Tag Archives: English

Home update, diet change & differences

I am still writing and I still intend to get published in the future, but my timeline has had to be shifted dramatically because of a lot of new things happening in my life.

An old friend has reacquainted themselves with me and along with this I am also preparing the house to take in Ukrainian refugees, as well as trying to manage the worsening symptoms of my disabilities.

Also with this, Paul has bought it to my attention that we may also move house within the next few months and so there will be an even bigger upheaval.

My original publication goal was to send my work to an agent at the beginning of autumn of this year, hoping to be published within the next two years – but with these new events going on, it may be pushed back further, because I am very dedicated to working to the best of my ability to help the Ukrainians settle in and feel at home.

We’re unsure whether or not I will get a brood bitch for the service dog charities and do that this year, because of all the other things going on now.  But I hope to definitely be a brood bitch carer sometime in the future.

Also my hearing has got far worse, even with a hearing aid I am struggling and my hearing is now at 6 hertz, very low, without a hearing aid.  Because we are unsure what is happening with the refugees we will be taking on, we are holding off approaching a charity for a hearing dog for me, but it is something we have thought about.

Paul gave me some good news the other day that the bad neighbour may be moving out soon with his girlfriend because her daughter wants more independence around her house and she is tired of the conflict he is causing with her neighbours.  It still means that for this year I have lost another prime growing season, but hopefully next year I will be able to do my gardening again – it is desperately needed as things are overgrown to a very anti-social level now, primarily due to the fact that I feel sexually harassed by the neighbour when I am out there as he stalks me and acts lewdly around me – lewd for me is something that will shock people who know me well… because… well let’s just say, I am not known for being a prude!

This may mean if he moves out before Paul’s timeline, we may actually stay after all!  As we were only going to move out because of the bad neighbour, because I need the freedom to go in my garden without harassment and bullying and hearing him make loud speculations about my life to whoever is visiting him at the time – often crude and outlandish speculations at that!

Henry has been very distressed to the point of suicide because of bullying at school and the fact he may have to leave what he feels is his ancestral home, because of another bully next door!  Henry’s family on Paul’s side has lived in this house since 1956, that is 66yrs that this house has been in the family and Henry is proud of that, because also the family has lived in this village for 325 years next summer!

Not many children this day and age in the UK can claim such a heritage and Henry is not happy about breaking these family traditions of remaining in the area, even though it is Paul and I’s dream to move to a more secluded region.

We have a double bedroom available for Ukrainian refugees, we feel that we could put in a bunk bed, with a single bed and a cot, but whether or not whoever is arranging this for us, will agree to that, we do not know!

But hopefully whoever comes does not have a pet fur allergy as we have a house rabbit and would like a dog.

I have always enjoyed learning languages, I know French and Italian to better than tourist level, but not fluently and I am willing to learn how to speak Ukrainian to help them.  But Paul is all in for integration and has been coaxing me not to learn Ukrainian so that they have to learn English.  I have learned some words in Ukrainian and found that it is very similar to Slovakian, my sister in law is Slovakian and some small words she taught me are actually the same in Ukraine.

I have Latvian, Russian and Lithuanian friends, who live in this street, so they will have people to socialise with, readily. 

We researched the culture of Ukraine and I was delighted to find that the diet they have is exactly like or very near to my own personal diet – because my diet is much different to Paul’s and Henry’s because of my multi-cultural heritage.

Paul was delighted to find that too, because a lot of the food here is often thrown away as I can’t eat enough of it, and he and Henry don’t like it so won’t touch it – this means less waste for us!

I home make sauerkraut, pickles, I eat a lot of baked or pan fried fish, I have a lot of different soups and I make bone broth for myself a lot and I use paprika in 75% of all my dishes and we have crepes with berries at least twice a week, they’ll feel at home, basically!

Paul and Henry try to eat the Italian side of my heritage along with Paul’s English food, but other than that, they don’t really eat what I eat.  My personal diet isn’t very English – if I have a roast I have things that English people only have at Christmas time, cranberries and apple sauce for example, which Paul has got addicted to recently – the apple sauce – he isn’t too keen on cranberries.

He is starting to get used to the idea of paprika and or cinnamon in everything too!  I am trying to get him into the habit of remembering to use fresh herbs when he roasts meats and to baste with the herbs some of it, but that needs more coaxing!

I won around five years ago, to move him away from boiling veg to steaming or pan frying instead and cutting out salt in almost everything; though I acquiesce you need salt on some potatoes, sea or rock salt though!

I don’t think I will ever get him to like beetroot though – not even in crisp form.

I have recently learned that a lot of my food intolerances and allergies were not the things that I thought they were… this have opened doors for me again! 

I found out I was not intolerant to gluten or lactose, but I was intolerant to the products that contain soy or soya instead!  This is amazing and also I found out that I need a reduced fat diet because having fat too much in one day can make me react like a person who has lactose intolerance, so now I have managed my diet to include lactose and gluten, but I must remain strictly soy free and low fat!

I would never have found this out if it weren’t for my re- acquaintance to my friend Frank, who was very concerned at the prospect that I was becoming malnourished and were visibly losing muscle density.

So now I may eat lactose and gluten again, but I must avoid all soy and soya products, unfortunately it means no Chinese food, until I can home make them soy free!

Soy is in everything though, so though it has opened a lot of doors to me, I must check everything I buy to eat like some kind of paranoid creature because as Paul has found out… one product will be soy free, but the same product in another store from another factory may not be!  We was caught out the other week with Snickers, they were soy free and I had 9 bars in a multi-pack, but then we bought a single bar in a different store and I reacted badly that night, confused, we dived down the bin for the wrapper to find that it does contain soy!  But not all Snickers do!

It’s odd.

Anyway, thanks for reading – there will be an art update soon!

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Read before Aug 15

My current reading list or books which are to be read before August 15th are;

The lady’s maid (my life in service) by Rosina Harrison – I’ve read 66 pages so far

Sociology; themes and perspectives (second edition) by M Haralambos – I’ve read 34 pages so far

The adventure of English (the biography of a language) by Melvyn Bragg – I haven’t even started this book yet and that’s very bad of me as I always wanted this book and it was given to me as a 16th Christmas present by my cousin Shane that was 14yrs ago.  To think I wanted that book so badly and I’ve never even read the introduction, naughty, naughty!

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole – I’ve been reading a lot of historical books lately that focuses on either horror, cult fiction, gothic history and literature and this book crops up several times as a re-commendatory read; so maybe I should pick it up?  I downloaded it as it’s completely free on kindle.

Dragon-lance chronicles (books 1 – 3) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (though personally I think it will take me 3 months to read this particular book). – I’ve read 24 pages so far, but it is going to be cast aside a few weeks whilst I read other books; because I am getting into non-fiction history lately as research material for my stories; hence the servant biographies that are appearing.

Nutmeg by Maria Goodin – I did read about 10 pages but then I put it down as it was hilarious but I was already very nearly finished reading some other compelling book – this book made such a good impression on me I sent it back to the library and purchased it on amazon; I did this because I want to take my time reading it and soaking up its fantastical imagery and comedy.  I am looking forward to re-reading those 10 pages and reading more at a later date, hopefully before August.

Lucky by Alice Sebold – I’ve read 38 pages so far and I have to admit the author has made me paranoid about making and keeping my hair short these days, though they do say that it’s rare to be raped more than once in a life time!

Parallel worlds by Michio Kaku – I’ve read 293 pages so far, though I’ve been reading this since last year and I am unsure if I will start reading the rest of this for at least another month or two, there’s something about me where I become more scientific in the autumn.  Don’t ask why, I don’t know ha-ha.

Whatever you think by Richard Gentle – I personally know the author of this book, I was supposed to of read it about 2 months ago but I got involved in other books, I really owe it to him to read it and give my opinion.  I am not a very persistent reader at the best of times and its shockingly rude behavior not to have given a special effort to this book.  So far I have read 18% of this kindle book and it was very interesting so there was no reason for me to of put it aside all this time.

The art of happiness by the Dalai Lama – I’ve read 51 pages of this so far and I am looking forward to reading more as it’s really eye opening. 

The goddess experience by Gisele Scanlon – I started this book last summer, I’ve read 137 pages so far, a lot of information in it is out of date as some of the recommended stores and websites have closed down which is such a shame. 

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King – I started this book just after Christmas 2012, I’ve read the first story of this anthology and I’ve read to read more; that’s 156 pages so far.  I think the reason why I didn’t continue the anthology was because the first story sent me into a state of shock about how horrific it was.

 

 

 

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Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

I read this book in January 2013; I still remember some of the stories as clear as day.  I felt it would be good to put up previously read works on this site, because I don’t read enough fiction regularly to sustain this part of the blog, I mostly read non-fiction works based on social history, religion, the occult, psychology, true stories and biographies.

For those of you who have never read Neil Gaiman or know about the book “Smoke and Mirrors” it is an anthology of fantasy, horror and dark fantasy short stories and in my opinion, prose. 

Anyway, first up is “the wedding present” I don’t remember much about this story at all, other than I remember disliking it, but I can’t remember why.  I do plan to re-read this book at the end of this year for revising what I think is good and bad about it all, as I am trying to teach myself how to read critically, so re-reading this story will help me remember why I didn’t like it.

The next story I liked, it was humorous, “chivalry” A little old lady goes into a charity shop and buys a chalice and she is soon pestered by a time traveling knight who declares the chalice is rather special and tries to get it off her for several weeks, she eventually relents with a surprising ending.

“Nicholas Was” is next, a very short story, or was it really prose?  I don’t know what it was, but I do remember it, and it was confusing, although I did like the imagery it portrayed.

“The Price” oh my goodness was that a scary tale, I felt like crying for the cat.  I think the cat was based on some kind of protective angel, but that’s well hidden in the story if that’s what the cat was.  A brilliant tale, loved it, and I loved the audio of it too which is free and can be found at this website www.neilgaiman.co.uk/smokeandmirrors/audio

Another of my favorite was “Troll Bridge” I think almost every fantasy writer has written their own variation of this story at some point; I know Terry Pratchett has, although I’ve never read that one yet.  Neil Gaiman’s Troll Bridge was in my opinion, unique; I found it really thoughtful and inspiring.  I sometimes hoped that I could crawl under such bridge and make a deal like that, but would I really want to?  Who knows…?

“Don’t ask Jack” bought back nightmares of my childhood, that’s all I am going to say about this story.  I don’t like remembering it, to be honest.  In fact, I wasn’t comfortable with the story so much, I had to put the book down for two months before I could read the story that came after it, and that was because I forgot the previous tale. 

“The goldfish pool and other stories” Brilliant, I was so happy I picked this book up again after abandoning it, this was a great story, touching, haunting, fantastic.  I was really upset it was a short story; I could have read hundreds of pages of this work easily. 

“Eaten” I don’t remember this story either and I can’t remember if I liked it or not – sorry.

Again, one I loved “The white road” the imagery in my head was so lucid, I adored that.  I tend to think of actors or people I know when I read books and I was seeing actors and actresses from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “The Aristocrats” TV mini-series in 1999 one actor in particular was actually playing a Mr Fox, Alun Armstrong, he was playing Mr Fox in my mind when reading this story and the girl was a blond haired Winona Ryder for some reason.  The other actors and actresses from those movies and series that I was seeing in my head were there purely as spectators of the revelation that was being said between Mr Fox and the girl.

I was a wonderful story; I loved it, such passion and a delight to read, but am I being too bold? Ha-ha.

“Queen of knives” and “The case of the departure of Miss Finch” other delightful reads.  I loved them, they reminded me of one of my favorite Hammer horrors, “The Vampire Circus”, and they also had a similar air to “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.  I too, almost wrote a book similar to all four of these examples when I was fifteen years old.  A story based around a circus of the night, traveling vampire gypsies picking off locals at their stops, turning some, training some, it was a good idea I thought, but at the time I was going through a turmoil.  My brother had friends in publishing, they were at his house having a dinner party and I was also invited, they asked to view my work so arranged another dinner with my brother and I gave them some of my work, unfortunately I never got them back and they plagiarized my work, unfortunately still, I had no proof they did this because when I lost my completed work I lost heart in re-writing it all and burned the notes I had gathered over the two years it took me to complete it. So basically they got off Scot free and I’ve nothing to prove in court, so my loss I suppose.  My brother also worked behind the scenes of major film companies, so needless to say they did make a movie out of what I wrote, but made minor alterations, I won’t mention the movie here or the people, because I don’t like making a fuss, especially when I cannot offer proof.  The story was different to my gypsy vampire idea, but was vampire themed nonetheless, just this was the point of no return for me until I reached twenty one and had confidence in writing again, by this time I had forgot the idea, I only remembered the idea after reading those stories.

“Changes” I don’t remember this story either regrettably.

“The daughter of owls” now that was a beautiful fairy-tale in my opinion. 

“Shoggoth’s old peculiar” made me smile because it made me think he based the story on my family, who live on the edge of the Welsh and English border, they run a pub which resembles an eighteenth century tavern and I’m sorry to say they have toad-like faces and an old fashion air about them.  They are constantly cribbing about hiking tourists in their area, particularly Americans, which made this story feel it was made especially for me.  Obviously it wasn’t, Neil Gaiman doesn’t know me from Adam, but still, it felt special.

“Virus” I didn’t like either.

“Looking for the girl” I disliked too.  Reminded me a little bit of one of my exes, made me feel this story was based on his future life.

“Only the end of the world again” I liked, was it a sequel to one of the above stories I wondered?  Or more than one – I sense an air of “Shoggoth’s old peculiar” but also “the white road”.  I loved the combination if I am right, it worked amazingly well.

I think the “Bay wolf” is also like the above review, though I am confused, because I am trying to remember all the stories from only four months back and it’s difficult, particularly as I am writing this review on a day that my headaches are mild and wondering whether or not they should get worse and become the usual migraines.

“Fifteen painted cards from a vampire tarot” was also good, many stories in one.  Again, this was something I was thinking about writing as an inclusion to my traveling vampire gypsies when I was a teenager, another reason was because an old horror movie with Donald Sutherland inspired me a few years previous called “Dr Terror House of Horrors”. 

“We can get them for you wholesale” was both hilarious and bleak; I never laughed out as loud as I did when reading this story.  I truly recommend it for people who have a sick sense of humor like me!

“One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock” and “Cold Colours” I don’t remember these stories either unfortunately.

“The sweeper of dreams” was also beautifully written and after reading it, knowing I’ve ignored my love for writing for almost two years solid, I began to wonder if the sweeper of dreams came and visited me and stole my muse away or not?  But obviously it hadn’t, because I’ve started to write again, though, this time, my muse focuses mostly on poetry, not stories, like before.

I despised “Foreign Parts” it’s really not my kind of story at all. 

“Vampire Sestina” was brilliant and again, too short.

“Mouse” I couldn’t remember much about mouse either.

“The sea change” was a good read too, for what I remember and that’s not quite much at all, ha-ha.

“How do you think it feels” I liked the story and I hoped for more, but no.  Sometimes I think Neil Gaiman lacks the confidence to make some of his short stories into novels, it’s like he doesn’t believe in them so he makes them short but sweet.

“When we went to see the end of the world” that was a confusing read.

“Desert Wind” was nice.

I don’t remember “tastings” either.

“In the end” now that was very thought provoking and again, made me pause on the book for a fortnight whilst I thought things through and read “Enoch” and a few other non-fiction stories, for absolutely no other reason than to try and confirm my own beliefs in some strange inane kind of way.

“Babycakes” the title attracted me because when I was in college a friend of mine thought it would be good to have a name for each other, a pet name, so she came up with the name “Babycakes” I was baby and she was cakes.  She called me baby because I lacked experience of the world and she felt very motherly towards me.  Regrettably, the story isn’t as sweet as the one I just said above about me and my friend; it’s haunting in a bad way, terrifying because that could become a truth and I felt bad that I had read it, like it’s shameful.

“Murder mysteries” was beautiful, I liked the story outline.

Now, here comes my favorite story of the entire book “Snow, glass, apples” Neil Gaiman’s take on Snow White and it’s wonderful.  Unique, tragic, he saw what I saw in the story, not a victim but a spoiled dangerous little brat, that’s what I’ve always seen snow white as, but oh, it’s wonderful how he mingled this story with vampirism and victimization of the queen.  A pure work of genius!

This book was 50/50 in my opinion, 50% bad and 50% good, but the good bits are excellent, they are unique and imaginative and I love them, they inspire me to write my own stuff.

Thank you Neil Gaiman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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