most, and each of our neighbours brought their own food. We ate together, somehow managing to laugh and it was like being around a campfire. The women cooked and cleaned while the men kept the children entertained.

The storm had turned us into one large family…

Anita Dawes

Sunshine in a Bottle…

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After blowing out my birthday candles, my nine-year-old granddaughter asked. “What did you wish for, Nan?”

I told her I wished I could bottle sunshine and keep it for the grey days. The next day, my granddaughter came round to see me with her mother and they were both smiling. That was sunshine enough for me.

I could see she was hiding something behind her back, so I asked what she had been up to. She handed me a small bottle filled with yellow paint. I could see that she had poured out the excess paint, making it translucent.

“It’s your wish, Nan. Sunshine in a bottle.”

I put it on my kitchen windowsill so whatever light catches it, I am reminded that sunshine comes in strange ways…

By Anita Dawes

#ThrowbackThursday: Review for A Marriage of Convenience  by Stevie Turner #Contemporary Fiction #Family Life @StevieTurner6

#ThrowbackThursdays have been a brilliant way to replace some of our missing Amazon reviews… and give us all another chance to read about these amazing books!

 

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Gerrie Hermann, aspiring rock star from a rich South African family, has an unusual proposal for Sophie Woods when he meets her for the first time in their university canteen.

Strait-laced Sophie has never done anything out of the ordinary in the whole of her 19 years. When she decides to take Gerrie up on his offer she has no idea that her decision is going to affect the rest of her life in ways that she could never have foreseen, even in her wildest dreams.

 

Amazon Link:

Our Review

Would you marry someone simply to help them out of a dilemma?

This is what Sophie Woods, a university student, is about to do, a business arrangement, nothing more. But what happens afterwards is the stuff that dreams, and Hollywood movies are made of. Sophie, young and naïve, has never done anything risky before and has no idea of what fate awaits her.

Gerrie, a South African student, is an aspiring rock star with wealthy parents, who unfortunately don’t approve of his career choice. Gerrie wants to stay in England and the only way he can do that, is to get married.

Sophie falls in love with her new husband, but circumstances conspire to ruin their unexpected happiness and break both their hearts as well. The tension builds unbearably for them and their future outcome looks decidedly bleak.

There doesn’t seem to be an easy solution to their problems and after so long, can there really be a happy ever after?

 

Excerpt from A Marriage of Convenience

The same wood pigeon is cooing outside my bedroom window that I’m sure has been there since my early teens.  Everything around me is so familiar, yet nothing is the same anymore.  The pink duvet cover adorned with red roses covered me as a girl, but now I am a woman, soon to bring another life into this world. 

I have been so very stupid. I sit up in bed and look at the clock, which shows 08:45.  I pick up my mobile phone from the bedside table, but there’s no message from Gerrie.  Dad will already be on his way down to the canal to take the first group of tourists on a morning boat ride. Mum rattles around downstairs making drinks. It’s time for me to get up and face what the day can throw at me.  I keep waiting to feel sick or faint; isn’t that what all pregnant women do?  However, apart from sore breasts I feel as fit as a fiddle and desperately hungry.  I can hear Mum humming to herself as I pad downstairs and slink into a chair at the kitchen table.  She gives me a smile “Did you sleep okay?”

“Yes thanks.”  I nod. “It’s a relief now I’ve told you everything.”

Mum hands me a cup of steaming coffee. “Of course it is.  We’ll stand by you.  There’s no way I’ll see my daughter or grandchild want for anything.”

I get up and hug my mother, who is already making me a toasted bacon sandwich.  It occurs to me that all the money in the world cannot make up for the love I’ve received over the years from my two wonderful parents.  I am truly lucky.

“Gerrie’s father is a diamond merchant out in South Africa, but he doesn’t approve of me and won’t be giving us a penny.”

 “You don’t need him.” Mum grimaces as she hands me a plate of food. “You can come home any time.  We’ll be pleased to have you and the baby here.”

I make short work of my sandwich and shoo Mum upstairs while I wash up.  After an invigorating shower, I wrap a towel around me and go back into my bedroom to get dressed.  My phone is buzzing away by the bed.  I pick it up. “Hi.”   Gerrie’s accented voice booms down the line. “This is the third time I’ve rung.”

 “I was having a wash.  How’s it going with you?”

There’s a brief silence before he carries on. “I miss you.  Are you coming back?  Sorry I punched the wall.” He sounds like a little boy who has lost his mother in a crowd, but deep down inside I’m still angry.

 

Biography

Stevie Turner works part-time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audiobooks, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audiobooks, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ caught the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, and Italian.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
You can find her blog at the following link: http://www.steviet3.wordpress.com
You can sign up for her newsletter here: https://www.facebook.com/StevieTurnerAuthor/app/100265896690345/

 

 

Electricity…

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I was watching my favourite programme the other day when everything went black. I knew instantly what had happened. Jaye was in the back garden, using the new hedge cutter.

Sure enough, she had cut right through the cable. Some things she has a definite knack for and this was not the first time she had plunged me into the dark, figuratively speaking!

Last time, when drilling a hole in the kitchen wall, she managed to black out the entire street!

This got me thinking. Where would we be without electricity?

Thank God for the wonderful minds that love to invent new things for us to play with. Televisions, phones, the cinema, computers. So many things to keep our minds stimulated and connecting us with all our friends across the globe.

Nowadays we have new genius’s trying to keep it all going, keeping us in touch with one another.

Long may it last…

 

Anita Dawes 2018

#Jaye’s Journal (or how to Juggle a Couch!)

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Most weeks in our house are usually a mishmash of incidents, some good and a few of the other kind. But whatever happens there is never a dull moment around here!

This past week has excelled itself, hurtling from one mini-disaster to another. At one point, I contemplated staying in bed, just to break the cycle, but as I am the nosiest person for miles, I couldn’t bear to think of anything happening without me. Seeing as how I was born with a sword in one hand and cleaning mop in the other, I could usually cope with anything!

It all started to go wrong when we spotted a fantastic bargain in our local charity shop, a two-seater couch in black leather. It was in perfect condition and a price that would n’t bring our bank account to its knees. So without thinking things through, we bought it, to be delivered the following day.

But what to do with the dilapidated broken down couch in our living room?

The local council have a collection service, so all we had to do was get it out of the house. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? In case you were wondering, it definitely wasn’t.

We are both in our 70’s and not the fittest people on the block, but we were determined. We would do this, even if it meant dragging the couch out of the house in pieces. A not so small nightmare later, two broken and bad-tempered women sat on the old couch in the front garden, swearing never again. We didn’t understand why it had been so difficult, it was a two-seater after all. We clearly remembered the day years before when it was first delivered, so either the couch had grown, or the house had shrunk.

The next day, tempers and difficulty forgot, the new couch was delivered and peace reigned once more. How I wish the story ended there.

At this point in the story, I can blame Anita for what happened next. She had seen (and fallen in love with) another couch in the charity shop, which she assured me, would be far more comfortable than our old three seater. You couldn’t make up what happened next.

To cut a long and painful story short, we bought the three seater and managed to drag the old one out. Slightly easier this time as it could be dismantled. Shame it was so bloody heavy though!

Shortly after the new three-seater was delivered, it became obvious that the blessed thing wasn’t comfortable at all, and had to go. By this time we were exhausted,  unhappy and tempers were flaring. Again!

After three days of juggling large, heavy and unresponsive pieces of furniture, I have banned the word ‘couch’ from ever being spoken of in my hearing again. The furniture we have will just have to last, for there is no way I am going to lift anything heavier than the kettle for the foreseeable future!