A book review

Life at the end of the Rainbow, by Jenny Andrews

https://amzn.to/2Xbl4ZX

Poetry is like art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But, while art can be very subjective, poetry often has a special meaning, to both the writer and then the reader.  In turn, for each of us readers, a poem will have a different meaning, some will see what it represents, and others may not.

And, whilst I have not read a lot of poetry over the years, that changed recently when I subscribed to several blogs and discovered this whole new class of literature.

This view was strengthened when I came across a volume of poems by Jenny Andrews, titled Life at the End of the Rainbow.

For me, each poem is an insight into an extraordinary life, where the author sometimes lays bare those raw emotions, which, at times, we will find ourselves drawing parallels.

In a sense, I think we have all been to this mythical place called, The End of the Rainbow, and sometimes need a gentle reminder that it took a lot of ups and downs to get there.

This is, to my mind, a remarkable piece of work.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next stage of the journey will be.

 

NANOWRIMO Day Eleven

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Like yesterday, the Maple Leafs are playing again, and as much as I want to forsake i and get on with the story, The fact that we are down by a large margin at the end of the first period given me the opportunity to turn it off, or watch the stage a come back.

Damn.

I stick with it.

Then, we make a decision to go and see a movie, Last Christmas, because it looked interesting when we saw the preview some weeks ago.

That means mossing half of the third period of the ice hockey if we’re going there.  Well, there’s always the live broadcast via the phone.

It is not easy driving a car and listening to a brilliant comeback by the Leafs, and the excitement in the car is almost at the same fever pitch as the commentators.

Alas, we lose.

As for the movie, it was everything we hoped for.  Two delightful leads who didn’t overact, Emma Thompson as a Yugoslav, and Michelle Yeoh in a restrained performance that I’m unused to seeing her in.  Perhaps Star Trek Discovery kick-arse was not needed here.

Christmas, no swearing, no killing sprees, a few songs, and a lesson hidden between the lines.  What more could one ask for?

As for the story, I’m having a coffee and then it’ll be time to get back into the groove.

Or watch Jack Ryan series 2…

Saturday has come and gone

Although the main reason for its existence is to follow Friday, in some cases, it is the first day of the weekend.

Once upon a time, Saturday used to be a working day, you know, those days when we worked a 48 hour week.  Then it became a 44 hour week and we only worked in the morning.

As time progressed, we started working 40 hour weeks and had both Saturday and Sunday off.  Sunday, of course, was always a non-starter.  The church made sure you were able to go to church on Sunday.

As time progressed, weekends started to begin on a Friday, with the day in question being granted by employers as a Rostered Day Off, provided you made up the time during the preceding two week period.

Now it seems the standing joke is we should work weekends, and have the week off.  Odd, it hasn’t quite caught on yet.

But, as usual, I digress…

After a week that got out of control, Saturday was supposed to pull it back into some sort of shape.  In a sense, it happened.  I looked at that list of things I had to do, picked one and got on with it.

PI Walthenson is now about to get a second case, as intimated at the end of his first, involving not only the search for his missing father, but also the search for those who kidnapped him.

That done, I moved onto the helicopter story, otherwise titled ‘What happens after writing an action-packed start’, and I have been researching and making notes for the third section of this story, starting at episode 31, and it looks like we’re going back to Africa, and the remoter part of the Democratic Republic of Congo to rescue the two agents he failed to the first time.

And it is NaNoWriMo time, and I have to keep the writing project going, a story tentatively entitled Betrayal.

With that, there is the upkeep of the blog.  I never thought maintaining material for a blog would be so hard.

But…

Now I can say last week wasn’t a total disaster.

And, tomorrow the Maple Leafs are playing.  Can’t wait.

A grandparents job is never done

It’s not for the faint-hearted, so that’s why we took the grandchildren skating.

Unless you are a skater of the roller variety there is little for the guardians to except sit back relax and listen to the head banging music that is luckily for us, of our era.

ACDC, ‘Thunderstruck’, over the loudspeaker system is just like being at a rock concert.

Little by little the floor starts to fill with skaters of all types of skill level from the side wall huggers to the almost falling over, and of course, the experts who glide effortlessly in and out of the novices.

First game of the night for anyone who can actually skate, collect little red witches hats, those that get one stay in, those that don’t, well, you know how this works

Fewer and fewer witches hats each time leads to an eventual winner, a youthful skater of considerable skill.

Now we have Queen.  Not exactly headbanging but a classic, ‘We Are The Champions’.  This cuts to a track by The Vapors.  How do I know this?  We have a video screen.  I’m just surprised some of these songs had a video made of them.

Well, there is always Shazam.

The second game of the night; I think only the organizers know what it is about.  I try to get the gist and instead wished music would come back.

Ok, those that couldn’t skate still can’t, and after an hour there is attrition.  More room for those who can.

But wait there’s more, the doors are still open and more people are arriving.

And thankfully we’re back to ACDC.

I have three grandchildren out on the floor each with a varying grade of skill.  They don’t do this very often so each session begins a little rusty and by the time they go home, it’s too soon to go.  At least they can stay on their feet and not, as some do, crash into the walls, thinking that is the best way to stop.

Bring on the music!  Next is the Divinyls.

Forget that, we now have Men At Work. ‘I Live in a Land Downunder’.  I’m missing the full effect of the stadium sound because one of my charges had decided to practice in the baby pen, a small area set aside for beginner skaters to get their bearings, or practice before they go out on the main floor.

I suspect this is a ploy for her to get me to buy a slushy without the other two.  Sadly that will not work.  We’ll have to wait and see till after the session.  Only an hour to go.

The sad pleading eyes are meant to weaken my resolve.

An exhibition of speed skating in different directions give our charges a chance to rest, relax, and have their slushies. A timely break before the last session.

But what the heck, we’ve got ‘you got nothing I want you’ve got nothing I need’.  Good old head banging music.   Then I’m in seventh heaven, with Michael Jackson blasting through the stadium.  It’s not hard to imagine his ensemble dancing on the floor, ‘don’t stop till you get enough’.

Bring on the kaleidoscope lighting.

No, forget that just bring back ACDc.  Oh, they just have.  ‘Highway to hell’!

Last game of the night, just when the three girls are just about out of steam.  Red Rover.  They sit this one out, and as the skaters get fewer and fewer, the speed and evasiveness of those left is breathtaking, and end up with a few collisions with the floor.

What do they say, no pain no gain?

That’s why I’m the chauffeur.

To round out the night, INXS and Midnight Oil.

A great night out?  Hell yeah!

Customer feedback is not always what it seems

I was going to write more about the waiting game, where it is the peak hour for shoppers and there’s only two cash registers open, or the bank tellers at lunchtime …

On and on.  Nothing will change except for some of us, an increase in grey hair.

Time to move on, and get off my soapbox.

Perhaps we could delve into the online world of customer complaints.

It’s an interesting place,  when I want to buy something, or see something that is too good to be true, I hit the computer, dial-up google, and go into investigative mode.

But, here’s the thing,

The only people who go online, by and large, are there to complain. Yes, there are a few positives, like out of five stars, then the numbers show up for four stars, three stars, etc.

You get the impression that the owner of the product or service had written several 5-star good reports to counterbalance the negativity, which sometimes all belabor the same point.

For a long time, when I saw the bad reports and very few good reports I thought the product was no good, but recently, when talking to someone whose product was for sale, and had a few bad reviews, they said if a customer is satisfied, why did they need to file a report.  People had expressed their good opinion but had not added a review.

That might well be the case.

As an example, I looked at several river cruises in Europe, and the operators.  I then went online to check the customer ratings because these river cruises are very expensive, so you need to know you’re getting value for money.

Nearly all of the reviews were bad, but lacked any credible numbers.  I’m sure more than 46 people have been on those river cruises, considering how popular they are.

But, those that were on the site were critical of the food, the hygiene of the staff, the inability to get more than 1 ‘free’ drink with lunch or dinner, and substitute boats that were terrible.

Against this, however. is the word of mouth reports we have had from many people and is they are excellent.  So the theory of satisfied customers not bothering to add a review holds up.

Food and wine were the heart of this cruise, as well as cabin comfort, and the last thing you need is to be sick for the duration of the cruise.

I have to say, after going on the internet, I was put off.

Perhaps I might revise my policy of looking for information on the internet.  It seems that it sometimes can be quite misleading.

Trying to get off, or is that on, the merry-go-round

Self-published authors are fully aware that perhaps the easiest part of the writing journey is the actual writing.  Well, compared to the marketing aspect I believe it is.

I have read a lot of articles, suggestions and tips and tricks to market the book to the reading public.  It is, to say the least, a lot harder to market eBooks than perhaps their hard or paper-covered relatives.

This is despite the millions of eReaders out there.

Then there is that other fickle part of the publishing cycle, the need for reviews.

Proper reviews of course.

As we are learning, reviews can be bought, and in more ways than one.  What happened to finding writers of the same genre and offering to buy one copy and write a review in return for a buy one copy and write a review.

I’ve noticed that all the current best selling novelists do the same for their fellow novelists though I guess when you get to be a best-seller, you might not have to buy a copy, so I can only dream of attaining such lofty heights in the publishing world.

But until I reach such rarefied air, I guess I have to figure out how to appeal to my fellow writers, and, of course, hope that my work is good enough.

It might be a start in getting through that difficult cycle, more reviews means more sales, etc.  And getting those first sales and reviews  …

Therein lies the conundrum.  It is a question of paying for advertising or working it out for ourselves.  I guess if I were to get more sales, I could afford the advertising … yes, back on the merry-go-round!

And yet, the harder the road, the more I enjoy what I do.  It is exhilarating while writing, it is a joy to finish the first draft, it is an accomplishment when it is published, but when you sell that first book, well, there is no other feeling like it.

I am inspired.

Bow as for that advertisement and where to post it…

It’s been an interesting day

Today we have been delving into the past in a way that makes history interesting.

Also, it’s another way to get young children to take an interest in the past, seeing that is often very difficult to part them from their ipads, smartphones and computer games.

It is part of a weekend devoted to history.

First up is a ride on an old steam train, the engine dating back to the 1950s, as is some of the carriages. Now, for someone like me who is only two years younger, it doesn’t seem that old, but to them, it’s a relic.

And for the youngest of our grandaughters who tells me that this will be her first ride in a train, any train, it’s going to be vastly different from her next ride on a train.

I don’t think it went faster than about 30, whether that’s miles an hour or kilometres, so we had time to take in the bushland, the river crossings and the smell of the coal-generated smoke.

And the biggest treat was for them to climb up into the engine cabin to see who drives it, and how it all works.

I try to tell them this is a far cry from the 300kph bullet trains in China that we recently travelled on. This ride was rattly, noisy, and we were barely able to sit still, whereas on the bullet trains you hardly knew you were moving and was so smooth and silent you didn’t know you were moving until you looked out the window.

Tomorrow we’re going to a historical township, built out of digging for gold in the area. It will be of significance to the elder granddaughter as she is working on a project on Eureka, where there was a watershed between the miners and the authorities.

History, in my opinion, cannot be taught entirely by books, there must be visual and active participation in simulated events for them to get a better understanding. That, and then writing about it in the way historical fiction often brings moments in history alive.

We are all looking forward to tomorrow!