A Very British Blog Tour 2013

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Welcome to A Very British Blog Tour 2013 – a collection of blogs, books and authors who are surprisingly very British. Author Paul Anthony http://paulanthonys.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/a-very-britsh-blog.html began the tour with the help of Clive Eaton http://www.cliveeaton.com/averybritishblogtour2013.html . Many authors have now joined the tour and given their answers to the questions below.

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First a note from Paul Anthony:

“We British have certain conventions, traditions and procedures that are expected. There is a dress code in the reading of this British blog and you are expected to comply with it. For example… Gentlemen will wear suits, white shirts and dark ties (military ties are expected where possible). Ladies will wear dresses (one inch above the knee, no higher, no lower) and floral summer hats. A break for tea and cucumber sandwiches is expected at some stage, and is permissible. The list at the bottom of the page is not a queue! We British hate queues, and will accept them no longer. It is an invitation, and you are expected to accept that invitation and support the home-grown product. Now then, let us proceed in an orderly fashion. As you know, we are all very boring and staid in Britain, aren’t we? Well, there’s a myth about the British and your starter for ten is stuffy, class conscious, boring, staid! But is this still relevant in today’s world? Let’s find out from our wonderful writers what they feel about it.”

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A quick musical interlude:

I’d like to thank Rosie Amber who is my host for the tour. Please have a look at her lovely blog and see how she answered the questions. These are my answers:

The Very British Blog Tour Questions;

Q. Where were you born and where do you live now?

I was born in Portsmouth and now live in south London, more specifically Addiscombe in Surrey, which is part of Croydon.

Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?

I moved around a lot in my childhood (forces family) – Portsmouth, Dartmouth, Bath, Shaftesbury and Naples – but moved to London as a student and still live here.

Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?

I love the sea and am also very fond of Bath.

Q. Have you “highlighted”, or “showcased”, any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city, a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?

My novel ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ is partly set in Bath but mostly in a fictional part of South London called Springfield.

Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish- about British people that I would like to discuss. Many see the “Brits” as having a “Stiff upper lip” is this correct?

I couldn’t possibly say.

Q. Do any of the characters in your books carry the “Stiff Upper Lip” or are they all “British Bulldog” and unique in their own way?

I think Miss Greymitt, the rehearsal pianist in ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ has a bit of a stiff upper lip. She would never complain and is an eccentric in the true English tradition. She still wears a tweed suit every day which she calls a ‘costume’.

Q. Tell us about one of your recent books.

My novel ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ is very British – quirky and understated. It tells the story of a choir rehearsing for a performance of William Walton’s ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’.  King Belshazzar comes to a sticky end after an evening of blasphemy, music and feasting, and Tristan, the choir conductor also…but no, I won’t spoil the story. The libretto for Belshazzar’s Feast is  terrifically colourful and dramatic (selected and arranged from the Bible by Osbert Sitwell, a true British eccentric). I have used the music as a backdrop for a pair of love stories and my peculiarly British sense of humour sends most of the characters up in ways that they all thoroughly deserve.

Q. What are you currently working on?

I am working on another musical romcom, which will probably include a murder.

Q. How do you spend your leisure time?

Reading, gossiping, playing the piano…

Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?

Anyone with a passing interest in family, love or music, with a sense of humour.

Q. Can you provide links to your work?

Jenny Worstall Author page UK

Jenny Worstall Author page USA

Jenny Worstall Website

If you are a British author and would like to take part in this tour, please take up the invitation and contact me on the form below.

Look out for the hash-tag #VBBT2013

invitation

Reply to the invitation by filling in this form.


Love You Forever

My short story collection ‘Lemon and Lace’ has now been published on Smashwords for free download. The first story, Forever, appears below.

Forever

 I felt a sharp needle like pain as I pulled out my first grey hair. Drawing closer to the mirror, I looked anxiously for further signs of decay. Surely those wrinkles around the eyes were deeper? And my neck was definitely showing its age. My mind started to dwell on uncomfortable thoughts of mortality. I pulled out another grey hair, then noticed another and then saw a whole streak of grey.

“Nearly finished the hall, darling,” called my husband Tom. He stood at the bedroom door grinning at me, wearing filthy paint splattered overalls and carrying a dripping paintbrush.

“Mind what you’re doing with that – we don’t want paint on the carpet,” I protested.

“Well you’ve already got a few streaks on you,” said Tom good naturedly. “I can see a grey mark on the back of your shirt and a couple in your hair. What have I said that’s so funny?”

I explained my mistake to Tom as I tried to pick the grey paint out of my hair.

“Well don’t pull any more hair out. I don’t mind a grey haired wife, but I draw the line at a bald one!”

Then he added, with a more serious note in his voice,

“Are you all right, darling? Are you still worried about your Mum?”

“Oh, I’m OK. I just can’t stop thinking about her. I want to do the right thing for her and for us and I’m not sure what it is yet.”

“Well you know I’ll give you my full support whatever you decide.”

I looked up at Tom gratefully and he moved closer to take me in his arms.

“Keep away from me with that brush,” I laughed as I slipped out of his reach. “You really are impossible!”

 

In the afternoon I drove along the coast road to the nursing home where my mother now lived. Noisy seagulls soared overhead and the fresh biting wind wrapped my skirt against me as I ran up the wide stone steps of Everdene. I was greeted by the Matron, Mrs. Crabtree, in the hall.

“Mrs. Winthrop’s not too good today, I’m afraid dear, but she’s really looking forward to your visit. Would you like to come and have a few words with the doctor? Come this way then.”

Later, I sat by my mother’s bedside, smoothing the hair back from her face as delicately as I could. Her skin was like the soft leather of gloves that have been carefully put away in a scented drawer for years and her hair was an intricate mesh of fine silver threads. She looked up at me and there was a tremor in her voice as she said,

“You will be coming to see me tomorrow, won’t you? I look forward to your visits so much.”

“I’ll be in to see you every day, Mum, and William and Tom will be here too at the weekend. You mustn’t worry – we’ll look after you. Now get some rest. I’ll stay with you a little longer while you sleep.”

She gave a sigh and her frail form relaxed. I continued stroking her head and as she drifted into sleep my thoughts went back to my childhood with all its fun and excitement. We were always busy dressing up or cooking little grey pastry shapes for my father to eat when he returned from work or making fantastic pictures with poster paints and glitter. At the centre of it all was my mother with her endless vitality and enthusiasm.

“I love you forever, Mum,” I murmured softly, as I kissed her perfumed cheek.

 

I took the long way home and stopped for some time looking out over the endless stretch of the sea. The sun sparkled on the waves and the water faded from blue to a dull grey as it merged into the horizon.

“Just a few more months,” the doctor at the nursing home had told me. “This will be her last winter.”

A pink glow spread over the water from the setting sun and I knew what we would be able to do. The sun sank lower and lower until it was extinguished in the water. Tom would have finished the decorating and collected William from school by now.

As I let myself into the house, the smell of paint hit me. Tom stuck his head over the banisters and blew me a kiss.

“Hello darling! I could murder a cup of tea.”

“What a welcome!” I said, smiling. “If I make the tea, can we sit down and have a chat? There’s so much we need to discuss.”

“I know,” Tom replied. “I’ve been thinking about your Mum all afternoon.”

We talked over steaming mugs of tea in the kitchen and found that we were in complete agreement about the course of action to take.

“Shall I make the call then?” I asked.

“Go on love – you know how happy your mother will be.”

I dialled the number of Everdene.

“Hello? Mrs. Crabtree? It’s Mrs. Winthrop’s daughter here. We’ve decided that the best decision for my mother is to have her here with us for her last few months. Yes, I know it will be a lot of extra work and I appreciate how different things will be for us while she’s here, but you see there’s really no other solution, not for my mother, not after the way she’s looked after me and…”

Just then the door flew open and our son William rushed in, dressed as Superman. He gazed with amazement at Tom’s hair which was liberally sprinkled with grey paint.

“You look old,” he shouted. “Doesn’t Daddy look old, Mum! When you’re both old, I’m going to look after you. You’ll need me then to do your shopping and stuff. Don’t worry- I’ll look after you.”

William ran out and as he disappeared from view I could hear him saying,

“Love you forever!”

 

Lemon and Lace on Smashwords