All posts by Jacob

Just trying to be a friendly face in this world. Hoping this blog will be a good influence on me and anyone else who looks at it.

Wednesday Writer – Paula Harmon

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?

During the day, a nice cup of tea – strong with milk but no sugar. In the evening a nice cold glass of Chardonnay.

I like your taste Paula!

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE?

It’s Paula Harmon and my site is https://paulaharmon.com

…and as well as her brilliant site, you can also read more of Paula’s writing in The Caster & Fleet Mysteries:

WHEN DID YOU START BLOGGING?

December 2015

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I wanted somewhere that I could post short bits of writing. They were mostly short stories or flash fiction to begin with.

After a while, I started to add random thoughts and since I’ve started publishing books and got to know other authors, I write about the writing process and also do author interviews from time to time. I wanted a place where I suppose I could share a little of myself with people who might be feeling the same way whether funny or sad or serious.

WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?

Apart from the tab which lists the books I’ve written, the most visited post is ‘Everything At Once‘ which is about my son’s ADHD….

….closely followed by ‘Lost Sometimes‘ which is a piece of prose written last year (see below)…

Lost, Found, Lost And Found, Searching

…and ‘Whatever is in your heart, becomes your words…‘ which is about bullying.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?

I love it when stories or random thoughts resonate with other people. When they comment to say they recognise the situation or feeling or that it gave them reassurance that they’re not alone, it makes me hope that I’ve helped in some way. It’s good that I can add helplines if applicable.

Fatigued, Young, Laptop, Beautiful

And then if I write something hopefully humorous – usually poking fun at myself – it’s great when someone says it made them laugh. It is also really cathartic.

Like most people I found the impact of Covid 19 very hard to cope with and for me, lockdown came just after my mother had nearly died and was recovering and just before I found myself facing a serious illness of my own which came completely out of the blue. Being able to write down all the tangled emotions and work on turning them into prose rather than simply self-pity helped straighten them out in my head to a great extent. ‘Lost Sometimes’ is one of those pieces. 

Writing, Writer, Notes, Pen, Notebook

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?

Good question! Any sort of food with good friends is wonderful and one of those things I’ve been missing during lockdown. I can never be sure which cuisine I like best because it’ll depend on the weather or my mood but I do like a little spice.

Last night we had lamb tagine but today, we’re going to have pork slow cooked in cider, finished off with cream and served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

I collect cookbooks including ones from different eras as I like to work out what characters in my books might have eaten. Last summer I (successfully) cooked some Roman recipes from a translation of a cookbook by Apicius with some help from the Tavola Mediterranea website. 

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Freesias or oriental lilies please! Pretty and fragrant.

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

No because it depends on my mood and what’s going on generally. But in general, I love the positivity and hope of ‘One Day like this’ by Elbow:

‘Put Your Records On’ by Corinne Bailey Rae:

‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac (especially sung by Eva Cassidy):

Great list of songs – I love all of them!

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?

Life is full of the unexpected and it’s easy to make plans and have them fall apart as happened for most of us in the last year. I want to be able to write more books and enjoy time with my friends and family, but I’m trying to keep learning how to go with the flow and enjoy each precious moment for its own sake. (I’d also like to sort the attic out, but I’m beginning to think that’ll never happen. I swear the stuff up there multiplies on its own.)

Our attic has the same problem with stuff that multiplies – it could be another mystery for Caper & Fleet Paula!

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?

That it’s all right to be you. That when things go wrong or you feel lost or broken, it doesn’t need to be like that forever and that it’s ok to ask for help. That joy and humour and love can be found in unexpected places. That everyone can find release in creativity like children do – without worrying about the end result. That it’s never too late to follow your dreams and maybe in fact the time when you can follow them was always going to be the right time after all.

_____________

It’s been such a joy to get to know you better Paula! Thank you so much for answering the interview questions and being such an amazing WEDNESDAY WRITER!

https://paulaharmon.com

viewauthor.at/PHAuthorpage 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/paulaharmonwrites

https://www.goodreads.com/paula_harmon

https://www.instagram.com/paulasharmon/

Paula Harmon writes chiefly (but not only) historical mystery books. She was born in North London to parents of English, Scottish and Irish descent. Perhaps feeling the need to add a Welsh connection, her father relocated the family every two years from country town to country town moving slowly westwards until they settled in South Wales when Paula was eight. She later graduated from Chichester University before making her home in Gloucestershire and then Dorset where she has lived since 2005. She is a civil servant, married with two adult children. Paula has several writing projects underway and wonders where the housework fairies are, because the house is a mess and she can’t think why.

Tuesday News

This week I have sheep for you, not just any old sheep – “smiley” sheep. I read a news report on the BBC website about the Lake District’s famous residents – Hardwick sheep.

If you like animals, if you are interested in Beatrix Potter, if you love the Lake District – then this will make you smile as much as the sheep!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-57015478

Manic Monday

Private prescriptions are a pain in the neck! The vast majority of prescriptions we receive are NHS prescriptions and they are straightforward. Usually the instructions are straightforward, if customers pay, the price is standard – always £9.35 for each medication. They just cut down all the calculations and extra work.

Some private prescriptions are anything but straightforward! Often they are handwritten, and almost impossible to read. Sometimes we have to ring the prescriber to ask what their prescription says. I wish they could just use a computer to produce prescriptions.

Sometimes the private prescription is for an unusual medication, not available on the NHS. The cost of some medicines can be hundreds of pounds. The customer is always keen to know the price before we dispense their prescription, only – we only know the price after we have dispensed it. It is so frustrating when they change their mind after we have dispensed it. We then have to reverse the dispensing. Twice as much work, and pointless because the customer has decided to go and ask other pharmacies to do the same thing.

Whenever a customer appears with a private prescription, my heart sinks a little.

We Could Be Lifted

So my thoughts when I saw the theme for today’s Song Lyric Sunday were – please define elevator music. I checked for an online description and it seemed to refer to easy listening music that is played in public places to keep people chilled out.

So that is probably quite a wide umbrella of music. I chose a song that to me is very easy going and uplifting. I also think it has a slight elevator connection as the title of the song is “Lifted”. What?! Come on – I am trying!

This is from a band called “The Light House Family. Have an easy mellow Sunday and enjoy the elevator music party over at Jim’s!

Credits: Paul Tucker, Tunde Baiyewu and Martin Brammer

I'd really love to be alone without all the
Ache and pain and the April showers
But it ain't long before I long for you, like a
Ray of hope, coming through the blue moon

When it all gets dark again
The whole thing falls apart I guess
It doesn't really matter 'bout the rain
'cause we'll get through it anyway
We'll get up and start again

'cause we could be Lifted, Lifted, Lifted
We could be Lifted
From the shadows, lifted
Oh we could be, lifted up today
Lifted all the way, you and I forever
Baby, lifted, lifted, lifted, hey

It's undisturbable the peace we found
In a bright new space up above the clouds
Everything is understandable
You don't have to say anything too loud

When all our luck runs out again
We're brought back down to solid ground
I wouldn't say I'm mad about the rain
But we'll get through it anyway
We'll get back to the start again

'cause we could be lifted, lifted, lifted
We could be lifted
From the shadows, lifted
Oh we could be, lifted up today
Lifted all the way, you and I forever
Baby, lifted, we could be lifted, we could be lifted, hey

We could be lifted, we could be lifted, we could be lifted
You and I forever
We could be lifted, we could be lifted, yeah we could be lifted
We could be lifted up to new horizons

Lifted, lifted up today, lifted all the way, yeah we could be lifted
We could be lifted, from the shadows, we could be lifted
Lifted upto new horizons
When it all gets dark again, it doesn't really matter 'bout the rain
When it all gets dark again, it doesn't really matter 'bout the rain

Saturday Snaps

This is a photograph I took of a model up in the Liverpool Maritime Museum. You can probably see from the plaque that is behind the model explaining it is a slave ship.

I was staring at it for ages. You might have to zoom in to discern the tiny models of people, including the many Africans on the cramped lower decks who were being traded as commodities.

It was barbaric. It’s hard to understand the inhumane way people can treat others, except as we know, it still happens today.

Five For Friday

Sometimes it feels as if the weeks are flying by this year. It is Friday again and time for me to share with you some of the highlights of the many brilliant posts that appeared in my WP Reader this week. There was so much to warm the heart, and inspire me. I am sure you will feel the same way too!

DEB EVANS – Have You Thanked A Nurse Today?

Nurse, Heart, Pulse, Stethoscope

This week we had International Nurses Day. How our appreciation for nurses has deepened during the Pandemic. Deb also shares with us some of the history connected with perhaps the most famous nurse of all time – Florence Nightingale. I loved her post.

***

FRAN – The Sunday Edition – 1. Tonight We Fly! Checklists! London Baby, We Made It

Green Park, London, Uk, England, Park

I loved reading the account of Fran and her family embarking on an adventure! I am a Londoner Fran and I was reading this, totally excited for all of you – and wishing you an incredible time in your travels!

***

LAURA AND BRETT – Staying Healthy: Eating And Exercise (5/2 – 5/8)

Vegetable Skewer, Paprika, Tomato

I have to admit, I seem to spend a lot of time looking at foodie posts. Why is that? It makes me so hungry. I loved the photos in Laura and Brett’s post this week. Am I reading this right – were all those delicious dishes under 400 calories? Desperate to get an invite to their dinner table!!

***

SIMON – Blog: A Year On Woodhouse Washlands

Yorkshire Dales, Pen-Y-Ghent, Sunrise

It is a long time since I was in Yorkshire, but I remember it as a massive contrast to London. There seemed to be an endless sea of green undulating with hedges and trees, dry-stone walls, and animals I had never seen before (animals never seen in Clapham!) I loved reading Simon’s account of the changes that occurred throughout the year. I wanted to be there walking through those dales myself.

***

SHELLEY FALLOWS – Bird Song And Blue Bells

Bluebells, Bluebell, Blue, Spring, Plant

This week is National Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is nature. Shelley made my day with this post. She shared a short video of her journey to work, were she seemed to be passing through a magical forest, with carpets of bluebells and sweet birdsong. Thanks Shelley for such a beautiful share!

Thursday Verse

Whoever trusts in his own heart is stupid, But the one who walks in wisdom will escape.

PROVERBS 28:26

Often when we are reading information we tend to focus on what supports our prior held views or beliefs.

When we use the internet to search for information, news and social media services start to tailor our feed, presenting us with information based on our browsing history.

But there is a danger in only reading or trusting what we want to believe. We can be misled, we can fall victim to misinformation, including conspiracy theories and political propaganda.

Wednesday Writer – James Guttman

Today we have the fantastic James as our featured writer. His blog is superb and so are his family.

HEY JAMES, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?

I’m good with water, although this one is warm.

Landscape, Winter, Glass, Water, Mirror

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE.

My blogging name is James Guttman, and my site is Hi Blog! I’m Dad

WHEN DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I have been writing since 2002, but I began my blog in 2017.

James has also published a fabulous book – perfect for expectant Dads – available on Amazon:

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I wanted to show the world that parenting a child with special needs isn’t dire or overwhelming. The goal was to normalize people like my son, who is non-verbal with autism, and demonstrate the similarities a family like ours has with many others.

WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?

Out of all, I’d say the top two have been “When You’re The First To Spot Autism’s Early Signs” and “I’m Sorry My Son Drank Your Coffee

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?

I enjoy the honesty and getting to hear from others who relate to stories and situations that would have felt isolated and unique without the outlet to share with others.

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?

Hmm. Ice cream? My daughter and I are kind of ice cream junkies.

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

No preference. I have a wishing well at my house that I keep as a planter. So whatever will overflow over the sides.

James, I am not an expert when it comes to gardening, but I love the way little bellflowers seem to grow in amongst cracks in the stone. They would make the wishing well look glorious.

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

I feel like I gravitate to different songs at different periods of my life. Hearing them again brings me back each time. Out of all of them, I’d go with the one that I replayed after my bypass surgery, “Come Healing” By Leonard Cohen.

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?

For the first time ever, I think I might.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?

This is the only life you get for sure. Don’t waste it worrying about things that might never happen and wanting the lives of others who are most likely more miserable than you are. You don’t get a new hand of cards just because you complain about what you have.  You have to play them and hope for the best.

***

That’s a great attitude James and it can help us deal with the circumstances we are in and learn to thrive. It’s been an honour to have you as a guest and to feature you as this week’s WEDNESAY WRITER.

Manic Monday

One of the services our pharmacy offers is managing the medication of some of our customers by assembling a dosette box.

It is a time consuming task. We have to carefully prepare the customers scheduled medications in a plastic tray, morning, lunch, dinner and bedtime medications. It requires lots of concentration. It is so easy to make a mistake with some of these tiny tablets.

It takes the pharmacist a lot of time and concentration to check they are correct. If the customer takes several medications that look the same, it is especially challenging.

But it is an important service, so we are proud to support our customers with the dosette medication box service. However, the one phone-call we dread is when after all the work that has gone into preparing the dosette box, a Doctor’s surgery calls us to tell us that there have been changes made to our customer’s medication.