Daytime Television

As much as I am enjoying the delights of Homes under the Hammer, Escape to the Country/Sun/Winter Sun or wherever and the many, many antique shows I do wonder to whom the programme of delights is aimed.  The adverts are definitely geared to the elderly and/or infirm.  Given that most views would tend to be housebound for reasons of age, infirmity or unemployment why not use the schedule for some decent drama repeats, or…deep breath…documentaries.  Maybe I am mistaken but surely the majority of daytime viewers would not have the means or the motive to upsticks or take up property renovation or go browsing around market stalls…

About a Fiji boy…

 

“Wow”, the young student doctor breathed in joy and wonder as my baby slithered into view, “that is the first time I have seen a birth.  Thank you for sharing this with me.”

I took my eyes off my newborn son and glanced at the young doctor.  All at once the years dropped away to a scene of blue sea, blue sky and a hot burning sun. We were hot, we were tired, it was the midday heat but we were determined so see something of this non-touristy Fiji island on our one and only day there.  What a glorious stopover to our main destination of New Zealand!  Fiji was the Hot House at Kew Gardens brought to life.  Eyes widening in wonder as we strolled down a road lined with grand colonial houses.  The rain hosed down yet we didn’t care; it was so hot the rain dried before it hit the ground.  We took a taxi to the nearest beach.  The sea was too hot to cool off in so my husband and I found a shady spot under a tropical tree.

“English?”  said a voice, breaking into our slumbers.

We looked up to see a Fijian boy looking at us eagerly, “I learn.  I go London soon.  I learn to be doctor.”

We sat up; the boy was about twelve years old.  We admired his ambition.  He told us he was learning English from a retired Englishman on the island as well as at school.  He was determined to learn as much as possible because all the scientific text books were in English. The University of Oxford was his aim. He told us about life on the island, about the seaplanes, the sudden downpours of rain; which we were to experience again later that day.  We took photographs and his name and address and promised to send him a photograph.

The taxi came to take us back to Nadi, the main town.  By this time the sky had been filled in with ominous grey clouds.  With no warning the clouds dropped their load.  The water emptied out instantly.  Later, the small village lake took on the appearance of a primeval swamp when the hot sun began to cause the water to steam.

Steam…water…my baby cried as the nurse cleaned him up before handing him to me again.

I looked at the young doctor and simply said “Emori.”

“Yes.  Hot English lady under shade!  I told you I would be a doctor.”

“We sent you the photograph – did it reach you?”

“No…but never mind.  I went to college and then to London University.  My uncle is a dentist in London.”

My husband reached for my hand and, looking at Emori, said, “what about Edward Emori?”

I smiled with pleasure; we so admired Emori’s determination that to name our son after him would be a reminder of a wonderful day and of a friendship renewed on the day of my baby’s birth.

 

 

 

 

Space stories

Following Tim Peake’s adventures in space there seems to be a pent up demand for space adventure stories tinged with realism. So frustrating to have a rejection from an agent at this time. Well, will just keep trying. Two books are already out there on AmazonKindle although it is difficult to publicise them.

Machines

Here is a little something that has been well received by Short Fiction Writers facebook group:

She checked all the machines. All were running nicely. No problems there. The day had been busy, busy. A lone worker. An isolated production unit. Washing now drying. Dirty plates being cleaned. Dinner prepared. She leaned back in her chair, savouring the moment as she sipped her mug of tea before leaving to do the same in her own house.

Meanwhile…Chris Hadfield is to visit Monmouth for a book signing of his children’s book.

Small Planet

Still in shock at the result of last week’s referendum. So sad. Especially sad following the global excitment at Tim Peake’s adventures in space. And seeing those photos of the beauty of the Earth. Hope the politicians can untangle the mess.

Gosh, wow, what a week…

Well, at risk of duplication the week has been one roller coaster of highs and higher highs and music. Last Saturday we enjoyed the superb performance of the Gondoliers by the Southampton University Gilbert and Sullivan Society. They have expert actors, comic and serious, singers, designers…and lighting designers (my own son!). There was more music yesterday evening as we enjoyed a Mozartfest of beautiful singing by the Cathedral Choir plus some professional soloists. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to say hello to Iryna Illynska but she knew I was there and it is always a pleasure to hear her faultless mezzosoprano voice. She is also a very nice, kind lady who is very clever – fluent in several languages – as well as musically gifted. She also likes cake and extolled the virtues of healthy eating while indulging in a great big Danish pastry.
Today we took my parents to an Afternoon Summer Organ Recital with Afternoon Tea featuring John Draisey, an organist who is part of the Mint commmunity. It was a treat for Fathers’ Day which they both enjoyed. The music and singing were a delightful selection with an organ-related theme. Again, it was all of a very high standard. A particular piece I had looked forward to was The Lost Chord which was something I studied as part of the Arts Foundation Course at the beginning of my Open University degree studies. It is haunting both in words and tune.
Amidst the musical week was an astronomy talk I gave to a group of Year 5 children from the local primary school. They loved it and I had one or two interactive activities which went down very well. I began with a display of fruit to the scale of the universe.Fruit bowl solar system Real photo of fruit to be substituted once I upload it! It was a jaw-dropping moment though at the end when a teacher came over (he had just arrived to collect them) and mentioned, questioningly, ‘Whitegrove Primary?’ – he said his name and I just said “Gosh”, “Wow”, “Gosh”…it was 15 years ago back in Bracknell back several lifetimes…and I simply said to him that my life has changed so much since then. Then it was back to “Gosh”, “Wow”, etc.
And if that was not enough excitement, my son texted me to say he has achieved a First in his Maths Masters degree. Wow indeed. And he has been involved in theatre, amateur radio, enjoying life, enjoying gigs, and taking part in national coding competitions. Wow. And so to calm down…

Higher and higher…

What a week this has been! So full of nice surprises and excitement. Last Saturday we enjoyed a train ride to Southampton where we had a rest before meeting son for a meal. This was followed by another superb production of a Gilbert and Sullivan show, this time The Gondoliers. My son’s lighting was sympathetic to the set and we clapped loudly to him at the end. The characters were just great; expertly interpreted with great singing voices to match.

On Wednesday morning I gave a talk to a class of Year 5 children from the local primary school. This was very well received and I enjoyed doing it. I had been very nervous beforehand but once I got going I was fine. I took along a selection of fruit to represent the scale of the planets. And a ball of string to show the relative distance from Earth to Moon…and asked them to show me whereabouts the space station is.

And, there was a jaw-dropping moment at the end when a teacher approached me and said the name of a primary school followed by his name. He was a trainee teacher back in Bracknell at a school where I was working as a Specialist Teaching Assistant working with groups for extra maths and English support.

What a surprise! I think my jaw is still on the floor…seems a lifetime ago I was a TA in Bracknell. My life has changed so much since then and I said as much to the teacher.

And my son texted me on Thursday with news that he had achieved a First in MMaths. Looking forward to the Graduation next month – a huge celebration…and maybe some photos together.

I have still yet to come down from the ceiling.

A starry morning…

What an exciting morning! The Year 5 class from local primary were enraptured with the facts they learnt from my talk about the solar system and space generally. What was amazing was that the teacher who came to collect them was one I had worked with in Another Life back in Berkshire. At the time he was a trainee teacher and I was a teaching assistant working with small groups for numeracy and literacy.

The children loved the display of fruit representing the sizes of the planets to scale and the ball and string activity to illustrate the distance between the Moon and the Earth and, as a finale, the distance to the space station.

Well worth the effort involved.

A thought-provoking book

I came across the Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder which won the 1928 Pullitzer Prize. It is evocative and contains the powerful final paragraph:

But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.

Barrack Obama quoted the book following the twin towers terrorist attack in 2001.