Monday, May 23, 2005

Isn't life strange?

Isn't life strange? Last Friday I took a trip into Cardiff with my mother. I had been looking for Martha O'Connor's book, 'The Bitch Goddess Notebook' [known as 'The Bitch Posse' in the States] and was delighted to find it on the 'New Books' shelf at WHS. Now Martha is a fellow Momwriter, a Yahoo group of over 1000 writers who just happen to be mums, or should I say 'moms'! Absolutely chuffed by this, explaining to my mother and within hearing of two assistants topping up the shelves, I said, "I belong to the same writers' group as that author!"

Not only that, but I noticed the author of the next new book on the shelf was 'Katie FForde' who I had sat next to at the 'Write From The Heart', Romance Novelists' Associaton meeting back in February!

There is also a third writing coincidence, I was reading the Spirit-Led Writer E-zine a couple of days ago and particularly enjoyed an article written by Marion Stroud. I thought that name sounded familiar and on reading the author's bio realised that the author had written the book, 'Face to Face with Cancer', a book I had been loaned by Cancer Aid where I work!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Signs of Summer

I took the dogs for a walk today with my daughter, Leyna. Within a few minutes we were in a different world. We followed the path up from the house to Gethin Woods and for a moment it was as if we were in another country. Heavily wooded, surrounded by fields and a deep brook. It's hard to believe such beauty is so near.

The Woodland Trust have created a new path way with gates down towards Webber's Pond and removed the old benches, wooden jetties and gravelled off the old muddy path.

The dogs enjoyed themselves lunging themselves in the water after an old tennis ball, which pretty soon let in water and sank to the bottom. Shelley, the Ladbrador cross is the stronger swimmer of the two dogs and is able to swim right across the pond and back with ease. Millie, the sheepdog, on the other hand, is a more nervous swimmer, but has made great progress since last year.

Shelley went missing at the end of the walk as she usually does but turned up back at the house within the hour. She is such a clever dog that she realises when the walk is about to end and so runs off so she can prolong the walk.

Although, today was a lovely day, it was sad to hear the news about Kylie Minogue having breast cancer. I do hope they have caught it earlier enough and will be able to eradicate the disease. An oncologist on 'Richard And Judy' said today that more and more younger women are contracting it, but no one really knows why. Let's hope that someday we'll all know a lot more about his awful disease called cancer.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Invisible Entities

They stand in desperation come rain or shine, hands outstretched, waiting for someone to notice them. Waiting for someone to acknowledge their cries of:

"Big Issue, Sir!"

"Big Issue, Madam!"

They are never rude, always polite, even though they have stood in the same spot for hours and been ignored as though they are invisible entities.

Someone's son or daughter, someone's flesh and blood.

They're not even begging. They buy the Big Issue themselves and waiting labouriously for some passerby to stop and fish into their purse or pocket for the princely sum of £1.40, the price of the magazine.

What if it were you who was standing there? Would you want to be ignored?

Who are these invisible entities?

They are the homeless or vulnerably housed that you walk past every day.

Just think, next time you pass by on the other side of the road. One day you, or a member of your family could be wearing that man or woman's shoes...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

A Warm Welcome...

I don't know about you, but I think there are times when first impressions definitely count. This evening was one such occasion.

My mother asked me to attend a church service at a church I had never been to before. There was going to be a party afterwards for some congregation members, a husband and wife, who were returning to the U.S after living in Wales for the past two years.
The church in question, definitely had a warm feel to it. People welcomed us with open arms and were so easy to talk to.

I've attended churches in the past were guests were made to feel like spare parts. Where no one acknowledges you, it's as if you are invisible. But not at Jerusalem Church in Pentrebach. Everyone I spoke to was lovely.
I sat next to an elderly lady in a wheelchair called, Laura, what a tonic she was! Not a word of complaint about her disability, just a joke from her that did we know of any shops that sold a new pair of legs!

She went on to tell me in the after service party, that although she was disabled, she went out several times a week as she enjoyed meeting people, she only spent an evening or two at home. I told her she had a better social life than I had!
If only more of us had that lady's view on life, nothing was going to get in her way. She told me she managed at home with her Zimmer frame and seemed as though she was making the absolute best of her life.

People like Laura are an inspiration to the rest of us

Saturday, May 14, 2005


I don't know why it is, but I feel decidely overwhelmed at the moment. I'm still not back into the swing of it with my writing, that's why I've decided to keep up this blog.

I just feel so tired. I'm waking up quite early and not getting enough sleep, and this week I've felt exhausted.

I don't think it's really writer's block. Personally, I feel people use that one far too often as a cop out. I can imagine that there are people who are grieving or ill who might not be able to write. But writing anything at all, like this, is not writer's block.

What can I do to feel less overwhelmed?

Well, one place I can start for definite is the wardrobe, to have a good old clear out. I have far too many clothes, particularly coats and jackets. I also have things I find it difficult to part with, such as old toys in the garage. I know that some of these things were given to me by my grand parents who are no longer here. Like the old sewing machine [a small Singer one] they bought me one Christmas and the small Spanish guitar they brought back from Spain.

I had a lot of fun with both as a child: the sewing machine for making outfits for my dolls, and the guitar, although I never learned to play it properly, it still had good use. I don't think the sewing machine is still working and my children have no use for the guitar.

I suppose it will be like losing a part of my grandparents if these things go. But my gran died nearly 10 years ago and my grandfather 19 years back. Maybe I've never really come to terms with their deaths.

I was looking at some clutter in the bedroom this morning and my inner voice said, "There's something you're not dealing with."

Deep down, I know what that something is. It's something lifechanging and if it happens I'll post about it here, but for time being it remains a big huge, heavy weight, bearing down on me. Making me feel overwhelmed...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fashion Show

Last night, I attended a Cancer Charity Fashion Show. It was put together by Macmillan [Cancer Charity] and local designer, Julien MacDonald.

I was surprised when I arrived to find crowds queuing outside and animal rights protesters, throngs of police and television cameras, but I shouldn't have been surprised. Lately,Mr MacDonald has committed the sin of using real fur at his fashion shows. I don't know what I really think about this. I mean there was a time around 20-30 years ago when it seemed normal to own a real fur coat, but nowadays, it doesn't seem right--even though they look so good.

I feared that the protesters might have caused some trouble, but they were peaceful. In the event, all they did was to hand out leaflets. One tall lady protester in a a well worn cardigan with equally well worn skin handed me a leaflet with a picture of a dismembered fox. She said, "We're not expecting fur to be used at this particular event, but we'd like you to see this leaflet." So I took it from her.

We had our bags searched as we finally got into the building. This was to ensure that none of us were masquerading as a protester and carrying any kind of weapon or spray.

The show started with a Scottish Piper band from Newport and then Jeff Banks the designer took to the stage and stirred up the crowd. Some celebrities took part as models: Robert Sidoli, the Merthyr boy who is also part of the Welsh winning rugby team; Lucy Cohen--a newsreader from HTV; Stuart Cable ex-Stereophonic who is now a TV presenter and a couple of other celebs.

In the interval we managed to get into the bowls hall opposite and get a drink and the second half was better than the first. Four breast cancer survivors took part as models and I felt a lump in my throat when they took to the stage. After all, that's what the event was all about.

The part I loved best was when Julien's designs were shown. These were the actual dresses worn by well known celebs for various award ceremonies, etc. Kylie's little black number she wore in Sydney for instance. One dress on the catwalk cost £45,000! Many were very expensive. What I loved about Julien's designs and seeing them live as it were, was that the dresses were so fluid, the way they moved on the models as they sashayed down the runway.

The finale brought all the models back on stage with Julien MacDonald and Jeff Banks in amongst the leggy lovelies. Julien's proud parents and sister were sitting in the front row. What a joy that must have been to see the Merthyr Boy Done Good back from London in his home town!

All in all, it was a good evening and it's even inspired us at Cancer Aid to maybe put on another fashion show ourselves as we did a couple of years back. It made me realise what a great job we did back then.

My book, IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER, is due for publication in May 2006. As the storyline involves a charity fashion show, it might be an idea if the book launch and possible fashion show are held at the same time. I intend to donate the royalites to Cancer Aid, the charity I work for.