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suzannebowditch

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

Month

May 2016

Book Review

  The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth GilbertBook The signature of all things

The Signature of All Things is one of my favorite books of all time. I bought the book last year at a discount book store, and read it. And loved it. It is a beautifully written book, with fascinating characters living at such an exciting time (the Victorian period) that you will be left bereft to leave the characters, especially the main protagonist, in order to finish it.In fact, it is a story that can be read again and again (I have read it twice, so far).

At just shy of 500 pages, it could be classed as an epic read (certainly in my mind), and tells the story of Alma Whittaker, a  woman who wants for nothing but pursues everything. Her father, Henry Whittaker is one of the richest businessmen in America at that time, and Alama inherits not only his money, but his brilliant mind. Her thirst for knowledge leads her across the globe, researching the mysteries behind evolution, at a time when Charles Darwin was researching the same theory in England. It is the time of the Age of Enlightenment, when all the preconceived notions regarding religion, commerce and society are being questioned and overturned in an ever changing world.

Alma is a botanist, and in her quest to find the evolution of the species spends her life studying moss. She also manages to travel the world and to marry her one true love, Ambrose Pike, who’s paintings of orchids she adores. In her travels, she meets fascinating characters; missionaries, scientists, fellow botanists and adventurers.

A fabulous read, well worth a recommendation. 5/5.

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

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Calling Authors – Come and be interviewed

Author Don Massenzio

InterviewBack in February I put out a plea to authors that might want to be interviewed on my site. A lot has happened since then. One thing is that the number of followers for my blog has grown exponentially. I attribute the popularity of these authors as one of the contributing factors for this growth.

As we wind our way through May, I am coming to the end of my scheduled interviews. Beginning May 16th, I will have openings in my schedule to interview additional authors.

I’ve learned a lot from the interviews conducted thus far and I will be making some changes going forward including adjusting my questions so that we can dig further into your work and your background and really give your readers and potential readers insight into what, how, and why you write.

It’s been a rewarding experience for me and I hope that it has…

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The Royal Pub

The lunchtime crowd had dispersed by the time that Josh arrived; back to their mundane office jobs, their lives on the fringes of being real as they spend their nights watching reality TV in front of a ready meal.

‘Do I dare 

Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.’

One of his favorite poems from school sprang to mind; the only good thing to come out of those mundane classes, but he remembered his English teacher and the passion for literature that she had tried to instill in a classroom of uninterested pupils. At the time, the words seemed vague and unreal, but the reality of life has kicked him down again. The words resonated in his mind as he pushed open the door of the pub, set in a busy intersection off Princes street. Anna trailed behind. He barely gave her a glance as he scoured the room looking for Luke.

‘Over here, you two!’ Luke voice cut through the deep aggressive burr of a smoky Scottish pub. Josh made his way to the far corner and sat down. Luke had a pint in front of him; half full. Just like my life, Josh thought. Half baked and going nowhere…

‘I’ll have an orange juice Lukey.’ Anna spoke up and sat down on the opposite side of the table. She placed her handbag on the table and pulled out a compact, which she gazed at, ignoring him.

‘Righto, Anna my dear, be back in a minute. Pint for you Josh?’

Josh managed a smile. He looked out if the window onto the bustling street outside. From this position he could see the tall grey stone buildings that made up the main thoroughfare of Edinburgh. The gold letters of ‘The Royal’ were painted onto the pub glass; reversed letters that seemed somehow significant. Beads of condensation ran down the window making the shoppers look blurred and unfocused, as if they were aliens.

The tension inside was palpable.

Anna continued looking at her compact, completely engrossed in the task of putting on lipstick. Was she trying to wear him down? Knowing that she had the upper hand in this scenario, was she milking the situation for all its worth?

‘Well Joshie, I have news.This involves Anna as well, listen up you two.’ Luke placed a tray on the table, which held a pint and a small bottle of juice and a glass. A couple of packets of crisps were thrown down beside the drinks for good measure.

‘I’ve spoken to Jazz this morning. He wants the band to continue on its tour whatever has come up.’ He looked awkwardly at Anna, who stared back at him wide eyed.

‘Jazz has a mate down South who owns a cracking little flat. Its not that far from your mum’s Josh.’ Luke looked at his mate encouragingly.

‘He says that he can get the flat no probs, so that you and Anna can be near family, so to speak, but you can continue in the band. Anna can do what she wants there and we can carry on touring. Jazz has already booked gigs for a European tour after this one. What say you Anna?’

Anna spilled her drink.

*

 

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

Poem extract from The Love Story of Alfred J Prufrock by TS Eliot.

http://www.poetry-archive.com/e/love_song_of_j_alfred_prufrock.html#rmyyWtww3uQFCgoA.99

Maisie Jessica Ferguson

Turtle
Google Images

Maisie Jessica Ferguson, or MJ to her friends, pulled on her hot pink suede boots and stood up excitedly. She gazed at herself in the mirror and giggled in satisfaction. Her hair was a mass of dark curls, which she’d pulled back with a flower hair-clip and her cute turtle earrings dangled from her earlobes. Patting her hair, she bent down to pick up a couple of runaway bobby clips that had fallen onto the fluffy pink rug, and stuck them back into her hair haphazardly.

‘I have no time for messing with you today, hair.’She looked sternly into the mirror.’I have better things to do!’ A cheeky smile grinned back at her, and she pulled her hot pink cardi over her turtle t shirt , then rearranged the belt on her trendy jeans – the ones that her mother had bought her at the mall just last week, after Maisie had insisted that ‘everyone wore them.’ The jeans had candy colored stripes in pale greens and yellows, and tucked into her boots beautifully.

‘Maisie, hurry up, or you’ll be late! You don’t want to miss the show, do you?’

She grabbed her backpack and sunnies, and glanced around the room of her bedroom. There were turtle posters adorning every wall, and more turtle trinkets were displayed on her bookcase, alongside Marine books and picture books of the Deep.Her backpack tinkled and glinted as she pulled it onto her shoulders and tucked the turtle keying into the side pocket for safekeeping.

At the bottom of the stairs, her mother stood impatiently waiting for her. A set of car keys jangled from her hand, and she frowned at her outfit. The frown lasted for all of a second however, as she gazed at her youngest daughter.

‘They’re outside waiting for you. Enjoy your day, honey.’

Maisie kissed her mother on the cheek, and opened the front door excitedly. A line of children stood on the driveway in front of a large white van. The side door of the van was open and two more children peered out at her, large grins on their faces.They scrambled in to the back of the van and she pulled the sliding door closed. On the side of the van was printed the words ‘Sealife, Mooloolaba. The best marine park in the world!’ alongside an image of a turtle.

‘Safe driving honey,’ her mother called after her from the front door. She had on a khaki uniform and walking boots. Embroided on the lapel were the words ‘Sea Life Marine biologist. ‘Enjoy your first day at work!’

Maisie waved and donned her warder’s cap with the words ‘Sea Life’ emblazoned across it. She threw her back pack onto the seat beside her, and jumped into the driver’s seat of the van.

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

 

Pink Blancmange

Pink blancmange
Google Images

I had lunch with a group of friends last week. When we get together, the conversation is always about our children (comparing notes on behavior) or our families. We are a mixed bag; two Aussies, two English ladies and me, the Welshie. This time we did a little reminiscing on our childhoods and growing up in general. We are a mature bunch of ladies, so most of us can go back a fair few years!

I have lived in Australia for the last ten years and have learnt that Aussies like Vegemite (yuck!) sausages (nicer) and seafood on Christmas Day. But when we talked about what things we liked to eat as a child, I made a surprising discovery – one of my Aussie friends did not know what Blancmange is. A little taken aback by this, I tried to tell her that Blancmange is a creamy dessert (mainly pink ) that accompanies jelly (not jam ) It is usually served at birthday parties, and is moulded into the shape of a rabbit (pink) with grass (green) jelly around it.

It would be the highlight of any birthday party that I went to as a child, and would take centre stage on the party table ( whilst the birthday cake would be in the kitchen, under a cloth ready for the candles).

Does anyone have a childhood food that they loved, but no one else has even heard of?

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

Mother’s Day

T2 Mother's day

L'Occitane Mother's Day

Whilst visiting my local shopping mall on the weekend, I couldn’t help but notice the fresh lot of advertising posters that are evident in the shops – Mother’s Day is nearly upon us.

That got me thinking about the meaning behind Mother’s day (or Mothering Sunday in some countries).

Wikipedia quotes it as “a modern celebration honoring the mother of the family.”

The history behind the concept of a day to honor mothers across the world is over a hundred years old, when a young American lady named Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church, West Virginia (1908 was the date). Anne Reeves Jarvis (Anna’s mother) had been a peace activist during the American Civil War. The church of St Andrews holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine to this day. The then president, Woodrow Wilson, signed a proclamation in 1914 deigning the second Sunday in the month as Mother’s Day.

Ironically, a few years after this (in the 1920’s) Anna Jarvis protested against the commercialism of Mother’s Day as candy companies and card companies (such as Hallmark cards) got on board with selling candy and cards for the day. Anna argued that people should celebrate their own mothers with a simple letter or hand written note. She went so far as to cause a disturbance at a candy bar makers convention in Philadelphia in 1923.

In a world of vast commercialism when everything is now packaged and celebrated (wasn’t Easter just a month ago; I still have chocolate eggs), I have to admire the stoic simplicity of Anna Jarvis.

We all should celebrate Mother’s Day, but rather than just posting a card, handing out chocolates or giving flowers, maybe we could just appreciate mums more; just like Anna Jarvis intended.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother’s_Day

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

 

 

 

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