Judging a book

I love to read and I also enjoy reviewing what I read. I’ve been an active Netgalley user for several years and have discovered many wonderful new authors. I’ve also tried to read a lot of trash, but they always seemed a good idea at the time. Recently, there has been a considerable number of books featuring a young woman on the cover, always a back view, always walking away from the viewer. She may be in a city or meandering through a field. Sometimes she wears a dress, sometimes a coat. And I will avoid every single book featuring such a cover like the plague, which is probably quite unfair. I’m sure I’ve missed out on many books I’d have enjoyed, but there is something about that image that turns me off, regardless of blurb....

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Moving on. Again.

We moved to our little seaside cottage three years ago. I love it here in Machrihanish. At night I can lie in bed and listen to the waves crash on the shore, a two minute walk fro the house. We are blessed with a rich variety of wildlife on our doorstep. So why do we have it on the market and are moving to Glasgow? Ah, it’s both complicated and very simple. My health has got a lot worse since moving here. I’m no longer able to go for the lovely beach walks I so enjoyed. My daughter will be moving to London before too long and we will never see her if we stay here in this beautiful but remote corner of the world. Travelling to here from Glasgow is almost as long as getting to Glasgow from London. My mum’s health is failing and visiting her in...

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RAWRR!

In the 1970s I remember watching game shows where the (always) male host would ask female contestants what their husbands did for a living. You know, the half of the marriage who wasn’t on the TV trying to win £50 and a radio. Last night on the BBC TV news, the highly qualified and successful human rights lawyer Amal Clooney was introduced as the wife of Hollywood superstar George Clooney. She was later asked if she felt her husband, actor, direcor and all round MAN  helped raise HER profile. I sometimes wonder if we’ve moved on much in the intervening 40+ years. We still have pay gaps, women are under-represented in boardrooms, treated to a PINK bus on the Labour Party campaign trail, told to not dress provocatively so as not to encourage sexual...

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Flashes of Creativity

Last night I spoke to my husband about my recent burst of creativity. I suggested that now I’ve lost the physical ability to create life, my need to create has found new outlets. I mentioned this to my lovely, creative friend Mairi and she said that she, too, had returned to creative pursuits of late. She had a quick look about and found this post by The Menopause Goddess. It seems that we’re not alone. Hubby suggested that I look for or create a group for like minded women, and that’s where Flashes of Creativity was born – thanks to Mairi for the brilliant name. I’m not sure exactly what the group will end up being. It’s just starting today, but I’d like to think that it will become a safe place for we menopausal women...

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I’m Still Here

2016 has been a dreadful year for many of us. It seems that everyone has lost an idol: so many stars of the entertainment world have left us with naught but their ghosts on screen and whispered songs on our radios. Many of us have lost someone in real life. Several of my friends have lost a family member this year, some as the culmination of a long illness, some taken suddenly. Their loss has been great either way. The world has been an ugly place: wars, terrorism, civil unrest, earthquakes, floods. In the UK we had a disappointing result in the Brexit referendum and in the USA, well, Trump. I’m still trying to process that one. Many of us have had poor health, myself included. There have been times when the prospect of never being well has been too much to bear...

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A Christmas Ghost Story

‘Know whit’s traditional at Christmas?’ he said. ‘Ghost stories. Everybiddy loves a Ghost story’ I swirled the beer at the bottom of my glass and smiled. ‘Load a shite, in’t it?’ ‘Naw, naw. Look at Dickens and A Christmas Carol. Classic ghost story that.’ I raised an eyebrow. ‘Name another then.’ ‘Well, they don’t need to be set at Christmas, dae they? Take that MR James bloke. He wrote hundreds a ghost stories and used to invite his work pals tae his office, get them drunk and scare the living shite oot of them. And wis there no a series of ghost stories oan the telly at Christmas? Oanyway,’ he paused to take a swig of his beer, ‘it’s a tradition. Nothing else to say aboot it.’ ‘Dae ye think they’re real? Ghosts?’ ‘Naw! Gie us a brek! See me? Man o science. If...

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We need to talk about Collin*

I was recently talking to a friend about depression – we have both suffered with it off and on and they are one of the first people I go to when I’m ‘having a sad’. Talking to them made me think about my own history. I have always tried to be open about my mental health issues and in this spirit of openness, I’m going to talk about it again. My depression first reared its head after the birth of my daughter. It wasn’t PND, but the shitty childhood I had had was suddenly back in my mind as something I was determined my girl wouldn’t suffer. In retrospect, I’d had depression for most of my life but in the 1960s, wee lassies (or adults for that matter) from working class backgrounds had to suck it up and get on with it or...

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