Sunday, 24 August 2014

Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

When Harold Fry receives a letter from a former work colleague, Queenie Hennessy, who is seriously ill, he knows that simply posting a reply will not be enough. Without proper equipment, or his mobile phone, Harold leaves his comfortable lounge room to set off on a six hundred mile journey. After a chance encounter in a service station, Harold believes he can keep Queenie alive as long as he keeps walking. Over eighty-seven days he walks from Kingsbridge in the south of England, to Berwick-on-Tweed near the Scottish border hoping he will arrive in time to say thank you for a kindness Queenie once did him.

As Harold makes his pilgrimage he undergoes a transformation, discovering friendship in unlikely places and a capacity he didn’t think he had to confront the memories he carries about his relationship with his wife and his son.

This book deals with the themes of families, ageing, grief, self-reliance, friendship and hope.

It will make you laugh. And it will make you cry. But most of all it will remind you about why random acts of kindness make a difference.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce, 2012
Black Swan
357 pp.
ISBN 9780552778091

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Mice don't need to travel...

…because they can find great cheese nearly anywhere.

The tartan clad McMouse in St Andrews only needs to take up residence in the cheese shop on South Street to live out her days in luxury, tripping between the wheels of gorgonzola in the window, and the emmenthaler on the shelf. ‘Auch, forget the golf,’ she says, nibbling on a crumb, ‘any self-respecting traveller can smell the cheese before they even make it in the door.’

In Spain the lucky El Mouso living at Montserrat Monastery can look down on his comrades in nearby Barcelona. ‘I like to sit right here on the edge of the cliff on market day,’ says El Mouso, ‘it’s an excellent place to enjoy the local cheese or a fig or a little drop of honey while I watch the tourists take the cable car to the monastery.’

Cheese in Sarlat waiting to be tested by Madame Souris

Madame Souris in Sarlat, France, has the run of Place de la Liberte except on Wednesdays and Saturdays when she has to watch out for the vendors setting up their food stalls. ‘But I don’t mind at all,’ she says, ‘because I can taste any cheese I like while I listen to the buskers and afterwards have a nice nap in the cathedral.’
If you were a mouse, where would you find your favourite cheese ?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Positive Affirmation

Writing is often a solitary pursuit so I have been overwhelmed recently with positive messages from friends and family about being part of HARDCOPY 2014. 

This made me think about the value of friendship, the nature of generosity, the longevity of relationships and the sheer fun of laughing out loud. 

Thanks to everyone whose friendship and generosity will make a difference today.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Finding the Muse

Finding that moment of inspiration is one of the joys of writing.

My Welsh Mountain pony, Twilight, started me on my journey as a writer. I remember how excited I was the day my Dad brought her home. I couldn't believe her softness, her smell, her beautiful dappled coat and that she was really mine to ride. So I wrote a poem about her. It was printed in the school magazine and I became a published author.
I love this photo of Twilight on our farm near Mullumbimby

Twilight isn't with us any more, but her memory and inspiration survives.

What inspired you to start writing ?