365th Blogpost

This is my 365th blogpost.

In March 2017 I set myself the challenge of writing a blogpost every day.

First blog post

In May 2017 I received a cancer diagnosis and said farewell to my blog.

Last blog post

But then in November 2017 I returned to my blog.

Well, here we are again!

And today, I’m writing the 365th blogpost.

I’m still having chemotherapy and a monoclonal antibody treatment called Cetuximab every two weeks. My last CT scan showed that my disease is stable and I can continue with the treatment for as long as it proves to be effective.

So, what to do with 3sixtyfiveblog?

I’ve reached my goal and met my challenge; albeit not quite in the time frame I anticipated when starting the blog.

I’ve had several blogs over the last six years. Some I’ve deleted; others I’ve re-vamped and a couple are just left floating in cyberspace. What to do with this blog?

I enjoy researching and writing 3sixtyfiveblog but I need more time for my Family History researches and blogposts. So, what to do?

Write fewer posts!

But then it wouldn’t really be a 365 blog, would it?

So, I’m going to stop and say goodbye.

Thanks for reading my blog today and all the other days if you’ve been a regular visitor.

According to Blogging.org there are

1,883,637,867

blogs on the Internet in 2018.

I don’t know how you found mine (apart from a few family, friends and Twitter friends) but I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of my 365 blogposts.

All the best,

Cathy 🙂

Sunday Serial #17

I’ve been following a nineteenth century tradition and publishing some of “Leefdale” by Michael Murray in weekly instalments.

But now it’s time to pack away the serial. I’ve reached the limit of how much of the novel I can share without clashing with the rules of Kindle Unlimited.

If you’ve enjoyed reading the serialisation of Leefdale, it’s time to take the plunge and read the whole book! It’s only £1.99 to download although the paperback version at £20 is rather pricey.

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, Leefdale is a great read as it’s over 1500 Kindle pages. Or over 300,000 words. A great read for anyone who likes to get lost in a novel for a few days!

If you’ve stumbled on this blog for the first time and would like to try the serialisation its here.

But it’s a lot easier to read the Free Preview on the Amazon site which you can reach via the buttons below.

Here’s a little bit about the novel from the Amazon book description.

The beautiful English village of Leefdale seems reassuringly tranquil. But appearances can be deceptive.

Sharon guards a dark family secret.

Barbara is fighting to save her marriage.

Zoe is trying to sort her life out.

Louise is desperate to be recognised for who she truly is . . .

Unaware of the profound effect it will have on her and the rest of the village, estate agent Sharon Makepiece arranges the sale of Leefdale’s Old Rectory to Dylan Bourne, an art therapist and professional artist.

The Old Rectory is the finest house in Leefdale. Its renowned gardens are crucial to village plans for winning the Magnificent Britain Gardening Competition for the fifth consecutive year.

Barbara Kellingford’s father, Major Howard Roberts, is chairman of both the parish council and the Magnificent Britain sub-committee. While Barbara struggles to hang on to her husband, a top Tory politician, her father is embroiled in a bruising struggle of his own with the new people at The Old Rectory.

Zoe Fitzgerald is a drama therapist. Her role is to change lives, yet it’s her own life which needs to change most.

Louise Makepiece is determined to realise her dreams. But first she has to force her mother to leave Leefdale!

Dylan Bourne’s new job is killing his Art. And his romantic obsession seems to be affecting his judgement.

Barbara Kellingford knows that time is running out to save her husband’s political career.
Meanwhile, the tabloids are circling.

Leefdale. A story of inclusion and exclusion; local and national politics; press intrusion; the healing power of Art and the complex nature of love.

 

Brilliant 1962 music documentary

Reminiscing recently about a holiday in the Malvern Hills, sent me on a YouTube search for the 1962 Ken Russell documentary about Sir Edward Elgar.

The documentary has been uploaded in four parts but it’s the opening of the film that I remember most of all.

If you’ve never seen this documentary the first couple of minutes are fantastic.

Between 1959 and 1970, Ken Russell directed documentaries for the BBC Monitor and Omnibus arts programmes.

His best known works during this period include: Elgar (1962), The Debussy Film (1965), Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World (1967), Song of Summer (about Frederick Delius and Eric Fenby, 1968) and Dance of the Seven Veils (1970), a film about Richard Strauss.

Elgar was the first televised arts programme about an artistic figure made as a feature-length film rather than a series of shorter segments. It was also the first time that re-enactments were used. Russell fought with the BBC over using actors to portray different ages of the same character in addition to the traditional photograph stills and documentary footage.

 

Thanks for visiting my blog today and hope you had time to watch a bit of this marvellous film – even if only the opening scenes.

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#ThrowbackThursday #BookReview The Grayson Trilogy by Georgia Rose @GeorgiaRoseBook

For several years I wrote a book blog and accumulated reviews of some really good reads. I saw on Twitter that Renee at It’s Book Talk started using the #ThrowbackThursday meme as a way to share books that are old favourites or have been waiting to be read for a long time. I decided to visit my old book reviews and re-post my favourites here on 3sixtyfiveblog for #ThrowbackThursday.

So far I’ve included:

An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy by June Kearns

Kings and Queens by TerryTyler

Blood-Tied by Wendy Percival

Make a Joyful Noise by Jenny Worstall

Everybody Lies by Julia Hughes

Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb

The Heartfelt Series by Adrienne Vaughan

and Accursed Women by Luciana Cavallaro.

This week it’s The Grayson Trilogy by Georgia Rose

The Grayson Trilogy is a very readable set of romances with thriller overtones.

From the Amazon book description

Meet Emma Grayson, heroine of The Grayson Trilogy, a series of mysterious and romantic adventure stories. ‘The gun continued to be levelled at me. “Answer it…but don’t tell him I’m here or he’ll get to listen to you die.” That concentrated my mind considerably, and as I reached for my phone I came up with a plan…’ Emma Grayson was left devastated when her life was torn apart by tragedy and betrayal. Now someone believes it’s time for her to start again and puts an advert for a job through her door which leads her to the Melton Estate. Despite her desire for a solitary existence she finds herself discovering a life she could never have imagined, challenging her independence, her fears and her resistance to love. ‘An entertaining romance with a fascinating twist. Highly recommended and a RED RIBBON winner.’ The Wishing Shelf Awards.

My Review from Indie Bookworm

The Grayson Trilogy by Georgia Rose comprises
Book 1: A Single Step
Book 2: Before the Dawn
Book 3: Thicker Than Water

I read each book in The Grayson Trilogy one after the other as I was enjoying the series so much.

Emma Grayson is a complex personality. Her back story is very emotional and poignant and the author explores this with great sensitivity.

Author Georgia Rose has created in Emma an interesting character whose love life across all three books has so many wonderful ups and downs.

Her romantic attachment is enhanced by the exciting thriller into which her love story is woven. Trent, the leading man, is a complex character too. He has as many hang-ups as Emma and the author takes her time over all three novels to reveal the explanations for his behaviours.

Emma and Trent dominate the novels but there is a large supporting cast too.
The main characters and all the subsidiary characters develop well as the series progresses.

It’s easy to keep track of who’s who and what’s what as the three books evolve.
The author references back to previous main story points so that a reader who picks up one of the books out of sequence will know what’s going on. However, this is done with a light touch and doesn’t get in the way for readers who are following through sequentially.

I liked the horsey setting which I found unusual and interesting and life on “The Manor” is certainly different and filled with surprises.

Although there is the predictability about the ending associated with this genre there are some plot developments and revelations about key characters which are completely unexpected and these bring the series to a very satisfying conclusion.

Click the Free Preview button below to start reading the Grayson Trilogy straightaway!

Maxi 70s

I think I avoided a Seventies maxi coat but I did have a maxi-dress for my 21st birthday. This film clip is focused on the maxi style but there’s loads of  interesting background detail as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

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psychedelic-1359990_1280
image credit https://pixabay.com/en/psychedelic-70-s-1970-s-abstract-1359990/

Fab frocks from 1970

I never managed to afford an Ossie Clark dress, much to my everlasting regret.

This film clip is a bit blurry but the dresses are great.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

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Sunday Serial #16

I’m following a nineteenth century tradition and publishing some of “Leefdale” by Michael Murray in weekly instalments.
You can find the links to previous instalments on this page.
So, if you like the Dickensian idea of reading your novels in weekly instalments,
read on …..

CHAPTER SIX

‘Have there been any changes in the circumstances at home?’

Sharon considered the head teacher’s question carefully and suppressed her initial response which was to say, “No, of course not. That’s the problem: the home circumstances are as bizarre as they’ve ever been”.

They were in Mrs Henshall’s office and had been discussing Louise for over twenty minutes. Sharon had already been shown her daughter’s behaviour report: this was a little note book that Louise was required to present to her teacher at the end of each session for a signed comment on her behaviour. Louise had been placed “on report” three weeks after the term had begun. The intention behind the system was dual: the child’s behaviour could be monitored on a daily basis and hopefully being “on report” would incentivise them to incrementally inch their way back to a reasonable standard of conduct. In Louise’s case it clearly hadn’t worked. The majority of the comments in her behaviour report were negative. It was a depressing account of Louise’s inappropriate attitudes, and included descriptions of her non-cooperation, swearing and isolated acts of sporadic, low level violence. As punishment for these serious infringements of school discipline she’d forfeited many playtimes and other privileges.

The head teacher had sought to elicit from Sharon reasons for the unexpected decline in Louise’s behaviour. She’d already asked the more obvious questions: had Louise been behaving badly at home? Had she become involved in undesirable friendships outside school, perhaps involving children older than herself? Had she started menstruating? To all of these questions Sharon had answered “no”.

And now Mrs Henshall was asking if the home circumstances had changed; a question which Sharon regarded as an implicit criticism of her own lifestyle. Why didn’t the woman come right out and ask if she’d installed a toy boy in the house? Or if she was shagging a different guy every night? Why be so coy about it? Mrs Henshall’s perceived prurience and moral superiority only increased Sharon’s sympathy for Louise, and she had a sudden and overwhelming urge to smash the edifice of bland respectability that the school represented and expose its hypocritical foundations. How satisfying it would be to outrage this confident, poised, professional woman by revealing the real reasons for Louise’s bad behaviour. You want me to shock you? OK. How’s this? I’ve been fucking your chair of Governors for nearly twelve years now and Louise is his daughter! The liberating effects of even thinking this in front of Mrs Henshall made her feel lightheaded and reckless. But she drew back from such a potentially catastrophic indiscretion. There was too much at stake. If she revealed what was causing her daughter such acute distress it would quickly become staffroom gossip and then the conflagration of disgust would engulf the village. Every household would be discussing Greg Maynard and his two families and wondering how the whole sordid scandal had been kept secret for so long.

‘Do you mean have I moved a new boyfriend in with us? Something like that?’

‘Yes.’ Mrs Henshall looked embarrassed. ‘Have you?’

Sharon smiled. ‘No. No new additions in that department. Look, I really can’t understand why Louise’s behaving as she is. Perhaps it’s something to do with the school. As you know, she was perfectly all right until this term. I think she’s being bullied.’

Mrs Henshall immediately went on the defensive and automatically produced her standard response to such accusations: there was no evidence of anyone being bullied in the school; the children had been told that all bullying incidents had to be reported immediately; teachers had been trained to react sympathetically to alleged victims; the school had an anti-bullying policy which had been commended at the last Ofsted inspection.

Normally, Sharon would have accepted Mrs Henshall’s assurances. But today she was feeling vindictive. She’d suddenly understood precisely what it must feel like to be her daughter, entering this place day after day, crushed by the burden of subterfuge and deception that her parents had imposed on her. Living a lie, unable to reveal who she really was. This act of empathy made Sharon feel guilty and resentful on Louise’s behalf. Why did Louise have to bear the brunt of it? Why should Jade and the rest of her family escape the burden of secrecy and duplicity so easily?

Sharon said, ‘Well, for all that, I think Jade Maynard is bullying Louise. She’s jealous of her and says horrible things about her.’

‘What sort of things?’

‘About her not having a father. That’s why Louise hit Jade and pulled her hair.’

‘I see. Has Jade teased Louise in this way before?’

‘I’d hardly call it teasing!’

Mrs Henshall instantly reminded herself that she was interviewing a touchy parent who was quite naturally protective about her child. More care with her vocabulary choices was required.

‘Perhaps “teasing” is the wrong word. But has Jade made such comments to her before?’

‘Yes. Several times.’

‘You say Jade’s jealous. Why?’

‘She was desperate to play Nancy in “Oliver”. Ever since Louise got the part Jade’s been making her life hell.’

Mrs Henshall’s brown eyes radiated concern. ‘Louise has never complained about Jade to me. Whenever I ask her why she behaves as she does she simply becomes silent and withdrawn.’

‘That’s because she’s embarrassed. Possibly even frightened.’

Mrs Henshall could understand why Louise might be embarrassed to talk about her absent father, but she considered it unlikely that she’d be intimidated by Jade Maynard as she towered a good six inches over her. However, Mrs Henshall’s prudence and tact told her that it might not be politic to mention this. She said, ‘Well, it’s good that she’s at last providing an explanation for her behaviour. I’ll speak to both girls and get to the bottom of all this.’

Sharon became alarmed. Had she said too much? Given the chance, would Louise, in her vulnerable and volatile state, bring down the whole fiction they’d elaborately erected? She felt too weary to protest. ‘Good,’ she said.

But Mrs Henshall was far from mollified. ‘I’m still very concerned about Louise’s general behaviour. Whatever the causes, there’s no justification for swearing at teachers or behaving aggressively. Until recently, I always felt confident that I, at least, could control her. Now, she’s stopped obeying me and is even speaking to me in a most inappropriate manner. I’m afraid that if her bad behaviour continues I’ll have to exclude her for a short period. Which means she’ll lose her role in the school production. That would be a tragedy: we’ve only just started rehearsals but I can already see she’s going to be brilliant.’

‘I’ll tell her that,’ said Sharon. ‘It should bring her to her senses.’

Throughout their discussion Mrs Henshall had been writing notes. She’d acquired this strategy on a course some years ago. The course tutor had explained that taking notes formalised interviews with difficult parents, it made them speak more slowly – less emotionally – and gave them an opportunity to calm down. It reduced their aggression, prevented the interview from escalating into a confrontation, and conveyed the impression that the head teacher was authoritative and in control: that something would be done. Mrs Henshall also found it a useful means of terminating an interview. She always followed the same procedure, which she now repeated with Sharon. She stopped writing and gave Sharon a professional smile. ‘Good. Now, is there anything we haven’t covered? Or are there any other issues you wish to raise with me?’

‘No, I don’t think so.’

Mrs Henshall placed her pen decisively down on the desk. She tore the page of writing from her A4 pad, folded it and put it in an empty wire basket marked “For Action”. She stood and the backs of her legs made contact with the light swivel chair she’d been sitting on, sending it gliding smoothly backwards on its castors. Taking her cue, Sharon stood too.

‘Well, Goodbye. And once again, thank you for coming so promptly.’

‘That’s all right. It had to be sorted out.’

And so they moved towards the door, in the course of which an obvious question occurred to Mrs Henshall.

‘Are you in contact with Louise’s father?’

Sharon was completely thrown. There was a very long pause. Finally, she said ‘No.’

‘But you know where he is if you wish to contact him?’

There was no choice but to continue the lie. ‘No. No, he’s disappeared. I haven’t seen him for years.’

‘Has Louise ever met him?’

Tentatively, Sharon said, ‘No. Why?’

‘I just thought that if Louise could meet him it might help with her behaviour.’

‘I’ve no idea where he is,’ said Sharon.

‘So presumably he doesn’t provide you with any financial support for Louise?’

‘No.’

‘You know there are ways of tracing errant fathers.’

Sharon opened the door of the office and turned back to Mrs Henshall. ‘He’s out of my life. I’ve no wish to contact him again. OK?’

Mrs Henshall registered the aggressive tone and remembered that she was no longer taking notes. ‘Of course,’ she said. ‘I quite understand.’

To read more, click the buttons below.

The beautiful English village of Leefdale seems reassuringly tranquil. But appearances can be deceptive.

Great 1970 Biba video

Interesting insights into the Biba way of design and sales in this film clip.

Fascinating interview with Barbara Hulanicki.

Wish I’d kept the Biba mail order catalogue I sent for in 1969!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

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