Friday, 25 March 2011

Word Challenge

A few years ago I had a great boss and we had such fun trying to influence our workplace. For example, we had a new manager who said no to any of our suggestions. P came up with the idea that we needed to influence him subtly. The manager was a Wolves FC fan, so we dressed for our proposal meeting completely in orange and black. Would you believe it worked! The manager must have seen us as friends not foes.

A while later we decided to make up a word and introduce it to the organisation. The challenge was to see how long it took for the Chairman to use our invented word. Surprisingly it didn’t take very long at all. The word was “vertigate”, meaning delegate upwards. The chairman was heard to say, ‘I have no one to vertigate that problem to.’

So to the challenge. See if you can make up your own plausible word and use it in your writing, blog post, Facebook entry, etc and see how long it takes for someone else to adopt it. Oh and don't forget to tell me about it.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Past Life

There was a man lying on my lap. His blood was warm as it seeped through my long skirts. All I could see from my position on the floor was a ring of knee-high leather boots. They were caked with the same mud I had waded through to get to work. The men chanted “Jacobite” over and over again. I felt numb rather than afraid. The wooden floor was hard, but clean, as I had swept it carefully not an hour earlier. The air smelled of ale, leather and the pies I had baked for the customers. Irrelevantly, I visualised slicing the onions and carrots, and mixing the suet pastry. Looking down, I knew Jack was beyond my help or comfort. The spark had gone from his amber eyes. The troop of soldiers sensed it too and began to disperse.

I had always wanted to experience past life regression, but this was beyond anything I had ever imagined. This was real. This engaged all of my senses. It changed my perception of the world.

The opportunity came unexpectedly when I was on a residential course in 1996 in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Two hypnotherapists were attending the course and they offered to do past life regressions one evening. My first time came during a power cut. It was Halloween and the room was lit by candles. I was the second person due to be regressed, but I felt myself slipping into a trance as soon as the first person was being prepared.

“You are walking down a long corridor,” the hypnotherapist began.

“No, I'm not I'm sat under a tree,” I replied.

I was carrying a basket which was full of the walnuts I had been collecting. I walked back to a rough stone cottage with a large rambling rose outside. I can still see the range fire. My mother and brothers were full of love for me.

The life which I experienced took place in Shropshire. The therapist asked me to go further on into the life and suddenly I was walking to work through muddy ruts. I worked in an alehouse, but was far from my stereotype of a barmaid. I was soberly dressed with a lace collar. Then came the dying scene and I recognised the corpse as a former lover in this lifetime.

My second regression was two days after the first. This time I was a nun in a convent. I could see and feel the stones on which I knelt to pray every day. I could remember being given to the nuns by my starving parents. One of my duties was to hand out bread to the poor, I felt the texture of the loaves and smelled their yeasty odour. There was monotonous chanting coming from the chapel. My love was given to the walled garden. A young monk, called Dominic, worked there. He taught me how to harvest seeds and to tend the plants which grew from them. The abbess noticed our friendship and had him sent away. I was still in the nunnery in my 50’s, still tending the garden and mourning the loss of Dominic. I knew by then that he had died years earlier of a fever somewhere in the north. The scents and colours of the flowers and earth were very vivid, as was the itchy wool of my habit.

As a result of these regressions I trained as a hypnotherapist and began a new career. Has anyone else experienced past life regression?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Spheres of Connection

My life is rich in friends, for which I daily give thanks. It wasn’t until one of my birthday parties that I realised how many different spheres of connection and interest I inhabit. Some of these are exclusive and others overlap. At that party I was surprised by how many of my friends didn’t know each other as they came from very different groups.

These days some friendship groups are in cyber space. Indeed Facebook and Friends Reunited has helped me re-enter some groups with which I had lost contact – junior and senior school friends keep resurfacing, as do university friends, old neighbours and work colleagues. If find it amazing. New Voices also helped me to enter into new groups with people who I now feel very close to, but have never met in real life. All of these friendship groups provide a network of support systems.

Last week, I had a delightful morning with one of my new writing friends, Sue Watson (of ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes’ out soon fame!) We had met once briefly and I sensed a connection. Well, when we met up, we talked and talked and talked. We didn’t even have anything to eat with our hurriedly acquired drinks, as we were so eager to get back to the conversation. Thank you Sue for the insights into agents and publication.

Yesterday, I met up with two friends from yet another circle of therapy/spiritual friends. One of these is experimenting with Twitter, so I have asked for lessons when she has the hang of it. Again, I felt enriched and uplifted by the conversation.

This morning I am meeting up with a friend from my family history circle to research two families which are quite a challenge to track down. Would you believe one family name is Smith and the other Jones! One family covers three continents. We have our own theories but if anyone out there has any ideas for why two single illegitimate teenager girls would go all the way to New Zealand in the mid-1870s, please share them. One of these girls died in California, so she was certainly well travelled. I have the kettle boiling as I know we will need plenty of tea because we talk so much.

Today I propose a celebration of friendship of all types. You all make my life richer and enhance my writing through your stimulating conversation. So cheers to all the wonderful friends I have and hello to all the new friends I hope to make.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Make a Difference Day

Realised that I forgot to tell you about one of my housework habits when this was the hot topic of the last post. Every week I have a ‘make a difference day’. This is when I abandon normal housework and try to make an improvement in each room of the house. It can be something simple like sorting a pile of magazines or straightening books on the book shelf or it might be cleaning a patch of carpet or wall. I try to do something in every room. Anything really that is quick and yet makes a difference to your home. Since I adopted it I have been surprised by how satisfying it can be. Try it.

We had a day out to Somerset on Saturday. The boys wanted to see Concorde at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. The planes didn’t do much for me if I am honest, but I found the pictures of young dishy air men and details of female mechanics in the war fascinating. We called in at Wells cathedral on the way back and I indulged myself in my love of the architecture of these majestic buildings. I reckon I must have been a stone mason in one of my previous lives. Wells is a lovely town too. Even the weather was kind if bitterly cold.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


I don’t know what the technical term is for what I am doing, so I’ve called it percolating. Ideas are bubbling to the surface all the time and I’m writing them down. They are accompanied by a rush of excitement and anticipation and I know that I am going to have a writing splurge shortly. This is much more positive than the situation described on my last blog and really the only difference is that I’ve stopped beating myself up about my writing and am allowing my process to happen. I’ve even bought a couple of new notebooks on the strength of it. So watch this space.

The change actually happened when reading Sue Moorcroft’s ‘Love Writing’. At one point she says, “Make your writing time me time, not something on your to do list”. Those few words made such a difference. Thank you Sue. I’m excited as on Saturday I am booked on her ‘Your Personal History’ course in Derby.

Meanwhile I am writing my own eulogy and funeral service, which is a little surreal, but the next task of my distance learning course. Fun too though, after all you can write what you like. So far the process has produced both laughter and tears.

On the publishing front to add to Rachel Lyndhurst’s recent publication of ‘Storm’s Heart’ here and Serenity Woods ‘Black Hawke Down’ here, we have another title by Serenity Woods ‘Surrender Your Heart’ here. Leah Ashton, winner of the Mills and Boon New Voices competition has sold her story to Mills and Boon . Another friend Susan Watson has confirmed the publication of her wonderfully titled ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes’ in July here. Congratulations to you all.

If I have missed anyone out please let me know.