Memories of my dog, Ricky

Everybody remembers their first dog. Mine was Ricky, he was a terrier of some sorts and he was very intelligent.

This is Ricky, I don’t have many photos but here he is with my dad and my baby sister. He was about two when this was taken.

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As I said, Ricky was such an intelligent dog. I remember him coming to tell us once that our other dog, Sally, had just been run over. Luckily she was fine, but he barked and barked until we followed him and he led us to a group of people.

I’ve shared a story in The Magic of Stories book telling of the day he came to school with me. He just decided to do it. It would have been in the late sixties and no way would a dog been allowed in schools today. He played in the playground with all the children and in the afternoon, the teacher let him come into the classroom.  I hope you enjoy the story, and I promise you it is all true.

Please tell me about your dogs.

Do you keep a diary?

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 10.25.41I’ve always kept a diary and in my early teenage years I just wrote a few lines on days I did something.

When I had my first boyfriend the diaries became more detailed on the days we did something exciting. I also managed to graffiti all over it with hearts and our names, basically declaring my undying love!

One of my most interesting diaries became a journal in my late teens and here I chronicled my activities with my friends. This was most interesting as I can read back to the day of night clubs, and dates. I also wrote about my insecurities and longing to find a proper boyfriend. I even listed all my friends who were in relationships and wondered why I couldn’t sustain one. All the dates I had been on they was always something lacking. I wondered what was wrong with me.

These days everything is out on Social Media but back then we kept everything to ourselves, and little did I know that my feelings were normal. Other people were went through the same type of things and it would have helped me knowing that.

These three years of journelling finished in 1977, just as I met someone I really liked. It would have been fascinating to read what what I thought of him, except I was too busy having a good time to write anymore. It turned out he was the one, and we married in 1980.

We were together for four years before the first of my two children were born. They kept me too busy to write. What I did do was write about certain moments, like a weekend away, or a visit to my family. These make wonderful reading for me as most of them were sprinkled with humour. It also took me back to those early years and my parents.

As the children got older, I continued to write like this and stories about their early childhood that would have been long forgotten if I hadn’t written them down.

These days I keep a five year diary. I write in it every day – well that’s not strictly true, I write something for every day, usually a week later then have to remember what I did. This is my fourth five-year-diary.

A few years ago I picked up one from when my children were teenagers. They weren’t bad in comparison to some stories I’d heard but it talked of the rows, the staying out late, and all the other teenage stuff. It took me back to the rows I had with my mum when I was that age.

From that I wrote a short piece of fiction called Blowing Hot and Cold. I wrote it from the mother’s point of view. It highlights that she has own problems and coping mechanisms, then throw into the mix a volitate teenage daughter, and life becomes difficult.

It’s only a very short story and this is the opening paragraph.

An upstairs door slammed. I hunched my shoulders. It was another row with my teenage daughter. The argument was over nothing; it wasn’t even a proper disagreement. She just blew up and snapped.

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 10.25.41Do you remember your days as a teenager when you thought the world was against you?

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Do you believe in love at first sight?

I was reading a book not long ago set in sixties America. A young girl, aged about sixteen travelled on a bus across several states with her mother and younger sister. On the bus she meets a young military man and has to sit next to him. They strike up a friendship and over the following 48 hours they fall deeply in love.

I stopped reading then, no way does that happen. People don’t fall in love on a bus. They don’t declare undying love to each other. It was just so unrealistic. Although I had read this author before, and she is a great story teller I just couldn’t buy into this one. I wrote up a part review voicing my concerns and was surprised at the reaction I received. Love at first sight does happen I was told, and I should open my mind, it honestly it surprised me. I didn’t expect that reaction.

When I came to put this book together, I found a very short story that suggested I must once have believed in the concept. The story was called First Sight and the fact that it can happen at any time to any one. No one knows what makes that sudden click when two eyes meet, what is it that draws them together, that makes each of them stand out from the crowd. So I explored that concept by creating an unlikely situation between two people who started the day as normal and not realising what was about to happen to.

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Joe got there in time to preserve the crime scene. “Get these people outta here!” He barked. This was bad, and he was thankful they couldn’t see what he’d seen. It didn’t help when it rained.’

To read the full story follow thelink to your local store.

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Finding Humour

I think humour is very important in stories, at least they are in mine, because life is full of humour. We, as humans can find humour in all sorts of things, even the macbre. I recall the days before Social Media when something bad happened, you suddenly found bad jokes being sent to your mobile phone.

It was an underworld of communication, and you always knew something would do the rounds when something bad happened. The jokes would be in poor taste and forwarded many times. If you didn’t like it, you deleted it and said nothing. Not like today, when we have to be careful what we put on Social Media or else people would come down on you like a ton of bricks, rightly so, in many cases. You couldn’t get away with anything now, where as in a text message it was just for you regardless of where it originated from and easily deleted.

Life is humerous, and I was unfortunate enough to come from a family that had clumsy in it’s genes. Because we were all that way inclinded, you needed a good sense of humour to survive it. Being a writer, I collected many of these instances as they happened and they still make me chuckle as I add them to my stories.

Some years ago I wrote a story with the long weird title of Walking in the Moonlight with Brad Pitt. It was the story of Amy who goes to a party and sees the handsome Liam. She remembers him from a disasterous date she had several years earlier.

I had a friend many years ago who dated a girl who was taller than he was. He told me how on dates, he would get her to walk in the gutter so they could be at least on the same level. That really amused me, so I used it for Liam and Amy’s date. Then there was my sister who once worked in an office that had a spiral stair case leading down to the reception. She was on her way to meet a client wanting to make a good impression. As she got midway, she slipped and fell on her bum hitting every step and landing at the clients feet. Her skirt was above her suspenders exposing her thighs, it was the eighties, I might add! So I wrote this in to the story as well. It’s how Amy makes an impression on Liam – minus the suspenders!


 

‘Amy groaned and left the bathroom. The date had ended because she choked on  a nut and couldn’t stop coughing.

 As she tried to come down the stairs elegantly, she saw Liam watching her and knew he had finally placed her. Her eyes caught the blond head of Jack, who was now giving the kiss of life to the party prostitute. 

 Turning back, Liam’s eyes were still on her as she missed her footing and squealed like a cat with its tail stuck in a door. Her slippery hand grabbed the handrail as her bottom hit each step in turn. Liam was there in an instant as she rose to her feet looking as red as the wine.

 “Are you all right?” he asked with concern.

 Standing, she gave him a dazzling smile through clenched teeth, “Is that my drink, lovely!”’


Please share with me your embarrassing moments, because we have all had them!

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Playground Games

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 10.19.55When I was in primary school, which would have been in the sixties, we used to play proper games in playground. Playtime was in the morning, lunch time, and one in the afternoon.

I still remember many of the games. One of my favouties was called French Skipping, I never knew what was French about it! We’d spend hours threading rubber bands together until is was big enough to have one girl each end, and one to skip. (Occasionally a boy would play but it was mainly us girls.)

Another game was What Time is it Mister Wolf. One person would face the wall and start calling out the time, one o’clock, two o’clock etc., and at any given moment the wolf could spin round to face the advancing children. They would have to creep up towards the wolf while he wasn’t looking. If he turned and saw you moving then you were out. Whoever got to the wolf first without being caught, became the next Mr Wolf.

Everybody skipped, there was nothing more fun than a big long rope and lots of girls, and sometimes boys skipping in the middle, too.

We never seemed to be short of games to play, and they were such great fun. In my new book, The Magic of Stories, I talk about them in detail and the accomping songs.

Who remembers I had a little bubble car number ninety eight? Or A sailor went to sea, sea, sea, to see what he could see, see see, and even the clapping song – Under the bambush, under the tree, whoah, whoah, whoah? What is a bambush? I never thought about that before, they were all just words that we knew off by heart.

What games did you play and what was your favourite, see if you can answer using a gif.

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Can You Control Your Dreams?

Do you dream in colour? I was once asked that, because I dream so vividly, and I didn’t know whether I did or not. So I went to bed and made a conscious effort to find out. I saw a girl in a red skirt that night. So I must do, or at least I’d made the suggestion to myself and my brain worked subconciously. The rest of the dream was irrelevant, that’s why we don’t see colour, we only see the events as they happen.

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Did you know people can manipulate their dreams? It’s called Lucid Dreaming and when I first became aware of it, I tried to do it. Most of the time I’m aware that what is going on around me want only a dream. I’ve even told people it doesn’t matter because this is my dream.

One day, I decided to fly, I’d done it before, and I knew others said they have dreamt of flying too. So every night I tried to take off off. It took over a week for me to actually get airborn, while consciously knowing I was dreaming. I couldn’t do it long enough to enjoy it, and it took a lot of effort to do.

If you want to give this kind of manipulation a go, this article gives you some steps on how to achieve it.

I’m very lucky being a writer because I can sometimes use my dreams to weave into stories and have met other writers who say the same thing.

In my early teens I dreamt I had died and was in some sort of in between land. It was a bit weird as these things always are. I wrote it down and made a story out of it. For many years the story was called The Astra Plane, which is where it takes place. It was only when I resurrected it for this book my proof reader said, don’t you mean astral plain? It was the mistake of my thirteen year old self, and I just became used to the title without thinking about it. The story has a ethereal feel to it and this is the opening paragraph.

There is a place beyond and before, it is neither here nor there. We all go there, few remember, and most never return. It is a place of swirling sands; ever present mist and a dull sea lapping at the shore. It is a place beyond our dreams and imaginings. Who we are and who we think we are, not always the same thing.

They call this place The Astral Plane.

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Introduction to The Magic of Stories book

MagicofStoriesCoverThis week I’m re-launching The Magic of Stories eBook under the Electric Eclectic banner. It’s been tweaked from the original, with additional stories and new formating, and a brand new super-duper cover, which I love. Paul White of P J Designs has done a lovely job in designing it for me.

Stories are wonderful, they weave magically threads that draw you into a world that is different to your own. We all need escapism and many, like me, like to do this with a good book.

I’ve always said stories are not just fictional.  True life tales, can be just as fascinating. I love hearing about people’s passions, what they love, what they believe, their families and their memories. Stories are all around us every day.

In The Magic of Stories, I have collected material together written over the years, which include poetry, shorts, and flash fiction, each telling a tale.

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 17.43.03Last year, I read a book called Undressed by Karina Kantas. It’s a collection of poetry, prose, flash and short fiction. Although I loved reading all the stories, there was something else that made it special. For most of them, she explained her reasons for writing it, or how it came to be, or some other fascinating snippit.

I’ve never seen this done before and found they added another dimension to the book. So, this is what I’ve done with mine. Knowing how a story orginated makes it a a more interesting read.

Karina has kindly offered to give my readers a copy for free. I highly recommend you grab it and add it to your reading list. All details of how to get it are in The Magic of Stories book.

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Every day this week I’ll be sharing articles to accompany the stories in the book. As I publish them, I will add the link here, so you’ll be able to come back and follow them anytime.

Coping with Bereavement
Can you Control Your Dreams?
Playground Games
Finding Humour
Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?
Do you keep a diary?
Memories of my dog Ricky
I don’t like creepy things, do you?
My Sister Far Away
Don’t tell a writer your secrets!
Hidden Stories in Family Tree
Train Journeys
Churches and Ouiji Boards