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I am grateful for many things. Good health, happy family and
fond childhood memories. The thing that really sicks in my mind when it comes
to gratitude is the garden of my childhood home, and the produce grown there.
To say it was life-saving would be an understatement.
My parents didn’t have much money when I was young. I didn’t
really think that much about it at the time, but as I grew older I suddenly
realized that my mother was a genius when it came to running the household on
meagre amounts of money. She was also a great cook.
My father returned from the 2nd World War
carrying injuries, the physical ones we knew of but not the psychological ones.
He had a heart attack in the early 1950’s when I was very young, and he could
no longer work. Things were tough as we had to survive on a small military
pension. He should have received a much larger pension but somehow never did.
No matter how bad things got, we were never hungry or
dressed in ragged clothes, and we had a roof over our heads. Luckily my parents
had paid off our house before Dad got sick.
Dad had a wonderful garden and we were very thankful for the
produce he grew there. Tomatoes were his speciality. He loved them and grew
heaps of them. I can still remember the tomatoes, we ate them raw, in salads,
cooked, fried, steamed. Green tomato pickle, tomato sauce, chutney, tomato
relish. You name it, mum cooked it. She used to preserve tomatoes so we could
have them all year long.
Looking back on things now I realize I should be grateful
for the humble tomato, it certainly kept our bellies full.I can’t even recall how many different dishes
mum used to make with tomatoes as a base.
Apples were another thing Dad grew well. We had about six
different varieties of apple trees growing in the garden. Once again Mum, baked
them, stewed them and preserved them. We used to pick them green sometimes and
store them in the roof cavity of the house and they would ripen up there. They
lasted for months. Potatoes were another one of his specialties. I firmly
believe to this day that it was the garden that kept Dad sane. He used to spend
So, I am grateful for my mother’s cooking expertise and other
housekeeping skills and my father’s gardening skills, otherwise life would have
My early upbringing has stayed with me and I think that is
why I mainly write about heroines who are poor and doing it hard. I can’t
remember ever having written a rich heroine in any of my stories. As for my
heroes, well they are always rich, arrogant and tough men who are redeemed by a
gentle heroine who is strong because she has survived the tough times.
In my novel, Falsely Accused, the heroine is exiled to the
penal colony of Australia for a crime she did not commit. She has to survive
the degradation and desperation of the convict ship, and once she disembarks,
her problems increase a hundredfold.
A Master Passion - A Founder's Marriage Angelica, older sister to Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, was a piece of work. Perhaps you've met someone like her--enchanting, intelligent, daring, filled with boundless energy, bubbling over with wit. She was also a champagne tastes kind of gal who brought the party along with her, brightening any room she entered. Men and women alike adored her. She had admirers not only in America, but in France and in Britain, too, among them the leading lights of the time. The French Statesman Talleyrand, the Whig Leader, Charles Fox, the play-write Richard Brinsley Sheridan, as well as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and the Marquis de Lafayette were among the many luminaries who fell beneath her spell. We can no longer see the glamor in this picture of her and her first child, painted by Trumbull. Fashions in beauty change. In one letter to his father-in-law, Hamilton speaks of Angelica and his wife Elizabeth as "our b…
As a writer
I know the power of words, and I’m constantly searching for the right words to
make my stories live. But recently I discovered the word “feminism” has been
misunderstood. I had no idea until daughter Andrea received a rude response
after she admitted she was a feminist. Made me wonder, why has this word been
demonized? Dictionary.com defines feminism as “advocating social,
political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men.”
Merriam-Webster has a similar definition. The term feminism originated in 19 century
France, I learned. A second-wave began in the United States during the early 1960s
with Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine
Mystique. Friedan wrote this book after talking with friends, who had
given up their careers to become housewives. These women felt unfulfilled in
their domestic roles, Friedan claimed. She blamed women’s magazines, run by men,
for encouraging women to become mothers and housewives, rather than career
women. A dif…
I grew up in
an engineering family and worked many years at Boeing. There, great flying
machines are built to stay in the air for literally hours and hours and jet halfway around the world without refueling. This is well engineered
stuff. With that in
mind, I’ve always considered the human body a high maintenance machine. It is
fragile and can’t take much without breaking down. It must regenerate (sleep) for
a huge amount of its shelf-life. It requires hours of upkeep, always needs wiping
down or, over the years, completely submersed in water with gallons of soap.
The human body must be constantly refueled which produces prodigious amounts of
venting waste. This turns out to be an expensive, never ending maintenance slog.
have thunk this a good design? Not me. I’d really like a conversation with the
designer and tell him my thoughts on how the human body could be improved. But
with that conversation unlikely, I’ll have to stew over poor engineering. Let’s take
one of the abo…