I Never Promised You A Herb Garden

I am often confused when people give me gifts – because they are often exactly what I don’t want or need, and I am sometimes at a loss to know who to give them to. However, I have been given a gift that has put a big smile on my face.

I am looking after the garden for some friends who have gone away – which currently means carrying a heavy watering can around the garden because there is a hosepipe ban. They have given me a herb garden – with six different herbs – basil, chives, coriander, thyme, parsley and mint. I am so very happy.

Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

Two Very Different Men And The Siren In That Gold Dress

I have found that pictures can provide huge inspiration. I remember seeing an image a few years ago and deciding that was Annabelle the night Robin met her…

In my mind, Robin is just one of the men who see the stunning siren walk into the venue where a PR event/cocktail party is being held by a New York media company. Robin is there with his flatmate, who works for the company. Seeing that Robin cannot keep his eyes off Annabelle, his flatmate (who knows that Annabelle is known as the blonde on the arm of one of the hottest musicians in the charts – Dean Mathers – until their recent split) tells Robin that he does not have a chance with Annabelle.

Determined not to be put off, Robin makes a beeline for Annabelle. He has no idea who she is and he has never heard of Dean Mathers.

Now although the picture above was the original inspiration for Annabelle’s breath-taking entrance at the party where Robin sees her for the first time, I knew there were a few details that I had to address. Annabelle has been very low and lost since her break up from Dean. The last place she wants to be is at a party, but in her new role for Sony, she is expected to be at these social events. There are signs of how troubled she is on her arms and legs and other parts of her body. So I realized that her stunning dress actually needed full length sleeves as well as being long and nowhere near as revealing as the dress above. Annabelle has deliberately chosen the dress because it hides her injuries, but the dazzling gold is eye-catching.

Then comes the worst start. Robin attempts to flirt with Annabelle by sidling up to her and remarking, “You do realize that your dress isn’t in fashion, don’t you? You the only woman in the room not showing off any cleavage.”

Annabelle is quite rightly unimpressed by Robin’s overly personal and direct comment. She gives him that look of “Go away please Creep!” Coldly she replies, “I don’t need any advice on how to dress,” and turns to move away.

Realizing immediately that Annabelle does not see any humour in his comment, Robin tries to keep her attention, “What about my tie? What do you think of my tie?”

Irritated by Robin’s persistence, Annabelle states, “It’s just a black tie.”

“Is that all you can see? There’s a lot more to this tie than that.”

Bewildered, Annabelle turns Robin’s tie over and reads the garment care label, “100% silk, delicate dry-clean only”.

Robin looks into Annabelle’s eyes, “Don’t judge too quickly on first impressions. There is a lot more to get to know.” When Annabelle is still hesitant, Robin holds out his hand and suggests, “Can I go back and start again? Hi, I’m Robin Grainger. It’s nice to meet you.”

Accepting his handshake, the beauty replies, “Annabelle. No, there is no going back, we can only go forwards.”

Gambling the progress he has made during an awkward conversation, Robin boldly asks, “Does going forwards mean you will consider coming back to my place?”

It is just one scene…but it included lots of references that tie into other conversations in the book. It is Dean who has always said to Annabelle, “No regrets. There is no going back, you can only go forwards.” The night she meets Robin, Dean is still at the centre of her thoughts. It is the care label on Annabelle’s dress that he uses to show her he is not going to let her down.

I am finding as I am imagining and writing, Annabelle is profoundly aware of the differences between Robin and Dean.

It is Robin’s direct confident manner that Annabelle is bowled over by and she soon find herself swept off her feet by the self-assured, strong-willed, decisive and dynamic man, who is a contrast to often disheveled and unkempt Dean, who suffered from stage-fright and turned to alcohol to settle his nerves and cope with pressure. Annabelle has spent years with Dean, her first boyfriend, who grew up like her in the Bronx, and talked about guitars, motorbikes and tattoos…and has habits that distress Annabelle, meaning she often has had to care for him when he made himself ill. She cannot help see the contrast in the clever, well-read English man who dresses well, eats well, and is thrilled to have met Annabelle.

It is so much fun to go back and think about these characters in more detail. I love Chris Ward as much as everyone else who has read Annabelle’s story. But for now, I am dwelling on Annabelle before she ever meets Chris. This is a stage in her life that fascinates me, and I am amazed at how much fun it is to work out the intricate detail.

Sitting On A Cornflake

Jim Adams aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: BETTER WITH AGE – FAILED OR OVERLOOKED SONGS THAT EVENTUALLY BECAME FAN FAVOURITES

Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Pexels.com

This week’s theme is interesting. I thought of a song immediately that I remember being hugely popular amongst us teenagers, but actually due to the big band at the time (Oasis) covering this track in their live shows. I almost picked this track for last week, but then decided it fitted this week’s theme slightly better.

So…I will explain…as we all know The Beatles released a lot of music, and they released different types of music. These were young creative men, learning and pondering and adventuring and their music changed as they changed. Everyone has their favourite Beatles album(s) or a style that was iconic to them at the time their music was produced. I am going to hold my hand up and admit that my favourites are from their early days “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You – Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”. But that is just me. But I do like some of their other tracks, I have grown up with all of the Beatles songs playing in the background of my childhood in Liverpool, so I know their music.

I was almost surprised when a song that I had always thought of as quite a funny song (as a child I thought that some songs from the Beatles were very weird) gained huge popularity when covered by Oasis. The track is called “I Am The Walrus” (fans all cheer) and although the critics received it well when The Beatles released it, it did not do particularly well in the charts (according to Wikipedia). Yet…it it did firmly become a fan favourite and during the Britpop era and we all looked back at this track with renewed appreciation.

Don’t ask…I can’t really explain it. Don’t worry about the lyrics….they will just confuse you. I do have some videos for you though! (I recall Liam Gallagher being rather colourful with his language on stage, so mute whatever he is babbling before he starts actually singing.)

I am he
As you are he
As you are me
And we are all together

See how they run
Like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I'm crying

Sitting on a cornflake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation tee shirt
Stupid bloody Tuesday
Man, you been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long

I am the eggman (Ooh)
They are the eggmen, (Ooh)
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Mister city p'liceman sitting pretty
Little p'licemen in a row
See how they fly
Like Lucy in the sky
See how they run
I'm crying
I'm crying, I'm crying, I'm crying

Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog's eye
Crabalocker fishwife pornographic priestess
Boy you been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down

I am the eggman (Ooh)
They are the eggmen (Ooh)
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Sitting in an English
Garden waiting for the sun
If the sun don't come
You get a tan from standing in the English rain

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob g' goo goo g' joob

Expert texpert choking smokers
Don't you think the joker laughs at you?
See how they smile
Like pigs in a sty, see how they snied
I'm crying

Semolina pilchards
Climbing up the Eiffel Tower
Element'ry penguin singing Hare Krishna
Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe

I am the eggman (Ooh)
They are the eggmen (Ooh)
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob
Goo goo g' joob
G' goo goo g' joob
Goo goo g' joob, goo goo g' goo g' goo goo g' joob joob
Joob joob...

Written by: John Winston Lennon and Paul James McCartney

My Limbs Seemed To Turn To Jelly

…(jello for US readers 🙂 ).

I don’t know what happened last night on the way home from work. I was day-dreaming – imagining a conversation between Robin and Annabelle when he takes her to a restaurant and he orders pigeon for his main meal, and she is baffled by that.

I remember day-dreaming. I remember going into Marks & Spencer’s and buying blackberries and spring onions. I don’t remember much after that except opening my eyes and realizing I was laying on the pavement.

I could not have been there long because as I tried to stand up there was nobody nearby. But I felt really funny in my tummy, and my legs felt like jelly, and as I tried to lift my bag onto my shoulder I noticed my arms were also like jelly.

I came home and I have had a very good sleep….which feels good. Anyway…it is a new dawn, a new day…and I have lots of work to do.

Photo by Pawel Kalisinski on Pexels.com

You Guessed Right!!!

Well…some of you did…sort of…halfway there at least.

Yes…yes…the answer is New York, or more specifically Manhattan. But I am not physically there. Let me explain.

You may have detected over the past few months that I have had moments when the unfulfilling paid job I have, and the very fulfilling but also very very busy unpaid work I do has contributed to me feeling tired.

I have written about it at times. I also received some lovely suggestions from other bloggers and writers on how to switch off to all that has been on my mind. Paula Light made the suggestion at one stage “write another book”. I loved that suggestion, but realistically that is not in the pipeline right now. I am still editing my first three and polishing up the dialogue and descriptions, and eliminating every single grammatical error.

But I thought to myself…I can still write shorter fictional pieces. There is something I have wanted to write about for some time, and while Jack is away (he is South East Asia at the moment) I realized I allow myself the luxury of letting my mind wander.

So…I am finally letting myself work out Annabelle Riley’s time in New York….

Photo by Quintin Gellar on Pexels.com

….after Dean and her break up…how dark her thoughts turn for the few months she is alone, how she met Robin, why she fell for him so quickly and so completely, how Robin reacted to this gorgeous caramel blonde who is ten years younger than him, working for a major record label and living in a stunning apartment.

In my head…I am in Manhatten. I am having so much fun! The conversations between Annabelle and Robin, the places they go, the fun they have, the food they eat, the people they meet. I forgot how enjoyable it is to imagine your characters as they grow and adventure.

What Is My Motivation?

If you ask people what they want out of their job – many would simply say (perhaps not to their manager) that they just want to do their work and have their wages paid so they can afford to live – pay the bills, buy food etc – and not have too much stress along the way, They hope for pleasant workmates they can enjoy spending hours of daytime with.

But I have the feeling that beyond that basic motivation, there are some who have aspirations, ambitions, a career path they are eager to pursue.

My main motivation when it comes to paid work is being able to pay my rent and buy food. I have zero aspirations or ambitions. Quite the opposite in fact. Yet in every single paid job I have been in, I always end up giving feely of my time, energy and resources beyond my contracted hours, job description or the company policies.

I have given vast amounts of unpaid time to secular employers. I have taken on work that was well above my paygrade because I knew how to do it and how to do it well. I have donated stationery, cleaning equipment, balloons and decorations for special events. I have produced training manuals that were not in existence before I arrived.

There is only one reason why I have done all these things – simple kindness.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I think sometimes what I do is misread by others. No, no, I am not interested in any promotions or career ladders, and I do wish people would understand that. There is some pity in my motivation. Very few secular organizations are organized enough not to need people who are willing to go the extra mile in all sorts of areas. But essentially, I want to make sure that work is done and lighten the burden on others. There is no other motivation.

Where Can I Buy?

If any of you are Londoners, I have a question for you…


I have been to eight very large supermarkets and could not find it, not even in Waitrose who normally do have a very good aisle for international ingredients (plus they had it on their website).

As far as I know gochujang is Korean, so perhaps I need to forget the big chain supermarkets and find somewhere that is more likely to stock it.

I Crossed Paths With A Man I Did Not Know…But He Knew Who I Was

I was on my way back to my abode the other night and my route took me along a pedestrian diversion of sorts. Barriers had been placed so that we had to walk in the road because the pavement has been dug up. There is a section of the diverted route where only one person can walk, so I held back and waited to allow a group walking towards me to clear the narrow section first. But completely oblivious, a bloke pushed past me and ended up pretty much colliding with this group.

Anyway, the group were clearly in a merry mood because they laughed off what that man did, and they all said thank you to me. But as I resumed my trek uphill, one of the group, a man in his thirties turned around and called out to me, “It’s you, isn’t it? I thought I recognised you.”

I was a little thrown at first…because…well…of course it was me. But who did he think I was? I smiled nervously, frozen in that I was not going to supply any details to him. I was super-scared that he identified me as that blonde who is sometimes with Jack. Jack often has strangers wandering up to him and babbling about their admiration, but it does not happen to me when I am on my own – THANK GOODNESS!!!

If it did happen…I would be as prickly as a pineapple!

Photo by Miesha Renae Maiden on Pexels.com

This cahp paused for a moment and said, “You were on stage at the London Arena a few years ago. I remember what you said about choosing a life that reflects what you believe rather than being squeezed into a mold by the commercial system.”

Wow! I mean wow! He really did recognise me. Yes, I did speak from the heart about how much of fight it seemed throughout my youth not to be squeezed into a mold. I did speak about the choices I have made, the blessings I have enjoyed, the superior education I have gained through volunteering.

That was more than a few years ago though. London Arena – that must be eight years ago. How on earth he remembered me is bewildering. But it was also heart-warming. So….we ended up having a little chat. He told me that after hearing my comments, he left a well-paid job and travelled overseas and ended up doing relief work after natural disasters. He told me he felt as if he was really living and not just existing.

After we parted, I only had five more minutes to walk until I arrived at my little nest. I had tears streaming down my face though. It felt like such an honour. I have been begrudging the situation I am in right now….but I know it is temporary. I have never doubted the decisions I made in my youth. The commercial, corporate, political-economic system has not been able to get it’s claws into me. I have lived on a part-time wage for all these years and thrived, yes – thrived – because I was sustained my more than anything money can buy.

I am actually grateful to have crossed paths with that man. He reminded me of what makes my heart beat with passion. His words were just what I needed to hear.