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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

Month

April 2016

Cat Cafe

suzannebowditch

My son and his friend visited a cat cafe in Brisbane today. The cafe caters to rescue cats of all ages, and is touted as “a wonderful space for cat lovers to enjoy.”

Guests are encouraged to cuddle, play and stroke the felines, with a view to potentially adopting them.

What a fabulous idea. I hope this one catches on. 🙂Liam and cat in cat cafe

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Stella Windermere

Alice in WonderlandAlice & The Mad Hatter – Lewis Carroll

This quote is from one of my all time favorite books! I do not profess to be as great as Lewis Carroll himself but here’s my story anyway 🙂

Stella Windermere

‘Righto Stella, that’s you done; we don’t want to cook you now do we?’ Jenny lifted the blow-dryer off Stella’s head, and pulled apart the first roller on Stella’s forehead. The roller pulled free from its confines, and the hair sprung back in a delightful curl.

‘It’s taken lovely; I knew it would! That’s a new colour from Tansy’s hair products. ‘Warm Gold’ it said, and it looks like it’s a success. Come on then, we’ll put you in your favourite spot, and then I’ll brush it through. Do you want a cup of tea?’

‘Not just now, or I’ll be on the loo all afternoon. Just pass me that magazine will you? It has a lovely crossword inside; I’m nearly done finishing it.’

The hairdresser laughed and rummaged in the pile, handing Stella Now Weekly.

‘I’ll be there in a tick; just got to look at Mrs Parsons’s perm.’

Jenny moved over to a basin and started the usual hairdresser/client banter. Stella settled back with the magazine, flicking through the pages at random. There was the usual celebrity features; young lithe TV stars on beaches across the world, and an article called ‘How to up your veggie intake.’ Towards the back of the magazine, an article on ‘Dealing with disabilities and depression’ caught her eye. She settled down to read it, as a splattering of rain fell onto the salon window next to her. The awning that covered the salon doorway looked swollen and bowed, and a tear in the corner of the faded plastic had left room for water to drip onto the pavement. She glanced outside and watched the rainfall for a moment, as a figure pushing a wheelchair appeared on the path that led to the salon. The figures were distorted, weirdly shaped as the rain lashed onto the windowpane, but Stella recognized them straight away.  It was Joe and his mum Wendy.

Joe was a cheery boy, some would say slow’, but Stella hated that expression and always had time for the lad. The school had told Wendy that he would ‘never amount to anything,’ but he had managed to find a job for himself, and look after his mum in his spare time. There were many around here that wouldn’t bother; Stella knew that. She watched as Joe pushed Wendy up the small hill that led to the shops. He pushed her to the left, to the newsagents, and then they were out of sight. She knew their routine; it was like clockwork; a packet of Benson & Hedges for Wendy, and a comic for Joe. Wendy didn’t bother buying any women’s magazines, preferring to read them up at the doctor’s. She was a regular there anyway, ever since she’d broken her hip last year.

Stella flicked through the magazine until she found the puzzle page. The pages were used and in some parts torn, but she didn’t mind. It was better than paying for one. Someone had already filled in parts of the crossword that she liked, and she cursed to herself. She had been looking forward to doing that all morning! Just then,the doorbell chimed, and the door to the salon opened. A blast of cold air ruffled the back of Stella’s neck, and she shivered. Someone just walked over my grave! she muttered to herself. The cumbersome wheels of the wheelchair sat heavily on the mat as Joe tried to manoeuvre it inside. His face had became red with the exertion, coupled with the heat inside. The salon was too small really for a wheelchair. It was just the front room of a terraced house, with two sinks and mirrors on one end, and space for just three chairs under the window for waiting customers.Even pushchairs struggled, so the young mums usually went down to the trendy salon in the local mall.

‘Can we bring this old thing inside Jen? It’s only for a few weeks until I get my hip sorted. It’s a nuisance really, but my hair is in a right mess! It badly needs a perm.’

Jenny the hairdresser nodded. ‘Yes, I don’t mind Wendy; you know that. It’s just that I have no space in here. Can Joe just drop you off and come back? You don’t mind, do you Joe?’ She pushed a chair in front of the wheel chair, and Wendy sat down, with Joe’s help.

‘That’s it Joe. We’ll see you later then?’ She closed the door, as he tried to get the wheelchair back through the door. The handles slipped and squashed his hands on the door jamb, and he yelped in pain. Someone in the salon (Mrs Williamson, Stella thought) tutted.

Stella observed all this through the salon mirror. Jenny’s face was a picture; annoyance and politeness morphed into one. You could tell that her routine had been interrupted.  Jenny could be a bit abrupt at the best of times.

She stuck her nose back into the magazine, and smiled.

Copyright Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

 

Anzac Day

 

 Recessional

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    – Rudyard Kipling

ANZAC Day – 25th April 2016

(101 years since Gallipoli )

Early this morning my daughter Jessica and I went to the Anzac Day service held in the next suburb of Coomera. We arrived as early as possible, and were glad, as there was hardly anywhere left to park. People of all ages had made the effort to attend and to honour the soldiers who had fought for us in The Great War of 1914-1918.

The service started with a parade. A brass band led the procession down Reserve Road with the aim of finishing at the cenotaph. Behind the brass band, the Anzac soldiers marched, silently and respectfully, in perfect sync with each other. Then, school children from the local schools proudly held up banners. Mums and dads pushing toddlers and babies took up the rear. A smart Jaguar car cruised down the road and seated in the front, proud as punch and waving to the crowds, a war veteran smiled, his medals displayed for all to see.

Then the service. The local councillor for the area held court, respectfully reading out the casualties of 1915, particularly Gallipoli, the campaign on the coastline of Turkey that cost the lives of over 25,00 ANZAC casualties alone.  Then, the local clergy said The Lord’s Prayer and we sang hymns of Remembrance for those that were lost. I found the Military Address to be poignant, as the present day soldiers honoured their past comrades, be it a hundred years ago, the memory of those men lives on.

The Last Post was played and we observed a minute’s silence.

To end the service, the representatives from the clergy, dignitaries and soldiers alike laid wreaths under the lone soldier memorial statue, in front of the engravings of the local lads who had perished in the fields of Turkey and France, as well as around the world, then and since.

I am so glad that we went and paid our respects in what for me, was an emotive morning.

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016.

Lest We ForgetLest we forgetAnzac soldiersAnzac Memorial

Australia Zoo

Otter ChaosLiam and Jess Aus ZooKomodo Dragon.

We went up to the Sunshine Coast today and visited Australia Zoo. It was hubby’s birthday, so it was a majority decision to go there. The journey up from the Gold Coast takes about 2 hours and is well worth it; it is breathtaking. We have to drive past the Glass Mountains which are to me the most underrated areas of scenic beauty – forget Uluru, we have the Glass House Mountains!

The Zoo itself is a pleasure to visit. They have animals from all parts of the world – from Africa, Asia and Australia. The Komodo Dragon was impressive, so I had to snap him. The otters are one of my favorite animal, and their antics kept us watching them for a good hour. Their trainer (if you can call her that!) told us that they are a very intelligent animal, but even though they look so cute, they would bite if patted…!

A lovely day was had. We cruised back home in the afternoon to a cold beer. 🙂

Book Review

Tapestry by Fiona McIntosh

This is a delicious read from one of my favorite authors. As a self published author of historical fiction, this is how I would like to write!

The book is set in the year 1978, and also 1715, during the Jacobite Rebellion.

” – the Jacobite rebellion was a series of risings, rebellions and wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746.’ – Wikipedia

The book focuses on Jane Maxwell who lives in 1978. She is engaged to her fiance Will, but in her quest to save him after a tragedy leaves him in a coma, she embarks on a quest that catapults her back in time to 1715, and the doomed Jacobite Rebellion.

It is filled with plenty of action (some set in Australia) and manages to combine history, time travel, and romance in its pages. I loved Jane, as all the characters.12498918_1380242735334590_71351748_n. They were well rounded and believable, and the plot flowed quite seamlessly from one era to another.

The book could be compared to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but I prefer  Ms Mackintosh’s style of writing.

A good 4/5

Panic

The journey into Edinburgh was quiet to say the least. Josh had decided to take her back to meet his mother, but not yet; not until he did one more gig. He couldn’t let the boys down. He was the lead singer, the one that the fans showed up for, what ever Jazz may think. His ugly mug would not draw a picture, let alone a crowd.

They had caught a bus at the base of Arthur’s Seat and now sat at the back, whilst the bus rattled down the hill. It was virtually empty, save for a few old pensioners doing their shopping. Anna sat next to him, barely speaking.

He sighed to himself. Was this his future? Tied down at his age to a squawking kid and a surly girlfriend? He looked out of the bus window and shook his head.

Half an hour later, the bus pulled into the main bus depot in the center of the city. Josh went on ahead, with Anna trailing behind him. He felt irritated by her sudden silence. He reached for his phone, and called Luke. His best friend in the band would know what to do. Luke’s Welsh lilt answered the mobile and Josh relaxed as he heard a friendly voice.

‘Hey mate, where are you? We have to be on stage at 8, but there’s a sound check beforehand. Jazz is going nuts wondering where you’ve got to. Is Anna with you?’

Josh glanced over his shoulder to where Anna stood shivering in the sharp draft coming through the depot, and then answered. ‘Yes, she’s with me.Listen; I need to talk to you all. Something’s come up. We need to have a band meet as soon as possible.’

Anna grabbed him by his arm and pointed to a sign that said ‘Ladies.’ He nodded  and watched her walk  across the road towards the sign.When she was out of earshot,  Josh spoke quickly into his mobile.

‘Luke mate, listen up! Anna’s gone and got herself pregnant. I have to meet you, and soon. Can you get to the pub earlier than the others? I’ll ditch Anna somewhere, and we can talk.’

‘Oh mate, I knew that would happen! Listen don’t panic; there’s weeks before she even shows, and then a few months again before the baby comes. Don’t act too quickly. We can finish the tour and then you decide what to do. I’ll meet you in an hour. The pub’s off Princes Street – it’s the Royal, can you remember?’

Josh rang off, the relief evident on his face. He could handle this, he was sure.

Copyright: Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

 

Anna

Garden City shops

‘Whaaaat! What did you say?’ Josh stared down at her open mouthed, like he could not believe what he was hearing

‘I’m pregnant.’ She answered. Plain and simple, as if the world had not just crashed around her.

‘Is it mine?’ he reacted quickly, brutally even, but regretted the words as soon as he had spoken them.

‘Of course! What type of girl do you think I am?’ her eyes filled with tears as she looked up at him, and he felt a first class cad.

Just then a tinny rendition of ‘We are the champions’ filled the air, and he reached into his hoodie pocket for his phone.The screen said that it was his mother.

‘Hi mam, what’s up?’ he tried to stay as normal as possible after this world shattering revelation, but his voice seemed high pitched and weird even to him. Fortunately his mother had not noticed, as she rattled on about his aunt Julie.

-‘Yes, and she’s having a baby now, what do you think of that?’ his mother’s voice became loud and clear, and he realized that he’d put the phone onto loud speak. His heart was in his mouth – did his mother know about Anna already?

He looked at Anna, still sitting on the bench. She looked suddenly fragile and unsure of herself, and he realized that she had never even met his mad but fun loving mother. An image of her came into his mind; the photo of her and his dad at a New Years Eve party taken before he was born. They have their arms around each other and look so happy. His mother has a bright pink jacket on and matching lipstick and his dad’s dark locks are in  his eyes.Josh barely recognizes his dad from that; before he died he was completely bald. The photo is framed and has pride of place on the sideboard; a reminder of a happier time in his mother’s life.

A surge of loneliness hit him and he felt homesick. All he wanted to do at that moment was to curl up on the sofa at home and listen to his mother rabbiting on about the family, the neighbors – anything but stand here. The weight of responsibility hit him like a ton of bricks.

Anna was a lovely, quiet girl; he knew that. He had treated her appallingly.

He said goodbye to his mother quickly, promising to call her later. He took his hoodie off and placed it over Anna’s shivering shoulders. She leans into him, placing her head on his shoulder and he realizes that he likes it.

‘I know that it’s a shock to you; it was to me. We have to talk though; sort things out. I’ll be at the markets in Edinburgh all weekend helping my friend Georgia out. Can you meet me there on Saturday?’

Josh nodded a yes.

Copyright: Suzanne Bowditch, 2016.

 

Book review

Image

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Bought on a Friday;

Read by Monday.

This female psychological thriller had me gripped from start to finish.

Heidi lives with her husband and only daughter Zoe in an apartment at the center of Chicago. She is a humanitarian, specializing in helping people from all walks of life.As she waits for her regular train to take her to work one morning, she spots a young girl and a baby. They are clearly homeless as the girl is sheltering under a door way with just a battered suitcase and a crying infant. The baby looks fretful and ill and the girl tired and dirty. Both look hungry.

Heidi sees her the next day, and the next.

Then one day, she asks if she can pay for dinner.

What follows is a real page turner, as the events unfold and we learn more about Heidi, her husband, and the girl called Willow.

It will leave guessing from the very start.

Highly recommend  – 5/5

Alice’s Secret: Book Cover

Book cover of Alice's Secret

This is a draft of the book cover that my sister in law Gill Bowditch-Cooper is in the process of doing for my new book Alice’s Secret.

Alice’s Secret is the second book in the trilogy that I’m writing about the different generations of the same family. It has themes of relationships, family, hardships and diversity. Elen is the first book. You can find it at:

http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01911AE8Q

I am in the process of editing Alice’s Secret which is a drawn out process to say the least! Here’s an extract from it, due out in July 2016.

Prologue

July 1874

Sara was sure that she had already walked by this neck of the woods; yes, she could see the old piece of farm machinery sticking out of the ground, just to the right of the lane. It had sat in the ground half buried in the soil ever since she could remember, so that anyone passing may not have seen it. Except for me, Sara thought. I should know this lane very well; I have walked around here enough times with Henry. So, why did she feel so lost? She looked behind her at the unfamiliar stretch of woods, as they curved around the corner, out of sight. She looked forward again, coming closer to the rusted old piece of machinery. It looked different to what she remembered. It was not the same, but just looked like it. This piece had rusted spikes which had become exposed in the rain. No, it was not the familiar piece. It was then that panic bubbled inside, as she realised that she was lost. She looked up at the sky, as a large drop of rain descended onto her nose, followed rapidly by another. She pulled her shawl around her as the heat of the day had rapidly turned into the chill of the night time. There was a quick movement up ahead; rabbits had come out to play as the dusk was falling, jumping around the grassland looking for their dinner.

A gust of wind blew around her dress, and pulled the shawl off her shoulders. She wished that Henry had come with her today, but he was needed up at the Mackenzie’s Farm. She groaned at the unfairness of it all. He should be here with me! She thought. The shawl blew across the road, and onto the branches of an old oak tree. She ran over to retrieve it, trying to get it free from the gnarly fingers of the tree. It seemed to be stuck fast, and she knew that her mother would leather her if she had snagged it; Alice had only just finished making it for her. It was made of the soft wool of the merino sheep that they kept on their farm and was fine and soft to wear. Sara set the shawl free, and adjusted her bonnet which had come off her head and was dangling down her back, allowing the soft curls of her hair to come loose.

Just then, as she was setting herself right and wondering which direction was the best to take, she heard a twig snap in the woods set to the right of her. A flock of birds suddenly decided to take flight just up ahead; an indication that something or someone had disturbed them. What was there, hiding in the woods?

‘Who’s there?’ she cried out. ‘Don’t hide from me, I can see you.’

There was the sound of more twigs snapping, and a rustling, which seemed nearer now. Sara could make out no one in the rapidly dimming light; even the rabbits seemed to have disappeared as the rain started to come down more forcefully. Sara was starting to feel soaked through; she would be in for it when she got home.

The noise from the woods was now just metres away, and she could just make out a form amongst the trees, and then a hand appeared pulling back some particularly dense bushland.

‘Oh, it’s you,’ she uttered in a confused tone. ‘What are you doing out here? Did my dad send you? Do you know the best way to get back to the farm? I’m lost you see, and would love some help.’

The only reply was the sound of the rain dripping onto the trees, and the gurgling of the rivets of rainfall as it pooled around her.

*

Copyright: Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

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